The Six Healing Sounds: Taoist Techniques for Balancing Chi by Mantak Chia, Destiny Books 2009).
Here we are. At the verge of 2009! How are you feeling? Happy? Sad? Healthy? Sick? Tired? Reeeaaallly tired? Hopeful? Fat? Too thin? Miserable? Ready to give up? Stressed like crazy? Or just plain bored? Well, the stars may predispose us, both personally and as members of society, towards having to deal with certain issues. But ultimately, how we deal is up to us.
Taoism, with its practice of Chinese medicine, Chi Gung, and Tai Chi can be a great help in achieving any goals we set for ourselves for this year. Even if we decide not to set any goals, Mantak Chia’s The Six Healing Sounds can help.
In it, Chia tells the story of a businessman who employed others, was always busy, unhappy and buying things, and very, very broke. After learning Level I Universal Tao practices, the businessman told Master Chia that he was going on vacation. Surprised, Chia wondered how the man could afford that. The man said he’d sold his business, paid off his debts, and after vacation was coming back to learn more Taoist practices.
You may not want to change your life quite so much, but the simple exercises in this book will help with what you do want to change. Health, explains Chia, is a matter of keeping our energy (or “chi”) unblocked. He notes, “Many people put all their life force into earning money, until their vitalities are depleted and illnesses set in. They have to spend more and more of their money on hospitals, surgery, medicine, and, finally, spend most of their time in bed.” (p. 5) Marriages and family relationships too deteriorate as health wanes.
The six healing sounds are taught in many Chi Gung groups, and Chia has mentioned them in previous books, but here is the first place I’ve seen a clear, concise explanation of how making these sounds heals us. As usual, his explanation is rooted in both Western and Eastern science and medicine.
The Universal Tao system Chia teaches has three levels:
Level I concentrates on universal energy, strengthening and calming the body. Level II concentrates on changing negative emotions into strong, positive energy. Level III concentrates on creative and spiritual practices.
Level I includes the Six Healing Sounds, the Microcosmic Orbit, and the Inner Smile. It. can include other meditative/physical practices such as Iron Shirt Chi Gung and Tai Chi. As the story about the businessman shows, even learning basic Level I practices can help you with the important changes you need to make.
Level II is interesting to me, because it would seem to dovetail with what people are talking about when discussing The Secret, or The Law of Attraction. Chia’s book reinforces what I believe to be true. We cannot practice positive visualization and other methods of The Secret without also practicing things which keep our bodies, our health and energy in top form. Our powers are holistic, belonging to both “body” and “mind” as well as spirit. The Secret requires a lot of energy that many of us simply don’t have when we need it.
Chi Gung, as taught by Mantak Chia in Thailand and many other Masters in the United States is “the mother” of many modern body-oriented practices such as acupuncture, acupressure, as well as Rolfing and Feldkendrais methods. Even many ordinary stretching classes use concepts derived from it.
The six healing sounds are connected to the health of specific organs and to particular emotions, both positive and negative. A body clock chart (on page 16) shows the times when each organ has its best energy during the day. Working outwards in the chart it shows the associations of each organ with elements, seasons, emotions, colors, parts of the body, and parts of our lives that the organs affect according to the ancient Chinese system of medicine.
In short, doing the six healing sounds each day calms, strengthens, and heals everything.
The Fourth Chapter provides additional information if you’d like to do the healing sounds while standing up. (Ordinarily they are done while sitting.) There is a 50-minute CD of “practices for balancing Chi,” but it wasn’t provided in time for this review. Also, not provided for the reviewer of Chia’s books is the index (or mention of the indexer’s name in the acknowledgments section.) As a professional indexer, I’d love to comment on this part of his book as well.
But I can say this compact 80-page book with 4 chapters has a narrative that is quite easy to follow. Topics are not scattered as in Chia’s previous volumes. And, as usual, the illustrations (by Udon) are excellent. They are so clear that even deaf readers will be able to practice these sounds. (Yes, the sounds work even if one cannot hear! The “Theory and Benefits” section of the book explains how.)
I confess, I learned the six healing sounds many years ago, and I haven’t practiced them. This book makes me resolve to change that, starting today.