Dantian: Cauldron for Cooking the Body-Mind
The first important step in Fusion of the five elements is to get deeper into your body. What does that mean? It actually means getting into your energy body and its connection to physicality. You can't really get out of your body unless you die, so you're stuck here with a body and all the challenges it presents. It is a question of the relationships within your body-mind. Don’t even think for one minute about your body being separate from your mind. That is a common illusion and trap for western cultivators.
What defines all internal body-mind relationships is subtle breath, or chi. What is chi? Chi is the flowing waves of subtle energy that define the relationship between our field of awareness we call spirit (shen) and the particle we call body (jing).
Chi is everything that moves and weaves in between jing and shen, body particle and spirit field. Change the pattern of chi flow, you change the experience of both your body and your spirit. Jing, chi, and shen exist on an alchemical continuum; they transmute endlessly, each into the other. But chi is the middle player in the process, so it the leverage point of change.
I find the ancient Taoist model of human mind is much more sophisticated and less mechanistic than the western dualistic concept of mind vs. body. Is there a meeting point of jing, chi, and shen within our body? They interface at many different energetic levels. But their first stable meeting point is at our body’s center of gravity, also known to ancient Taoists as the “small” (xiao) or lower dantian. Dantian function is really, really important to understanding of the Fusion of five elements. It took me a long time to get out of my head to really experience my belly brain and its spiritual power center.
“Tian” means the field or the heavenly/formless space where the chi comes to seek completion. Dan means the elixir or pearl that forms in that field. The ancient character for dantian could have meant the place where the chi completes its transformation. Dantian is symbolized by the cauldron, a pot that can hold and cook all the ingredients necessary for our life’s transformation.
It's very important to understand dantian is not a physical place. It's an energetic place and when you start going into anything that's energetic it doesn't have a fixed point. It's moving. It's pulsating. This is basic yin yang theory. The universe is alive. It's breathing. And so whenever you start to focus in on those energetic qualities you're going to get into that. That’s why doing lots of Ocean Breathing qigong is important. It effortlessly activates your belly brain.
Clearing the Confusion over the Fusion Book
That's sort of the big overview. Let me make a few prefatory comments. How many of you have looked at the book "The Fusion of the Five Elements", or read it? Okay. Just a few of you. There is a book out on this which I edited and I will be giving you a handout from that book. It has the main diagrams and things just as a visual support. I don't follow the sequence of the formulas in the book. There are nine formulas in that book. Only the first four and a half are actually Fusion 1.
So the Fusion book is really mislabeled in a sense. It says basic and advanced Fusion formulas. The advanced formulas in there are actually borrowed from kan and li, they're not even Fusion 2 and 3. And kan and li is the water and fire practices. The other formulas of internal alchemy practice involve the same principles as Fusion. You're just doing it at levels of greater collective consciousness. You are fusing at the global level. You're fusing at planetary, galactic, dimensional levels. You're doing it with the elements outside you.
Mantak Chia decided to put fragments of the higher kan and li formulas in the Fusion 1 book. He felt that people were having spontaneous experiences beyond the Fusion practice, so we should just teach them up front . I edited them out, as I felt they undercut the progressive training of the ancient Taoists. He put them back in, where they remained despite my strong protest. So I'm constantly reminding people that it's important not to try and race ahead even though they are just fragments of those formulas in there. The added in formulas basically teach you how to shoot OUT of your body and expand out into the cosmos.
I have found the main problem modern people have is being physically and emotionally IN their body. Practically speaking, this means being in their energy body, and integrating it to their physical body. So there's no rush in trying to get out of your body. Astral travel is just a sideshow. A lot of people are into astral travel, but the benefits of that are very limited unless you're deeply centered.
So that's why you really need to do Fusion 1. That's the first four formulas in that book and the things taught in this workshop. And not worry about those other things yet. Those will evolve naturally and spontaneously. And when you study them and learn the other formulas, which means really studying the channels and their relationships and how you can manage the energy flow. So I just want to make that clear because the Fusion book will not follow exactly the sequence that I'm teaching.
The first thing I found is most important is for people to get a physical sense of the five phases internally. So you’ve started this already just by doing the healing sounds. You start noticing, what's the quality of feeling as I release heart energy. Okay, it's warmer. It's more fiery. Or I start working the kidneys. Well, that's kind of tight, up tight and cold and frozen, you know? It's harder for me to feel.
And then we're going to start creating collection points. We're going to start points that hold the energy, the frequency of each element or each phase inside our body. This is really in our energy body. We link them with our physical body so they have a space, physical space for us. And those are different colors and they relate to the different elements and then we're going to empower those, connect them . . . .
The Language of Chi: Learning “Whole-Body Speak”
Relax, sit down. We’ve warmed up our five inner animals, a nice review of Qigong Fundamentals 1. Ocean Breathing, the Five Animals and Six Healing Sounds use the simple method of breathing in and out to release stuck chi. Now what we need to do is set up a more sophisticated communication system, recalling the general theory that qigong and neidan gong is essentially about learning about how to talk to the life force. Inner alchemy - literally “internal elixir skill” – is just a fancy way of talking about the process of change, how elements of our psyche and nature are constantly transmuting.
There are core patterns of communication we need to know, so all of the skills we are learning in the qigong (chi kung), and neigong practices are essentially about learning the strokes of the alphabet. We learn how to connect those strokes together to form whole words, and how to connect those words to form whole sentences, and this way your being can communicate through the matrix of the life-force, all the way from Source to Creation and back again.
It’s not an ordinary left-brain language we’re learning to speak here; it is a form of “whole-body speak”, where the body is viewed as the vocal organ of the soul, and chi flow is what gets expressed.
The chi (qi) field is the all-penetrating field of energy, the all-creating and all-knowing field. Not to be confused with any divine entity or nameable God that is trying to control the process of creation – that responsibility belongs to the collective flow of consciousness, to the process itself.
Humans are a crystallization of the life force, we are a point of consciousness in that flowing, pulsating field. Most humans feel cut off from that field, because our vibrational feeling is so slowed down, even though we do not exist separate from the field.
In order to crystallize ourselves into physical form on earth, we had to radically slow our soul vibration down to form a body that would resonate with earth reality. So once that is accomplished, we relate more to the forms of Earth than with the totality of the formless-form field. Incarnation is thus a kind of spiritual sacrifice; we give up higher soul consciousness in order to learn something new and profound about embodied consciousness. Earth is the playground, the school, but lessons here are transferred to the larger field.
The larger chi field is vibrating so fast it can penetrate into all dimensions like a big giant supercomputer or mind. It has to vibrate fast to calculate all the things needed to run creation and keep the big show in balance. But we humans are running on a tiny five watt light bulb, just enough to see right around us, to run our little show. Its enough juice so we can functions through our tiny sense openings. It allows us to see “that is a pretty mountain over there”, or say “I like the way you look, do you like the color of my shirt?”. We don’t notice the gamma rays and neutrinos sailing through the vast inner space of our body.
Our power of vision, just one power of sensory knowing, doesn’t extend very far because the chi coming through us is slowed down to match the frequency of our body. But our mind does not need to stay at this slow frequency. Part of it does need to stay slow in order to monitor the environment; to feed and clean the body, and take care of it’s needs so its doesn’t stumble and trip. But other parts of our body-mind can be vibrating much faster and perceiving the larger flow of intelligence. It can remember and vibrate with the energies that are shaping our reality. The key point: after you learn to receive the flow of chi, you can learn how to shape it.
Fusion Allows Deeper Inner Smile
This is where learning the alphabet is important. What is the alphabet? The energetic alphabet: first you learned the inner smile. This is like ground zero, the point from which you speak, your inner being. This is connected to your yuan shen, your inner heart, the smile as direct expression of original spirit. View this gentle smiling presence as your neutral inner witness, out of which all the communications flow.
The purpose of Fusion 1 practice is to help make that inner being more present. Because it is connected to the whole life-force, our Original Spirit is a part of us that is totally integrated at the level of pure awareness; it potentially “knows it all”. In short, it holds our potential for enlightenment. The problem is that the expanded awareness of our enlightenment may be held in other dimensions of our greater (collective) self.
Our shen or spirit has to wait for a long time until conditions are right for its awareness to be downloaded to our personal body-mind. It needs a proper vessel to download into, that can absorb and stabilize that awareness in the physical plane. The Taoists call this vessel our “essence”, or jing. Everyone’s jing on earth is shaped differently.
It means we each have a unique destiny, and are designed to gather and hold different kinds of awareness on earth. Humanity is a single entity, each human soul is one cell seeking to grow. The main resistance to downloading Original Spirit into the essence of our body-mind is emotional. Fusion works on dissolving that emotional resistance.
We can also observe that our Inner Witness/Original Spirit may be all-knowing, but it is not all-powerful. In fact it is suppressed, repressed, and - until we wake up- temporarily banished from functioning in the physical plane. Our Original Spirit is deep inside of us, but it is watching our life unfold from a very distant point of view.
The inner smile, which you can practice 24-7, is always gently encouraging our core inner presence to manifest. Of course, you need dream practice training to practice smiling at night. But night or day, there is a tension between our Original Spirit and its manipulative and divided ego fragments that Fusion helps resolve.
It’s easy to observe that our inner witness doesn’t have a very deep sense of body; it lacks solidity. That’s why most people don’t trust it. It’s the feeling of we know somebody is watching inside us, we know we have some deeper identity, but it’s not functional for us. It watches us go through all our changes, all our life cycles; choice of soul pattern, birth, child, teenager, adult, life, death, possible rebirth again.
There is an inner “I” that knows there is an outer “me” doing the thinking, feeling, acting, sensing. But we (the acting personality) don’t ordinarily have good communication with the inner self. We usually don’t invest our main identity inward into it. It’s far easier to identify with the outer self and with its body.
We kind of know some deep self or soul is there inside us, but we don’t really allow it to be present in our personality. We perceive our ordinary body-mind as operating according to a different set of needs than the soul. So the inner smile is the most important practice, because it creates a space that is sufficiently neutral (or non-dual, non-polar) for our Original Spirit to shine through the filters of both our soul pattern and our personality.
I describe in my Inner Smile book that holding that neutral inner space – for ourselves and for others - is the true Inner Smile practice of “unconditional acceptance”. The Fusion 1 practice takes the Inner Smile and gives it a deeper sense of substance. This involves formation of an “inner pearl” as a vessel to hold the vibration of our Original Spirit. Fusion thus allows us to add “jing” or substance to the most ineffable aspect of us, the original spirit of our inner self.
Fusing the Five Phases to Embody Original Flow of Chi
Second stroke of the alphabet: we start with the six healing sounds or five animals. The healing sounds/five animals allow you to feel a hidden rhythm: it is known as the cycle of the five elements, or five phases. The movement of the one unified field of the life-force –call it Original Breath or Original Chi - flowing through a rhythm of five-ness is a central key to speaking this subtle energy language.
I want everyone to put their fingers up and count how many fingers they have there. Every one has five, right? It’s the signature of the five phases right here in our body. But what connects the five finger all together? Isn’t there only one hand? If there weren’t the one hand, the five fingers wouldn’t be very functional would they?
The five elements are the same way; there are five phases but they are really one single flow of awareness. Just think of the integration of the five elements as the hand of the life force. A hand with five fingers shapes itself into so many different things. We can connect our “small hand” to the super powered “Cosmic Hand of Creation”. The different combinations of its five fingers can shape itself into anything, it can create any destiny it chooses.
You find this fivefold pattern at every level of creation, whether it is the galactic, stellar level, planetary level; the earthly seasons of nature, the cycling of the organs in the human body. Even modern physicists are seeking the fifth unifying force that will hold the other four together.
Essentially what all these Taoist alchemical formulas are doing is training us to directly speak this five phase language at different octaves of ourselves. Direction perception is sought, without going through any intermediary deity. At our human level, we first want to know, is how does this energy language impact on our physical human body health. That is what the healing sounds, animals, and chi self-massage are about.
In Fusion 1, we are going to work at the level of the emotional body. So we naturally ask, how do these five phases operate? How does the fivefold nature of the life force relate to our psychology, to our emotions and our feelings? Later, when we get into the practical methods, we will draw a distinction between habitual emotions and in-the-moment feelings.
Merging Fusion of Five Phases and Yin-Yang of Orbit
The third stroke of the Energetic Alphabet is the microcosmic orbit. The orbit regulates our basic yin yang polarity. Harmonizing these two forces within our body is part of a larger matrix known as the eight primal forces. In the I Ching, the ancient Book of Changes, they are called the eight trigrams. They are given different names in different time continuums, but it is basically the underlying matrix of time and space on which the five elements unfold. We learn to activate all eight of these deep channels in Fusion 2 & 3.
The five phases are the rhythm and the cycle of things on this yin-yang grid that divides out three times to become eight. The five phases themselves embody the yin-yang principle. For example, the life force radiates out as (yang) fire, but as fire retreats it contracts in (yin fire). Gold (metal) and wood are the transitional stages between fire and water, but each has a yin or yang phase to their rising and sinking movements. The earth is holding the center, yet it expands and contracts our sense of core self as well. Essentially these are the five movements of the life-force, they each have a different quality they express in their yin and yang mode.
The five phases need a matrix in which those five rhythms operate, and that is the matrix of time and space. That matrix is defined by yin-yang polarity; front and back, left and right, above and below. That is the matrix that defines where we are. Our personal point of consciousness is located at a particular point in this grid of time and space. Castaneda called it “the assemblage point” – his most useful concept.
We are shaped in this matrix as creatures, and everything else is also shaped in this matrix. We’ve got a molecular structure, a psychic structure, a social structure, a soul structure that is built around a moving assemblage point. We have to fit into the energetic grid of some universal structure, otherwise creation can’t keep track of itself, can’t flow in harmony with itself. Creation needs an internal map of itself, of its grid, to talk to itself.
So there are two core universal patterns according to the ancients that define the grid: the five elements/phases, and the yin yang polarity. Yin-yang translates in practice as the eight extraordinary channels, taught in Fusion 2 and 3. This Fusion 1 practice is how to harmonize the fivefold nature/phases within ourselves.
Fusion thus offers us the key to understanding why and how we sabotage ourselves. Have you ever felt that one part of yourself wants to go ahead and do something, and another part can’t/won’t agree to do it? And why is it that one part of us (usually connected to one vital organ) gets sick while another organ still feels healthy?
Energy Body: Interface between Lesser and Greater Self
Tao inner alchemy is the spiritual-scientific process to set up a language of subtle energy communication. You’ve got a physical body. But if you operate only through the physical body senses, your perceptions are too slow, and you can’t communicate easily with higher levels of the life force. But if you start to shift into the great formless ocean of the chi field, it is so amorphous, and vibrating so fast, how can your personality possibly talk to it? How does a drop of water talk to the whole ocean, how does one piece of sand talk to the whole beach?
But if you think about it, we have already mastered this art of bridging the gap between the tiny self and the greater/collective self. How many cells do we have in our body? Maybe 80 trillion cells. Are they communicating? Yes, we feel it in the rich flow of our consciousness, each cell knows that it belongs to a larger self and serves it accordingly. How do they do it, what bridges the gap between cell and self? Good question! It is entirely an unconscious process. I will give you a clue: the nervous system is not it, way too slow and too limited.
There is an internal system of communication already in place that is mostly unconscious to our personality. The ancient Chinese mapped it through a series of thousands of energy channels. The energy channels themselves are actually just manifestations, printouts of deeper patterns. Fusion 1 takes us to a deeper level of these patterns.
In order to create a conscious interface between the tiny and the vast dimensions of Self, we need an energetic software so the little “I” can communicate to the larger field of the life-force. This is where our the subtle body that governs our feelings – sometimes called the Emotional Body, as one layer of the Energy Body – can be used to make that bridge. Our feelings are capable of making incredibly rapid and powerful shifts in vibrational focus. If we are sufficiently grounded and centered, clear feelings can allow us to communicate with deep aspects of our greater self.
Annihilating or dissolving the self or little “I” in meditation can produce a temporary mystical experience of unity. But most people will return to the body-focused state of our little “I” again, drawn back to our body’s center of gravity. Everyone has the innate capacity to have the mystical experience of a vast, oceanic self. But we still need the functional interface, the “Fusion software” that allows us enough stability to live in an inner state of unity while simultaneously responding to demands from the polarized outer world.
This intermediary pattern of communication between our spiritual self and our physical self is called the Energy Body or Chi Body. This energy body holds different subtle language patterns in order to speak with the infinite variety of its self-expression. You could say the Energy Body is the definable and functional pattern of your body-mind. It is the feeling layer of the Energy Body that most concerns us in Fusion. It helps us to have authentic, in-the-moment feelings that are not just broken-record replays of past traumas and old identities.
Five Colored Pearls as Energy Bodies of Five Shen
In Fusion 1, we create a special software to communicate with the five phase flow of our feelings. To talk to that rhythm of the life-force, we create five pearls inside our Energy Body. You could say these are five “chi balls”, or five energetic “spheres” of influence. Manfred Porkert, the great scholar of Chinese medicine, translates the vital organ shen as the “five orbs”. The five shen control our feelings, as part of their biological and psychological processes.
The five colored pearls used in this Energy Body are not solid. If you cut your body open, you would not find them. You have to grow them, it is a free will choice, a way of giving more substance to the five shen. Some eastern schools (as well as scientific western materialists) might call these pearls an illusion of the mind. But then you have to consider all the contents of your mind illusory, and the word “illusory” itself becomes meaningless and illusory.
I am saying this five phase pattern of feeling exists inside me, it has a real function or real influence in my life. I am giving the pattern form through my Fusion practice. That is the power of my free will to shape myself. The experience is subjectively real to me, and nobody’s scientific experiment or different metaphysical belief can take that experience away from me.
The five phases of chi flows through the organs, it continuously moves through them in repeating cycles. Our goal is to communicate with the five shen and manage changes in their cycles. So we need to set up five energy spheres to act as the clearing house for all our body-mind communications, in this case especially our feelings. For the Heart element, we set up a red sphere, for the water element we set up a blue one, for the metal/gold element, we set up a white pearl. Each vital organ spirit needs its own energy body/pearl, to absorb and concentrate the life force from the environment.
Each pearl is based on color vibration; the wood element is a green sphere, for spring, and the earth element is yellow. This is already the information you have from learning the healing sounds and five animals; it’s the same set of resonant vibrational patterns. We are just learning a deeper level of the same software. We’re moving from beginner Healing Sounds/Five Animals to intermediate with Fusion. Kan and Li gets into more advanced, more subtle levels of our core vibration.
We are cleaning out the cobwebs with the healing sounds, moving out stagnant chi. We’re starting a new kind of communication with the five shen/body spirits. We begin by acknowledging that each one of these five aspects of ourselves has a sound, breath, and feeling pathway. Each has its own will (intention) and direction of movement. When all five of the shen cooperate, a new reality is generated. In Fusion 1 we seek to stabilize this new process, and make it more of a two-way communication between inner and outer chi fields. Not just releasing energy stuck inside our body, but absorbing back into our body fresh clean chi/energy from nature.
But I’ve found in teaching Fusion, for most people this Energy Body with five colored pearls is initially a bit abstract to feel right away. So what we need, in order to set up a very grounded communication system, is to first ask: what is the physical level of fire in our body? What is the physical level of water? Because normally our awareness is operating closer to the physical, and we are thinking, thatd that’s cold. Hot things are like fire, cold things like water.
Creating the Perfect Inner Weather
We are going to learn a new communication pattern, a meditation called “Creating the Perfect Inner Weather”. We are going to create an internal natural environment inside of us that has all five of these elemental qualities. Trying to balance them internally is going to tell us right away what the internal landscape of our psychic weather is really like.
We’ll find out if at the constitutional level our body has stored more heat, or more cold, more wind, moisture, or more dry elements that we didn’t even knew existed. These excesses or deficiencies already exist inside our body-mind; the meditation brings their power to life. We’ll find out how well we can communicate with our five body spirits to inspire them to co-create a completely balanced internal environment.
We will ask these elements to blend together to form what we call the ”perfect inner weather”. Perfect, of course, is different for everyone, depending on our elemental constitution. We begin at a psycho-biological level of our inner reality or weather. Later in the Fusion process we will examine the spiritual levels of that reality and the expression of our five innate virtues or spiritual powers.
A lot of times we suffer through lousy external emotional weather. Perhaps someone has cast an unfair judgment on us, and we feel internally for a long time like that negative thought is still raining on our parade. Or it’s the general bad emotional weather of the people around you – they are grumpy, angry, morose, depressed, and it feels like its being dumped on you in some way. Or we keep reading or seeing on TV how bad and violent things are happening in the world, and you absorb that and it puts a damper on your feelings about your life.
These external weather factors usually are what determine peoples’ inner emotional weather. Whatever “bad” is going on in the outer weather, they take it in and think to themselves, this is a bad day. The Taoists point of view is that there is a microcosm and there is a macrocosm; they constitute our inner world and our outer world.
If you create a powerful inner world, and manage your energy well at the microcosmic level, that positive shape will hold its integrity even if the outer world is shaped differently. In short, you can feel good internally even if bad things are happening all around you. This is not living in a state of denial. Its living from your inner spiritual truth.
The surface appearance of things is very misleading - things can look bad on the outside and they can be good on the inside, or they can look good on the outside, but they can be rotten on the inside. To know which is real, you have to go deep inside things. You could meet someone and they could look physically very attractive and sexy, but inside they may be a wreck psychically, emotionally, and spiritually. But you don’t find out until the morning after, when you discover there was a heavy price tag for having sex. That’s when you realize you have volunteered to fix up the emotional wreck hidden inside the nice looking body.
Cultivating Our True Original Feeling
What is the real point of this meditation? By creating this perfect inner weather, it trains us to start managing the flow of our inner five elements/phases. It eventually allows us to capture the fleeting flow of sensations of subtle chi and feelings and concentrate them into five pearls, so they can be fused into one single feeling, concentrated in your lower dantian/center of gravity.
This Fusion process creates a state of mind that the Taoists call clarity. This neutral state of “clear feeling” is the feeling that arises out of stillness, from your Original Spirit. I call this feeling state of natural calmness “Original Feeling”. It is essentially the feeling ability of your soul, unfiltered by your personality with its elemental imbalances and struggles.
When you get in touch with your Original Feeling, all the secondary layers of reactive personality-centered feeling stop controlling you. It allows you to let go of these old emotions that keep recycling inside you. But we don’t throw away the old, stuck, “bad” emotions. That would be a waste of good chi. In stead, we recycle them. Fusion 1 teaches you to capture all the negative reactive feelings and re-shape their chi into useful creative energy and in-the-moment feelings that enrich your life. All negative essences are gradually transformed and alchemically re-concentrated into our inner pearl.
In Fusion 2 & 3 and later in the Kan & Li formulas, we learn to gradually shift our power of neutral feeling and use it to open up ever expanding layers of feeling, perception, and subtle energy. But you have to begin simple. In the inner weather meditation we will connect our heart/ fire element to the sun, and connect our water element to an inner pool/kidneys. We are going to create of natural appearing scene inside ourselves, and then we are going to enter inside that reality.
Imagination is the Free Will that Shapes Reality
Some might say this Fusion meditation on Perfect Inner Weather is “just” an exercise in imagination. And yes, this is true. But your imagination is actually what manages the life force. So to say something is “just your imagination”, is like saying it’s “just the control panel to your reality”. Fine, you can call it whatever you want. You can hold negative judgments about imagination. Or you can project all your power of imagination onto a creator God or Buddha or a team of deities. Or project it into a material modern scientific hypothesis about how the brain works.
But whatever you believe is holding the power of imagination or creation, that belief is itself an act of imagination, one that you use to shape your reality. There is some power of imagination that is exercising its free will and shaping reality. It is irrelevant where you locate its origins in your belief system. What’s important is that humans, being a microcosm of the whole, have that spark of imaginative free will hidden within themselves. The power of imagination flows through us and is available to us.
But the power of human imagination must be cultivated and activated to be fully realized. Religious or scientific imagination is one way to activate it. I propose that the inner alchemical act of imagination is the most direct act of transformation, and gives us a very pure experience of truth. Alchemy, in tapping natural forces, has fewer mediating cultural symbols, thus allowing for the direct perception of self and Nature.
Direct perception is another way to describe authentic or truthful unfolding of one’s essence. When we really get clear, our personal essence makes direct contact with the essence of everything we encounter. Fusion meditation helps us feel the inner truth of things and people in our life, instead of chasing after their misleading surface.
Imagination is how we shape our emotions, thoughts and our body. Whether we use imagination to feel good or to feel bad is irrelevant. Usually the imaginative function is unconscious. We are imagining our reality all the time, we just don’t identify it as such. How can we label something we are unconscious of? We are constantly re-shaping our perceptions, in response to people or to events. Re-shaping ourself is the same thing as re-imagining ourself. There has to be an “agent” with some level of free will that is doing the imagining.
You have to ask yourself, who is creating my body in this moment? Is it a creative force inside my body-mind, or a force outside of me? The Taoists would say that we, the “form/body”, are appearing from the formless chi field hidden inside us. That this yin-yang or dual soul nature together form our reality. They would agree with the alchemical maxim: “As above, so below; as within, so without”. Our human body-mind is thus a reflection of the Tao. The Tao imagines a cosmos governed by principles of yin-yang and five phases. And this cosmos is populated by humans who imitate the Tao.
Cultivating the Inner Pearl of Direct Perception
By consciously claiming these deep levels of our imagination, and dealing with all the core cycles that control/imagine our psyche, we start to bring them into consciousness and a new level of clarity. What is the unconscious cycle here? It is defined by the yin-yang or positive-negative emotional patterns of our five shen, our vital organ “body gods”. When you practice Fusion of the Five Elements, you begin to engage this level of yourself and bring it into a more pure level of consciousness that is not so easily manipulated by the various polar forces in our lives.
If we are successful with the Fusion process, the unconscious forces buried deep within our psyche are no longer controlling us. Instead, they become responsive to our imagination, to our free will. So this gets into free will issues; who is doing the imagining, is it god imagining my reality? Is it society, is it president Bush and the cabinet imagining my reality, is it my family, my parents imagining my reality, or am I going to do it? Take your pick.
The alchemical goal is to cultivate a state of direct perception, unmediated by all these “outside” religious, political, or familial authority figures. Direct means the authority you accept is the Life Force itself, and its governing principles of Balance (yin-yang) and Harmony (five phases).
Some people will say let god do all the imagining, and then I won’t have any responsibility. If my life comes out bad, God can take all the blame. Now you’ve just disconnected yourself from your true free will. A lot of people say, I want to have control over my life. But they feel isolated, and exhausted by the struggle of “poor little me” against the Big Everything Else.
The point is that the “little you” is connected to the big field of the life force. You could call the big field the god force, the Tao or whatever your religious or spiritual belief system calls it, it doesn’t matter, its just words. If you have a communication system in place it allows you to tap into the Big Field to imagine something. Then that power flows through your imagination and becomes even more powerful the more you use it. It requires trusting yourself, and allowing your intention to actually create and shape your reality. It requires accepting your free will.
Create is actually not the right word. It is a new age platitude to say “you create your own reality”. But the “little you” doesn’t actually create anything. The life force is creating everything, and you are just moving it around, shaping it. We take this piece and move it over here, like they are building blocks or psychic furniture. Fusion 1 is focused on moving around the emotional blockages so you become more free to shape a new reality.
So shaping reality is really what we are learning in the Fusion process, how your imagination shapes the life force and fuses it into a new and more powerfully focused level of consciousness. It shapes it into an inner pearl through the language of the five phases, and it also shapes it through playing with many different yin-yang polarities.
The yin-yang and five phases are two simultaneous cycles going on. They are, in the Taoist viewpoint, the natural expression of your innate virtues or spiritual powers. We are going to take just one, the five phases and work with that in this meditation on Creating the Perfect Inner Weather.
All right, enough talk. Its time to road test our connection to the five phases/five shen using the meditation on Creating the Perfect Inner Weather. Please get centered. Sit on your chair as if it were a meditation throne at the center of the universe. Open your heart to stepping into the Supreme Mystery of the unknown, the uncreated. Invite in any spiritual guides or helpers who are able and willing to assist the unfolding of your imagination and your free will within this body….
Fusion Process Applied to Energy Healing
Many people have developed sensitivity to energy but they don't necessarily have a center of gravity and good grounding for their energy body. That is the main cause of healer burnout. Even if you are not doing energy healing, you can become very sensitive to energy and find yourself completely lost in a sea of energy. When you really surrender to it, it can be overwhelming. You need a compass and navigational system. There are many such systems, but I’ve found Fusion offers the most practical understanding.
Part of the problem is that one of your vital organ spirits might become very open to sensing chi flow in others. You can confuse that new faculty, thinking it represents your entire energy body. You need to keep that hyper-sensitive aspect in balance. I’ve worked on healers who lost the ability to keep boundary between themselves and their clients.
Or sudden new input can be very un-balancing for you and even scare you, and you could back off from it. Sometimes people open up certain energetic capacities, but they don't understand how to use the chi flow or express it appropriately. This is where I have found the Daoist teachings to be extremely practical and grounded.
Many people are interested in healing today. The purpose of the Fusion of the five elements is not specifically oriented toward healing other people. It is oriented toward understanding and managing your own energy flow. But by acquiring that skill and understanding of the experience of the five phases within your own body-mind, you will develop greater sensitivity in doing energy work of any kind. The dysfunctional patterns in others become easy to spot.
In this way Fusion practice will increase your power as a healer because you're going to understand your chi better and manage your flow with others. You'll know more clearly what's arising within your energy field and what is arising from other people. That is critical if you are in the healing business; it can mean the difference between healer burnout and a healer growing more powerful with each treatment.
In a sense we're all healers because we're all dealing with the trauma of being in a body and dealing with the negativity that exists here in the physical plane. So whether or not you call yourself a healer, if you're in a relationship to anybody -- children, family, spouse, co-workers, there's always healing that's going on and there's often wounding that's going on.
Fusion gives us a way of understanding our relationships energetically. The applications of these Taoist inner alchemy techniques are infinite, because life is infinite. Whether you do them alone for yourself or whether you are applying it into your family and business life, or working as an energy healer, understanding these yin-yang and five phase principles can make a huge difference in speeding up your transformation time.
Fusion 1 is one of the most key, most crucial practices to learn. It's really a treasure that captures the essence of Chinese medicine, psychology, and inner alchemy development – all at the same time! Like all alchemical practices, the Fusion techniques initiate what eventually becomes a spontaneous process. It's not like we're going to master Fusion 1 this weekend or even before we begin learning Fusion 2 or 3. Over time you gain more skill, and the longer you study both the yin and the yang Fusion practices you begin to see how they begin to effortlessly influence your daily life.
The Chinese had an absolute genius and clarity of insight on how to be functional in the physical world in a practical way at the same time that you're expanding your spiritual awareness. That you can move in both directions at once, inner and outer, yet end up feeling more integrated. This is what Taoists call cultivating life (ming) and cultivating essence (xing).
This is the trademark of Daoist internal practice. We cultivate both our inner and outer life at the same time. Our complex outer life, the challenge of finding our destiny in the physical world, often stands in sharp contrast to our simple inner presence. Fusion blends our passion for social life with our need for quiet harmony within.
In 1980 I was on a spiritual track to get out of my body, out my crown and into some absolute level of universal being. I was unconsciously creating a split from my body that I think happens to many Western people in their spiritual path. There are varying levels of awareness of this and how to deal with it. Fusion is one of the most crucial tools I have found.
Alchemical transformation is ultimately about centering. It's how to be centered at progressively deeper levels. Centered in your physical body, centered in your feeling body, centered in all the other layers of your energy body up to your soul and the collective spiritual body of humanity. So Fusion of five elements means bringing the five phases to the center and understanding their relationship to the center. So ultimately it's just that simple – in the flux of life, am I centered? Am I the moving point of balance? How do I stay in that point and understand where that point is, even as everything around me cycles through their yin-yang and five phase changes.
The healing sounds and the five animals are about releasing. They're about clearing out and moving each one of those elements. Fusion of the five elements uses the same modality but instead of releasing it, it dissolves it inward . It reverses the direction of chi flow. And this is what allows you to form the pearl to form a center of consciousness for your energy body.
Talk does not cook the rice. Let’s get into the internal practice.
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