Cloudwalking Owl

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About Cloudwalking Owl

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  1. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    Well, I've learned a lot about the culture of people who pursue energetic practices from this conversation! Thanks for the help extending my knowledge.
  2. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    Well there is obviously some sort of mess in this discussion---.
  3. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    Why do you say "are the effect of the mind trying to apply a label on the actual experience"? What evidence do you have that that is what is really happening? As for reading books, I want to hear about your experiences, not see an appeal to authority. I could find other books that would say different things. Why do your books have a privileged authority over anyone elses?
  4. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    I'm not trying to prove or disprove "Qi", I'm trying to nail down what people mean by it. There's a famous saying in physics where a theoretician said "this hypothesis is so bad that it's not even wrong". I've been trying to get people to just describe a specific example of where Qi has done something in their life and I've just gotten a lot of vague dancing around. Come on people, I'm not trying to say that you are all liars, I'm just trying to get you to be clear and precise in your language.
  5. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    Well, ideally I'd like to create a conversation based on evidence presented by someone else so they are on the record as having such and such an experience. It allows me to learn the way they use complex and sometimes ambiguous terms in a way that encourages clearness. It's part of the Socratic dialogue to get people to start off on some common ground before you get buried in the complexities. And I don't want to just say something without basing it on some evidence and clear reasoning---otherwise it's just opinion, which is pretty much worthless on its own. I've already mentioned several very clear examples of experiences (eg: the taking a punch exercise, and, the splitting my visual field into left and right and learning to control which one is dominant) I've had, but which I haven't identified as Qi. I literally don't think that the term "Qi" really explains anything at all, so I think it's much better to just describe the experiences themselves and work from there. Various people on this list disagreed with me, so I asked them to give some clear descriptions of specific Qi experiences they've had. I suspect that most of the folks on this list haven't really thought about most of the issues I've raised and just assumed that I was a naive person who was accusing them of lying about their experiences. I'm trying to do something very different. I know that these experiences happen, because they've happened to me. But I think it's a trap to naively assume that the ancient theoretical descriptions and theoretical explanations are the "be all and end all" of how to understand these things. There are lot of different levels to this stuff, and I suspect that it is a trap to just naively accept other people's explanations about stuff. Perhaps this is part of what is being talked about when the Zen types say "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."
  6. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    OK. If you don't want to describe a single discrete experience but instead a large category of experiences that you collectively describe as "Qi", can you tell me why you think something that can be so different "electric, magnetic, hold [I assume you meant "hot"], cold etc" how can you tell that they are all the same thing: "Qi"? Couldn't there be a lot of different types of experiences that you are just lumping together? Well, I live in the 21st century even though I have studied under a wide variety of fairly old traditions myself. Even the lineage of Socrates---where I am a recognized Master---goes all the way back more than 2,000 years. Could you give me some of the evidence that led you to believe that your mind is "a conditioned layer of the one awareness. Like waves on an ocean"? I have suggested experiences and scientific research that would suggest that the human mind is not unitary (ie: the split brain research plus the disassociation phenomenon), what evidence would you present in favour of your hypothesis?
  7. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    I'm afraid that it is impossible to have a useful discussion on this topic. It's obvious to me that a lot of people here are very defensive about their experiences. It sounds like you've had a lot of bad experiences with people saying you are "crazy" or something. That's not what I was trying to say. I was trying to get you to explain clearly and precisely what your experiences are instead of immediately jumping to the assumption that an ancient spiritual theory "explained it all". Alas, I suspect you've had so many bad experiences that you are primed to be instantly combative. I understand how that can happen. But I think it is a spiritual dead end. :-(
  8. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    No, I'm not saying I think much of anything at all. I'm trying to get people to tell me what they experienced---not what they think they experienced. Do you understand the difference?
  9. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    Oh, good about these being your direct experiences. I've had many of the same ones plus others besides. Still, I was trying to find a specific example of Qi, not a generalized discussion of all spiritual experiences. It really helps to understand these things if people develop precise language to discuss the different elements. Of course, it doesn't help when different cultures each develop their own language and we try to communicate across cultures (eg: "qi"/"prana"/etc.) Each term has its own subtle emphasis and the way each gets translated into English also brings it's own baggage. That's why I try to get people to just describe their direct, personal experiences, with as little cultural overlay as possible. That allows people to start to communicate with a minimum of confusion. I'm not sure that I used the term "disassociation disorder", the "disorder" is your word, not mine. I'm certainly not trying to "dismiss" the experience. I'm trying to explain that a lot of problems come from the naive psychology that underlies most of our civilization. If we believe that we are a unitary consciousness, and instead what we are is something like a "hive mind" with different elements working together just like the different cells of our body work together, then it's not surprising that different parts of ourselves sometimes have "disagreements" with one another, or, that one part of our mind might want to tell another part something that it doesn't want to hear.
  10. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    My concern is that people are, IMHO, far too easily satisfied with the ancient theoretical descriptions that they have been given about various experiences. When they were first formulated, they were the "cutting edge science" of their day. Now I think that they get in the way of people's progress in their internal practice.
  11. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    OK. That's getting closer to what I'm getting at. But as I said before, I wish you'd have used your own words instead of just pointing to someone else. In a court trial this is called "hearsay evidence" and is usually inadmissible simply because the lawyers can't ask the person recounting the experience any questions that might clarify ambiguity or misleading language. Have you ever heard of the experience called "disassociation"? It's a situation where one part of person's being (probably the brain) takes over and does things that the conscious mind doesn't want to do. Sometimes it manifests itself in multiple personality disorder, where someone creates totally discrete personalities that take over from one another. But more commonly, it's just a question of the body moving and leaving the consciousness as a bystander. Disassociation is hard to explain if someone believes in the existence of a discrete, unitary thing known as the "soul", but it makes sense if you see a human being as a collection of different subprocesses that work together through a unitary "operating system" (for want of a better term) that generally co-ordinates some (but not by any means all) of the different functions that keep a human being going. In addition to disassociation (I suspect the two might be related), human beings have the ability to create visions, manipulate their dreams, etc. This process might be of great value in teaching traditions, but it doesn't help to understand things if you put them on a pedestal and don't look at them dispassionately.
  12. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    OK. Fair enough. I'm trying to balance a great may spinning plates right now. But I'm not trying to get into a competition, I'm trying to explain a subtle concept. And I can only do that if you are willing to engage in the conversation. And to do that you need to be specific. But having said that, I'd like a description of a specific example, not a generalized statement about various experiences. Could you describe one specific example in greater detail? Perhaps I could give you an example of what I am looking for. As part of my training in a Temple I was taught a technique of how to redirect force through my body. We had to go through a process of progressively loosening-up our bodies through various exercises that loosened up the cartilage in our chests. Once that had gone to the point where we had gone through the stage where our chests make really loud cracking and crunching sounds for a while, and then went away, we were "ready". At that point we were taught to stand and another student would hit us as hard as they could in our chests. When we were able to follow our instructions, we could feel the impact as a "wave" (please note the scare quotes are describing more of a metaphor than an actual visible wave---but I suspect that it might be more than a metaphor), then the force travelled to our spines and flowed through it into our hips and then through our legs and into the floor beneathe us. When this happened, we suffered no injuries. If we weren't able to do this, we suffered from very painful bruises that took a long time to heal. That's the sort of description I'm looking for.
  13. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    I'm afraid that I wasn't articulate enough in my explanation. There is an idea in one school of modern philosophy of learning to "deconstruct" the experience from the theoretical constructs that embed it in our worldview. Let me illustrate with an example. I once explained some recorded music that came from a Bulgarian monastery that had preserved some of the musical traditions of the ancient Greek Orthodox church as "making me feel like I was sitting at the feet of God". The important thing to realize is that this is a metaphor that intimates my own personal emotional response to the music, but it tells another person very little about the music itself. I'm not a musician, but if I were I might talk about the tone, time, key, etc---and compare the music to another style (ie: there were bits that sounded something like types of Arab music.) Someone could even go to the trouble of recording the music and playing the wave form on a computer. Frankly, bringing in concerns about not wanting to make comparisons looks like a "deflection". That is in a conversation where someone changes the subject because they don't want to answer a question for some reason.
  14. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    I'm afraid you are misunderstanding the question. Saying that it is "pleasurable" doesn't share enough information to let anyone know what you are talking about. Let me help you by asking the following questions: Was the qi localized in one part of your body? Several? Did it move? What were it's properties? Did if feel hot? Cold? Did it tingle? Itch? How long did the event take between beginning and end? Did it happen spontaneously? Did you do something to initiate it? These are just random questions. Any sort of objective description of the experience would help immensely in understanding what you are talking about.