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About alchemical

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  1. Thank you for the warm welcome! I had a busy weekend, so I wasn't able to start posting in my practice journal until now, but here it is if anyone is interested. I hope to find more time to participate here.
  2. Hi all, Thank you everyone for your warm welcome, kind comments, and recommended resources! I'm about ready to post my practice log, but I have a quick question about the Personal Practice Thread forum: Do I need to get my own subforum (and if so, how?) or should I just start a regular thread in the main Personal Practice Thread forum? Cool, that's great to hear and I agree about attention being more powerful when it's soft and compassionate. It definitely seems like an equanimous, panoramic state is where the mind is headed anyway, so this makes sense. Hi Thanks, Encephalon, and yes I think I am definitely guilty of being a synthesist. Though I would also add I have a fairly clear purpose (develop the path to Awakening) and goals along the way (open the energy body, release karmic blocks, develop concentration in meditation etc.). And my meta-framework for all of this is Theravada Buddhism, though again I'm open to complementary perspectives from other traditions. So whatever I can skillfully harness along the way for this goal, I'm all for trying and incorporating. I'm curious about CK Chu's work, as I've seen this book recommended a number of places. I'm wondering if it's something I could incorporate to help awaken qi sensitivity, or something best left until I can already feel it on my own? I already have a fairly full routine at the moment, but it may be worth switching my current exercise regimen (Scott Sonnen's intu-flow) for this at some point. Also, interesting point about the benchmark of manipulating energy at will -- something that really fascinates me for its pragmatic purposes in healing and for what I interpet as its relation to deeper states of absorption in Buddhist meditation. Haha, yes, I can be verbose, but will work on concision once I establish a practice log (though intro to that will likely be long as well ) Sure, we could do that if people are interested -- how do we go about moving it?
  3. Introduction Part II: Practice Background Although I’ve read and studied Asian philosophy and religion for over a decade (in formal academic and personal settings), I’ve only been formally and consistently practicing Theravada-style meditation for a little over 2 years. However, it’s been a very dedicated and at times quite intensive practice, initially starting with some basic concentration, which then gave way to a very vipassana-oriented practice, heavily influenced by the Burmese “noting” technique as pioneered by Mahasi Sayadaw. In some ways, this resulted in a lot of fast progress (at least in respect to Mahasi’s Progress of Insight for those familiar with the system). Unfortunately, I now see that the way I approached the technique also exacerbated some underlying and longstanding body armor and energetic issues, which I’m now trying to balance out. As mentioned above, I have had lots of the common symptoms people report with this kind of issues: intense head pressure, prickly energy running over the head and body, strong somatic "charges" that accompany emotional reactions, hypersensitivity to sound and light, ringing in the ears, TONS of body tension and pain and energetic blocks (also related to the body armor), kriyas (involuntary movements), experiences of waking up in the middle of the night with either my skin feeling on fire or hot, boiling energy running up spine, and so on. I perceive this as part of a much larger process in my meditation that began outside of a formal meditation context, but that’s another story that may not be so relevant for my present purpose, but maybe I’ll get into it another time. In any case, in my initial attempts to smooth some of those issues out, I experimented with a few several-month long periods of exploring various basic internal arts practices like SFQ (although in retrospect this was way too advanced, for me at least…), BK Frantzis’s aforementioned work (first time around), Zhan Zhuang (based on LK Chuen’s Way of Energy), and Simplified Yang-style Taijiquan (the simplified 24 & 48 movement DVD by Shou-Yu Liang). The problem with all of these early efforts was that, although I was very consistent in my practice and could learn the techniques fairly well for doing it on my own, and would sometimes even seem to make some gains in sensitivity to internal energy, it was always very transitory and didn’t seem to build up momentum. In retrospect I realize that I didn’t (know to) spend enough time just building up this sensitivity, nor did I know exactly the best way how. Things only started to come together after I realized I needed to work more on relaxation and “letting go” in my meditation practice and in general. Through this more relaxed approach to practice, I eventually began experiencing more energetic openings and internal sensations in general. I had a hunch were related to the internal energetic openings and releases described in the various practices I was experimenting with in qigong & taijiquan. So I came to the conclusion that this could be further helped by taking another try with BK Frantzis’s water method approach to “opening the energy gates” (though I’m nowhere near that stage yet). My meditation practice at this point was focused on gaining concentration through a gentle focus on the breath and whole body awareness. But what started to happen to clue me in was when I began doing reclining meditation with a focus on relaxation and “letting go”. After a while of this I would get into these states of very expanded awareness where it felt like the head pressure finally opened up, while my body was very light and often had this sense of becoming “wet” inside, like I could feel this fluid wash over my body. Further, sometimes in the meditation and often while going to sleep (I usually try to meditate to sleep), I would experience these very strong “waves” of energy moving down body to my feet. These experiences reminded me of some of what I’d read in Frantzis’s book. So I searched out some further commentary here on TB on the water method, and followed very helpful, beginner-oriented directions precisely that I started to gain some progress. (This set of basic standing instructions was INCREDIBLY helpful, which I found posted here on TB; it elaborates on Frantzis’s instructions for sinking – absolutely crucial!). In retrospect, I see that this “wet” feeling was something akin to the yun qi, at least as Frantzis describes it, and these waves of energy – which always seemed to flow downward to and out my feet – were the waves of release as he also discussed in Opening the Energy Gates. So what was crucial here, as my own experience in Theravada training also shows, was getting an embodied, kinesthetic “feel” for the technique. And I believe (or rather, now very concretely feel) that I’ve finally got a sense of that sinking, cool energy from following along the guided meditations. To my relief feel like I know how to proceed to gain better inner sensitivity and release so I can more directly work with the qi. I’ve been looking for a way to deal with this often very uncomfortable and at times quite painful energy issue for some time now, so I’m very motivated to get the energy flowing downward so I can go deeper in my meditation and with these complementary internal arts practices. So there it is, thanks to all who labored through this . I would definitely appreciate any feedback in my forthcoming practice thread and hope I can contribute to the discussions skillfully in the future. Thanks for this great resource and community everyone!
  4. Introduction Part I: Greetings Greetings Everyone, I’d like to introduce myself. I’ll do so in two parts to break up the length: this initial post is a short introduction and a summary of my initial reasons for posting here, and the second post is a more extensive (but hopefully not too extensive) practice history. I plan to post a practice thread soon as well, which will detail my current experiments with basic energy work. So please read on, if you’re willing . [EDIT: Practice thread is up!] First, I want to say that I’ve been a lurker here at TB for some time and have benefited greatly from the practice-oriented discussions and free sharing of insights and resources. So thank you all for being part of this wonderful community! As the title says I’m primarily a meditator, mainly in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, though I’ve had a longtime interest in many other contemplative traditions, particularly Taoist energy practices and the internal arts in general As stated in the topic, my initial purpose here is to integrate the principles and practices of the Taoist water method, as taught by BK Frantzis, to help with body armoring and ongoing energy issues, which I’ll detail more below. But basically it consists of a lot of “hot” energy coming up my spine and getting stuck in my head, resulting in lots of pressure, lights (with eyes closed), prickly sensations, etc. all of which suggest I need to bring the energy down the front channel. I’m currently slowly working my way through the sinking practices in Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body. And, finally, after getting some key instructions on the technique, I have had some really promising, if preliminary success, which makes me realize that this is the way to move forward. Of course, I’m just getting started, so as I mentioned I plan to start a practice thread in hopes of getting feedback, advice, and collaboration on my early experiments with this kind of qigong. Hopefully it will be of use to others as well. Please read on for my practice history, if you like .