Tag Archives: TCM

The Middle E=Energy Level of the Life Wheel

The stand-alone I Ching reading for October 22, 2020 is ENERGY. In conjunction with that reading, I’m publishing a bonus blog on the vastly important but misunderstood, overlooked middle, e=energy level of the Life Wheel.

This information was originally published in Rethinking Survival, and again in abbreviated form in the Handbook.

Most is written in the language of the person who I was in 2014, which at end-stage 2020 seems a lifetime ago. I’ve reworked it a bit for brevity and timeliness. I’ve sectioned off bite-sized pieces where some has been deleted.

Most, however, stands for itself. Given the dynamics of 2020’s prior-election chaos, with swirling rumors of drug addiction and treasonous corruption in high places, the following is highly relevant RIGHT NOW. None of it makes sense without the whole picture. So it deserves your careful attention.

e =energy. Much ignorance, misinformation and confusion surrounds the middle, energy level of the quantum paradigm.

Chaos in 2020 is a consequence of this tragic information deficit.

The middle level of the Life Wheel is the domain of Natural Law. The Chinese I Ching, the Book of Change, maps its repetitive, cyclic patterns. This body of knowledge evolved over eight thousand years as sages observed the operations of energy and documented the essential dynamics of change.

Natural Law maps the underpinnings of the physical world. Though invisible, everyone experiences its influence in their lives. Changing seasons occur on all levels in nature. They also repeat on every scale of magnitude in human experience, from the personal pattern of birth, growth, decay and death to the repeating cycles of human history. (Strauss and Howe’s The Fourth Turning is but tip of the iceberg.)

The middle level is the realm of less tangible but still measurable states of energy, including electricity. More subtly, it is the chi, ki or prana described by Chinese, Japanese and Indian traditions as the life force which animates all living beings. In Greek and Christian contexts it correlates with the breath, the psyche.

These subtle energies influence internal psychological states and drive external human behavior, which in turn affects social relationships. Knowledge of these dynamics is essential to personal survival.

Effective leadership and the quality of live withing organizations hinge on the quality of awareness brought to dynamics at this level. Some leaders understand the dynamics of change at a gut level as a matter of common sense. However, systematic education would significantly improve results of the decision-making process.

Many “sensitives” survive by channeling socially banned, unacceptable awareness into the arts: music and literature, including romance, murder mysteries and science fiction.

Humor provides another outlet for releasing the pent-up emotional tensions which cause illness. The quantum paradigm gives credence to the Norman Cousin’s belief that “laughter is the best medicine.” It validates the healing wisdom of Patch Adams, the paradigm-breaking physician who’s earned international fame for clowning with patients.

Rather than merely releasing pressure build-up, however, yogic practices harness that energy. They integrate the levels. According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the purpose of preliminary disciplines is to to heal the physical body of disease and then correct ignorant character flaws which result in personal misfortune.

The next step is to purify the body-mind of toxic, emotional disturbances which clog the middle level. This enables students to penetrate the so-called astral sheath and prepares them to travel deeper to merge with the innermost source, thus fulfilling the ultimate purpose of life. Incidental powers (siddhis) which sometimes occur at this mid-stage of development are warned against as obstacles: dangerous distractions from the goal of enlightened inner peace.

The power generated at this level is the driving force that allows seemingly ordinary people to perform extraordinary feats of strength and endurance. The mother who single-handedly lifts a vehicle off of a beloved child trapped beneath demonstrates the stored energy potentials which can be released in response to a crisis of Titanic proportions.

When sufficiently purified and mastered, disciplined and intelligently harnessed to positive goals, the middle level fuels Anthony Robbins’ “unlimited power.” These subtle energies explain the possibility of seemingly impossible feats, including the miracles attributed to Moses and Jesus.

The concept of Natural Law as America’s founding fathers understood it was based on the writing of European philosophers: Rousseau, Locke and Hobbes. Though in some ways similar, for the most part it’s a different subject. In the 20th century, Wetherill reinvented “natural law.” Unfortunately, his valid contribution is distorted by the imposition of an evangelical agenda.

Other than to acknowledge that different approaches to Natural Law exist, they’re outside the parameters of this discussion.

In Life Wheel context, the “subtle” energy realm exists between the outer, surface level of matter and the deepest center of unchanging stillness. As the functional link between extremes, both on the out-going and the in-going paths, it serves as the gatekeeper and mediator between the two. “You can’t get from here to there,” except through this middle level of experience. Cluttering or denying access to it make connection with the Center difficult, at best.

Historically, Asian cultures are more comfortable with this middle level. Asian healing arts and practices including as chi kung, tai chi and hatha yoga use exercise to intentionally circulate, balance, harness and direct subtle energies through the physical body.

Westerners are beginning to catch up. As international business and educational exchanges increase, Western technologies and Eastern subtle sciences are cross-fertilizing.

Musicians, especially ones educated in the Eastern and Western sciences of sound vibrations, are keenly attuned to this level. Inspired, harmonious music can heal the physical body and uplift the soul.

It’s no accident that Einstein was an accomplished violinist. Or that the biblical David — first musician, later warrior and king — soothed King Saul’s feverish fits by singing to the accompaniment of his stringed lyre.

Don Campbell describes the benefits of performing or just listening to classical music. His title, The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit suggests music’s ability to harmonize and coordinate the levels of the Life Wheel. Research has shown that the effects of music delay or even prevent dementia. Harsh, strident sounds, however, trigger negative emotions and can damage the nervous system.

The middle level is also the repository of karmic information, where the history of past actions is kept, along with a record of debts to be repaid. In psychological terms, it’s the repository of short and long-term memories. The composite of emotions — fears, desires and repressed tendencies — are stored here in what Western psychologies call the “unconscious.” It is the stuff of dreams — inspired visions, nightmares and everything in-between.

The bardo, where (according to The Tibetan Book of the Dead) recently departed souls travel, is located within this level. Spirits, ghosts, leprechauns, angels and demons or jinn acknowledged by various mystic traditions also reside there. From here, unseen hands from the “dark side of the force” reach out to derange the minds of power-hungry rulers and undermine political affairs. (It’s for this reason that disciplines for “cleaning out the swamp” precede introduction to advanced yogic practices.)

So long as invisible energetic influences remain unaccounted for, the failings and depravities of human leaders remain mystifying. Conspiracy theorists can track the complicated networks of human crime on the surface. But to trace world domination plots back to their lair, one must look deeper. St. Paul described it in his letter to the Ephesians:

6:12. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

When cluttered and undisciplined, the middle energy level is like a swamp full of alligators.

Once the swamp is cleared out and the alligators are tamed, however, energetic potentials can be harnessed to worthy goals. They’re like the gas that fuels the car engine, or the horses that drove Plato’s chariot. They become the generator of what Tony Robbins calls “unlimited power.”

But easier said than done. The quantum paradigm validates experiences which report a dark side to the subtle realm, which the life traveler must be prepared to encounter and survive. Some describe it as “Chapel Perilous” or “the Hero’s Journey.”

There’s much truth to the classic lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The beleaguered prince, haunted by the horrific vision of his murdered father’s ghost, tells his steadfast friend, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Here are three examples of encounters with the dark side. The first has a positive outcome, the second a tragic result, and the third a comic twist.

The most familiar is the temptation of Christ. After forty days and nights spent fasting in the wilderness, he was approached by the devil. All the kingdoms of the world were promised to him in return for bowing down in worship. Jesus answered, “Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and only him shalt thou serve.”

The tragic example of temptation is the Faust story, most famously told by the German romantic poet, Goethe. Fed up with the arid emptiness of intellectual life, an aging scholar agrees to sell his soul to Mephistopheles in return for youth, power and the love of an innocent woman. Inevitably, he pays a terrible price.

The third example is the comical but cautionary tale of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, animated as a Disney cartoon, staring (appropriately) Mickey Mouse. In his master’s absence, a lazy student tries to harness the forces of nature to do his cleaning chores. He succeeds in casting a spell on the element of water, but can’t turn it off. He escapes drowning only because the master returns to rescue him.

This third example brings up an important point which deserves emphasis. The Life Wheel’s paradigm is called “positive” because all the components of Einstein’s formula included, balanced, aligned and prioritized. The center is the first and primary core. Energy is subordinate to it. It emanates from this source and returns to it. The surface, though largest in circumference, is but the final and transitory manifestation of the creative process. It depends on the center for its existence and upon the energy level for life-sustaining vitality.

History is full of seekers who get a taste of power and then, tragically, forget from whence it came and to which it must return. They presume to challenge and rebel against the Creator, as if it were possible to usurp the center place within the wheel. They distort the relationship amongst the variables, attempting to turn things upside down. Inversions and perversions inevitably bring harm to those who try to put themselves first, mistakenly attempting to subordinate either nature or nature’s God to the whims and ambitions of human ego.

Turning off consciousness is far from an optimal option. Inhibiting awareness of the energy level cripples efforts to acquire self-knowledge, much less enlightenment. Religionists, moralists and even poets like Edgar Alan Poe warn against exploring the middle realm, portraying it as dangerous, fearful or unclean.

But in effect this slams the lid on libido, the motivating life force. Doing so doesn’t avoid its dangers. It just banishes this level from conscious awareness. This part of inner experience then festers, rendered inaccessible, relegated to “unconscious” status.

Enforcing taboos on access to energy level awareness backfires, resulting in mental illness, socially aberrant behavior, addictions and personal tragedy. Jung’s observation, quoted in relation to irrational prejudice, bears repeating here:

Our time has committed a fatal error; we believe we can criticize the facts of religion intellectually. . . The gods have become diseases; Zeus no longer rules Olympus but rather the solar plexus, and produces curious specimens for the doctor’s consulting room, or disorders the brains of politicians and journalists who unwittingly let loose psychic epidemics on the world.

The facts of religion Jung referred to include not only the existence of a supreme being residing at the center of and permeating the whole of creation, but also the middle energy level — including the dangers of its satanic potentials — as an integral part of that whole.

Chinese sages, who trod lightly but surely in that middle realm, used the I Ching as their instruction manual. Recently, it’s been correctly called a “spiritual GPS.” Jung understood the potential good that could come from introducing this wisdom to the Western world, where it could be used as an instrument for making the unconscious again conscious, restoring intelligent competence at this level.

– – –

I summed up the repressive attitude of the materialistic science paradigm in the following Essay Sketch:

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? Funny how the mind works. For centuries it’s been known that if you tell people not to think of white elephants, they’ll think of nothing else. So, to pervert children, forbid them to think about sex.

Slamming the lid on libido drives it into the inaccessible “unconscious.” While publicly feigning compliance, people thus repressed will privately indulge compulsive sexuality in extreme.

Energy science trains students to be wise/skillful in sexual matters, fulfilling intimate needs without tearing the fabric of their emotional/social life apart or harming innocents. Why aren’t these basics taught in schools, instead of filling young heads with ignorant fear and shame of their bodies and God-given potentials?

Havoc reaped now for enforcing ignorance/silence is sure indicator that long-neglected basics should be top educational priority of Positive Action advocates.

And ask this: Who, if anyone, stands to profit by the results of ignorance?

Many a politician and educator knows this sad truth. It would be instructive to look at the tragic (if predictable) sex abuse scandals which plague the Catholic church through the lens of the quantum paradigm. See Daniel Goleman’s work on “emotional intelligence” (why it can matter more than IQ) for an approach to educating competent behavior at this level of experience.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) looks at emotions from a complimentary perspective. “E-motion” is an energy-suggestive word, suggesting kinetic potential. It’s closely associated with “motives.”

Each of the basic emotions correlates with an internal organ, giving new meaning to clichés like, “My gut tells me . . .” or “It makes my heart ache . . .” In TCM, anger is associated with the liver, fear with the kidneys, worry with the stomach, and so forth. When the physical body is basically healthy and the energies of the internal organs are harmoniously balanced, each is associated with a specific virtue. The virtue of the lungs is courage. The virtue of the liver is kindness. The virtue of the heart is compassion.

Those denied access to material and social resources are often forced inside. Of necessity, turning inward, they develop and depend for survival upon strengths drawn from the middle and center of the Wheel. It these cases, it expresses as “street smarts.”

At times, material deprivation and hardships yield the opposite and equal blessings of in-sight and emotional fortitude. Other times, however, excessive investment at the middle level results in delusions, latent with the potential for erupting into violence.

In any case, making a virtue of necessity by rejecting the material world prevents completion of the pattern. It can’t correctly be equated with spirituality.

Cultures which enforce an exclusively materialistic worldview and deny the experience of everything which isn’t tangible and measurable place severe hardships on those whose inner lives are especially active. The Handbook gives ample opportunities to diagnose such imbalances, the better to remedy them.

Societies which deny their citizens practical outlets for harnessing inner energies creatively drive people crazy — to political extremes, homicidal violence, to suicide — or at best, underground.

Many “sensitives” survive by channeling socially banned, unacceptable awareness and longing for self-fulfilling adventure into the arts: music and literature, including romance, murder mysteries and science fiction.

This is a great loss to society. The world would be better off if high-energy, creative individuals were identified as potential leaders, trained and given employment options accordingly.

We Are Each a World Complete

Sadly, Axiom Two of the Positive Paradigm is a little known but important fact of life we never learned in school – but should have. “We Are Each a World Complete, Containing the Potentials of the Universe.”

In large part, The Positive Paradigm Handbook was written as the book I searched for on library shelves during school years, but couldn’t find. It’s now available for others who also sense that there’s something important missing from what we’re taught which urgently needs to be restored.

Hints of Axiom Two are embedded in ancient healing traditions, both West and East. Medical sciences of Europe as well as India and China map mapped subtle inner energy patterns which traverse the spine. Huston Smith (the famous comparative religion teacher) was correct in recognizing what he called an “invisible geometry” which shapes all humanity to a “single truth.”

Here’s that single truth: We are all made (quite literally) in the image of God. Each and every individual mirrors the structure and godlike potentials of the Creator. As miniatures, we each embody the perfect and complete pattern of the Universe. Starting from the inalienable eternal core, it’s possible to generate (as in “genesis”) entire worlds from that center.

But here’s the catch. We’ve forgotten who we truly are. Most of us are sleeping giants. Only a vestigial memory of this ancient wisdom remains with us. It’s ever present, however, as for example in the familiar shield of modern medicine.

Caduceus

The Caduceus is the symbol of the Greek healer-messenger god, Mercury. The central staff represents the spine. The pair of snakes coiling around it represent alternating positive and negative energy currents that link the levels of the spine into a continuous whole. The pair of wings at the top extend from the third eye, the point of divine connection and intuition. All life emanates from and returns to this creative point of origin.

Similarly, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), subtle energies radiate throughout the physical body in meridians which link and nourish the internal organs. Chi is stored in energy centers (“dan tiens”) which correspond with the upper, middle and lower parts of the physical body.

0 Invisible Geometry

Yoga anatomy details seven major centers where energy (“prana”) pathways intersect along the human spine. They’re named “chakras” (“wheels”), reflecting their spinning, wheel-like dynamics. As detailed in Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Guide, each of the chakras is associated a with specific level of psychological/social evolution.

In each of these traditions, “health” means “whole.” The health of subtle energetic and related biological systems depends on the integrated balance of the interrelated parts. Each part depends on and completes the whole. The concept of “holism” expresses this worldview.

Positive Paradigm of Change

The Positive Paradigm Wheel is consistent with these medical traditions. The Handbook extracts from these sciences the universal basics most relevant to today’s immediate, survival needs. Its purpose is to restore applications of this wisdom to their necessary, central place in the decision-making process.

Corollaries (applications) of Axiom Two could fill an entire book. Here, for starters, are a few:

Corollary A: This view of human origin and creative potentials is the universal foundation of respect, both for oneself and for others. That all humans are created equal is an existential truth. [What they’ve chosen to do (or not do) with this gift is different subject.]

Corollary B: “To save one life is to save the world entire.” Every human life is a complete mirror of creation. As an integral and necessary part of the whole, each of individual has intrinsic value and is worth every effort to save.

Corollary C: Because light at the center of the Positive Paradigm Wheel is the source of energy, which in turn generates mass, the biblical instruction is good advice. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God. All else follows.” As Stephen Covey puts it, “First things first.”

The first of the Ten Commandments given to Moses in the Old Testament calls for exclusive commitment to conscience. When faced with a conflict over which commandment to obey, again, the first comes first.

When a noisy world tempts away from inner knowing, survival depends on the ability to listen to the still inner voice at the heart of hearts, and having the courage to honor that calling by following through with positive action.

Corollary D: Looks are deceiving. What is visible on the surface isn’t the whole picture. What’s hidden at the middle energy level and deeper still within the inner core are often very different from surface appearances. [Superficial thinkers produce shallow work and are themselves easily deceived.]

Corollary E: Every excess or deficiency is detrimental to health. In extreme, the opposites of spirituality and materialism are equally dangerous to the whole. If any level is neglected, problems are certain to follow.

Corollary F: When the natural thirst for inner light is not satisfied in healthy, life-confirming ways, life becomes blighted. When high energy people are denied confirmation and remain ignorant as to how best to harness their energies, they become vulnerable to the promises of cults leaders, succumb to mental illness or worse.

globe

It Is Possible to Make A FRESH START

I started “A Fresh Start is Urgently Necessary” by saying two coincidental things happened that day. I described the first, the internet being down. (Turns out a heedless farmer severed a fiber optic cable.) The second had to wait until today. Namely, I connected the dots between an overnight YouTube music search and the challenges inherent in presenting the  timeless I Ching to the Millennial generation in a way they can identify with and own.

For starters, here’s the Common Sense Book of Change version of Hexagram 18.

hex 18

FRESH START

Even when it seems that all has been spoiled,

it is possibleto make a FRESH START.

Be willing to face your faults.

Find out how to correct them.

The situation will gradually improve

if you are sincere and work hard.

Be sure you know what you want.

Avoid delay.

The unfamiliar graph is called a hexagram. It’s an ancient short-hand method for expressing countless generations of experiential wisdom about the correspondence between chi (energy) flow in the human mind/body (the microcosm) and in the universe (the macrocosm). In yogic philosophy, these six lines correlate with six basic chakras (wheels, or subtle energy centers) located at intersections along the human spine. Each of the centers is associated with specific developmental stages. A primary purpose of yogic practices is to awaken, balance and integrate these levels of experience.

The straight and broken lines of the hexagram are a binary-digital way of expressing alternating, expanding and contracting life rhythms. In the Book of Change, any or all of the six lines can change into its opposite. This results in 64 possible permutations. It’s not coincidence that the ancient I Ching and modern DNA patterns are exact correlates. This is one explanation for the healing effects of medical sciences based on the I Ching hexagrams.

Admittedly, the specifics are beyond my comprehension, for the most part because I trust from experience in the practical results. Just as I use my computer without a deep understanding of how it operates, I have benefited greatly from working with the I Ching and its off-shots. Both sciences, modern and ancient, for many of the same reasons, simply work.

To carry forward the question — When the Lights Go Out, Who Will Millennials Call? (see wp.me/p46Y5Z-cm) — consider this. If/when today’s hospitals are rendered inoperable by grid failures, and/or healthcare as we know it is made unavailable due to social-political malfunctions (like Obama un-care, for example), where can we turn for practical health sciences that maintain health and heal dis-eases? Modern medicine as a profession and a social-political corporate conglomerate has become, for many people, for many reasons, a nightmare. We especially need a Fresh Start in this important area of our lives.

My short answer: long after grid-dependent lights go out, the same basics that work seeming magic with the I Ching will still be available to those familiar with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) methods — including Chi Kung and Tai Chi. The sooner people become fluent in the self-healing arts, the better off — for countless reasons — most of us will be.

I’ve been emphatically told by the one I most trust that “The mind will play any tune you ask it to.” When he speaks, I unpack every word. (He doesn’t waste them.) There is more meaning to this key than simply “Mind over matter” or “Beliefs generate results,” though in terms of self-healing these are included. Training the mind as a musical instrument to skillfully, deliberately apply the I Ching‘s 64-permutations of dynamic “if-then” consequences (analogous to existing computer-driven chess games) would greatly enhance one’s ability to recognize prevailing self-defeating tunes. Further, one could discover better tunes, decide which to play when, and learn how to “ask the mind” to play them.

Advanced meditators describe hearing a celestial “music of the spheres.” Just imagine, if you will, what wondrous music is available to those with “ears to hear.”

Much of I Ching-based philosophy focuses on understanding how fluctuating energy patterns affect human behavior, as well as how they can be used to create harmonious relationships and orchestrate viable institutions of governance. Much has been spoiled by lack of awareness of these patterns (tunes) and ignorance as to how to steer institutions effectively. By reintroducing this vital information, correcting what I have repeatedly described as a “fatal information deficit,” the damage resulting from such ignorance could be repaired and a Fresh Start initiated.

Unfortunately, much of this tradition has a very bad “rep.” It’s been spoiled by a complex mix of misunderstanding, misapplication, and misrepresentation. For example, when I went on YouTube looking for music (the second coincidence I mentioned earlier — see wp.me/p46Y5Z-cJ), what I had in mind was chakra/DNA healing ragas. What I found instead was a commercialized, psychedelic offering of “feel good” audio engineering. Comments likened listening to taking psychotropic drugs that induce the illusion of mind-altering experience. They raved about hallucinations experienced while tripping and listening at the same time.

My Aha: So much of what has been spoiled and cries out for a Fresh Start is the I Ching itself. Today it needs to be approached from the modern science of mind-exploration. It needs to be repackaged as a delightful, game-oriented Lumosity experience, but founded on a profoundly motivating purpose: human survival. Not unlike the Christian tradition, which has suffered greatly in the wrong hands for centuries, the timeless wisdoms must be “reinvented” and approached as if new: First time, every time.

compass clock

It’s the 11th hour, for sure. But, as it has been written, With God all things are possible –including, even, at this late hour, a Fresh Start. But the clock is ticking. God — the Tao — is infinite. Time is not.