The Healing Energy of Shared Consciousness
Book by Mantak Chia
A review of The Healing Energy of Shared Consciousness which appeared in New Dawn Magazine.
As an enthusiast of Mantak Chia’s work, I have to admit to being initially somewhat disoriented by this book. It seemed to demand too much suspension of disbelief and to deal too much in what I felt were unsubstantiated concepts. This should not have pleased someone who often likes to think of himself as a Taoist. Surely, I should have been able to come to terms with a declared “Taoist approach to entering the universal mind.”
It took me 20 years to give meaning to the first two lines of the Taotejing and then that insight changed fundamentally my way of thinking.
In fact, I am still struggling to accommodate myself to the fact Chia is simply doing something that is inherent in any communication of genuine Chinese civilisation – he is challenging fundamentally many of the certainties structuring Western thought and customs.
One is constantly being invited, often in rather discreet ways, to reconceptualise the manner in which one thinks and feels about the world. Gradually, as one responds, it becomes apparent that most of the English speaking world’s certainties are just as idiosyncratic as those of any African or New Guinean tribe.
Of course, the difference is that the English speaking world has spent at least two hundred years “civilising” everyone else. Even with these perceptions, however, I can still find it difficult to accept the challenge when I am asked, as Chia does gently in this book, to retool my sense of who and what I am in order to respond to opportunities that have long existed in the world of Chinese civilisation.
As I worked my way through these conundrums, I began to identify a number of welcome innovations in my approach to my own well-being. The first was the clear identification of my three, not one, minds. These are the observing mind in my head, the consciousness mind around my heart and the awareness mind behind my navel, three nerve centres that are all used to encounter the world.
Called three tan tiens in the Taoist tradition, these are the body’s major energy centres. They “store, transform and supply energy to and from each other.” Chia explores another way of being with these three minds, including the healing energy that derives from fusing the three minds into one – “Yi.”
In outlining the manifestations of “Yi” power, Chia explains there are four levels – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. He offers images to manifest affirmations on all these levels, designed to encourage forms of meditation that access universal energy to solve problems, address the challenges of the future, mobilise personal energy for action, and clarify one’s life purpose.
At several points, I needed to recall a phrase that Chia has used in his other books to overcome the resistance of those who feel they are being taken into uncharted and troubling territory for which they are not at all prepared. This is the phrase that captures a profound truth about life – “you do it, you get it.”
Normally we see others “doing it and getting it” when they are introduced to new practices in environments familiar and reassuring, such as family, school, sport or clubs. Chia is constantly introducing forms of Taoist wisdom, practiced and proven over millennia, to people who have little prior preparation to make them receptive.
His success, demonstrated in the publication of dozens of books, translated into numerous languages, is a testimony to his capacity to break down barriers to communication that often prove insurmountable.
Chia uses his Taoist meditative practices to bring people together while sensitising them both to themselves and to the universal mind that is their nurturing home.
He succeeds in refocusing attention from the mundane but overwhelming imperatives of business that define so much contemporary life to the essential dynamics of organic life. One aspect of this is the reminder that in concluding the meditation series, “we always come back to the lower tan tien, storing any excess energy there, and then, finally, we rest.”
This reminded me of a Japanese tradition that suggests the true mind is in the region of the lower tan tien and this must be highly cultivated to live fully in this world.
Chia’s final paragraph includes the following: “We now know that the healing process is not simply meant to diagnose and treat, but is a dynamic, holistic process of encountering our whole being and integrating all the disparate parts more fully to achieve a higher state of balance and harmony.”
This language is far from the advanced medicine and processes of contemporary health care. These are proving their failure on a daily basis, whether in iatrogenic deaths, epidemics of degenerative disease or national budgets in the advanced world, where progress and debt have become almost synonymous.
Mantak Chia’s work in bringing Taoist wisdom to a global audience offers a powerful reminder that many of the paradigms of Western medicine, science and technology are inherently limited and frequently destructive.
It is arguable that perhaps the major reward to be gained from following Mantak Chia’s work is the discovery of a world not in conformity with many of the dogmas, stereotypes and certainties of life in the contemporary advanced West.
– Reviewed by Reg Little in New Dawn 129
The TAOIST SHAMAN: Practices from the Wheel of Life
Book by Mantak Chia
December 28, 2011 By Reg Little
Taoist Shaman: Practices from the Wheel of Life is another book from the great Chinese-Thai master of both popular and esoteric physical and spiritual wisdom, Mantak Chia.
As with some of his other recent works, he displays the universality of much Chinese tradition that initially seems unique. In the process, wittingly or unwittingly, he throws light on the deceptions of those who claim some special authority in revealing hidden truths.
To these ends, he has co-authored this work with Kris Deva North, a Taoist practitioner since 1987 and founder of the Zen School of Shiatsu and London Tao Centre.
I must admit to finding what I assume to be Chia’s contribution in illuminating aspects of an abundant Chinese tradition to be the high points in this book. These include, in separate chapters, verbal and pictorial accounts of The Taoist Medicine Wheel, The Five Elements, The Eight Forces, The Twelve Animals and The I Ching Hexagrams and Daily Life.
Although not unfamiliar with these central features of the Chinese cosmos, I always find Mantak Chia’s latest explanation offers me new insights and stirs dormant interests.
In particular, I relished The Eight Forces chapter, a simple series of stories of eight Chinese immortals. I found it difficult not to reflect on whether these did not appeal, with considerable variety and freedom of imagination, to many of the same human needs and interests as does the singular story of Jesus Christ in Christian doctrine.
The pathway to immortality, much fabled in Taoist teaching, takes on an enchanting inventiveness that distracts not at all from the profound human aspiration to transcend physical death. The more than thirty characteristics associated with each of these eight immortals deepens one’s sense of the encyclopaedic Chinese curiosity about the nature of the life that informed these grand symbolic figures. The symbolic animals that accompany the immortals – buffalo, chimera, horse, elephant, tiger, deer – stir and enliven the imagination.
The I Ching Hexagrams and Daily Life chapter is sub-headed “With grateful thanks to Guillaume Bouteloup.” It offers a simple introduction to the use of China’s great seminal classic. This is, of course, a book of profound and inexhaustible wisdom that insists its users continually review their ever-changing physical, emotional, social and spiritual environments.
The chapters Shamanic Practice, Spirit Guides, Comparisons with Other Traditions, Creating Power Fields and The Wheel of Healing appeal to me as representing a departure from areas specifically shaped by Chinese tradition and teaching and an exploration of what might be called more universal approaches to the challenges posed by the human condition.
Whether it is the shamanic teacher, the spirit guide, the commonalities of tradition, the exploration of fields of interaction or healing rituals, the Chinese influence rarely disappears but there is also a reaching out to less conspicuously unique or exotic forms of practice and conceptualisation.
The Wheel of Healing chapter opens with a piece of profound wisdom and piercing insight about one of the shibboleths of contemporary medical correctness:
“Modern medicine might describe shamanic healing as a placebo effect, healing by suggestion. Suggestion can come from within, say by positive thinking, belief or expectation, or from outside, by hypnosis, advertising, or ritual and ceremony. The shaman counts placebo as a healing resource.”
The chapter goes on to outline rituals, ceremonies and meditations that are affirmations for the unification of mind, body and spirit with the world in which we must all live. All of Mantak Chia’s writing shares this inspiration of putting ancient wisdom to work correcting the follies of life ruled by mistaken faith in mechanistic and arrogant notions of progress.
Interestingly, the final chapter Turning the Wheel of Love is an exquisite representation of clearly Taoist practices of gentle partnership and mutual discovery. While never explicitly sexual, it is a guided invitation to take a physical relationship to a level of measured discovery alien to the pace and style of most contemporary life.
Overall, the book shows Mantak Chia, and his co-author, Kris Deva North, further extending one of the most promising aspects of the contemporary world. When financial adventurism, technological aggression, corporate greed and political ineptness threatens the well-being of vast populations in all cultural traditions, the growing popularity and influence of authors like these, who seek to outline a common way forward that draws on the wisdom of diverse experiences, is an area of promise and hope.
It is apparent that many talented young people in so-called advanced economies are discovering physical and spiritual renewal in ancient traditions from Asia. As the economies of Asia continue to out-produce and out-perform the erstwhile leading economies of the West, however, it will be important to recognise this success has not been won by some form of cheating that demands a military put-down.
Rather, it is the product of the same source of wisdom that is enhancing the lives of some of the best and brightest amongst the West’s next generation. In other words, Eastern wisdom is beginning to offer not only personal but also social and political renewal to a tired and often misguided West.”
– Reviewed by Reg Little in New Dawn