The pineal gland is a pine cone shaped endocrine gland that sits between the two hemispheres of the brain - a location which corresponds to what in Taoist practice is known as the "Crystal Palace." Laozi called this little gland "the gateway to heaven and earth." In Hindu yoga, this same place is called the "Cave of Brahman," and corresponds to the Ajna Chakra, or "third eye."
The pineal gland has been shown to have biodirectional communication with the Immune system, and so its activation can help us to avoid the flu or even fight cancer. Taoist (and Buddhist) "dark retreats" are powerful in part because of the release from the pineal gland of biochemicals supportive of mystical experiences. According to Swami Sivananda:
"The pineal gland is the receptor and sender of the subtle vibrations which carry thoughts and psychic phenomena throughout the cosmos. The pineal gland converts brain waves into subtle electrical energy traveling faster that the speed of light and which are stored by the individual brain."
An easy way to begin waking up the pineal gland is via the Inner Smile practice.
Our Friends In Tibet
As the suppression of Falun Gong members in Beijing continues, The London Times recently described "a daring protest [by Tibetan monks of Jokhang temple] against Chinese rule, disrupting an official government tour for foreign journalists with screams that the Dalai Lama was not to blame for violence and demands for religious freedom."