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Dantians & Energy Gates
By Keith Sherwood
It was in China in the 6th century BCE where the basic principles of Taoist anatomy were laid out by Lao Tzu. He taught that the physical-material world was the outer manifestation of a non-physical world of consciousness and energy that influenced all interactions that took place within it.
According to Lao Tzu and the Taoist adepts that followed him, all this subtle consciousness and energy is processed by a human’s subtle field, which consists of organs and systems designed specifically for that purpose. These adepts recognized that the subtle anatomy of a human being consists of energy gates (energy vortexes), acupuncture points (energy concentrations), meridians (channels of energy) and cavities that have various names and that serve as reservoirs of subtle energy and consciousness.
The adepts of Yoga, whose center of teaching was in India, also described the subtle anatomy of human beings and the energy and consciousness that supports it. My research indicates that the two systems exist in two different dimensional fields. This makes perfect sense since humans are interdimensional beings who exist and function on the physical-material plane and a multitude of non-physical dimensions.
On the level of soul, the system developed by Yogic adepts includes chakras, meridians, auric fields and subsidiary organs that regulate consciousness in the form of awareness, perception, induction and deduction – and energy in the form of prana, structural kundalini and the kundalini-sakti.
Like their counterparts in India, Taoist adepts recognized that consciousness and energy were the foundation of life on Earth. According to their ancient texts, consciousness on the level of spirit is known as shen, and life-affirming energy is known as chi and jing.
Shen means spirit but may also be translated as the source of consciousness or super-consciousness. When shen is strong, you will develop non-attachment, discernment and have the strength and fortitude to follow your dharma. The universal qualities of shen can also be manifest as wisdom and the qualities of good character that include discipline, courage, perseverance, patience, loyalty, long suffering and non-harming.
When shen is weak because it has been blocked by karmic baggage, attachments and non-physical beings, it will be difficult for you to remain centered in your authentic mind. As a result, Self-awareness will be diminished, and your individual mind and ego will grow in influence. Depression, fear and addictions can also proliferate when your shen is weak.
Chi & Jing
When chi and jing (the essence of chi) are strong, they will radiate freely through your subtle field into your physical-material body. From there, they can radiate into the external environment so that you can share pleasure, love, intimacy and joy with other sentient beings, Gaia and Universal Consciousness. When your chi and jing have been blocked by attachments, karmic baggage and projections of distorted energy, all expressions of love will be disrupted, empathy will be suppressed, and your emotions and feelings will be blocked.
A Closer Look at Chi
Chi literally means breath or air. According to Taoists adepts, three fields of chi animate and sustain the activities of living beings on the subtle dimensions of spirit. Eternal chi is the source of all chi. It can be compared to the life force; external chi surrounds you and creates a stable environment for all energetic interactions in your subtle field on the level of spirit. Internal chi supplies your kidneys with chi and governs the general distribution of life-affirming energy through the spiritual organs of your subtle field.
Chi is acquired in two ways. You inherit ancestral chi from your parents, and you can acquire chi from your environment. Ancestral chi determines your basic constitution, and although it can’t be increased, it can be augmented by acquired chi. The sources of acquired chi include the eternal field of chi, life-affirming relationships and environments, particularly those that provide negative ions in abundance. Foods such as seeds, nuts (particularly walnuts), beans and peas, mussels, oatmeal, dried fruit, hot soups and cooked root vegetables are also important sources of acquired chi. The interaction of ancestral chi and acquired chi produces kidney chi.
When kidney chi is weak, you can experience a lack of vitality and a disruption of your sexuality. An inability to feel and/or express natural feelings and sensations is another common symptom. You can also suffer from unprovoked fear and/or anxiety. In some cases, when fear has become pervasive, you may become susceptible to energetic traumas on the level of spirit.
Blockages and imbalances in your subtle field can prevent either yin (feminine, receptive) chi or yang (masculine, assertive) chi from moving freely through your energy gates, meridians and vital organs.
When yin chi is blocked, you can experience lower back pain, memory loss, night sweats, hot flashes, agitation, fatigue insomnia and panic attacks.
When yang chi is blocked, you can experience puffiness, weight gain, lethargy, a lack of motivation, anxiety and an inability to cope.
Traditional Chinese medicine seeks to relieve these imbalances by balancing the flow of chi and jing through your microcosmic circuit and the meridians connected to it. It has various methods to overcome imbalances including herbal remedies, special diets, exercise regimens, massage and acupuncture.
A Closer Look at Jing
The essence of chi is known as jing. It serves as the foundation of your physical-material body and its primary source of nourishment. From Taoist adepts, we learn that jing governs physical growth including the development of bones, teeth and hair. It also supports the process of sexual maturation for girls and boys and influences fertility and the production of semen.
When jing is strong, your body will remain young and vital. As your body ages, your jing will be gradually depleted. The loss of jing is hastened by stress, emotional suffering, drug and alcohol abuse, smoking, poor nutrition and sexual excess. As it’s depleted, your hair will become thinner, your bones, teeth and connective tissues will weaken, and your organs of perception will decline.
Since shen, chi and jing have universal qualities, they will always appear clear and light – and will always have a uniform quality. On the other hand, distorted consciousness and energy on the level of spirit have individual qualities such as color, weight, density and level of activity. The heavier, darker and more active the consciousness and energy has become, the more distorted and disruptive it will be, and the more it will interfere with the free radiation of shen, chi and jing.
In classical Taoism, the subtle field on the level of spirit contains fourteen energy gates, whose functions are similar to the chakras on the level of soul. However, my research indicates that there is a fifteenth energy gate located five centimeters above the head.
My research also indicates that chi and jing are not only stored in the kidneys; they’re also stored in large reservoirs called energy gate fields. Each energy gate field is composed of an internal structure that has seven parts and a boundary that is composed of luminescent fibers that serve as a boundary to the external world.
The energy gates are distributed throughout your subtle field in the following way: there is an energy gate in each foot, one in each knee, one located by your perineum, one on each side of your waist, one by each kidney, one by your solar plexus, one by your neck and another by your throat. There is an energy gate located by your brow, one at the top of your head and one above the fourteenth energy gate above your head.
All fifteen energy gates are connected to your major meridians, which systematically transmit shen, chi and jing throughout your subtle field on the level of spirit.
Traditional Taoist anatomy also includes three dantians and six subsidiary cavities that support them. However, my research indicates that there are seven dantians with fourteen subsidiary cavities. Like energy gates, the surface boundary of each dantian is composed of luminescent fibers that separates it from the external environment.
The first dantian is located between your two ancles on a vertical axis that intersects your perinium and brow energy gates. The subsidiary cavities are located on either side of the dantian, eight centimeters distant. The second dantian is located between your knees, and its subsidiary cavities are located on either side, eight centimeters distant. The third dantian is located just below the perineum, and its subsidiary cavities are also located on either side, eight centimeters distant. The fourth dantian is located in your abdomen. Its two subsidiary cavities are located on either side by your pelvic bone. Above the abdominal cavity is the chest cavity. Its two subsidiary cavities are located on either side of your waist. Located in the head is the sixth dantian. Its two subsidiary cavities are in the armpits. The seventh dantian is located five centimeters above your head, and its two subsidiary cavities are located on each side, eight centimeters distant.
Like Yogic adepts, the Taoists researchers discovered that there are a multitude of channels in the subtle field that distribute shen, chi and jing. However, in contrast to the Yogic system, the Taoists recognized that there are eight meridians tasked with protecting the subtle field from intrusions of distorted consciousness and energy. The eight meridians do this by absorbing shen, chi and jing from subsidiary meridians and the kidneys to create a shield that blocks the intrusion of distorted consciousness and energy. They are known as exceptional meridians and include:
1. The Governor Meridian (Du Mai). It originates at the perineum and ascends through the spine into the crown of the head where it terminates.
2. The Conceptual Meridian (Ren Mai). It originates at the front of the head and descends along the front of the body to the energy gate at the perineum.
3. The Thrusting Vessel (Chong Mai). It originates at the perineum and moves up to the pubic bone. It continues through the abdomen into the chest and from there into the face.
4. Girdle Meridian (Dai Mai). Its course takes it around the waist in the region of the lower dantian.
5. Yang Heel Vessel (Yangchiao Mai). It originates at the heel of the left foot and moves upward along the left side of the body to the eye. From there, it traverses the head terminating on the right side of the back of the head.
6. Yin Heel Vessel (Yinchiao Mai). It originates at the heel of the right foot and moves upward along the right side of the body to the eye. From there, it traverses the head terminating at the left side of the back of the head.
7. Yang Linking Vessel (Yangwei Mai). It originates at the heel of the left foot. It continues up the inside of the left leg through the trunk until it reaches the throat. From there, it moves up the center of the neck to the top of the head. It completes its journey at the point where the back of the neck meets the skull.
8. Yin Linking Vessel (Yinwei Mai). It originates at the heel of the right foot. It continues up the inside of the right leg through the trunk until it reaches the throat. From there, it moves up the center of the neck to the top of the head. It completes its journey at the point where the back of the neck meets the skull.
By strengthening the exceptional meridians and the flow of kidney chi through them, it’s possible to protect the most vulnerable parts of your subtle field, the abdomen, thorax and back, from projections of distorted energy and consciousness as well as from intrusions of non-physical beings.