StillWater

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About StillWater

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    StillWater

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  1. Hi Gerard, Sorry about not getting back on this sooner. Thank you very much for chiming in. I don't think I'm comfortable at all with limiting or giving up reading for any purpose. My mind is something I've worked hard to develop and while I understand the "signal to noise" problem with information overload, I also have worked to develop a certain degree of discernment. I hope it will benefit me in that regard. Addressing your second point, the entire purpose of my post was to gain some opinions about some real life teachers. I'm not sure what the purpose of telling me to do what I'm doing is but, yes, that's what I'm attempting, so thank you for emphasizing that issue. Anyway, yes, quite familiar with squats. Much appreciated and thank you for taking the time.
  2. I believe this is the practice of Flying Phoenix I should follow initially (thank you again Earl Grey, I just registered for membership and told you my spiritual background) and found this on the Alchemical Garden site: "PRACTICE RECOMMENDATION FOR ALL FP QIGONG PRACTITIONERS--BEGINNERS AND VETERANS ALIKE" Since it is posted there I don't want to clip it to here but that is the method I am intending to use for a while, in addition to the Wuji standing and learning the Yang Short form. Quick edit... after next year and hopefully when this pandemic lightens a bit, I'm going to look into Damo Mitchell's training, Kathleen Cusick's training or (depending on that video above) the Bagua. I might look at Zhongxian Wu as well because having my expectations challenged and questioning why could be a very good thing. I'll continue to ponder that. If not, I might add online with Damo or if money becomes and issue and pandemic is still delaying I might look at a Bagua video... perhaps Park Bok Nam or Bagua for Beginners tape 1 by Chenhan Yang. I hope this all passes approval from you awesome and so generous people! Thank you again, Stillwater
  3. Oh wonderful! Thank you! I'm editing this post to add the following, in case it is a helpful bit of information on who I am and what has partially put me on this path. The story is a bit involved, but suffice to say that in 1986/87 I first had an experience that I now look back on and can say fit the description of a spontaneous energy rise up the spine into my head resulting in what I can only describe as blissful contact with the divine. I was just sitting alone in my college dorm room and I purposely asked the universe whether or not there REALLY was God, or not and I insisted on a real answer. I got it although I was left with more questions. This has happened on 8 or 9 other occasions since then from various attempts, both purposefully and not., the most recent being last year (around March 2020). While the contact always results in a blissful and indescribably unified perspective of the universe as one/love, the problem too is that I've felt also the wrath of the divine and a terrifying (understatement of the year) eternal condemnation for transgressions. Well, better described as .. everything you ever wanted or crushed on or loved is actually a reflection of this one pristine consciousness. Its really all any of us ever have wanted when we want something. I was kind of informed that it would really suck if you were fully aware of it, and utterly denied it eternally. That would really suck. Anyway I'm not entirely clear if it can happen or was given as an example to guide me with more than a gentle nudge. After addressing to the best of my ability.. those things, I also felt the anger of this particular "spirit guide?" (perhaps??) turn from negative to blissful upon realization that this life (at least for me) is about serving others.. not self focus. I have spent years untying these knots completely on my own. I've had no teachers, no human guidance, no anything really other than books, research, dvd's and conversations to explore and try to make sense. Often the experience is both incredibly enlightening (for a while, living aware of and experiencing a singular point of consciousness that is quite literally all there is... which is ... well, there are no words... but there is everything that words are meant to describe) and utterly terrifying... or at least it can be. Through all of this there has been an absolutely clear "push" toward energy development. No idea why. I finally got to a point about two years ago where I began to cave into it. Now I am at a point where I am feeling committed to the idea. In any event, that is why I'm here and asking these questions. It is also why I so greatly appreciate the guidance from you all.
  4. Filling up the lower Dan Tien- How and Why

    Having sat, reading, rereading, absorbing and trying to "get" this information Freeform, I think I have at least a grasp. Effectively, instead of focusing on my center-point or DT, I should be initially dwelling on the discovery of where my focus actually is. Where am I actually focusing, or maybe more precisely, where is my focus initiating. Once settled into that, as I become more relaxed (I'm quite proficient at relaxing my body... for about 25 or 30 years I literally would lay in bed before sleep and let go of every part of me until I could no longer feel anything except my alert mind and breathing.. and just see where it would take me. I never knew I was about 1 step away from meditating because I never really did anything else with it... but I truly learned to relax. I can feel the slightest tension now and have an ability to absolutely feel tension and let it go and "sink" it down from my upper body to my midsection and either let it go or let it rest). Anyway, once relaxed ... soften my focal intensity to gently do whatever I identified as my focus ... and let it become very passive and non-intense... until a point is reached where it descends of its own accord. I liken "sweet spots" to regulating the pressure in your ears on an airplane... when heading up, the pressure is getting less so you hold your nose and suck in to remove the greater internal pressure... when heading down you blow out. The sweet spot is where your ears clear utterly... go to far and you clog again and have to reverse the procedure. I honestly feel like I must sound like the biggest idiot to you and the more experienced teachers and practitioners here, but I'm going to suck it up and spill anyway so that I can truly find the right path and direction. My apologies for being the chattering monkey. SO as my attention descends of its own accord, just experience it and let it do its thing. When it lands, just passively ... experience that... while doing whatever else I need to do in the practice. Am I getting this or am I missing it? Thank you again. Stillwater (name is Sean, btw).
  5. Sorry about the delay.. had to drive home. Master Logray, that is my picture. I'm 53. I'm in good shape however and have a long history of physical discipline. I should be ok, although I'm not immersed in this discipline and could be way off base. Until Freeform dropped that video on the thread, I thought the school looked ok too... Anyway thank you very much for your input. Freeform, thanks for the insight on Damo. Considering that and the iChing reading, I really need to consider approaching his teaching when the time is right. I'm not informed enough to make an opinion on the video you put up there, but my initial impression and gut are telling me it is laughably bad. Virtue, thank you on that. Much clarity. I'm going to get a copy of the iChing (downloadable book) and learn to use it. Any recommendations on a specific version or translation? Or anything regarding learning that specific oracle? OK, so everyone, this is what I'm leaning toward. I'm sticking with the Wuji standing for 40 minutes every morning (time on that ranges from 2am to 5am... sometimes if I just wake up and can't get back to sleep in the early morning I'll just tackle it then and there. Otherwise, usually around 5am). In the thread on filling your Dan Tien, I asked about just what focusing means and got a great response (thank you again Freeform) which I'm going to use to "focus" on my center-point (center between navel and mingmen). Since it takes time to learn the 24 Yang form I'm taking one lesson per week from the DVD. In the meantime I'm going to start tackling the Flying Phoenix each evening. I typically stretch out for a couple of hours, depending on motivation, each evening. I can easily dedicate a good part of that time to Flying Phoenix instead and go for maintenance stretching. It sounds like a lot, but really isn't. The learning of a lesson for the 24 short form is all of about 20 minutes a week and practicing here and there to learn the steps through the week (usually at work, I'm typically the only one on my floor due to the pandemic). If any of this sounds idiotic or off, please alert me! Earl Grey, if you are still present on this thread, as soon as I'm done writing this I'm heading over to read the other forum, so this might be something answered there but I figured I'd put it down in case you had some input. If you have answered this on the other forum, my apologies. I'll try to dig it up there. Anyway the question was this... Do you have a sort of program to follow initially with Flying Phoenix? I have the first four DVD's. I mean, is it "start with the seated and just do all of them at one session for a few months, then add DVD 2 standing... work all that as well for the first year or until you discover you notice xyz?" Thank you so much everyone, you've all been so very generous with your time, insight and knowledge. It is greatly appreciated. Oh and incidentally, I practice in closed rooms with no dog or wife interference. I have plenty of opportunities morning, day and night. Stillwater
  6. Filling up the lower Dan Tien- How and Why

    That is a truly awe inspiring post Freeform! Thank you so much. I'm going to work on this ... well.. I'm going to "not work" on this and allow it as suggested! And thank you for the kind words of encouragement. I'm not pursuing the internal arts... for years it seems they have been pursuing me and I'm finally answering the call. Stillwater
  7. Thank you Earl Grey, I will look on the AG forum as you suggested. Very appreciated. Stillwater
  8. Thank you Taomeow, Love the name by the way, being a former owner of 3 cats and two dogs who all went to the great beyond... and now 3 dogs who are too smart for their own good (pretty sure I caught one reading a book the other day). Your advice is also very penetrating. I had some feelings about a few of the schools that really made me not feel quite right. Not bad, just not quite right. Your explanation of lineage and certification absolutely hit home. Thank you again.
  9. I have to admit Virtue, that is rather staggering in perception. Thanks so much for doing that. I'm going to have to seriously think about everything you just listed. Very positive on Wuji and Flying Phoenix. Seems like Bagua might be interesting too, although I'm not sure what subduing my ego and uncovering my true heart would entail. Damo sounds really good too. I mean, overall for now, seems like I'm doing fine with my book and video. I have to admit that the Bagua reading has me really curious. Thanks again Virtue!
  10. Hi Virtue! Thank you for your kind replies. Thank you for paging the members you mentioned! An iChing divination would be wonderful but please don't go out of your way. If you could use the practice, it would be welcomed and respected with all due salt grains as you suggested. I do have a collection of the flying phoenix dvd's and have given them a cursory look. The actual forms are intriguing but I couldn't figure out how to put a routine together, even with Terry's quick start guide. Do you do the whole seated set and standing set at one time every day? When do you transition from one to the next? All the little niggly bits. At that point I decided I needed a bit more experience. I'm assuming by the peacefulness of your heart-mind you mean the inner smile and working on a loving feeling for everything during meditation? Also, yes. I'm absolutely sure I have misconceptions. I have read that during live instruction the energy of the teacher is an irreplaceable component, but whether I have a clue what that alludes toward is another issue altogether. Thank you again. Super kind of you and appreciated Virtue.
  11. Filling up the lower Dan Tien- How and Why

    Quick question on the subject, if anyone is actually reading this. Can anyone add a little illumination on the phrase, "put your awareness in (or on)" (a specific place)? Allow me to illustrate the confusion. When you are "aware" of something you know it exists. You can also apply it loosely to the word, "watch" or the concept of "noticing sensation." All three of those are counter to one another in terms of mental focus. Are we supposed to search mentally for a feeling in the internal location? Are we supposed to visualize a place while trying to radar in on the spot (like a glowing small orb or something)? Are we just aware it exists and trying to disengage all sensation or purposeful action? Vague terms like "awareness" and such things are understood after they are experientially defined, however the method can also be described a whole lot better with more exact wording... even if the experience is really the answer. Thanks much, have a wonderful weekend. Stillwater
  12. Many pardons up front for my ignorance. I submit myself to the knowledge of those who have gone before me and humbly ask for any guidance that might be available. Let me start with this. I'm pretty darn new to a lot of this, and the information I have gathered thus far is really from books. I've read this forum here and there but it is so vast and extensive it is like walking into a library of scrolls and hoping you pick the right one. Disarray seems to follow the original organization of any room... this forum is much more organized than most yet there is always a "well darn man, where do I start?" feel to everything. For me, start with book, generate questions, look them up the best I can. I have gathered that personal instruction is best. The only teachers I can find in my area (Raleigh, NC) are the following and I'd greatly value opinions on them since I've no flippin clue. I am interested in health, spirituality. Not so much martial, but that wouldn't be avoided if it is a good idea. 1. Qigong Wellness is owned and operated by Jeff Simonton, a Certified Medical Qigong Instructor who was taught by the world famous Healer and Medical Qigong Master, Binhui He. Jeff also teaches Tai Chi and various methods of meditation. 2. Erin Tracy who states, "Pangu Mystical Qi Gong has a strong soul connection that many Qi Gongs practiced today have lost. It is taught only by Master Ou himself or certified instructors who teach and transmit the foundational energy during instruction. In order to fully and deeply learn the practice you must be taught in one fo these two ways so that you may understand the philosophy behind this practice. I am certified by Pangu Shengong International Research Institute to teach Pangu Moving Form Qi Gong and Pangu Non-Moving Form Qi Gong - also known respectively as PGSG Foundational Qi Cultivation and PGSG Cognitive and Sensory Perception Development. (www.pangu.org for more info). 3. Jason Quin, certified Energy Arts Instructor (this dude is expensive). "A follower of Lao Tse's Water-Method of Taoist Meditation... I am a practitioner and student of Qigong and several internal and external martial arts including Ba guaZhang, Hsing I Chuan, and Tai Chi Chuan. Energy arts, Inc and teh Taoist lineage master B.K. Frantzis cerified me as an instructor of the Taoist breathing techniques of "Longevity Breathing" and the qigong sets "opening the Energy Gates of the Body" and "The Marriage of Heaven and Earth." 4. Nine Dragon Bagau (You kinda just have to look at their website Certified Instructors – Nine Dragon Baguazhang of Raleigh-Durham (ninedragonraleighdurham.com). 5. Lastly, Kathleen Cusick (Kathleen Cusick (peacefulwolftaichi.com)) who teaches 5 animal qigong and Tai Chi. Now currently, I'm trying to do the first standing meditation of Wuji from Warriors of Stillness Volume 1. 40 minutes, every single morning. I'm really enjoying the practice but I'd love to do something in the evening too. As such I'm following a 24 Yang Short Form dvd by Amin Wu (Amazon.com: Yang-Style Tai Chi 24 Form : Amin Wu, Amin Wu: Movies & TV). My worry is that I read here that you shouldn't mix any systems. Is any of this going to be a problem? I don't want to do something bad for me. I have an interest in Lam Kam Chuen's book The Way of Energy, also the practices (books again) from Damo Mitchell and Zhongxian Wu. Again... not sure if mixing that and my morning standing practice would be a bad idea. Ultimately, I'd like to choose a live instructor and follow that alone. I'm wary of such things as zoom lessons because I don't see how an instructor can transfer energy through a computer screen. I'd drop the other stuff once I find a good instructor. Regarding books for the time being if anyone would like to recommend something I've not mentioned, I'd be grateful for that as well. My sincere apologies for the wall of text. Just wanted to provide firm information on the nature of my questions. Thanks so much, Stillwater.
  13. Hi, I'm Stillwater and its nice to meet you all.

    Thanks Marblehead, Yeah, I've always kinda been a deep guy. No, actually... I'm ... well.. I don't know. You'll have to get to "know" me. Anyway, yeah, that prompted the handle. My true goal is healing. Myself and everyone I can. I truly want to make a difference and actually help people. We'll see. I'm open minded but critically observant, so I'm hoping diligence and training will light the way. On toward the work! Thanks again, SW
  14. Hi, I'm Stillwater and its nice to meet you all.

    Hi s1va, its nice to meet you. I agree. The real problem is what the term "reversible" means. My endocrinologists (I'm on my 4th) so far have informed me that the disease is always present (I've likely had it for well over 10 years) but when "reversed" you simply don't need meds to control it. In other words, "reversible" to them seems to mean "off meds, control with diet and exercise." I don't really know the answer, but I manage it well with diet and exercise. My A1C is extremely low (5.2) and my blood sugar levels are rarely above 90. So I'm pretty solid. I'm REALLY looking forward to finding out how well I can improve things with Qigong!! "Busting out of the seams excited" is probably more accurate, lol! Thanks for the kind wishes and Happy Halloween! SW
  15. Hi, I'm Stillwater and its nice to meet you all.

    Thank you Fa Xin! Nice to meet you!