with Robert Peng
Kidney Regulation Exercise
Functions: Regulates the blood and of the Kidney Channel, nourishes the kidneys, strengthens Yang (vital function), and invigorates primordial energy. Methods
1. Taking Black Qi. Assume a standing, sitting, or lying posture and relax. Place the tongue against the palate and expel distractions. Tap the upper and lower teeth together 36 times, and stir the resulting saliva with the tongue. After tapping, swallow the saliva in three segments sending each one down to the Dantian. Imagine the color black. Inhale it nasally and fill the mouth with it. Send it slowly to the kidneys during expiration. Repeat this 6–12 times. Resume starting posture to complete exercise.
2. Rubbing the Abdomen and “Chui.” Stand or sit, place one hand against the lower abdomen, and inhale slowly. Utter “Chui” when exhaling and stroke the lower abdomen with the palm simultaneously. Repeat this for 10 or 20 respiratory cycles.
3. Strengthening the Kidney and Guiding Qi. Stand erect, make hollow fists and apply them against the soft parts at the sides of the waist (the kidney area). Turn the waist counterclockwise and clockwise for 6 times in each direction.
4. Rubbing the Renal Regions. Stand or sit, put the two hands on the sides of the waist, and then rub the entire area 36 times while concentrating the mind on the waist.
The Kidney Regulation Exercise is used for health preservation and for the prevention and treatment of pain along the spinal column, tinnitus, deafness, frequent urination, aversion to cold, and coldness or dampness of the genitals. It is also used to treat nephritis, neurosis, and cystitis. Those with kidney deficiency may practice Taking Black Qi. Rubbing the Abdomen and “Chui” may be practiced by those with dampness and itching of the genitals due to dampness and heat of the lower Jiao (Xiajiao lower portion of the body cavity). The exercise can be performed with emphasis on Strengthening the Kidney and Guiding Qi to treat syndromes of both deficiency and excess types. For the middle aged and older people, frequent practice of Rubbing the Kidney will help to invigorate Yang and strengthen the kidneys. Strengthening the Kidney and Guiding Qi and Rubbing the Kidney are also suitable for those with deficiency of Kidney Yang manifested by pain and weakness of the waist, spermatorrhea and impotence.
Points for Attention
Practice the exercise once in the morning and once in the evening or up to 4 times a day. Lead a balanced life with moderate sexual activity. Young people should avoid masturbation so as to cure seminal or involuntary emission.
Reference: Qigong for Treating Common Ailments: The Essential Guide to Self Healing by Xu Xiangcai p. 44 – 45
Byron Zhang shows Tai Chi’s Song Kong Yuan Man (Relax, empty, full & rounded).
Bai Yuzhan said, “The path of inner refinement is extremely simple and easy; just get the fire of the heart to descend into the elixir field. The elixir field is the chamber of water, while the heart is fire. When fire enters water, then water and fire mix and true yang is produced. Therefore people Call them heart and genitals,not water and fire.”
The realized man Zhengyang said, “Getting the fire of the heart to descend is the South Star shifting to the position of the North Star.”
Shi Xingling said, “Gather in your spirit back into your energy and the alchemical process will naturally take place.”
Liu Haizhan said, “I have realized the principle of long life – intense yang subdues intense yin.”
Xu Jingyang said, “I will disclose my family way to you – the sun shifts into the light of the moon.”
Master Wang Chongyang said, “When you begin to build the foundation, first take the spirit in the upper opening and sink it into the lower opening, in the cavern of energy. Mind and breath keeping together causes pure attention to be ever aware. Alternating exhalation and inhalation come and go in the furnace of creation; after a long time this becomes thoroughly familiar, and fire will naturally erupt from below the navel, a tiger will emerge from the water. Without even trying to return to central balance, you spontaneously revert to central balance.
“When you first watch over the opening, turning your attention around to gaze within, it is a black pearl, like the dark side of the moon. Steadily illumined by the fire of mind following the wind of respiration, the blackness spontane- ously produces white, fire erupts in water, and warm energy circulates in the cavern of energy. This is the initial movement of true yang, producing being from nonbeing.”
He also said, “The forging and refining of wind and fire must be applied to pure yang to activate the yang energy. This is all a matter of discovering and consciously nurturing the basic spirit, a point of empty nothingness, storing it down in the cavern of energy. This is called sending it back to the earth and it pot sealing tightly.”
“With the ethereal spiritual light of essence of the basic spirit within, be like a turtle hiding, like a snake hibernating; do not forget, do not force, as if present yet as if absent. Eventually exhalation and inhalation will join, spirit and energy will embrace, the mystic pass will naturally open, and the seed of realization will be produced.”
Reference: Taoist Meditation: Methods for Cultivating a Healthy Mind and Body translated by Thomas Cleary p. 115
How to start Qi movement or how to guide the physical body by Qi are the basic qualities and fundamental basis for the Health Qigong exerciser. Therefore, in Health Qigong·Liu Zi Jue, the exerciser is required to start Qi movement at the very beginning of the ready posture. The same requirement appears also in Health Qigong·Shi Er Duan Jin. In its first Routine “Gongli Function”, it is clearly defined that “calm the heart can purify the brain and keep one’s body and soul in good condition, thereby the mind and Qi shall be combined as one, and the Qi movement shall be started.” In another word, all the methods of Health Qigong require the exerciser to start the Qi movement at the very beginning of the exercise. So how to start Qi movement is the key point to exercise Health Qigong, and it is an important task that should be broke through with great efforts.
Seek a Breakthrough on Theory
Start Qi Movement so that the Health Qigong exercise shall be started. Without starting the Qi movement, the exerciser shall fail to start his health Qigong exercise. The start of Qi movement symbolizes the power of the exerciser’s inner Qi. It means the production of the inner Qi; it can be compared to the very moment when an engine is started. After that moment, the “engine” shall be kept in the working state. To the same sense, as soon as the exerciser’s inner (Cinnabar Field) “Qi” is started, his inner “Qi” shall keep producing; and the moment when the “Qi” is started is defined as the start of Qi movement. It is the necessary route that any exerciser who wants to enhance his Health Qigong cannot make a bypass. Strictly speaking, exercise before the inner Qi is felt is not Qigong exercise in the real sense; or in another word, the exerciser has not master the essence of Health Qigong exercise yet. Vivid gestures without the flow of Qi inside the body are nothing but “parrots” which cannot be taken as the real Qigong exercise, and the exerciser shall stay as a layman in the front door of the palace of Health Qigong. The only way to get the door opened is to learn to start the Qi movement, or the Health Qigong exercise shall stay on the movements of physical body instead of the exercise of “Qi”.
Start Qi Movement so that the Qi shall flow. “Qi movement” appears frequently in the Health Qigong literary materials. It appears for ten times in Health Qigong·Liu Zi Jue, and also several times in 200 Q&A on Health Qigong. To put it in an easy way, “Qi movement” means the flow and movement of Qi; to be more precisely, the Qi movement is the flowing up and down, as well as the opening and closing of Qi. In Health Qigong·Liu Zi Jue, the flow of Qi in the movement of “guiding the Qi in Cinnabar Field up to the chest” shall be felt different for the exerciser before and after the starting of Qi movement. Only when the Qi movement is started, can the exerciser feel naturally the flow of Qi. It is impossible to feel the Qi’s flow unless the Qi movement is started. Therefore, without the feelings of flow of the inner Qi, “External movement guide inner flow” is nothing but an empty talk; because the “inner flow” here is referred to the movement of Qi in the body.
Start Qi Movement so that the Qi shall be conveyed back to the Cinnabar Field. It is impossible for the exerciser to convey his Qi back into the Cinnabar Field without starting the Qi movement. If the Qi movement is not started, then the exerciser shall fail in feeling the inner Qi, so he shall not know where the Qi is going. If the exerciser doesn’t know where the Qi is going, how could he convey it back to the Cinnabar Field? Therefore, an exerciser who fails to feel his inner Qi shall neither feel where it is conveyed to when he finishes the Qigong exercise. Or it can be put into this way that, where should one put the grains without knowing the location of the storehouse? Cinnabar Field is the storehouse where the inner Qi is stored. So if one is to convey his Qi back into the Cinnabar Field, he should firstly find the right place-the Cinnabar Field, the “storehouse of Qi”- to start the movement of Qi.
Start Qi Movement so that the Qi in the body shall flow as a whole. If the Qi movement is not started in Health Qigong exercise, the exerciser’s Qi in the body shall fail to flow as a whole. A general Qi (the experience of feeling the Qi as a whole) is a kind of feeling achieved after the start of the Qi movement that followed by a flow exercise of Qi. A general Qi takes its first step by the start of the Qi movement. In another word, if the exerciser can feel the start of Qi movement through the whole process of forming the earnestness to exercise Health Qigong and performing all the movements, his inner Qi is sufficient enough. Then the feelings of the movement of Qi shall be much clearer, and the state of “Qi flowing all over the body” shall gradually appear. Under this circumstance when his body is feeling “great”, the exerciser’s Health Qigong exercise is naturally transformed from a passive attitude of “have-to-exercise” to an active one of “want-to-exercise”. Thereby, a good Health Qigong exercising state with a general Qi shall be achieved.
“A small spark can burn the whole grassland.” The “spark” is the start of the Qi movement, while the “grassland” is the general Qi. The start of the Qi movement is the introductory certificate of the Health Qigong exercise. So it is necessary for the exerciser to improve his theoretical background I’ve discussed in the previous parts, and pay attention to these matters in Qigong exercise.
Seek a Breakthrough in Practice
The start of Qi movement is a practical process, and the Cinnabar Field is the most important part to do it. So the Cinnabar Field shall be the focus in Health Qigong exercise.
Where is the Cinnabar Field located？ The location of the Cinnabar Field shall be felt only when the Qi movement is started. It is important to familiar with the location of the Cinnabar Field, and it is necessary to keep its position in mind in exercise. The location of the Cinnabar Field varies in the four Methods of Health Qigong: in Yi Jin Jing, it is located at Qi Hai Acupoint that is “an inch and a half below the navel”; in Wu Qin Xi, it is located at “the center of the abdomen below the navel”; in Liu Zi Jue, it is at the right point of the navel, or the Shen Que Point; while in Ba Duan Jin, its ready position of “rotating the two arms outward and holding them in front of the bell to form an arc and keep them at the same level of the navel” indicates that the Cinnabar Field is located at the navel too. In accordance with From “Turning the Head and Lowering the Body to Relieve heart fire” to “Raising the Heels and drop seven times to eliminate illness”-the Exercising keys and requirements of the Last Four Forms of Health Qigong ·Ba Duan Jin, (Health Qigong, Journal, 2006(6)), its ending posture is described as “bend over the two arms and fold the Lao Gong Points of the two palms; the left palm kept within, pointing the Guan Yuan Point and folded on the belly, and concentrate ideation in Cinnabar Field (Omphaloskepsis)”. So the Cinnabar Field in this method is clearly defined to be at the Guan Yuan Point. While in 200 Q&A on Health Qigong (Page 9): “The lower Cinnabar Field is located at the abdomen below the navel, it is a part among the relevant Points including Shen Que Point, Guan Yuan Point, Qi Hai Point and Ming Men Point. Generally speaking, Cinnabar Field is particularly referred to the lower Cinnabar Field. ” So where is the Cinnabar Field actually located? My answer is: “Each of the position mentioned above is the right position of an Cinnabar Field.” Then why there are so many Cinnabar Fields in Health Qigong? My explanation includes three reasons as following: firstly, it is a respect and heritage of the traditional methods; secondly, the variations of the Cinnabar Fields don’t influence the start of the Qi movement; thirdly, as soon as the Qi movement is started and the inner Qi is get ready, the Point that comes into the exerciser’s mind shall be the Cinnabar Field. That is to say: “where there is Qi, there is the key; while without Qi, there’s only vague.” After the Qi movement is started, it will be easier and clearer to define the location of the Cinnabar Field.
What the Cinnabar Field looks like？ Only when the Qi movement is started, then can the exerciser truly feel the Cinnabar Field. The Cinnabar Field is a region without clear boundary. Our ancestors believed that there were “ever-young pill” inside our body, so it was unnecessary to search for the recipes from the outside world; and the part where the “magic pills” are created is in the Cinnabar Field. The metaphors “Storehouse” “Engine” in the previous part and the “Air Pump” in the following part of the essay are employed to define what the Cinnabar Field looks like. In fact, there’s no need to define how the Cinnabar Field looks like, because if the Qi movement cannot be started, it is useless to define it. The veil of the Cinnabar Field can be uncovered only when the Qi movement is started.
What is the function of the Cinnabar Field？ This is two of my personal feelings about the Cinnabar Field: (1) The Cinnabar Field is the position to start the Qi movement, the source of the inner Qi, and the motive power of the Qi to flow and cycle in the body. (2) The heart is a “Blood Pump” which sends the blood to every part of the body in full cycle with its regular beat and release; while the Cinnabar Field can be considered as an “Air Pump” which sends Qi to every corner of the body in full cycle with a regular opening and close. The exerciser should continually enhance the function of the “Air Pump”, so that the effect of Health Qigong exercise shall be improved.
Omphaloskepsis is a common method to start Qi Movement. All the methods of Health Qigong emphasize the importance of the Cinnabar Field in which the inner Qi is produce by starting the Qi movement. Take the formulas of the Four Methods as examples: both the ready and ending postures of Wu Qin Xi contain the “Omphaloskepsis”; the ready posture of Ba Duan Jin contains the same phrase, while in its ending posture, the exerciser is required to “Hold back Qi to Cinnabar Field.” In the ready posture of Liu Zi Jue “Dial withdraw the palm”, the palm is withdrew to the navel, the “navel” here and in the ending posture “crumple the navel” are both referred to the Cinnabar Fields. There is “Shen Bu Wai Chi” in the ready posture of Yi Jin Jing, which means to keep Omphaloskepsis; and there are also three “Hold upward, lead downward” in its ending posture, “lead downward” here means guide the Qi down to the Cinnabar Field, or hold back Qi to Cinnabar Field. It is obvious to see that even though there is difference in the formulas, all the Four Methods emphasize the importance of the Omphaloskepsis. It is the foundation of Health Qigong exercise, and it is a convenient and quick way to start the Qi movement.
Seek a Breakthrough on Key Points
There are various ways to start the Qi movement, just like the old saying goes, “Every road leads to Rome.” However, if the exerciser wants to get into the exercising state, it is necessary for him to grasp the key points. Since the subject’s feelings may vary, the key point to start the Qi movement shall also different from person to person. I will analyze it with my personal feelings as following. Start from Liu Zi Jue, I feel that:
The emphasis of Liu Zi Jue on the exercise of Qi is beneficial to start the Qi movement. One can easily tell, Qi or body, which is the focus of the Four Methods of Health Qigong through the content of their syllabus: the first characteristic of Yi Jin Jing reads “The movements are relaxing, and shall be helpful to stretch the body and relax the bones.”, and its first exercising requirement is to “relax the mind, and combine the body and soul as one.” The second characteristic of Wu Qin Xi reads that “stretch the body and exercise the joints”, and the third one reads that “External movement shall guide inner flow, and the body shall be relaxed and the mind refreshed.” Its exercising requirements are arranged in the order of “body, soul, mind and Qi.” As for Ba Duan Jin, its third characteristic is that “The body and soul are combined, and the Qi is interacted.” In the first exercising requirement of Yi Jin Jing “Relax the mind and combine the body and soul”, it is clearly defined that: “The regulation of the body is the main focus of the exercise.” It is obvious to see from the previous examples that the three Methods all emphasize the combination of the body and soul, and put the exercise of body at the first place. But it is another way around in Liu Zi Jue, which puts the exercise of Qi at the first place. The second characteristic of Liu Zi Jue reads as “Guide with breath, exercise both body and soul”, and its second exercising requirement reads that “Combine the mind with Qi (breath) and body.” So Liu Zi Jue takes exercise of Qi as its focus.
The emphasis of Liu Zi Jue on the importance of the Cinnabar Fieldis is beneficial to start the Qi movement. The requirement of “Taking the navel as the center” in Health Qigong·Liu Zi Jue is actually defining the navel as its Cinnabar Field. Then where is place the “exercise Qi” takes place in Health Qigong·Liu Zi Jue? Where to “start Qi movement”? Where to “gathering Qi”? Where the Qi shall be guided to? The answer for all these questions is the Cinnabar Field. All the movements of Liu Zi Jue take the Cinnabar Field as their focus, and even its inverse abdominal breath is released from the Cinnabar Field. Therefore, if the exerciser can thoroughly grasp the methods of Liu Zi Jue, he shall start the Qi movement soon at the Cinnabar Field.
The emphasis of Liu Zi Jue on the regulation of breath is beneficial to start the Qi movement. Liu Zi Jue is a beneficial exercise to exercise one’s inner Qi (including the start of Qi movement and the flow of Qi), and an exerciser which takes the Cinnabar Field as its core, the breath regulation as its emphasis and the inverse abdominal breathing as the major methods. Liu Zi Jue particularly emphasizes the importance of the Cinnabar Field which offers the best position to start the Qi movement; it also pays close attention to the inverse abdominal breath, which provides the start of Qi movement with a convenient method. I conclude “three magic” of Liu Zi Jue as following: the Cinnabar Field is the magic place, the inverse abdominal breath the magic weapon to exercise Qi, and the inner Qi as its magic fruit.
The practice reveals the truth that, the exerciser should take the key points, so that he shall get a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the Health Qigong. In accordance with my personal experience, I believe that HU Exercise in Liu Zi Jue is much easier to start the Qi movement. I will explain with details in the following part. Firstly, the movements of HU Exercise are the simplest. The movements of HU Exercise look simple on the surface with only an opening and close. Nevertheless, the greatest doctrine is usually expressed in the simplest way. “The laws are valued in its accuracy, and Gong in its delicacy.” The laws of Health Qigong exercise emphasize the accurate quality instead of the quantity, so the exercising methods are considered to be the simpler the better. Therefore this simplest movement with only an opening and close is an Exercise that shall achieve unexpected result. Its opening and close is actually a grand one that takes the Cinnabar Field as its center, both bodily and mentally. Secondly, HU Exercise is the most convenient to be coordinated and regulated. Since it is the simplest exercise, it is the most convenient to be regulated in the breath and the pilot movements. The opening and close of one pilot movement in HU Exercise is coordinated by the opening and close of an inverse abdominal breath, so it is comfortable to exercise it. The exerciser shall meet the requirement of Health Qigong·Liu Zi Jue saying that “The opening and close of the movement should be coordinated by the breath of inner Qi”. With a close regulation and coordination of the opening and close of the abdomen’s breath with the pilot movements, the exerciser shall make a breakthrough in the length and the quantity of breath, and so meet the requirement of Liu Zi Jue to “breathe slowly and lightly.” Therefore, the exerciser should make a breakthrough on HU Exercise to start the Qi movement, and make it the foundation exercise of other methods. Thirdly, HU Exercise is most concentrating exercise. Since its movements are simple, and the breath is much convenient to coordinate with them. Consequently, the exerciser’s mind shall be easier to concentrate, and his thought shall be more sensible to feel the Cinnabar Field. It tends to be much easier for the exerciser to feel the movement of the Cinnabar Field in this calm and sensible state, which does a favor for him to make a breakthrough in the starting of Qi movement. I once experienced in the exercise that, when I breathed directly from the Cinnabar Field, a complete flow of Qi was formed and flowing between the open mouth and the Cinnabar Field. So I believe that the HU Exercise is the best exercise to make a breakthrough in starting the Qi movement.
In conclusion, I’ve discussed in the previous part all the personal feelings I experienced through years of Health Qigong exercise. I am showing them in the hope of offering other exercisers some useful suggestions in starting the Qi movement. To fulfill this goal, besides years of exercise, one should also keep the Omphaloskepsis in the daily life. It is an efficient exercise to start the Qi movement if one always keeps Omphaloskepsis in mind. As long as one sticks to concentrating his mind on the Cinnabar Field, one shall make a breakthrough in the starting of Qi movement naturally, and make a success in Health Qigong exercise.
Reference: My Opinions on How to Start Qi Movement jsqg.sport.org.cn
Translated by Harold Roth
One The vital essence of all things: It is this that brings them to life. It generates the five grains below And becomes the constellated stars above. When flowing amid the heavens and the earth We call it ghostly and numinous. When stored within the chests of human beings, We call them sages. Two Therefore this vital energy is: Bright! - as if ascending from the heavens; Dark! - as if entering an abyss; Vast! - as if dwelling in an ocean; Lofty! - as if dwelling on a mountain peak. Therefore this vital energy Cannot be halted by force, Yet can be secured by inner power [Te]. Cannot be summoned by speech, Yet can be welcomed by awareness. Reverently hold onto it and do not lose it: This is called "developing inner power." When inner power develops and wisdom emerges, The myriad things will, to the last one, be grasped. Three All the forms of the mind Are naturally infused and filled with it [the vital essence], Are naturally generated and developed [because of] it. It is lost Inevitably because of sorrow, happiness, joy, anger, desire, and profit-seeking. If you are able to cast off sorrow, happiness, joy, anger, desire and profit-seeking, Your mind will just revert to equanimity. The true condition of the mind Is that it finds calmness beneficial and, by it, attains repose. Do not disturb it, do not disrupt it And harmony will naturally develop. Four Clear! as though right by your side. Vague! as though it will not be attained. Indescribable! as though beyond the limitless. The test of this is not far off: Daily we make use of its inner power. The Way is what infuses the body, Yet people are unable to fix it in place. It goes forth but does not return, It comes back but does not stay. Silent! none can hear its sound. Suddenly stopping! it abides within the mind. Obscure! we do not see its form. Surging forth! it arises with us. We do not see its form, We do not hear its sound, Yet we can perceive an order to its accomplishments. We call it "the Way." Five The Way has no fixed position; It abides within the excellent mind. When the mind is tranquil and the vital breath is regular, The Way can thereby be halted. That Way is not distant from us; When people attain it they are sustained That Way is not separated from us; When people accord with it they are harmonious. Therefore: Concentrated! as though you could be roped together with it. Indiscernible! as though beyond all locations. The true state of that Way: How could it be conceived of and pronounced upon? Cultivate your mind, make your thoughts tranquil, And the Way can thereby be attained. Six As for the Way: It is what the mouth cannot speak of, The eyes cannot see, And the ears cannot hear. It is that with which we cultivate the mind and align the body. When people lose it they die; When people gain it they flourish. When endeavours lose it they fail; When they gain it they succeed. The Way never has a root or trunk, It never has leaves or flowers. The myriad things are generated by it; The myriad things are completed by it. We designate it "the Way." Seven For the heavens, the ruling principle is to be aligned. For the earth, the ruling principle is to be level. For human beings the ruling principle is to be tranquil. Spring, autumn, winter and summer are the seasons of the heavens. Mountains, hills, rivers, and valleys are the resources of the earth. Pleasure and anger, accepting and rejecting are the devices of human beings. Therefore, the sage: Alters with the seasons but doesn't transform, Shifts with things but doesn't change places with them. Eight If you can be aligned and be tranquil, Only then can you be stable. With a stable mind at your core, With the eyes and ears acute and clear, And with the four limbs firm and fixed, You can thereby make a lodging place for the vital essence. The vital essence: it is the essence of the vital energy. When the vital energy is guided, it [the vital essence] is generated, But when it is generated, there is thought, When there is thought, there is knowledge, But when there is knowledge, then you must stop. Whenever the forms of the mind have excessive knowledge, You loose your vitality. Nine Those who can transform even a single thing, call them "numinous"; Those who can alter even a single situation, call them "wise." But to transform without expending vital energy; to alter without expending wisdom: Only exemplary persons who hold fast to the One are able to do this. Hold fast to the One; do not loose it, And you will be able to master the myriad things. Exemplary persons act upon things, And are not acted upon by them, Because they grasp the guiding principle of the One. Ten With a well-ordered mind within you, Well-ordered words issue forth from your mouth, And well-ordered tasks are imposed on others. Then all under heaven will be well-ordered. "When one word is grasped, All under the heavens will submit. When one word is fixed, All under heavens will listen." It is this [word "Way"] to which the saying refers. Eleven When your body is not aligned, The inner power will not come. When you are not tranquil within, Your mind will not be ordered. Align your body, assist the inner power, Then it will gradually come on its own. Twelve The numinous [mind]: no one knows its limit; It intuitively knows the myriad things. Hold it within you, do not let it waver. To not disrupt your senses with external things, To not disrupt your mind with your senses: This is called "grasping it within you." Thirteen There is a numinous [mind] naturally residing within; One moment it goes, the next it comes, And no one is able to conceive of it. If you loose it you are inevitably disordered; If you attain it you are inevitably well ordered. Diligently clean out its lodging place And its vital essence will naturally arrive. Still your attempts to imagine and conceive of it. Relax your efforts to reflect on and control it. Be reverent and diligent And its vital essence will naturally stabilize. Grasp it and don't let go Then the eyes and ears won't overflow And the mind will have nothing else to seek. When a properly aligned mind resides within you, The myriad things will be seen in their proper perspective. Fourteen The Way fills the entire world. It is everywhere that people are, But people are unable to understand this. When you are released by this one word: You reach up to the heavens above; You stretch down to the earth below; You pervade the nine inhabited regions. What does it mean to be released by it? The answer resides in the calmness of the mind. When your mind is well-ordered, your senses are well-ordered. When your mind is calm, your senses are calmed. What makes them well-ordered is the mind; What makes them calm is the mind. By means of the mind you store the mind: Within the mind there is yet another mind. That mind within the mind: it is an awareness that precedes words. Only after there is awareness does it take shape; Only after it takes shape it there a word. Only after there is a word is it implemented; Only after it is implemented is there order. Without order, you will always be chaotic. If chaotic, you die. Fifteen For those who preserve and naturally generate vital essence On the outside a calmness will flourish. Stored inside, we take it to be the well-spring. Floodlike, it harmonizes and equalizes And we take it to be the fount of the vital energy. When the fount is not dried up, The four limbs are firm. When the spring is not drained, Vital energy freely circulates through the nine apertures. You can then exhaust the heavens and the earth And spread over the four seas. When you have no delusions within you, Externally there will be no disasters. Those who keep their minds unimpaired within, Externally keep their bodies unimpaired, Who do not encounter heavenly disasters Or meet with harm at the hands of others, Call them Sages. Sixteen If people can be aligned and tranquil, Their skin will be ample and smooth, Their eyes and ears will be acute and clear, Their muscles will be supple and their bones will be strong, They will then be able to hold up the Great Circle [of the heavens] And tread firmly over the Great Square [of the earth]. They will mirror things with great purity. And they will perceive things with great clarity. Reverently be aware [of the Way] and do not waver, And you will daily renew your inner power, Thoroughly understand all under the heavens, And exhaust everything within the Four Directions. To reverently bring forth the effulgence [of the Way]: This is called "inward attainment." If you do this but fail to return to it, This will cause a wavering in your vitality. Seventeen For all [to practice] this Way: You must coil, you must contract, You must uncoil, you must expand, You must be firm, you must be regular [in this practice]. Hold fast to this excellent [practice]; do not let go of it. Chase away the excessive; abandon the trivial. And when you reach its ultimate limit You will return to the Way and the inner power. Eighteen When there is a mind that is unimpaired within you, It cannot be hidden. It will be known in your countenance, And seen in your skin colour. If with this good flow of vital energy you encounter others, They will be kinder to you than your own brethren. But if with a bad flow of vital energy you encounter others, They will harm you with their weapons. [This is because] the wordless pronouncement Is more rapid than the drumming of thunder. The perceptible form of the mind's vital energy Is brighter than the sun and moon, And more apparent than the concern of parents. Rewards are not sufficient to encourage the good; Punishments are not sufficient to discourage the bad. Yet once this flow of vital energy is achieved, All under heaven will submit. And once the mind is made stable, All under heaven will listen. Nineteen By concentrating your vital breath as if numinous, The myriad things will all be contained within you. Can you concentrate? Can you unite with them? Can you not resort to divining by tortoise or milfoil Yet know bad and good fortune? Can you stop? Can you cease? Can you not seek it in others, Yet attain it within yourself? You think and think about it And think still further about it. You think, yet still cannot penetrate it. While the ghostly and numinous will penetrate it, It is not due to the power of the ghostly and numinous, But to the utmost refinement of your essential vital breath. When the four limbs are aligned And the blood and vital breath are tranquil, Unify your awareness, concentrate your mind, Then your eyes and ears will not be over-stimulated. And even the far-off will seem close at hand. Twenty Deep thinking generates knowledge. Idleness and carelessness generate worry. Cruelty and arrogance generate resentment. Worry and grief generate illness. When illness reaches a distressing degree, you die. When you think about something and don't let got of it, Internally you will be distressed, externally you will be weak. Do not plan things out in advance Or else your vitality will cede its dwelling. In eating, it is best not to fill up; In thinking, it is best not to overdo. Limit these to the appropriate degree And you will naturally reach it [vitality]. Twenty-one As for the life of all human beings: The heavens brings forth their vital essence, The earth brings forth their bodies. These two combine to make a person. When they are in harmony there is vitality; When they are not in harmony there is no vitality. If we examine the Way of harmonizing them, Its essentials are not visible, Its signs are not numerous. Just let a balanced and aligned [breathing] fill your chest And it will swirl and blend with your mind, This confers longevity. When joy and anger are not limited, You should make a plan [to limit them]. Restrict the five sense-desires; Cast away these dual misfortunes. Be not joyous, be not angry, Just let a balanced and aligned [breathing] fill your chest. Twenty-two As for the vitality of all human beings: It inevitably occurs because of balanced and aligned [breathing]. The reason for its loss Is inevitably pleasure and anger, worry and anxiety. Therefore, to bring your anger to a halt, there is nothing better than poetry; To cast off worry there is nothing better than music; To limit music there is nothing better than rites; To hold onto the rites there is nothing better than reverence; To hold onto reverence there is nothing better than tranquility. When you are inwardly tranquil and outwardly reverent You are able to return to your innate nature And this nature will become greatly stable. Twenty-three For all the Way of eating is that: Overfilling yourself with food will impair your vital energy And cause your body to deteriorate. Over-restricting your consumption causes the bones to wither And the blood to congeal. The mean between overfilling and over-restricting: This is called "harmonious completion." It is where the vital essence lodges And knowledge is generated. When hunger and fullness lose their proper balance, You make a plan to correct this. When full, move quickly; When hungry, neglect your thoughts; When old, forget worry. If when full you don't move quickly, Vital energy will not circulate to your limbs. If when hungry you don't neglect your thoughts of food, When you finally eat you will not stop. If when old you don't forget your worries, The fount of your vital energy will rapidly drain out. Twenty-four When you enlarge your mind and let go of it, When you relax your vital breath and expand it, When your body is calm and unmoving: And you maintain the One and discard the myriad disturbances, You will see profit and not be enticed by it, You will see harm and not be frightened by it. Relaxed and unwound, yet acutely sensitive, In solitude you delight in your own person. This is called "revolving the vital breath": Your thoughts and deeds seem heavenly. Twenty-five The vitality of all people Inevitably comes from their peace of mind. When anxious, you loose this guiding thread; When angry, you lose this basic point. When you are anxious or sad, pleased or angry, The Way has no place to settle. Love and desire: still them! Folly and disturbance: correct them! Do not push it! do not pull it! Good fortune will naturally return to you, And that Way will naturally come to you So you can rely on and take counsel from it. If you are tranquil then you will attain it; If you are agitated then you will lose it. Twenty-six That mysterious vital energy within the mind: One moment it arrives, the next it departs. So fine, there is nothing within it; So vast, there is nothing outside it. We lose it Because of the harm caused by mental agitation. When the mind can hold on to tranquility, The Way will become naturally stabilized. For people who have attained the Way It permeates their pores and saturates their hair. Within their chest, they remain unvanquished. [Follow] this Way of restricting sense-desires And the myriad things will not cause you harm.
Book: Harold D. Roth Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism