rex

Freestyle Shamanism

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Despite my natural leeriness of material that cites Crowley and Spare as influences I got hold of a copy of 'Visual Magick: manual of freestyle shamanism'. As well as having some decent exercises on awareness and the senses there's also an intriguing section on animal spirit possession. There seems to be a number of chi kung forms out there that are tantilisingly marketed as having 'shamanic origins' but what better way of learning about energy forms and the value of what the animals have to teach then going directly to the source, that is, the animals themselves? From the way Jan Fries presents the method it certainly isn't for the naive and unwary and not without danger. It also presupposes, so it seems, a life time commitment and relationship that is not entered into lightly. My card carrying buddhist friends weren't impressed with the idea and there were suggestions of dire karmic consequences like rebirth in the animal realm or worse. I'm half convinced by these warnings though I think a lot depends on motivation and ethical fibre and the resultant contact, if any, that's attracted. I also note that the Shaolin monks have animal forms and wondered if they used shamanic methods and animal spirits are used in Silat fighting forms.

 

Since the taobums are an eclectic bunch has anyone considered using shamanic techniques to make their animal forms truely shamanic? Has anyone been taught spontanteous chi kung that involves letting the form take over completely and they become the animal?

Edited by rex

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I believe that we are spirits having a human experience. Why would I want to allow an animal's spirit to co-opt my human form away from my own inner-spirit's direction!? It is the awareness of my true inner self that allows me to develop my human potential. The moment by moment consciousness that can differentiate these seperate parts of my being is far too precious to me to allow some other spirit to co-opt.

 

These experiences of allowing other spirits to share in your being are very dangerous. The few times I have had any such exchanges remain a memory of utmost terror! You can throw away your own life with such experimentation. I almost did once when I went through an experiment to have an out of body experience. A "wolverine spirit" tried to keep me from re-entering my body. I was not prepared for the struggle that insued. I did regain my rightful existence, but it was not easy.

 

Animal spirits are not to be toyed with just to develop fighting skills and such. Some may be benign and helpful, many are not. These forms of consciousness are on the level of animals because they belong there, not on the far more powerful level of human existance!

 

Our spirits are having experiences as various beings through time and dimensions beyond my knowledge. Isn't being here in the now enough to live with? Why would you pursue such an experience? Doesn't your own life offer you countless potentials without looking for such exchanges? These are questions I wish I had asked before I experimented with spirit-exchanges. The out of body experiences I have had were never pleasant. I remember them as the times when I was in the most danger and the most vulnerable

 

If you do pursue these dangerous inter-actions have someone knowledgable and adept with you to bring you back safely and give you aid if you then need it to recover from the potential horror of such an experience.

 

Like Knosses says - " Beware the monkey demon!"

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How literal are you when you say become an animal. Personally I don't think anyone is capable of were'anythinging out. I have been reading some of Franz Bardons works, particularly essays on him from Rawn Clark.

 

In his hermetics system after gaining a thorough understanding of oneself and ones energy systems and a fair amount of meditation, one explores sending the consciousness into animals and objects. I don't know how much it is imaginary, how much you are really being/sensing through the animal. All Shamanic lineages seem to believe such transference is possible. (Matter of fact thats the basis of one of my stories, Strange Adventures of Arianna).

 

Google 'Rawn Clark'. He has a free guided meditation series called the Archaeous that is quite good (start with the Center of Stillness Meditation).

 

Michael

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Great thread, rex

 

I'm interested in this myself. I've studied various 'spiritual' practices for a while and they all feature a basic framework that's very similar.

 

The way I understand shamanic animal work is very different from Wayfarer - when you do the animal frolics you are meant to embody the animal you're imitating - otherwise it's just pantomime. It's not a case of bringing an outside spirit into your body (this may indeed be dangerous) - it's allowing an aspect of yourself to take over to such an extent that it connects with a universal archetype...

 

In terms of practicality it works like this - you're doing a lung meditation - breathing, sensing the specific quality of the lung spirit - you can carry on getting into more and more of an intimate connection to the lung spirit by breathing to it, smiling to it, being very aware of it and eventually allowing the energy to completely fill your entire body... at that point you get up, still filled with the lung energy, connect to the universe (the six directions) and connect to the universal archetype of this element/spirit/organ - at this point for me, I suddenly connect with a lot of imagery, specific emotions and feelings and sensations. Then you start moving - sometimes it will be spontaneous, sometimes you need to start some animal movement you've already learnt and eventually the spirit will take over.

 

This can not be dangerous if you start on the inside with your own organ spirit - sometimes in magick and tantra practitioners invoke gods, spirits, deities to act through them... this is similar, but rather than bringing something from the outside in, we bring a part of us that's on the inside out and allow it to connect to the universe. The benefits of this practice are huge - this is how (imo) qigong, tai chi, martial arts were developed in the first place - but also it empowers your organ spirits to a huge extent - it's like doing Fusion (withouth the fusing, lol)

 

about 3 months ago I would do this drill 5 days a week - every day pick an organ and do 1 hour seated meditation (with breathing) connecting to it and then 1 hour movement - allowing the element to move me... after a month of this my life changed quite a bit - I have a better line of communication with my body - I'm far more creative, intuitive and I can actually feel my emotions without editing them... this effect started to lessen (I havent been practicing it for 2 months now) - It may be a good idea to do it for a while longer and develop a shorter drill for getting there (I can't spend 2 hours working on just one organ a day).

 

There is also a way of actually bringing the spirit out in such a way that rather than it filling your body, instead it's represented outside your body and you can actually communicate with it directly (both verbaly and with images and sensations) - but this is a different topic - I remember Sean mentioning that he did something similar for a while.

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I remember reading something about Xie Peiqi taking a few months to really get into the mindset of whatever animal form he was teaching. What that entails I don't know. But a few months!

His version of Yin Style Bagua is definitely very interesting. There are exercises like "Lion Playing With The Ball" which is a pretty spontaneous, free practice where you embody...well...a lion playing with a ball.

Interesting stuff.

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I think that what I was trying to experience actually has little connection to the efforts that are otherwise being discussed here... Sorry for the confusion-what we were doing had more to do with astral projection than anamistic/shamanistic rites to "channel" spirits.

 

I am now wondering- Are these rites to give thanks to the animal spirits or ask them to give themselves up to the hunt or just to learn what it is to be like the various critters involved?

 

I studied the 5 animal form and other "animal" techniques in Hung Ga. I also wanted to be more like the animals themselves when doing those forms and thought a long time and watched films that portrayed the animals in an effort to get the flow and rythms more accurately...I guess that is more closely related to the topic. - But - in any case, do be careful if you are seeking contact with animal spirits, or inadvertently are confronted by them when trying to experiment with astral projection.

 

When I was experimenting with these things I was 16 or 17 and previously had had an out-of body experience when I was near death a few yearrs before (from a combination of illnesses)... I had been studying hatha yoga and deep meditation practices for a few years and had been studying the I Ching for a few years as well. The judo I had learned up to that time was purely martial and had little of a philisophical element as yet...So when I was asked to participate in these meditative -astral projection experiments it seemed like a good idea at the time!

 

Again -sorry to have gone somewhat off topic with those experiences. They were not directly related to the rites and practices being addressed, even if similar in some aspects...

Edited by Wayfarer64

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Thanks everyone for the informative and impassioned responses! No need to apologise Wayfarer, what you said was relevant and valid - and what a cautionary tale!

 

Freeform your generous account raises perhaps unanswerable questions on the nature of identity and an individual's connection to more universal forces; at some point, depending on one's world view, the jump can be made from the personal to the universal and this is where different questions and concerns are raised depending on whether one's coming from a dualistic or non-dualistic viewpoint.

 

What I was trying to do was explore methods used to have a genuine energy rapport with other energy forms as implied in the titles of various chi kung forms. Michael I haven't a clue whether this involves lending your body to an outside agency; or a transmission of energy that's translated into human movement; or some form of energy field overlap that leaves signatures in the fields of the participants. This is probably closed door stuff though what is secret in one tradition can sometimes be found taught openly in others.

 

Shamanic methods are hinted at heavily, if not overtly, in various sources: the elemental animals in Mantak Chia's Fusion book and Lesser Kan & Li; Earle Montaigue's reptilian brain and it's activation by bagua animal forms; John Du Cane's Five Animal Frolics and Master Zhongxian Wu's Shamanic Tiger Qigong - there was even a Tai Chi workshop given in London a few years ago by Rene Navarro involving a shamanic journey.

 

The shamanic world view has a lot to teach on the interaction of our energy system with the environment. Humanity is said to contain within itself all the orders of life that went before it and on which it still now depends. While I would decry atavistic devolutionary possession (an inherent risk in the Visual Magick method) I think that some form of energy rapport with other natural orders of life is transformative and good for all life on the planet. Isn't humanity said to be a bridger between worlds? It also stands to reason that this rapport is best done within the wider context of a coherent spiritual world view with mutual respect and co-operation. Then contact is made safely and with the proper 'introductions' otherwise I'd imagine chi kung energy hoarders on a power trip would get short shrift.

Edited by rex

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I think that some form of energy rapport with other natural orders of life is transformative and good for all life on the planet.

 

What I particularly like about Taoist spiritual practices is that the whole of the universe is represented inside our own bodies - there is no reason to go anywhere other than here and now.

 

It's the yang action of conciousness to seperate and clasify - the 5 organs/elements are about change and movement - it's closer to 'seasons' or 'phases' than 'elements' - they're not so static... so it's the yang action that separates the part from the whole... and it's the yin action that allows that part to 'live out' through movement/sound/art etc... So there is a constant alchemy...

 

We've all seen someone get angry beyond reason - there is no logic, no talking - just loud noises, puffed up mussles and a red face... what happens is that there is an uncontrolled evocation of the liver spirit - and we have the yang aspect of finding something outside of us as the cause of this anger and the yin aspect of us that allows this power to act through us.

 

The above is not healthy because it happens accidentaly - like if someone tripped over our illusion that we have to drive to work fast and cuts us off at a turning... The energy builds inside us - we contract our muscles, take a facial experession etc...

 

So imagine making this energy appear 'on purpose' - and instead of concentrating on the 'cause' outside of us we concentrate on the actual energy - the sensations, the memories it evokes, the characteristics of its movement in our bodies... basically as you say, rex - getting in rapport with the energy - because the energy has many aspects of itself - as well as anger we have kindness - the feeling of being social, that energy boost we get when we get started with a new project etc...

 

Once we're in rapport with the actual energy, we know it's 'character' when it wells up inside us we can use it as empowerment - if it is triggered by something 'outside' we learn another one of our illusions/behavioural patterns etc. And ofcourse if you interact with people who are full of this energy you will naturally find a clearer line of communication with them. Most people have a dominant element in them, once you're in rapport with your own internal family, it's easy to spot what people's dominant element is, or at least what element is in control right now - everything from their walk and movement, to their voice tone and rhythm to their personality can demonstrate their current 'inner weather'.

 

So anyway - doing any shamanic animal/element qigong is like a theatrical version of what happens in 'real life' - when you connect to the universal manifestation of that element - it's the same as connecting to the elemental manifestation in a fellow human or an animal, or a plant or a certain style of music or certain voice etc etc. The reason shamans of old replicated animals is because they lived in a different time, with their attention on different things - they might find it difficult telling the elemental inspiration in a piece of music in the same way as I might find it difficult to see an elemental quality in the movement of an animal. But to bring out the quality of that element we need to do the yang thing and separate it from the whole - so we lable it as an anima, a colour, an organ, a deity - it doesn't really matter, we just need to represent it in some way that makes it feel separate and then we invite it in the yin fashion to express itself through our bodies.

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It would really be something to study this sort of thing with a guide who really knew what is what in the shamanic world.

 

I looked at a book by Michael Harner and wasn't reassured by his way of telling you a method without much discussion about motivation and then tagging on as a side thought "Avoid any ominously voracious nonmammals you may encounter in your journey."

 

Thats right folks, no sudden movements, just go back the way you came.

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Michael Winn teaches a simple version of Shamanic communication as a way of extending our consciousness from habituated "self" identification, to include all other aspects of our Self (i.e. everything!).

 

Find an object that attracts you (tree, dog, car, spoon) and sit with it. Observe its form, resonate internally with its internal structure and attend to any feelings that arise. If you are able to get deep into the object, you may be able to sense a consciousness of it.

 

After you feel comfortable with that object and a consciousness of it that you can sense, then shift consciousness: now take the position of the object looking at you. From the object' perspective, observe your form and resonate with your structure and attend to any feelings that arise.

 

When you feel comfortable, then you can ask the object a question about yourself. It can be very surprising when the object speaks back - sort of like Eddie Murphy in Dr. Doolittle. I don't think that the objects really speak; I think we transmute its chi into language.

 

This is all much easier and freer than "proper" Shamanic voyaging, which does have the danger that Wayfarer brought up so well, that it happens outside of your body. In the approach above, you are always inside your body, just resonating with the object and its consciousness.

 

There is so much to learn from others! From a Wilberian perspective, we humans are very deep - our body, mind and spirit includes traces from all levels of physical and biological evolution. To truly be embodied, we must be able to communicate with our bones and bacteria, and to be ecosytemically embodied we must be able to communicate with our plants and the worms.

 

But, this work can be profoundly disorienting! I don't do it often because of that. Rex's post from a few days ago started me on this, feeling my car (and realizing that is the object that most people communicate with most easily since we feel its whole body to drive well in bad conditions).

 

Last night I started communicating with the book I was reading (Philosophical translation of the Dao de Jing) - really wierd! It became hard to read, and the words seemed kind of shallow. I didn't do more than just resonate with the book, so maybe it would have been easier if I had communicated with it. Then I noticed my son's bionicles across the room, and remembered being young and how my toys really seemed alive. Anyways, the world is rich with potential.

 

Thanks for starting this post and sparking me to tap in.

 

Chris

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"Thats right folks, no sudden movements, just go back the way you came." Now that's funny Lotusbud!

 

Thanks for your further comments Freeform. I think I understood what you are saying and the process seems useful in understanding our own internal representation of 'out there' though it might just be a tad too self-referential and be like the Zen saying 'washing blood with blood'.

 

Thanks for sharing your method Chris. It's much safer though not necessarily comforting. This isn't a bad thing as the idea is to reduce our insularlity, not reinforce our cocoons. Still as you say it isn't easy.

 

I may try resonating with this tree from which I once got a real sense of anger after pruning it. It needs pruning again and I'll see how best to proceed. Of course my better half thinks I'm bonkers but I'm reminded of all the work of the Findhorn Community in Scotland who got hold of a load of supposedly infertile land, communicated with the rocks, stones, trees and plants and are now growing all sorts of things in abundance, some of which weren't deemed possible to grow on the soil or even in the locale.

 

:)

Edited by rex

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Great thread! I loved that book Visual Magick. I'm drawn to reread it now and explore some of these experiences more deeply.

 

Like freeform mentioned, last year I was playing with I guess what you could call a freestyle shamanistic approach to the five animals. I wrote out the details of four of my experiences in the following posts if anyone is interested:

 

Personal totems appear and encourage spontaneous alchemy

Monkey rips off my flesh and tells me what's up

A direct conversation with four of my animals

Monkey leads some spontaneous alchemy and gives me advice on anger

 

Peter Falk and voice were also doing similar work in their journals around the same time.

 

Sean

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I recently took a seminar with Wong Kiew Kit and his position was that the animal chi kung forms were NOT modeled on animals. He was pretty emphatic on this point.

 

His view was that during "spontaneous chi flow" that would result from certain forms and practices people's bodies would move in certain ways that would resemble animals. Over time some of these movements were codified and -- because they resembled certain animal poses and as a way of simple catagorization -- they were labeled "tiger" form, "monkey" form, etc.

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I recently took a seminar with Wong Kiew Kit and his position was that the animal chi kung forms were NOT modeled on animals. He was pretty emphatic on this point.

 

His view was that during "spontaneous chi flow" that would result from certain forms and practices people's bodies would move in certain ways that would resemble animals. Over time some of these movements were codified and -- because they resembled certain animal poses and as a way of simple catagorization -- they were labeled "tiger" form, "monkey" form, etc.

 

 

The sporadic movements that manifest from non-directed intention is one level of a manner of cultivation we

call Shengong. Shengong is a manner of cultivation of the mind where on the lowest level, one relaxes all discrimination of the mind, and allows energy to move uninhibited, thus the body moving without the stopping and continuation of itself.

There are many levels of this cultivation, and a great percent of Qigong forms were founded throuhg this manner. Though Shengong, the name, was never publicized as Shengong, Qigong derives from this manner of cultivation.

Higher levels, though too vast to just speak of in a few sentecnes, consist of purification of the mind, an expedient, in order to attain/reveal abilities of the mind that are not of an uncultivated one. Meaning, a mind of one who cultivates is greatly differnt from one which is not cultivated. Here, cultivation means the lessening of what is of mundane experiences of mind.

As a result, oone attains abilities, which are not really attained but revealed, and thus enhances the experiences they call reality.

 

The manners inwhich Qigong has forms to cultivate derive from this, and within Shengong cultivation(basically intuitive cultivation) the revealing of mind through different states cause the body(on the physical level) to benefit greatly.

If one is not taught through guidance, one's mind may begin to attach to the experiences and thus create a reality of ego, anger, ignorance.

 

It is not something widely known, and not regularly talked about due to the conditions placed upon the idea of a higher power than that readily seen. People call it God, while Daoists call it the Way.

 

 

Peace,

 

Great thread! I loved that book Visual Magick. I'm drawn to reread it now and explore some of these experiences more deeply.

 

Like freeform mentioned, last year I was playing with I guess what you could call a freestyle shamanistic approach to the five animals. I wrote out the details of four of my experiences in the following posts if anyone is interested:

 

Personal totems appear and encourage spontaneous alchemy

Monkey rips off my flesh and tells me what's up

A direct conversation with four of my animals

Monkey leads some spontaneous alchemy and gives me advice on anger

 

Peter Falk and voice were also doing similar work in their journals around the same time.

 

Sean

 

Hi Sean,

 

Just by reading your titles to yoru articles, it reveals exactly what I mean by Shengong. Read my previous post for a brief explanation. It is a very high level cultivation method, which is the foundation of all cultivation methods. One can only benefit from it, if their mind is in a "proper" place so to say.

Otherwise, one may begin to cultivate to do not so good things to others.

Either way, there willl be various "abilities" and changes in one's life due to this nature of cultivation.

 

Good work!

 

Peace,

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Lin, thank you for the information on shengong. I've only ever heard the term shengong used in reference to the "pan gu shengong" form. If you have a chance, could you speak more on what this term means to you? I tend to be more drawn to spontaneous forms that emerge from silence and emptiness, in contrast to learning intricate forms previously developed by masters.

 

This is just a rhetorical question but could the generosity shown in divulging publicly so much personal detail have somehow diluted the effects of the workings? The old Western injunction to keep silent also seems to be used in some Eastern traditions; the Secret Mantra vehicle comes to mind. Whatever, you all generated merit.
It's very funny you should ask this, because I believe this was my first lesson into the wisdom of literal silence. There is a post in that thread where I talk about having to discontinue discussing these experiments. I found that my self-conscious thinking began subtly guiding the process toward experiences I thought would interest readers more and avoiding experiences I thought would embarrass me to write about. So I saw the whole purity of allowing whatever to arise as having become contaminated by ego, since I knew I was going to share it. I felt this gave me new insight into why certain teachings are secret. I thought, perhaps there are delicate processes at higher levels of cultivation that would be disrupted were they to be spoken about freely.

 

Sean

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Lin, thank you for the information on shengong. I've only ever heard the term shengong used in reference to the "pan gu shengong" form. If you have a chance, could you speak more on what this term means to you? I tend to be more drawn to spontaneous forms that emerge from silence and emptiness, in contrast to learning intricate forms previously developed by masters.

 

Sean

 

 

 

Hi Sean,

 

Since Shengong is vast, in that to descrive in a few sentences would cause one to not see it, I decided to take an email I wrote to you on it, and take a few lines.

 

...Movements in Shengong, are abit different in that they do not carry an associated condition, they assist in removing the illnesses in the body, and are keys with a vibrational encoding to them which taps into ...a different realm altogether. Each time it is different given the mind of the practitioner, but also each time cultivated points the mind to a focus of cultivation...like a goal. But it is not a concluded goal.

 

Set forms, though depending on what form it is, pave a path for the mind, and sometimes do not get to that more(what is considered subtle) form of mind which free, meditative movement achieves. Now even though there are different levels to this free/meditative movement, it doesn't always lock into a higher mind of cultivation...only touches here and there. Yes, intention is needed, and a concentrated mind is needed. That is why in beginning Shengong practice, basically the higher forms that derive from a no-though to riding on the just between thoguht and no-thought, one needs guidance.

 

Taiji Quan, believe it or not, is Shengong. Not the many shorter forms, but strictly the 108. Now I am going out on a limb here, for noone would say that except my cultivation brother and I.

Pangu Shengong, which I have learned several yrs ago, is very nice. It does touch on higher energies, and if properly guided can bring proper health, and a myriad of "abilities"..basically revealing mind. But it is still not the highest, but a means to the highest.

 

 

If I sat here typing to describe this, I would not be done for lifetimes.

 

Shengong does not derive power from Gods, and Demi Gods, and spirits. It is a mind of cultivation where one learns from those of higher cultivation, be it through sitting meditation, or standing, movement, and "attains" higher levels of mind.

Remember, it is detachment which is they key..and it is understanding mind and its conditions which helps to detach. Proper understand=proper wisdom.

 

There is just too much to say on this. One just has to do it. There are many different forms(manners of practice) of Shengong, but there are only certain manners which direct the mind ...higher so to say.

 

 

I hope this sheds some light on a subject which has is not openly talked about. It is not for everyone, because there is a manner of Virtue and proper moral that the practitioner should carry/cultivate. If not, they will not meet someone who can guide them through it. Now that you all are getting htis information, it says something.

 

Peace,

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Taiji Quan, believe it or not, is Shengong. Not the many shorter forms, but strictly the 108. Now I am going out on a limb here, for noone would say that except my cultivation brother and I.

 

I'm not sure I fully understand what you mean here by shengong. But if its what it means, at least in some basic way, what I think it means, then you're not alone.

 

Sifu Wong teaches what he calls "Self-Manifested Chi Movement" in which a chi kung form is done and then is to let go of mind and body and let the chi move you about. He also teaches that one use of tai chi forms is as chi kung forms, and one can achieve the same result. He emphasizes that this letting go/manifested movement is the key to chi kung.

 

My own tai chi teacher outlines the process of tai chi as follows. First the student learns the forms (we do single form practice). The forms are supposed to be the most efficient means of activating the energy flow. Over time, the forms become looser and looser until the form disappears. Simultaneously, the mind becomes more and more focused on what's going on and the inner state. The forms are on loan from the teacher until the student learns to work with the energy more directly. He says that if you see the higher level masters practicing, then it might not look like tai chi at all.

 

These lineages are completely different, one being Buddhist/Shaolin and the other being Taoist. Yet, they follow the same pattern. One starts with form, then becomes more formless.

 

If I'm understanding shengong here, then you're not as much on a limb as you think.

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I'm not sure I fully understand what you mean here by shengong. But if its what it means, at least in some basic way, what I think it means, then you're not alone.

 

Sifu Wong teaches what he calls "Self-Manifested Chi Movement" in which a chi kung form is done and then is to let go of mind and body and let the chi move you about. He also teaches that one use of tai chi forms is as chi kung forms, and one can achieve the same result. He emphasizes that this letting go/manifested movement is the key to chi kung.

 

My own tai chi teacher outlines the process of tai chi as follows. First the student learns the forms (we do single form practice). The forms are supposed to be the most efficient means of activating the energy flow. Over time, the forms become looser and looser until the form disappears. Simultaneously, the mind becomes more and more focused on what's going on and the inner state. The forms are on loan from the teacher until the student learns to work with the energy more directly. He says that if you see the higher level masters practicing, then it might not look like tai chi at all.

 

These lineages are completely different, one being Buddhist/Shaolin and the other being Taoist. Yet, they follow the same pattern. One starts with form, then becomes more formless.

 

If I'm understanding shengong here, then you're not as much on a limb as you think.

 

 

That's very good. Yes it is in the realm of what I am talking about. It yet a different name.

 

When cultivated masters cultivate TaijiQuan, it doesn't look like it. Sometimes the forms would be totrally different, which leads to a higher manner of cultivation...state so to say.

 

Good observation.

 

:D

 

Peace,

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This is turning into an interesting thread. I agree that the 108 is multi-dimensional dope. Multiple levels of related patterns building upon themselves to make the whole. It oozes classicism, and in my opinion is the fruit of three generations of successive masters culminated in Yang Cheng Fu.

 

I've seen the form executed within a range of long and short movements, long, medium or short stances, and individual personality of the practitioner, which are the primary fluctuations I am used to seeing.

 

Are the changes you speak of in the TaiJiQuan of "cultivated masters" related to the organizational qualities of the form or the technical qualities of the movements? Are we talking about freestyling the 108? Sounds good to me! If the form becomes a medium for spontaneous chi gung, the practitioner maintains a guiding anchor to his internal travels.

 

Spectrum

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This is turning into an interesting thread. I agree that the 108 is multi-dimensional dope. Multiple levels of related patterns building upon themselves to make the whole. It oozes classicism, and in my opinion is the fruit of three generations of successive masters culminated in Yang Cheng Fu.

 

I've seen the form executed within a range of long and short movements, long, medium or short stances, and individual personality of the practitioner, which are the primary fluctuations I am used to seeing.

 

Are the changes you speak of in the TaiJiQuan of "cultivated masters" related to the organizational qualities of the form or the technical qualities of the movements? Are we talking about freestyling the 108? Sounds good to me! If the form becomes a medium for spontaneous chi gung, the practitioner maintains a guiding anchor to his internal travels.

 

Spectrum

 

 

The changes I speak of are structural changes, but not to the foundational form, or the original. THe form itself is the guideline of practice, as you know. Then as one gets deeper, movement is according to the original manner of the form, but it is not necessary that it looks like the form.

It is as one learns form, attains levels through the form, and in that, begins to move with what is attained...I like to say "revealed" through its cultivation.

This brings a light to Forget the form...but not the foundation. One can move in any manner, if the foundation is properly anchored, the movements will be fluid..yet that is still not the highet level...fluidity.

 

Practice form to build foundation, and cultivate form to anchor "attainment" from its cultivation. Then, it brings one to another level of form practice, which begins to take form in any shape, large or small. Since the foundation was proper, with time spent in its cultivation, any movement afterwards will still be Taiji Quan, just not looking like it.. but looking like it.. haha form I mean.

 

The form, even though a set pattern, was made of spontaneity. It became a foundation for it(the form). If one can move through form for foundational cultivation, then with proper guidance, one can go further and deeper into Taiji Quan.

As you know, it is not just a form for Health and Martial Arts.

 

But that gets revealed as time spent in cultivation becomes longer and there becomes less in mind.

 

A quote from Grandmaster Zheng Man Qing, " Invest in Loss". These words are golden. Has more meaning than just effortlessness. He was pointing at something...

 

 

Peace,

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The changes I speak of are structural changes, but not to the foundational form, or the original.

 

I'd love to see some video of the things you're talking about if possible.

 

THe form itself is the guideline of practice, as you know. Then as one gets deeper, movement is according to the original manner of the form, but it is not necessary that it looks like the form.

 

So are you expanding or shrinking the principles? What manner of attainment are you speaking of in relationship to growth using the medium of the form? In relationship to "form" lets assume you mean there is a physical meaning to it, as in deflect parry punch. How much have you seen this changed?

 

It is as one learns form, attains levels through the form, and in that, begins to move with what is attained...I like to say "revealed" through its cultivation.

 

This brings a light to Forget the form...but not the foundation. One can move in any manner, if the foundation is properly anchored, the movements will be fluid..yet that is still not the highet level...fluidity."

 

Perhaps I should rephrase my question, let me use Deflect parry punch, if one understand the essense of it, which is to say the biomechanical and energetic qualities of the movement and intent, applied to any direction, shrinks or expands macro and micro cosmically (demostrated by the 108 multiple times and a lovely example of what "classic" means in my current state of opinion), still retains it's original meaning regardless of it's external apperance when any shrinkage of expanding occurs.

 

So I'm wondering what meaning the "revealed" form has through it's cultivation internally or externally? Can you expound on this a bit?

 

The phrase that sticks out above to me is "One can move in any manner, if the foundation is properly anchored, the movements will be fluid" ... with this i agree... that the movements will be fluid, but honestly, how can we say that a movement is Tai Chi Chuan without refering to the 13 postures or the application of the form?

 

Spectrum

Edited by Spectrum

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I'd love to see some video of the things you're talking about if possible.

So are you expanding or shrinking the principles? What manner of attainment are you speaking of in relationship to growth using the medium of the form? In relationship to "form" lets assume you mean there is a physical meaning to it, as in deflect parry punch. How much have you seen this changed?

Perhaps I should rephrase my question, let me use Deflect parry punch, if one understand the essense of it, which is to say the biomechanical and energetic qualities of the movement and intent, applied to any direction, shrinks or expands macro and micro cosmically (demostrated by the 108 multiple times and a lovely example of what "classic" means in my current state of opinion), still retains it's original meaning regardless of it's external apperance when any shrinkage of expanding occurs.

 

So I'm wondering what meaning the "revealed" form has through it's cultivation internally or externally? Can you expound on this a bit?

 

The phrase that sticks out above to me is "One can move in any manner, if the foundation is properly anchored, the movements will be fluid" ... with this i agree... that the movements will be fluid, but honestly, how can we say that a movement is Tai Chi Chuan without refering to the 13 postures or the application of the form?

 

Spectrum

 

 

I was obviously not talking about fighting.

 

If Taiji was really about a physical structure, there would only be the physical structure to cultivate, inwhich there isn't, for before Taiji is nothing, within Taiji is nothing, after Taiji is nothing, and within nothing is not nothing, for the boid is not empty, bt is said to be empty because it is vast, and embraces all things. Space is not empty for it holds all things. What is said to be empty means the mind is not moved by such things. Therefore it is as though nothing has manifested..when actually it really hasn't.

 

Form is only an expedient, nothing more. Once form is properly cultivated, every step is fluid, every word is spoken calmly, every breath, and all action, thought, mind is without movement.

 

Because of attachment to form, there is obstruction.

Taiji is manifested through form, but the Taiji of one's Quan is without form.

 

There are different levels of "attainment". Fighting is not the highest one, fluidity is not the highest one, being one with Dao is not the highest one, and returning to nothing is not the highest one. They are all expedients, and if believed to be the ultimate will only further obstruct one's mind.

They do not exist, nor do they not not exist.

 

 

peace,

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What I particularly like about Taoist spiritual practices is that the whole of the universe is represented inside our own bodies - there is no reason to go anywhere other than here and now.

 

It's the yang action of conciousness to seperate and clasify - the 5 organs/elements are about change and movement - it's closer to 'seasons' or 'phases' than 'elements' - they're not so static... so it's the yang action that separates the part from the whole... and it's the yin action that allows that part to 'live out' through movement/sound/art etc... So there is a constant alchemy...

 

We've all seen someone get angry beyond reason - there is no logic, no talking - just loud noises, puffed up mussles and a red face... what happens is that there is an uncontrolled evocation of the liver spirit - and we have the yang aspect of finding something outside of us as the cause of this anger and the yin aspect of us that allows this power to act through us.

 

The above is not healthy because it happens accidentaly - like if someone tripped over our illusion that we have to drive to work fast and cuts us off at a turning... The energy builds inside us - we contract our muscles, take a facial experession etc...

 

So imagine making this energy appear 'on purpose' - and instead of concentrating on the 'cause' outside of us we concentrate on the actual energy - the sensations, the memories it evokes, the characteristics of its movement in our bodies... basically as you say, rex - getting in rapport with the energy - because the energy has many aspects of itself - as well as anger we have kindness - the feeling of being social, that energy boost we get when we get started with a new project etc...

 

Once we're in rapport with the actual energy, we know it's 'character' when it wells up inside us we can use it as empowerment - if it is triggered by something 'outside' we learn another one of our illusions/behavioural patterns etc. And ofcourse if you interact with people who are full of this energy you will naturally find a clearer line of communication with them. Most people have a dominant element in them, once you're in rapport with your own internal family, it's easy to spot what people's dominant element is, or at least what element is in control right now - everything from their walk and movement, to their voice tone and rhythm to their personality can demonstrate their current 'inner weather'.

 

So anyway - doing any shamanic animal/element qigong is like a theatrical version of what happens in 'real life' - when you connect to the universal manifestation of that element - it's the same as connecting to the elemental manifestation in a fellow human or an animal, or a plant or a certain style of music or certain voice etc etc. The reason shamans of old replicated animals is because they lived in a different time, with their attention on different things - they might find it difficult telling the elemental inspiration in a piece of music in the same way as I might find it difficult to see an elemental quality in the movement of an animal. But to bring out the quality of that element we need to do the yang thing and separate it from the whole - so we lable it as an anima, a colour, an organ, a deity - it doesn't really matter, we just need to represent it in some way that makes it feel separate and then we invite it in the yin fashion to express itself through our bodies.

 

 

I am intrigued by the wisdom of the body and the different ways one can dialog and relate with it.

 

I remember the effectiveness of a teacher observing us sparing and suggesting different elements or animals to be in order to more effectively counter or diffuse our opponent.

 

I transfer this to self knowledge and healing, as is done in class as well.

 

The five elements with their animals, colors, organs, directions . . . all their corespondences, offer an inexhaustable foundation for self knowledge and beyond.

 

These links arn't exactly related but interesting . . .

http://www.traumahealing.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somatic_Experiencing

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