Yueya

Some general comments relating to spiritual paths and Neidan in particular

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With alchemy there’s always been people who work best alone using a synthesis of teachings, and other people who like best to follow closely the teachings of a particular lineage. Although I relate more easily to those people whose disposition leads them towards the former path, I have great respect for anyone for whom inner cultivation is central to their life, regardless of their path and tradition. But I disagree that Neidan (or any other spiritual path) is something that can be systemised to the degree that a person can become fully accomplished through apprenticeship with a gifted teacher. Certainly, I’ve needed to learn the basics of cultivation from teachers, including live-in situations. For instance, I was fortunate enough to learn yangsheng (nourishing life) theory and praxis from an accomplished teacher, and Neidan texts have given me extraordinary help in anchoring and developing my own inner experience. From that basis, and with ongoing openness to learning, I’ve spent decades developing the art of finding my own way using the whole of my life situation as a teacher, including much reading, living within an environment where nature is strong, self-reflection, and plenty of trial and error.

 

Although I’m a complex web of chaotic yin-yang forces, the basic Daoist method is simple. I work at removing blockages preventing my energies flowing in better harmony with Dao. The more I’m able to do so, the more my inner transformation happens ‘self-so’.  That’s basic Daoism; ziran and wu wei. We move from complex to simple. And the Dao unfolds within us all in our own unique ways so that we become both profoundly individual and profoundly connected with Dao. Each of us will flower according to our own disposition.

 

Along the way of any individually shaped path, errors are inevitable. And errors are beneficial for inner growth when acknowledged and worked through, toxic when denied.  In fact, my most profound learning has come from working through two major episodes of total failure, of devastation. In retrospect, I can see how those episodes were necessary for me to accept at a deep, heart-felt level that any real progress I make is only through my alignment with the heart-mind of Dao (daoxin). At its core, Neidan is a mystery tradition. It’s about connection with something felt inside but which also has objective reality outside and beyond the human; the Divine. Any gifts of insight and powers I obtain along the way belong not to me but to the Dao.  

 

I write this because it’s easy to get the impression from popular contemporary teachers such as Damo Mitchell (for whom I have a great deal of respect) that Neidan can be systemised and that anybody using these methods with the sustained effort can ‘obtain’ the Golden Elixir. Such has never been the case all through the long history of both Western and Eastern mystery traditions.  These arts have never been egalitarian; only a rare few have ever achieved sublime transcendence. (But many have gained profound benefit as a basis for finding their own unique place within the Dao.) I also think it’s extremely dangerous to manipulate internal qi flows to the extent these contemporary teachers do. They certainly achieve awesome physiological change, but to what end? It seems to me that they are trying to force qi flows using human intent in imitation of how the Dao naturally shapes the qi of those rare few people who have been graced by Nature with the Golden Embryo.  In other words, they are not interested in helping students gain insight into their own unique life’s path but rather trying to overwrite people with a standard, one size fits all, Neidan cultivation model.

 

However, not having followed that path, I’ll await with long-term interest to see the results from people I know of who are currently using these methods before forming a definite opinion.  In any case, no matter what the result, be it success or failure, such sincere striving will take a person closer to the Dao. Whereas a ‘safe’ but meaningless life following the values of mainstream society is an alternative which can only lead to a slow inner death for those of us with a spiritual calling. Hence, my reservations on the limitations of systemised methodology aside, my bottom-line is one of gratitude that these contemporary western teachers are providing an accessible (and enticing) doorway into some aspects of authentic Daoist life-enhancing pathways.

 

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Well, well, well....there's the look from the top of the mountain (seems to be yours)...and there's the look from here, down the ant hill (me).

You have decades of practice and teach...I have not even a decade of practice...so the things are seen very different from my ant hill.

I'll try to be brief:

1. No one can live your own life, do your practice etc. But a teacher giving you a good start, a clear overview of what are you getting into, hinting at you some mistakes you make...and gently stepping aside when you need to unfold by yourself...that's an invaluable person to cherish.

2.  Damo Mitchell in no fool. Period. He knows these:

- most people come to Qigong for health problems and are not interested in anything more.

- for those that are interested in more... a "systemized", "linearized" map of the journey can do only good. Especially discouraging happy easy going idiots that get some first easy results from getting themselves into big trouble.

- take a look at what Damo Mitchell have to say about Qi deviance and so on. There's no need to be in Daoist arts to get in such a mess. You could do Hatha-Yoga the wrong way and go straight to the looney asylum.

- I just cannot see how anyone who has read at least one book of Damo Mitchell could associate him with "rather trying to overwrite people with a standard, one size fits all, Neidan cultivation model."

3. "I’ll await with long-term interest to see the results from people I know of who are currently using these methods before forming a definite opinion" says you.

What results !? says me. I am indeed very much interested how would perceive/evaluate these results.

 

 

Out of topic (or not so much):

I am curious you if read "The Finders by Jeffery A. Martin". How would you relate the inner states described there (from a Western psychological perspective) with your own experience !?

2 hours ago, Yueya said:

 

 

Edited by GicuPiticu
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@GicuPiticu 

 

Maybe if you reread my OP you will see that right from the beginning I spoke of my great respect for anyone for whom inner cultivation is central to their life, which I assume from what you write, includes you. I also spoke of my great respect for Damo Mitchell. Although I’ve never met him, I have a couple of his books and have watched a selection of his videos. On that basis I have no doubts as to his authenticity. He comes across as an awesome person. If I was younger and starting out I would very much have liked to train with him. But not now. I have found my own path. And in their various different ways, I think that’s what will happen with Damo’s students as they develop themselves over time. Most will leave off neidan practice yet greatly benefit from the basics they’ve learnt. Some few will stay with Damo’s lineage and become teachers. And fewer still will leave his supervision but continue to develop their own neidan path as the most essential thing in their life..

 

I agree with what you've written about the importance of authentic teachers. I thought I'd stressed that in my OP when I wrote of the great help I’ve received from various teaching, especially the awesomely gifted yangsheng teacher I spent several years studying with. He guided me wisely onto a qi based path that has fundamentally shaped my life for the last few decades. I’ve needed, and also greatly value, all the other various teachings I’ve received over the decades. And, of course, I still need teachings, albeit they are perhaps of a more subtle kind now – but not always. 
 
Incidentally, I don’t see myself as on the top of a mountain looking down at lesser beings. Far from it. I’ve made too many mistakes and been too humbled by my own folly to position myself in that way. I live in a small forested valley with a river running through it. It’s sparsely populated by humans but has an abundance of wildlife. My dwelling is a rustic pole-framed cabin which I’ve substantially built myself. I live a semi-reclusive lifestyle. And that whole scenario could well be the image I have of my practice, of my place within the Dao.  

 

From the tone of your response I get the impression you want to provoke an argument. You won’t get that from me. I’m too old and don’t have the energy for it. Dao Bums is the only social media I use and I’ve gained much from my interaction here. What I wrote in my OP is my truth. When I write something on Dao Bums I’m very interested in the feedback I get, especially outside and beyond the words. That way I get insight into otherwise hidden aspects of my psyche and of my false assumptions. I hope that your interaction here also helps you with your practice. 

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First of all....my humblest apologies for giving you the impression of wanting "to provoke an argument".. .Far be it from me ! It would defy my purpose of being on this forum: that is widening my horizon.

 

That been said....

"I live in a small forested valley with a river running through it. It’s sparsely populated by humans but has an abundance of wildlife. My dwelling is a rustic pole-framed cabin which I’ve substantially built myself. I live a semi-reclusive lifestyle."

I have so many time dreamed what you say....I don't have anymore the health, strength and sheer force of will to do that.

 

That been said, my questions stand....just ignore my post if you don't find any relevance in these:

1. Please understand that while many people think of the results as perfect health, martial arts force and...maybe some siddhis... for me it would be real interesting how you describe/perceive these results...That's because of the extensive practice you have and the journey you had (still having ?). I also already know that not everyone will reach the same level/vision before he leaves this world. The path gets to be a lonely one when you reach for the peaks...that's what I glimpse.

2. I mentioned the book and that's my second question...let me give you a quote:

"Many people who rejected Fundamental Wellbeing had one major thing in common: they had experienced rapid transitions that took them directly into Location 4. In one case, a person read a book about Fundamental Wellbeing, went to sleep, and woke up in Location 4. Despite being absorbed in a previously undreamt-of level of wellbeing and sense of freedom, he felt he’d traded his humanity for it. It is not uncommon for those who land in Location 4 without religious or spiritual moorings or a psychological frame of reference to feel this way. The lack of agency and emotion feels so different than what they had recognized as normal up to that point. The turning point for this person was looking across the breakfast table at his young daughter, and not feeling even the slightest tinge of parental love".

Also...in the book there is a talk about a great split (Path of Freedom vs Path of Humanity) beyond the so called "Location 4" of Consciousness.

To put it in a more "Daoistic" way...are you working at the level of Spirit or Self ?

 

Once again...my humblest apologies if I gave you the impression of wanting "to provoke an argument".

I came back with the 2 questions because I think/feel the answers would be interesting for many, not only me.

Of course, feel totally free to ignore my post if you deem no relevance to it.

 

All the best in your journey in the valley and the peaks !

Edited by GicuPiticu
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Is Neidan an art or a science?

 

Is it 'mechanistic' or ineffably artistic?

 

 

Is this mastery the result of art - or of relentless, repetitive practice of mechanics?

 

I say it's both.

 

My teacher says it's both.

 

We tend to look either to the end of the path - or the beginning...

 

The words of the great saints and sages are piercingly direct but full of art and multilayered subtlety. The work of the beginner is mechanics - repeating the same thing every day to build it into the body-mind.

 

What we often miss is the middle - where art and science meet and begin to dance.

 

In my experience, with a traditional teacher from a traditional lineage - the training is systematic and highly structured. It's systematic for the same reason that the pianist above had to sweat through tens of thousands of hours repeating scales, perfecting transitions and so on.

 

The specific line of my lineage can trace it's documented history (meaning specific people with real names (and often photos or depictions) and no mythical characters) - to 9 generations. With some ambiguity along with the documented, it traces it's line to the 700's. The principles of the methods and progression have remained unchanged - though the methods themselves have changed slightly and continue to change according to the teacher teaching. There are undocumented Xian (and one at the head of the lineage) and several recent, documented Zhenren, as well as many Shengren.

 

Regarding Damo - as far as I know his teachings come from a parallel line to mine within the same lineage. A lot of what he says is exceptionally similar to what I've gleaned from my teacher and peers.

 

Everyone's training in our line has been very regimented, structured and systematic.

 

But without a doubt the way the training unfolds within each individual is completely 'organic'.

 

This is by design.

 

13 hours ago, Yueya said:

they are not interested in helping students gain insight into their own unique life’s path but rather trying to overwrite people with a standard, one size fits all, Neidan cultivation model.

 

If you peeped through the keyhole at young Lang Lang (the pianist above) practicing the same short sequence over and over and over and over for hours, days, weeks on end - you may well say that this robotic repetition could never produce art. It's just overwriting his unique, intrinsic ability to create music.

 

Whether it appeals to ones sensibilities or not - traditional schools of Neidan are super systematic in their methodology. There are lists, processes, stages, achievements, attainments etc. This is how my teacher was taught - and how his teacher was taught, and so on - for hundreds of years. Being a very pragmatic bunch, if this was not helpful, they would have been rid of it rather quickly.

 

An aspect that tends to confound those outside of these kinds of lineages is that these practices aren't designed to 'create the golden embryo' - or in fact create any of the states and attainments we've heard of. There are no techniques that will get you into 'meditation' etc... It might sound like a paradox, but that's the case.

 

There's a crucial distinction that needs to be pondered to get the significance.

 

The systematic practices create 'qualities'. These qualities set up 'causes'. With the various causes in place - then the 'effect' arises spontaneously. It might seem like a trite distinction - but it's not. It's key.

 

A carpenter shapes wood into a table. This is not how these arts work.

 

A gardener creates the conditions for fruits to arise. This is how the arts work.

 

(note there are many conditions outside of the gardener's influence - and so it is the case for Neidan)

 

13 hours ago, Yueya said:

And the Dao unfolds within us all in our own unique ways

...according to causes. Your lifestyle, your teachers, your Ming, inherent strengths and weaknesses... these are all the cause of what's unfolding for any one of us.

 

 

13 hours ago, Yueya said:

It seems to me that they are trying to force qi flows using human intent in imitation of how the Dao naturally shapes the qi of those rare few people who have been graced by Nature with the Golden Embryo.

 

Hopefully I've been able to shed some light on why this is a mistaken view.

 

A view, perhaps gleaned by looking through the keyhole at tiny portion of what constitutes a lifetime's worth of cultivation.

 

9 hours ago, Yueya said:

When I write something on Dao Bums I’m very interested in the feedback I get, especially outside and beyond the words. That way I get insight into otherwise hidden aspects of my psyche and of my false assumptions. I hope that your interaction here also helps you with your practice.

 

I hope you don't see this as a provocation (it's not meant as such) - I only mean to shed some light on aspects that are out of view for you.

Edited by freeform
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7 hours ago, freeform said:

What we often miss is the middle - where art and science meet and begin to dance.

 

This is well said.

 

 

7 hours ago, freeform said:

A carpenter shapes wood into a table. This is not how these arts work.

 

A gardener creates the conditions for fruits to arise. This is how the arts work.

 

This is golden :rolleyes:

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The gardener also prunes. 

 

Sometimes best cultivation is

in what can be taken away.  

 

 

Feels like lately I'm in a semi-recluse situation due to covid, yet the temptations and vices are still all around me.

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Just now, Sketch said:

Following the Tao ,

Give something up every day 

:) 

of all the things I've lost, 

 I think it's my mind, 

I miss most.

   (been one of those days)

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I resonate with Yueya's words quite a bit. 

 

The way I've been taught from the Daoist tradition is really very understated -- not much emphasis on jargon, but rather on the way (how-to), a taste of what it feels like -- transmission from teacher to student - though it was understood that not everything can be "fed" like that...somethings, especially understanding/realization arises on its own, and a strong emphasis on experience/feeling which could then be corroborated with the teacher, and constant and strong guidance to let go, and become "empty". 

 

Maybe on account of both my teachers being musicians, and with myself having musical inclinations, the "feel/flow/follow" concept seemed to gel with me. I find that other artist friends seem to be able to grok this much easier than hard science/extremely logic-oriented people. Others have not been able to relate to this, as they expected (and required) a far more regimented approach. 

 

Maybe this is so as Taijiquan is the vessel via which I've been taught -- though, within that body is also contained a lot of seated, standing meditation instructions -- those who do only the "taijiquan dance" might not even recognize what is being done if they saw what we work on :D 

 

This may be also because the Master who brought it to the West didn't want to confuse his students with jargon galore, but in simple terms and direct transmission explain and show.

 

My first teacher is more academic -- so he wrote notes, collated his teacher's words -- albeit not so much in terms of technical jargon, but more as commentary/recording of those teachings -- which he handed over in their entirety to myself and another brother when he moved to a different part of the country -- that is a well I drink from again and again. 

 

My current teacher/master transmits more than relying on words -- he says, and I'm paraphrasing, that at higher levels, words cannot capture precisely what is,  and I've actually experienced everything he told me about - phenomena, sensations, capabilities -- and I think I've been able to transmit (as much as I was able to assimilate) to the handful of people I've taught myself. 

 

What is the most profound is right from the early stages (after a couple of years of instruction), there was a "pointing to" -- as in, "what you seek is not to be found outside, or even inside, per se" -- parables, metaphors galore -- which was entirely baffling at first, until little recognitions started to arise, little by little -- and it became like a universal master key -- unlocking wisdom traditions across the spectrum. At a certain point, the path unfolds on its own -- and it might very well be that it unfolds differently for different people -- for me, it became syncretic, with Yoga and then Vedanta (though I'm also guilty of sipping from Buddhism, and when introduced to it, from Kashmir Shaivism as well). 

 

And the Daodejing is the source manuscript as I understand it -- everything is already in it -- everything else is just more commentary/explorations of what it contains.

Edited by dwai
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9 minutes ago, thelerner said:

The gardener also prunes. 

 

Sometimes best cultivation is

in what can be taken away.  

Word!

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I don´t think there´s a conflict between systemized learning and the organic fruition of that learning.  It´s rote repitition -- scales, to use freeform´s pianistic metaphor -- that allows for artistry.  Technical, mechanistic practice blossoms into something which is seemingly beyond technique.  Lang Lang plays that Chopin prelude in a way that is uniquely his own, a triumph of musical creativity, but he couldn´t have done it without first having practiced the same ole scales that everyone else practices in the same ole way.  

 

Beginners tend to be alike in their errors, masters distinct in their perfection.

Edited by liminal_luke
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My thanks to everyone for their replies. I’ll come back to @GicuPiticu and @freeform at a later date because today I want some time away from commenting on this topic. Discussion on this forum often moves too fast for the slow, contemplative pace I’d prefer. Also, at this stage I’ve probably said all I want to say in my OP. 

 

It’s a beautiful sunny and mild summer’s day here where I live in Australia, perfect for doing things outside. My place is 75 acres, mostly forested. We’ve had plenty of rain this summer and forest is looking lush and green, a far cry from this time last year with the forest blackened by fire and nothing green for tens of kilometres in all directions. However there are many dead trees and although the undergrowth is thriving the forest canopy is still sparse.  Nature is sure hard on nature.... 

 

Yesterday evening a green tree snake ate one of the big green frogs that live around my cabin. I found it because the frog was making terrible in-distress noises. When I found where it was high up under my cabin eaves, the snake had hold of one of the frog’s legs.  Usually I let these dramas take their own course because I've learnt that nature knows best how to care for itself, but this time I couldn't ignore the frog’s plight. I tried to reach up with a pole and scare the snake into releasing the frog. Alas, it wouldn't let go and was so well entangled half in and half out from inside the eave that I couldn't dislodge it.  After a couple of attempts I gave up.  I thought the frog was much too large for the snake to swallow, but it did so over the next hour.  It swallowed it head first. At least the snake will be contentedly well fed now, as is the large python that’s been curled up asleep against the wall of my house for the last few days while digesting its last meal of some luckless small animal. 

 

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31 minutes ago, Yueya said:

My thanks to everyone for their replies. I’ll come back to.. large python that’s been curled up asleep against the wall of my house for the last few days while digesting its last meal of some luckless small animal. 

 

I wish there was a 'Whoa!' icon.  

You are the bravest person I know, so far, in 2021. 

.

..

wait a second..:o there is, but I couldn't give it to your post.

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1 hour ago, thelerner said:

I wish there was a 'Whoa!' icon.  

You are the bravest person I know, so far, in 2021. 

.

..

wait a second..:o there is, but I couldn't give it to your post.

 

Not so brave. These pythons aren’t so big that they’ll strangle a person. And it’s outside. Over the years I’ve lived here I’ve slowly blocked off most of the small gaps around my cabin of which there were dozens. When I first lived here, I had snakes coming inside on a few occasions. I didn’t like that, especially the venomous ones. I remember one time early in my Dao Bums days I was in a discussion with someone and between posts I was trying to catch a mildly venomous snake. I had no net then and ended up jamming its body against a wall and cutting off its head with a large kitchen knife. No fun. I don’t like killing. Even dangerously venomous snakes around my house I try to catch and relocate. 

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15 minutes ago, Yueya said:

 

 I remember one time early in my Dao Bums days I was in a discussion with someone and between posts I was trying to catch a mildly venomous snake. I had no net then and ended up jamming its body against a wall and cutting off its head with a large kitchen knife. No fun. I don’t like killing. Even dangerously venomous snakes around my house I try to catch and relocate. 

 

While reading here on the Bums, I often remind myself that I don´t know a person´s context.  Some people may be older or younger than I imagine.  Many don´t speak English as a first language.  Our posts are filtered through cultural contexts, most of which are at least somewhat foreign to me.  I try to keep in mind all that I don´t know about a person as I read their posts.  Even so, I gotta say -- crafting meticulously thoughtful and inward-looking prose while killing venomous snakes?  Now that´s a new one.

Edited by liminal_luke
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1 hour ago, liminal_luke said:

Even so, I gotta say -- crafting meticulously thoughtful and inward-looking prose while killing venomous snakes? 

 

Personally, I’d rather deal with a mildly venomous snake while posting than being involved in a discussion with even a mildly venomous member. I’m very open emotionally and can feel that sort of animosity directly. It's something I've been working on developing shields against during my time as a Dao Bums member. However, that sort of openness is vital for my felt connection with Nature, with Spirit.  Hence I'm careful about who I engage with. And as a moderator, you’re called on to tackle and pacify some of the worst offenders. Now that’s what I call brave! It’s not a job I could do.

 

 BTW One thing I am considered brave for around here is that I stayed and successfully defended all the buildings on my place during the devastating forest fires that swept through here in late 2019. Just about everyone else in the area evacuated including the Rural Fire Service trucks because the approaching fire front was massive and the outlook was dire.  The community here extends over an area of about 300 square km and had about 200 dwellings at the time of the fire. Of those 95 were destroyed and so far not many have been rebuilt.  Nine out of the 14 houses on the road I live on were lost, including those on the adjoining acreages on both sides of my place. It was one of the worst hit locations. 

 

At the time I never considered it as brave. I was well prepared and had no intention of evacuating. I’ve put so much effort into building work in the 22 years I’ve lived here and I knew I was too old to do that again. My pole-framed cabin has so much handcrafted woodwork that it feels alive with qi. It’s the most comfortable and nurturing place I’ve ever lived in. It feels like part of me. And stricter building regulations now make such a place almost impossible to rebuild even if I did have the energy to do so. 
 

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This thread has got me thinking about my own path.  Although I´ve learned many things with many teachers I haven´t been one to formally dedicate myself to a particular school or lineage.  At the risk of sounding unserious, I´ll admit to a tendency towards independent sampling.  Does something inside me resist structure?  Interestingly, I´ve also been self-employed for most of my adult life, perhaps for the same reasons.  There´s something difficult -- yet potentially worthwhile -- about entering into hierarchical relationships whether they be student/teacher or employee/boss.  I suspect my resistance is related to a previous hierarchical relationship that proved challenging, that of son/father.  Other people doubtless have different challenges.  While the path of learning may have defined steps, each of us brings are own aptitudes and deficits to the school of life.  

 

I think there´s something to be said for mixing it up.  Those, like me, who find committing to structured learning environments challenging, might experiment with formal spiritual education.  Those who gravitate towards formal training might open to the fact that the universe is larger than any method and life itself the master guru.  Or not.

 

 

Edited by liminal_luke
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2 hours ago, liminal_luke said:

There´s something difficult -- yet potentially worthwhile -- about entering into hierarchical relationships whether they be student/teacher or employee/boss.  I suspect my resistance is related to a previous hierarchical relationship that proved challenging, that of son/father.

 

The same here...My experience is that you carry these with you all your life. You just learn to deal/live with it.

Yet YMMV.

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3 hours ago, liminal_luke said:

There´s something difficult -- yet potentially worthwhile -- about entering into hierarchical relationships whether they be student/teacher or employee/boss.  I suspect my resistance is related to a previous hierarchical relationship that proved challenging, that of son/father.


Yeah - I had this too. Nice example of the cause and effect rule taking place... life circumstances create a quality in our personality and that quality dictates certain behaviours and preferences... For me it was: rebelliousness -> distrust of authority.

 

Some conditions are helpful for cultivation - others aren’t. I don’t think distrust of authority is necessarily unhelpful for cultivation - but apparently it’s unhelpful for developing discipline.
 

I think in my case I had spent so much effort on trying to find a genuine teacher (and being disappointed time after time) - that when I did, I just put my distrust of the strictness and hierarchy aside for a time.

 

In time it all fell away without even noticing. The discipline that I found stifling for most of my life became like a portal to a completely new level of freedom I hadn’t realised was possible.

 

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5 hours ago, Yueya said:

I’m very open emotionally and can feel that sort of animosity directly. It's something I've been working on developing shields against


I had this crop up with one of my early Daoist teachers.

 

The practice had opened me up to such an extent that I felt like a magnet for everyone’s emotions. I was still working in a big office at the time - I’d meet someone’s eyes and feel this huge wave of sadness go through me... Another person would walk past and I’d feel the hangover they must be suffering with.

 

It was a pretty difficult time. Especially living in a city. I felt constantly assaulted with people’s ‘broadcasts’. I’d tear up reading the news. I’d get anxiety in the office because I couldn’t see a single piece of nature anywhere - no plants, no wood or stone - everything artificial - especially the people.

 

I remember feeling that I must leave society and be far away from people, news, politics and so on.

 

I stopped practicing partly because of this. The sensitivity subsided when I stopped - but never completely ended.

 

When I met my current teacher he explained (through the Yi Jing) how my previous training was exacerbating my natural tendency. I’m naturally an introvert - which creates a certain effect to my Qi... Although my Qi field was getting larger and thicker, it had the quality of ‘pulling inwards’... 

 

So my field would touch on everything around me and bring that quality inside for my heart-mind to deal with.

 

Turns out that’s the opposite of what my teacher wanted. He drew the hexagrams to denote transitioning to the quality I need to cultivate... a Qi field preferably not so large (though it can’t be helped at certain stages) - and a very slight ‘radiance’ a very slight outward pressure - just a tiny bit over what would be neutral or balanced... like a very dim lightbulb - almost unnoticeable.

 

There were no specific practices to this.
 

But within a couple of months he showed that we’d achieved it. I didn’t feel much difference.
 

Until, that is, I had to do a trip to extend my visa - which involved cities. Busy, smelly, loud, crowded, hot Asian cities.

 

But what I noticed is that instead of all the hustle and bustle being oppressive - it was fun! I enjoyed myself in a ridiculously busy city for the first time since starting cultivation.

 

Not only did I feel unaffected by other’s fields, I literally didn’t give a f***k about anything. Motorbike accident? No problem - help the guy up - oh that’s a big gash - let’s get you an ambulance - oh you can’t afford it? Ok let’s just catch a cab... no panic, no stress, no self consciousness etc. Things just flowed without the added reactivity of the emotions.

 

These days not much affects me at all. I generally enjoy life, whatever the circumstances. Though I am drawn to nature. @Yueya’s circumstances would be very welcome! 
 

I also notice that as I sit and practice, any blockage or minor trauma I touch with awareness suddenly, of its own accord gently makes its way out of my field. No intention or anything. Most of the time I don’t even notice... or I’ll notice a little heat sensation or a little patch of cold - but as my awareness steadily embraces it, these sensations just slowly lift away and out of my system.

 

So - a quality helpful for cultivation :) 

 

(and no need for shielding or anything like that!)

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5 hours ago, freeform said:

The practice had opened me up to such an extent that I felt like a magnet for everyone’s emotions. I was still working in a big office at the time - I’d meet someone’s eyes and feel this huge wave of sadness go through me... Another person would walk past and I’d feel the hangover they must be suffering with.

I think it has to do with whether one is in a balanced, transmitting, or receptive mode. The larger the field is, the more powerful the impact, especially if we are receptive or in a receptive mode. But that is also a good place to resolve issues that resonate with us. 

 

Through the entire 2020 pandemic, right up to November of 2020, the air was literally thick with depression, anger, fear -- and having the realization that the mind will pick up stuff that is most prevalent in the astral and causal layers, but YOU are not the mind helps resolve/dissolve these things. 

 

My teacher told me that to overcome these things, we need more clarity, and more "radiance" -- I find it to be the case. The stronger our field gets, the more it clears such things -- like if my teacher goes to any place, the vibrations of that space go up in frequency, and low moods get uplifted, and so on. We can feel his field span a radius of several miles, from wherever he is. 

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1 hour ago, dwai said:

The larger the field is, the more powerful the impact, especially if we are receptive or in a receptive mode. But that is also a good place to resolve issues that resonate with us.

 

Yes - exactly.

 

In fact one of my earlier teachers used to talk about cultivation methods of other religions. He was particularly interested in Christianity and prayer. He explained that there have been several enlightenments in the Christian tradition within the last few generations. (For him enlightenment is considered excepptionally rare - so it was a surprise to hear that).

 

He tried to explain the mechanics behind cultivation through prayer (as alchemists like to do). As far as I understood, the idea with prayer is to create such a deep space of selflessness and humility - that it makes the centre of one's being like a kind of black hole. And at times (with some 'luck') this space will be filled in a flash 'by the grace of God' with prenatal Yang Qi. Extreme Yin giving birth to extreme Yang. This would have to be repeated over and over, effectively achieving the same thing at the various layers or 'bodies' - until one reaches the 'body' of God himself. Apparently the monks that achieve this show distinctly similar signs to that of Daoist Zhenren (such as radiating extremely bright light and various other confirmational siddhi).

 

He explained that this was only possible for monks or nuns in secluded monasteries because all stimuli have to be controlled... instead of creating causes mostly within the body and mind, they create the causes within their environment and way of life. It's also only possible for ones who are already 'stream enterers' from past lives.

 

In a way, it seems that what @Yueya is doing sounds kind of similar to me. Opening oneself up to nature (which is a physical embodiment of the divine) - emptying oneself of 'the self'... and letting any causes and conditions from past lives or present to create transformation.

 

This is sort of the opposite to how alchemy (of my lineage) approaches the path... whereby we find the divine within ourselves and allow it to fill and transform each 'body' in turn - from the inside out.

 

2 hours ago, dwai said:

My teacher told me that to overcome these things, we need more clarity, and more "radiance"

 

Yes - and this radiance allows one to live with one foot in society... in fact, this is encouraged as a kind of testing ground that uncovers areas needing extra work.

 

It also means that you affect people much more than they affect you. And this is where ethics and morality are imperative...

 

Similarly people worry about EMFs, wifi, 5G etc... often the one 'radiating' affects these waves - rather than the other way round.

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Interesting thread. I have always noticed in myself a tendency to grasp toward some independent, objective notion of truth, but I don't think there is one. We're all unique expressions of the Tao, so I agree with OP that a "one-size-fits-all" approach doesn't work. There is a lot of emphasis on lineage, but I've known plenty of lineage masters who have said that lineage is no guarantee of realization. I also feel there is an unseen sentience that seems to "lead" me in my spiritual development. 

 

However, I cannot stress the importance of being involved in a lineage with a realized teacher. The help offered extends beyond time and space (and even death), IME. I just don't think it is possible to do it yourself, unless one is at the level of a lineage founder or a Buddha. In addition, only a realized teacher can confirm whether you're on the right track, answer questions, identify your blind spots, etc. 

 

I think there is more room for practicing on one's own on the Buddhist side rather than the Taoist side. Taoist arts are very precise, and subtle (again, IME anyway), and rely on specific bodily/energetic mechanics. 

 

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