Ancient Taoist Darkness Experience
by Bryan Bertch
After 40 years of preparation, Master Mantak Chia is now ready to present the ancient wisdom of the Dark Room Technology. The Universal Tao Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is proud to offer the latest in meditation experience. All spiritual traditions have used Darkness techniques in the pursuit of enlightenment. In Europe, the dark room often appeared in underground form as a network of tunnels, in Egypt as the Pyramids, in Rome as the catacombs, and by the Essenes, near the Dead Sea in Israel, as caves.
In the Taoist tradition caves have been used throughout the ages for higher level practices. In the Tao, the cave, the Immortal Mountain, the Wu San, represents the Perfect Inner Alchemy Chamber. Meditating and fasting in the cave is the final journey of spiritual work. The caves are the Earth Mother and its energy lines. Like the hollowing bones, caves contain the earliest information of life stored inside the Earth. Caves contain the vital essence of the Earth Power. The Tao says: ‘When you go into the dark and this becomes total, the darkness soon turns into light.’
In the Darkness, our mind and soul begin to wander freely in the vast realms of psychic and spiritual experience. When you enter this primordial state you are reunited with the true self and divinity within. You literally ‘conduct’ the universal energy. You may see into the past and future, understand the true meaning of existence, and begin to understand the order of things. You return to the womb, the cocoon of our material structure and Nature’s original Darkness.
Complete darkness profoundly changes the sensory sensibilities of the body/brain. We are deprived of all visual reference. Sounds begin to fall away as we lose contact with the external world and turn the senses inward. The effect of darkness is to shut down major cortical centers in the brain, depressing mental and cognitive functions in the higher brain centers. Emotional and feeling states are enhanced, especially the sense of smell and the finer senses of psychic perception. Dreams become more lucid, and the dream state manifests in our conscious awareness. Eventually, we awaken within ourselves the awareness of the Source, the spirit, the soul. We descend into the void, into the darkness of deep, inner space.
Darkness activates the deepest centers within the brain, the glands of the Crystal Palace, establishing a connection with the Original Source, the Wu Chi. The pineal gland connects us to the Universal Energy. From the hypothalamus gland, we project our soul or spirit upwards, and receive the descending Universal Energy. The pituitary gland receives the Cosmic Force, used to launch the spirit bodies into the earthly or human plane for traveling. The darkness actualizes successively higher states of divine consciousness, correlating with the synthesis and accumulation of psychedelic chemicals in the brain. Melatonin, a regulatory hormone, quiets the body and mind in preparation for the finer and subtler realities of higher consciousness (Days 1 to 3). Pinoline, affecting the neuro-transmitters of the brain, permits visions and dream-states to emerge in our conscious awareness (Days 3 to 5). Eventually, the brain synthesizes the “spirit molecules” 5-methoxy-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), facilitating the transcendental experiences of universal love and compassion (Days 6 to 12).
There is one point in the sky around which all other constellations revolve, the North Star point. The North Star is fixed, stationary, motionless. Taoists regard it as the Center, the source of the Universe, the Nothingness, or Wu Chi. The North Star is the Gateway to Heaven. In the Tao, the body is a microcosm of the Universe. “As above, so below.” Whatever happens “up there” happens “down here.” Hence, the physical body is marked with gridlines of energy and meridians of light around a Center. The Center is called the “Tan Tien”, or “field of energy”.
The idea of a Central Axis – the Pole Star in the firmament and a Cauldron in the body – is a central tenet in Taoist philosophy and alchemical practice. To get to the Center of the body, open the Tan Tien; to get to the Center of the Heavens, enter through the North Star. Both are doorways to the heart of the true Tao, the Wu Chi, from which both Heaven and Earth are born. The Inner Alchemy practice of the Universal Tao fuses the body’s energies to give birth to a spiritual embryo capable of maturing into a deathless existence and of flight inward, beyond time and space, to the Source.
The Darkness meditation releases us from the bonds of the Earth. No longer controlled by the rotating power of the Earth, the Sun and the Moon, the organs vibrate in unison with the spiritual stars, the Gates of Heaven. The North Star, unmoving and unwavering in space, is the center, the Wu Chi, emanating violet rays throughout the galaxy, affecting every living cell of nature on our planet. The Big Dipper gathers all the violet light from the universe, and emanates the light as infra-red radiant energy. The emanation of infra-red light of the Big Dipper, combined with the violet rays of the North Star, has a positive, nurturing effect upon the bodies and minds of those who know how to access it. Taoists believe that the Violet Stars, the Big Dipper, and other constellations form the “Gates of Heaven.” All living things must pass through these gates to return to their source of origin, the Wu Chi, which is the state of oneness with the Tao.
The Darkness environment activates the glands of the Crystal Palace, which includes the pineal, hypothalamus, thalamus and pituitary glands; actualizing their higher powers and providing a “way back” to the Original Source. When the Crystal Palace is open, it becomes illuminated like millions of shining crystals. It can give and receive light and awaken our inner knowledge and deepest potentials. It receives light and knowledge from the universe and reflects it to the various organs and glands to enhance them. The pineal gland helps us to overcome death by taking in external forces and combining them with sexual energy and the Original Force to form an “Immortal Body.” With this body we can leave the physical body before the final transition (death) occurs. By focusing on the tip of the Crystal Palace, the pineal gland, and the back of the crown, we can project ourselves to the North Pole or North Star as we attract its violet emanations.
In the Tao, the sources of longevity and immortality are within the body, not as a physical womb but a spiritual one. Taoists call this spiritual womb the “cauldron”. The right method to “cook the cauldron” is not to search outwardly for love from others, but to search within the naked and abandoned self. Self-love, or self-intercourse is the way to give birth to the Immortal Self. The Darkness manifests the bodily processes of “Healing Love.”
At Tao Garden in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the “cave of darkness” has been created with all the conveniences of modern technology. A condominium has been converted into an air-conditioned dark room environment with a central meeting and meditation room. All exterior windows and doors are sealed with sound and light-proof paneling. The Tao Garden Darkness Retreat is enclosed and encased in a light and sound-proof sheath. The building is constructed of bricks made from the red earth of Thailand, containing all of the properties of natural rock in a cave. The earth was mined and hydraulically pressed into bricks, thus preserving the constituent elements and minerals of the parent materials. The Mother Earth power is retained in the modern structure.
The Universal Tao Darkness Retreat is currently the largest and most advanced Darkness meditation facility in the world. Aspiring to the Tao, participants remain in utter and complete darkness for one, two, or three weeks; a perfect laboratory for Inner Alchemy. The spiritual knowledge gained by Taoist masters over the ages merges and blends with the insights of 21st century science and technology.