Sea of Chi, Tantric Qigong and Enlightenment
There is more than one acupuncture point to which the appellation “Sea of Chi” is affixed. For instance there is “Qi Hai Shu” or “Sea-of-Qi Shu” (Urinary Bladder 24) which is located at the level of the lower border of the spinous process of the third lumbar vertebra. This point strengthens the kidneys, chi and yang, and is said to “enrich” yin. It can tonify the blood, restore collapsed yin or yang, expel kidney stones, and gathers chi for the lower Cinnabar Field. This point is sort of the “back door” to the chakras of the lower Tan Tien (Cinnabar Field) and one of its effects can be to strengthen certain types of sexual energy.
Tian Shu, Qihai, Guan Yuan- Sea of Qi
“The Cinnabar Field [hsia tan-t’ian or xia dantian] is the root of the human being. It is the place where essence and spirit are stored…Men store in it their semen, and women their menstrual blood…and is the gate of the joining of Yin and Yang. It is three inches below the navel, attached to the Caudal Funnel (weilü) [a point at the level of the coccyx] and is the root of the two kidneys…”
–Laozi Zhongjing, sec. 17. Translation published in Fabrizio Pregadio, “Early Daoist Meditation and the Origins of Inner Alchemy,” in Benjamin Penny, ed., Daoism in History: Essays in Honour of Liu Ts’un-yan, 139-40 (London: Routledge, 2006).
So one can see how Sea-of-Qi Shu has some importance for our vital, sexual, and generative functions. It can be seen also to have a Tantric aspect in that it unifies Yin and Yang, Essence and Spirit.
Most often, the term “Sea of Chi,” as used in acupuncture refers to Qihai, which is on the midline and below the navel. It is used to treat abdominal pain, nocturnal emission, impotence or erectile dysfunction, uterine bleeding, irregular menstruation, dysmenorreha, postpartum hemorrhage, constipation, among others. From this list, one can see how this point has a direct effect on the quality of both male and female sexual energies.
In a sense, this entire mid to lower area of the abdomen can be called a Sea of Chi, with much the same poetic accuracy that the clairvoyant yoga Masters describe this area as Manipura, or the “City of Jewels.” The entire area is a large storage battery for our light, the very essence of our life force. How we express this life force is another matter, and varies from person to person depending on their karmic patterning.
While acupuncture and moxibustion are excellent for certain conditions, particularly physical and emotional ones, certain aspects of the higher spiritual qualities are more efficiently developed with supplemental practices such as T’ai Chi, Tantric Qigong, Tumo, Conscious Breathwork, etc. Karma is somatically stored in the tissues of this and other areas of the body, and the meridians and points cannot completely release or transform this sort of energy. Apparently the karmic charge is both too dense and simultaneously widespread somatically for the meridians to be able to have a direct, significant, and consistent “karma burning” effect. If that were really possible, then all one would need for enlightenment would be to stick some needles in there. I wish it were that easy. In that case, I can think of a more than a few people who could benefit immediately and tremendously from being needled.
If one’s Intention is to create evolutionary Awakening and Spiritual Freedom, we must harness all the Will, life force, and persistence that the third chakra can produce. One way of doing this is to generate large quantities of Chi through breath exercises, and couple this life force with a process of liberating somatic holding patterns (our karmic habits and resistance to spiritual growth) through precise conscious movement. This allows life force, consciousness, and intention to be unified, and the form of our karmic baggage to be released and transmuted.
This is one of the specific and most important intentions of both our Tantric Qigong system as taught in the”10 Minutes to a Healthier You!” course, and the breath and mental / muscular control and surrender methodology of the”Relax! Journey to the Primal Sea” CD program. These techniques work not only with the meridians and superficial points but also with the deeper, more extensive internal chakras. For instance, the location of the lower Cinnabar Field is not only associated with the QiHai and Guan Yuan points, found two or three inches below the navel, but also an energetic field three to four inches inward (deeper if you are sufficiently zaftig.) Both the superficial and the deeper, more internal fields must be a least partially cleared and balanced for physical, metal, and spiritual health to be restored and Awakening to occur.
Breath Coaching can be ideal for someone who is ready to surrender his or her spiritually maladaptive patterns. During this process, the coach and trainee work with both the seat of personal power, and the seat of Spiritual Surrender i.e., the Tan Tien, Solar Plexus, and Heart Chakras. One does not lose even one quantum of personal power, but the software applications governing its use and intention may change. This transforms self centeredness, victim / victimizer consciousness, and stubborn attachments to ego patterns into an empowering surrender to the Flow of Tao. What is perceived as surrender by some is in actuality allowing yourself to be carried into the power of Universal Flow while generating empathy, gratitude, and compassion as a natural consequence. I think you can see how this would be important for both spiritual progress and healthy, dynamic interpersonal and sexual relationships.
(See, The 3rd Chakra and the Spiritual Purpose of Power, parts 1-6)
Certainly though, an acupuncture and / or moxa treatment can be calming, centering, and revitalizing and tangibly important, since a modicum of physical health and centering is a prerequisite for higher spiritual attainment. In our increasingly frenetic and dis-eased world, this should not be underestimated in its value, especially if it is as an adjunct to an efficacious spiritual and somatic practice. © 2008 Keith E. Hall. All rights reserved.
Sea Of Chi: Part 1, 2, 3, 4
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