The author’s interest in healing through spiritual means goes back many, many years. Such healing methods must stand the test of actual practice; results must be achieved. Simply to believe in something because one wants it to be true is delusion, and delusion is diametrically opposed to true spirituality.
One hears of such healing practices as aura adjustment, though there is nothing in the teachings of any of the great masters about this. People speak of astral, the etheric body and other concepts in regard to healing – as though they have actually experienced them rather than merely having read about them. Twenty five hundred years ago the Buddha cautioned against believing what had not been experienced. His teaching was aimed at pointing the way for followers to arrive at the same states he had known and to have the enlightenment experience for themselves. Today, such a spiritual iconoclast as Krishnamurti says, “Don’t believe it because somebody else tells you to.” The Chinese saying reinforces this: “You cannot appease your hunger by reading a menu.” This is healthy skepticism. If the reader wants to experience the healing practices in this book, he will have to perform them regularly for himself. Mere belief in them will avail nothing.
Nevertheless, the author has seen and experienced remarkable results through various practices of meditation. Many years of work with the Japanese Healing Church (Sekai Kyusei Kyo) brought him to an understanding of what illness really is and how the body and the psyche are related. He saw many interesting results, not only with humans, but also with plants. The same life force flows through all living things. From this came an understanding that illness, misfortune and misery all have a spiritual basis. The Healing Church speaks of illness as purification; in many cases, for instance, fever is to be welcomed as it melts accumulated toxin and, after some suffering with it, enables the physical organism to purify itself. The author saw how this caused such chronic and unpleasant maladies as herpes simplex, where the heat of the sun’s rays takes the place of fever in melting the accumulated toxin. To suppress such manifestation because it is unpleasant cosmetically will only increase the state of disease and require a new purification of greater intensity.
In the late 1950’s, the author, who had always been fascinated by Chinese lore, was first exposed to T’ai Chi Ch’uan and Taoist teachings. Interest in Chinese health methods based on an understanding of the Cosmos (not just physiology), and a realization that Chinese medicine was thousands of years older than Western symptomatic medicine, led the author to seek Chinese sages and scholars who could teach some of the great wisdom of the yin-yang system. Professor Wen-shan Huang, Dr. Chung-yuan Chang, Tin Chin Lee, Professor Nan, Dr. Wu and the patriarch Liu all contributed to the author’s study and outlined paths of practice to be followed. There is particular gratitude to Professor Huang, anthropologist, culturologist, scholar, T’ai Chi master and philosopher – a true Buddhist-Taoist-Confucianist in the great Chinese tradition. The Chinese are very practical people, and there is much to be learned by studying their ancient teachings.
In India it is believed that all illness is the result of an imbalance of the Prana (intrinsic energy of the individual, being merely a part of the universal energy that the Indians also know, and sometimes worship, as Shakti and Kundalini). Indian philosophy says that, in the final analysis, there is only space (Akasha) and energy (Prana) in this manifested universe. Science tends to corroborate this view, hence the theories of atomic energy, where matter now turns out to be energy. Southeast Asian teaching goes farther, however, and says that ultimately, this energy is of the nature of thought.
A mastery of this Prana energy in its individual and universal aspects would be the greatest power, capable of creating universes. Conversely, dissipation and imbalance of the Prana lead to illness and unhappy lives. To fully understand this point of view, one must stop thinking dualistically and understand all life as being part of one continuum.
Naturally, ancient Ayurvedic medicine of India sought to heal the imbalance of Prana when it appeared, through use of herbs and more esoteric ways of setting up counter-vibrations. Use of Mantra, changing the vibration (and Prana through vibration) was much the goal of medicine as it was of yoga. Both wished to take the fragmented and make it whole.
Similarly in China, illness is looked upon as a radical imbalance between the yang (positive) Chi and yin (negative) Chi, with Chi simply the Chinese name for Prana.
In Chinese cosmology, from the ineffable Reality we (originally) get a manifestation of two forces, yang (heat, light, expansion, male) and yin (cold, dark, contracting, female), thus setting up the first polarity. It is the juxtaposition of these two forces, and imbalance of them, that brings the world into being – creating heaven, earth and man. Man is the result of the wedding of the great yang (heaven) and the great yin (earth), which are represented in the body by the heart (yang) and the kidneys (yin). From these proceed the world of the 10,000 things – the endless phenomena of life.
When the Chi that flows in the individual, and creates the individual, is radically out of balance, Chinese medicine (acupuncture) tries to bring them back into balance.
This is total organism medicine, not bothering with local symptoms except as signposts on the way. This medicine is very old, and we can see how it agrees with ancient Indian healing methods in trying to restore balance – whether we call it vibratory balance or use such expressions as balancing the polarity (yin and yang).
This being so, how does meditation fit into the picture? In what way is it curative?
To answer this we must quote briefly from a Chinese source:
“The reciprocal character of Mind and Prana means that a certain type of mind, or mental activity, is invariably accompanied by a corresponding character and rhythm, which is reflected in the phenomenon of breathing (which, in turn, is the first manifestation of the Vital Force and often associated with Prana, as in Pranayama or breathing practices). Thus anger produces not only an inflamed thought-feeling, but also a harsh and accentuated roughness of breath. On the other hand, calm concentration brings the breathing to a very subtle and almost imperceptible level.”
It is no wonder that the Buddha said, “When the body is mastered, the mind is mastered – and vice-versa.”
The reciprocal character of mind and energy means that we can reach one through the other. This is why such great mental serenity seems to be achieved through the moving meditations, T’ai Chi Chih and T’ai Chi Ch’uan, which are essentially physical, and which directly circulate and balance the intrinsic energy (Chi).
Taking the above into consideration, we can see how a disturbed mind causes inflamed breathing and unbalanced Chi. Conversely, deep and one-pointed concentration and meditation reintegrate the mind, bringing it to a focus, with similar integration of the yin-yang elements of the Chi energy.
When we study Chinese cosmology deeply and learn the influence of the seasons, the elements, the times of day, we begin to intuit how the flow of the Chi varies and how we are affected by it. These Chinese masters know where the Chi is flowing strongly in the body at any time, relative to the time of day, the season of the year and other influences. From nine external pulses, the Chinese acupuncturist can discern imbalance in the Vital Force of the internal organs. He is not interested in a localized pain or discomfort; his aim is to restore balance of the overall life force.
In observing healing work throughout South and Southeast Asia, either consciously carried out or through religious services and yoga-like practices, the author has noted the unifying principle in them all, that is, bringing the Chi into balance and reintegrating the individual. Perhaps in other cultures witch doctors and medicine men try to do the same thing.
When after many, many years of study the author began to develop the moving meditation T’ai Chi Chih, he realized he was working with this basic life force, the Chi. And when, in its incipient stages, he used T’ai Chi Chih mentally to augment the healing practice known as Johrei in the Japanese Healing Church, he got results far beyond any that he had contemplated. So strong were the results of the combined forces that he eventually gave up doing the healing work. In the final analysis, the best healing is self-healing, and there is no better way to achieve this than through the various types of meditative practice.
When meditation achieves total abstraction, for the moment there is complete healing. This passes as the abstraction fades, but it has had its effect. In such meditations as the Nei Kung, the Reverse Meditative Breathings and the moving meditations, we work directly with Chi itself. Results have been amazing. Seemingly incurable chronic ailments such as heart trouble, asthma, high blood pressure and even diabetes, seem to yield to the radical change in Chi balance. Such results are not promised; each must seek for himself. The author has seen many of these results and there are others documented by handwritten letters he has received. So we can begin to study meditation and the way it affects the pranic balance and, while studying and practicing, perhaps gain the benefits of meditation the way so many others have. All it takes is perseverance.
This article is published in Meditation for Healing.