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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Creating Personal Energy

Personal Energy or Ch'i Training - How to Get It and Use It

This blog, and possibly several that I'll post after this, will address a topic brought up by Donald Michael Kraig (DM Kraig), author of Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts (see link below). Don, who writes on the Llewellyn website blog, recently posted a brief discussion on how we generate magickal energy. Don's post referenced one by a gentleman referred to as "Frater A.I.T.," on personal energy work. A little extreme, maybe, but to-the-point.

The essence of Frater's message is that if we are to be effective with "magickal" work (that is, using our intention and will to create reality as we desire), then we must be doing some form of "personal energy work." Frater A.I.T. references the "Middle Pillar," which is an energy-draw-down exercise well known in esoteric circles. In fact, Israel Regardie, one of the 20th century's leading esoteric masters, wrote a book on this subject, The Middle Pillar.

There are actually four things that we need to do, for effective magical (or "magickal") work:

  • Access personal energy, or ch'i,
  • Remove (or at least ease) the tension blocks in our bodies that keep us from accessing and circulating our personal energy, or ch'i,
  • Build and circulate our ch'i,
  • Direct our ch'i, or intrinsic vital energy, according to our will.

In The Middle Pillar, Regardie makes two very useful points supporting the above. First, he identifies the importance of clearing out the tensions (both physical and psychic) that would inhibit our free flow and use of personal vital energy. On p. 86 of The Middle Pillar, he states,

"... unless some method is devised for distributing [the awakened energy] and thus relieving the pressure, the center itself will in the course of time suffere derangement through over-stimulus, and there is bound to ensue some serious disturbance to the nervous and psychic system.

Freud, Jung, Reich, and others have all identified the association between emotional or "psychic" tension and tension in our bodies. Ida P. Rolf, founder of Structural Integration (Rolfing-TM)noted the same.

One of the clear goals of hatha yoga is to prepare our bodies for increased energy flow, and one means of doing this is to open up the various tight spots where we tend to store "stuck" psychic or emotional residue, along with physical tension and pain. Eckhart Tolle further describes the existence of our pain-bodies, in The New Earth. (While Tolle does not associate pain-body with our tendency to store aspects of it in our physical bodies, this is well-known to both practitioners of hands-on healing methods as well as practitioners of body arts, such as T'ai Chi Ch'uan.)

Regardie's second useful point has to do with circulating this vital energy, or ch'i. He quotes from the revered Chinese manual, The Secret of the Golden Flower (p. 88):

Therefore you only have to make the Light circulate; that is the deepest and most wonderful secret.

All this is to set a background for discussion.

The Middle Pillar brings energy down from higher consciousness. When a person is able to do this, he or she can then circulate the energy.

An alternative means of accessing personal energy - not necessarily igniting the various centers, but certainly a good way to bring in energy - is to use the Taoist method of the Microcosmic Orbit. This leads to the same kind of energy circulation as is described in Middle Pillar instructions as "Circulating the Body of Light."

After being reminded, by both D.M. Kraig and Frater A.I.T. (through their blogposts) of the importance of energy circulation, I added various energy-development and circulation exercises back to my daily routine. In particular, I began with the Chinese Silk-Weaving Exercises, which I initially learned many years ago from a book by Michael Minick (now sadly out of print).

In future posts, I'll describe some of the results of my practice. For the moment, let me add my encouragement to both D.M. Kraig and Frater A.I.T. with regard to energy practice. However, allow me to specifically recommend yoga together with basic T'ai Chi and Chi Kung. If you can find good YouTube vids on the Silk-Weaving exercises, please share. (I may have to make and post my own.) These practices, being more physically-based, will have a greater likelihood of energizing our physical bodies and clearing out stress points. Then, it should be easier to do the more cognitively-based exercises, such as the Middle Pillar.

Best wishes to all.


Steven Barnes said...

Do you agree that Chi Gung is the intrinsic energy system driving Tai Chi?

Alay'nya said...

Dear Steve -

Thanks for your question, and apologies for time-delay in getting back with you, and the answer is - more or less - yes. Chi kung is an energy revitalizing and circulatioon system, largely associated with breathing. Tai chi contains much more in the way of movement patterns. But both of these are just systems - the important thing is to know what we are seeking to create and experience; to attend to our experience as we do this creation. Then, the "systems" serve us - rather than us serving the system!