Acupuncture

This is a blog post that first alerted me to the connection between the GV meridian and the 28 lunar mansions (link) a Chinese book on the interconnections between I Ching and Chinese medicine - 《易医时间诊疗》, written by Ren Deze 任得泽 and Ming Yi 明易.  Unfortunately for me I don't read in Chinese.  According to the blog post, these points are also connected to sounds, which is a recurring theme with the nakshatras, and the Arabian manazil also.

The way my Teacher, Sri Vasudeva has taught me to do the meditation orbit, I bring prana up the sushumna nadi with the in-breathe and down the front of the body along the Governor General Meridian and continuing along the front of the sushumna nadi*.  I am quite certain that sushumna nadi is the real Governering channel, while the one referred to in acupuncture concerns access points (called in Sanskrit kshetram) along the physical body corresponding to it and impacting the physical body.  At some point in my research I realized that acupuncture was not the true map to understanding how the chakras were impacted on any kind of deep level but the GV template is such a useful one that I kept it to keep things "simple".  When you look at the acupuncture diagrams, you can see that the point on the outside is connected to some organ on the inside and the pranic flow related to that organ.  When I focus on a chakra in meditation bringing prana to it, it starts to expand in the front and back stimulating those acupuncture points on the outside - so I know from personal experience that the points are really coming from the chakras inside (and these are the primary centers of consciousness as well as energy).

Acupuncture inspired by the stars


"I believe the TCM theory is basic on meridian theory, and the meridian theory is based on astronomy and Geography. 
In TCM theory, human being's body is connected by the environment sky and earth, the stars like the points on the body is the energy field spread condition, and it is the same as the energy field condition on the earth.
Ancient Chinese found and made 12 longitudes and latitudes on the earth to locate the earth condition on the earth map, the same, put them on the sky to locate the star system on the sky map. And they found the human body also has the same meridian system, 12 meridians and Dai meridians, the meridians system is for locate the acupuncture points on body, shows the human body's energy field condition. The star energy move in the sky like the Qi move in body's meridian system from point to point, they have certainly orbits. To coordinate the body's energy movement to sky stars energy movement can help body health condition, because in TCM theory, there is a sentence said: sky and human is one unite(天人合一), that mean human body energy system is same as universe energy system, same move steps, if the body qi movement go upset or blocked not follow the same steps of universe stars movement orbits, the human body will be sick, so the acupuncture is through stimulate the points on body meridian system, to adjust the Qi movement cooperate to the universe energy frequency for body health."
"The original source of TCM meridian system", Post by Feng Mei, L.Ac. » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:22 pm, website: www.latcmwellnesscenter.com, link

Acupuncture derives from mysticism


In an article on I Ching and Taoist spiritual roots of Chinese medicine,** the author writes:


"When you consider that gates and doors are passageways connecting one thing to another, it's obvious this concept is not concerned with establishing a geographic middle, but rather with pointing toward the potential for mystical transformations. The traditional names of dozens of acupuncture points have terms that reflect this very concept, such as Life Gate (GV 4), Jade Pivot (CV 21), Stone Pass (KI 18) and the somewhat redundant Pass Gate (ST 22). What types of transformations were being alluded to with this terminology, and how does this concept relate to the practice of acupuncture?"**


What I have discovered in my research is that the lunar mansions, their names and mythology, connected to the GV points must have derived from some very ancient mystical teachings because they allude to spiritual experiences connected to the chakras within the sushumna meridian.  This is little understood by healers of today.

Similarly, Sri Aurobindo discovered that the Rig Veda (the oldest Indian scripture and source text for many of the older deities related to the nakshatras) had coded meanings that he could understand in light of his own mystical experiences.  He writes about this in his enlightened interpretation Hymns to the Mystic Fire, that the mystics used the pre-existing stone age/pagan worship of the stars and heavens as a kind of base mythology upon which to teach the deeper spiritual teachings concerning enlightenment/moksha.  Only those with awakened Kundalini and sufficient spiritual awareness would have been able to understand the root meanings.  

This is the process mystics have used through the ages when teaching a society of mixed capacity for understanding.   At the high end there are the few people who have mystical experiences who understand what they are talking about, next a religious and scientific elite who reinterpret the words of the mystics according to their own needs and share some of it and not all of it, next the folktales and legends of the masses until we end up with a total mess and poetry that is taken literally!   

The only reason acupuncture works at all is because the chakras and nadis are really part of our subtle anatomy.  The real understanding of the lunar mansions is found in the mystical concepts from which acupuncture, astronomy, feng qui and all the rest sprang, in bits and pieces.

Disclaimer


I want to preface this post by admitting honestly that I know next to nothing about acupuncture.  I don't care about acupuncture.  I respect the profession deeply but my interest for the purposes of this research is in what those needles are pointing towards - not at a physical level as in organs and mind-over-matter medicine, but at the deepest levels to the spiritual truths that I believe they are linked to.  My interest and belief is in the underlying spiritual processes that came to be represented by the nakshatras, and other systems that honour the 28 days of the lunar month one way or another.  For me, the Governor General is a map to understanding more about those deeper experiences I have in my meditation practice.  My apologizes if I offend people who are dedicated to acupuncture.  I am thrilled how it is more and more welcomed in hospitals and embraced by Western doctors and that the World Health Organization is trying to create a new nomenclature that can be standardized so it's practiced in a standardized way everywhere.  I'm just not interested in any of that for the purposes of this website.  I do welcome views from acupuncture experts that further my research or correct my mistakes, or feedback that is helpful.

Here is a nice, simple explanation of the three dantiens and how they are connected to acupuncture (link).

Chi (Qi) moves into the body's Dantians through the body's Taiji Pole. The energy is then absorbed into the body's major organs and surrounding tissues as it flows through the Dantians and into the body's internal and external channels and collaterals. Energy is also absorbed from the external environment through the channels, tissues and organs, flowing into the Three Dantians and ultimately into the Taiji Pole.
. . . .
Another popular analogy is to consider the Dantians as batteries, the body's Taiji Pole as a magnetic bar connecting the batteries together, the channels as the wires, and the Wei Qi fields as the electromagnetic fields manifesting from the energy contained within the structure.
link

How the Dumai Meridian is connected to the Sushumna Nadi


In meditation I feel the acupuncture points on the outside (on my skin), and I feel my chakras on the inside in the sushumna nadi (in the center of the spine), so I know what the difference is. They are connected but not the same.  In Mantak Chia's writings he refers to the centre channel that penetrates all the major chakras as the "Thrusting Route":

"After the positive emotions of all the organs is absorbed into the pearl, it is then circulated in four of the eight special channels:  the Microcosmic Orbit (Governor and Functional Channels), the Thrusting Routes, and the Belt Routes.  The Thrusting Routes run through the center of the body, linking the 'chakra' centers.  The Belt Routes spiral around the body strengthening the aura and providing a form of psychic self-defense.  The second part of the Cosmic Fusion practice involves opening these three Thrusting Channels."
Mantak Chia, Cosmic Fusion p.155 


Microcosmic Orbit including Thrusting Route (from Mantak Chia, see above)

Models and philosophies may be different but the experience of the chakras is the same.

This diagram of the chakras (below) shows how they typically emanate out the front and back at the acupuncture points (and at other points). That's how I feel them at the level of skin***, it's just chi connected by the "sun rays" of the meridians. They are emanating from the major chakra that is deep inside and connected to levels deeper than the sushumna (Kriya Yoga teaches there are 4 subtle layers in the spine). Feeling my chakra on the inside is a much much more powerful experience - I can go deeper into it even beyond the physical body. I think this is the idea behind Mantak Chia's Taoist neidan. But the science of acupuncture lays out a much larger map that includes everything - the spiritual and the physical. It's wholistic, that's likely why my spiritual teacher incorporates the Microcosmic Orbit and any system that heals the whole person.

How chakras are experienced on the outside during meditation

Sri Vasudeva teaches that the way our universe harnesses the power of the Source (Consciousness) that is powering up the entire cosmos, making all the planets and stars move can be compared to a power generating station and he makes the analogy of the chakras as transformers and transmitters.  This is how we as individual souls in a limited experience can harness collective Source energy (Maha Shakti or Prakriti - I'm not sure of the correct term).

Here is how I interpret this.  This power generating station is turning bringing all the shen energy (causal collective chit into individual chitta) and making it available for us as chi (life force energy or prana):

a power generating station

This is way too much energy.  It needs to be stepped down into lower voltages that we can use in our local areas.  Then in our house (think of house as your physical and mental bodies) we have a fuse box set to however many amps we use:

a fuse box

The fuse box is sort of like our crown chakra (the root chakra also connects to the infinite Source at the other end - but the linear thing is really an illusion).  All the wires (meridians/nadis/energy channels) then disburse all this voltage and step it down further (chi into jing) so our appliances (nervous system) won't explode.   It goes through these "wires" into our various chakras into smaller electric boxes (minor chakras or meridian systems) full of specialized wires that end up giving us the energy in the amount we need.  The tips of these wires are like the acupuncture points on the skin:

Electric wires coming out of an electric box

Sometimes we have problems with our connection to the Source  like when there's a big power outage across the city and nobody has power for anything - it's a disaster!  EVERYTHING GOES DARK   Or sometimes there is just a loose wire somewhere that's easy to fix.  And sometimes we can get into trouble and really need to call an electrician (a healer):


burnt outlet

Usually we have problems but we're doing ok.  But to get the whole system working perfectly we need enlightenment.  That way ALL the lights on our Christmas tree are on - our brain functions at full capacity, and we are in a state of perfection - our soul shines like a super nova:



The lights are the chakras - big ones, little ones, all different colours, doing different things, all connected to the seven major chakras and all converging in one Source ultimately.  That's me and that's you and that's all of us combined.

Taoist neidan and the concept of inner alchemy


Mantak Chia, a grandmaster of Taoist inner alchemy "neidan", has shared an enormous wealth of information on the meditation processes associated with the acupuncture points, also the purpose and esoteric meaning of the lunar constellations in relationship to this.  He has an excellent video on YouTube about the microcosmic orbit practice that I posted in my Introduction.

Energy is burnt into purification in our bodies - experiences of heat are refinement process.  Even in the banal example of a fever, when we are sick, is about purification at the level of the body.  This burning away of impurities also happens at subtler levels in our astral body and finally in the greatest experience of all, moksha, burning away our causal seeds of attachment in our finest subtle body.

Here is picture I found online (I suspect it came from an ancient text) with a kind of cauldron of life symbol emphasizing this aspect of life, surrounded by the Chinese lunar constellations:


This is the cosmos out there and the cosmos in us, as Mantak Chia takes great pains to explain.  And he is therefore in agreement with the sages of India such as Paramahansa Yogananda who taught similar things (his Guru Sri Yukeshwar was an astrologer).

The four around one symbols, intrinsic to the Cosmological Circle (see Table of Contents), boils down to our 4 around one part brain with its four cardinal directions and central core space.  Here is a diagram from one of Mantak Chia's books:

From Mantak Chia
What neurobiology knows about the brain and cerebrospinal system represents the gross reflection of invisible forces of consciousness and energy emanating from our astral and physical "brains".  Acupuncture (and perhaps Chiropractic Medicine) like all energy healing have mapped out the astral-physical connections.  Inner alchemical sciences like Taoism and Yoga focus on the deeper levels concerned with spiritual transformation.  We are body-mind-spirit and all systems should be integrated one day.  This knowledge is vast and has taken the wisdom of not one sage but generations of sages to compile.

One of the most useful books from Mantak Chia I have found so far (for the purpose of this study) is 
this one where he explains how astrology and the mechanisms of the physical and astral bodies are linked:




Contemplating the 督脈 dumai "Governing Vessel" Chinese characters


I don't speak Chinese but I can look up etymology of individual characters and this sometimes brings up some very interesting things related to my research.  I use a number of etymology dictionaries online and in books.   The character for dumai is a compound of two compound characters 督 du and 脈.  Let's look at these under the microscope!

Du "Governing" is made up of 3 root characters:   "eye" (the idea of a supervisor overlooking things) +   made up of used as a phonetic symbol but originally meaning "younger brother" and ‎“hand” .  

Mai "Vessel" is made up of 2 root characters:   "moon/month"  +  "eternal/perpetual/forever...".   Interestingly that last one may also mean "a hand husking peas"(?!).

These characters derive from very ancient pictograms.  Here is a great little video about the origin of the character for the moon:


At one time, just like the sun, the moon was imagined as a deity looking over us, with an eye in it.  Then the moon became association with the cauldron.  The cauldron is an ancient womb symbol, a source of sustenance, rituals and medicines... and in Taoist inner alchemy cauldrons are associated with the transformative "cooking" of life force energy at the dantien points.  I know that as Kundalini rises, the lower materialistic energies become purified and transformed as She rises.  In Chinese terminology prana begins as jing in the first dantien, becomes chi in the second dantien and shen in the third dantien.  The dumai is an important meridian in the practice of qigong and tai chi as well as inner alchemy.  The practicitioner learns to feel, then harness and cook the subtle energies within and bring them out through the hands (remember "hand" above) for healing or martial arts or whatever.   By connecting with universal life forces, not wasting one's own personal store of vitality, this accounts for all kinds of magical powers coming out through the hands (and feet).  All meridians exit through the hands and feet, as well as the top of the head. The one who is interested in developing self-mastery further takes the energies up higher still into the head and into the nirvana of GV20 and beyond to transcendence if desired.

The governing   "eye" has to be the third eye, the brow chakra.  It is the one that rules all the chakras below it.    The dumai meridian is a yang channel with yin flowing in it.  It is the yin or feminine force that takes us upwards along the ascension path (Kundalini).  

The association of the moon with the cauldron also makes perfect sense from a mystical point of view.  As we see in this old diagram, the 28 lunar constellations are drawn circling this alchemical cauldron hinting, hinting, hinting at these deeper meanings - that are yogic sciences to me by any other name.  Thus a study of etymology also reveals secrets of the dumai meridian.  It goes beyond acupuncture. Acupuncture derives from the mysticism, not the other way around.
I think about primitive and sophisticated knowledge and what that really means.  A caveman looking up at the sky and worshipping the celestial bodies as deities by imitating what they do in the sky can yield some of the same results as a spiritually advanced, intellectually brilliant culture.  The reason is because everything in our physical world is a reflection of our inner world.  The work we do on the "outside" has relevance in our inner world.  The two are not mutually exclusive but should be mutually supportive.  This brings me to the age old idea of harmonizing heaven and earth, circling the square and squaring the circle.  It's all about living in harmony with all dimensions of life, being in balance with all of them.  That's what makes life flow smoothly.

Here are some links to some useful etymology sites if you wish to explore this yourself:  http://www.chineseetymology.org/ and  https://en.wiktionary.org/


Inner alchemy is inner alchemy in any language


"The inner energies are the real elixir" Sri Vasudeva says in his 21-Day Meditation Series on Total Wellbeing.  When we co-operate with the Evolutionary Energy to purify the prana inside bringing it up the sushumna into finer, more purified form and expressing that through all the chakras in daily living, we become healthier in all levels of being and this goes hand-in-hand with our spiritual development.

The terminology is different but the process is the same.  The goals may be different but ultimately we reach the same place.  In the Vedic terminology of the lunar mansions this transmuting of prana or chi is described as Soma moving through the body from its origin in the body as sexual energy (ex. GV3 Mrigasira) and the bodily fluids, and in kechari mudra in the throat as amrita, to an intoxicating experience of ojas (the Vedic equivalent of shen) in the head when that sacral energy is brought up all the way to the head (using pranayama and concentration prana and together with the grace of Kundalini - approximately at the GV18 point).  Kechari mudra is experienced in the vicinity of the two "Radha" nakshatras GV14-Vishakha/Radha and GV15-Anuradha at the throat-Vishuddhi.  Radha in the poetry of the Vedas is one of the Gopis who dance with the intoxication of God-as-Love (Krishna Consciousness):

"Who can understand the throes of the love of the Gopis - the very ideal of love, love that wants nothing, love that even does not care for heaven, love that does not care for anything in this world, or the world to come?"
Swami Vivekananda, "The Sages of India" in Selections from Works of Vivekananada, p.310 

Ecstasy - Elixir.  Ecstasy that is the water of life - improving the immune system in the body and raising the soul ever closer to the bliss of the Source - Pure Consciousness - from which it emerged. As I write this I am thinking of a former heroin addict turned devotee who said to me that she had never experienced such a "high" from heroin as she did from meditation in the presence of the Guru!

Sages of old recognized the existence subtle elixir (prana/chi) within existing in rivers of life, the central river being the one that leads us back to the ocean of consciousness through the sacred confluence or tri-veni of the rivers Ganga (ida), Yamuna (pingala), and Saraswati (sushumna) (see link).  The ocean of consciousness expressed through Revati GV27 and the sign of Pisces is that place of mahasamdhi where form itself disappears into the bliss of ultimate Ananada.  In ancient Egypt the Milky Way of our galaxy was a form of the sushumna, and even the Hindu Shiva Lingam expresses it also.  The language and symbolism overlaps from culture to culture but the experience is the same.  The same pranic elixir that frees us, also heals and empowers us in co-creative abilities along the way, as each chakra on the way up opens up new possibilities in the human experiences.

And there are many intricacies involving in different types of Kundalini risings - but this is an entirely different topic...


[to be continued]

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* For deepening meditation the practice is to breath in going up the sushumna and down the sushumna - but for total wellness including the body, we breath in going up sushumna and down the conception vessel for a total wellness practice that covers enlightenment and the physical-mental-emotional-vital (all the chakras including the body gets a total workout).  For details see his new 21-Day meditation series now available on YouTube:  link  - This is microcosmic orbit as it's never been taught before!
**"The Role of Taoist Spirituality in Chinese Medicine, Part One: The Gate of All Wonders," by Matthew Bauer, LAc, Acupuncture Today, February, 2006, Vol. 07, Issue 02 (link)
*** Actually this diagram isn't totally accurate.   (I will need to start drawing my own - or maybe later for a book.)  The brow chakra at the back for instance can be felt down to the medulla (GV16), which is a very important point.  The diagram shows the higher points for the brow when it is starting to connect with the crown chakra.