virtue

Energy Arts That Don't Require Mental Stillness (How Do They Work?)

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Most of the Qigong, Neigong, and meditation systems seem to require keeping the mind still and free of thoughts, or otherwise their benefits would be annulled or at least compromised.

 

I have practiced Flying Phoenix system for over a month now and it is working just great: it doesn't require any subduing of thoughts.

 

It was a surprise to discover that there are internal or meditative energy arts that actually worked without imposing any requirements to one's mentations. Now I am wondering if there are other energy and mind cultivating systems that are similarly lenient on keeping the mind still. If there are others like that, then how do they work?

 

Most of the GM Doo Wai's family arts seem to use breath percentage methods which also enable Flying Phoenix to do its magic, but I don't know if these other arts also enable to keep one's mind thinking on anything and get the results regardless. I would love to have experiences from people who have practiced any GMDW's arts other than Flying Phoenix. Does Sunn Yee Gong require stilling the mind? Sifu Garry's statement here in SYG Q&A seems to imply so, but I don't take that as a definite answer.

 

@phil gracefully answered in the Flying Phoenix discussion that there is a Shaolin art like that, but how does its energy cultivation work then? If it's an external method such as in Iron Palm where you keep conditioning your palms with striking and using dit da jow to heal, then it does not qualify for an internal or meditative energy art in the sense I am asking about.

 

Okay, your turn now. Hopefully we all can learn something nice and new about the healing wonders of energy and mind.

Edited by virtue
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The focus of awareness is a coefficient in the overall energetic output equation - its as simple as that.  Act accordingly ;)

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1 minute ago, joeblast said:

The focus of awareness is a coefficient in the overall energetic output equation

Thank you for your contribution. While this is true and a fine subject for another discussion, it bears no relevance to the original inquiries about mental stillness and energy arts.

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2 minutes ago, virtue said:

Thank you for your contribution. While this is true and a fine subject for another discussion, it bears no relevance to the original inquiries about mental stillness and energy arts.

Well, you cant have it both ways - if you agree its true, then by virtue of that, it automatically has relevance.  :)  Its a simple and fully applicable statement - you asked about forms that dont emphasize stillness of the mind - well, fact of the matter is, without the focus of awareness being brought sufficiently to bear, one is simply going through the motions.  With the awareness focused and fully present in what's being performed, this maximizes the coefficient and results in a greater output, greater ingraining of habit and muscle memory.  This is true whether its breathwork or taiji or the flying circus ;)

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39 minutes ago, joeblast said:

you asked about forms that dont emphasize stillness of the mind

The question was actually about not requiring stillness of the mind at all, not merely emphasis. Can you appreciate the difference?

 

You are keenly aware that I asked about forms and specific arts with this feature, but somehow the discussion is already made into about formlessness.

 

39 minutes ago, joeblast said:

well, fact of the matter is, without the focus of awareness being brought sufficiently to bear, one is simply going through the motions.  With the awareness focused and fully present in what's being performed, this maximizes the coefficient and results in a greater output, greater ingraining of habit and muscle memory.  This is true whether its breathwork or taiji or the flying circus ;)

Actually, it now dawned to me that my acknowledgement of your speaking of "focus of awareness" was in fact wrong. I apologize and withdraw my statement because I didn't undestand your use of the word "focus."

 

Awareness as Buddhists speak about is open and non-dimensional because it is the original nature of mind. It can be found and recalled, but never focused. That is because focus is what you do with your ordinary mind to limit it. What you seem to talk about is some sort of mindfulness which is in fact a manner of mental occupation.

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I'm not up for word games or how your interpretations differ from the definitions of the words I chose.  Good luck finding....whatever it is you are looking for, here.

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Thank you Joe for your sincere good wishes. I am sorry that your involvement in this topic got cut short for which I can only blame my own ungentlemanly manners and lack of conversational skills.

 

Since awareness was mentioned, it might be the time to clarify its relation to mental stillness. I should have done this already in the initial post, so that this often brought up concept was already covered and then only relevant premises would have been highlighted right from the start. Unfortunately I am still an imperfect being and fail to see many missing but needful details.

 

It can be easy to mix up awareness and mindful attention if there is no real and clear experience of both. Training of open awareness per the usual Buddhist definition is highly non-trivial because it is the entire process of becoming Enlightened, no more or no less. Whether you engage it directly through dzogchen or less directly through vipassana-mindfulness methods, for the training to be really effective it does require mental stillness. Therefore I find Joe's bringing up of awareness in the context of not requiring mental stillness, which is what this topic asked for, rather odd. He did have it completely right though that if a person is already well trained in awareness, then anything he or she does will be much enriched and energized.

 

Awareness, its training and application, is an important topic for another occasion. I hope this matter is now settled and we can focus on the original issue: identifying energy arts not requiring any mental stillness which inspite of that still give great energy and mind training benefits, and possibly finding out why they should work at all.

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A notable example of this is Fragrant Qigong, which has a Buddhist origin. According to some instructions I read (supposedly a translation direct from the Grandmaster) you were not supposed to apply any mind intent whatsoever, to the point where he’d recommend watching tv or chatting with people while practicing so you’d keep your mind off of Qigong...

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On 1/18/2018 at 0:51 AM, virtue said:

Thank you Joe for your sincere good wishes. I am sorry that your involvement in this topic got cut short for which I can only blame my own ungentlemanly manners and lack of conversational skills.

 

Since awareness was mentioned, it might be the time to clarify its relation to mental stillness. I should have done this already in the initial post, so that this often brought up concept was already covered and then only relevant premises would have been highlighted right from the start. Unfortunately I am still an imperfect being and fail to see many missing but needful details.

 

It can be easy to mix up awareness and mindful attention if there is no real and clear experience of both. Training of open awareness per the usual Buddhist definition is highly non-trivial because it is the entire process of becoming Enlightened, no more or no less. Whether you engage it directly through dzogchen or less directly through vipassana-mindfulness methods, for the training to be really effective it does require mental stillness. Therefore I find Joe's bringing up of awareness in the context of not requiring mental stillness, which is what this topic asked for, rather odd. He did have it completely right though that if a person is already well trained in awareness, then anything he or she does will be much enriched and energized.

 

Awareness, its training and application, is an important topic for another occasion. I hope this matter is now settled and we can focus on the original issue: identifying energy arts not requiring any mental stillness which inspite of that still give great energy and mind training benefits, and possibly finding out why they should work at all.

My point was, that these things are coefficients in an overall equation, so in talking about this aspect, you're talking about underlying aspects that affect all processes.  Focus of awareness good?  Great, your coefficient is .8, or .85, instead of .5....mind trained so that its very still?  Excellent!  Your coefficient for that part of the equation is a .8, instead of a .5.   Then as all the inputs are multiplied together, a result is obtained.  Whatever that result is, I'm leaving that one purposefully open, since it'll apply to playing tennis just as it'll apply to bagua or "¡nomber won most sooper chi gung!"

 

See where I'm going with this?  Its not a matter of having "something that works well despite the mental stillness not being there" as a matter of....a feature, it would seem you're asking for?  Nobody really designed things like this to say "hey, you can do this form/practice/etc and be completely distracted and it will still have great benefit!"  Its sorta like what Chunyi Lin said about practice, its good, better, best methods.  If one's mind is cloudy and scattered, one's practice, any practice, will necessarily be less deep, less effective, less energetic. 

 

What I'm mainly getting at, is your question is somewhat ill-defined.  It makes me think you have trouble stilling your mind and dont want to address that through copious meditation - an ostensible how can I sidestep this issue instead of defeating it? 

 

Of course I dont mean to give the impression that I feel I know you well enough to make such a statement, its just an impression from a strange question, and really, INTP seeks clarification is all :lol:  How can the correct answer be obtained, if the question is malformed or otherwise ill-defined?

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On 1/17/2018 at 11:01 AM, virtue said:

Most of the Qigong, Neigong, and meditation systems seem to require keeping the mind still and free of thoughts, or otherwise their benefits would be annulled or at least compromised.

 

I have practiced Flying Phoenix system for over a month now and it is working just great: it doesn't require any subduing of thoughts.

 

It was a surprise to discover that there are internal or meditative energy arts that actually worked without imposing any requirements to one's mentations. Now I am wondering if there are other energy and mind cultivating systems that are similarly lenient on keeping the mind still. If there are others like that, then how do they work?

 

Most of the GM Doo Wai's family arts seem to use breath percentage methods which also enable Flying Phoenix to do its magic, but I don't know if these other arts also enable to keep one's mind thinking on anything and get the results regardless. I would love to have experiences from people who have practiced any GMDW's arts other than Flying Phoenix. Does Sunn Yee Gong require stilling the mind? Sifu Garry's statement here in SYG Q&A seems to imply so, but I don't take that as a definite answer.

 

@phil gracefully answered in the Flying Phoenix discussion that there is a Shaolin art like that, but how does its energy cultivation work then? If it's an external method such as in Iron Palm where you keep conditioning your palms with striking and using dit da jow to heal, then it does not qualify for an internal or meditative energy art in the sense I am asking about.

 

Okay, your turn now. Hopefully we all can learn something nice and new about the healing wonders of energy and mind.

 

I know of no general inner arts that "require subduing" of thoughts. None "require" keeping the mind still and free of thoughts.

 

It is a misunderstanding to think this is or ever was the case. 

 

However - the amount of energy dissipated by a flying Mind is counter productive to nearly every thing in life. - particularly including innner work.

 

Additionally - the introduction of the notion of actually learning to understand the mind and not just be a Willy Nilly subject of its Radom wandering is always a part of all inner teachings.

 

But more importantly - in all inner arts - the art brings the mind naturally toward stillness and away from the noise of the mind.

It does not do this by subjugation - the mind simply and slowly is dissipated in its almighty importance and far far greater capabilities, awareness and Presence come forward. 

 

Certainly no Qi Gong requires your mind be still.

No Yoga requires stillness of mind.

 

In fact - when you have achieved abiding stillness of mind - you do not "need a practice" - abiding in stillness is "practice".

 

 

Edited by Spotless
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When you participate in Qi Gong - let's say - any Qi Gong:

 

Your teacher may never ask you to still your mind in those words but how often is it mentioned to put your attention on the Lower Dantien.

 

How much are your thoughts flying when you are centered in Awareness in the lower dan tien?

 

When you are doing a movement and breathing - how much of your attention is gently taken away from the flying mind?

 

Just because a teaching does not appear to "require" stilling the mind does not mean it does not teach techniques that bring quieting to the mind.

Edited by Spotless
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There are serious minunderstandings coming afloat. Training awareness and training with awareness are other paradigms which are completely unrelated to the original inquiry.

 

This thread is for a scholarly study of certain type of energy arts. Nyerstudent and another person who contacted me through PM have understood this completely right. For others I say: it's time to step out of the Neidan world if you want to contribute.

 

This is neither a general discussion nor seeking advice on how to maximize the benefits of one's practice or daily life. It is neither a discussion on awareness nor how to naturally get to a state where thoughts aren't flying around.

 

Suppose that I might not want to cultivate stillness, awareness, or a lack of random obtrusive thoughts. Suppose that instead I wanted to keep chanting mantras, day dreaming, planning, exercising my memory for studying a new language, or whatever unrelated intellectual activities while doing some energy art, but then I still would get the same healing and even mind training benefit as if I was already at complete ease and restful mind just naturally. What arts give me that type of benefit and why do they work? Flying Phoenix is an example, so arts like that do exist.

 

1 hour ago, Spotless said:

But more importantly - in all inner arts - the art brings the mind naturally toward stillness and away from the noise of the mind.

It does not do this by subjugation - the mind simply and slowly dissipated in its almighty importance and far far greater capabilities, awareness and Presence come forward. 

 

Certainly no Qi Gong requires your mind be still.

No Yoga requires stillness of mind.

Spotless, I would strongly disagree with what you wrote here and say that most Qigong and Neigong systems require a still mind or otherwise the benefits would greatly diminish. It doesn't have to be perfect because as you implied practice, which still must be correct in form, energy, and mind aspects within some reasonable tolerance, takes you to the right direction of inner peace. Willful and unrelated mental activities detract from most types of internal training, or do you really disagree with this?

 

Stillness-Movement Neigong is a great example of an art that requires "cutting off mental dialogue" as stated in the practice's outline in Michael Lomax's book A Light Warrior's Guide to High Level Energy Healing. No matter how deeply you rested yourself in open awareness though dantian, the healing power of Stillness-Movement would be compromised if you kept thinking and applying your mind against the direct instruction.

Edited by virtue
some small clarifications

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Yes Shaolin Nei Jing Yi Zhi Chan Qigong same as Fragrant Qigong (level 1 at least) both have been said possible to practice while watching TV or speaking with others.

 

SYG that you asked about, includes exercising in listening skills.

 

I'm not that sure about Flying Phoenix - I quit it partially because it required environment where one will not be disturbed accidentally. It doesn't require mental stillness maybe in terms of artificially forcing yourself to some state, but it induced mental stillness more than some other qigongs I have tried. What I remember being pinpointed is that it doesn't require visualization, but don't remember anything about stillness not required. Just checked the DVD now and it says "practice in quiet and seclusion, develop relaxation and calm", that to me is mental stillness.

 

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Quoted from Virtue:

 

"There are serious minunderstandings coming afloat. Training awareness and training with awareness are other paradigms which are completely unrelated to the original inquiry.

 

This thread is for a scholarly study of certain type of energy arts. Nyerstudent and another person who contacted me through PM have understood this completely right. For others I say: it's time to step out of the Neidan world if you want to contribute.

 

This is neither a general discussion nor seeking advice on how to maximize the benefits of one's practice or daily life. It is neither a discussion on awareness nor how to naturally get to a state where thoughts aren't flying around.

 

Suppose that I might not want to cultivate stillness, awareness, or a lack of random obtrusive thoughts. Suppose that instead I wanted to keep chanting mantras, day dreaming, planning, exercising my memory for studying a new language, or whatever unrelated intellectual activities while doing some energy art, but then I still would get the same healing and even mind training benefit as if I was already at complete ease and restful mind just naturally. What arts give me that type of benefit and why do they work? Flying Phoenix is an example, so arts like that do exist.

 

   1 hour ago,  Spotless said: 

But more importantly - in all inner arts - the art brings the mind naturally toward stillness and away from the noise of the mind.

It does not do this by subjugation - the mind simply and slowly dissipated in its almighty importance and far far greater capabilities, awareness and Presence come forward. 

 

Certainly no Qi Gong requires your mind be still.

No Yoga requires stillness of mind.

Spotless, I would strongly disagree with what you wrote here and say that most Qigong and Neigong systems require a still mind or otherwise the benefits would greatly diminish. It doesn't have to be perfect because as you implied practice, which still must be correct in form, energy, and mind aspects within some reasonable tolerance, takes you to the right direction of inner peace. Purposeful and unrelated mental activities detract from most types of internal training, or do you really disagree with this?

 

Stillness-Movement is a great example of an art that requires "cutting off mental dialogue" as stated in the practice's outline in Michael Lomax's A Light Warrior's Guide to High Level Energy Healing. No matter how deeply you rested yourself in open awareness though dantian, the healing power of Stillness-Movement would be compromised if you kept thinking and applying your mind against the direct instruction."

 

======end quote====

 

Perhaps you should really really examine your words - choice of words in the original post. 

 

You are also at the beginning of this journey - try not to be so willful in your thinking - I only say you are beginning this journey because what you state belies considerable misunderstanding. 

 

I have no further input for you here - enough said.

 

All the best!

Edited by Spotless
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There`s no question that awareness is important, a "coefficient in the equation" as JoeBlast says, for pretty much everything.  There are some practices that address this directly by asking a practitioner to focus on the breath or the LDT, for instance.  But awareness can also be trained on the sly.  Some practices result in a quieter mind but get there in a subtle way, without seeming to place emphasis on that quietness.  

 

An example: physical exertion.  I`ve noticed that my mind is quieter after exercise.  It`s possible, for instance, to dance oneself into a space of relative silence.  Of course, some might say that moving with awareness results in more awareness than unconscious flailing about, and this is true.  But for someone who isn`t in a space where they can start to focus their awareness, vigorous movement can push things in the right direction.

 

LL

Edited by liminal_luke
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8 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

There`s no question that awareness is important, a "coefficient in the equation" as JoeBlast says, for pretty much everything.  There are some practices that address this directly by asking a practitioner to focus on the breath or the LDT, for instance.  But awareness can also be trained on the sly.  Some practices result in a quieter mind but get there in a subtle way, without seeming to place emphasis on that quietness.  

 

An example: physical exertion.  I`ve noticed that my mind is quieter after exercise.  It`s possible, for instance, to dance oneself into a space of relative silence.  Of course, some might say that moving with awareness results in more awareness than unconscious flailing about, and this is true.  But for someone who isn`t in a space where they can start to focus their awareness, vigorous movement can push things in the right direction.

Thank you for your thoughtful message. I do have a critical view to offer on it because now I realize what was missing right from the beginning.

 

There are three main classical modes in which all still meditation works its benefits: open awareness (which is the most direct and fundamental, really the best training), vipassana-mindfulness, and samatha-calmness. All of these are healthful and helpful, but with distinctive results. Can everyone agree that all internal methods would somehow mainly approximate one of these modes and base its results on that?

 

Supposing that open awareness can be trained on the sly is a bit suspicious because it is the highest approach to mind's non-duality. It would truly have to be a master's skill and ingenious teaching if it became very simple thing to accomplish. Then I remain very critical of speaking of focusing awareness: it's easy to mistake vipassana-mindfulness for actual open awareness, even though the difference is great. If you already are fully aware, then there is no need to pay attention to things like breath because all your sensory phenomena are already included in the direct experience. Right?

 

To give an example that teachings on open awareness are precious and rare: samatha-calmness type meditations are (in)famous for getting into absorptive meditative states that supress open awareness, which is why Gautama Buddha's Pali teachings instruct to use vipassana-mindfulness methods to open it up. Teachings on open awareness or emptiness became a stable article only in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

 

Would you think physical exertion is more conductive to concentration of samatha-calmness or getting to a state of open awareness? I would say that most often during exertion people focus on doing something and concentrate to their performance, which pretty much shuns the world. Also, couldn't quieter mind be the result of insufficient energy in your brains because of vigorous physical effort directing it elsewhere in the body, therefore simply not supplying thoughts with energy?

 

1 hour ago, Leif said:

Yes Shaolin Nei Jing Yi Zhi Chan Qigong same as Fragrant Qigong (level 1 at least) both have been said possible to practice while watching TV or speaking with others.

 

SYG that you asked about, includes exercising in listening skills.

 

I'm not that sure about Flying Phoenix - I quit it partially because it required environment where one will not be disturbed accidentally. It doesn't require mental stillness maybe in terms of artificially forcing yourself to some state, but it induced mental stillness more than some other qigongs I have tried. What I remember being pinpointed is that it doesn't require visualization, but don't remember anything about stillness not required. Just checked the DVD now and it says "practice in quiet and seclusion, develop relaxation and calm", that to me is mental stillness.

 

Thank you for your input.

 

The Flying Phoenix system that made me start this topic is reportedly a samatha-calmness based system and very conductive to dhyana-samadhi absorptions. It could make for a good explanation why it should work at all and lead to some type of mind training or stillness. What you mention here about its weakness to disturbances is also classically described for very deep samatha concentrations.

 

@Leif , what exactly are the listening skills of SYG and are they trained in all the SYG practices?

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On 1/17/2018 at 1:01 PM, virtue said:

Most of the Qigong, Neigong, and meditation systems seem to require keeping the mind still and free of thoughts, or otherwise their benefits would be annulled or at least compromised.

 

I have practiced Flying Phoenix system for over a month now and it is working just great: it doesn't require any subduing of thoughts.

 

It was a surprise to discover that there are internal or meditative energy arts that actually worked without imposing any requirements to one's mentations. Now I am wondering if there are other energy and mind cultivating systems that are similarly lenient on keeping the mind still. If there are others like that, then how do they work?

 

Most of the GM Doo Wai's family arts seem to use breath percentage methods which also enable Flying Phoenix to do its magic, but I don't know if these other arts also enable to keep one's mind thinking on anything and get the results regardless. I would love to have experiences from people who have practiced any GMDW's arts other than Flying Phoenix. Does Sunn Yee Gong require stilling the mind? Sifu Garry's statement here in SYG Q&A seems to imply so, but I don't take that as a definite answer.

 

@phil gracefully answered in the Flying Phoenix discussion that there is a Shaolin art like that, but how does its energy cultivation work then? If it's an external method such as in Iron Palm where you keep conditioning your palms with striking and using dit da jow to heal, then it does not qualify for an internal or meditative energy art in the sense I am asking about.

 

Okay, your turn now. Hopefully we all can learn something nice and new about the healing wonders of energy and mind.

The way i see it, neigong, qigong etc don't require stilling the mind. The result of doing them is greater stillness of the mind. But that is only required to be able to grasp at the underlying awareness on which the mind works. With maturity of practice, the mind doesn't bother us anymore, so there is no need to subdue it.

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34 minutes ago, dwai said:

The way i see it, neigong, qigong etc don't require stilling the mind. The result of doing them is greater stillness of the mind. But that is only required to be able to grasp at the underlying awareness on which the mind works. With maturity of practice, the mind doesn't bother us anymore, so there is no need to subdue it.

What I have been reading from the responses of you and few others is the implication that when you do a particular type of awareness training through dantian (let's call the approach simply "Neidan" in this discussion), your results would be exactly the same as if you had kept your mind thinking about random stuff the entire time. Have I understood you correctly? I didn't ask this directly earlier because such claim sounds unbelievable to be quite frank, and it also goes against my experience.

 

From my own training in dzogchen atiyoga I have experienced that I get the best result if I don't think anything because that would distract from open awareness. In fact, the standard teaching in Tibetan Buddhist traditions is to shout "Phet!" mantra to cut through (trekchö) all thoughts and to relax back to open awareness. It helps stabilizing and deepening ati, so obviously keeping the mental chatter at bay during awareness training has shown its practical purpose. From this experience and its perspective, stilling the mind brings better benefit in many types of internal training. I could be wrong though, but so far there has been no convincing explanation to the contrary.

 

Maturity of practice is a key term. It is at least certain that from the beginning of awareness training practice it is necessary and useful to not entertain any stray thoughts, or resting on awareness would be impossible.

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1 hour ago, virtue said:

what exactly are the listening skills of SYG and are they trained in all the SYG practices?

 

BFSYG 2, from my few years old cryptic notes, towards the end they teach : "awareness and inner listening, 3 listening exercises - internal, external, dantien; just observing". That's about where I stopped, don't know what they teach or recently released beyond this

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I'd throw in Zhan zhuang, which tends to lead to a quieter mind naturally. 

For those who have trouble quieting there mind guided meditations can be a help.  There inductions quiet the mind, and the deep peace is a state close to what meditators aim for.  Though ultimately you need to be able to meditate without 'crutches'.  Yoga Nidras which are in my opinion a subgroup of guided meditations are also superb for establishing a body asleep, mind relaxed and focused state. 

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Quote

What I have been reading from the responses of you and few others is the implication that when you do a particular type of awareness training through dantian (let's call the approach simply "Neidan" in this discussion), your results would be exactly the same as if you had kept your mind thinking about random stuff the entire time. Have I understood you correctly? I didn't ask this directly earlier because such claim sounds unbelievable to be quite frank, and it also goes against my experience.

This is precisely the opposite of what most of us are saying.

 

I wrote other stuff, but I erased it, because it addressed serious misunderstandings....

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54 minutes ago, virtue said:

What I have been reading from the responses of you and few others is the implication that when you do a particular type of awareness training through dantian (let's call the approach simply "Neidan" in this discussion), your results would be exactly the same as if you had kept your mind thinking about random stuff the entire time. Have I understood you correctly? I didn't ask this directly earlier because such claim sounds unbelievable to be quite frank, and it also goes against my experience.

:) That is not what I said. What I said is this...

 

The purpose of qigong, neigong and neidan is not to still the mind. Neither is the pre-requisite for these a "still mind". Let us start sequentially how these arts are practiced.

 

Qigong pertains to certain movements and standing practices that open the energy channels of the body and develop sensitivity to Qi flow and eventually increase the volume of Qi. After a point, Qigong becomes neigong, in that it goes beyond just Qi sensitivity and growth to transforming the Qi into Shen (or if you go with most internal martial systems, Jin; or in case of really good ones, both jin and Shen). Neidan is the next level (according to some traditions) where in one accelerates the process of converting the Qi to Shen to Emptiness and therefore know the Dao, be in harmony with Dao. 

 

In all of these, starting from Qigong, the work really is a repetitive mechanical action, along with a certain mental attitude and focus on the breath. It calls for and develops single-pointedness of the mind. It is not cessation of the mind, but taking something which is scattered all over the place, to a single-pointed focus like a laser beam. It also purifies your energetic system which feedbacks to a calmer and progressively restful mind. 

 

Once you have developed sufficient concentration, you start entering the threshold of meditation, which is where neigong starts. Neigong requires this concentrated mind; and when you have maintained concentrated focus on an object (internal construct) for a significantly long period of time, it becomes meditation. 

 

When you do specific types of meditation in static physical or seated postures, it constitutes neidan. 

 

In all of this, the mind becomes progressively calmer, and eventually you will reach "Peak" experiences of meditative absorption which will reveal to you the true nature of your being...emptiness and Dao. Eventually all these systems aim to do is realize your true nature...that you are not the body, you are not the mind. You are the pure awareness to which the body, mind, universe happens. Some people call it "enlightenment". 

54 minutes ago, virtue said:

 

From my own training in dzogchen atiyoga I have experienced that I get the best result if I don't think anything because that would distract from open awareness. In fact, the standard teaching in Tibetan Buddhist traditions is to shout "Phet!" mantra to cut through (trekchö) all thoughts and to relax back to open awareness. It helps stabilizing and deepening ati, so obviously keeping the mental chatter at bay during awareness training has shown its practical purpose. From this experience and its perspective, stilling the mind brings better benefit in many types of internal training. I could be wrong though, but so far there has been no convincing explanation to the contrary.

Does what I've written above make sense?

54 minutes ago, virtue said:

 

Maturity of practice is a key term. It is at least certain that from the beginning of awareness training practice it is necessary and useful to not entertain any stray thoughts, or resting on awareness would be impossible.

There are different schools of thought on this. There is no hard and fast rule about how to go about this. I prefer the way I outlined above. I've done both types of practices. It really depends on the individual, their mental proclivities and patterns of behavior.

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My two yuan:

 

Stillness or non-stillness of the mind is an irrelevance.  What's relevant is the unity of your mind with your purpose.  The latter can abide in stillness or in motion, or alternate between the two.  I learned this empirically, after many assorted practices, and since the bulk of my practices in the past couple of years centered around taiji neigong/taiji neijia, I might use it as an example of what I mean.

 

In taiji, they say "use qi, not li" and "use yi to guide qi.'  What it practically means is, you learn to keep your mind united with your qi first, where the mind goes, qi goes, where qi goes, the mind goes, they are not supposed to go their separate ways.  I learned it with forms, which tend to get sloppy or otherwise falter if your mind goes elsewhere, and I learned it even better in push-hands.  You keep your mind on your perceptions in push-hands, and if you don't, and your opponent does, you lose instantly.  Instantly you learn the taoist way, through the opposite: for your mind to be powerless, let it do something other than what you intended, let it forget its purpose. 

 

If the purpose was "keep your mind on your perceptions," not keeping it there makes it powerless.  And since it's united with your qi (and it is, whether you know it or not -- taiji merely teaches you to know it and then do something about it if the union is not a happy one), your qi fails, and you get overcome.  Instantly.  If you don't lose your purpose, easier said than done, you are invincible.  Your mind's power resides in this, in stick-adhere-follow your purpose.  

 

"Use yi to guide qi" is a kind of a triple link between your qi, your mind and your intent.  All three must be working as a unit for this to happen.  So if your mind is not trained for this, if it goes willy-nilly wherever the habit of no inner discipline moves it, as most modern minds do most of the time, you will notice right away, because an opponent whose mind-body-spirit-qi-yi are trained for this will push you or tie you in a knot or place you in a position where this "I'm powerless" understanding will replace everything else in your consciousness for as long as it lasts (and it will last for as long as the opponent wants it to unless you meow for mercy.)  

 

There is no spoon.  There is, instead, something that your failure to purposefully make the spoon appear will render you powerless to taste the elixir.  :) And to make the spoon appear, you don't want a still mind or a non-still mind.  You want a mind shaped as a spoon. :D

 

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Stillness is misunderstood 

 

We conceptualize it as "no thought", peace, quiet mind and picture a mirror finish - a chrome lake.

 

This is conceptual and more in some ways a discription of One Pointedness which is far lesser though it is an ability and in its mastery much is achieved. 

 

Stillness is in the lack of momentum - it is in the spontaneity of Presence - what is at rest is not IN "at restless" and what is in action is not IN "action-ness". In Stillness, Presence is objectless Awareness fully embodied in all faculties without momentum and unhindered by contraction - instantaneous action or inaction uncontrived. Capable of One Pointed Object Awareness while abiding in non-object Awareness.

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Thank you everyone. I was wrong and did use terms misleadingly, although unwittingly so.
 

The central issue here was that I equated mental stillness with single-pointed mind and its non-feeding of irrelevant thoughts as this does necessitate and train a relative type of mental stillness. There also are intent and focus/concentration in contrast to regular thinking mind which need to be accounted because the former are more subtle mental volitions. I recognize all these very well from daily practice and personal experience, but I haven't written anything sufficiently technical about these before if I recall correctly and probably never made any attempt to talk about them either. Somehow the translation of experience into correct words was very difficult.

 

What does the word stillness mean to you? Would anyone agree though that there is a difference between a relative and an absolute mental stillness, or mental silence and mental cessation? Maybe I'm not too well versed in English language, but in my humble opinion there is a difference between silence (soundless; not hearing or speaking anything) and cessation (which is much more comprehensive and total), and stillness would be equal to silence in most cases. I just checked up in a dictionary, and it's a bit complicated in that still as a noun is about quietness, while as an adjective or adverb still relates to non-motion. Then the primary meaning for stillness is quietness, while the secondary meanings are about cessation. The semantics are very sensitive here, and my inexact language didn't make it any better. Hopefully the root of confusion is clear now.

 

The title of this thread probably should have read "Energy Arts That Don't Require Mental Silence" or "Energy Arts That Don't Require Mental Focus" or even "Energy Arts That Work Equally Well with Mental Chatter" more aptly to capture its intended meaning right from the start. I will look into each response in more detail and make an improved topic based on the feedback later.

Edited by virtue
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