Guest blog by Rachel Carlton Abrams, M.D
Taoism is a spiritual tradition that embraces our sexual desire and uses it within our bodies as a force for healing and spiritual growth. Desire is a rich and potent part of our human experience. The Taoists think of desire, called sexual energy or jing chi, as part of our life energy, or chi. To be passionate is to be full of chi. The English words "desire" or "passion" connote a feeling of yearning and fervor that includes sex, but they also reflect our strongest feelings about life. When we are passionate about anything--our family, our work, our spirituality, an important social cause--we are investing our chi in this experience. Our passion is what moves us to action and ultimately is what gives us joy. We are passionate about the things that matter most to us.
We often speak of "getting horny" as if we were being invaded by some lewd, demonic (notice the horns) force. But the powerful energy of arousal is basic to our humanity. It is not, as conservative religious thinkers have taught, a dark force that separates us from God, but is the essence of what can compel us to live dynamic and fruitful lives. It is the fact that sexual energy is so powerful that has prompted most major religions to control and restrict sexual behavior, especially the behavior of women. Reestablishing our connection with our desire is part of recovering our personal power.
Once you have awakened your passion, or sexual energy, the Healing Love practices, as taught by world-renowned Taoist master, Mantak Chia, can teach you how to direct and refine your sexual energy so that you can benefit from its gifts. Though our modern world suffers from ignorance about sexuality on the one hand and blatant exploitation of sexuality on the other, Healing Love offers a several-thousand-year-old wisdom about how to live in our bodies as sexual beings and to use our passion to become the people we want to be.
Taoist Secrets of Sexuality
Taoism is the foundation of Chinese philosophy and medicine. It is a comprehensive physical and spiritual system that helps individuals to reach their highest potentials. It is perhaps best known in this country as the basis for Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture, herbal therapy, nutrition, massage, the energetic meditation called Chi Kung (pronounced "chee kong"), and the martial art called Tai Chi Chuan ("tie chee chwan"). The Universal Tao system was developed by Mantak Chia to teach Taoist meditative and exercise techniques to balance the body and increase and refine one’s vital energy, or chi ("chee"). The sexual practice, or Healing Love, is an essential part of this system.
"Chi," the Chinese word for life energy, is the force within our bodies and within the universe that engenders life. The word itself has many translations, such as energy, air, breath, wind, or vital essence. There are 49 cultures around the world that understand the concept of chi in one form or another; examples include Ki (Japanese), Prana (Sanskrit), Lung (Tibetan), Neyatoneyah (Lakota Sioux), Num (Kalahari Kung), and Ruach (Hebrew).
"Western culture" and allopathic medicine, often called Western or conventional medicine, is one of the few cultures that does not have a similar concept, although it recognizes the role of energy at the molecular level. Western medicine is extremely effective for treating acute disease and traumatic injuries. However, I believe that it is, in part, the absence of this concept of "life force" that limits its effectiveness in treating chronic illnesses. Western medicine is just beginning to recognize what the Taoists have known for more than 2,000 years, that directing the flow of our life force, our chi, can improve our health and vitality.
In The Multi-Orgasmic Woman you can learn to use your concentration and your breath to activate and move your energy; this practice is called Chi Kung. It involves both concentration exercises and simple movements to facilitate the flow of chi. Used throughout China and now widely practiced in the United States, Chi Kung is an ancient and effective practice for many health issues. I often refer to the Healing Love sexual practice as "Chi Kung for the bedroom."
Once you become aware of your chi, you’ll find that it’s rather easy to notice and feel it. Try this simple exercise. Briskly rub your palms together until you produce heat. Now slowly separate your palms until they are about an inch apart. You should feel a "cushion" of air between them that may feel like pressure, heat, or tingling. This sensation is the chi passing between your hands.
In all traditions meditative practices calm and focus the mind. The Healing Tao meditative practices do this by focusing on the movement of chi. The basic practice is based on circulating chi through a body circuit called the Microcosmic Orbit, which is like an energy superhighway in the body. The Microcosmic Orbit runs from your tailbone up your spine to your brain (the Back Channel) and then returns down the front of your body in the midline (the Front Channel). By using the focus of your mind, you can direct the chi up the spine as you breathe in and let it "fall" down the Front Channel to your abdomen as you breathe out.
As you become adept at sensing and moving your chi, you will also be able to move your sexual energy, or jing chi, in the same pathway. The ability to expand and move your sexual energy is what allows you to increase your pleasure and intensify your orgasms, no matter what your current level of sexual experience is. It also allows you to transform your sexual energy into chi, or life force, which will give you a great deal more energy out of the bedroom as you live your life in the world. And when your chi is strong and your intention is clear, your chi is transformed into spiritual energy, or shen.
The Healing Love practices are rich and powerful enough to do for hours each day, but flexible enough to energize you or help relieve physical or emotional stress in minutes. The sexual practices initially take some time to understand and feel in your body, but they can then be seamlessly integrated into lovemaking with astounding results: more pleasure, intimacy, and vibrancy than you’ve ever experienced.
The Taoist practice offers a practical method to access and integrate the two most powerful healing forces in the world: real love and sexual energy. These practices can increase your pleasure and invigorate your body and soul.
Copyright Rachel Abrams 2005