The Heat of Movement the coldness of stillness

by Liu I-Ming

Generally speaking, when people are active, this gives rise to heat; when people sit quietly, this gives rise to cold. When one is cold, if one moves about this will again produce heat. When one is hot, if one sits still this will again produce coldness. In other words, cold and heat do not depend on the weather but on the person.

What I realize as I observe this is the Tao of taking over the creativity of yin and yang. That which is strong is associated with yang, that which is yielding is associated with yin. If one is strong but not aggressive, humbly lowering oneself, then one will not be irritable but will be peaceful, and equanimous. If one is yielding but not weak, deliberate in action, then one will not be ineffective but will ascend to high illumination.

Able to be strong, able to yield, according with truth and according with the time, knowing when to advance and when to withdraw, able to be great and able to be small, able to stop and able to step down, able to be passive and able to be active, one can thereby take over Creation, turn around life and death, reverse the mechanism of energy, leave death and go to life. This is like activity producing heat and quiet sitting producing cold; human power can reverse nature.

Reference:
Awakening to the Tao
by Liu I-Ming translated by Thomas Cleary, Shambhala Publications Inc.,U.S., 2006.
ISBN: 159030344X

p. 20-21

Three Immortals Cultivation of the Ling Bao Bi Fa

Ling Bao (灵宝) translates as “Spiritual Treasure.” The Ling Bao Bi Fa outlines the San Xian Gong, “Three Immortals Cultivation,” for completing the Ling Bao and thus becoming a Zhen Ren (真人) or Real Human Being. San Xian Gong consists of thee stages: Ren Xian Gong (人仙功) Human Immortal Cultivation, Di Xian Gong (地仙功) Earthly Immortal Cultivation, and Tian Xian Gong (天仙功) Heavenly Immortal Cultivation.

“There are twelve programs of training that should be practiced in sequence. They are the following: [1] introducing yin and yang to each other, [2] gathering and disseminating fire and water, [3] mating the dragon and the tiger, [4] heating and refining the medicines of the pill, [5] ejecting the golden sparks from behind the navel, [6] returning the jade elixir to the tan tiens, using the jade elixir to refine the body, [7] returning the golden elixir to the tan tiens, using the golden elixir to refine the body, [8] moving the refined vapor to the primordial regions, [9] internal observation and exchanging the mundane for the sacred, and [10] transcendence and emanating in different forms.”


–Eva Wong, Teachings of Immortals Chung and Lu

人仙功  Ren Xian Gong
Human Immortal Cultivation

Ren Xian Gong transforms Jing into Qi (炼精化气)

第一 匹配阴阳 Pipei Yin Yang
The First Step: Merging Yin and Yang

第二 聚散水火 Ju San Shui Huo
The Second Step: Gathering and Distributing Water and Fire

第三 交媾龙虎 Jiaogou Long Hu
The Third Step: Dragon and Tiger Mating

第四 烧炼丹药 Shao Lian Dan Yao
The Fourth Step: Forging the Elixir

地仙功  Di Xian Gong
Earthly Immortal Cultivation

Di Xian Gong transforms Qi into Shen (炼气化神)

第五 肘后飞金晶 Zhou Hou Fei Jin Pin
The Fifth Step: The Flight of Golden Sparks

第六 玉液还丹 Yu Ye Huan Dan
The Sixth Step: The Jade Liquid Elixer

第七 金液还丹 Jin Ye Huan Dan
The Seventh Step: The Golden Liquid Elixer

天仙功  Tian Xian Gong
Heavenly Immortal Cultivation

Tian Xian Gong transforms Shen to the void (炼神还虚)

第八 朝元炼气 Chao Yuan Lian Qi
The Eighth Step: Facing the Origin

第九 内观交换 Nei Guan Jiaohuan
The Ninth Step: Internal Illumination

第十 超脱分形 Chaotuo Fen Xing
The Tenth Step: Physical Transcendence

Reference:
灵宝毕法•三仙功 Ling Bao Bi Fa : San Xian Gong Three Immortals Cultivation of the Ling Bao Bi Fa thetaobums.com

Links:
Brief Introduction to Ling Bao Bi Fa longmenpai.blogspot.com

The Twelve Methods of Yin Xian Fa

The main purpose of Yin Xian Fa is to repair the body, regulate the mind, restore the original breath and ultimately reverse and replenish the slow expenditure of pre-natal through the aging process. 

还原法 Huan Yuan Fa 
Restoring Methods

Huan Yuan literal translates as “Returning to the Origin.” These are methods to quiet and collect the mind and regulate the body, breath, and mind. In alchemical terms, this stage could be likened to cleaning out your attic or basement in preparation to build the laboratory. The next stage, Bu Lou Fa, involves repairing the fixtures and finally Zhu Ji Fa will see through the completion of one’s internal laboratory.

第一法 收心静坐 Shouxin Jingzuo
The First Method: Sitting and Collecting the Mind

第二法 调身安体 Tiao Shen An Ti
The Second Method: Regulating the Body

第三法 无视返听 Wu Shi Wu Ting
The Third Method: See Nothing, Hear Nothing

第四法 收视返听 Shoushi Fan Ting
The Fourth Method: Watching and Listening

第五法 调整凡息 Tiaozheng Fan Xi
The Fifth Method: Regulating the Breath

第六法 调心安神 Tiao Xin An Shen
The Sixth Method: Regulating the Heart/Mind

第七法 调养真息 Tiaoyang Zhen Xi
The Seventh Method: Restoring the Original Breath

补漏法 Bu Lou Fa 
Tonifying Methods

Methods for mending leakage. At this stage the cultivator learns to seal the three lower Yin doors (三阴) and seven upper Yang windows (七窍). The Hun (魂) resides in the Liver without leaking out the eyes, Jing (精) resides in the Kidneys without leaking out the ears, Shen (神) resides in the heart without leaking out the mouth, Po (魄) resides in the Lungs without leaking out the nose, and Yi (意) resides in the Spleen without leaking out the pores.

第八法 修无漏身 Xiu Wu Lou Shen
The Eighth Method: Mending all Leakage

第九法 内视返听 Nei Guan Fan Ting
The Ninth Method: Internal Gazing

筑基法 Zhu Ji Fa 
Foundation Methods

The cessation of ego (识神) and birth of the real consciousness (真神). 

第十法 凝神寂照 Ning Shen Jizhao
The Tenth Method: Crystallizing the Spirit

第十一法 听息随息 Ting Xi Sui Xi
The Eleventh Method: Follow the Original Breath

第十二法 养心沐浴 Yang Xin Muyu
The Twelfth Method: Nourishing the Original Spirit

Reference:
引仙法共十二法 Yin Xian Fa Gong Shi’er Fa The Twelve Methods of Yin Xian Fa thetaobums.com

The Racehorse and the Nag

by Liu I-Ming

A racehorse, a swift runner, can travel hundreds of miles in a day. A nag, ambling along, takes ten days to cover the same distance. Although one is fast and one is slow, yet what they achieve is the same.

What I realize as I observe this is the Tao of the relative speed of effective work.

Generally speaking, people are sharp or dull by nature, greater or lesser in strength. If people who are dull by nature want to emulate those who are sharp by nature, or those of little strength want to emulate those of great strength, they will be unable to keep up, and will injure themselves by the strain.

Therefore a complete sage said that those who are born knowing are the best, those who know by learning are the next, and those who learn the hard way are next after that. When it come to knowledge it self, however, that is one. Some may carry it out swiftly, some may carry it out forcibly. When it comes to the achievement, however, that is one. Among these three kinds of people, it may be difficult for some and easy for others, slow for some and fast for others, but all are able to know the Tao and attain the Tao.

The only trouble is when people have no will. Without will, not only is it impossible to act on the Tao, it is impossible even to know it. If you have the will, study it widely, question it closely, ponder it carefully, understand it clearly, carry it out earnestly; multiply the efforts of the ordinary person a hundredfold, and you can actually master this Tao. Even if you are ignorant you will become enlightened, even if you are weak you will become strong – no one who has done this has ever failed to reach the realm of profound attainment of self-realization.

Nevertheless, there are many Taoists in the world who cannot with true heart regard the essence of life as most important. They talk about the virtue of the Tao, but in their hearts they are criminals and gangster. They want their imaginings of the Tao, and the want their greedy ambitions too. They are easily angered and unreceptive.

The intellectuals among them depend on their ability to memorize a few “spiritual” sayings, and think they have the Way. Consequently they disregard others and will not seek enlightened teachers or visit capable friends, thus mistaking the road ahead.

The dull ones do not know to investigate principles, and do not distinguish the false from the true. Having studied some “side-door” practices, playing around on twisted byways, they also think they have the Way, and will not go to high illuminations for verification, thus holding to their routines all their lives, tapped in unbreakable fixations.

People like these types do not really think about the matter of essence and life as the single most important thing in the world, and the cultivation and maintenance of essence and life to be the single most difficult thing in world. How can this be easily known, or easily accomplished?

This is why those who study Taoism may be as numourus as hairs on a cow, but those who accomplish the Way are as rare as unicorn horns.

If you are a strong person who can be so utterly aloof of all things as to step straight into the Way, like steel forged a hundred times, with an unrelenting will to visit enlightened teachers respectfully and to investigate true principles thoroughly, then it does not matter wheter you are sharp or dull by nature – eventually you will emerge on the Way, and will definitely not have wasted your years.

Reference:
Awakening to the Tao
by Liu I-Ming translated by Thomas Cleary
ISBN: 159030344X
p. 77-79

The Inner Smile

One of the most well-known of Taoist neidan (Inner Alchemy) practices is the “Inner Smile” – in which we smile inwardly to each of the major organs of our body, activating within us the energy of loving-kindness, and waking up the Five-Element associational network. Here we will learn a variation on this classic practice, which allows us to direct the healing energy of a smile into any part of our body that we would like …

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 10 – 30 minutes, or longer if you’d like
Here’s How:
1. Sit comfortably, either on a straight-backed chair, or on the floor. The important thing is for your spine to be in an upright position, and your head arranged to allow the muscles of your neck and throat to feel relaxed.
2. Take a couple of deep, slow breaths, noticing how your abdomen rises with each inhalation, then relaxes back toward your spine with each exhalation. Let go of thoughts of past or future.
3. Rest the tip of your tongue gently on the roof of your mouth, somewhere behind, and close to, your upper front teeth. You’ll find the spot that feels perfect.
4. Smile gently, allowing your lips to feel full and smooth as they spread to the side and lift just slightly. This smile should be kind of like the Mona Lisa smile, or how we might smile – mostly to ourselves – if we had just gotten a joke that someone told us several days ago: nothing too extreme, just the kind of thing that relaxes our entire face and head, and makes us start to feel good inside.
5. Now bring your attention to the space between your eyebrows (the “Third Eye” center). As you rest your attention there, energy will begin to gather. Imagine that place to be like a pool of warm water, and as energy pools there, let your attention drift deeper into that pool – back and toward the center of your head.
6. Let your attention rest now right in the center of your brain – the space equidistant between the tips of your ears. This is a place referred to in Taoism as the Crystal Palace – home to the pineal, pituitary, thalamus and hypothalamus glands. Feel the energy gathering in this powerful place.
7. Allow this energy gathering in the Crystal Palace to flow forward into your eyes. Feel your eyes becoming “smiling eyes.” To enhance this, you can imagine that you’re gazing into the eyes of the person who you love the most, and they’re gazing back at you … infusing your eyes with this quality of loving-kindness and delight.
8. Now, direct the energy of your smiling eyes back and down into some place in your body that would like some of this healing energy. It might be a place where you’ve recently had an injury or illness. It might be a place that just feels a little numb or “sleepy,” or simply some place you’ve not recently explored. In any case, smile down into that place within your body, and feel that place opening to receive smile-energy.
9. Continue to smile into that place within your body, for as long as you’d like … letting it soak up smile-energy like a sponge soaks up water.
10. When this feels complete, direct your inner gaze, with its smile-energy, into your navel center, feeling warmth and brightness gathering now in your lower belly.
11. Release the tip of your tongue from the roof of your mouth, and release the smile (or keep it if it now feels natural).
Tips:
1. As with all neidan practices, it’s important to find a balance between effort and relaxation. If you notice a build-up of tension, relax, take a couple of deep breaths, then return to the practice. If your mind wanders, simply notice this, and come back to the practice.
2. Remember to maintain the quality of a gentle, genuine smile – infused with the energy of loving-kindness and compassion – particularly when directing your “inner smile” into an injured place. If you notice frustration, anger, fear or judgment creeping in, take a couple of deep breaths, then connect again with loving-kindness and compassion – the energies that can heal us.
3. The Crystal Palace is known also – in Hindu yogic traditions – as the Cave of Brahma.

Reference: How To Practice The “Inner Smile” by Elizabeth Reninger about.com

The Mindfulness of Thich Nhat Hanh


Thich Nhat Hanh, Plum Village plumvillage.org

mindfulness is awareness of one’s thoughts, actions or motivations. wikipedia.org

Reference:
The clip is from the DVD accompanying the book “Walking Meditation
” (sep 2006) Thich Nhat Hanh, Anh-Huong Nguyen, ISBN 1591794730

Books:
The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation
(dec 1999) Thich Nhat Hanh
ISBN 9780807012390
The Blooming of a Lotus: Guided Meditation for Achieving the Miracle of Mindfulness
(jun 1999) Thich Nhat Hanh
ISBN 0807012378

Links:
Mindfulness of Ourselves, Mindfulness of Others www.explorefaith.org
Ram Dass interviews Thicht Nhat Hanh youtube.com (mindfulness)

Golden Urn Practise

The energetic center which in Tibetan Yoga is called Snow Mountain, and in Taoist practice is referred to as the Golden Urn, is one of the most important energetic “spaces” in the Inner Alchemy traditions. This “Golden Urn” center – located just in front of the tailbone – is also known, in Hindu Yogic traditions, as the home of Kundalini – the “serpent power” which lies dormant there at the base of the spine, until awakened by yogic practice. Golden Urn is an important energy-source for the kidneys, the brain and the “third eye” center. This practice for accessing the energy of Golden Urn is from Dr. Zhi Gang Sha.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5 – 15 minutes, or longer if you’d like

Here’s How:

  1. Sit comfortably in a chair, with your feet flat on the floor and your spine upright. Take a couple of deep breaths, and with each exhalation release any unnecessary tension, especially in the head, neck and shoulders. Smile gently and simply relax.
  2. Now, place your awareness in the Snow Mountain/Golden Urn area, just in front of the coccyx/tailbone, and about a half-inch above the center of the pelvic floor (between the anus and the genitals). Just rest your attention, very gently and with a kind of curiosity, in this part of your body.
  3. In that space – deep in your belly – visualize a mountain of snow, with a very warm sun shining down from above – as though there were a sun in your lower belly, shining down on the Snow Mountain.
  4. Continue the visualization by seeing/feeling that the warmth of the sun is melting the snow. As the snow melts and turns to water, the water flows down the sides of the mountain to form a lake at its base, and – at the same time – steam rises upward and nourishes your entire body.
  5. Stay with this visualization – sun melting snow, water forming a lake at the base of the mountain, steam rising upward as nourishment for your body – for a couple minutes, or longer. Little by little, this visualization will create actual sensations within your body, which you can simply notice and enjoy.
  6. To end, dissolve the visualization, and relax for a minute or two before continuing with your day.

Tips:

  1. Remember to stay relaxed, and don’t try too hard – a very gentle mental focus is all you really need for this practice.
  2. Different people have different ways of visualizing: for some the imagined “picture” is more kinesthetic than visual; for others it has an auditory component. So don’t worry if your visualization doesn’t seem precise, visually – You’ll find the way that works best for you.
  3. As you become more comfortable with this practice, really try to *feel* what’s happening inside of your body.

Reference:
How To Nourish Snow Mountain/Golden Urn: Our Energetic Root about.com

Small Universe

The purpose of this meditation exercise is to clear energy blockages along the front and back channels; to physically clear the roots of sickness; and to open the energy centers along these channels.

I highly recommend this exercise. If you have time to do only one Spring Forest Qigong technique, do the Small Universe. It is extremely helpful in opening blockages and balancing all the energy in your body. We have many energy channels and energy centers in our bodies. When energy starts at one point, visits all the channels and centers in the body, and comes back to the starting point, we have what is literally translated from ancient Chinese wisdom as a “Big Universe.”

The most important energy channels are the back and front channels in the torso. When energy starts at one point on these channels, visits all the parts of the system, and comes back to the starting point, we have what is called a “Small Universe.” By focusing on moving the energy along these two main channels in the Small Universe, you have a profoundly positive effect on the Big Universe of the whole body.

The back channel starts at the lower Dantian area, which is behind the navel. It goes down to the bottom of the torso, travels up along the spine to the top of the head and comes down from the middle of the forehead stopping at the roof of the mouth. It governs all the Yang or male energy channels in the body. The front channel also starts from the lower Dantian area, goes down to the bottom of the torso, travels up the body, passing through the heart and throat, and stopping under the tongue. It governs all the Yin or female energy channels in the body.

These two channels automatically connect together four hours a day: at midday between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and at midnight between 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Qigong practitioners like to meditate at noon and midnight because it takes less energy and generates greater benefits.

Nearly all the important energy centers are arranged along the back and front channels. As a result, a blockage in the heart energy center could cause not only heart problems but problems in the lungs, breasts, chest or even mental problems. A blockage in the tailbone could cause reproductive organ problems, low sexual energy, or even headaches. A blockage in the cervical bone #7 of the spinal cord could cause headaches, fever, diabetes or even lung or heart problems.

The Small Universe is the easiest meditation technique to open these two main channels. I have created an audiotape and CD with beautiful background music and guide you through each movement in this meditation. Especially if you are a beginner, it is very difficult to do this meditation on your own.

Listen to the master’s voice on the audio tape. You will hear two sounds [ … O O H M … ] and [ … M U AH … ]. (If you do this meditation without a tape to guide you make the “O O H M” sound with your first inhalation and visualize the universal energy flowing into your body and collecting in your Lower Dantian, which is behind your navel. As you exhale, use your mind to move the energy to the next area of your body as indicated in the picture. On the second inhalation, make the “M U A H” sound and again visualize the energy flowing into your body and collecting at this next point. Then as you exhale, use your mind to move the energy to the next area of the body. Repeat this sequence throughout the meditation.)

Reference:
Born A Healer: I was born a healer. You were born a healer, too!
by Chunyi Lin / Gary Rebstock
ISBN 0974094412

P. 157 – 159

Link: springforestqigong.com

The Beginning of the Universe

This exercise helps bring your focus back into your body and wake up your internal energy.

When doing this exercise while sitting, try to sit up and keep the spine straight.

When doing this exercise while lying down, lie on your back and keep your spine as straight as possible.

When doing this exercise while standing, stand straight with your toes pointing forward and bend your knees a little. (If you want to lose weight bend your knees a little more.)

Set your feet a little more than shoulder width apart for good balance while standing.

Eyes look forward. An Introduction To Qigong

Wear a smile on your face to relax every part of the body and stimulate your brain to produce endorphins.

Draw your chin back a little to straighten the entire spine. Energy travels up and down the spine in the governing channel more easily when the spine is straight.

Drop your shoulders and move your elbows outward a little.

Open your hands and gently spread your fingers. When you open your fingers you open many energy channels in the body. When you close your fingers you close these channels.

Slowly take a deep, silent, gentle breath through your nose. As you breathe in, draw the lower stomach in a little. As you breathe out, let your stomach out. This makes it easier for the Yin and Yang energies to communicate with each other and create balance.

Imagine using your whole body to breathe. Visualize the universal energy coming into every cell of your body and collecting in the lower Dantian. This is a primary energy center in your body. The lower Dantian is located in the area behind your navel.

When you exhale, visualize any pain or sickness changing into smoke and shooting out from every cell of your body to the end of the universe.

Gently close your eyes and lips.

Now say the password in your mind: “I am in the universe. The universe is in my body. The universe and I combine together.”

Continue breathing slowly, deeply and gently and feel the emptiness, the quietness, the stillness of the universe.

Do this exercise for 2 to 3 minutes or longer if you have the time.

Reference:
Born A Healer: I was born a healer. You were born a healer, too!
by Chunyi Lin / Gary Rebstock
ISBN 0974094412

P. 147 – 150

Link: springforestqigong.com

Walking Meditation

Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
We walk peacefully.
We walk happily.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.

Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.

Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.

Thich Nhat Hanh Walking Meditation
ISBN 1591794730

Meditative Mind

The tricks for reaching a deep meditative mind are: do not resist, do not concentrate, do not persist, and most importantly of all, dot not be disturbed emotionally.

In meditation, the more you restrict your mind from wandering, the more it will try to escape your control. It is like trying to force your self to sleep – it just cannot be done. The mind is very stubborn and cannot be pushed. It can, however be led. Like water, the more you push, the more ways it will find to get around you. But if you led it correctly, it will flow smoothly even into the deepest places.

Moreover, when you meditate in this way, you should not concentrate. To much concentration will only generate greater resistance. Instead, simply pay attention. Concentration will make you tired and tense. This will worsen the situation. You should not allow your mind to dwell upon thoughts or problems occurring outside of your body. When you notice that your mind is constantly returning to the same thought patterns, bring it gently back to the center of your spirit. The center of your spirit is located at what is called the third eye, in the center of your forehead. Remember that deep, even breathing can help you achieve and maintain this metal centering.

Above all, never become upset with your self if you have difficulty leading your mind into a deep meditative state. Emotional disturbance will only create more tension in your mind, and further hamper your efforts.

Shaolin White Crane Martial Power and Qigong by Dr. Yang, Jwing Ming
ISBN 1886969353

P. 190

The heart is calm and quiet as still water

Wang Ji Wu

One must always maintain a calm heart even when influenced by the seven emotions; joy, anger, happiness, worry, sadness, fear and surprise. The heart must remain as calm as still water, never allowing any personal desires to stir up a ripple of disturbance. My thoughts are pure, in spirit I seek to forget myself and transcend the common affairs of the world, keeping my life simple and my desires few. With a clear heart, I do not contend with others or make demands upon the world, but rather seek to contribute what I can for the benefit of all, aiding those in need and protecting those in danger.

Without desire one is strong, without desire one is quiet, without desire one may return to what is natural, without desire one returns to the original state. With a heart still like water, from the extreme stillness will spring action, from the void comes that which is alive, yin and yang are in harmony and the qi flows unimpeded. With a heart still like water qi is sufficient and the spirit full. When the qi is sufficient and the spirit is full, the organs functions normally, the blood is nourished, the meridians, nerves, digestion, and circulation are all healthy and the metabolism stimulated. When the factors which prevent aging all are strong, one may prevent illness and live a long healthy life.

Humans are holistic beings which are possessed by of a certain vitality. The spirit and flesh are inseparable and form a complicated entity. The human vitality supports, influences, and is responsive to the person as a whole, while the spirit is the leader and controller, the “commander-in-cheif” of the being as a whole. Under certain circumstances, it can be said that the spirit “pulls at one hair and the whole body follows” or at the slightest stirring of the spirit the whole being responds, and each movement of the spirit has a real effect on the individual. Therefore I put special emphasis on the spirit as the leader, ever strengthening my resolve to cultivate my spirit, maintain calmness of the heart and become as pure as light without a speck of dust. This is akin to the meaning of a Song Dynasty poet who wrote “to understand the highest virtue,” applied to the present time. Better yet, this cultivation of the spirit and the heart will improve the physical constitution of the people, protect their health, and contribute to a long and healthy life.

Xing Yi Nei Gong: Health Maintenance and Internal Strength Development
compiled and edited by Dan Miller and Tim Cartmell

ISBN 0865681740
p. 30-31

Joy of Meditation

Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.

Breathing in, I dwell in the present moment.
Breathing out, I know it is a wonderfull moment.

Reference:
Thich Nhat Hanh The Bloming of a Lotus
ISBN 0807012378

p. 15