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About Chainer

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  1. Damo Mitchell Free MCO Course

    Great topic. Really nice and generous course from Damo, particularly as meditation is not his strongest area typically, the detail (in places) is exceptional, so many golden nuggets of advice, blink and you will miss half of them. Notably I've always found his focus on pro-actively 'developing' the 'skill' of Ting a little off putting but feel he incorporates his guidance very well in this series, much as he still does not really get across that its a quality that 'happens to you' through absorption over time, rather than one you get good at by 'practising' the mechanics of it specifically, which can only ever prepare you. If you have neglected meditation in your practice thus far then this is a very comprehensive set of principles and exercises to work through. And its free.
  2. Paintings you like

  3. Everyone post some favorite quotes!

    When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate... Carl Jung
  4. Everyone post some favorite quotes!

    All of us labor in webs spun long before we were born, webs of heredity and environment, of desire and consequence, of history and eternity. Haunted by wrong turns and roads not taken, we pursue images perceived as new but whose providence dates to the dim dramas of childhood, which are themselves but ripples of consequence echoing down the generations. William Faulkner
  5. Everyone post some favorite quotes!

    To accuse others for one's own misfortunes is a sign of want of education. To accuse oneself shows that one's education has begun. To accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one's education is complete. Epictetus
  6. Xing and Ming cultivation

    Wise words indeed, no idea why you have decided to apologise for this all of sudden, perhaps some miss placed social conscious or fear of isolation. Surely giving in to that crap is 'beneath' you now, in the sense of your lower self at least. In retrospect, the spiritual process reminds me more of some x rated version of Jungs Individuation process now, 1 big stand up fight to the death. With yourself. Always find it interesting how people are put off by the truth, how they react... like it's almost the ultimate test, think there maybe a saying but I forget.
  7. Some more advice needed on practice

    Thanks for that, do agree with your view on Damo's writings and do intend to start that thread sooner rather than later as think its an interesting topic, maybe w/e or next week. In the meantime I'd note that confirmatory signs is a very personal topic, full of different layers and evolving interpretations, driven by cultural stereotypes, seeding of signs through koans/analogies/mantras and the huge issue of confirmation bias, particularly at the beginning, when they are so important to the individual seekers confidence and enthusiasm for practise. However it's comforting, if a little strange that at a certain level of attainment everyone starts to experience exactly the same thing. Crucially signs seem to breakdown into 2 specific sets that go with your dominant 'type' of practise, specifically driven by either energy body work or spiritual practise/meditation. Energy body stuff is most often characterised by heat, light and movement in the body, whilst meditation tends to drive actual images and sounds in your mind, usually with an almost painful level of clarity and resolution. Coming from Zen its the visual stuff that interests me but some experience with energy work now also, and after a while you tend to catch up with the other side of your dominant practise anyway. Lastly, one the big dividers in how you experience signs is the contentious topic of whether you can actually see your Qi or you can't. It's such a fundamental (if harsh) test in zen training, to be able to watch and valorise your breath with your eyes closed, that failure to do this in the early stages, 'calm abiding' for example, makes later stages totally unobtainable, hence the focus on doing it at the beginning. From my experience Daoists who don't focus on this can take a very long time before they develop this skill, to the point that many will tell you it does not exist. In terms of the books, for energy body stuff I'd stick to Damo's until you have made some very strong progress with circulation/sexual alchemy, he uses certain terms in a very specific way. For meditation my recommendation is the Daoist version of 'Zen with benefits' that is the Secret of the Golden Flower, an actual translation rather the new age 'interpretations' or Wilhelm book. Several online, with a very accesible one being - Lastly have a couple of other threads on the list that might interest folks also: - The necessary evil of elitism in the internal arts - why are some people more gifted than others? - What is the best 'real world' one line piece of practise advice you have ever received?
  8. Xing and Ming cultivation

    Thank you for posting this. Seriously. Over my years of Zen practise I must of read and re-read many versions of this text hundreds of times, yet only now does the actual type of 'progression' of the relevant sounds as confirmatory signs for the various stages of attainment become clear to me. You could say it's a minor element to what is a deep, multi layered text, but I'm actually shocked that it never occurred to me to use them as 'part of my practise' until last couple of days, much as they have been literally screaming at me for years now. Guess I need to learn how to play the flute.
  9. Xing and Ming cultivation

    Thanks for this, will give it a go and let you know. Always slightly nervous of invocation stuff however do seem more and more drawn to this style of practise of late. Only comment I would pass is that previously I've been told to use my solar plexus for this type of work, which has driven results but seems more connected to other parts of 'myself'. Neither do I so I looked it up - apparently sound progresses through several different levels as your ability to interpret 'improves', I believe the next levels pass through 'cymbals', 'flutes', then 'bells' before 'rolling thunder' at the final stage. Cicada's is an early undeveloped stage. As part of this background search I also read that the ability to improve your interpretation seems to be linked to balancing the sounds between your left and right ears and focusing in on the sound, to the exclusion of all else which I'll also try. It would appear that the trick is to lengthen or 'slow down' the sound so you can better interpret it. Lastly whilst writing this I had a sharp tone change with increased pitch and strong mood swing, more a rising heat than compassion, but still was interesting. Thanks again.
  10. Xing and Ming cultivation

    This is interesting. I've had anahata sounds on my 'big list of things to ask about' when I'm on this forum for several years, but never got round to it, so hope you don't mind a couple of questions. The ringing in my ears has got considerably worse in last 3 to 4 years, much as its been there as long as I can remember - I've always had sensitive hearing. I have 2 layers of sound, that act separately and don't seem connected. 1. the subtler of the 2, a continually pulsing sound, changes every 1 to 2 secs, with 2 distinct tones only, sounds like a modem and gets worse with sensitive tooth paste use ( known side effect). Happy to write this one off as a form of tinnitus and seems directly connected to strong wifi sources. 2. the much louder one, a thick overlay of sound as a constant tone that does sound like cicadas, however it does seem to change tone out of the blue, usually with a sudden thought form or emotional mood change, and can stay in this changed state for several hours. I used to think it was simply tension release in my neck/shoulders but I can't replicate the tone change by manipulation. The only other person I've asked was a guy who claimed to practice an ancient form of 'Shaktisim', who has given me very good advice in several areas of meditation, however many of his interests seemed very dark in feel and obscure in terms of method. He told me that its 'anahata' sounds, then asked me a couple of questions before telling me I was probably between level 2 or 3, and I would need to do a specific practice if I wanted to progress to higher levels. Was very much focused on Yantra's at the time which he knew a lot about, so did not progress the discussion as it seemed to be a bit of a rabbit hole. However I've become a lot more interested in auditory stuff recently after various other experiences I've started to have, which seem connected to the Yantra work. Only other thing I'd add is that the main sound has now got so loud its a constant companion, I don't need to cover my ears to hear it, its very persistent even in a loud environment, but does not bother me as I can switch my attention off it easily enough. Any thoughts or advice on any type of practice would be gratefully received.
  11. Everyone post some favorite quotes!

    The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. - JOSEPH CAMPBELL
  12. Purpose of QiGong

    Yeah I know mate - little bit of British irony for you, no offence, besides little bit of self belief is no harm, keeps you on the path and folks kinda expect it, do it myself even.. Nice and very true, all devotional and religious states are to be surpassed, in Zen they call that the state of reverence, meant as an insult to beginners, one of the biggest traps there is. Yeah 'life' ain't going to care for you doing that, but thats as good a hint as any - whatever you hate, whatever you find hard, whatever is the most difficult to stick with is what you need to do the most. Just focusing on what you enjoy and/or good at leads fecking nowhere fast.. Trick is to do something similar all the time not just in your zazen, to learn to turn down/off you ego much as you can every day, then the fun will really start.. Have a sense the 'secret of the golden flower' might work you, look it up if you don't know it already, its kinda 'Rinzai Zen 101 with benefits' but most get something out of it as the detailed explanations of what to do with your eyes and ears are legend... Lol.. no, in the sense of my post - if you ain't suffering, you ain't doin right... Zen was established as the school of 'sudden enlightenment' for a reason Enjoyed the chat, thank you.
  13. Purpose of QiGong

    Many thanks for your reply, that was kind of you. No need to run your self down, ever - you are a lot higher up the food chain then lots of folks on here, whether you know it or not. So its the 2nd one then.. the trip improves you a long the way, and you emerge a better, more virtuous form of yourself. You become Saintly.. I respect that, and wish you well - its nice to actually come across a Daoist who has thought it through even that far in this day and age, as most folks simply don't read far enough ahead to realise there is some big stuff they are playing with here. Most don't have a goal, they don't even know the choices available, let alone know that they actually NEED to make one, sooner rather than later. As you have responded, as a courtesy the comment I would add is that its a REALLY good idea too know what the choice you are making actually means, the result of putting your spiritual development on the 'long finger' of the Yuan Shen path, delivering decades into the future.... and whats going to happen in the meantime, when you start to make real progress, in the sense of your 'developed energy body vs the modern world'... So.. let's say your animal passions have started to be transformed into their relevant virtues through some (very) high level of Daoism and no longer act as major vehicles for the dregs of your PO soul (whether inherited or self inflicted) to feck with you, attack you emotionally, take you over, lead you astray, make you sick. You are no longer forgetful, your fridge blindness has gone to the point that you can visualise the location of everything you own, you know what every light switch in your house actually does intuitively. You have surpassed clumsiness to the point you can tap dance on a curtain pole whilst playing Candy Crush, and you move with a grace and power that generates millions of followers on your own, not for profit, Youtube channel. Important moments in your life are no longer interrupted by the urgent need to service bodily processes, deal with random accidents, equipment failures, or the tedious needs of others. Every con or betrayal you suffer, every miss-placed love interest, friendship or fake master that you give you hard earned coin to, every opportunist side hustle or rip off micro business you donate too is simply a magical lesson for your soul to learn a long the way, you are just working out your grand daddies karma, nasty old bastard that he was.. You no longer crave attention or do anything to generate 'likes', you don't artificially induce pointless conflict with strangers in order to get a boost to your mood, you see through your own projections of guilt and innocence in others as little more than your own cute little hangups as a child, every living thing you engage with induces a warmth and compassion in your chest that makes it impossible to even dislike them let alone be harassed and punished by your own anger toward them. And most importantly your sexual obsessions have gone, your fetiches now little more than a mild appreciation of the truly beautiful soul rather than the total fascination of the heat and sweep of the human form, and no longer have you any desire to compete, to possess, to dominate, to humiliate, to punish or make dependant, as that crap is now frankly just 'beneath' you. But it don't quite work out that way. Your PO soul is still sitting there, mad as hell, scheming away, dancing around in your dreams, whispering self destructive crap in your ear, which you never actually hear. Indeed your have suppressed it to the point you have no longer any fecking clue what its up to, and everything you do seems the most decent and reasonable thing in the world, a force for good... but it still don't work... In short, unless you are truly blessed ancestrally, you get to fight against yourself for the rest of your life, knowing the stronger your energy body gets, the stronger it gets... hence why folks tend to find real practise tends to make there life worse until they man-up and face the problem, cause it ain't going away by itself. Ever. If you are going to do it that way, then think about making friends with it, or at least putting 'some 'manners on' the bastard, restrict its food and playtime to an acceptable compromise. Works for some I know, much as you will need to turn to the ancient Indian stuff to see that written down with any clarity, in Zen they leave it simply as 'seeing into your own true nature'.... cause they don't like scaring people in Zen, at least not at the beginning. If you don't mind some well meant advice - find a spiritual practise that works for you NOW, something you can do in parallel with whatever flavour of energy work you practise. Don't have to be much, don't get the sense it will be hard for you, as long as you start now. Lastly, have to say, much as I respect the 'saintly' vibe, I'd never be willing to put up with the 'suffering' that has gone with it through the ages, at least more than I have too.
  14. Purpose of QiGong

    Genuinely interesting post, my compliments Lots of questions for someone as well versed and articulate but I'll stick to my favourite one: In terms of the ultimate goal of spiritual development - Do you (or able Daoists of your kind), believe that you must destroy your ego totally in the spiritual sense, let's say to refine you PO Soul, your Yin Qi out of existence, in the 10 Ox herding, 'black to white stages' sense of it (ie Zen)? Or do you think that you retain your ego, you sense of self, with all your secondary consciousness (sorry for the Falun Gong ref but i make it for a reason) et al, and just progress in terms of spiritual power, with a more nebulous and dangerous belief that the journey itself simply 'improves' you, you even surpass 'morality', in the ancient Indian sense of it? No matter who you are and where you are from, I come to recognise over the years that this question splits almost everyone into 2 distinct camps, as most Daoists seem to believe they retain the sense of themselves even at the highest levels of practise and consequently don't really bother. While most highly spiritual people have zero interest in energy body work, and go straight after destroying themselves, even handing themselves over to a 'higher power' first chance they get, much as that can be just as dangerous. However with your Yuan Shen ref above as the ultimate goal I suspect, kinda hoping in fact, you are going to find a middle ground...
  15. Help with stagnant kundalini

    A lot depends on where you are in terms of your development, active kundalini in the popular sense of is a big trip and few get there by trying, so you may want to check the basics first. For example can you actually stop your thoughts as yet in meditation, ie something like your mind image turns to a still picture that dissolves? have you located the position of your lower dantien, can you actually feel it rotate? Or do you have any visual confirmatory signs in terms of lights, what you 'see' in meditation? If you are just looking for additional elements to strengthen your practice inline and but over and above what you have stated, that are still relatively simple then the next best 2 are: - Solid root lock on inhale, strongly lift your entire pelvic floor particularly your coccyx with a forward curl to your pelvis, which will flatten your lower back as you push your breath down far as you can. - Hold your breath just for a few seconds on max inhale by 'bating your breath', ie let a small amount of pressure back up then lock your diaphragm so no more leaks out. Don't tense your stomach and do this in moderation. See what happens, it will depended on any number of different factors, what condition your body and mind is in for example. After this you might want to try proper RAB techniques (use your stomach muscles on inhale) that combined the above and several other elements together, such as inward use of your eyes and ears, Mingmen breathing, different focal points for your heart/mind et al. Good idea to have more practice reference points first though. Good luck with it.