Just as the chakra system maps and encourages the balance of our Root chakra, and Crown chakra energies, Japanese energetic anatomy also depicts the balance of Earthly and Heavenly energies coming together at the heart center for harmony and balance.
In Eastern philosophy and Reiki teachings, students are encouraged to cultivate their tandens, or “oceans of energy”. When they are robust, palpable, and aligned, we feel connected to both Earth and Heaven. We feel safe, present, and focused, while also allowing space for imagination, mysticism, and openness of the mind.
The Three Diamonds Meditation is a teaching by Dr. Mikao Usui that helps us to develop the three oceans of energy: Ka Tanden, Chu Tanden, and Sho Tanden.
Japanese Energetic Anatomy
Taoist and Buddhist philosophy introduce the Three Diamonds as part of our subtle body, and energetic centers where we hold, assimilate and share vital energy from. The Ka Tanden is below the navel and holds Earthly energy. The Chu Tanden is at the center of the chest, and holds Heart energy. The Sho Tanden is at the center of our forehead, and holds Heavenly energy.
There are numerous parallels between the Three Diamonds and the Vedic Chakra system. Both emphasize the importance of balance between Earth and Heaven, physical and non-physical, body and mind, strength and softness.
Ka Tanden (Earthly energy)
Numerous Eastern traditions emphasize the importance of developing grounded energy in our lower abdomen. In the martial arts, Shiatsu, and Qi Gong school of thoughts, the Hara is a focus point, below the navel, from where we can gather and then direct energy. It is also believed that this area holds primal energy that we received from our parents and ancestors.
When we direct the mind to the Ka Tanden, we naturally begin to breathe more deeply, nourishing our digestive tract, and nervous system. Reiki Practitioners are also encouraged to remain aware of this energy center during sessions so that they are allowing lifeforce to nourish them while holding space for the recipient’s healing.
Chu Tanden (Heart energy)
Reiki philosophy encourages us to become aware of this ocean of energy at the center of our chest to become more intimate with our inner knowing. This can be felt through physical sensations, emotions, and intuitive guidance.
As we develop the Chu Tanden, we may feel more compassionate, emotionally aware, and connected to all sentient beings. When practicing hands-on-healing, practitioners are channeling lifeforce through their heart, and out into the arms and palms of their hands.
Sho Tanden (Heaven energy)
The third Diamond is at the center of the forehead. We develop the Heavenly energy here to connect with spirit, and the nonphysical. When we have a strong Sho Tanden, we are open to creativity, can make decisions with ease, and allow for intuitive exploration.
The Three Diamonds Meditation
The goal is to develop all three Diamonds in balance. Having too much of Earthly energy can make us feel lethargic, or stagnant, while having too little can make us feel unsteady, or fearful. Having too much energy at the Chu tanden can make us overly empathic, and sensitive, while too little can make us emotionally unavailable or ungrateful. Having too much Heavenly energy at the Sho Tanden can make us feel psychically unbalanced or mentally overwhelmed, while too little can leave us feeling disconnected from our intuition and Spirit.
Usui Reiki introduces the Three Diamonds Meditation as a way for us to become familiar with our subtle body, and strengthen the flow of lifeforce.
How to Practice
1. This meditation is best practiced in an upright seat. You can sit on a bolster or a chair. If you’re sitting on a chair, have your feet flat on the floor. Lengthen your spine, and allow your chin to be parallel to the floor. Begin to relax the jaw, shoulders, and belly.
2. Set an intention to feel, sense, and explore the three tandens. Ask for these energetic centers to be revealed to you.
3. Begin to breathe into the Ka Tanden, which is located below the navel. Allow your belly to expand on the inhale, and deflate on the exhale. Allow all of your consciousness to drop into the lower belly. You can also place your hands on this area and allow lifeforce to flow through your hands and into your Ka Tanden. Notice if you cultivate a sense of groundedness, safety, and presence with this practice.
4. After 2-5 minutes, let your awareness float up to the center of the chest, to the Chu Tanden. Expand the lungs and chest on the inhale, and deflate on the exhale. Deepen your awareness of the heart’s center by noticing any physical sensations or emotions that arise. Place two hands on the heart’s center to channel love and light into the Chu Tanden. Acknowledge how you feel as this center expands.
5. Finally bring your awareness to the center of the forehead and breathe into the Sho Tanden. Begin to become aware of the nonphysical. Affirm your ability to see, feel and sense spirit, and inspiration. Bring both palms to your forehead, with the intention to harness the Heavenly energy. You may feel warmth, coolness, tingling or other sensations in your palms, forehead or the rest of your body. Recognize if you feel more spacious in mind or perceptive with this practice.
6. Reflect on the energy centers that naturally felt more balanced to you. Do you tend to have an energy body that’s more grounded, open-hearted, or intuitive? Which energy centers can you nourish with your breath and awareness?
7. Give thanks for your practice and gently release your meditation.
The Three Diamonds meditation can be practiced daily or as needed. When these tanden are balanced, we balance the different aspects of our humanness. We may find it easier to navigate social interactions, work, health, and other engagements, while also remaining connected to our purpose, intuition, and Source.