Dan Tian

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  1. Hello Everyone

    Thanks, I'll look into it.
  2. Hello Everyone

    Hi Gloria, thanks for that. Yes I have tried acupunture, although not combined with massage. I went for 3 or 4 sessions, then my acupuncturist told me it wasn't worth continuing, as it would only treat the symptoms and not the cause. The difficulty seems to be finding the cause in the first place. I know for a lot of people acupuncture can be really beneficial, but have pretty much come to the conclusion that in a case like mine, it's not worth relying on others for treatment; that can help certainly, but basically I should be thinking of helping myself, hence the qigong. And hence my interest in Taoism also. I reckon the answer might lie in what Cat suggested about doing stretching exercises. Thanks.
  3. North Cascade Mountain In Holding/ How to manage?

    Hi I couldn't agree more with Gloria. Build paradise in your life wherever you are and with whatever you have, then you won't need to spend the rest of your life looking elsewhere for one. But your place sounds great and I wish you the best of luck with it. If I could get over there myself and help out I would, but I don't think that's my destiny. Keep Well.
  4. Hello from the border!

    Have you tried any meditation/qigong? I've barely scratched the surface of all this, but what little meditation I've managed to achieve effectively has occasionally given me a real tactile feeling of qi circulating in various parts of my body. Okay, this might be in the mind, but so what? That doesn't make it any less real, because the mind is such a powerful thing, it can effect huge changes and transformations. If your reason for being attracted towards Taoism, or any other spiritual path for that matter, is self-improvement, your mind is the only tool you can use to make any real and lasting progress on that path. Maybe it would be helpful to think of the meditation and qigong aspect of Taoism as being a form of self-help psychotherapy. That's the way I look at it and I'm sure even the most sceptical scientist would accept the validity of psychotherapy.
  5. Hello from the border!

    Hello Undecided I'd really like to know what you're referring to here!?
  6. Hello Everyone

    Well, I've done a lot of work on getting my posture right, and it's helped a lot. I made a zafu, but it was a bit squishy, so now I place it on top of a slanted wooden disc and sit on that with my legs crossed on the floor. That seems to give me the best basis for establishing a good posture, but it's still difficult. So far I've only tried some of the basic meditations such as mindfulness of breathing and some relaxation techniques I got from a qigong book. I thought I should try to get somewhere with those before moving into anything more advanced. I haven't tried standing meditation, no; I have tried meditating lying down, but always tend to fall asleep! In fact, when I have managed to do sitting meditation without my back giving me grief, I've sometimes not been sure if I've been in a type of trance or just dozing! As to moving meditation, isn't that what qigong is, if it's practiced properly? My teacher doesn't go into things very deeply, as I'm not sure people round here would appreciate it, so our qigong practice seems to me to be a bit superficial, but occasionally she touches on the idea of concentrating the mind on the qi flow, and each time I find that it makes me feel really good. Unfortunately at home I find it's much more difficult to concentrate on remembering all the movements and placing the mind in the right place at the same time. As to whether or not there's anything wrong with my back, that's a really difficult question; it's been getting worse for about 13 years, since I gave up a sedentary life as a musician and started working physically. I endlessly went to chiropractors in England (which cost a lot but that was about it) and in France I've tried a physio, who uses the Meziere method, which involves a lot of stretching and which had quite good results, but which certainly hasn't solved the problem. But X-rays show nothing wrong and apart from a herniated disc 18 months ago no one can put their finger on the problem. My physio was suggesting that everyone has different ways of dealing with stress and that mine is to hold it in, and it's my back that bears the brunt of it. Nice theory, but if it's true, what can I do about it? Yeah I think they were pulling your leg. Hope so anyway. We're a bit further east from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, near a place called Tardets. I've not seen slugs like that up here, but some of the toads can get pretty big, and the earthworms...
  7. Hello Everyone

    Yeah, I have plenty of those; the main one tells me my back's killing me, so sitting in the same posture even for a couple of minutes is out of the question, let alone focusing the mind on anything but the pain. So how am I supposed to get into a good relationship with them? The Basque country, at the western end of the Pyrenees, right near the Spanish border. It rains a lot, but it's a good place. Why d'you think we moved here? Thanks for your encouragement Cat, I'll keep at it.
  8. Hello from the border!

    Me too. How and when did that happen? How many Taoists, at least in the west, view Taoism as a religion? It would be interesting to see how many people on this forum do. As I understand it, any Taoist deities and faith-based beliefs came after the advent of Taoism and were essentially based on traditional Chinese religious practices. Also, I don't think the concept of qi is too difficult to grasp, if we try to view it from a different perspective than Western science normally would; probably if we don't try to measure it and see it as a concept in its own right, but more as an integrated flow of energy. I don't know, this could all get a bit New Age, but maybe it's something one can't really understand until one feels and becomes aware of it. I think the Western agnostic interpretation of Buddhism is very pragmatic, up-to-date and relevant to today's Western society; maybe the Western interpretation of Taoism could be too? I think when you have to start worrying is when people start preaching; for me, that goes against the whole concept of the Tao.
  9. Hi from the midwest

  10. Hello Everyone

    Hello and Good Day to you all. A (hopefully brief) presentation... A couple of years ago I started what I think may constitute my midlife crisis, but I reckoned that instead of doing the normal thing and running away with another woman or turning to drink etc., it would be better to try to face up to it and instead learn to deal with life. So I began looking at Buddhism and other paths that I like to call "practical" or "active" philosophy - in other words actually living it; if you just talk about it, but don't act on it, it's always going to remain a concept, but it won't actually exist in reality. (Actually I worry that that's exactly what Taoism remains for me for the moment, but maybe that'll change...) At around the same time my back problems started getting worse and to help heal that I started doing local classes in qigong. Unfortunately, being in a rural part of France, most of the rest of the group consists of middle-aged farmers' wives. Nothing at all wrong with that I know, but I think they're there for a bit of relaxation and light exercise; if you start talking about meditation and Taoist philosophy they run a mile. And probably just regard me as a mad Englishman. I also felt that Buddhism, although appealing in many ways, is perhaps a bit too restrictive for me: is it not hypocritical to be both a pig farmer and a Buddhist? Is it even possible? Taoism though, as it seems to involve a very individualistic approach to ethics, is pulling me right in. What Taoist can preach ethics to you without contradicting the very nature of the Tao? But I also appreciate that one needs to be prepared to allow one's ethical viewpoints to evolve as a result of probing deeper into one's spirituality. I love the idea of taking qigong further and seeing it as an active, physical form of meditation. My problem is that any form of meditation involves an incredible amount of self-discipline, as indeed does any cultivation of virtue. It also, I think, needs an involvement with a community of like-minded people for support. I'm working on it - hopefully with the blessing and encouragement of this forum... Keep Well.