- 3 DAN TIENS : DEVELOPING AN IMPENETRABLE, IMPERTURBABLE CORE... -
Nestled within our physical body, we find three energy power stations known in Taoism as Dan Tiens, literally fields of cinnabar... When unblocked and properly understood, the 3 act in unison to form our imperishable core.
We find correspondences between the 3 Dan Tiens, the 7 Chakras and the Shamanic 8 Circuits: all those stylized descriptions of the energy body, emanating from different traditions, share many common points. Inevitably, and because we are dealing with invisible things, relating more to feelings and sensations, the mapping of the energy body will be influenced by the time and space where it originated. The point of interest here is that what should strike the curious mind is not that they don't match exactly, but rather that they are so close in their approximate attempts to describe the indescribable.
This wordy and hard to chew paragraph being done with, let's get down to business. In this article, I will talk a little about the Dan Tiens, and suggest that the exercise offered below is a great entry point into developing awareness of the energy body before possibly moving on to more involved visualizations. In our times of haste and general disinterest, we can look at it like a bait and switch to their more involved cousins from Tantrism or Taoism.
The first Dan Tien, the 'ocean of vitality', coincides with another fundamental center, the Hara, and is located a little below the navel, about two inches back towards the spine. It transforms the raw passive energy of Chi or Prana into physical strength, stamina and sexual desire, all necessary to survive and thrive on our little planet. It is the lowest function of energy, in the sense of the basic foundation upon which all life rests.
The middle Dan Tien is called the 'crimson palace' which is aptly located in the middle of our chest at heart level, about 3 inches back towards the spine. This center is responsible for transmuting the kinetic energy coming from the ocean of vitality into passions and emotions, without which life would be flat, dull and meaningless. It is the function that makes us humans feel qualities like love and hate, desire and aversion, generosity and greed etc... and prevents us from all becoming Mr Spock.
The upper Dan Tien is the 'cave of the original spirit' and is located roughly in the middle of the brain where the pineal gland resides, and coincides with the third eye. In addition to keeping the hardware and software efficient and upgrading regularly the operating system, it is responsible for transmuting energy into intelligence, i.e assimilate incoming signals from our sense organs and organize them into usable information for our brains. The third eye also holds the ability to see things that physical eyes can't see.
When those 3 functions are on, unimpeded and working together, the power to act in unison with the heart and having the intelligence to appreciate it is ours.
Below is a simple visualisation exercise to help access the qualities of the three DanTiens. This will effectively open and balance the psychic forces appertaining to them.
'In your lower abdomen is the dark, fathomless, night-time ocean, moonlight reflecting on the waves. The underswell is flowing from front to back inside you. This endless current represents your strength and stamina. Spend some quiet moments synchronizing your breathing with the ebb and flow of the waves, then redirect your attention up the face of the cliffs which rise steeply from the sea, along the front of your spinal column into the middle of your chest.
Here you find the crimson palace, perched in all its splendor at the cliff top, doors and windows opened wide to emit a strong crimson light for all within a thousand miles to see. This light represents your inexhaustible love and passion for life. Spend a while synchronizing your breathing with the outpouring of those crimson rays, then start your ascent up the mountain side passing the jade pagoda (your cervical vertebrae) until you finally reach...
...the cave of the original spirit, nestled in the rarefied air of the highest mountain peaks which pierce the sky just below the crown of your head. Here you sit, uplit in Crimson, sidelit in other-wordly, whitish original spirit light, the sounds of crashing waves far below you, looking out into infinite inner space. This endless space represents the infinite intelligence which is both you and yours'