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Using Tumo By: Dr. L. Daka Add to: | Technorati | Digg | del.icio.

us | Precis: The writer of this article reveals how he learned an ancient, mystical t echnique to survive in the cold. Using Tumo By Dr. L. Daka I grew up in Minnesota. For those of you unfamiliar with the state (other than k nowing that the current governor used to be a professional wrestler), let me tel l you about it. Fully half the population of Minnesota resides in the "Twin Cities," Minneapolis and St. Paul. For all practical purposes, however, they are really one city div ided by the Mississippi river. Even so, each city has its own character. St. Pau l, the seat of government, was originally named "Pig's Eye" after a river pirate . A huge Catholic cathedral was built on a hill (a major part of the funding com ing from the most notorious Madam of the time), and the city adopted the name of the cathedral. St. Paul is on the east side of the Mississippi and is often cal led the "biggest little city in the U.S." The name, "Minneapolis," is quite unusual, being a combination of Native America n (Minne-) and Greek (-polis). It is larger than St. Paul, is on the west side o f the Mississippi, and is sometimes known as the "smallest big city in the U.S." I grew up in a suburb called Lakeville, and it was wonderful. I was close to the Twin Cities but just far away enough for an almost rural life. My favorite time s of the year were Spring, when the snows had melted and the plants were startin g to grow and bud, and Fall, when the leaves turned color and the brisk winds we re a pleasant relief from the Summer heat and humidity. But other than those two seasons of the year, the weather was harsh. Summer was very hot and humid. We would go to the malls and movie theaters just to get into some air conditioning. Sometimes the heat was so oppressive that sle eping at night was difficult. The winter was incredibly cold. We used to be than kful for snow because that would mean it was warmer. It actually got too cold to snow, and people used to say that we had nine months of winter and three months of bad skiing. One of the truly wonderful things about Minnesota is the people. They tend to be friendly and polite, and they help each other. If a car has difficulty on a sno wy road, many people will stop their cars and offer help. Everyone knows that th e next time it could be them. After I graduated from the University of Minnesota (with their sports teams, the "Golden Gophers") and completed my residency, I got a job offer in Florida. I l asted all of a year. Although there are wonderful people there, I felt trapped t here were too many people. And the weather was almost the reverse of Minnesota: hot and humid for most of the year. I wanted to run away. I found I actually mis sed the cold of my home. I guess I had become accustomed to it. So when a job opened in a small, cold place, I took it. It is a little town I'll call "Tallman" in Alaska. Tallman is very rural and small. In the winter, snowm obiles are the most common form of transportation for getting around town. That' s when I started worrying.

In Minnesota, the roads I frequented were almost always cleared of snow in the w inter and if you got in trouble, there were other people driving by. In Tallman, there were neither cleared winter roads nor frequent drivers. If your snowmobil e broke down and you were stranded outside the town proper, you could be in a lo t of trouble. I decided I needed to do something about it. SEARCHING THE INTERNET Even though our town is small and out of the way (in the winter, flying in is th e only way to get here), we don't lack for necessities of modern life, including access to the internet. I did searches through various areas and found special heaters, small, lightweight blankets that were supposed to keep you warm, and ot her gadgets. I felt uncomfortable with all of them. In my web searching, I found a reference to something called tumo. The websites I visited didn't say much more than that it was a Tibetan technique to keep warm . It claimed that tumo could keep you warm "in spite of snow, freezing winds and ice." It worked by a meditation technique that would send a "mystic heat" throu gh veins, arteries and nerve channels. This process, they claimed, would keep yo u warm even during freezing conditions. But they didn't say how to do it. For the past several years, I have been a doctor, and my interests have been fir mly in the scientific world. The internet is filled with some rather bizarre med ical claims, and I take most of them with more than a grain of salt. Some of my patients come in with these supposed cures for everything from hair loss to beni gn prostate disease. I always ask for the scientific proof. Sometimes what you r ead on the internet is accurate. Sometimes it is exaggerated. And sometimes it i s just wrong. So the idea of tumo sounded absurd to me. But whether it worked or not would be easy to prove. All I had to do was try it. But before I could do so, I had to le arn it, and I was finding dead ends everywhere. Finally, I saw a review of a recently-published book that claimed to give the en tire process for learning tumo. I clicked on the "to buy this book" icon and pur chased the book over the internet. Soon I had a copy of Occult Tibet by J. H. Br ennan. LEARNING TUMO Chapter six exclusively teaches the technique of tumo. Brennan says that in Tibe t the training would take "three years, three months, and three days," (p. 61), and this disappointed me. But he quickly follows by saying that this "clearly ha s symbolic association." I was relieved to discover that it might take a much sh orter time. Besides, the author adds that "the various steps of the exercise hav e benefits in their own right." I was ready to start. There are three stages to learning tumo, each having several parts. The first st age consists of preliminary exercises. The first exercise shocked me and almost turned me off to the entire practice! So don't turn away after reading the techn ique, be sure to read the explanation afterward. "[V]isualize yourself as the naked, virginal, sixteen-year-old Vajra-Yogini, a T antric divinity who personifies spiritual energy. This goddess has luminous ruby -red skin and a visible third eye in the middle of her forehead. In her right ha nd she holds a gleaming curved knife high above her heard to cut off completely all intrusive thought processes. In her left hand she holds a blood-filled human skull against her breast. On the head of the goddess is a tiara made from five dried human skulls, while around her neck is a necklace of fifty human heads dri pping blood. She wears armbands, wristbands, and anklets, but her only other ite

m of adornment is a Mirror of Karma breastplate held in place by double strings of beads made from human bones that circle her waist and pass over her shoulders . There is a long staff in the crook of her left arm and a flame-like aura aroun d her whole form. The goddess is dancing with her right leg bent and the foot li fted up while her left foot tramples a prostate human." (p. 62) Yuck! When I read this repulsive description, I figured this was too bizarre for me. B ut I read on to discover that "even the worst of the horrors has symbolic signif icance. The necklace of human heads, for example, should be seen as representing separation from the wheel of birth, death, and rebirth that locks humanity into the world of illusion." (p. 62) Understanding that this was all symbolic made m e feel a bit better, so I decided to continue. The book explains that this is just the outer form of the goddess and internally you should imagine yourself empty, "like a silken tent or shaped balloon." (p. 62) Visualizations had always been easy for me. When I was studying medicine, I used visualizations of myself easily and successfully passing tests to relieve p ressure and stress when taking exams. This was a bit different because I was sup posed to have two images in my mind at the same time, the external image of the goddess figure and the internal emptiness. It took me a few days to master this. Next, per the instructions in the book, I increased the size of the goddess imag e, larger and larger, until it was as big as a house, a hill, and so on until it encompassed the entire universe. I stayed with that visualization for a time. I t was, as they say, a real "mind-rush." Then I did just the opposite, shrinking the visualization down until it was the size of a tiny seed and then to microsco pic levels. The next exercise is to visualize the Vagra-Yogini the same size as me, and then concentrate on visualizing an energy channel down the middle of my body. "It sh ould be seen as straight, hollow, about the size of an arrow-shaft, and a bright , almost luminous red." (p. 63). Again, per the instructions in the book, once I had this down I expanded the channel until it was the size of a "walking staff, then a pillar, a house, a hill, and finally large enough to contain the whole o f the universe." (p. 63) At this stage the channel, of course, pervades the enti re body, not just the center of it. Then I was to visualize the channel getting smaller until it was about one-hundr edth the thickness of a hair. All of this was fairly easy for me to do, and with in a week, I was pretty good at it. The third exercise begins with sitting in the famous cross-legged lotus pose fou nd in Hatha yoga. I had studied yoga for a while, and quite frankly, I could nev er do the lotus pose. Luckily, the teacher I had gave me a solution: "Do the bes t you can. Alter the pose to fit your needs." I found that if I sat on the edge of a cushion I could modify the pose a bit, be comfortable, and get the desired effects of the pose. Brennan mentions some alternatives, too. Sitting in this position (with the right leg on top), you put your hands in your lap, palms up, with the forefinger, thumb and pinky extended. The spine should be straight, chin down, tongue against the roof of the mouth, and the eyes fixed on the tip of the nose. Take three deep breaths and exhale completely. Then inhale as much as possible a nd hold the breath as long as possible without straining. "As you breathe out, i magine that five-color rays emerge from every pore of your body to fill the enti re world. The colors, which equate to the elements, are blue, green, red, white, and yellow symbolizing respectively ether [spirit], air, water, and earth. On t

he in-breath, imagine these rays returning through the pores to fill your body w ith multicolored light. Repeat the exercise seven times." (p. 64 65) I found this part of the exercise to be very stimulating; leaving me feeling balanced and ene rgized. The exercise continues with sound, visualizing the concept of the five colors be ing part of the syllable hum (I guess that is the Tibetan equivalent of the Hind u Om). On the exhalation I would visualize the world being filled with the color ed hum. On inhaling I would feel the sound and colors enter and fill my body. Th is, too, was repeated seven times. The next part of the exercise was to imagine that each time I exhaled, the color ed hum sound changed to mustard seed-sized versions of fierce, angry, and menaci ng deities. Such deities are common in Tibet. On the exhale they were to fill th e world, while on the inhale they were to fill me. This was repeated seven times . Believe me, the feeling of all these little creatures, even though they were o nly visualized, was quite...interesting, to say the least. The next part of this step is, according to Brennan, a "critical stage in the ex ercise. You are required to imagine that every pore of your body is inhabited by one of these tiny deities with his face turned outward. The result of this visu alization, when performed correctly, is that you see yourself as having grown a second protective skin composed of fierce and angry deities, which functions rat her like a suit of mail armor." (p. 66) For two weeks, I practiced this. Although I could sense the deities, I didn't ha ve a feeling of them being armor. Then, at the end of two weeks, I had a dream i n which I was having a battle against giant monsters. Although I battled valiant ly, I realized I would lose. "Somebody help me!" I cried out. I immediately hear d a tittering sound. Looking around I saw tens of thousands of tiny, angry, Tibe tan gods. "Oh great," I thought, "a lot of good they're going to be." Instead of fighting the monsters, they started jumping on top of each other until they for med a wall between the monsters and me. "Hey, this looks like it might work," I said. Then the wall of deities moved toward me, and with a leap, surrounded me l ike a second skin. At first I thought I wouldn't be able to breathe, but I quick ly realized that their protective cover didn't harm me in any way. Better, it pr evented me from being harmed by the monsters, although my sword could cut throug h the beasts. When I awoke, my first thought was that I had, indeed, been successful in gettin g the deities to be an armor-like second skin. But then I wondered, "What were t he monsters?" I thought about it for a day before I realized that I was feeling very happy, content, and peaceful. In my dream I had defeated my own fears, phob ias, insecurities, and other negative qualities. It didn't mean I had won the "w ar" with them, but I had won a battle. That knowledge made me feel great! Even i f this tumo didn't work, I'd already learned a powerful technique for personal d evelopment. There are two other exercises in this stage, but I'm not sure that they are nece ssary for this overview, so I'll leave it for you to study them and decide for y ourself. STAGE TWO: THE REAL WORK In this section Brennan goes into actual techniques for learning how to generate what he calls psychic heat. It begins with breath control known as Nine Bellows Blowings: "Close off your left nostril with your forefinger so that you are breathing only through the right nostril.

"Turn your head slowly from right to left while inhaling and exhaling three time s through the right nostril. "Now close off your right nostril and inhale/exhale three times while moving you r head slowly from left to right. "Finally, with your head steady and looking straight ahead, inhale/exhale three times through both nostrils." (p. 69) This cycle is repeated three times. The first set has you breathe very, very gen tly. The second is stronger. With the third you inhale and exhale very completel y, using the abdominal muscles to help push out all of the air. For me, this was easy to do. It only took a short time to get the feeling that I was doing it ri ght. The next step is called Four Combined Breathing. Bend your y and deeply (let your chest bulge out) breathe in through he breath was coming from about a foot-and-a-half in front alation is hard to maintain, take several short breaths to in both lungs. neck over and silentl both nostrils as if t of you. When this inh equalize the pressure

When you are totally filled with air, begin to exhale gently, then with greater force, then gently again, all on a single breath. This is called "shooting the b reath forth like an arrow." (p. 70) Indeed, that name described what the sensati on felt like. The above two techniques are known as Calm Breathing. The next technique is call ed Violent Breathing. It has five exercises that are described briefly. They all involve realizing that with every breath,energy is coming into your body. More importantly, the "final technique of the sequence seeks to mingle the internaliz ed life force with the great reservoir of cosmic energy all around you. This is referred to as the Art of Relaxing the Breathing, a name which suggests the proc ess involves an out-breath." (p. 72) I took this to mean that I should visualize energy coming in with each breath, combining with my inner energy in my lungs a nd expanded body (from the first stage), and sent out on the exhalation. Practic e of an hour a day for a week made this very powerful, and I felt filled with po wer, but not "antsy." My power gave me peace of mind. The next part of this stage involves visualizations. Again, you visualize the Va jra-Yogini, but "instead of imagining yourself as this deity, you should create an image of the goddess standing at normal human size before you. This image bec omes your contact point with the universal energy and part of a visualized 'gene rator' that will produce the psychic heat." (p. 72 73) When I read that this was w here things will start, I got really excited. I had this visualization down pat within two days. The next visualization, as before, deals with the energy channel. But rather tha n just the one main channel, there are now three. The center one is hollow, red, transparent, and bright. Two more go on either side of this central tube, gentl y curving to the center, crossing each other at the central point and continuing in this way back and fourth. This is just like the image of the caduceus, the w and that was the symbol of medicine, my profession. At each crossing point through the center channel, there is a chakra or power ce nter. There are four major chakras (this is different from the popular pictures I've seen, but most of those deal with the Hindu chakras, so I made up my mind t o try this out.) The next part is difficult to explain in a brief article like this; you'll have to get a copy of Occult Tibet for yourself. The basic idea is that you take two letters of the Tibetan alphabet (for those familiar with it, they are the letter ham and half of the vowel A) and visualize them in certain ways while working w

ith the breath. It's not difficult, just complex to describe. As you do this wor k, the letters change to flickering, spinning fires. At the tip of the Ham is a drop of pearlescent "moon fluid" which overflows the crown chakra above the head and then flows over the chakras at the throat, heart, and navel, and finally th e entire body. "The overall sequence of 108 breath cycles constitutes a single tumo course. To become proficient, you will need to repeat six courses over each twenty-four-hou r period in the early stage of your training." (p. 75 76) I practiced this until I could sense that I had an increased amount of the universal life force charging me. The book advises to cut the number of courses to four after that increase o ccurs. STAGE THREE: TRIGGERING TUMO Brennan reveals that there are three ways to trigger the heat of tumo. Once you have practiced and can perform all of the exercises already given, the simplest means of triggering the heat is through deep, diaphragmatic breathing. The third method he gives involves visualizing yourself with all of the above images and with suns blazing in the palms and soles. Bring the palms together and then the soles so the suns meet, then rub the palms and feet against one another. "[F]ire will flare up to strike the sun below the navel, then the [Ham] symbol, and go on to permeate your whole body." There's a bit more to it revealed in the book, but this is the basic idea. However, it was the second method that most interested me: "While seated in a si mple cross-legged position, grasp the underneath of your thighs with your hands. Use your stomach and abdominal muscles to circle the belly area three times to the right and three times to the left while keeping the torso still. (You can pr epare for this by first moving the muscles left and right, then gradually buildi ng up to a circular movement.) Churn the stomach vigorously by rippling the musc les from top to bottom, then shake your body like a dog that has just come out o f the water. While you are doing so, raise yourself a little on your crossed leg s, then drop back again onto your cushion, in effect bouncing a little off the f loor. Repeat this whole exercise three times, ending with a more vigorous bounce ." (p. 76) According to Brennan, if you perform twenty-one vigorous bounces while doing the visualization for a week, "you will be able to endure almost any degree of cold " (p. 77) while wearing only a thin cotton robe. This was what I wanted! I pract iced daily for a couple of weeks. Then I settled down to practicing only twice a week. PUTTING IT TO THE TEST Spring had arrived, and the snows were melting. I was giving myself several mont hs of practice before relying on tumo for my safety. I could swear that I was ge nerating heat, but was it my imagination or was it real? Then there was a surpri se cold spell and a late snow. I decided to test what I had learned. I drove out to the side of a large hill not far from Tallman. By the afternoon, the sun was behind one side of the hill, and the dark side was not only covered with eight inches of snow, but was in the shade. The cold had gotten worse, so i t wasn't going to snow any more that afternoon or night. Using a snow shovel, I quickly made a six-foot-high pile of snow. Then I packed it down firmly and pile d on more snow. I repeated this until I had a six-foot-tall mound of hard-packed snow. It was a little after 4:00 when I climbed to the top of the pile and stri pped off my parka and outer clothes, leaving only my underwear. I sat down, cros s-legged, making a crunching sound as the snow compressed under me. Within secon ds, my teeth were chattering and my skin started to feel numb. I closed my eyes

to focus on what I was going to do and started using the second method to trigge r the tumo heat. My stomach churned side to side and top to bottom. I bounced on ce. I did the visualization. I repeated this, making the bounce more vigorous and gave more effort to the vis ualization, trying to make it even stronger than before. On the third round, eve rything seemed to flow. I got an eerie feeling that time was changing. I think t he visualization lasted a long time. After the fourth round, I noticed that my t eeth were not chattering and my body did not feel numb at all. I was feeling rat her comfortable. Was this really working? By the seventh bounce and visualization, I was feeling peaceful and warm. Actual ly, I was feeling very warm. I realized that there was nothing in the book that said how long this effect would last. I just sat there with my eyes closed, rela xing, feeling comfortable. And then I noticed something odd. It was a sensation I had experienced innumerab le times before, but it was odd right now. There was a slightly itching sensatio n at the tip of my nose. It was a drop of sweat! I was perspiring. This really w orks. I wiped the sweat from my nose, but my realization had broken the state I was in. I opened my eyes. It was dark in front of me. Every where I looked it was dark. I was terrified. W hat had happened? I looked up and saw stars. The heat from my body had been so w arm and so long lasting that it had formed a hole four-feet deep in the snow! As I clambered out of the hole, I realized how desperately cold it was and struggl ed back into my icy clothes. There was a propane heater on my snowmobile and I s tarted it up. In a few minutes I was warm without the need for tumo. Now that I had this technique and knew that it worked, I wouldn't have to rely on having a supply of propane for an unknown amount of time. I could be safe and warm and no t worry. But for how long? I thought about the stars and realized that it was night. I checked the watch I had left on the snowmobile. It read 10:37. I had been safe, warm, and comfortabl e for over six hours! This was absolutely astounding and amazing. BACK TO REALITY Having lived in areas that get very cold for most of my life, I can tell you tha t one way to survive the cold is to build a small snow building like a cave or i gloo. Sheltered from the wind and warmed by your body heat, it may be your only way to survive without dying from hypothermia. So it could be that the pit-like hole in the snow was what kept me warm and safe that afternoon and evening. At l east, that's what the skeptical side of me would say. But who or what made the hole? ow was firm and hard packed so idea that the pit I sank into hat through tumo, as taught in create that pit in the snow. I didn't dig it. In fact, I made sure that the sn I couldn't just sink down. Even if you accept the kept me warm, the only conclusion I can make is t Occult Tibet, I was able to create enough heat to

I look forward to the mild summer weather ahead, but I intend to keep up my prac tice. Winter will come again and I feel very safe. Perhaps I'll melt some new ho les in the snow in a few months. Editor's note: "L. Daka" is the nom de plume of a man wishing to stay anonymous in a small community. "Tallman" is the name being used here for a town that is a bout 100 miles from Anchorage, 250 miles from Fairbanks, and about 150 miles fro m the entrance of Denali National Park.

Occult Tibet by J.H. Brennan is Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. All quotes are used by permission.