uote name='SFJane' post='39692' date='Oct 23 2007, 09:48 PM']
This is Jane and until tonight I had no idea this forum existed so I am a total newb!
Like many of you I was raised in an Abrahamic monotheistic religion. When I was 13 My real father spirited me away to Hong Kong and I spent over a month there. While in Hong Kong I visited temples and shrines and saw tai chi chuan being practiced anywhere and everywhere. Like many of you my first philosophical taste of Taoism came from the Tao Te Ching and I really took to the idea of the *tao* or the *force* running the universe as opposed to pantheism, polytheism or monotheism.
In my early teens and very early 20s I was involved in Kundulini yoga, Kabbalah, Wicca and Crowley's teachings. I studied a fair gamut of occult practices like Celtic and Native American shamanism, Santeria, Enochian Mysteries and the works of many modern and historic occultists.
As I got into my 20s I learned of the various Taoist meditation and chi gung/nei gung practices that are floating around and I read every book I could get my hands on. I am sure you are familiar with most of Chia's and YJM's stuff on Taoism. I use to live 45 minute drive from Yang's Martial Arts in Mass! However I moved to California and instead I did a little Ontology with Peter Ralston and learned Taoist Water Method meditation from Bruce Frantzis. In fact, I attended every Berkeley weekend seminar, every lecture including driving from Sacramento to Tempe Arizona to attend a 3 hour lecture at ASU. That was the first lecture BKF did after releasing Relaxing Into Your Being. Two years after Relaxing Into Your Being came out, I attended the first Water Method Taoist Meditation retreat on the West Coast with BKF.
That was in July of 2000
I am not really a Taoist. I am not a Tao Shr or a Lao Shr. I am not a lineage holder or certified or anything. I do not practice religious Taoism. That means I do not pray to Immortals, keep a shrine or observe Taoist holidays. I am not a Taoist scholar, nor am I a Chinese linguist nor am I any more qualified to debate philosophical Taoism than most of you guys. Probably less qualified because I do not really study Taoism any more. I live Taoism on a middle path. I have practiced both extremes of Taoism. I took several years off from life, worked full time, part time, or not at all. I practiced Taoist meditation for thousands and thousands of hours, 4-8, sometimes even 12 hours a day, for months at a time. I lived very simply. No family, no friends, no relationships, no career, no college, just a really tight budget, and lots of standing, sitting and moving Taoist practices.
For what it is worth, I am experienced in every phase of Taoist practices, from the lying down, performing nei gung and nei dan, the sexual practices, Taoist tantra and yoga. Taoist standing practices and the internal martial arts and of course, sitting, my favorite. In all honesty, I find practicing meditation to be at least as stimulating and interesting as martial arts, sex, entertainment, whatever. Meditation especially the sitting nei dan practices, are the love of my life and what I really love to do with my spare time.
As a disclaimer, I am not a representative of BKF, or Energy Arts or the Water Tradition. I am not empowered to speak for Energy Arts or BKF on the topic of meditation. I was never his personal or indoor student. With that said, once again, I have spent the last decade practicing mostly the Water Method.
If you are still interested in letting me ramble a few things or if you have questions about the practice or the internal energy work, you are more than welcome to ask, and I will answer as simply and unpretentiously as possible. Taoist meditation saved my life. The nei gung and the dissolving practices healed my mind of 20 years of depression permanently. The practice changed and healed my body, opened my emotions and calmed the racing thoughts and noises in my head as well as stabilized my chi from the years of occult meditation systems. Taoist meditation did more for my mental and spiritual development in one year, than all the years spent studying the occult.
All combined, I have two decades of meditation experience, 7 years full time practice. I am hardly an enlightened master or sage but I know a few things about Stillness and I have done several meditation talks on Youtube, most of them geared to non Taoist beginners but there is at least a few videos where I talk about advanced stuff. Like yourselves I am just a student of the Tao, always learning and growing.
that is all