forestofemptiness

Qi/Energy Practice Over Years

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I signed up for this forum over a decade ago. At the time, I was studying both Buddhist and Daoist systems of practice. Over the years, my Daoist, energy, qi etc. based practices have changed, come and gone. My Buddhist practice has evolved quite a bit, but remains a steady core part of my life. I am wondering: for those who have engaged in energy-based practices long-term, what have you seen over the last decade or so? If you could beam back a transmission to your younger self, what would you say? What has worked and what hasn't? Have you discovered a simple, easy daily practice set? 

 

 

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IME energy practice is an extension and a function of the degree to which physical tissue is released (song'ed). With this, even quiet sitting makes sense only if physical tissue is reasonably song'ed. This is how far I've got anyway. I mean there are certain techniques and such, but eventually you have to sit still to get something. And for this you need the tissue released.

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A pranic journey for 19 years - how he applied it in his life.

 

For me - when I cracked the code of the secret of the "moving of yin and yang" exercise - that was the means to maintain celibacy. So then I had more energy to do healing of others.

So before I go to sleep I always to the "moving of yin and yang" - with the knees bent more so the thigh muscles get sore - clear out the colon and maintain celibacy and increase the qi energy from food. It's a Win-win-win situation.

 

 

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I spend less time trying to do things and more time just letting things happen... To the degree that sometimes I wonder what exactly my practice is...

 

i wouldnt tell my younger self anything, though. I needed to experience whatever it was at the time. 

 

Actually I would tell my younger self to stretch more and lift less

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5 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

If you could beam back a transmission to your younger self, what would you say?

 

‘Ignore teachers who use imagination!’

 

5 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

Have you discovered a simple, easy daily practice set?

 

There is no magical practice set. The internal arts, like most other skilful endeavours, involves a progression. If you’re doing the same thing you were doing a year ago then you’re lost. 

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2 hours ago, freeform said:

 

There is no magical practice set.

Except the one you do and understand. Practice creates magic. 

2 hours ago, freeform said:

The internal arts, like most other skilful endeavours, involves a progression. If you’re doing the same thing (internally, added by da Mud) you were doing a year ago then you’re lost. 

While the externally, it might look more or less the same. 

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1 hour ago, Mudfoot said:

While the externally, it might look more or less the same. 

 

Yup.

 

1 hour ago, Mudfoot said:

Except the one you do and understand. Practice creates magic.

 

Yes exactly - understanding where you’re going and what you need to work on to reach where you’re going is key.

 

There’s this notion that there’s some magical quality to a specific set. One year you try Pan Gu next year you try Fragrant Qi Gong then you go for Hunyuan - always hunting for that magical effect.

 

In my experience, the reality is that the internal arts are like any other skilful endeavour - like for example playing the piano. There’s no magical tune that will impart the skill of piano playing to you. You’ll need to use several tunes... You'll need to practice simple scales and focus on particular elements until you have them down. You’ll need to find places where you’re weak and work on improving those... When you’re ready to move on, you need to do that... etc.

 

And of course you’ll need a teacher (or several) that will point out your errors, suggest new approaches and tell you when you’re ready to move on and where your focus should be next.

 

I should also say that not everyone needs to take these arts that seriously... sometimes you just want to be able to bang out a nice little tune on the piano that makes you feel good. Similarly some people find it relaxing and rewarding to just let go and wave their arms about - and that of course has its place too - nothing wrong with that.

 

But I think there’s a huge deception going on (or maybe it’s just delusion) when people market their arm waving and imagination based practices as some kind of advanced spiritual practice that will bring you enlightenment and  help you manifest that yacht too.

 

‘Stay away from those teachers young freeform :)’

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I lay no claim to any particular tradition ... except in my practice of taiji and then I follow the forms as taught by Chen Zhenglei.

 

As for my Daoist views and energy practice, I proceed from the point of view that Daoism cannot be simply a philosophical mental exercise, that there has to be a physical practice in order to appropriately balance the physical, mental and spiritual aspects. Its like a three legged stool. Lose one leg and you're gonna have a problem.  My practice tends to be sporadic. I will practice regularly for a while and take a break and then resume again. My practice is a simple ZZ, although I do use visualization in my practice. 

 

I did a little Zen Buddhist style study and practice for a few years but did not find it as meaningful and satisfying as Daoist approaches.

 

What would I tell myself as a younger person looking into Daoist related arts? Keep going boy, you're on the right track.

 

 

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Illness and discomfort should be gone. Endless positive energy that is always refilled no matter how much we use should be the norm.

 

All relationships should be positive and be able to give the gift of uplifting energy to those who are down. In professional work we should be at the top of our game and show others how to exceed.

 

In life and returning to simplicity we have effectiveness with less effort. What is simple for us could be unattainable or hard work for others.

 

To show others the ways of energy healing and give them responsibility for themselves instead of people playing a victim card is important

 

. These things can be passed on in an informal, non teaching way and within the working environment personally without any mention of the discipline we may practice. Give light to others as if they are part of your own family.

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3 hours ago, OldDog said:

As for my Daoist views and energy practice, I proceed from the point of view that Daoism cannot be simply a philosophical mental exercise, that there has to be a physical practice in order to appropriately balance the physical, mental and spiritual aspects. Its like a three legged stool. Lose one leg and you're gonna have a problem. 

 

Daoism encompasses practice and philosophy. Can we say practice is applied philosophy?

 

 

3 hours ago, OldDog said:

My practice tends to be sporadic. I will practice regularly for a while and take a break and then resume again.

 

Big mistake? :P

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On 14/03/2019 at 6:24 AM, freeform said:

 

If you’re doing the same thing you were doing a year ago then you’re lost. 

 

I'm going to have to disagree with this point. I have a practice that I've done daily for 17 years now. Over the years this practice has given me such wonderful health benefits. I still enjoy doing it. It makes me feel so good. It has grown with me and it is a part of my life. I couldn't imagine NOT doing it. Even though I've tried other methods, I've never strayed from it.

There is a saying: "Repetition is the mother of all skills", which, through years of dedicated practice I have to agree with.

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56 minutes ago, lifeforce said:

It has grown with me

 

How has it grown with you? 

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57 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

How has it grown with you? 

Because I don't see it as a static practice. It started off very mechanical and was slow going. Over time, I started to link the movement, breath and mind into a changing, fluid form which initiated healing, strength, flexibility and elasticity of body, mind and spirit.

It has changed me in ways I never thought possible when I started. Once ingrained into muscle memory, it became automatic. 

It wasn't me doing the practice, the practice was doing me.

This, I believe, is possible for anyone, whatever practice it is they do, provided they practice diligently, day after day, over a long period. Take a method, do it consistently and it becomes part of who you are.

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29 minutes ago, lifeforce said:

Because I don't see it as a static practice. It started off very mechanical and was slow going. Over time, I started to link the movement, breath and mind into a changing, fluid form which initiated healing, strength, flexibility and elasticity of body, mind and spirit.

 

:)

 

Well I think we're in complete agreement - and your point illustrates what I mean perfectly.

 

You’re demonstrating great progress in your practice. You’re certainly not doing the same thing you were doing a year ago.

 

Note that I didn’t say you should be changing your form... it normally takes decades to really master a classical practice. But you should be progressing in that form as you’ve illustrated beautifully :)

 

But I see a lot of people just repeating some movements, thinking that the movements have some magical effect in and of themselves. And I’m trying not to name names, but there are very well known teachers perpetuating this notion. This error might have come from mixing ideas of ceremonial ritual with the Daoist internal arts (the familiar newage mishmash misappropriation of spiritual traditions). Ceremonial ritual and the internal arts are completely different.

 

In the internal arts, the magic is not in the repeated movements - the magic is in how you use these movements to create change in yourself. And for that to happen, the focus and approach needs to be very different - much more aligned to how you’re describing your progress through your own practice. And yes - it takes time - a lot of time...

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When I first joined this forum I tried to be perfect in my execution of the various forms I was taught, and thought that by doing them very well I could "max out" their benefits so to speak.

 

Later I painfully learned that how you practice (your mindset) is much more important than how well you execute the various meditations and forms. For example, if you are not relaxed and rush into it, if you do it with a perfectionist mindset, or a confused mind or body. Look honestly at yourself before even starting your form, ask yourself why you are doing it. Are you trying to sedate yourself, to run away from responsibilities, to gain a feeling of safety, to gain power, is it an ego thing ? When you get the "How" part down, when you are sincere and reconnect to your deepest consciousness, then the form won't add that much to your experience. I found. It's just an icing on the cake. 

 

Then later on I also painstakingly realized that the time you spend not-practicing is more important than doing a 30 form in the morning and a meditation in the evening. Because there's 23 other hours in the day.  If you live an unbalanced lifestyle, no magical form is ever going to compensate for that. And for spiritual matters, I found cultivation is real life. So I found that true cultivation is rough, it's an every day, moment to moment adjustment of your energies. For example, for lower dantian development I don't think it's wise to meditate 10 minutes in the morning and then let your energy float the rest of the day. 

 

So at first I was trying to do a lot and fill myself of all kinds of energies. I tried to fill up my container actively. Now I see the reverse. I am already full and take a bottom-up approach. I avoid leaks to the container by appropriate lifestyle changes, you could say correct energetic hygiene. Of course I still practice, but when I do, it's not with the mindset of being a performer. If you are aggressive in the way you view your practices or attach tightly to them, then this energy will also reflect in your form. So you need to work on yourself, as a human being first and as a practitioner. How you move will reflect who you are. That's what I learned.

 

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1 hour ago, freeform said:

 

:)

 

Well I think we're in complete agreement - and your point illustrates what I mean perfectly.

 

You’re demonstrating great progress in your practice. You’re certainly not doing the same thing you were doing a year ago.

 

Note that I didn’t say you should be changing your form... it normally takes decades to really master a classical practice. But you should be progressing in that form as you’ve illustrated beautifully :)

 

But I see a lot of people just repeating some movements, thinking that the movements have some magical effect in and of themselves. And I’m trying not to name names, but there are very well known teachers perpetuating this notion. This error might have come from mixing ideas of ceremonial ritual with the Daoist internal arts (the familiar newage mishmash misappropriation of spiritual traditions). Ceremonial ritual and the internal arts are completely different.

 

In the internal arts, the magic is not in the repeated movements - the magic is in how you use these movements to create change in yourself. And for that to happen, the focus and approach needs to be very different - much more aligned to how you’re describing your progress through your own practice. And yes - it takes time - a lot of time...

 

Wonderfully put. Thank you.

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Posted (edited)

For me, a big realization occurred after having dedicated taijiquan/daogong practice for close to 15 years (around 2015). 

  • cultivation needs to evolve from physical/energetic to spiritual. If we follow the path and have a good teacher, we will evolve naturally.
  • These techniques (any cultivation technique being used - qigong, taiji, etc) are means to an end. 
  • The objective of cultivation is (or should be) purification of the mind (in that, the tendency of the mind to attach to "this and that", and judge, and take positions, etc etc).
  • A pure mind results in stillness of the ever fluttering veil that hides our true nature from us. The result of all practice should be end of practice and abidance in our true nature, constantly.
  • Most importantly, the cultivation practices should be accompanied by spiritual (jñāna) teachings and study, so that the mind has a proper direction (this can be taoist, buddhist, vedanta, tantra, etc etc, but a proper framework is required).

Missed the part about an easy daily set --

  • I still do the taiji single form/daogong forms. But it has now transformed into dissolving of the physical. A constant bliss always exists (a deep sense of well being, even when I might be physically unwell).
  • Whenever I tried too hard for it (after having a taste), it went way. If I just let go of the desire for the bliss, it came back. Eventually I realized that it never goes away. It, along with the True Nature, is always present. Only the mind needs to be relaxed. 

Transmission to my younger self --

  • i was too dumb for any advice. You know our teacher already told us all we needed to know, but it took a long time to get through to me :) 
Edited by dwai
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On 3/14/2019 at 4:25 AM, freeform said:

But I think there’s a huge deception going on (or maybe it’s just delusion) when people market their arm waving and imagination based practices as some kind of advanced spiritual practice that will bring you enlightenment and  help you manifest that yacht too.

 

I think that's a key point --- most of us don't want to spend years (or even 20-30 minutes a day) waving arms and imagining things. But I would bet that 99.99% of energy practices are exactly that.

 

I suppose the same can be said for mind-based practices. With Buddhist meditation, you may end up spending many hours practicing with no noticeable result. Then one day, some large chunk breaks off and things are different. 

 

1 hour ago, dwai said:

Transmission to my younger self --

  • i was too dumb for any advice. You know our teacher already told us all we needed to know, but it took a long time to get through to me :) 

 

I couldn't stick with it in the absence of the class. I have only met one other teacher in the same vein--- you could feel the heat radiating from his lower dan tien. But he was very demanding and wanted people to spend all their free time on Tai Chi. And he lived pretty far away. 

 

I took Hsing-I recently for a couple of years--- but those guys wanted to fight and I kept getting hurt. I could not abide by the violent mentality. 

 

7 hours ago, Sebastian said:

Then later on I also painstakingly realized that the time you spend not-practicing is more important than doing a 30 form in the morning and a meditation in the evening. Because there's 23 other hours in the day.  If you live an unbalanced lifestyle, no magical form is ever going to compensate for that. And for spiritual matters, I found cultivation is real life. So I found that true cultivation is rough, it's an every day, moment to moment adjustment of your energies. For example, for lower dantian development I don't think it's wise to meditate 10 minutes in the morning and then let your energy float the rest of the day. 

 

 

I had a meditation teacher who once said it doesn't matter if you meditate perfectly for an hour if you spend the other 23 training in distraction. So in this case, you would have to choose between mind-practice and energy-practice in daily life? 

 

8 hours ago, lifeforce said:

This, I believe, is possible for anyone, whatever practice it is they do, provided they practice diligently, day after day, over a long period. Take a method, do it consistently and it becomes part of who you are.

 

Nice! 

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It's gonna get rough.

 

Cultivate wisdom (Water)....so you can dodge the unnecessary suffering and work through the necessary crap as skillfully as possible. 

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6 hours ago, OldDog said:

 

How so, KS?

 

One should practice everyday but of course this isn't always possible. There's a Chinese saying: skipping a day of practice is like losing the practice/progress of a whole week (something like this).

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I just wish i’d realized sooner that the basics and those ephasizing the importance of them actually knew what they were doing, instead of fantasizing about the advanced practices.

 

I know today that speaking about these thing with people IRL is going to just be a way to alienate us both. To have a few people to discuss with would be great, i have two, which is enough.

 

Energetic practices are not for everyone, the whole concept of actually shedding expectations and judgement to become intimate with what is real and so close at hand that it’s imperceptible almost is going to be hard to share with someone.

 

Despite the internet this is a lonely road, and growing accustomed to self-sufficency should come earlier. People within and without will look at me funny, like i know deep inside already i should shun them.

 

I’d tell myself:

If someone says ”this is highly advanced” you should distrust them.

If someone offers praise you should shut your ears and walk away.

Only listen to the source and resonate with it.

There is no prize, no acceptance, no destination of manifest truth so quit believing it will feel like you’ve arrived one day and just keep going, enjoy life in actuality.

 

Peace

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29 minutes ago, Rocky Lionmouth said:

... this is a lonely road ...

 

Yes, it is ... and must be, of necessity. Everyone must rely on their own experience ... and no two will match. Lonely ... But not sad.

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