Taoist psycho-energetics – the method of all methods and nub of managing the human condition
Psycho-energetics is a fairly clever-sounding phrase I coined, partly because I like to devise clever-sounding phrases in my personal drive for succinctness and concision, but mostly to convey the essence of Taoist practice.
For whether it's Tai Chi, Xing Yi, Pa Kua or Qigong you're practicing, or meditation, or acupuncture, feng shui, or wu wei manifesting magic, or even Taoist cross-stitch and overlocking technique for health and self-defence (you never know these days), and whether you're practicing it to improve your health, or to hone your business skills, or to be a star at public speaking, or to be a crack martial artist, or to overcome depression, anxiety, or whatever and attain to a state of perpetual delight, whatever it is you're doing it for, and whatever the specific practice, all of it comes down to one essential factor.
Which is how and where you place yourself within your body.
How and where you gather the energy comprising this person you know as you – hence psycho-energetic – appertaining to how you situate your soul within the vehicle.
You have a front and you have a back.
You know this obviously.
However you spend the majority of your time crammed into the front like a learner driver with their nose pressed up against the windscreen, instead of sitting back like racing driver whence you have better command of the controls and a far better, more panoramic view of the road, hence a far greater perspective on your position and journey status in any given moment.
The front of the body is dominated by the prefrontal lobes of the brain, which area is concerned with language, considerations about how others will regard your actions, activities and achievements, and with making sense of the constant flurry of incoming sensory input by concocting stories based on past experience and things people have told you. It's all about your relationship with herd or tribe in other words. Its the most relatively recent part of the brain to evolve, and more or less came along with the advent and development of agriculture which put pay to the hunter-gatherer life. As hunter-gatherers we were obliged to live in the moment. There was neither need nor opportunity to live in imaginary stories instead. That came with agriculture.
Because any activity is mesmeric, the storytelling activity in the forebrain compels your mind forwards into the forebrain.
Hunter-gatherers and people trained in the method however, keep their minds back in the back-brain, as that's the seat of the omniscient subconscious, the receiving dish of all information throughout time and space forever and ever. And without hyperbole, at least it's the font of your intuition.
When the mind is absorbed in the frontal noise of the inner debating chamber cum movie-screening room cum courthouse, cum madhouse, it becomes deeply distracted and divorced from its seat of power in the back-brain and throughout the back of the body.
People talk about mindfulness. Mindfulness has been an essential tool of Taoist practice thousands of years before Buddhism, whence modern mindfulness is culled, was even thought of. But you can't really be fully mindful, exercising cognitive awareness of your own mental processes if you're lost in the processes.
To do that you have to shift yourself psycho-energetically backwards so you're placed behind the story and are able to bear witness to it with impartiality.
Otherwise you're merely caught in and perpetuating a loop – millions of years of wiring has you alert for danger, but as we mostly currently face no immediate danger to our persons most of the time, the front-mind doesn't know what to do with the stimulation, so invents fear-based it's-all-going-to-go-wrong stories to justify it. You then react to these stories by tensing the solar plexus and inhibiting the breathing, which merely contracts the front of the body, which in turn pulls the head forwards, thus tipping more energy into the forebrain, which makes you make even more and wilder stories up and so on, which you react to, and so on.
One definition of madness.
But when you learn to occupy your back and bear witness from the back of the brain, you find yourself in a comparatively still, silent, strong, steady and sturdy environment and that affects you. It makes you comparatively still, silent, strong, steady ad sturdy.
As embryos we develop on the cellular level from the back outwards.
The back is our rightful home, not the front.
Back you're in command of the front, rather than the noisy distracted front being in command of you.
You most likely came out of your back on starting school and having to perform in an alien culture with huge amounts of information to process. And as the sense organs all face the front life is perceived as going on in front, rather than all around and behind.
And from that moment except for random moments of deep play, meditation, getting drunk, singing your heart out, dancing, praying, sporting activity, and generally being in 'the zone' you'll have likely remained in the front ever since.
The Taoist way is to train the self to sit back and stay back, or when moving forwards to put your back into it.
Push back inside into your kidneys now, as if you squash them a bit and make them feel warm and safe.
Push the back of your head backwards a tiny amount until you can actually feel it (the back of your head).
Picture your mind leaning back against the rear wall of your skull, gazing into infinity through the midbrain and middle of the forehead into infinity.
Breathe slowly, relax your chest in the front, let your innocent spirit radiate thence, and note that the habitual noise in the front of the brain has now stopped.
Note also the front of the body is far freer of disturbance and stress.
And that you're feeling altogether more comfortable.
The discipline is in remembering.
Because each time the world and your reaction to it gets the better of you from now on, all you have to do is draw backwards inside and detach from identifying with the drama of being you for a moment.
And in that moment your subconscious will take over and provided your intention is then for everything to work out, it will.
And it doesn't matter how severe your version of the human condition – you can take command of it and rebalance yourself using this method of all methods.
I say this based on having helped well over one million people in individual sessions as well as millions more broadcast, book, internet and events style, over the decades, including running a 'mental health' project working with people diagnosed as dangerous psychotics, and it even worked on them – ask me if you want me to tell you more about that, or about this in general – but you can be sure this is unlikely to be my last word on it.