Hello fellow seekers,
I am new to this site but I wanted to get involved right away and express my opinions to see how we can all hopefully grow and develop together.
Let me just start by introducing myself. I am an acupuncturist, martial artist, and seeker who has studied many different arts, including qigong, neigong, Reiki, hypnosis, witchcraft (when I was young and naive), new age arts (that specialize in "out of body experiences" and "astral travel", and many others too numerous to mention. I was born, baptized and confirmed a Christian/Catholic, although I have found myself on the path of Taoism in my old age (I am a ripe 38). Although I may be considered much too old to begin a spiritual path that many of our current masters began even before they were teenagers, I believe we can still have an opinion on things. I may be too old to begin training in a "path", but perhaps my words can hopefully inspire some good conservation and at the very least, help me to understand what I have missed out on for most of my life. So here goes...
I can not say that I am not envious of those fortunate few who were chosen when they were barely old enough to speak, as is evident in many of the mainstream books that seem to capture everyone's attention. I wish, having lived over half my life in a "normal" fashion thus far, that 3 hermit sages knocked on my parent's door and told them that I was the "chosen one" to continue a 2,000 year-old legacy or something, spending my teenage and young-adult years playing "hide and go seek" with the Universe while my friends led normal lives and drank, had fun, met women, and so forth. But then again, I feel like I would have missed out on a lot of great experiences had I been "chosen" to walk a spiritual path at such a young age. I guess what I am saying is, there is always a trade off...
In terms of this website, I have met many great masters myself. One prime example is my second qigong teacher, who could (legitimately) cut a plastic chopstick in half with a dollar bill (and I know it wasn't a trick like some "masters" do by cutting it with their finger) because he failed several times in front of me (I was holding one end of the chopstick on many occasions), and even when he failed, there was a distinct burn mark on the chopstick where the dollar bill hit the chopstick, and also, when he did fail, the bill tore in half perfectly as if cut by a pair of scissors, rather than being jagged. And these were always bills he took from the audience. Several being my own. This master also had the ability to "zap" people, and I have personally experienced this from him many times, where he would meditate and then touch certain acupuncture points on my body and I would feel a distinct electrical charge until he removed his finger from my skin. Quite amazing, to say the least. When I questioned this master about how I could achieve his abilities, he danced around the subject. I asked him to teach me how to cut the chopstick in half, and his answer was "When the dollar bill touches the chopstick, the bill becomes the chopstick, and the chopstick becomes the bill." He then smiled and walked away, as if he had just given me an amazing secret. Needless to say, his metaphor was absolutely useless, at least for me. He said that to me 8 years ago, and I can't even manage to tear the bill in half, let alone cut the chopstick.
I guess my initial point here is - are we seeking "enlightenment" and are we pursuing "the path" in order to realize our true nature, or to simply gain "cool" abilities? I am not saying I am not guilty of this pursuit myself, but it seems as though many of us on this forum only want to study under people who can teach us how to light stuff on fire, or cut a banana in half with our energy from 3 feet away or whatever. Push a chopstick through a table and what not. Don't get me wrong, that stuff is cool and we all want to be real-life Jedi or whatever, but do you really want to devote 20 years of your life to a practice that "may" allow you to do something cool? Isn't the whole point of internal cultivation to find out who you really are in relation to the Universe? I mean, if you want to set a newspaper on fire, I have an awesome technique that anybody can learn in 3 seconds - light a match.
I checked out this forum before I joined and I see so many angry and hateful people posting so many negative things about each other. "My master is higher than your master" and "this person was only level 2A and not 2B" and "John Chang is a racist" and all this other nonsense. In my humble opinion, the problem with qigong, neigong and the internal arts is that it is extremely difficult to quantify what you are exactly getting in return for your efforts and/or money. And by efforts, I mean TIME, which as an old man, I know you can never get back. You can break your TV, you can break up with your girlfriend, lose your friends, divorce your wife, etc. You can ALWAYS get new ones. But the one thing you can never get a refund for is TIME, which in my mind, is probably the reason why there is so much anger and frustration on this site. People can study under a "master" for 20 years, and if he doesn't take you anywhere, you just "lost" 20 years of your short life that could have been spent with a "real" master that could have taught you how to shoot a lightning bolt out of your a$$ or whatever. That's the REAL issue, I think, and I I just wanted to throw that out there to start a dialogue. I guess what I am saying is, if I go to Macy's and pay $300 for a coat, I expect to get a coat. Period. If I wear it a few times and don't like it, I still have the receipt and can always get my money back to spend on a better coat somewhere else, so my money is never wasted, but most importantly, I didn't lose any time off my precious life. BUT - if I pay a "master" $300 for "knowledge of a particular lineage" - I just paid money for something that there is no guarantee for, no refund for, and most importantly, I am going to have to invest months, if not years of my LIFE in order to somehow reap the benefits of my investment. And if I can't shoot a beam of light out of my nipples or whatever, not only do I feel robbed, but I can't get my TIME back. Forget about the money. Money comes and goes, but time is lost forever. And since there is technically no objective, scientific method of measuring qi, or yin, or yang or whatever (true science does not even acknowledge these ideas), then how do we know that these supposed "masters" are telling us the truth about our development, if they are even able to? I am not saying it isn't possible, but it certainly leaves a huge window open for "subjective diagnosis", don't you think?
I am thinking this is the reason why so many of us "seekers", who are supposedly cultivators of peace and inner bliss, continuously bash each other and their teachers on this forum (and others). But I guess the one real question we should be asking ourselves is - does the information of true internal cultivation and enlightenment come form other "mere mortals" like ourselves, or from God (or the Creator, or whatever you believe). And if you do believe in a higher power, than why would you rely on another man to try and introduce you to God? Just something to think about, I guess. It's like confessing to a priest that you sinned by calling your girlfriend a cornhole, and him telling you to say 10 Hail Mary's, while he is fapping to one of his altar boys. Utter hypocrisy and not based on "truth'. I will leave it at that for now, and I welcome the responses from my fellow seekers. But please be kind, for I am a gentle, delicate soul...
Many blessings to you all,