What do you think you could live without if you had to? Of course, there are lots of luxuries you could do without, and then you’d be left with the things we consider to be “basic necessities”—food, water, clothing, shelter. There’s one necessity missing from that list, though—sunlight. Since we live in darkness during the night, you might not think of it as a necessity, but there is not a single second you can live without sunlight. Yes, you can live on the shaded part of the globe during the nighttime, and you can explore down into deep caves that have never seen the light of day. But even then, every cell in your body depends on sunlight. If someone had the power to turn the sun off for a few seconds, the entire planet would freeze instantly and all life would die.
All the energy in your body comes from the energy in the sun. Fortunately for us and all the other creatures on the earth, nature provides many ways of storing the energy of the sun. At the bottom of the food chain, plants store this energy through photosynthesis. If you look at a bag of rice, each grain is like a little pellet of sunshine that can be accessed by your body when you are ready to eat it. Meat is not any different; the animal must eat lots of grains and grasses, whose sunlight energy is then stored in the animal’s bodily tissues. Any time we move or think, we must then access this solar energy through the cellular processes happening within our body.
Thus, you could say that life energy is solar energy. In Asian mind-body practices, we speak of ki, the energy that sustains all life. To stay truly healthy, we cannot just think of the physical body made of bone, muscle, and organs; we must also think of the “energy body,” the energetic element that brings life and vitality to all parts of our body. Author Ilchi Lee wisely renamed this the “solar body,” since the energy of the sun is, on the most primal level, the basis of our health and happiness. He also discovered that, through meditation, you can recharge this solar body by connecting directly with the energy of the sun.
Here is a simple meditation for you to do any time:
- Find a good spot for meditation. Outdoors is a great spot for this kind of meditation since you can feel the energy of the sun directly. Indoors, you could just find a spot near a sunny window. Even if that is not possible, you can simply visualize the energy of the sun. You can sit in a traditional meditation posture such as a half-lotus posture, or you can sit in a chair if that is more comfortable.
- Relax your body and mind. Take a couple of minutes to let the stresses of life leave your mind and for your muscles to relax before you begin. Bring your mind to the moment, letting go of the business of the day.
- Chest breathing. Close your eyes and breathe consciously but naturally into the chest, relaxing your body more and more deeply.
- Prepare your posture. Straighten your back and place your hands, palms up, on your thighs. Relax your shoulders and keep breathing deeply, but naturally. You should be able to imagine a straight line from the top of your head to the base of your spine.
- Focus on the top of your head, Baekhwe. There is a very important energy point, called Baekhwe, that is at the very top of your head. When you were an infant, it was the part that was still soft and pliable. Through this point, you will be able to bring sunlight directly into your solar body. Try feeling the tingling sensation of energy at this point.
- Feel the rays of the sun penetrating your head and shoulders. If you are sitting in sunlight, feel the warm rays literally penetrating your body. If you are not in direct sunlight, recall that feeling from times you have been out in the sunshine.
- Visualize the sunlight filling up your solar body. As you focus on that feeling of the sun’s rays, imagine that those rays are filling up your body’s energy system. See an aura of golden sunlight surrounding your body and becoming brighter and brighter.
- Slowly awaken to the world around you. After five to ten minutes, slowly return your consciousness to the outer world. Most likely, your surroundings will seem brighter and happier, and your body will feel youthful and energized.
Doing this sort of meditation can have profound benefits for your health and wellbeing. Numerous studies have confirmed the benefits of meditation, and sunshine, too, has been found to be important for avoiding and relieving depression. By connecting regularly to the sun’s energy, you are fueling your body with life energy, which is the secret to health, happiness, and vitality.