The Benefits of Navel-Gazing: Your Way to Health, Wealth and Happiness?

If you dive into one of those colourful ‘Made in China’ shops, that look and feel like an Aladdin’s Cave, in London’s Chinatown, one of the little treasures you’re likely to find in there, is a small golden statute of the ‘Laughing Buddha’.

This image is not in fact of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, on whose teachings Buddhism is based, but rather of a figure from Chinese folklore, who had achieved his Buddha-hood or enlightenment and was known for his wisdom, generosity and contentment. The Laughing Buddha statue is therefore a good luck charm and the popular belief is that by rubbing the protruding belly one attracts wealth, prosperity and happiness.

This connection between well-being and the stomach is further brought out in traditional Chinese Medicine. There, it is said that there exists a vital point in the lower abdomen called ‘Dan Tien’ (familiar to Chinese and Japanese martial artists) and variously known as ‘Field of Elixir’, ‘Sea of Qi’ (Qi being the vital energy of life).

When this storehouse of Qi, in the abdomen is cultivated through the more meditative aspects (‘the navel-gazing’) of martial arts such as within ‘Tai Chi’ (derived from Taoism) then it greatly powers the vital organs in the stomach which is said to be the axis or centre of gravity of the individual. The obvious equation seems to be that the more vitality (health) an individual possesses, the more ‘life success’ they achieve, which manifests as wealth and happiness.

So does this mean that you have to receive training in traditional Chinese medicine or achieve a 10th-dan black belt in Tai Chi in order to stop worrying about the mortgage or the rent?

Luckily, the answer is ‘No’.

In the Indian traditions of Yoga and Meditation this so called activity of ‘navel-gazing’ corresponds with putting one’s attention on one of the seven indwelling chakras, or wheels of energy-consciousness. At the level of the navel or stomach it is understood there exists the subtle third chakra which has the name, Nabhi or Manipur Chakra.

Many qualities and ideas are associated with this third energy centre. It is said to be the source of peace and contentment within us and also the seat of generosity. I guess you might reflect on the feeling of satisfaction enjoyed after a nourishing meal. Alternatively, when our sense of peace and contentment is disturbed in some way, we might say we feel: ‘Sick to the stomach!” or ‘that we are worried sick’.

Whilst it is true that our stomach is responsible for sustaining our physical sustenance, through the food we ingest, perhaps it is not to great a leap to consider that this third centre might in some way be looking after us in other more subtle ways, supporting our subtle sustenance and well-being, even prosperity and wealth.

One thing is sure, as with all things subtle, we might need to look after ourselves in ways not apparent in the hustle-bustle busy world of modern living.

If indeed there are subtle chakras, or ‘wheels of consciousness’ within us, as ‘wheels’, should they be turning in some way? Should they be turning clockwise or anticlockwise for example. How can you get them moving? Will it help me feel better, healthier, more in control?

How do you jump-start this inner system of subtle energies and chakras? I guess if it were possible it would be good if there was some natural, organic, spontaneous way to bring about the awakening of such a system by some how switching it on or getting it plugged into the mains, so to speak.

After all if we have all this innate computer software within us it’s of no use unless it’s switched on, plugged in, connected. What’s more, we should be master of it!

That’s where Yoga & Meditation come in. If one can indeed achieve Yoga, this connection is said to be accomplished. Yoga after all means union or connection. When through ones own desire or striving the ‘inner system’ switches on, the maternal indwelling Kundalini energy is said to arise and awaken, connecting all the chakras together, causing them to rotate. As they rotate they throw off and release unhelpful accumulated energies and attract in helpful healing, cleansing energies.

The Nabhi Chakra itself is said to suck in positive energy to nourish the entire system. A bit like subtle food for the body and soul. Such positive energy or ‘vibrations’ or you could say ‘grace’ flows around the system to wherever it is most needed. It is said to spontaneously work out whatever is needed, nourishing all the organs in a natural and organic fashion.

As the energies continue to become established they are understood to overflow into our inner system, and as the chakras are often depicted in art as ‘padme’ or lotus flowers, they are said to open out and blossom. Like Jungian archetypes, the subtle chakras represent different potential energies within us and it is said: ‘all life is energy’!

So, perhaps there is more to this ‘navel-gazing’ then first meet the eye. Perhaps our genuine well-being on all levels; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual might be well served if we to, found time for a spot of ‘navel-gazing’.

One such opportunity to put these ideas to the test in 21st century Britain can be found at free meetings run by UK Charity where volunteers will be happy to guide you and answer all your questions: Check it out at:

Source by Geoffrey J Godfrey


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