The ultimate aim of Taoism and Chinese medicine is to reorganize our consciousness and put us on a path that enables us to develop from ordinary people into cosmic beings. Chi is the secret ingredient in this and you could say the chi-cycle, the 24-hour flow of cosmic energy, is the recipe. The Taoists understood that the universe is a massive chi-matrix, a web of interconnectivity, and that following the chi-cycle is the means by which we can link into it. Once we do this, our destiny becomes clear and the impossible becomes possible. So they developed a lifestyle in which everything we do – from eating to sleeping to sex – builds chi and creates health. But everything we do is also cosmically aligned so we can access the matrix and achieve the greatness we are all destined for. The chi-cycle is an amazing lifestyle. It takes care of everything from the practical ‘what to do when’, to the profound ‘what am I here for’. And even though it is ancient, it is still the most effective ‘happiness system’ I’ve come across.
We all want a more meaningful life and we want to get in touch with our spiritual side and destiny, and following the chi-cycle lifestyle delivers all of this. I think it is an idea whose time has finally come. We have to adapt it to the 21st century though. In my previous articles and book, The Perfect Day Plan, I looked at every two hours of the chi-cycle and how to improve organ function and feel fantastic. This started at the traditional 5am time, but this early a start is inaccessible in many contemporary lifestyles so in these new articles – focusing on the mystical role of the chi-cycle and our spiritual health – I’ll be working with a more accessible daily routine. This ties in with the chi-cycle by following the cosmic flow of yin and yang and it still moves you towards your destiny, just at a slower pace. I’ve divided this daily routine into in eight segments as follows: chi-practice, breakfast, work hard, lunch, work less hard, play, wind-down, sleep.
A happy life is one of movement and rhythm and I think of these eight segments as an eight-bar beat, a pulse, an endlessly engaging trance rhythm which creates the foundation for limitless complex harmonies. Doing the same things at the same time and in the same order every day creates the beat. So if you usually wake up at 8am, for example, start your routine then. Focus on establishing rhythm then slowly shift the entire routine to start earlier. This scheduled lifestyle might be sounding very un-mystical but, having researched the chi-cycle extensively and lived in harmony with it for years, I know that, over time, this repetition creates the foundation for a life that feels totally spontaneous. Also, one that allows you to fulfill your destiny. The Taoists say that the more you work with your destiny, the more contentment and happiness you will experience in life. The more you avoid it, the harsher your life will be.
Working with your destiny begins with the first part of the daily routine, the chi practice. If you want a healthy, happy, mystical and magical life, get up after you have had between 7 to 8 hours sleep, and get straight into breathing techniques and a chi practice. We may have already hit a hurdle here at ‘get up’, because the first thought most people have on waking is “I need more sleep”. This is natural. Sleep is what they call primordial (astral) chi in Chinese medicine, it is mystical. You return to your cosmic self when you sleep. You are free from the physical world and all your symptoms and concerns. As soon as you wake, they are in your face again and going back to sleep is highly appealing. But when you wake up you are ‘energetically’ closest to the most mystical time in the whole chi-cycle and, as such, closest to your spiritual home. You have an opportunity now to consciously connect to your cosmic self and your purpose so resist going back to sleep.
Also resist the temptation to wake and immediately check messages, emails or facebook on your phone or some other communication device. The moment you do this (or read the paper, listen to the radio or watch TV) you are affirming that the mundane affairs of the physical world are more important than your purpose and destiny. You are confirming to the universe that other people’s ideas and /or gossip have priority over the evolution of your soul. You’ll feel scattered and off-path for the day ahead and drift away from happiness and towards misery. If you are in the habit of using your phone to wake up and then usually start checking your messages, I’d recommend getting an alarm clock instead. Set it to allow you at least 45 minutes for breathing, yoga or tai-chi before you have to be anywhere or do anything else.
We all know that doing practices like yoga and tai-chi make you feel calm, centred and energized, but in the mystical chi-cycle context, there is much more to it than that. The details of your destiny, known as your ‘contract with Heaven’, are encoded and stored in your organs. Each of these organs contains an ‘orb’, a carrier of divine consciousness, that holds part of this information. As it is in ‘energetic’ form, you need to be in an altered state to access it. Chi, which is usually translated as ‘energy’, in the West, is actually simultaneously ‘energy, information and consciousness’. Doing breathing techniques and your chi practice puts you in subtly altered states so you can receive information. Doing this as soon as you wake is really important. Each of the eight parts of the routine is connected with certain organs and by engaging with chi first thing upon waking, you are activating lung and large intestine energies. The orbs in these organs are the code-breakers. They allow the information on your contract to be released and this is a key in determining whether or not the day ahead will lead you to destiny.
This is mystical business and you need specific techniques to enable this process to take place. I use a classic chi-gung for this. I stand still, arms by my side, in an upright posture, with legs shoulder width apart and knees slightly soft. This is known as a ‘correction posture’. It is a simple pose but it aligns your three major energy centres with Tao. All internal chatter and analytical thought automatically slows to stillness and you become pure awareness. Then I direct my awareness internally to the five major organs (lungs, heart, liver, kidney and spleen). Following this I send my awareness out to the far reaches of the cosmos. This creates a connection between the orbs, organs and the cosmic chi matrix. Then, while exhaling, I squat down low and scoop up earth energies with my hands. Inhaling as I rise up, I draw those energies to my heart with my hands. Then I reach my arms up to Heaven inhaling and draw Heavenly energies down into my heart while exhaling. I repeat this slowly for several minutes. This simple action is utterly profound. It is an acknowledgement of our dual nature, that we belong equally in the physical and mystical. This is the foundation for finding our cosmic self.
After my chi-gung, which ‘gathers chi’, I circulate and direct chi through my body by doing tai-chi. In the morning these practices are concentration techniques to lock your mind into the present. Over time, with regular practice, you proceed from gathering and directing, to ‘dissolving’ in chi. This is where your singular awareness dissolves into cosmic awareness. You don’t perceive yourself as a separate entity anymore, you perceive yourself via everything around you. This is an experience of your cosmic self. But returning to the health aspect of the chi-cycle for a moment, chi heals, so this is the perfect time to direct chi to your emotional or physical pain, or anything that comes to mind that you are worried about or feel you can’t do – like changing your job, facing your fears or handling financial stress.
Directing chi in this way, keeps negativity from embedding in your body and creating pathologies including anxiety and panic disorders, high blood pressure, digestive problems (IBS) and even heart disease (more on this in the next article). So there’s a lot of good reasons to do this morning chi practice from practical to mystical. If you miss this great chi start to the day, you are more likely to feel unwell, scattered, weak, emotionally reactive and worried about what others think or expect of you. Dissatisfaction, cynicism and depression can arise. So keep the chi practice going. Don’t worry about whether or not you are doing it correctly. No one practices perfectly. It’s about the sincerity of your practice, not the proficiency.
Now, if you want to seriously amplify the mystical benefits of the chi-cycle, shift your whole routine to start at 5am. Cosmic chi showers the earth at that time and you can perceive things beyond the physical. Within each 24 hour cycle, there is a series of ‘destiny gateways’ which guide your actions to resonate with your purpose. At 5am the first gateway, the Mysterious Pass, (said to be in the mystical Kunlun mountains) appears, and through it lies entry to the subsequent gateways. Working with your breathing techniques and chi practices at this time awakens cosmic chi (which is stored in your Dantien or lower abdomen). The cosmic chi then finds the cosmic self and draws it into your body. This chi practice allows entry to the Mysterious Pass and sets in motion mystical encounters for the day ahead. The gateways direct you, and you will see, hear, recognize or be drawn to certain people, places, books, foods, websites or events that will put you on the path to purpose.
Don’t get sucked into the idea that your life will then be easy though. The path to destiny is not necessarily smooth. You still have to overcome obstacles and work on the practicalities of achieving your destiny (I’ll cover the practical guide to purpose in article 4). It is when the effort and intensity you put into this practical side, matches your commitment to the mystical, that things can happen. And then they will happen regardless of how unrealistic your destiny or dream might seem, because the fundamental nature of life is mystical. It is all chi. So, trust that the mystical world is as real and important as the material world, trust in the chi-cycle and your chi practice. It has prepared you for the next part of the day, ‘breakfast’ where you have an opportunity to ground that mystical information into your body, proceed to the next destiny gateway and connect more strongly to your cosmic self.