Once you've mastered the above exercises you are ready to begin Taoist running of the microcosmic and macrocosmic orbits. Before you start this process, read the following books carefully and you won't get into any trouble like being possessed by a demon, delusions of grandeur, or epilepsy: Awaken Healing Energy Through the Tao by Mantak Chia (Aurora Press, 1983), Qui QuongFor Health by Takahashi and Brown (Japan Publications, 1981),and Zen Shiatsu by Masanuga and Ohashi (Japan Publications, 1977). The ryus from which this information is drawn and synthesized are called Cosmic Fire Gourd, Golden Bell, Heaven's Way of Longevity, Da Mo's Cave, and The Immovable School Passed Down from the Gods. If you have accomplished the Secret Smile, made a friend of your body, and learned to value silence as well as accept your opposites—just do it!
Hit the position of choice. Breathe seamlessly through both nostrils at the same time while expanding and contracting your belly. Allow your mind to become completely still and empty. Look down inside yourself. Picture a ball of energy below your navel. Sink the ball behind and below your genitals. Pull it across your rectum. Tighten your rectum to push it up your spine. Hold the spine as erect as possible with the shoulders back and down, which lifts the front of the rib cage. As you inhale bring the energy up over your head. Be careful to keep your head slightly bowed with your chin tucked and your tongue against the roof of your mouth. As you exhale let the energy fall down the front of your body back to a point below your navel. Repeat with each cycle cf breath for as long as you are able to sustain your sitting posture and state of no mind. If you cannot feel energy moving, just pretend that you can and imagine the process as I've described it. Db this every day, morning and night, for at least twenty minutes until you can feel the energy moving. Always begin your practice by running the Secret Smile. You want your body to be very happy; that way your hormonal system will cooperate and you will avoid paranoia.
Once you can feel the energy moving, picture balls of energy at the soles of your feet. As you inhale, draw that energy up to mix with the first ball at the base of your spine and draw it over your head. Your hands should lie together in your lap if you are sitting, or if standing, hold them in front of you as if you were hugging a tree with your elbows below your hands. As you exhale run the energy down to your fingers and feet. Experiment with moving the energy around and inside your body. Roll your eyes as you breathe and pay attention to what happens. Observe the colors behind the eyes. Whenever you get light shades of yellow, green, violet, blue, or white, attempt to increase their brightness.
Do not attempt to bring through an archetype, god, or spirit by imagining yourself to be on a particular wavelength or way of thinking and feeling. Sustain no-mind or what is referred to as mushin or Holy Emptiness, no expectations. Be certain your seat is very stable and comfortable. Pad your knees. You will go through long periods of stillness. After a period of days you may find that you sweat profusely. This means the body is purifying itself and removing toxins. When the sexual energy is drawn from the genitals, which may happen spontaneously, you may begin to shake as the orgasm mechanism is reversed and feeds energy into the body rather than out. In my opinion this is the oft-reported ecstasy/bliss and is strengthened and harmonized by the Secret Smile. Without the Secret Smile exercise it is more like thrashing and can be the precursor to the kundalini (serpent power/ samadhi).
When you have finished a sitting session, get up and walk around. Give yourself a shiatsu massage starting at your feet and ending with knuckle knocking at the top of your head. Swirl your tongue around in your mouth and swallow your saliva. Give your ears a good rub and pull your lobes and haul the tops a bit as if you were the ghost of LBJ greeting a beagle. When you are not meditating, practice your martial art at least twice a week to keep the body supple. Walk at every opportunity. If energy levels seem painful, flick and shake your limbs as if you were shaking off water. Occasionally reverse the orbits and run the energy up the front of your body and down your spine and out your feet. If the urge hits you, run it in circles inside your chest and belly as f you were making an energy baby. Look down into yourself when you do this. It may be educational. Once again, maintain no-mind as much as possible and keep your tongue up as you do these exercises. You will thank me for this very important piece of advice.
This next technique is an advanced exercise I've named "Humbly Contemplating Your Navel." It is extremely beneficial to the art of cobra breathing and I wanted to include one completely original technique (not advanced by research) of my own invention so I could name it and perhaps restore some validity to a fine old tradition.
Sit in sage seat. Run your orbit. Drop your hands into your lap in the position Zen roshi refer to as The Mountain. Bend your body forward so if you opened your eyes you would be looking into your navel behind and beneath your thumbs. Breathe as deep and as slowly as you are capable, fully expanding and contracting every muscle in your body with each cycle of breath. Do this until it is painless and it feels as if your skin were breathing. Pay particular attention to the light show behind your eyes. Feed it energy and research what you see. Sit back up and notice how it affects your chi kung and ability to expand your lower rib cage in the erect posture. I recently saw old wooden carvings of men balled into this position in San Francisco's Chinatown, so I guess I'm reintroducing it. There is little new when considering the Ways.
The advanced technique is for the evening. Find a spot with rocks and shadows. Fold yourself into this position with your head resting on the ground before you and your hands completely hidden beneath your body but still with thumbs touching and fingers crossed. Allow your muscles to completely relax. Go into meditation. Become a rock. See if your training friends can find you. Hide and go seek for grown-ups can be educational. If you do it right you may get to meditate for quite a while! There are times when it is safer to be a rock than a mountain. Might be useful for a quick ambush, too.
Treat every direction up to this point as Gospel or at least like your mother's most delicious recipe that you don't dare change because whenever you do, the end product isn't what you expected and this is a very important bake-off. The ancient Taoists recommended you run the orbits as often as possible morning and night for up to ninety days if you want to risk the kundalini experience. Sun Tzu says that the long-lasting chi is best accomplished in the daylight of the hot and dry season, which is verified by my experience.
It is better not to bring the energy into the head until you've learned how to cool it. Some of the Chinese schools recommend just running the orbit to the heart chakra and dumping down the spine, not forcing entrance to the skull at all. 1 did not learn these safer techniques until after I'd had the kundalini experience. Some of my students have preferred these methods. They're slower, but safer. Once you have achieved the lesser kan and li, it's just a matter of setting aside the time to work on the higher techniques which connect heaven (the lotus chakra) with earth (the genitals). When things get weird, kick back, observe, and follow the light. It may well be that experiencing the kundalini is a result of doing it the risky way and bringing up the hot energy first. That way certainly forces you to learn how to use the energy if you don't want to be handicapped by burnt organs. A little caution, a stitch in time. If a little blue girl with a hatchet turns up, pay attention to her, but don't get off your seat. Good luck. God bless. Keep your tongue up.
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