Many civilizations have, for a long time, maintained a concept of ‘energy’ within their various teachings, such as Ch’i or Qi in China, Ki in Japan, Ti in Hawaii, or Prana in India.
Based upon their knowledge of energy, the Chinese developed Ch’i Kung (Qi-gong), acupuncture, acupressure, Tai Chi, et cetera to enhance their health, life, and well-being.
In India, the Chakras were discovered, along with an intricate system which supported and interconnected them, in time techniques were developed to make use of them through yoga, and other related practices.
Mikao Usui-sensei, in Japan, brought his knowledge of Buddhism, energy, and martial arts together into a practice that was to become eventually known as Reiki. He initially designed Reiki to be a path to enlightenment.
In 1937, Mrs. Hawayo Takata brought Reiki from Japan to Hawaii, and the concept of ‘energy’ work caught on for many people living in North and South America. Initially, Reiki was two words, Rei-Ki, Rei meaning ‘universal’ and Ki meaning ‘energy,’ but it soon came to be known as Reiki as it spread throughout the West, and became more of a healing modality, than path to enlightenment.
In many Native American traditions we find mention of a ‘universal’ web of energy, or Great Spirit, which supported and interacted with all life.
An awareness of energy has been around for a very long time, in many ancient cultures and civilizations, but it has, only of late, become as widely spread and known as it is now. Various students and teachers from many different lands have worked with it, and have passed along their knowledge of energy, to succeeding generations.
One prominent light, in the firmament of Ki, is Koichi Tohei-sensei, of Japan. Tohei-sensei was born on January 20, 1920, and died May 19, 2011. He graduated from Keio University, founded the Ki Society, and brought his knowledge of Ki to a place where all might benefit from it on a daily basis.
As Tohei-sensei writes in his book, KI In Daily Life:
Our lives are a part of the life of the universal.
If we understand that our life came from the universal
and that we have come to exist in this world
we must then ask ourselves why the universal gave us life.
In Japanese we use the phrase suisei-mushi,
which means to be born drunk and to die while still dreaming,
to describe the state of being born without understanding
the meaning of it and to die still not understanding.
To be born like a bubble and to spend our lives doing no more
than repeating the process of eating, evacuating, and sleeping is
indeed to lead a meaningless existence. To die still dreaming is fine,
but for those who do so the time of death brings great distress.
To waste this rare and precious life is a regrettable thing indeed.
When we receive the priceless gift of life we also receive a commission
to achieve something in this world. In other words we must know
the will of providence, we must know our own calling.
So, how do we do this? How do we wake-up from our dreaming? How do we learn how to live? How do we go about achieving something positive in this world?
There are many paths that one my chose to accomplish shaking off our sleepiness and dreaming. For some, it may be studying the wisdom of the ancients, or energy work, meditation, Tai Chi, or a host of other disciplines. It all depends upon the individual, and as it was once said, “All roads lead to Rome.”
Tohei-sensei writes about the unification of mind and body, “Once we know the substance of our lives and grasp the nature of our calling our next inevitable concern is finding a way to fulfill that calling.”
He goes on to write, “We received our life from the universal in two elements, the mind and the body…The two are inseparable. The continuation of human life is impossible with only one of the two, but when they join together we are able to manifest our highest abilities and our innate powers.
“The things that one can do when one is sincere and when the mind and body are one is astonishing,” writes Tohei-sensei.
So, how is it then that we can unite mind and body? Tohei-sensei goes on to write, “Before we unify our mind and body, given from the universal, it is necessary to clarify the universe itself- the ki principles of the universal.”
Tohei-sensei includes these two elements as preliminary concepts to understand:
These principles may be found outlined in Koichi Tohei-sensei’s KI IN DAILY LIFE, or by following the links.
One of the very important aspects of The Four Basic Principles to Unify Mind and Body is to keep One Point. This is an excellent place to start as it leads to the other three principles. The discovery of the the ‘one point’ was made by Akido practitioners, and is a natural part of being human. It is located about two inches below the navel, within the lower abdomen, and known as the Seika Tanden, but is commonly referred to as Tanden. The image below shows its location.
The Seika tanden is commonly referred to as simply ‘the tanden,’ and is an energy center, or area, located deep inside the ‘*hara;’ roughly mid-way between the navel and top of the pubic bone.
*Hara: Literally means belly/lower part of the abdomen.
The term Seika simply refers to ‘below the Navel,’ The word Tanden is the Japanese equivalent of the Chinese: Tan Tien (also: dan tian) or ‘field of the elixir.’
Seika Tanden is also known as the Kikai (Ocean of Ki) Tanden, and as Seika no Itten, or the ‘One Point’ below the Navel. Physically speaking it is the body’s ‘center of gravity.’
It is said that Ki is moved by the mind and “… where the attention goes, ki flows…”
To effortlessly focus ones *awareness (thought/feeling) in Seika tanden is to place one’s energy there.
*Awareness is not the same as concentration as this indicates it is being done through willfulness.
• By placing effortless emphasis and energy in this area of the lower abdomen, integration of body and mind is deepened and strengthened, and the Spirit is dynamically grounded in the present moment.
• Traditional Japanese disciplines: martial, spiritual, therapeutic or artistic, tend to speak of a single tanden.
However, in Japan there are also several disciplines, either of Chinese origin or alternatively heavily influenced by Chinese Chi Gung philosophy, which speak of three tanden:
The Upper (Kami) Tanden (also: Jo Tanden)
• located in the middle of the head between the eyes in the center of the brain.
The Middle (Naka) Tanden (also: Chu Tanden)
• located inside the chest at about the heart level
The Lower (Shimo) Tanden (also: Ge Tanden)
(essentially the same as the seika tanden)
• located deep inside the ‘hara’
In the ‘Hara System’ there is only one Hara.
It needs to be noted that the concept of ‘Hara’ often becomes confused with the related concept of ‘tanden,’ even amongst those who teach the Japanese Reiki styles!
Hara literally means ‘belly,’ and is commonly used to refer to the lower part of the abdomen, the area between the navel and the top of the pubic bone.
It is, more fully, the entire area from the top of the pubic bone up to the base of the sternum; encompassing abdomen and diaphragm.
In many Japanese arts: spiritual, therapeutic, martial or creative, the term ‘Hara’ is often used as a shortened way of referring to “…the tanden that lies in the Hara.”
The ‘tanden’ is more properly called the ‘Seiki Tanden’ or ‘Seika no Itten.’ It is an energy centre, or a focal point, or rather, a focal area; a place of ‘energetic convergence,’ located deep inside the body, in a specific area of the Hara, roughly midway between the navel and the top of the pubic bone, people often say 2 inches (4-5 cm) below the navel, and about 2 finger’s width inward.
A simple exercise to start working with the one-point might be to:
• Lie down
• You may close your eyes,
or keep them open
• Think of a spot in the middle of the forehead
• Think of the one-point
in the lower abdomen being on one line
• When the two are aligned,
the mind and body are unified
• If you concentrate your mind on the one-point
in the lower abdomen, naturally the spot
in the forehead is maintained.
• This means the mind is also unified.
It is reported that focusing on the Tanden helps to ‘anchor and ground’ oneself, and to facilitate control over one’s thoughts and emotions.
There are more exercises in Tohei-sensei’s book that expands on what you have read here, and may be done with a partner.
It is evident from what we have seen here, that we can indeed bring The Way of Ki into our daily life, and benefit from it on many levels, by bringing more balance and harmony into our lives.
2012 Roger Allen Baut
Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, 2000
Ma’heo’o Reiki Master Teacher, 2004
Karuna Ki Master, 2004
Seichim Reiki Master, 2005
plus studies in:
Seichim: 7 Facet System
This is a companion blog
to the BTR Creative Nexus eleventh episode
of 23.11.12 on KI/Energy in Daily Life,
and further insights from the Celestine Prophesy.
Look for The Creative Nexus on the side bar, under
the Blogroll, to take you to the eleventh episode.