Arisol

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  1. 405 days of Golden Flower Meditation

    Hi Freeform, I agree with you about the importance of lineage. I was talking about the importance of discernment as a responsible student. The two things are true at the same time, they are in fact, complementary. I belong to a couple of lineages for several years now and I deeply respect my teachers and the other students I've grown with. I recognize the value of going every time deeper into the same concept, over and over again, and sticking to it even when you don't understand it at first. I remember the time in retreat when we had to spend three hours at a time doing a rather painful practice for a few days....I only understood why until after the retreat (hint: it didn't need to be painful, we did it to ourselves). I also recognize the 'divine transmission' you speak of; some concepts are transmitted beyond words by the presence of an accomplished master. Indeed there seems to be some kind of 'collective intelligence' belonging to the lineage. You have expressed it in very beautiful terms. I still think also think discernment is important, and it is respectful to the teacher. I chose a school that I fully trust, and I chose it based on intuition at first; later on through rational trust once I started the practice and got to know the Sensei more. Close to where I live, within an hour's drive, I could choose to study in many different schools: taiji, aikido, wushu, mantak chia's tao, gnosticisim, golden dawn, ayurverda, yoga, seiki, sazen, reiki, raga singing.... you name it, it's there. Many of these have been around for 40-50 years. It would be counterproductive, I think, to take a tour of all of them. This is without considering the plethora of online courses out there. It's very hard to know what school is legitimate, what the teacher is like, and what will resonate with a particular individual. Therefore now more than ever it is important to be a student capable of discernment. There has been so much abuse by so-called 'Gurus'; and people following abusers blindly. There's plenty of stories, and evidence of abusive 'spiritual' leaders; many that have ended in tragedy. It's so important for a student to choose wisely, and even re-evaluate if after a while things are not what they seemed at first. Similarly, there have been many cases of initially well meaning teachers who fall into the 'Guru trap' because their followers worship them and never question them. Trust between a teacher and a student is something that has to be gained, on both sides of the equation. It also has to be maintained, like in any relationship. Questioning a teacher respectfully should always be allowed; at least in any school I would choose. As a lecturer (in my job) I really appreciate students that care enough to ask deep questions. I think indifference is the real disrespect a student can offer a teacher. I've practiced one healing art, and one movement art consistently through several years. It's what resonated with me. I wan't born to any of these traditions, and I have chosen them consciously as an adult. My choice of schools was partially intuitive and partially luck-based. Remaining in the schools and later making an effort to continue has been a rational choice. I chose the healing school because I met my teacher's students and was impressed by them, during the school's open doors day. Our Sensei was in the room and didn't talk too much. He allowed his students to represent his teachings, he showed that he respects and trusts his students, he gained my respect that day.
  2. 405 days of Golden Flower Meditation

    Dear Yueya, Thank you for posting this, you add much to this discussion. I suppose it is hard to find the balance between following a lineage and developing our own intuition. I don't think that the two things are necessarily mutually exclusive , though there may be some lineages where they may be. You bring up a interesting point regarding the student-teacher relationship. I've practiced mainly eastern traditions, and I think that the importance of lineage in these traditions is also cultural and it applies to most aspects of life for someone who grew up in that environment. Traditionally, students in a lineage lived with or close a teacher and were also taken care of, life was sorted out, even if it required a lot of work (monasteries, apprenticeships...). Life has shifted, we can access a huge menu of traditions, and we also have demands that previous generations didn't have. Therefore I think that teaching methods also have to evolve; all kinds of teaching not just spiritual. Universities, monasteries, and the select few no longer have the monopoly over knowledge. For the first time in history, mass communication can come from the bottom-up and it is not the sole domain of an elite. Many lineages are based on cultural premises that are no longer true. We have now a luxury problem of too much information. As students we need to learn to discern, focus and choose where to invest time and resources. Wider choice means we need to be responsible for our own decisions, and that means that we need to confront, and grow out of, our own personal realities. Thanks again for your thoughts Yueya.
  3. 405 days of Golden Flower Meditation

    Thanks Freeform, I am sticking to the path, I'll continue cultivating. I'm glad we've had this exchange. In my physical life I teach at university, and I've learned a lot from students who have challenged me as a lecturer. I learned both as a teacher and about the content through one or two so called 'difficult' students. I a grateful to them, and wish more of my students could be so inquisitive. That, in turn, has made me a different type of student, I 'dig' a lot more when I seek knowledge and experience. I already think that I'll change a few things about my practice, the structure that was necessary at the beginning is becoming a crutch now. I respect your path, and thanks once more for taking the time to read and answer here.
  4. 405 days of Golden Flower Meditation

    Hi Sebastian, Thank you for writing. I'm not judging Freeform as a person, I'm replying to the posts he wrote. I cannot know and wouldn't at all judge the entirety of who Freeform is or his practice or how accomplished he may be. I have no way of knowing any of that, if anything he seems to be someone on along a path. I'm replying to what I see in the posts, and he is replying to what he sees in my posts; none of us know about each other's life. I think that debate is only useful when it can be honest and sincere, we hide too often behind false politeness. I do apologize to Freeform and friends if I've offended, that was not my intention. I do advocate for open debate and exchange of ideas though, it is anyone's free choice to participate or not.
  5. 405 days of Golden Flower Meditation

    Thanks for your reply Freeform, this is some real advice here: 2. The only thing I could teach you online would be to sit and follow your breath without interfering in it in any way. But most people think this is too basic and/or too difficult... I have indeed gotten some good insights from a couple of people here in the forum, to them I'm grateful. I do have a temper and will call bluffs or empty words when I see them. I can work from ' the beginning' that's not a problem for me, I think anyone who says they are and ' advanced practitioner' at anything after a year of practice is a flake. I've practiced a year and I see I'm beginning to scratch at something. I don't mean to offend you, but I do speak directly, I say what I mean, I'm willing to change my mind when wrong. I'm outspoken and confident even when I can be flexible, if that offends you in a student then that's your choice. You and I are not a match as student and teacher and that's ok. Thanks anyway for putting in the time to read and reply, I respect your journey. I never said it's not working, I said it's not what I expected. I persevere because time passes anyway and I might as well continue the exploration. It's subtle but it's relaxing and releasing, and the experiences I've had of ' non-ordinary reality' are mesmerizing. I've given this method a good chance, now I'm re-evaluating to see what to change or continue.
  6. 405 days of Golden Flower Meditation

    I originally wrote this post hoping for a true exchange of ideas and to see if I could get some meaningful advice. Freeform, I'll be direct here. What you have said is, ' you're doing it wrong, I know better but I won't tell you' .... come on dude!! get off your high horse, if you mean to tell me something meaningful then please do tell, I asked, I'm open to receiving advice. If your tradition doesn't allow you to share freely, or you don't believe in online transmission, that's fine and I can respect it. But know that empty posts of how much you know but you won't tell are not helpful, you're just going on an ego trip. Good for you that you've travelled the path and looked for teachers and found some real experience. If you're going to tell me that I'm wrong, I can accept it, but do tell me how I am wrong and what I can do to correct it. Myself, I have looked for teachers, and have found them, some I have worked with for several years, and others came into my life for brief periods. I don't have a teacher in GFM, I started it based more on intuition than on direct guidance. I don't take an online forum as a substitute, I thought it can be a nice complement, and I'm grateful to those here who have answered. Love and respect, Arisol
  7. 405 days of Golden Flower Meditation

    Hi Freeform, Do you care to elaborate on how to do the practice properly then? I have to agree on this, again, for me the method is not an end, but a tool. I chose one adaptation of a method because I felt I needed structure. And indeed, I think imagining a tree every day may be a worthwhile experiment. And just to clarify, when I sit to meditate I don't try to imagine any of the effects, my main goal is to remain focused on keeping a breath pattern and a steady gaze. Wang Chongyang's book indeed says that the breath should not be held but that the breath pattern will arise on it's own, I felt the need for some structure though so I usually hold the pattern; until I start yawning. Like I said before, I've struggled with a severe attention disorder that was quickly getting worst. However, I don't live in a vacuum, outside of GFM I do other practices and I have to say that visionary imagination-based work can be quite powerful. I'll agree that it's not part of the Golden Flower Method, but imagination is part of many other traditions including tibetan meditations, some schools of taiji, and western occult schools. I wouldn't dismiss imagination so trivially.
  8. 405 days of Golden Flower Meditation

    Thanks for your comments freeform. My post was getting quite long, there were a lot of things I didn't mention, but I have quite physical feelings on a regular basis (such as spontaneous yawning accompanied by a lot of tears). Now, since I don't have a frame of reference or a comparison benchmark I don't know whether the things I'm experiencing are the 'expected' results or not. Or whether I should even really look for any type of result. I have written more about what it is exactly I do when I meditate, my interpretation of the method, and some other physical experience I've had with it a few months ago here:
  9. 405 days of Golden Flower Meditation

    Hi Earl Grey, How do you practice it? I would very much like to learn it from a teacher, would you be willing to teach me? or refer me to a teacher? I have learned meditation from several teachers, but it was zazen rather than golden flower. I recognize the importance of learning from someone. But life as it is, I don't live next to a master, and meditate alone most of the time. I chose this method as it spoke to me last year. Thanks for your comments,
  10. 405 days of Golden Flower Meditation

    Hi Earl Grey, I learned it from the books and made my own interpretation, that I stick to. I read a few translations, Wilhelm (which is very obtuse), Cleary and Wang Chongyang. It's maybe worth to re-read some now that I have some practical experience, Regards,
  11. As the title says I have, at this point, done 405 days of consecutive golden flower meditation. Which means I sat for at least 12 minutes, but usually 20 mins, following the golden flower method. I write here again to post a bit of a follow up at a little over a year after I've started practicing. To be honest I started this method because of two main reasons: 1. Very problematic lack of focus, adult ADD, to the point of despair and nearly quitting my job, I've been on the brink of disaster more times than I can count, and only come out ok due to giant last-minute efforts that are wearing me out enormously. So I want to be able to be the master of my attention and intention. 2. I've practiced shiatsu healing for a long time, and quite enjoy the calm zen-like state of giving a shiatsu session. Also, I learned from my shiatsu sensei how to feel energy, and I'd like to go deeper into that. And yes, I search for that ' missing something' (enlightment?) I have a feeling that my perception of reality is so incomplete. First, I will describe what hasn't happened, and then what has actually (subtly) happened. What hasn't happened are any kind of spectacular internal fireworks or spontaneous breathing. I also haven't been able to fully stop my thoughts - while being aware of doing so (how do you know that you're not thinking if you're not thinking? ). I also don't think I understand reality any better than I did before, if anything I now doubt even more than before my entire understanding of reality. At times I've been quite disappointed with the practice, all that effort and the results are either very very subtle, or quite confusing. I do sometimes wonder if I'm wasting my time, but now it's become a pleasant habit, so I continue. What has happened: - I ' discovered' things that I have always known without knowing that I know them. Such as feeling subtle flows inside myself, and others (usually easier in others than in myself). - Another 'discovery' is an overlay pattern of light on top of, and through, everything really...swirling patterns upon patterns upon patterns on top of everything. Hard to explain, but I've always seen this and I mostly ignore it, but it's become obvious this past year mainly through the act of meditation, though not necessarily while meditating. These patterns however, are quite hazy, and I don't know what to make of them. They have at times been overwhelming, I started meditating in the dark sometimes to calm the overstimulation. I still see the patterns in the dark, they begin to look ' solid' and ' colorful', but in the dark, I see only that and not the rest of actual light and objects around. All in all, very beautiful but quite confusing, and it doesn't seem to have any practical use. - I start to understand that ' perception' is a quite fluid concept and not all that trustable at all. - During the past month I've been able to maintain a somewhat slippery grip on my overall focus and attention level, a definite improvement but still a way to go there. During months 6-10 focus was a huge struggle, especially due to seeing the patterns mentioned above, it is easy to get lost looking at the beauty of the rotating fractals (is this progress or am I losing it?, any advice with this is fully appreciated...). - Brief moments of 'augmented reality', when everything becomes very sharp, smells, sound, colors, and a pleasant prickly feeling all over my skin - (comparable to getting into a nicely warm bath tub). Most moments have been very brief, a minute or two, but once it lasted over an hour when I was sitting calmly in my balcony looking at a tree in front of my building. - A few times, specially at the beginning, I experienced intense feelings of electricity going up my spine, but not during the actual meditations. Rather during naps, or as I would be falling asleep. - Sometimes a very pleasant and discreet heat starts rising during my meditations. - I've come to terms with my recurring thoughts...for all the large amounts of thoughts I have on a daily basis, most are centered around a few themes. - I've realized that my mind can run ' thought streams' in parallell. For example, I can keep the near-perfect focus on the breath pattern and a mantra, at the same time that I continue the full internal dialogue. Focus on the method became second nature, like driving, I can keep it going with only part of my attention. I have recently started counting the breath counts with the 'second stream' (who watches the watcher?) . This realization of the ' thought streams' is very useful, I realize that my mind (and thus myself, and my reality) can be at the same time calm, and non-calm. Both things are true at the same time, just as you can be driving and talking at the same time. This is probably the biggest discovery I've had this year, the fact that thoughts are like layers that co-exist, I have access to immediate calm through my breath, even in the middle of turmoil. - I've realized that the act of calming my thoughts is related to relaxing a certain pressure in my head, which is in turn related to pressure in my ears. The act of concentrating is in fact releasing that pressure that I keep up unnecessarily all the time, so a ' not-doing' rather than a 'doing'. - In my shiatsu practice I feel energy streams in people (and through myself) much more clearly than before most of the time, I also met a new teacher. I still don't fully understand the implications of these streams. I know rationally the theoretical interpretations from the theory of meridians in chinese medicine, but I can not always discern what the outcome will be through my palpatory experience. - My shiatsu practice has become lighter, I used to enjoy pressing all the tsubos very physically, now I feel I do deeper work when I touch lightly. I still enjoy giving a physical pressure treatment though. So there it is, what now? I plan to continue meditating every day, and maybe write a line or two about it every day, I haven't kept a journal so far. I've thought of changing the method, still keeping a method that looks for single pointed concentration, but haven't found another method at the moment that I'm inclined to try (any suggestions?). Either way, I think that making time and space to sit in meditation is more important than the method, the method is a tool and not an end in itself. All in all this has been a good experience if not the full speed train that I (naively) thought it would be after reading stories like JJ Semple and Gopi Krishna. If anyone has some advice for me at this stage I'd really appreciate it, I begin to scratch at the surface of something momentous while realising how little I understand. Love and respect, Arisol
  12. I have questions!

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  13. Day 144 golden flower

    Hi thelerner, I'm glad I asked why you avoid the trance state. I've been wondering the same thing myself, whether going into the trance that swallows up time is just another escape or not. Thomas cleary speaks of avoiding both 'oblivion and distraction' ; perhaps the type of trance that you are talking about is the 'oblivion' state? I also recognize the value of letting go of technique and 'just sitting' as you propose. I do it sometimes, during other moments, not during my dedicated 20 minutes for the GFM; the yawning reflex starts just the same now in both the structured and unstructured meditations. At this point though, I really appreciate the structure that the method brings, I am a largely spontaneous and chaotic person. I usually opt for the purely intuitive method, but I've fallen into some patterns that I want to avoid. Which is why now I'm glad I found this method, and I gain peace from practicing it. What is the downward flow you mention? is it like the microcosmic orbit?
  14. Day 144 golden flower

    Hi rideforever, Thanks for your reply. Like I said, I do what I understand, and slowly discover other doings, or non doings. With regard to the eyes, I aim to keep them fixed on the direction of my nose, but after a while I stop seeing the nose even though the eyes are looking at it. It's not something I do, it just happens sometimes for moments, sometimes more sustained. Do you have any suggestions for 'work with the eyes, heavenly heart, or light' ? what exactly is the work with it? I don't understand the reference... also, clearly I've read the text more than a few times, like I said before, I practice what I understand. I don't appreciate your tone here, though I do appreciate suggestions, which is why I am sharing my experiences in a forum. Nevertheless, I'm respectfully pointing out that there are ways to communicate a point without being a condescending twat. That being said, if you have a deeper understanding of the techniques, please do share. As for the breath, I do control it, the box breathing pattern has been a fantastic tool to slowly relax my diaphragm and open up my lungs slowly but surely. Lately, sometimes, a different feeling of breathing just appears on its own. It's like one yawn after the other, it's very pleasant, when that happens I let go of the box pattern in breathing and just follow the yawns, but I maintain the mantra. My eyes water, a lot, when this happens; a lot of tears fall out. I don't call it crying because it's not like usual crying that would be related to an emotional state, it's literally a release. I also feel that my eyes water both towards the outside (my face, usual tears); and also towards the inside behind the back of my nose. The yawning, also involves the ears, the text references the ears but I didn't understand what it meant until I felt it with the yawns. From wikipedia: ' A yawn is a reflex consisting of the simultaneous inhalation of air and the stretching of the eardrums, followed by an exhalation of breath'
  15. Day 144 golden flower

    Hi Silent Thunder, Thanks for your reply. I'll check out the references that you mention. I think all paths are valuable, from a simple yet structured approach like the golden flower to a method of no method as you say, it's about what resonates with you at a given moment. The golden flower method is not very easy to grasp at first reading, the writing is obtuse and filled with imagery belonging to another culture. I've been involved in eastern practices for quite a few years now, and I learned much from a japanese sensei on the art of feeling energy, specifically applied to shiatsu. From his style of teaching I learned that the approach of teaching is completely different to what I have known all my life. We spent one year doing only touching massage without any theory of meridians or tsubos, we learned to feel first before thinking. I read this example somewhere and I think it illustrates my point. In the western world if you want to teach someone to build a boat you'd point out materials, blueprints, cutting methods, binding methods, etc..... In the eastern approach if you want to teach someone to build a boat you'd inspire in them a deep longing for the sea, and they will find their own way to build a boat. The written eastern traditions are more about inspiration and feeling than literal instruction. Which is why they are written in images and metaphors. So my idea is that whatever *your* interpretation of a method at a given point is, that is exactly what is right for you. Now, don't get me wrong, eastern traditions have very specific ways of building boats, honed and refined; but these would mostly be taught in person to apprentices. They would not be recorded in written teachings (historically with a few exceptions). I think the golden flower method is indeed an exception, and they did their best to record instructions that would transmit feeling. I'm now in day 161 of this method. I keep re-reading the translations and every time I go back to a passage I understand it in a different way as I gain practice. My experience has been mostly very sutble, but I feel that is is also very deep, I start to feel deeper into my body, and to see my monkey mind more clearly. Still a way to go, so for now I will continue and see what happens.