RiverSnake

Compulsive Mysticism and Heart Centeredness

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We've all heard the term "Compulsive lier", "Compulsive drinker", and "Compulsive Eater". Any habit that we develop which becomes so engrained in us that we are no longer free and thus our past karma or programming is allowed to repeat itself over and over again without conscious thought on our part.

 

I was thinking about this recently and its relations to the spiritual path, specifically relating to ascension.

 

Specifically for men, the most powerful form of compulsive behavior that we have is our desire for procreation. From an energetic standpoint this is the sinking of vital force into the loins, a sensation most our readily familiar with. This is plain knowledge amongst most male practitioners and its a form of compulsiveness that we strive to bring awareness too in order to harness that energy for cultivation.

 

However, something that i have noticed within myself and other male cultivators is that there is an equally powerful compulsive behavior that can take hold of our lives and that can blind us from the true joy of living: Mysticism 

 

By Mysticism i am referring internally to the opposite of compulsive procreation. I am referring to the opposite of the sinking of energy into the loins, but the shooting of chi up to the crown and beyond. Generally this is considered very beneficial as it is a very powerful and primal drive which pushes us to surmount all obstacles to our dissolution into nothingness.

 

The desire for sex is fundamentally a drive to "Create" and the desire for ascension is fundamentally for "Dissolution". My purpose in writing this post is to make the subtle point that both of these energetic pathways within the body are potentially compulsive and limiting behavior. They both can potentially take you away from experiencing life as fully and as joyfully as possible.  

 

Any compulsive or unconscious behavior whether its for creation or dissolution is IME antithetical to what i feel is spiritual maturity. Each pathway has its time and place and it is best to understand both, yet remain centered in the heart. These are my thoughts as of late. Would like to hear your thoughts and feelings on this as well.  

 

Hope this post is useful to many. Blessings      

Edited by OldChi
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Thanks, you've introduced the subject very well. Something similar has been on my mind also. My current perspective - based on my lived experience - parallels a relatively neglected aspect of classical Daoist thought, particularly as presented by Zhuang Zhou.  However I'll wait and see what others think before adding more words. 

Edited by Yueya
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Was just reading in Seven Taoist Masters (tl Eva Wong):

 

A month had passed, when Wang Ch'ung-yang appeared at Ma Tan-yang's room again. He sat down, sighed, and said, "People think that cultivating the Tao is nothing but attending to their daily speech, how they should dress, what they should hear, and what they should eat. They do not know that they are trying to mold the Tao according to their conception of what it is. Thus they have lost the essence of the Tao. And then there are others who look for secretive methods and thereby stray into evil paths, and those who have the right intention but are weak in will. And there are those who worry too much about their progress. They advance an inch, but their anxiety sets them back ten feet. The Tao cannot be grasped with the ego. As  long as the ego exists, the heart of the Tao cannot emerge. If one cannot cut the ties to gain and loss and to social pressures; if one is concerned with whether one's appearance is appealing, whether one's food is the best, whether one's wealth is acknowledged, and whether one's property is large, then one has not learned to see through the illusions of material things. Craving breeds anxiety. If you crave, then you will be anxious to obtain what you desire. Once you have it, you will fear that it may be lost. If you do not get what you desire, you will be disappointed. The ego is the source of craving. If you want to dissolve it, you must cut your ties to gain and loss. All persons possess the original nature of Earlier Heaven, which has the potential of attaining the Tao. They fail because they are unable to overcome the dominance of the ego. Ego causes attachment, but the heart of the Tao is not attached to anything. It is not attached to beauty, ugliness, gains, losses, destruction, fame, fortune, even life or death. The heart of Tao is capable of cutting through illusions and hindrances to the attainment of immortality. Awaken the heart of the Tao in yourself, and your effort of cultivation will bear fruit."

 

 

A few pages earlier:

 

"To eradicate the four obstacles to health -- liquor, sexual desire, riches, and bad temper -- one must cultivate the heart. Once the heart is tamed, the cause of ill health will disappear. The Confucianists tell us to 'awaken.' The Buddhists tell us to 'understand.' The Taoists tell us to 'act intuitively.' First, we need to awaken to the fact that we have fallen prey to the obstacles. Second, we need to understand what the obstacles are and their causes. Lastly, we need to act intuitively, that is, to act spontaneously from a heart that is tamed of desire and craving. If you can do these things, then you will have no problem attaining the Tao."

 

Dissolve ego, connect to one's heart, and be connected to the heart of Tao. Act from intuition and follow your own unique way as it leads, free from compulsively controlling your momentum. With a clear heart we can trust and accept where our way leads as being true regardless of how it might appear, simply by the feeling in our heart. Lessons will appear and by maintaining sincerity to our connection to the heart we will evolve and grow in the most "efficient" way for us.

 

As we get better at discerning what is "ego" and what is coming from our true heart, we will know which choices to make.

 

The sage holds three treasures. Guard and keep them! Compassion; Frugality; Refusal to be ahead of anything else under heaven.

Edited by Daeluin
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Thanks, you've introduced the subject very well. Something similar has been on my mind also. My current perspective - based on my lived experience - parallels a relatively neglected aspect of classical Daoist thought, particularly as presented by Zhuang Zhou.  However I'll wait and see what others think before adding more words. 

Look forward to the post. 

 

Was just reading in Seven Taoist Masters (tl Eva Wong):

 

 

 

A few pages earlier:

 

 

Dissolve ego, connect to one's heart, and be connected to the heart of Tao. Act from intuition and follow your own unique way as it leads, free from compulsively controlling your momentum. With a clear heart we can trust and accept where our way leads as being true regardless of how it might appear, simply by the feeling in our heart. Lessons will appear and by maintaining sincerity to our connection to the heart we will evolve and grow in the most "efficient" way for us.

 

As we get better at discerning what is "ego" and what is coming from our true heart, we will know which choices to make.

 

The sage holds three treasures. Guard and keep them! Compassion; Frugality; Refusal to be ahead of anything else under heaven.

Thanks for the additional excerpts Daeluin. I love that book by Eva Wong. :)  

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Good point OldChi. ¬†I think there¬īs often this fascination with the upper centers (upper dan tien, crown, third eye) that can be counterproductive. ¬†Many people want to work with those energies before they are ready, in a way that¬īs out of balance, without having resolved the more pesky physical issues lower down in the body first.

 

Trunk outlines a "LDT method", presently on the second page of the general forum, which works explicitly with the lower energies, and would be a good corrective practice, in my opinion, for this tendency to only want to go "up."

Edited by liminal_luke
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We've all heard the term "Compulsive lier", "Compulsive drinker", and "Compulsive Eater". Any habit that we develop which becomes so engrained in us that we are no longer free and thus our past karma or programming is allowed to repeat itself over and over again without conscious thought on our part.

 

I was thinking about this recently and its relations to the spiritual path, specifically relating to ascension.

 

Specifically for men, the most powerful form of compulsive behavior that we have is our desire for procreation. From an energetic standpoint this is the sinking of vital force into the loins, a sensation most our readily familiar with. This is plain knowledge amongst most male practitioners and its a form of compulsiveness that we strive to bring awareness too in order to harness that energy for cultivation.

 

However, something that i have noticed within myself and other male cultivators is that there is an equally powerful compulsive behavior that can take hold of our lives and that can blind us from the true joy of living: Mysticism 

 

By Mysticism i am referring internally to the opposite of compulsive procreation. I am referring to the opposite of the sinking of energy into the loins, but the shooting of chi up to the crown and beyond. Generally this is considered very beneficial as it is a very powerful and primal drive which pushes us to surmount all obstacles to our dissolution into nothingness.

 

The desire for sex is fundamentally a drive to "Create" and the desire for ascension is fundamentally for "Dissolution". My purpose in writing this post is to make the subtle point that both of these energetic pathways within the body are potentially compulsive and limiting behavior. They both can potentially take you away from experiencing life as fully and as joyfully as possible.  

 

Any compulsive or unconscious behavior whether its for creation or dissolution is IME antithetical to what i feel is spiritual maturity. Each pathway has its time and place and it is best to understand both, yet remain centered in the heart. These are my thoughts as of late. Would like to hear your thoughts and feelings on this as well.  

 

Hope this post is useful to many. Blessings      

 

i like the way you say it!

 

interesting for me it's just the other way round. The way ' up'  was always easy and natural, i've felt the connection until i was about thirty, then lost it ( but not totally). Now i find that the hard part is finding the connection with ' sinking' with the feet, the root ( i'm not specifically talking sex here but the connection with the earth and my lower body).

 

sometimes i think that the emphasis on the third eye and the crown is counterproductive, because it makes us unbalanced. Also that there maybe differences in how it ' works' for males and females

 

being female I cannot know how the male sexual desire feels, so this is the place to ask that question:

is it really ' sinking' your energy, grounding, like standing posture can ground you?

Or is there something else?

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I like to think of grounding as a borrowing the receptivity of earth and brining it into myself, from the bottom up - becoming totally empty of thoughts all the way up to my head. And then this grounding, this receptivity, becomes receptive to the higher, more heavenly energies, which I then embrace and fill with. But I don't focus on reaching out of the top of my head... in fact to feel full of this energy in my head I often focus on brining it down to fill up from my feet up. Funny how when I let my self sink focus to my feet, that is when I feel most aware of my higher centers.

 

So I like to pull the ground up and pull heaven down, and let them integrate within.

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interesting for me it's just the other way round. The way ' up'  was always easy and natural, i've felt the connection until i was about thirty, then lost it ( but not totally). Now i find that the hard part is finding the connection with ' sinking' with the feet, the root ( i'm not specifically talking sex here but the connection with the earth and my lower body).

 

I think most people find "up" easier.  I certainly do.  Maybe because we have more energetic blockages in the abdomen and pelvis.  And some people find the "dirtiness" of the earth distasteful, and prefer to rocket directly to heaven.  Eventually however, issues related to the earth plane -- issues that tend to lodge in the lower centers and prevent easy connection with the ground -- need to be resolved.  

Edited by liminal_luke
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A tree can only grow as high as its roots go deep.

 

How deep is the root of a mountain, then?

 

To the core, perhaps.

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I chose to specifically focus this post on men because i have noticed the tendency within myself and other male practitioners. The tendency to disown everything else in life except spiritual practice and to make that the exclusive focus, this is a typical pattern of that particular flow. It is almost as if one addiction or compulsive behavior is exchanged for another.

 

There's nothing wrong with energetically shooting up or down....but if your doing it unconsciously then your living a false freedom. 

 

I feel that it is this pattern of energetic flow that influences more conservative forms of spiritual practice. Extreme asceticism, seeing the world as inherently sinful and a place to be escaped. To be honest i don't think there is anything more important in heaven than there is on earth...being present with oneself at the "heart" of things.   

 

Perhaps some women can share there experiences in this area. 

Edited by OldChi
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Yeah, many man seem quite happy to plant their seed in another... so eager to part with their vital essence. So perhaps it makes sense that it'd be easy to fall into a similar dynamic with spiritual endeavors.

 

Meanwhile many of the women I know are much more willing to accept responsibility for owning and accepting where and who they are. They say women mature faster than men as well, perhaps related to this.

 

I think somewhere at the end of the zhong lu chuan dao ji is mentioned a list of traps to avoid falling into, getting distracted by. Among things like sexual temptation, riches, etc, is getting enticed by heavenly voices, angels and spiritual glory... perhaps I'll add that excerpt later.

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being female I cannot know how the male sexual desire feels, so this is the place to ask that question:

is it really ' sinking' your energy, grounding, like standing posture can ground you?

Or is there something else?

 

For myself, I don't find sexual energy sinking or grounding.  Sexual energy is creative energy, but an excessive of creative energy can lead to an excess of energy, unsettledness, anxiety, etc.  Too little sexual energy is a lack of energy, a void.  It can be beautiful after meaningful sex or conscious masturbation but it feels a bit depressing after porno or random hook ups (I don't do that stuff anymore... at least not much).  Being in the middle, it is a clear-headed creativity and productivity that might get aroused but the arousal never takes over (like with too much sexual energy).  I think being grounded helps get in this middle-level of sexuality, but in itself is not the cause of feeling rooted.

Edited by futuredaze

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Looking to meditation, spirituality, and mysticism to get "high" or for escapism is harmful.  While it might not be as harmful as doing these things to feel better than other people, it is still a form of attachment and is a hidden hindrance to spiritual practice and energy cultivation.

 

However, with awareness, these "natural highs" eventually lead to a radical sobriety.  By being aware of our thoughts, patterns, and how we might be using our beliefs to avoid our fears or responsibilities, we eventually gain new direction and empowerment.  We can still feel bliss from our insights and practice, but that bliss is not the thing we are seeking for.  Bliss is like a good, healthy meal, it is nice but once we eat it, it is gone.  The thing we are seeking is more of a way of cooking and gathering food, and a way of being grateful even if we are hungry, and a desire to share what we can with others with an open heart.

 

Edit: I've been working a lot with opening the heart in the past few years.  I think I was able to open my mind in my late teens,early 20s thru meditation, psychedelic drugs, long retreats in nature, but opening the heart is a lot more challenging.  Meditation, especially loving-kindness meditation, helps a lot, but there are definitely times I don't really feel empathy or emotional connection.  Reading some of Stephen Buhner's books were helpful for this, especially Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm and Secret Teaching of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature.

Edited by futuredaze
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I chose to specifically focus this post on men because i have noticed the tendency within myself and other male practitioners. The tendency to disown everything else in life except spiritual practice and to make that the exclusive focus, this is a typical pattern of that particular flow. It is almost as if one addiction or compulsive behavior is exchanged for another.

 

There's nothing wrong with energetically shooting up or down....but if your down it unconsciously then your living a false freedom. 

 

I feel that it is this pattern of energetic flow that influences more conservative forms of spiritual practice. Extreme asceticism, seeing the world as inherently sinful and a place to be escaped. To be honest i don't think there is anything more important in heaven than there is on earth...being present with oneself at the "heart" of things.   

 

Perhaps some women can share there experiences in this area. 

 

Thank you, it sets me to thinking. For I do recognize what you're saying here. But Maybe it's just a generally male thing, to focus heavily on one thing where women tend to be more spread out in their ventures.

 

Looking at childcare for women, you need to have that ability. And when i envision a male as a protector for his family, well, to fight you have to be able to be singleminded/focussed.

 

( and now let everybody fall over my male/female dichotomy  :D )

 

But it is a general wellknown thing, that these characteristics are different for the genders ( not meaning there arent any single minded/focused women, or multitasking males...)

 

and i can see how for ( young) males the desire for women/sex/porno/masturbation can become very problematic and then you get out of balance to the other side.

 

I also wanna comment on this:

<<There's nothing wrong with energetically shooting up or down....but if your down it unconsciously then your living a false freedom. >>

 

ans it is the word unconsciously that i like here, when you're just following your sexual desires, that's indeed unconscious behaviour ) (Ans i've had my share of it, don't think that this is an only males problem) But when you change that for a spiritual quest, well, that's conscious behaviour.

 

same with the tendency of people to like the higher centres, the third eye and the crownchakra, that is unconscious behaviour, where ( at least for me) the grounding is ' work', is conscious behavior. even though by now i know that the deeper i let my roots grow, the higher my tree will soar into the sky. ( beautiful metaphor uroboros!)

 

 so, unconscious behaviour is not OK, but being too focussed is neither, thats what it sums up to  :P 

 

 Daeluin probably has a quote for it, this sounds like, the way is about balance, about  non-doing 

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Additionally i'd like to say that IME, this kind of forced and imbalanced expression of spirituality is not necessarily just a matter of "point of view" or "perspective". But in my case was a matter of blockages and filters in the body that had to be dissolved through time and effort. The thing with these patterns is you don't usually see them with clarity until after the fact. Opening the heart definitely seems important in this area of insight. 

Edited by OldChi
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I think a lot of people place too much focus on 3rd eye and crown chakras.  The Western bias of hierarchy and superiority seeps even into the chakra systems.  A lot of people are not rooted.  Rooting, IMO, takes not only physical and psychological training, but for us to find something significant that gives our lives meaning.  A tree does not root to itself, it roots to the Earth.

 

Balance is key, of course.  Any under-active chakra/dimension of psyche can be overcompensated by another chakra/dimension of psyche.  And vice versa, overactive centers can burn out or re-direct energy away from other centers which become diminished.

Edited by futuredaze
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Reading all the above posts has given me a great feeling of satisfaction in that I feel no strong desire to add anything. And that's exactly the attribute I was hinting at in my previous post. Those ancient Daoists were masters of satisfaction. At the core of classical Daoism is a profound acceptance of life in all its manifestations. It's grounded in nature and everyday experience. The Dao is totally present in this world; in the here and now. In the Zhuangzi we learn Dao is "in the ant, in the broken tile, in dung, in mire."  Mystical states are accepted as aspects of the Dao but are not privileged. Like life itself, such experiences come and go according to the patterns of the Dao.  

 

Hence the Daoist saying that there's nothing to achieve because we are innately of the Dao. However for me, actually feeling this as a lived experience has meant many years of self cultivation. My path has been one of trial and error, and I'm particularly aware that all intense experience is potentially addictive.  In classical Daoism we come back to what might seem from the outside to be a totally ordinary life; utterly simple, yet utterly sufficient. 

Edited by Yueya
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I like where this discussion is going but when I first read this post, I was coming at it from a completely different perspective. One that is rooted in a discussion I have been having with many of my male friends who are cultivators.

 

It's similar in what OldChi said that ascension can function as an ego trap whereby one runs away from certain "earth driven" experiences out of fear. It's running away from doing work with one's own shadow or earth elements by saying to that part of the psyche " I am a spiritual person" hence, I will cover up my lust/ego desires under this guise, instead of doing the real work of exploring this dimension fully and coming out the other side. Hope this makes sense....

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I so agree with the idea of working through those earth levels first, I see myself as an embodied spirit, and have always worked primarily with the energies of the body, which have cleared the way to being able now to work with things of the spirit.

 

My take on the earth energies (at the moment), which I see more or less as the first 3 chakras, is that they can be visualised as being like the energy of a wolf, warm but wild, until this energy is transmuted into the energy of it's tamed cousin, the dog, in right relation to the higher self, spirit's best friend, spirit's companion and helper.

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By Mysticism i am referring internally to the opposite of compulsive procreation. I am referring to the opposite of the sinking of energy into the loins, but the shooting of chi up to the crown and beyond. Generally this is considered very beneficial as it is a very powerful and primal drive which pushes us to surmount all obstacles to our dissolution into nothingness.

 

This is a really fascinating topic...   root (creative energy) vs rapture (connecting energy)  :)

 

I think most people find "up" easier.  I certainly do.  Maybe because we have more energetic blockages in the abdomen and pelvis.  And some people find the "dirtiness" of the earth distasteful, and prefer to rocket directly to heaven.  Eventually however, issues related to the earth plane -- issues that tend to lodge in the lower centers and prevent easy connection with the ground -- need to be resolved.  

 

I think it would be natural to feel energy arising over the years...  I was taught the chakras are on a 7 year cycle of forming and so the energy is naturally winding its way 'up'.

 

Looking at childcare for women, you need to have that ability. And when i envision a male as a protector for his family, well, to fight you have to be able to be singleminded/focussed.

 

Yes, some important gender differences.  I think men do focus the energy at the expense of the female's ability to contain more energy in a wider spectrum.

 

I look back at my progress of practices:

Qigong - intense focus on LDT and grounding/rooting

Medical Qigong - Focus more on MDT, Heart as the body's General which directs and heals all.

Light related - Without foundational energy from LDT, one lacks energy flow; without the fullness of heart energy, one lacks unity of above and below; without the UDT, one lacks spiritual/psychic communication.

 

I tend to agree with some of the sentiment expressed... that going 'up', although it should be natural on some level, it is often forceful (or started too early) in practices...  How can it be natural and forced ?

 

From a naturalistic perspective, our energies arise and go up and develop the upper areas.   If one just allows this to unfold naturally and without much force, I think it stays in some sort of balance.

 

IMO (!), most practitioners start around 20-40 years old and at that point, they are feeling the natural energy higher and so just "push" forward from there.. seek a spiritual path without looking back (to grounding and lower chakra issues).  

 

I would agree that to go from a naturalistic arising (more a wu-wei lifestyle) to a deterministic arising based on practices means we are going to possibly unbalance the lack of lower energy for the sake of upper energy.    Our lower energies tend to help dictate how the middle and upper energies will proceed... and ultimately, the heart is the General which oversees all things.

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So perhaps it makes sense that it'd be easy to fall into a similar dynamic with spiritual endeavors.

Yes, i think there is some kind of similar dynamic there that continually perpetuates. 

 

 

I think a lot of people place too much focus on 3rd eye and crown chakras.  The Western bias of hierarchy and superiority seeps even into the chakra systems.  A lot of people are not rooted.  Rooting, IMO, takes not only physical and psychological training, but for us to find something significant that gives our lives meaning.  A tree does not root to itself, it roots to the Earth.

 

Balance is key, of course.  Any under-active chakra/dimension of psyche can be overcompensated by another chakra/dimension of psyche.  And vice versa, overactive centers can burn out or re-direct energy away from other centers which become diminished.

Very interesting insights. Just as an add on....Trees are a lot of fun to practice with :P.

 

Looking back, now that i think about, one of the key ways to bypass a lot of these problems is to look at the cultivation system that your working in and ask whether it is addressing the system as a whole or is it potentially creating imbalances by emphasizing certain patterns over others.

 

IME, the Taoists due tend towards a more wholesome and balanced approach in there systems....but that's just in my limited experiences. Still don't understand this very deeply. 

 

Reading all the above posts has given me a great feeling of satisfaction in that I feel no strong desire to add anything. And that's exactly the attribute I was hinting at in my previous post. Those ancient Daoists were masters of satisfaction. At the core of classical Daoism is a profound acceptance of life in all its manifestations. It's grounded in nature and everyday experience. The Dao is totally present in this world; in the here and now. In the Zhuangzi we learn Dao is "in the ant, in the broken tile, in dung, in mire."  Mystical states are accepted as aspects of the Dao but are not privileged. Like life itself, such experiences come and go according to the patterns of the Dao.  

 

Hence the Daoist saying that there's nothing to achieve because we are innately of the Dao. However for me, actually feeling this as a lived experience has meant many years of self cultivation. My path has been one of trial and error, and I'm particularly aware that all intense experience is potentially addictive.  In classical Daoism we come back to what might seem from the outside to be a totally ordinary life; utterly simple, yet utterly sufficient. 

 

Indeed, when the intensity and the bliss hits i thinks its important to have the level of self understanding and clarity to say: "K, that was a nice experience, lets keep walking." Versus becoming addicted to intensity and losing touch with life. 

 

I like where this discussion is going but when I first read this post, I was coming at it from a completely different perspective. One that is rooted in a discussion I have been having with many of my male friends who are cultivators.

 

It's similar in what OldChi said that ascension can function as an ego trap whereby one runs away from certain "earth driven" experiences out of fear. It's running away from doing work with one's own shadow or earth elements by saying to that part of the psyche " I am a spiritual person" hence, I will cover up my lust/ego desires under this guise, instead of doing the real work of exploring this dimension fully and coming out the other side. Hope this makes sense....

Indeed, it's a popular trend. It' s been my observation that as soon as males learn about cultivation and the benefits of this practice....they quickly jump into wanting to be a hermit and venture off spending the rest of there lives in a cave.

 

That can be very beneficial....but the intent at the beginning of the journey influences the outcome. Is this something being done with awareness or is it another way of living an addictive and compulsive life. 

Edited by OldChi

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 To be honest i don't think there is anything more important in heaven than there is on earth...being present with oneself at the "heart" of things.   

 

I think somewhere at the end of the zhong lu chuan dao ji is mentioned a list of traps to avoid falling into, getting distracted by. Among things like sexual temptation, riches, etc, is getting enticed by heavenly voices, angels and spiritual glory... perhaps I'll add that excerpt later.

 

One of the ten monsters, from a discussion of the nine obstacles and ten monsters (tl Eva Wong):

 

When you encounter images of the ten terrestrial realms glowing with yang energy, the three pure realms, the Jade Emperor, the four guardians, the seven lights [of the Dipper], the five emperors, and the eight kings standing in ceremonial solemnity or floating around leisurely, you should ignore them, because this is the monster called sacred beings.

 

 

same with the tendency of people to like the higher centres, the third eye and the crownchakra, that is unconscious behaviour, where ( at least for me) the grounding is ' work', is conscious behavior. even though by now i know that the deeper i let my roots grow, the higher my tree will soar into the sky. ( beautiful metaphor uroboros!)

 

 

 so, unconscious behaviour is not OK, but being too focussed is neither, thats what it sums up to  :P 

 

 Daeluin probably has a quote for it, this sounds like, the way is about balance, about  non-doing 

 

Perhaps this... Liu Yiming's Cultivating the Tao (tl. Fabrizio Pregadio), from the chapter on doing and non-doing:

 

Sticking to emptiness and clinging to phenomenal appearances is like embellishing a stinky leather bag with needlework, or being fond of a pouch filled with holes. How can those people know that the great Way of the sages and the worthies does not stick to emptiness, does not cling to phenomenal appearances, and lies in what is neither emptiness nor form?

 

"Doing" does not refer to striving to act or striving to do. Essentially, after the concealment of the precelestial state, your Nature (xing) and your Existence (ming) are not firm. If you do not obtain a method for cultivating yourself and for returning to the Tao, how can you extend the length of your years and live a long life without aging, and entirely achieve the Great Tao? "Doing" means intending to return to what you have left behind, and to revert to what you had at the origin.

 

This pertains to the Way of "stealing Ying and Yang," "seizing creating and transformation," and "turning the wheel of giving and taking life." "When he precedes Heaven, Heaven does not go against him; when he follows Heaven, he abides by the time of Heaven." "Spirits and deities cannot know about it, and tortoise and milfoil cannot fathom it." How could anyone get to know it? Since no one can get to know it, it is not one of the usual pursuits that proceed from clinging to phenomenal appearances.

 

"Non-doing" does not refer to the discourses about looking like "withered wood" or "cold ashes." Essentially, if you do not possess the True Seed, you must adopt a method in order to take hold of it. Once you possess it, the Original Root returns. Then you should hasten to strengthen it and fortify it, to seal it and store it; you will have to "bathe" and "nourish warmly," to avoid the dangers and ponder the perils, in order to protect the wholeness of that Original Root. Otherwise, you will suffer again from its loss. If you are able to do this, you will have "a body outside your body" and your Spirit will pervade throughout. "In utter sincerity there is foreknowledge": will there be anything that you do not know?

 

At the beginning you look for the "other house" (tajia), at the end you defend "your own house" (zijia). This is the wondrous teaching about doing and non-doing, about knowing the beginning and beginning there, and about knowing the end and ending there. How could those who cling to phenomenal appearances and stick to emptiness even glance at its shores?

 

This quote raises a fair amount to think upon, and even though it has a sense of yet another "spiritual recipe," I feel it is speaking to what we are discussing here. Just like the previous quotes spoke of awakening and understanding before acting intuitively, here there is emphasis on a return to health in such a way as to rediscover the Original Root, the true heart, after which one rests upon non-doing in order to protect one's true heart from becoming unraveled again, and as one incubates one's heart a transformation occurs that is different from other paths. This discussion of the True Seed, the other house and my house is simply the natural operation of kan and li as discussed here: one replenishes the fullness of that which has become trapped and depleted in the kan/ming dynamic, so that it may integrate with the li/xing/spiritual dynamic, merging what had become two back into one and this one being a truer connection to the Original Root. And along the way one is careful to keep a balance so that one does not either drown or burn the medicines created from the deepening of connection to the Original Root. This is a difference that allows one to precede Heaven (for after all Heaven and Earth are in some form of polarity, and integrating and balancing them allows the true heart to emerge, this Original Root, which is the origin of Heaven and Earth), and thus how could heavenly beings we ask for guidance know about it or fathom it?

 

With great sincerity placed and maintained upon one's health and heart, one becomes whole and simply preserves this wholeness by flowing intuitively based upon what is necessary for maintaining this sincerity, and all is done.

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I like to think of grounding as a borrowing the receptivity of earth and brining it into myself, from the bottom up - becoming totally empty of thoughts all the way up to my head. And then this grounding, this receptivity, becomes receptive to the higher, more heavenly energies, which I then embrace and fill with. But I don't focus on reaching out of the top of my head... in fact to feel full of this energy in my head I often focus on brining it down to fill up from my feet up. Funny how when I let my self sink focus to my feet, that is when I feel most aware of my higher centers.

 

So I like to pull the ground up and pull heaven down, and let them integrate within.

An interesting technique for rooting. I think i may try it. Thanks. 

 

 

This is a really fascinating topic...   root (creative energy) vs rapture (connecting energy)   :)

 

 

I think it would be natural to feel energy arising over the years...  I was taught the chakras are on a 7 year cycle of forming and so the energy is naturally winding its way 'up'.

 

 

Yes, some important gender differences.  I think men do focus the energy at the expense of the female's ability to contain more energy in a wider spectrum.

 

I look back at my progress of practices:

Qigong - intense focus on LDT and grounding/rooting

Medical Qigong - Focus more on MDT, Heart as the body's General which directs and heals all.

Light related - Without foundational energy from LDT, one lacks energy flow; without the fullness of heart energy, one lacks unity of above and below; without the UDT, one lacks spiritual/psychic communication.

 

I tend to agree with some of the sentiment expressed... that going 'up', although it should be natural on some level, it is often forceful (or started too early) in practices...  How can it be natural and forced ?

 

From a naturalistic perspective, our energies arise and go up and develop the upper areas.   If one just allows this to unfold naturally and without much force, I think it stays in some sort of balance.

 

IMO (!), most practitioners start around 20-40 years old and at that point, they are feeling the natural energy higher and so just "push" forward from there.. seek a spiritual path without looking back (to grounding and lower chakra issues).  

 

I would agree that to go from a naturalistic arising (more a wu-wei lifestyle) to a deterministic arising based on practices means we are going to possibly unbalance the lack of lower energy for the sake of upper energy.    Our lower energies tend to help dictate how the middle and upper energies will proceed... and ultimately, the heart is the General which oversees all things.

Many great insights. Your commenting on the 3 main centers has given me insight into my own practice. Heart as the General, a very useful metaphor. Thanks. 

Edited by OldChi
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