Strengthen the Senses
Our senses interpret virtually innumerable stimuli for our brain. These stimuli include sounds waves, light waves, tastes, smells, and physical sensations on the skin. Our brains have to process these stimuli and think about them. Thinking takes a lot of energy and we don’t really have the option not to process the stimuli that enters our senses.
If, however, we can limit the amount of stimuli that bombard our senses, we can reduce the amount of processing our brain has to do. Additionally, if we can strengthen our senses through Taoist methods (including Sealing the Five Senses and chi self massage) we can preserve much of the energy that is lost in normal, unconscious, everyday life. Further, if we can create pleasing inputs for our senses, the subsequent mental activity will be more harmonious and we can grow positive energy through mental processing.
Simply stated, the Taoist practice of Sealing the Five Senses consists of sitting in meditation, visualizing all senses turning inward, and combining their energy into a single essence or pearl-like sphere inside the brain. This pearl can be circulated in the microcosmic orbit and stored at the lower abdomen/ lower tan tien. Self-massage of the senses (some examples are on the YouTube channel for Andrew McCart) can strengthen the sense and make them more able to process external stimuli.
In conclusion, if we don’t practice sealing or strengthening the senses, each one is an open gate for energy loss. Their power leaks out and bad energy enters, damaging the associated organs. Too much looking injures the eyes, too much eating exhausts the stomach. Too much feeling through sexual intercourse injures the bone marrow. Too many discordant sounds and loud volume injures the kidneys.
Taoist practices such as the microcosmic orbit, belt channel breathing, the six healing sounds, and iron shirt chi kung help still the mind, ground energy entering the senses, and strengthen the energy body to absorb the fluctuations in the external environment.