Blockages, Health and Dissolution

Along with my Tai Chi (Taiji Ch'uan) practice, I (as the dear reader might have guessed already) also gradually got pulled by the Tao (into the Tao).

I came across a series of books by an Exponent of the Taoist traditions (besides my own teacher and his teacher) — Mr. Bruce "Kumar" Frantzis. This man's resume is impressive (in the Martial Arts world).

He studied

various forms of hard Martial Arts before graduating to the Chinese triad of Internal Martial Arts ([[Tai Chi]], [[Bagua Zhang]] and [[Hsing-I]]). He studied with many great Chinese masters in Taiwan before finally reaching the door-steps of his ultimate Teacher in Beijing.

 

There he learnt the Taoist Meditation method known as the "Water Method". Frantzis' master teaches him about the Water Method as follows.

He takes a glass of water and tosses a fistful of red mud into it. He then swirls the mud in the water until the whole water turns red. He then let's it settle, observing the mud settle to the bottom of the glass and the water turning clear again. He repeats it a few times and then tells Frantzis that the human being is like that glass of water, full of "mud" (ie., the impurities, toxins that reside within). He then goes on to teach Frantzis the basics of this Taoist Meditation technique.

There are two kinds of Meditation practices in Taoism (each a polar opposite to the other — it's Tai Chi, based on Duality) — The Fire Method and the Water Method.

The Fire Method calls for burning through blockages, increasing the internal energy in order to do so and "burning from within" in a purification by fire.

The Water Method on the other hand involves purifying the system by washing, dissolving impurities, blockages until eventually only the clear being and energy remains.

{sidebar id=22}The Fire Method would include most Yogic techniques (the practice of Kundalini awakening for instance) and the more popularly known Taoist Internal Arts (eg: The Microcosmic Orbit Meditation). The techniques call for the raising of the inner "heat". Taoists have a breathing technique called reverse breathing, which is sometimes employed to generate heat in the lower T'an Tien (swadisthaana chakra). In this method the stomach expands with the exhalation and contracts with the inhalation (as opposed to the natural way of breathing where inhalations expand the stomach and exhalations contract the stomach), which is then circulated through the energy meridians. The microcosmic orbit is the circuit formed by the central energy channel in the front of the body and the channel that alligns wiht the spinal column in the back. These two channels are connected in the bottom by the perinium point (mooladhara chakra) and literally a switch that is closed by touching the tip of the tongue to the upper palate of the mouth (can be likened to the famous Kechari Mudra). {xtypo_quote_right}Taoists have a breathing technique called reverse breathing, which is sometimes employed to generate heat in the lower T'an Tien (swadisthaana chakra). In this method the stomach expands with the exhalation and contracts with the inhalation (as opposed to the natural way of breathing where inhalations expand the stomach and exhalations contract the stomach){/xtypo_quote_right}.

The Water method on the other hand deals with scanning the body (energetically) from top to bottom (crown point to feet) and melting/dissolving any blockages in energy sequentially and releasing the energies trapped therein, gradually progressing down the body till all blockages are dissolved eventually. The dissolution is likened to water (Chi/energy) dissolving sugar crystals (blockages) or to ice (blockages) melting to water and then evaporating into vapor (the energy trapped in a blockage "evaporates" as a result thereof).

According the Frantzis' material, the meditator has to be extremely patient with herself, dissolving these blockages (if mind wanders, gently bring to back to the task at hand). There are again two levels of Water Meditation/Dissolving. Frantzis terms them "Outer Dissolution" and "Inner Dissolution". With Outer dissolution, the blockages are melted and evaporated outside the body/energetic boundary (to the macrocosm). The Inner dissolution melts and evaporates the blockages inside (to the microcosm). Outer dissolution is practiced generally to remove physical and energetic blockages that manifest physically. Inner dissolution is practiced to remove energetic blockages that manifest as mental conditions (psychological disorders, fears, phobias, etc).

The premise is that any problem might manifest itself as a physical problem before becoming so chronic and metamorphosed that it changes/disturbs the mental composition of a being. But I guess this works both directions (because a lot of our problems have their roots in mental/psychological factors such as stress).

A little bit about the blockages themselves. Frantzis stresses the golden Taoist point that when energy is freely flowing, the body feels light, limber and almost feeble. Blockages can be felt as feelings of "strength" or tightness in the afflicted region. For instance, I have had a problem with the left side of my body and I constantly feel it as a tight/compressed feeling on my left side. The left and the right sides feel distinctly different.

{xtypo_quote_left}This process (I have personally seen this from my Tai Chi practice) will bring forth to one's attention some very ugly aspects of oneself. The trick I guess, is to not succumb to the process of self-judgement (and self-punishment via loathing, self-pity, etc).{/xtypo_quote_left}

The Taoists also refer to a concept called "Inner Demons". These are encountered during deeper forays into meditation, where habitual and negative patterns of behaviour (known as Samskaras in sanskrit) become evident. This is the process of the muddy water clearing up a bit (as the mud settles to the bottom) and letting the witness know that it's true nature is that of the clear water (and of the mud — demons, as a result thereof). These demons are very nasty indeed — they cause severe mental anguish and unleash a chain reaction of emotions (detrimental to the process of meditation). This process (I have personally seen this from my Tai Chi practice) will bring forth to one's attention some very ugly aspects of oneself. The trick I guess, is to not succumb to the process of self-judgement (and self-punishment via loathing, self-pity, etc).

But it is also very important to deal with these, since a true meditation practice can only rise from a true detachment. By dealing with the demons (learning to detach oneself) and dissolving them, the meditator will free up a lot of trapped energy and clear these samskaras (patterns of behaviour and mental blockages). This is, in my understanding the way to "burn" Karmic debts.

To summarize, the Water Method of Taoist Meditation is a gentler way to harness the inner energy resident with all of us, eliminating the pitfalls of forcing Energy through unprepared meridians (Nadis) using the Fire Techniques.

For further reading, please refer to books by B.K. Frantzis —

Relaxing into your being

and

The Great Stillness

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