Archive for the ‘meditation’ Tag

Taiji Gong   Leave a comment

peacock

 

In the beginning:
The peacock spread his tail and pushed away the fairy crane, hands moving like clouds he strikes the tiger and parts the wild horses mane. Then the fair maiden saw the golden rooster bend his bow and shoot the tiger and carry the tiger back to the mountain.

Just a little Chinese poem to remember Dong Zeng Chen’s “Taiji Gong”

Peacock spreads his tail (Ward off)
Push
Fairy crane (White crane spreads it wings)
Move hands like clouds
Strike the tiger
Parting the wild horses mane
Fair maiden works at the shuttles
Bend bow and shoot tiger
Carry tiger, return to mountain

 

This poem helps to remember the Taiji forms repeated in the Taiji Gong Qigong. These nine movments capture the spirit of Taiji; this can be enjoyed sitting or standing. Warm-up,,,,start with zhan zhaung training, wuji. Then repeat each move left and right three, five or seven times each.

Sifu’s father also had a “Taiji gong” we’ve been doing for many years. See “Tiger Mountain”

 

Copyright Cory Williams 2016

Taiji on Maui’s Taoist Taiji Kung Fu Day Camp 2014   2 comments

Take your body where your spirit wants to go!

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Come and join us at the edge of the forest, upon a sacred mountain, for an amazing week of meditation, qigong, Taijiquan, and Kung Fu.
Taiji on Maui is offering a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in the Taiji way of life with someone that loves you. Join us and reconnect to your true self, learn and practice Taoist methods to better yourself and your life. Relax at a deep level, rejuvenate your spirit. Take time for reflection, gain clarity on your life path, find meaning beyond material concerns, connect with nature, heal, contemplate, grow.

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We will be at Giggle Hill (map) in Haiku from 7:30 AM until 5:30 PM for eight days, this is a beautiful park with lots of trees and wonderful grass. We take a relaxed pace with frequent breaks and enjoy ourselves. There is ample shade, tables and water available and there are great restaurants 5 minutes away in Haiku or Makawao.

Come for any or all of the camp. Anyone and everyone is welcome!
From Saturday March 29 through Saturday April 5, we will be going through my current curriculum. Many of you know some or all of these forms and especially if you do not (you need to start somewhere and beginners are welcome here!), we invite you to join us for eight days of practice and training. We know this is late notice, but change has a way of “changing” things… who knew. For whatever reason, at this time, Taiji on Maui decided to open up the inner workings of this lifestyle for all.

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Born out of the many workshops and camps I have attended, sponsored, loved, and always yearn for still; I have created a lifestyle that is like a perpetual Taiji camp. The lesson I have learned here is, there is nothing like total immersion and focused practice for maximum results. Additionally, for eight days every year, I dedicate myself to practicing in this totally immersed way. The difference now is, instead of attending a camp, or doing my usual sequestered practice, I am inviting anyone that wishes to learn to join me.

And so, if you have a few days between these dates, and want to know what it’s like to live like a like Taoist monk…

Come and join us for:

Sixty four hours of practice and training,
Eight days,
Eight hours each day
Eight different standing qigong forms
Six different Taiji & Kung Fu forms
Two meditations each day
One awesome week
Zero requirement to pay.

Taiji & Kung Fu forms:

Qigong Forms:

Sitting Qigong:

  • From Dong Zeng Chen and Tung Hu Ling
  • Sheng Zhen “Kwan Yin” 
  • Wudang San Feng

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Schedule:
All sessions will be at Giggle Hill (Fourth Marine Div. Park) in Haiku on Maui. I know it rains sometimes, but that will not stop me. There are shelters and there is always practice to do. The following schedule is a rough outline of the curriculum, for example, all the qigong forms will be rotated as appropriate. There is aways randomness in Tao! Where there is a specific focus to a session, I have listed such below but there will be a continuos opportunity to explore anything we wish to at any time … So it is all very Taoist.

Meditations are the first and last thing each day; the time may vary or include other activities. Practice and training sessions start at 8:30 AM and 1:30 PM with a two hour break. Each session starts with related qigong, then we progress to Taiji and Kung Fu. There will be exploration and explanation of applications and plenty of time for “push hands” practice. Saturday night, April 5th we are having a pot luck dinner at the park. We hope to see you there!
The times for all sessions are:

  • 7:30 to 8:30 Meditation
  • 8:30 to 11:30 Practice and Training
  • 11:30 to 1:30 Break for lunch
  • 1:30 to 4:30 Practice and Training
  • 4:30 to 5:30 Meditation

Starting March 29

  • Saturday: Wudang Long Form Taiji \\\ Wudang Tai Yi Kung Fu
  • Sunday: Hao Style \\\ Dong (Yang) Style Long Form
  • Monday: Yang Style Sword \\\ Dong Family (fast) Set
  • Tuesday: Dong Long Form \\\ Dong Family Set
  • Wednesday: Wudang Long Form \\\ Wudang Tai Yi
  • Thursday: Sword \\\ Hao Style
  • Friday: Qigong only \\\ Dong Long Form
  • Saturday: All forms \\\ All forms \\\ Ending Dinner

Copyright Cory Williams 2014

This is Tao…   10 comments

The Lotus Flower is a symbol of compassion opening in the heart like the bloom of the flower from the swamp in which it grows

The desireless one sees the essence; (the soul)
While the desiring one sees only its manifestation. (the superficial)

Desirelessness is a matter of respectfulness.

Contemplate these statements, ponder them, meditate on them, and if you could have only one desire, make this be your goal:

Overcome your desires and show love to others.

What gift would you offer God? What does the creator of all things need with desires? Tao creates endlessly, it gives away everything it creates and wants for nothing. Is this not love? Wants, desires, expectations, wishful thinking, willfulness, these are all contrivances of ego. True love comes from a place of no desire.

Have you ever heard the expression he or she is “in love with love”? Ah yes, here is a nugget of truth for me. True love is not desire for a person or thing; it is given in the spirit of the thing itself. Wanting nothing for self, only the best for others is love. When two people are “in love with love” there is no desire per se’, there is a spirit of letting nature take its course.  When you feel “in love” the love is in you! If that involves another person or thing, then it is desireless towards that thing. When two spirits find each other, that love is beyond desire, that is a Taoist’s view of divine love.

Only when you feel no desire for something, can you truly love it. When the love for all things fills you, it is like a flower blooming inside your heart. As your energy rises up from the earth it opens your heart, it expands outward, filling the whole universe. Your compassion for all things will grow, your love will know no limits; you’ll prosper in all your ways.

The desireless one can discern the true, (soul) essence of things, not limited to only seeing and desiring that which essence has made manifest (superficially) in the material world.

You will learn the true meaning of love, you will gain respect for all things, you will move forward into an understanding of how everything is connected. This is love and fulfillment, this is infinite compassion, this is true understanding…
This is Tao

Copyright Cory Williams 2012

This is Taiji…   2 comments


The Dragon dwells in Heaven, roaming amongst the stars… drifting in and out of the clouds. Aloof from the world, he is always observant of it. Enigmatic and free, the Dragon soars effortlessly, adrift in time upon an endless sea of tranquility. He is clarity and calm, peace and emptiness. Like a mysterious cloud, the dragon caresses the Earth, always sensitive to the subtleties of the relationship between Heaven and Earth.  In heaven, he is yin as yin is within yang… and yet there is a yang spirit hidden within….

Gliding over the Earth, melding into the forests and mountain tops, the Dragon gathers Earth qi within, mixing Heaven and Earth, building and focusing his Heaven qi to interact with the Earth.

In an instant, the Tiger emerges, like a thunderbolt from Heaven. Heaven and Earth qi combine and the Tiger is born from the union. The Dragon’s energy transforms.  The Tiger pounces, Heaven and Earth are manifest. Entering the Earthly realm, the Tiger strikes and fulfills the needs of everything he encounters. He is action and strength, motion and power. Like a wildfire, the Tiger creates magic on Earth. On Earth, he is yang as yang is within yin, and yet, there is a yin spirit hidden within….

Sleeping by the lake, the gentle Tiger rests his yang…
Peacefully nurtured by the guidance of the Earth qi…
The Tiger’s spirit floats across the lake, rising in the fog…
His yin qi carried aloft bringing with it the resting yang energy, transforming, recombining, and emerging once again as the Dragon.

This is Taiji


Copyright: Cory Williams 2011

The Ultimate   6 comments

Would you go?

What if you searched your whole life for something; what if you invested everyday and night, thousands of days, tens of thousands of hours, year after year in a quest towards a goal and when you finally did everything you were told and after years of waiting, and then, you found out, there was nothing?

What if someone suggested to you to dedicate your whole life, practice diligently and someday you would find nothing, and you knew that going into the journey; would you be interested in going then; doing all the practices, training endlessly and even though it was a blissful journey, only to find out that there was no end goal, would you still go?

What if you could grasp the concept that everything and nothing are made from the same thing…would you go then?

Tao unravels all the mysteries to truth, peace, contentedness and salvation and yet, in essence, there is nothing there. Everything is possible from nothing; nothing and everything define each other. The journey is all there is, the path to non-doing starts at doing.

Practice long and diligently, then you will find your qi….
Continued practice and dedication will guide you to your spirit…
Practice, practice and practice some more and eventually you will find nothing.

Jing, Qi, Shen is the Way to return to the source…Tao

The spirit dissolves into Tao, just as your practice dissolved your body into qi and then continued practice dissolved your qi into spirit…

A place where all things merge into nothing is waiting for you. After years of practice you will find the truth; eventually bringing you back to the source of all things.

 

Copyright 2011 Cory Williams

Taoist Meditation Lesson #8 Heavenly Sojourn   Leave a comment

Connecting the planets

Completing the Small Circle

In the previous lesson, I outlined the basic idea of the Small Circle or Microcosmic Orbit meditation.  Learning to connect your internal solar system will give you much insight into your internal energy. The last lesson leads you through a series of points in your energy system. The point was to bring qi down from the minds eye to the perineum at the bottom of the torso. This involves bringing your awareness to each point along the way for a sufficient length of time that you can feel it at each point before moving to the next one, Basically you were learning the “Yin path“, the downward, relaxing, nurturing and frankly the easy path of energy flow.

If you have become adept at this skill, you are ready to learn the other half of the process, bringing energy up the “Yang path”.  I hope that you noticed how the energy “wants” to flow down the yin path almost as if gravity were pulling it there and in a way, it is. Just to be real about it, there is a mechanical reason for this. By sequentially relaxing downward, your body is allowing blood and lymph as well as the flesh to sag and drain downward towards the earth. Keeping your back straight while this is happening aids the flow by assuring that all the necessary passageways remain open to that flow; slouching or having any misalignment or muscle tension will interfere with this process.

The yin path starts at the tip of the tongue and descends through the tongue, past the thyroid, thymus, heart, solar plexus, dantian, sperm (ovarian) palace, and ends at the perineum. Purists might know that the “Ren” channel ends, and the “Tu” channel starts at the ovarian palace, but the Tu channel “emerges” at the perineum and that is why I start there. These eight places are one-half of the microcosmic orbit, the other seven points are the topic of this article, the “Yang Path“.

In my method, the “Yang Path”  starts just under the skin at the perineum but it is at the coccyx or tailbone where it moves up to the “Ming Men”, gate of life  located just below where the thoracic spine joins with the lumbar spine. It then goes up along the tendons covering the spine, past the kidneys and adrenal glands. From there the path goes between the shoulders at the “Shen Dao”, the path to the spirit, opposite the heart center on the spine i.e.. the third thoracic vertebra near to the thoracic/cervical junction. The next place of wonderment is called “Da Zhui”, the great hammer. Da Zhui is about the C-7, the thoracic/cervical junction, on the spine opposite the throat. From this point, the qi moves upward, goes past the “Jade Pillow” at the top of the spine joining the skull and moves over the skull, up to the Crown Point, and then terminates at the palate just under the minds eye.

When you have completed the yin path and are completely relaxed and all the energy has drained into your hips and pelvis it will coalesce near the premium. You are now ready to bring qi up the spine and recycle the energy via the “Yang path”.

This is a new skill and it can be confusing depending on how you interpret what you are doing in the moment. Just to clarify that statement, some teachers will tell you to “pull the qi to the tail bone using your anus and collect it there“. I would say this too, but invariably pulling and pushing qi up the back channel is not the most effective way to do it, in my opinion. It does work, and you can get started doing it this way and yet if there was an easier way, you might want to try it.

Just tuning the breath and “listening” you may be able to sense the energy moving thought the small circle, that would be very nice indeed. Just sitting quietly and observing the energy flow is fantastic. I would say that is a high achievement. “Moving” qi through the circulation is controlling it. Both are valid and have different applications, for example I like to move qi through the body with my mind so that I can learn how to feel it moving when I’m not moving it!

Before any practice I recommend Tuning the Breath

I recommend that you start to access the back channel (yang path) by first starting at the Crown Point. Just lift up on the Crown Point and feel the head lifting off the shoulders and the spine lengthening and this will pull the tailbone into a vertical alignment, which also opens the pathway at the rear of the anus towards the back. Ah, see now the whole channel is open and now you can pull the energy to the anus and it will be sucked up the spine all the way to the top!  In the beginning, you may still need to coax it up by using your breath and muscle contractions, but as you get better at it, you can reduce the effort and concentration that you apply and spend more time enjoying the results. Each time the qi is at the bottom (Hui yin), open the crown, and allow the qi free access to the top.

From the bottom of the torso, pull up the PC Muscle (this muscle runs from the pubic bone to the tailbone) and you will feel a rush of energy there; this is a simple way of developing perineum power.  This is when you want to pull up around the anus and feel the energy go around the anal sphincter muscle to the rear of the anus. The energy is now at the tip of the tailbone. Learn to feel your internal musculature here and you can contract the muscles there and actually create a wave of qi that will move up the sacrum to the lumbar spine and it will collect at the top of the lumbar region at a place known as the “Gate of Life”.

Bring qi up the Du Meridian

It may take a few tries to do this but keep at it and soon you will feel qi gathering at the Ming Men. You may need to rock your hips slightly to open the lower gate, this will help avoid stuck energy there.  Some say it is like “sipping through a straw” each time you take a breath the energy descends some being pulled back up on the next breath. By using a combination of first pulling the spine up from the top, and then going through a series of muscular contractions and breaths you can apply mental energy to move the qi up, up, and up…

Over time, you will feel the energy moving up through the kidneys, and the Shen Dao,  Da Zhui, through the jade pillow and up to the crown.  When you get used to bringing the energy to the Ming Men you will find it has enough inertia to just rather shoot up through the other points.  The yang path may flow fast as the qi rushes up to the top or, hopefully in a more controlled way. This can be a beautiful and rewarding release of energy that can thrill you when you feel it. Remain calm, and enjoy this energy release as you might enjoy a sexual energy release as it its related to that same feeling.  This is also do to the Chong Mai or thrusting vessel (that is another story) that runs deeper directly through the center of your spine.  Once you get used to these types of experiences you may never be the same again, you are gaining control over your energy.

I would not try to analyze this or focus on each individual point on the back channel at this point in your training. These skills can take awhile to acquire, and unless you have been doing this for some length of time, it may be meaningless for you to get too esoteric about it. It is not how much you know, or think you know about “meridians” and all that, what really matters is that you practice often and you keep it simple.

Many of these spine points can be blocked by accumulated postural  stress and may require qigong movements to open them, particularly prone to being blocked are the Shen Dao and Da Zhui. Come to class, or find a good teacher in your area for help with these two places. You do not want a blockage in “the path to the spirit”!

Even though you can now complete the circle, you are still just at the beginning of a new journey. Do not be in a rush, just work on these new skills for a while and get good at “circulating the microcosmic orbit”. You will find that as you get to know this skill you will be able to use this all the time, like when you are doing sitting or standing meditation or while doing moving soft qigong, or Taiji or even use this skill during sex. This is a start of a new level of qigong training, truly “going internal”.  While all forms of qigong training effect you internally, learning the small circle is the beginning of what we call “nei gong”. You are now moving into a higher level of mediation, where meditation and qigong come together and move your mind and body into the realm of pure energy, yet another step on the path of “Spiritual Alchemy”.

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Qigong Lesson #5 Harmonizing Yin and Yang   Leave a comment

This is Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do Symbol "Using no way as way" & "Having no limitation as limitation". The arrows represent the endless interaction between yang and yin

The focus of the last qigong lesson was to introduce the properties of Yin and Yang in the human energy system as it pertains to Qigong practice.  One of the first things qigong students learn is the difference between the way yin and yang manifest during practice. This basic understanding is the starting point to getting to know your energy. Eventually this awareness of yin and yang will be discerned in all of your energy systems.

There are many different “energy systems” in the human being and all of them have yin and yang elements. For example in basic qigong practice the most obvious energy system in the physical body are things like muscles and bones; pneumatic (breath) and hydraulic (blood and lymph) but there are others such as mental, emotional, spiritual, electrical (nervous), and chemical, like hormones and neurotransmitters.

The reality of life is there are no absolutes; energies are always in ebb and flow.  In the last lesson I used a diagram showing the separation of yin and yang, this is only to get a basic understanding of the rise and fall of the energy; this symbol could be called Yin AND Yang. The Taiji symbol is sometimes called the Yin/Yang diagram. Do see the difference between the two? Yin and Yang or Yin/Yang, the difference is the first one defines yin and yang as distinctly different and separate things; the second one shows the harmony between the two.

In the title to my web site, I say “Balance and Harmony for a better life.” Balance and harmony is a common phrase; some people reverse the two words however saying “harmony and balance.”  To my mind though, you need balance before you can have harmony.  This is an important point for you to realize in your training as qigong and Taiji works on us to first balance our energy so that we can harmonize with reality. Again this is true whether we are talking about emotions or our bodies…. For example, if we have balanced emotions then we can harmonize with others.

Harmony is what we get when we have all our energy systems working together in a synergistic way. Synergy is a good word, it is when the sum is greater than the parts; you know, sort of like one plus one equals three.  Now while some of our energies may be “Yang” there will be others that will be “Yin.”  For example, my mind may be yin while my body is yang, while at the same time my legs may be yang while my arms may be yin and my emotions could be yin while my spirit is yang!

Yet it all works together in harmony. When the thinking mind is softened and yin, the spirit fills with energy and could be considered yang. When I am moving my body upward there is energy coming up from my legs which could be considered yang at that moment yet I keep my hands soft (with my mind) making them effectively yin. Yang leads and yin nurtures. For example my intention (yang) tells my body to relax (yin) the relaxed body attracts energy to flow into it, yang.  Lets say for example, the energy (in the form of blood pressure) is down in the legs, (yang) then, when we relax the hands (yin) the energy will flow into them, and back and forth filling and emptying.

While doing qigong notice how you can control the flow of energy when doing the movements by sequentially relaxing and expanding. As you are alternately flexing and relaxing different groups of muscles, you can lead the qi through your body. Remember, the energy wants to flow into emptiness just as electricity seeks a ground or water (and air) flows from high pressure towards low pressure.  In the great source book of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu tells us, “The sage leads by following, by putting himself beneath others they all flow towards him.”  Can you see how the philosophy of Taoism teaches us how to be better people?

Learning to be both yin and yang at the same time (yin/yang) is like bringing together the two halves of who you are. We all have yin and yang elements in play in every part of who we are. Proper qigong and Taiji is all about learning to first balance our energies and then to harmonize all these different energies so that we can find the reality that we need not be so polarized in life as to lose sight of the “big picture”

Like two horses…. The mare and the stallion, named yin and yang…
The stallion leads the way with the nurturing mare just behind him, giving him encouragement and moral support. She wants him to lead, and he enjoys doing the hard work of blazing the trail and such. The clever mare knows how to get him to lead where she wants to go by using her soft nurturing way, and he is glad to go where she wants him to. The two move in harmony due to the balance of their complementary energies.

Go to Qigong on Maui web site