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Does Natural Energy Bring Enlightenment?

There is a strange notion going around about spiritual life. The notion is that by developing our natural energies, or qi in Chinese terms, we are developing spiritually. Qigong, yoga, energy healing of various kinds, these are powerful systems, and sometimes enthusiastically touted as paths to enlightenment in themselves.  It is an understandable thought- after all, our civilization spent millennia completely ignoring this side of reality, so rediscovering the potential of natural energy was bound to make us a little giddy.


The Role of Natural Energy Work

There is no doubt that energy work is a powerful level of personal development, a healing modality that affects the entire organism, a profound avenue for discovering our potential as human beings, and a foundational tool for spiritual life. Energy work can help us to clear mental and physical ailments and trauma that hold us back. It can clarify our powers of perception and our ability to align our lives with powerful universal principles. The experience of real energy work is often powerful and a profound revelation of our own potential. To experience the universe as energy and consciousness rather than matter is a transformative realisation for many.

But that energy is still, in the terminology of the hesychast tradition, created. There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself. But Authentic Ancient Traditions recognise that there is a distinction between natural energy and divine or uncreated energy, the divine love. Only in the latter do we have contact with the Absolute. Even Taoism, of all traditions the most excited about energy work, acknowledged a distinction between natural and primordial energy, between natural energy work and spiritual cultivation. The good news is that that divine energy exists as potential within each of us.  The bad news is that unless we cultivate it, we risk becoming like a gardener who weeds and fertilizes and waters but doesn’t plant anything.



What we have here is in part a challenge of worldview or cosmology. Having rejected the Western view that God is outside of nature, what we call panextheism, many people default to some form of pantheism- God is nature in one way or another. But the third alternative, the alternative pointed to by the AATs, is panentheism- God is everywhere present throughout nature, but still distinct. We, and all of nature, are made to share in the energies of the Absolute and to be transformed by them.

Divine and natural energies are thus not unrelated. But we can’t just cultivate qi and expect to find enlightenment or deification. When the energy system of the human organism allows itself to make room for the divine energies, the energy system itself transforms. Created energy finds itself, aligns with its intended function, only in contact with divine love. Hesychasm calls this the process of deification, and it profoundly transforms the whole organism. Without this, natural energy ultimately cannot overcome its own corruption.


The Magic Pill

Our culture has a particular fascination with instant results.  Because the results of energy work are so immediately apparent, it is tempting to see energy work itself as the ultimate solution.  We’d like to believe that someone can have us on the table for twenty minutes and reconnect us once and for all with the Absolute.  It would certainly be more convenient.  But unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way.  Energy work can help us a great deal, make it easier to do the work, but in the end it is we who have to make room in ourselves for the Absolute to act.


Conclusion- The Path and the Goal

Energy work is a potent and, in our culture especially, indispensable aid to spiritual life. But we should not mistake this important part of the path for the goal.  To stabilise our moment-to-moment contact with the divine love, to make room for it to abide in us and transform us, is an endeavour that requires not only energy work, not only prayer and meditation, but a conscious approach to every aspect of life.

Book Review: Nei Kung: The Secret Teachings of the Warrior Sages

In his first book, The Magus of Java, Kosta Danaos wrote of his encounter with a Taoist master living on the island of Java.  Nei Kung is the sequel, attempting to amplify the teachings of this particular Taoist lineage in light of Danaos’ knowledge and experiences onto a much broader set of issues related to human spirituality, society and understanding of the world.


It is difficult to adequately convey a unifying impression of Kosta Danaos’ second book; it seems to defy single interpretation, perhaps by design.  It is challenging, diverse, mixing personal experience, concrete technique and informed speculation into something that is less a synthesis than a series of thematically-related inspirational materials.

The book takes a great deal of time explaining Danaos’ speculative views of the spiritual underpinnings of human history, pre-history, evolution, physics and many other subjects, but the real treasures in the book are the fruits of personal experience, some his own and some from those he has encountered along the way.

What really commends Danaos’ book to any spiritual seeker are the personal accounts of spiritual life, almost any one of which would individually have made the book worth reading!  In one passage, Danaos finds himself conversing with the spirits of a mountain in Greece, who ask him to intervene to stop a strip-mining operation.  Accounts of such spirits inherent in the natural world are common to many traditions, including Taoism and both Celtic Druidism and the Celtic Christianity which succeeded it (Celtic saints’ lives are often predominantly accounts of their power in the natural world).  The Eastern Christian mystical tradition is filled with similar phenomena as well.  Consideration and study of these beings, in whatever mode they may exist, is more than timely as we are faced with the damage done to the earth by modern man.

In another account, Danaos meets a man who was literally a week dead and about to be cremated when he returned to his body, having had a profound spiritual encounter.  He woke up with a sudden perfect knowledge of Mandarin, though he had spoken only English before.  These narratives are coupled with a call to meditation and self-cultivation that is earnest and backed by a profundity of experience and conviction.


Danaos’ speculations, while undeniably interesting and occasionally enlightening (particularly those pertaining to spirituality in the distant past), are given in something of a shorthand way, leaving the picture too incomplete for the reader to draw conclusions one way or another.  That said, there are many points on which I feel that Danaos is undeniably correct, such as his observations about the enhanced natural faculties of so-called non-civilized peoples.  I believe he is also correct in his reconciliation of divine love with human suffering on the basis of freedom of choice, although how exactly it fits in with the foregoing discussion of guided evolution is not clear.  These passages are worth reading as part of ongoing discussion of these issues, but not enough of a clear picture emerges to evaluate their merits as theories.

Reading what Danaos had to say on the difference between religion and spirituality was timely, as we’ve just finished the first unit on Spirituality for the Resilient Life Code, which contains a detailed account of the institutionalization process as it affects spiritual traditions.  Danaos perhaps doesn’t have a complete picture of the process as it affects Christianity (nor for that matter a very complete view of the original Christian spiritual tradition, though as a Greek, he is more aware of it than most other authors), but he’s on the right track on many points.  In particular, his characterization of the Emperor Constantine’s character and motives is highly amusing.

Danaos’ views on the nature of (human) spirits struck me as the oddest thing about the whole book.  His account is either incomplete or imprecise.  He identifies the spirit with the unconscious- a lower, yin faculty without the power of active thought or decision, a simple reservoir of whatever impressions it gains in life, and helpless to think, learn or act after death.  He advocates meditation as a means not just of merging the conscious with the subconscious, which it is, but of more firmly imprinting the image of the conscious mind onto the subconscious so that we can maintain a more substantial “selfhood” after death.

I am not certain this view squares even with the experiences he recounts, still less with the broader view of many authentic ancient traditions.  Most traditions would identify the spirit not as the subconscious mind, and definitely not as an impotent lower faculty, but rather as the higher faculty on which we are working through meditation in order to render it clear, to bring it to its true nature.  This being the case, we need not have any doubts of the power of a realized spirit, in the body or out of it.  Not only does the reversal of the classical yin-yang associations of body and spirit strike me as odd, but Danaos’ position on the issue reminds me of the conversation of Odysseus with the shades of his fallen companions at the gates of the underworld.  The shades are portrayed as miserable, lifeless shadows, whose only ambition is to drink the blood of living things sacrificed to them, in order to taste a little of life.  Achilles’ shade even says, “I would rather be a paid servant in a poor man’s house and be above ground than king of kings among the dead.”  And remember, these were the great heroes, entitled to the Elysian Fields, not the common mass of humanity.  This was exactly the kind of existential pessimism that the late Romans began to reject in perhaps one of the greatest spiritual awakenings in history.

Don’t expect to actually encounter an abundance of practical Nei Kung teachings, despite the title.  At most, this book provides a guide to basic energy-cultivation meditation, coupled with a theoretical picture of what the higher levels look like.  As no doubt with many ancient lineages, when it comes to spreading knowledge beyond the traditional master-disciple relationship, this one is still dipping a toe in the water.

I don’t wish to come across as overly critical; this is a marvellous and inspirational book.  Its overall message is sound, even if its speculations are sometimes scattered or incomplete.

Now, if you would like to acquaint yourself with Kosta’s master, “John Chang”, just click on the link below and turn up your speakers:


~Dr. Symeon Rodger

Guarding ESSENCE: Taking control of the root of your health

Chinese medicine, in contrast to Western medicine, is designed to keep your body healthy rather than just reacting to illness.  The first step to realising this proactive approach is a constellation of strategies collectively called “guarding essence.”  Jing, Qi (pronounced “chee”) and Shen, or Essence, Energy and Spirit, are cornerstones of the Taoist understanding of the human organism.

Essence or Jing is the building block, the fuel if you will, for Qi and Shen.  The degree to which you cultivate and protect your essence determines the energy and vitality that you will have.  Essence is divided into prenatal and postnatal, prenatal essence being the store that you have from before birth that is stored in the kidney organ system, while postnatal essence is produced in your body from in the form of vital fluids, such as blood, hormones, cerebrospinal fluid and lymph.

Food and water are necessary to produce postnatal essence, therefore the first step to balancing essence is to ensure quality fuel for your body.  Chinese medicine classifies food according to its energetic properties; yin foods having a calming or cooling effect and yang vice versa.  These can be consumed in balance based on an awareness of the needs of the your system, for instance by consuming yang food in cold weather.  Before the twentieth century, there was a natural balance between climate and diet, with fruits and vegetables being consumed in summer and heavier, fattier foods in winter.  Even the US Army ran into this principle when it started fighting in jungle climates.  It was quickly discovered that the heavy, high-energy rations used in northern climates led to illnesses.  The result was the creation of specialised “jungle rations.”

Chemically, the distinction is often between foods that have an alkalising effect on your body and those with an acidifying effect.  Your body has mechanisms that regulate its pH balance, but because your body, and particularly the blood, has such a narrow tolerance for pH variation, acidification particularly becomes a health issue, associated with nervous disorders, chronic fatigue, gout, osteoporosis and pretty much every form of degenerative disease.

Essence transforms into energy, and enzymes are a catalyst your body uses for that process.  Enzymes themselves are endowed with measurable energy.  Although your body can produce enzymes, it also gains necessary enzymes from fresh foods.  Unfortunately, large parts of the modern Western diet are nearly devoid of enzymes because of the methods used to cultivate and process them.  Chemical, radiological and thermal interference leave foods enzyme-dead, with your body expending essence to make up the difference.

There are many nutritional principles that we can go through, from food combining to the place of fermented foods in the diet.  Perhaps the most important general rule for guarding your essence through proper nutrition is to avoid putting large quantities of unnatural chemicals into your system.  This could be refined sugar (which is a foreign substance to your body and causes insulin spikes which in turn cause hormonal imbalances that wreak havoc with your immune system), transfats (a carcinogenic mutation of familiar fats and oils through the introduction of chemicals or prolonged heat), fruits and vegetables treated with pesticides, or, especially, genetically modified, hormone and antibiotic-ridden meat.  The idea that the body can cope with this bombardment of totally unnatural molecules and biological inputs without ill effects is ludicrous.

Apart from nutrition, there are a few other ways you can protect essence.  Modern diets lead to toxic bowels, owing to problems like enzyme and fibre-poor foods and improper food combinations further exacerbated by stress.  This slows digestion and compresses stool, allowing toxins to build up and impacting the bowel.  These toxins are then translated into your bloodstream.  Taking the time to cleanse your bowel actually helps to clean the blood, and all of the tissues to which the blood is carrying those toxins.

A Chinese saying goes that a moving hinge gathers no rust, and your body, which is designed to be active, cannot be healthy without exercise.  If your various essential fluids are not exercised, they will stagnate, and the same applies to the joints, which are also a key concern of Chinese medicine.  We have previously written about some of the exercise methods you could use, but at the basic level, anything that gets you moving out in the fresh air and sunlight is the first choice.  Massage and Chiropractic, which get the fluids, tissues and joints moving, are also helpful.

What if the balance of your essence has broken down and your system has gotten to the point of acute illness?  The answer of traditional Chinese medicine is simple.  First, stop eating all heavy, acidifying and mucus-forming foods, especially meat, dairy, most starch and all sugar, and if possible, fast on filtered water.  This is the most basic method of eliminating toxins and allowing the system to reset.  If you can’t fast completely, restrict yourself to fresh fruits and vegetables.  Also important are bowel cleansing and appropriate herbal supplements.  The latter can substantially boost your immune system and promote detoxification.

One thing that sometimes does not come across in popular works on Chinese medicine and yet is essential to guarding your essence is this: your mind effects your body and vice versa.  If you feel bad mentally and stress is making you either sluggish or frantic, this feeling can be symptomatic of a physical imbalance that can be addressed by the methods of cultivating essence.  In general these methods should improve your ability to cope with stress.  But it also works the other way:  if your mental state is imbalanced, that affects the functions of your body, and no one can recover a balanced essence if they are not on a path toward feeling good mentally.

You can watch a good introduction to Chinese medicine right here.  Pay special attention whenever the speakers talk about your immune system – as long as your Jing is strong and flourishing, your immune system will fight off just about anything:

The principle of guarding essence is important above all because it requires you not just to try to follow a list of requirements and hope it makes you healthy, but to experiment and be active in safeguarding the very source of your health.  There is a Taoist principle which can be rendered as, “inflexible goal, flexible methods.”  In other words, in applying these principles, you begin to become aware of your own state and proactively do what will help to restore the balance of your Jing.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Your Energy Body – the Science is In…

For a long time now you’ve been hearing people talk about raising your vibration and frequency.  And ancient traditions constantly speak of the light emanating from holy / enlightened beings.  But what does the science say?  What can the latest, cutting edge research tell us about any of this?  Is it true or just ancient myth mixed with New Age nonsense?  Keep reading to find out…

Caution: if you’re firmly wedded to the Newtonian world view, then for you this post is rated well beyond “PG-13”.

We are electromagnetic beings.  Thanks to the research of people like Gary Schwartz, Fritz Popp and many others, we know that human electromagnetism is expressed on many different levels.  Russian scientists Kirlian and Korotkov developed technology to photograph the so-called “aura,” the bioelectric fields surrounding the human body, technology widely used in Russia for diagnostic purposes.  Schwartz, amusingly, began his interest in the field when he discovered at the age of seven that he could substitute him own body for the rabbit-ears on his television set and achieve perfect picture.  And if you’re old enough to remember rabbit-ears, you may have done the same thing!

You Transmit Information Constantly

Tests of energy healers, for example, have revealed that healing is accompanied by much higher than normal electrostatic and magnetic fields emanating from the healer.  The implication is that humans can be trained to use their intention to manipulate electromagnetic fields.  But that is not all.  Healers also register higher than normal emission of photons- light.

I say “normal” because all living things do emit light.  Put a plant in a darkened space in front of the right camera, and you get a perfect image of the plant in its own light.  A similar procedure carried out on the hands of a healer showed coherent streams of light emanating from them.  Fritz Popp has been able to show that DNA is the control mechanism for the frequencies at which this light is emitted.  What makes light from living organisms extraordinary is its counter-intuitive tendency toward coherent oscillation.  Ordinary light is not coherent.  It interferes with itself and thus is limited in the distance it seems to travel.  Coherent light, like that produced by a laser, travels much farther.  In a phenomenon dubbed “super-radiance,” the light emitted by a living thing acts like a single frequency.

German biophysicist Herbert Frohlich created a model showing that complex dynamic systems, like living organisms, tend to organize energy coherently.  Subatomic particles which have become coherent become electromagnetically linked and resonate together rather than separately.  Living energy is the highest form of coherence discovered in nature.  Coherence of this kind was postulated in matter by Einstein, and may be a key to superfluid and superconductive materials- matter that, respectively, flows and allows electricity to flow through without losing energy.

And You Are Receiving Information Too…

So, we are beings of light and our intention is expressed as light.  We are transmitting information, but are we receiving?

Cleve Backster was a leading expert in lie detection.  In a moment of bored experimentation, he hooked a lie detector up to a plant, with the idea that by measuring electrical conduction at different points he could measure the rate at which it absorbed water.  And then, prompted by a misinterpretation of his own readings, he thought he had registered a human-like emotional response from the plant.  He then threatened the plant with a match.  This reading was not a mistake.  The moment the thought entered his head, the needle jumped.  Backster would spend decades designing controlled experiments through which he managed to show that plants are both receivers and re-transmitters of feeling and intention.  And it’s not only things like plant-mold and yogurt bacteria that react to human emotional states.  Once two organisms become attuned to one another, it doesn’t matter how far away they are; they will react to the emotional state of the other.

So, plants do receive.  What about animals?  Fritz Popp discovered that fleas transmit, receive, and retransmit light to each other, as though providing updates.  But it was Korotkov who used his equipment to monitor the reaction of humans to intention transmitted by other humans.  The light discharge of the recipient of the intention changed markedly according to the emotion being broadcast.

You’ve Been Kept in the Dark for Decades

Unfortunately, the scientific community never really listened to Backster, not because he was not meticulous in designing his experiments, but because he lacked formal credentials – and of course because it didn’t want to accept his findings.  To accept any of the findings we have talked about in this post individually is a stretch for the Newtonian worldview; to accept that they have transformative implications for understanding how life relates to other life, to accept that there is anything here that changes how we understand the human experience, is something that the materialist mindset cannot abide.  Korotkov, a physicist, repeated these experiments with more advanced equipment, and, building on the work of others, was able to explain the effects.

So the data was in decades ago and much of the more recent experimentation has simply validated that data, expanded on it and begun to uncover even more intriguing things about this wonderful world and how we relate to it.  Yet you will seldom see anything about this in the mainstream because the implications are HUGE, far too huge for most people to contemplate.

And I think you understand what I’m getting at here.  If life and all living systems are interconnected transmitters and receivers of coherent light, if life itself tends toward empathy and coherence, that insight has tremendous implications for our view of the world, for our thought processes, for our individual behaviors.  It means that meditation, energy healing, and all of the marvelous claims which ancient traditions have always made about the potential of human consciousness need not be seen as remote and improbable, or the unique achievements of a few gifted individuals, but an obvious and logical response of humanity to the way the world really works. 

Ultimately, of course, it means that your consciousness has an affect on the material reality around you, and that is the final nail in the coffin for the Newtonian worldview.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger 🙂

A Sure Sign of Your Decline…

No, it’s not gray hair.  It is just as easy to spot, though.  So read on to learn more…

And YES, we’ve found a video for you that you definitely won’t want to miss. But don’t CHEAT! Read this post from the top and watch the video at the proper time if you want to benefit.

As People Age 

A funny thing happens when people get older. And by “older” I mean as early as their forties! They become more “top heavy” in the sense that their attention becomes more focused on their torso and head, while they increasingly ignore their lower body entirely and reduce it to a transportation system that takes them (by walking) from point A to point B. I remember vividly watching my own father in this regard. I only saw him try to “run” once and that was when I was about 5 years old, so he was still in his forties – it was during a game of hide-and-go-seek in our backyard and it wasn’t much of a run as I recall! But Dad got virtually no exercise and was a typical example of what I’m talking about here. Not that he was much overweight – he wasn’t. However, like so many people today after the age of forty, if he had fallen or suddenly had to “hit the deck” or dive to the ground, there would have been a horrible mess of ripped and torn muscles, tendons and ligaments, and probably some broken bones too!

The Taoist longevity tradition is constantly inviting us to consider the image of the child. Children are so full of Qi or “vital energy” and feel so close to the ground. They love to tumble and roll and engage their WHOLE bodies in continuous physical activity. The ancient Taoist masters developed forms of exercise to imitate these child-like dynamics on the hypothesis that they were congruent with LIFE, while the “top heavy” dynamic that sets in with so many adults is only congruent with DEATH. And, from the fact that they were able to reliably extend the human lifespan well past one hundred years in great physical, mental and emotional health, the Taoist scientists concluded their hypothesis was correct.

Flexibility and Your Lower Body

After decades of investigating the mind-body connection, I take it as axiomatic that mental and emotional flexibility – the kind so critical for maintaining any kind of objectivity, for avoiding judging things by appearances and also for building great relationships – depends to a very large extent on PHYSICAL flexibility. The “top heavy” crowd – those who have lost lower body flexibility, are afraid of toppling over or falling and who would be lost without chairs to sit on – are notoriously inflexible in their thought processes and emotional lives as well. Beyond that, they have far less energy than their more flexible counterparts. In a very real sense, they are in the process of losing their personal resilience  on all levels.

The Miracle of Stretching

As you probably know, Yoga (Indian Hatha Yoga, to be more precise) is one of the most brilliant methods of exercise ever devised.  Though it’s far more than a system of “exercise”  or “stretching” in the crude, Western sense of the words, today we’ll focus solely on that stretching component.  So watch the video below (it’s really amazing!!) and enjoy!  This viral video came out of Russia – the opening title says “Feline Yoga” and the end title says “The Art of Health Yoga Studio.  It’s not just people who love Yoga…”

The young lady in the video is going through part of a pretty standard Yoga workout and she does have great form!  The cat does too, but I suspect he/she was more interested in finding a lap to curl up in, something Yoga was not designed to provide 😉  Now consider what’s happening as she stretches and goes through these postures…

  • She’s stretching nearly all her muscles, both superficial and deep core.  As she does this, she’s increasing blood circulation throughout her body, toning her circulatory system and delivering more and more oxygen to her muscle tissue.  She is also toning her central nervous system by stretching the nerve fibers that run all through her tissues and is reconnecting her mind/consciousness to those tissues.  All of this keeps the muscles flexible and lubricated, so there is very little chance that sudden exertion will cause any damage or loss of mobility.
  • As the muscles stretch, so does the fasciae that surround the muscle groups.  This helps to ensure that fat cells don’t infiltrate and compromise the integrity of the fascia tissues.  Moreover, a significant part of her body’s energy system runs through the fasciae, so keeping them in good repair helps ensure that critical inter-cellular communication throughout the body is optimized.
  • Along with her muscles, she’s taking her tendons and ligaments through their ranges of motion as well.  And strong tendons and ligaments are critical for developing flexibility, avoiding soft tissue injury and for protecting  the joints.
  • Yet her torso is not being ignored either!  As she does these whole-body stretches, she is actually massaging her internal organs, thereby detoxifying them and feeding them with more blood, oxygen and Qi.
  • She is also taking her spine through its complete range of motion, preventing back pain and helping to circulate spinal fluid and Qi up the spinal column.
  • Finally, the weight-bearing quality of many of these postures (you try staying in “downward dog” posture -or should that be “downward cat” in this case? – for ten minutes or so and you’ll see what I mean!) helps to build and maintain her skeletal structure at the optimal balance of rigidity and flexibility.

YOUR Personal Resilience

So if you want to build your own personal resilience, you absolutely must stretch your body on a regular basis, because that’s the only way to FEED it with the abundant supplies of blood, oxygen and Qi that all its cells are screaming for.  This is what will allow you to maintain or regain your physical and emotional flexibility, build up your central nervous system, create healthy organs, keep your body in proper acid-alkaline balance and make you feel GREAT!

And the best part of all??  You don’t even need the cat!!

Happy stretching!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

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