In the Dark Room with Mantak Chia
by Raven Cohan
Having studied with Mantak Chia since 1981, and being certified by him two years later to teach basics in qigong and going on to receive many more levels of certifications, I am obviously quite enamored with his system of teaching.  It is no surprise that I would travel over 24 hours to Thailand where he has created a unique healing spa where he also offers classes in the Universal Tao system.  
‘Tao Garden’, the name of this 5 Star Spa, might as well be called ‘Eden II’.  Lushly planted gardens are everywhere offering the organic fruits and vegetables (and animal products) that we eat at the generous buffet meals offered three times per day.  You can find out through analyses the best types of food for you via specified testing.  Reasonable prices for a tantalizing cornucopia of services offer an easy access to treat yourself with attention that is holistic, comforting or sometimes really getting so very to the roots of your challenges, that you might  feel transformation happening as you are worked on.  After the course was over at least three Dark Room attendees I befriended during the two days before I left for home, told me they were so very happy with treatments they had taken they then extended their stay for encores.
Mantak Chia’s highest intention is to interest clients to become their own best healers.  His dozens of books and DVDs that are best sellers aren’t written to be simply read and shelved.  The information within asks you to practice the techniques so well delineated.  Then by doing them daily, eventually you, like myself, rarely need to find an authority other than yourself to transform you to tip top shape with ease.  Of course it is best to also receive studies from a certified instructor.
I came to Thailand to continue my never ending self-healing journey, and retreat to a completely darkened condo building (via tarps on all the windows and doors of the building. *) I had my own room to retreat to.   It was the last of four weeks of classes that are offered inside in the group space.  It was comfortably air conditioned throughout.  The quiet environment offered inter-active classes three times a day.  I had waited a long time and considered myself lucky to partake in the first offering of the highest level Chia teaches to date, finally taught in the Dark Room and is entitled, “The Sealing of the Five Senses”.   
Classes consist of talked-through meditations that are alchemical formulas which train you to become better able to seek the light within.  The darkness offers the perfect environment for recognizing that our external eyes are not our only eyes that can be trained to see.  Thorough scientific evaluation of what is happening to the brain chemicals that enable you to ‘see in the dark’ are written up and  are available to be read on .  
My personal journey has been to utilize the blissful orgasmic energy produced by training what we call “sperm-ovary” power to be heightened and sent to the entire body.  It is a healing source that can be physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and energetically sent to these layers that make us humans uniquely able to train ourselves to more resonant states of being.  We can expand ourselves into many dimensions and begin to know ourselves as beings that are not limited.  So besides having wonderful experiences during the meditations, every moment in the dark enabled me to truly see light that was formed into hallucinations so real that I often reached my hand out to touch them.  Many of us saw similar images of cave-like walls.  ‘Mine’ were artistically and masterfully carved with ancient Siamese images. (When the course was over, others described variations some more detailed and some less than my own.)  The walls glowed with ever changing colored lights, as if illuminated by a stage lighting expert.  When I would turn my head left or right, the image would shift over sometimes, or other times ‘grow’ into something else.  There were other variations of my experiences and another example is seeing cumulous clouds thick and similar to the ones I enjoyed from out the window of my recent plane ride.  Only now, at one point the sky seemingly opened to reveal blackness filled with stars so thick through which I seemed to soar.) Most of the time I felt safe and in my body and not often out of body.
The journey wasn’t always easy, as I was challenged to find the stairs to my room a great number of times too many.  Yet when I received and transported the plastic bags filled with my vegetarian choice foods to my room and sat comfortably in the cushy chair, I chewed and really tasted every morsel like never before.  No distractions were offered.  I had lots of sleep, but after a few days I was charged with amazing energy and got up to meditate or do qigong or stretching on my bed or floor of the large room.  I even did the 108 Yang long form in the Dark!  I am so glad I got to actualize this goal.  It was a vision quest of the highest quality.  
 *This class took place for me in Feb.  2008.
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Article below published in Natural Awakenings,Broward, FL. April, ,08