I thought I'd introduce myself, give some background, and explain my goals for utilizing these forums. Hopefully someone might be able to point me in an appropriate direction after reading.
Soon I will be leaving on a sustainable agriculture initiative to work with some tribal peoples in South America. I will essentially be spending two years in a very remote place without running water or electricity with a decent amount of free time. This to me seems like the perfect opportunity to get some real work/practice done in qigong/yoga/neigong/neidan/weidan/etc and/or the other techniques discussed in these forums without the usual distractions of daily life.
So, I've been digging around in the forums for a few weeks, as I wanted to do my due diligence before posting. After hours reading through with seemingly hundreds of tabs open on my browser, I feel I haven't made much progress in finding truth. Threads tend to devolve into arguments and heresay. So I'm hoping those with a little more experience can help me discern the Dragons from the Snakes. Who is legitimate? Who are the frauds?
Wang Liping, Dr. Jiang Feng, and John Chang appear to be authentic in achieving a high level of mastery in their various lineages. David Verdesi is a controversial figure to say the least. Can anyone say with confidence who has real attainment and is worth pursuing as a teacher and mentor? I would love to hear your recommendations about where to start my journey. I hear one can injure themselves pretty severely if they train incorrectly. I'd like to eliminate that option from the get-go.
Here are the books I own so far:
-Opening the Dragon Gate - The Making of an Authentic Taoist Immortal trans by Thomas Cleary
-Ling Boa tong Zhi Neng Nei gong Shu - Wang Liping and Richard Liao
-Daoist Neigong - The Philosophical Art of Change by Damo Mitchell
-Both of Kostas Dervenis books The Magus of Java and Nei Kung: The Secret Teachings of the Warrior Sages
-2 of Bruce Frantzis' books on the water method of Meditation: Relaxing Into Your Being and The Great Stillness
I would certainly also appreciate your recommendations as far as resources and books. So far all of the complex metaphors and translation issues has been fairly confusing to me. Does anyone have a preference for a translation of the Dao De Ching?
I'm also beginning work with a yoga instructor so that hopefully I will be able to sit in Full lotus position by the time I leave for South America.
Lastly, I wanted to share my motivations for pursuing this path. Obviously they are multifactorial, but ultimately it boils down to simply a yearning to understand the nature of existence itself. Who and what am I? Why do I or any of us exist? How much potential do I have, and how can maximize my ability to make a positive impact on the world? Don't get me wrong, of course I'm psyched about the abilities that supposedly come along with that understanding, but to me those are just awesome side effects and great tools for helping people.
Anyway, I wish everyone the best and look forward to hopefully hearing from some of you soon!