Archive for the ‘wu wei’ Tag

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

Qigong Lesson #4 Discerning Two Qis   2 comments

Yin AND Yang separated

In the first three lessons, I discussed how we align our physical bodies with the forces of Heaven and Earth. This lesson is about learning the difference between the two main aspects of our Qi using the concept of Yin and Yang.

Realize that there are two major forces acting upon us at all times, the first and most obvious is the force of gravity, we all understand what that is. There is however another, balancing force in play as well, that of centrifugal force.  As the earth spins at about 6000 miles per hour trying to throw us off it, we are at the same time held fast by gravity. (Physicists would disagree,  but I’m just illustrating a point)  In another way of viewing it (the Taoist way), we are suspended between the two forces of Heaven and Earth.

Think of “Earth” as the pull of gravity, pulling directly towards the center of the planet. Know it is Yin and, elemental, sinking and compressing downward, everything heavier than air flows towards it. The only way we know which way is up is because we know which way is down!

Think of “Heaven” as that centrifugal force that is lifting us directly away from the center of the Earth; in Qigong parlance, “the golden thread from Heaven” this force is Yang, and ethereal. Lifting and expanding upwards, everything lighter than air, including electrical energy floats weightlessly.

Beginners on the way of Qigong first learn to feel and understand these two different aspects of energy, adepts move beyond the understanding of discerning yin and yang to get to a point where they harmonize yin/yang.

To better learn how to feel Yin and Yang, consider two main types of qi, Yeng qi and Wei qi. Yeng qi is all that stuff that sinks down through our bodies as we relax and let it sink, things like blood, lymph, muscles, organs, a thick viscous downward flow of all our soft tissue.
Think of Wei qi as all that stuff that floats like our electrical signals our nervous system releasing neutral density neurotransmitters into our system like endorphins… our emptied muscles and bones and our breath.

After you understand this concept, you are ready to apply the knowledge to Qigong exercise.

When you relax your body, the blood and lymph and all the soft tissues sink lower into your body; this is the Yeng qi sinking. As this material sinks down, the blood filters through the lymph nodes, and the fascia tissues relax and a curious event occurs. The Wei qi is displaced and it rises up giving you a buoyant feeling. The more you can sink and relax downward, the more you can expand and feel buoyant going upwards.

You are learning to flow all the Earth (Yin) elements (Yeng qi) downward causing the complimentary effect of all the heavenly (Yang) elements (Wei qi) to rise and expand. These dynamics act like an energy pump, sinking down stimulating a return to an upright posture, you are learning to discern Yin and Yang: a major milestone on the qigong path.

More Here: Qigong Lesson #5

 

Qigong Attitude   3 comments

First, gain an understanding of your energy system.
Align the body correctly to facilitate energy flow.
Relax the muscles to encourage energy flow.
Learn to dissolve your mind and body together.

Develop an emotional connection to the energy within.
Become intimate with your energy.
Practice until you know what is right in your heart.
Let go of your silly ego needs.

Gain freedom from your thoughts,
Become as open as Heaven,
Be as firm as the Earth,
Shine brightly like a star,
Be as flexible as water,
Gain inspiration from all things,
Know the truth that will set you free.

There are many paths to freedom yet only those who learn the truth will be truly free.  The real you is often hidden behind layers of physical and egocentric defenses.  Physical obstructions, thinking, and emotions, all inhibit your true self from shining through.

Spiritual qigong? Medical qigong? Martial qigong? Meditation? Internal, external, standing, sitting, moving, stillness, Taiji, whatever…. It makes very little difference; they are essentially the same thing. Don’t get confused by esoteric teachings. Do not be distracted from the truth by thinking too much about it.

Do not make your journey complicated; just follow the simple methods outlined in your training.  Adding too much just takes you farther away from the truth.  Practice “Wu Wei“; practice with diligence, yet keep it simple and you will gain profound awareness.

The truth is simple:
Love your energy as though it was the most valuable substance in the universe….in time you will discover the creator of all things.

Go to Qigong on Maui web site

Wu Wei…Non-Striving   Leave a comment

There is no "try" only do, or not do (Master Yoda)

Recently someone said to me, “I need to learn to relax”, after apologizing for laughing at the remark, I poised the comment, “Realize that you can’t learn to relax, you need to un-learn being discontent.”

When things are going well, they just flow correctly. A pro athlete never forces anything; neither does a pro musician, or an artist.  If they did, you could tell it was not quite right. When things flow from your heart it is true and correct and it shows. When we are balanced within and we are in harmony with our surroundings there is no “effort”

Every time I “try real hard” in life, I usually mess things up. So will you if you don’t understand the principle of “Non Striving”

Among the basic Taoist principles that can improve our lives “Wu Wei” is the most important and pervasive concept of all.  Not forcing things seems like an obvious concept to most of us and yet our competitive nature often encourages us to do so.  It’s not that “force” is a bad thing but unnaturally forcing things usually is.  Make things right with the universe and effortlessness is an indication that you “get it”.
Any feeling of “forcing”, “striving” or “contrivance” tells you that you do not get “it”.

The “it” I am referring to is the understanding that you are (or not) coming from your heart.  Do not think this is easy however, I’m no Pollyanna; you might say “It’s simple, it’s just not easy”.  The Tao Te Ching is full of commentary on this subject in fact almost every one of the 81 verses contains a statement about Wu Wei.

“The sage does nothing and yet nothing remains undone”
“My way is simple, yet no one can follow it”
“An infant can follow the way. But can an eighty year old?”
“To manage a large country is like frying a small fish, the less you poke it the better.”
“The sage leads by following”
“Water is the softest thing in the universe yet it overcomes the hardest things”
“The greatest misfortune is discontentment.”
“The sage never contrives greatness that is why he is truly great”

The other day someone said to me, “I was told (by a qigong teacher) to force the qi downward during qigong”, holding back a laugh I smiled and went on to explain “Wu Wei” a guiding principle.

When we relax, the qi will flow effortlessly, using “force” causes muscle tension that uses up more qi then it allows to pass through, resulting in less movement of the qi.

Again I recommend getting your very own copy of the Tao Te Ching (see my reading list) the philosophy of Taoism provides a foundation for understanding reality.

First, learn all you can; then forget it all. Learning is prejudice and contrived and will limit you. Having expectations can lead one to disaster. Knowledge is only a starting point, when we apply the principle of “Wu Wei” we turn knowledge into something far more valuable…Understanding

Posted February 13, 2010 by The Maui Taoist in Qigong, Taiji Principles, Tao, Taoist Meditation

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Taoist Meditation Lesson #4 (Practice Part 1)   2 comments

Find your Way to the top

First, combine lead and mercury
Second, form the gold pill
Third, refine the gold into the elixir…
.

In the first three articles, Taoist Meditation Basics, I laid out the foundation for a skill known as “Spiritual Alchemy”. It is a profound and yet simple path and in a way even fun. Don’t let the next few paragraphs throw you off, I’m just writing them for “full disclosure” on the topic.

The Taoist alchemical texts such as “The Book of Balance and Harmony”  uses metaphorical language that seems at times to contradict itself. I will try to simplify the jargon from the arcane and purposely cryptic text.

For example, try to comprehend the following typical (paraphrased) instructions:

Combine lead and mercury into the crucible. Then fire them in the furnace to form the gold pill.  Refine and rarify the gold pill and the elixir will form. Then you may enter the mysterious pass.

Let’s look at the symbolic language. Lead, represents essence, sort of like your physical energy, body and common sense. Mercury (quicksilver) represents mental/emotional energy, thinking etc. The crucible, is the body‘s energy channels and dantien at your center. The furnace, represents the mind, used to cook lead and mercury with the fire of discipline, concentration and insight.

The gold pill, is an understanding of energy, a nugget of primordial energy released, an awakening within, a “spiritual embryo” if you will. Refine and rarify refer to practicing cultivation arts like qigong and meditation.

The elixir is a reborn energy system, a full understanding of the principles and practice, being one with primordial energy. The mysterious pass is (a mystery) between Heaven and Earth, the gate into Tao … immortality in Taoist code.

This meditation practice is designed to bring about enlightenment.  For Taoists that term is more like “let go of your burden” (mental excess) if you “lighten your load” you are “enlightened.” Also let’s redefine “immortality” to mean “longevity” not necessarily “for all time.” Because you cannot create or destroy energy, the fully realized Taoists, quantum physicists that they are, know that true immortality does indeed exist in some  form; to be content with that knowledge is a sagely thing.

To start the practice of spiritual alchemy, remember what the famous sage told the king.

“My mind is merged with my body; my body is merged with my energy, my energy is merged with my spirit, and my spirit is merged with Tao.”

The first step is to merge your mind with your body.
1.     Open up your energy channels with some qigong
2.     Focus your mental energy into your body
3.     Use your mind to dissolve all thoughts and emotions

The second step is to merge your body with your energy.
4.     Embrace the pure unadulterated dissolved energy
5.     Become one with this energy, refining out imperfections
6.     Learn the truth about your true make up

The third step is to merge your energy with your spirit.
7.     Repeat the process until you meditate unceasingly
8.     Know that you are reborn continually in Tao
9.     Live confidently, contentedly, with no fears, forever.

Then your spirit will merge with Tao.

First, combine lead and mercury
Second form the gold pill
Third refine the gold into the elixir….

In the following articles, I will explain how we do these steps and I will give you some tools for performing the work of “Combining Lead and Mercury,“ yielding a “Spiritual Embryo” that you will cherish and nurture until it gives birth to a new you!

Until then learn the essential skill of Tuning your Breath

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Taoist Meditation Lesson #3 (Basics Part 3)   2 comments

Most people attempting to learn meditation have had years of conditioning that have programmed them to fail at that attempt.

Ponder this definition:  Meditate, noun, 2.) Continued or extended thought; reflection; contemplation.

Now this is not a failing of the language; because the word’s origin means: literally “to think.” Perhaps the Taoist method is not “meditation”.  By this I mean that, conscious thought is contrary to the prime objective of Taoist meditation, or rather just a basic starting point.  As to “thinking” the general premise is;  To ponder a concept of a “thing” in order to make a rational decision towards a situation etc. I am paraphrasing here because there are over twenty definitions of the word “think”.

Therefore, for our purposes we need to redefine meditation, in the Taoist perspective; meaning more or less the opposite of the classical definition. For even if we are contemplating energy it is preferred that there is no conscious “contemplating” going on and that for our purpose “energy“ is both “thing” and “non-thing.“

Seems to me that we do too much thinking already. Isn’t “thinking” one of the greatest sources of suffering in the human condition today?  Wouldn’t you love to be able to “not think” for just a moment?  Wouldn’t it be nice if that endless loop of thoughts would just “go away”?

To begin our practice we must form a new paradigm; most likely, almost everything you thought you understood about “meditating” is, in a word, wrong.  First, we need to learn a little about “Qigong” or energy cultivation as the Taoists of old called the practice. This art needs to be learned from a qualified teacher and that is beyond the scope of this article. I assume, if you are reading this, that you have a basic understanding of qigong.

These practices could be:
Moving or still
Internal (nei gong) or external (wei gong)
Sitting or standing
Physical or mental/emotional
Whatever the case may be, they are all manifestations of Yin/Yang.

The first step in learning the Taoist meditation methods that I have learned, is to open the body’s channels through some basic qigong movements.  It is possible to begin without first warming up this way but I would recommend doing so. Meditation practice can be standing or sitting but either way the basics are the same.

By opening up the energy pathways and dissolving our mind and body into one, the energy will spontaneously transmute into spirit.  After melting away the layers of body, mind and emotion, there is really only one place left for the energy to go into, the spirit. Sounds simple doesn’t it?  Keep in mind what Taoists call the “spirit” may be different that what you are thinking.

An ancient king once asked a famous Taoist sage, “What is your secret to longevity?”

The Sage replied, “My mind is merged with my body; my body is merged with my energy, my energy is merged with my spirit, and my spirit is merged with Tao.”

These concepts in Taoist Meditation Basics  Parts 1-3 lay the foundation for the practice of “Spiritual Alchemy.”  In the next 3 articles, on  “Taoist Meditation Practices”,  I will describe the actual process that is involved in performing the once closely guarded secret of “Spiritual Alchemy.”

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Taoist Meditation Lesson #2 (Basics Part 2)   1 comment

Finding the Way

In part one, I laid out the premise for “energy based” meditation techniques that are the basis of Taoist praxis.

While training with my Sifu, Master Dong, I would notice a certain smile upon his face while doing Qigong.  I can only describe the smile as the curious look of someone that has a secret; kind of a “I know something you don’t” grin. The reality is, that his smile is a truthful expression of just that, he does know something most people will never know.

Energy is the treasure we all can obtain, wealth beyond comprehension is always available to you. To the Taoist sages the definition of a rich man is “One who knows when he has enough.” Conversely it might be true to say that a poor man is “One that needs (or simply wants) more.”

Basic human needs not withstanding, the “Realized man” of antiquity was often a hermit living off the land, happy to live in a cave and forage for food, living close to nature.  In this light, we can see, that beyond food and shelter, “wealth”  is a relative thing. Taoists have no problems with having physical wealth, the defining thing is they don’t need any to be content.

A wise person makes themselves rich with the currency of Heaven and Earth. Gathering that treasure that flows from the Tao; accumulating virtues along the Way is the Taoist Way. Lao Tzu says, “Tao gives and gives and yet it is never depleted.”  When you have the Way you, you too will find “The more you give, the more you have.”

Our goal in learning Taoist meditation is to connect directly to energy.  Like a pile of gold coins we can sit with our energy or we can “spend” it. Every thought, image, fantasy, illusion, emotion and movement we make takes energy.  To the Taoists, purifying this energy was like refining gold. They even called the practice “Spiritual Alchemy.”  In meditation then, finding this energy and aligning with it, was and is a divine enterprise.

To the untrained, would be meditator, most attempts end in failure.  Even with advanced students it is a difficult skill to master without following certain guidelines.  For the beginner, sitting still and attempting to “align with your energy” will guarantee that you cannot. This is akin to a light bulb, that when turned on shines out incoherent light, millions of photons shooting out all willy-nilly, colliding with each other and heading off in random directions dissipating quickly into the surrounding darkness.

You need to train your energy system to focus the energy so it can flow on it’s own.  A laser beam is a wave of coherent light that has all the photons aligned with each other, all flowing in the same direction remaining focused and able to travel an almost infinite number of miles without dissipating.

In Part 3  I will describe in detail how we can train our energy to be focused like a laser beam instead of wasting most of it with “incoherent emissions” of Qi.

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