The microcosmic orbit meditation is extremely sophisticated and beautiful. It is also the foundation meditation for inner alchemy, and an important physical practice to connect with the universe and create vibrant health. Mantak Chia, Taoist Master, states in Awaken Healing Light Of The Tao (1993) that through practice in this meditation one develops the power of the mind to control, conserve, recycle, transform, and direct qi (also spelled chi) through one of the body’s primary energy channels (the orbit).
The orbit is an energy channel in the body, which is actually made up of yin and yang channels that a practitioner brings together and harmonizes to create one flowing channel. The yang channel begins at the perineum and travels up the spine, through the head to the forehead, then down to the top of the palate. Placing the tongue to the roof of the mouth connects this channel to the next channel. The yin channel begins at the bottom of the mouth and travels down the front of the body to the perineum. From there, the channel splits off into the two legs and travels down the back side of the leg, through the bottom of the feet, then around the top of the feet, and up the front of the leg back to the perineum. The goal is to open up all the points along this channel so that energy can travel smoothly and unobstructed through the whole channel and circulate over and over. In advanced microcosmic orbit meditation the practitioner brings universal and earth qi into the orbit and circulates them. In this way, more of the energies of the universe become part of the physical human structure.
Through centuries of discovery the Taoists found that the microcosmic orbit meditation produced profound physical, mental, and spiritual transformations. Experiential learning has always played a major part in Taoist spiritual understanding. Teachers often lead students through the practice, but the ultimate confirmation comes through first-hand experience. There are numerous Taoist schools, and almost every one of them talked about the microcosmic orbit meditation.
According to Mantak Chia in Awaken Healing Light Of The Tao (1993), one of the first signs of transformation for someone doing the microcosmic orbit meditation is a physical sensation of energy. While meditating on the orbit, Taoist teachers say that often qi is strongly felt in the area around the navel, the head, the tongue, and spine. Sensations such as warmth, coolness, tingly feelings, electricity, movement, and others are confirmatory signs that qi is present. Once qi can be felt, a meditator is then advised to move awareness along different points in the orbit. After proficiency in this is gained, an extraordinary transformation awakens within a person’s mind, which is the ability to consciously direct qi to any point along the orbit. The Taoists do not consider this ability to be superhuman, or only able to be done by some. They believe that everyone has this ability, and that it can be awakened through practice.
Through dedicated practice with this Taoist meditation it is said that the physical body goes through powerful changes. Normally people depend on substantial food to keep them energized and healthy. In Awaken Healing Light Of The Tao (1993), Mantak Chia says that once the microcosmic orbit is open and in a state of constant unimpeded flow, that humans require less food.
Instead, the orbit recycles its own internal energy and the energies inherent in nature and space, which become more easily absorbed. Eventually, this can become the natural state of the human body.
Another physical transformation that takes place through practice of the microcosmic orbit meditation is increased health. In Qigong Empowerment (1997), Master Shou-Yu Liang says, “When qi circulates without obstruction in these two vessels (the microcosmic orbit), the flow of all other channels will also be enhanced and flow smoothly without obstruction.” (94) Thus, the microcosmic orbit meditation can bring the needed energy to fight illness and relieve any stagnation points. Also, with the ability to direct qi wherever one desires, a person can simply concentrate on any point of the body that feels weak, feel the qi move there and heal it. Another reason for ill health is said by many Taoist teachers to be a lack of jing, or sexual qi. The microcosmic orbit runs right through a person’s sexual center. By moving qi to this area, and stimulating the jing, it becomes enhanced. Once it is enhanced, it is then circulated in the orbit, which even further enhances its quantity and quality according to Shou-Yu Liang (Qigong Empowerment, 1997). The microcosmic orbit meditation works to transform the body and mind so that greater levels of health, empowerment, and understanding are actualized.
Once again, as valuable as these things are, the Taoists wanted to take their practice even further. The highest state of the microcosmic orbit meditation is of a spiritual nature. Taoists believe that the patterns of the cosmos are reflected within the human body. This is because both originate from the same source, which is Wu Chi or the void. In Awaken Healing Light Of The Tao (1993), Mantak Chia describes the spiritual process of this Taoist meditation practice as follows: “All living creatures absorb the three main forces in accordance with the earth’s orbit around the sun. The earth’s motion through the universe, making a full orbit every 365.25 days, is part of the Macrocosmic Orbit of the Universal Force, which causes the four seasons and associated changes in the earth’s energy. If our principal force (Original Chi) is not abundant enough to draw and absorb the Universal force, we receive less energy than we expend in our daily lives, thereby depleting our bodies and promoting the onset of old age, sickness, and death. By opening the Microcosmic Orbit (Smaller Heavenly Cycle) within our bodies, we can develop a connecting link to the Macrocosmic orbit (Greater Heavenly Cycle) of the universe, through which we can tap into and absorb the original source of all power.” (24-25)
When Mantak Chia talks of the three main forces he means the universal force, which is the energy we receive from planets, stars, and galaxies, the earth force, and cosmic force, which is the wisdom and energy of the spirit. By circulating chi in the orbit all of these forces are naturally drawn to the body and brought within. When Mantak Chia talks about Original Chi, he means the energy we received from our parents at conception. This force is also stimulated and enhanced through the orbit meditation. The basic principle is that by circulating various energies in the orbit, they become harmonized and create a new sense of self. Thus the human body becomes a mini universe, and realizes that it is in fact intimately linked with the outer universe. The notion of oneness would well describe this spiritual transformation.
My Personal Experience
I have been practicing the microcosmic orbit meditation on and off for 5 years now. My training was learned from the books of a modern Taoist teacher named Mantak Chia and the videos of Michael Winn. These teachings were incredibly inspiring and showed me the powerful potential for connecting with the energetic field within and around us.
After many months of practicing the microcosmic orbit meditation I finally was able to feel the chi move continuously along the orbit. It felt incredibly sensual, stimulating, and blissful. All of the energies in my body were swirling together and harmonizing into a unified energy. This was extremely transformative physically, mentally, and spiritually. My body had new levels of energy to work with, my mind was clear, lucid, and uplifted by being intimately linked to my body, and spiritually I began to feel like I was connected to a vast sea of energy that was so much larger than me. I was grateful that this experience was possible and that the Taoist teachers weren’t lying!
Today, after years of practice, the orbit flows quite smoothly for me and I have noticed a drastic improvement in my health and connection with life.
If you would like to try the microcosmic orbit meditation, I recommend you seek out a qualified teacher and follow their directions exactly. With practice you will experience sensations you may never have dreamed of and states of awareness only glimpsed at before.
May the qi be with you!