REVIEW: Sealing Of The Five Senses

Sealing Of The Five Senses: Advanced Practices For Becoming A Taoist Immortal
By Mantak Chia & William U. Wei

176 pages, paperback

Published by Destiny Books

For those new to Mantak Chia’s work, his Universal Healing Tao system is founded on meditation techniques and breathing exercises. Diet, sleep patterns and general lifestyle choices are also addressed for the betterment of health. As the subtitle suggests, the system includes exercises passed down by Taoist practitioners through the ages, however many of the basic concepts will be familiar to students of yoga and the Asian martial arts.

It would be too easy to summarise the Universal Healing Tao System as merely breathing exercises and meditation; the system presupposes a paradigm shift on a spiritual level and creates awareness in the individual as to his or her position in the grand scheme of our natural and supernatural world and beyond. One may notice similarities between Mantak Chia’s system and the classic esoteric work, Secret of the Golden Flower: those acquainted with this text will be at home with some of the more unusual concepts tackled by Wei and Chia (like the forming of the Immortal Child).

Books of the previous systems were co-written with fellow Universal Healing Tao instructor Andrew Jan while this new publication is co-authored by William U. Wei (who co-wrote four other titles with Master Chia). As always, there are numerous diagrams and images explaining the best approaches to exercises and the aims of each. While many of the concepts can be difficult to grasp in the literary sense, the imaginative conceptual illustrations assist greatly: some of the pictures can appear strange because they illustrate concepts showing both the physical and ethereal bodies. They make the conceptualisation much easier and results can be obtained quicker and with a broader understanding due to their simplicity.

Indeed, an important consideration when discussing Chia’s publications is his ease in communicating some very complicated – and often obscure – spiritual or esoteric concepts with historical references, astronomical and astrological observations, ancient legends and modern anecdotes that outline the ideas in a concise manner. So, whilst there is no formal narrative, one is progressively learning through Chia’s dissemination of Taoist esoteric principles. The arc of the storyline, in actuality, is the experiential journey of the practitioner as an alchemical evolution occurs.

To begin with, the first chapter breaks down the Kan and Li Taoist practices whilst chapter two to four explain and summarise the system, highlighting differences in technique between this and the previous Destiny Books publications. Some of the lessons covered include: Awakening of the Inner Eye, Merging of the Spirits of the Four Directions, Connection to Earth Animals and Spirits, Meditation as Transformation and Reversal of Energy Flow.

Concepts that may be new to the uninitiated are studied in depth. For example, spiralling cosmic energy is explained in a logical and informative manner before the authors move on. One of the most interesting ideas discussed is that of navigation by the North Star which distinguishes the role of the self – an immortal life force – as an important element of the all-inclusive, cosmic fabric of the universe, and also as a physical being with awareness able to make sense of astronomical signs and act on them in a conscious way.

Throughout the book there are numerous stages where releasing negative energy forms is required to retain internal balance and, therefore, progress to later exercises in a state of harmonic balance, or wu wei. In the realm of spiritual or esoteric matters, there are many unique, interesting and bizarre concepts that can only be taught through long and evolved study, usually passed down from master to student, and are more often than not hermetic in nature. Thankfully, Wei and Chia continued to reveal the hidden secrets of Taoist immortality so we all might have the opportunity to learn, understand and grow into spiritually developed individuals.

Through the process of attaining the Immortal Tao we create a better, tolerant, more understanding world. Whether it is by improving our moral stances on day-to-day situations or promoting positive lifestyle choices, we are all responsible for improving our lives and the lives of those closest to us, because positive energy is infectious and the pursuit of happiness is a matter of spiritual comfort unattainable through material means.

– Reviewed by Bruce Stringer in New Dawn No. 154

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