dmattwads

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I thought I would start a thread for people to share their actual experiences and observations first hand from their practice. I'm less interested in theory is this thread and more interested in what practitioners actually experienced. I guess I'll start.

 

I used to think that I began my practice into cultivation around 2008 when I began to get interested in qigong as a way of making me better at karate (which it did). With further reflection though I have come to realize that my cultivation practice began earlier than that when I was still very active in the church. So I think I will start there.

 

When I was in church I made it a practice to very regularly pray and study the scriptures. Sometimes I would spend an hour during prayer just "listening" or several hours contemplating one line of scripture. I didn't realize it at the time but I think looking back I had some moments of lesser Samadhi while doing these practices, and either developed some minor siddhis or at least witnessed some miraculous events that one might attribute to angels/devas/saints. From an energetic point of view I think at the time I was increasing qi at the upper dan tien or third eye or perhaps crown chakra as I got to a point where I began to perceive light above my head when I would spend time in quiet prayer in the dark. Other things I noticed was that I seemed to become skilled in manifesting as often the things I "prayed" for would happen very quickly. This of course was not the case when I first began praying. It seemed that it took several years of daily prayer practice to get to that point. I also had several instances where I was miraculously protected from harm by what I assume were angels/devas that I had connected with in my prayer time. Looking back my silent listening time in prayer now seems very much like sitting meditation.  

 

Fast forwarding a few years after becoming disillusioned with the church and leaving it I found myself picking up my martial arts practice from my childhood in karate. In the process of wanting to get better at karate I discovered qigong as a means to be more effective at martial arts. At first that was my only motive for exploring qigong but as I began to study it more I realized that was a lot more to it than just improving ones' marital arts. One practice that I really began to find interesting was working with the five elements/organs. As I began to work with the organs and elements I would unlock totally forgotten about and repressed emotions and memories. After this began to happen patterns that I had been stuck in for quiet some time began to unravel and change spontaneously. 

 

While qigong had its uses I eventually found that while the practice might have been useful I had a lot of questions that just practicing qigong wasn't going to answer. This eventually led me to become more interested in Buddhism as the Buddha seemed to have something to say about almost everything, and not only that the answers seemed to make sense to me, or at least more than other explanations. I began to do two general categories of practices, meditation and mantra. The primary mantra that I did at the beginning was the Zhunti mantra. I found this mantra to be very powerful, even too powerful which is why I eventually stopped it. I would have all sorts of side effects from this mantra which included frequent urination, agitated emotions, and lots of "bad luck". On the other hand it did help me achieve a particular goal I had after doing it a lot for about a year. The other practice of mindfulness meditation also seemed to have many side effects. These also included emotional agitation and very often I would find several of my arm meridians spontaneously purging themselves of gunk. My Large Intestine meridian seemed to be especially effected and I would have these weird fluid filled bumps on my index finger, thumb (Lung meridian which is paired with the Large Intestine) and pinky side of my palm (Heart/Pericardium). I would often find myself spontaneously getting short of breath and having palpitations and strong emotional releases (again Lung and Heart) so I assumed that these meridians had a lot of clearing out to do. So I assumed the qi in the middle dan tien became very active during this process.  

 

Currently I find myself focusing more on devotion to certain Buddha's and bodhisattvas at the moment and this seems to be working well for me and I find myself having less unpleasant side effects. 

 

So what does this all mean? Knowing what I know now but didn't know then here is my best attempt at an analysis of what happened at the time. 

    Since my first real attempt at any sort of systematic spiritual pursuit was Christianity which consisted of prayer and scripture study as well as the obvious elements of devotion I believe this began me on a top down cultivation approach. All the devotion and prayer seemed to have affected my upper dan tien and chakras the most for obvious reasons as the upper dan tien houses the Shen, the crown chakra relates to spirituality and transcendence, and the third eye to things beyond ordinary perception, all of which Christianity is about. The effect this had was to make me "top heavy". My head was in the clouds all the time and it was hard to relate to the ordinary physical world. Also if you were to look at me then I did not look healthy. I looked pale, and pasty and out of shape (which was on of the things that lead me to take up karate again). This was the result of developing the upper dan tien with out the lower ones first. I didn't look that healthy (lower dan tien) and I had a lot of suppressed/repressed emotions (middle dan tien). 

    After leaving Christianity and eventually getting into qigong, even though I had initially been drawn to qigong to improve my martial arts I quickly began to notice how many repressed emotions I had while working with the organs/elements and began to fixate on that. This began a process of intense emotional releases and realizations about myself, but it was very difficult and uncomfortable. Once I transitioned to a more Buddhist approach I was still primarily interested in stabilizing my emotions and having the same reactions. This now seems to be more of a middle dan tien approach as it was primarily emotional. It was during this time that I also became very sensitive to the emotions and even thoughts of other people which leads me to believe that a lot of that has to do with the middle dan tien area more than the upper. 

   Eventually I got tired of the emotional upheaval that this approach produced and in the last year or so gave that up as my primary practice and recently just simply began to work out and do yoga asana, so basically a much more physical approach, so the realm of the lower dan tien. This is probably the best I have felt for a long time and I look healthier as well. It's probably too soon to say a whole lot but I do not seem to be having the problems I had with the other approaches. So I guess the moral of the story is start at the bottom and work your way up as opposed to the other way around.    

 

Thought I would make a list of major practice experience insights:

 

1. Zhunti mantra: very strong! did accomplish some of the goals I had wanted to achieve but at a very high price. Had sever physical and mental/emotional side effects as well as intense "bad luck" when doing it. Some side effects I have experienced and a few people I know that also tried the mantra include, frequent urination (I believe this is a result of the pre-natal jing or karma in the kidneys being purged). Strong emotional reactions. Had one friend state they had to constantly defecate as well. Sting of bad luck happening. Increased psychic awareness. 

 

 

Edited by dmattwads
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Hello,

 

I search the way to regain, what I think I experienced as "true breathing", when breathing happened inside body - from dantian to lungs, but not from nose.

 

This feature I experienced by accident, after intense thinking, which I think produced "change" in throat chakra. This was related to speech issue - to say truth or not. I concentrated on that spot(neck area) and soon I discovered that I can stop breathing from nose.

 

Then I think I had microcosmic orbit, when energy descended to from head to(tongue to upper palate) the belly, then the belly was breathing all by itself.

 

Interesting, but frightening experience. Did happen by accident.

 

Last time was accident, but I believe there is a method to regain the practice.

 

Today I did have some experience to think about.

 

The only method I know about(but not its efficiency) is to reduce one's breathing to very subtle and minimal, then after a long time the true breath should manifest by itself. 

 

The problems arise:

 

1. If I try to reduce the breath artificially, I am short of breath.

 

2. The method to reduce the breath is still the mind.

 

3. It looks like this works, but how to still the mind?

 

4. I try to observe thoughts - this works that moment, but somehow concentration disperses and thoughts arise again.

 

I am depressed and frustrated.

 

I am into Daoism to improve my health...

 

Anyway, today I reached conclusion that the method is to eliminate all desires and the intellectuality. This state was also accidental and short lived, but it did move things. First, I nearly stopped breathing, then  I felt magnetically attached to the ground, like my feet would be pulled to the ground magnetically. Sexual arousal came in. Then I felt a little lightweight and started to fear that progress will be too fast, so I did stop.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Indiken said:

2. The method to reduce the breath is still the mind.

 

3. It looks like this works, but how to still the mind?

 

4. I try to observe thoughts - this works that moment, but somehow concentration disperses and thoughts arise again.

 

I am depressed and frustrated.

 

I am into Daoism to improve my health...

 

Anyway, today I reached conclusion that the method is to eliminate all desires and the intellectuality. This state was also accidental and short lived, but it did move things. First, I nearly stopped breathing, then  I felt magnetically attached to the ground, like my feet would be pulled to the ground magnetically. Sexual arousal came in. Then I felt a little lightweight and started to fear that progress will be too fast, so I did stop.

 

 

 

Hey Indiken thanks for sharing. 

 

You mentioned a few things that I feel like have been important things to deal with so far in my practice as well, which are mainly stilling the mind, and observing thoughts.

 

One can not still the mind with effort any more than one can make the muddy water in a pond settle to the bottom. If someone were to try to push the mud down to the bottom of the pond it would only stir it up. The only thing one can do is sit by the pond and not interfere and let the mud settle to the bottom on its own. The mind leads the qi, so the more you use your mind to "make" the qi settle the more its stirs up. This is why breath meditation is often used for such purposes. Instead of getting involved with the mind you focus on the breath and let the mind settle on its own. This goes together with the goal of eliminating desires. Not a small task to do at all. Monks often spend their entire life time working on this and still don't completely eliminate all desires. The Buddha said that the key to letting go of desire was by developing insight which led to wisdom. I think the idea is that once that mind see's through the delusion that leads to the desire arising in the first place, then the mind no longer grasps for that desire and then letting go happens and the desire ceases. I think then it is therefore important to not be overly ambitious but to be patient with ones' self, as ambition is a type of desire. 

 

As to observing thoughts. This I have a lot of experience in as I was mentioning my experiences with mindfulness and the various side effects this had on my in my original post. 

 

** I would add if things like this tend to be a problem things like mantra meditation can be very useful. 

Edited by dmattwads
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