These days as the temperature drops below zero, everyone is getting busy with many winter preparations such as clearing the garden, and changing to winter tires. All the trees and plants are also preparing for winter. They are making seeds or gathering the nutrients and energy from their leaves back down into their roots so they can burst into new leaves and flowers next year. The human body actually does something similar. When a person is young he or she grows and develops quickly, and their energy moves outward. But as they get into middle and old age they have to gather and store their qi in their roots so they can continue to be healthy. In a human being, where is the “root of the body”?
The wise men of ancient East Asia said that it was in something called the Dan Tien. This is usually categorized into 3 parts: the lower, middle, and upper Dan Tien, which could be compared to the 2nd, 4th, and 6th chakras in traditional yoga. Above all, those wise men thought most highly of the lower Dan Tien.
It is said that disease and the dross of the body and mind can be melted down to nothing in the Dan Tien. At the same time, pure, original energy and “fresh mind” stream out from it. To use an astronomy comparison, this is like both a black hole and a white hole within our own body. If we maintain a practice of concentrating our breathing and consciousness on this Dan Tien, we can restore the health of our body and the wisdom of our mind, and achieve a long life.
Modern people live with so many diseases because they don’t truly understand the order of nature and the root of the body. We aren’t able to just stop and easily make our thinking and energy converge down into the Dan Tien, so our energy always tends to rise up and create heat in the head, while our lower parts tend to always be cold and weak. Typical upper region symptoms include stress, insomnia, headaches, dry eyes, poor memory, ringing ear, high blood pressure, blurry vision, irritability, anxiety, depression, and dementia, etc., while typical lower region symptoms include edema, obesity, cold hands and feet, lower back pain, knee pain, prostate, impotence, etc. These symptoms are called floating Yang syndrome. Yang floats up and can’t go down to create balance with Yin, and Yin also becomes scorched to weakness by Yang.
One of the best ways to sink this “floating” down is meditation. If a person would like to try meditation, first it is necessary to be taught by someone who is experienced. But I’d like to say that physically the key is to sit comfortably with the spine naturally erect and breathe deeply and naturally. Another key is spiritually to release everything, let it all go.
This winter, when the energy in nature is going down into the roots, let’s go back to our own roots.