How to train your spirit and energy to drive the body

Ren Gang

Many people have already tried to explain what Taiji is, and what makes this art so special or different from other Chinese martial arts.

Some translate it as “The Supreme Ultimate Fist” – giving students an idea that it is a great fighting art, based on strength, speed or martial skills.

But to Ren Gang, who is a long time student of Master Dong Bin of Shanghai China; its origins and explanation must be traced back to the concept of “Wu Ji” or “a state of emptiness”, that is before Yin and Yang separate.Ren Gang began studying martial arts when he was a young boy of about 12 years old.

He was born in the mid sixties, and grew up in a turbulent time in China’s history.

During the Cultural Revolution he and his family lived with a very famous Shaolin master, Wang Zi Ping and his daughter Wang Zhu Rong, for about seven years.

Ren Gang, as a child was sickly and his family deemed themselves lucky if they went two weeks without having to take him to the doctors! So they encouraged him to begin studying under the tutelage of Miss Wang, who was then about 50 years old.

After his family moved home a few years later, he still carried on studying form from her.

At age 20, he felt that he hadn’t really become proficient in shaolin, but rather just enjoyed playing martial arts for fun.

Some time later, whilst in Fu Xing Park he saw a gentleman teaching Taiji Quan. This was Master Dong Bin.

Dong Bin had learnt from Dong Shi Zuo and Ye Huan Zi, who in turn were both students of Master Dong Ying Jie.Ren Gang was instantly attracted to his movements and style and began to go to the park regularly just to observe Master Dong.

He did this for over six months, but didn’t have the courage to openly ask Dong Bin to teach him.

However, once, Master Dong having become familiar with Ren Gang always being there, showed him a few basic training exercises (Ji Ben Gong).

Unfortunately, at this same time Ren was beginning his university studies, and didn’t go back to the park for over six months, so regrettably lost contact with Master Dong.

Ren Gang finished his university studies and after graduation, whilst working as an apprentice, bumped into Master Dong on the street. Ren, who was so excited to finally meet up with Dong again, immediately asked if Dong would teach him, but Master Dong said he was too old to teach now and wasn’t taking on any students. Ren was too embarrassed to ask again, but enquired if he could meet Dong sometimes, just to chat or spend time together. He felt merely being with Master Dong made him happy and he really enjoyed his company. (I felt the same way when I first met Master Dong myself, just being with him made me feel at peace).

Dong agreed, and after a long time of meeting like this he finally started to teach Ren Taiji.

Master Dong would often share his experiences of studying Taiji and encouraged Ren to study hard. Master Dong’s shixiong/di gongfu brothers also welcomed him and tried to motivate him to train diligently. They all felt he had great potential to reach a high level in Taiji.

Ren explained that in meeting and training with Master Dong, he felt that he had found a teacher that “knew” and understood the real meaning of Taiji.

Firstly, he felt that Master Dong was a very nice, generous and kind person. He treated Ren Gang with respect and like a friend, despite their forty year age difference.

His Tui Shou (push hands) was also very special. In China, as in every other country where Taiji is practiced, the principle of 4 ounces defeats 1000 pounds (“si liang bo qian jing”) is little in evidence, as can be witnessed by the wrestling and grappling that often takes place in parks and competitions, etc.

But Master Dong understood this principle and more importantly could utilize it, and one felt that he used no physical effort in deflecting an attacker, only qi (energy) or “kong jing” (empty power).

Master Dong also knew many “shou fa” (martial applications) and just seemed like an encyclopedia of Taiji and Wushu.Ren Gang said that sadly, with work pressures and commitments, he knows that he hasn’t been able to put in as much time as his teachers and gongfu uncles wished, and so his practice has not reached as high a level as they had hoped, but believes that he has a good idea of what Taiji is and how it works. I would add that I feel for somebody of his age he has already attained great ability and embodies many of the genuine principles of internal arts.

He believes very strongly that practitioners should follow the classic texts and principles carefully and try to find the meanings within their own bodies and feelings. People certainly shouldn’t suspect or try to change the meanings within the texts as he has heard some teachers do.

He said if you want to know if your practice is on track, you should check yourself. If you’ve spent a short amount of time practicing and have made lots of progress then you know you’re right. But, if after practicing several years, you cannot push with or do well against an opponent who has practiced the same amount of time in other arts, then something must be wrong.

You need to know where you’re wrong and be able to address the problem.

He said many people say that Taiji takes years to learn and so they say don’t expect quick results. However he feels this is misleading. The honing and refining of Taiji skills has indeed no end, it is a lifelong study and not something that one can perfect in a few years, but one should be able to see definite progress inside three to five years.

So what is Taiji?
Before we move we are in the state of Wu Ji. But after we move or the opponent moves, the peace and calm are broken and emptiness gives rise to yin and yang, (separateness in harmony). (In Chinese: “Wu ji er sheng dong fen yin yang”).

Taiji’s foundation is from the principle of wu jie, not from the movements of “beng, liu, ji ,an.” (Expansion or ward off, dissipate or roll back, press and push).

When the opponent moves, he destroys the state of wu ji or emptiness and yin and yang develops.

In this change, his “neng liang” (energy) and his “shi” (potential force and energy) are yang. For example, if he uses his right fist to strike you, then his right side is yang but his left side becomes yin.

What the practitioner should do is, at the point where the opponent is striking towards, one must “hua” or dissipate his potential force, where he is yang, you must be yin. But this apparent yielding or dissipating is not becoming “diu” or lost and lacking in substance, or “ruan” soft like tofu; it is accepting and welcoming his force like letting the wind blew through and out. Then your strike (yang) can fill the opponent’s yin or weak place, now that his strength and force have been diffused. The adversary’s energy is now completely spent, because you have emptied out his strong yang part by dissipating it. He becomes weak and unstable and empty. This concept of emptying out his force is called “yin jing luo kong” in Chinese.

At this time, when he is completely empty and weak, you can issue power, “fa jing”.

One can only successfully issue power when the opponent is truly empty; otherwise if he is still strong and stable it becomes force against force.

When you issue, you must be able to release all your neng liang (energy) to the opponent. Your body must be “tong tou” empty and almost transparent inside, with no tense places.

To be “tong tou” we must first be “song” (relaxed) says Ren. But people often have a mistaken view of what “song” or relaxed means.

They know that being hard or tense is wrong but they then go to the other extreme and become “ruan” soft and collapsed in structure. This he says is an even bigger mistake. Like this, one can still not be truly relaxed and one loses one’s own “neng li” the body’s integrated and unified structural strength.

If one is just soft, one cannot use Taiji as a martial art, it just suffices as exercise. This is why many other disciplines scorn Taiji as a fighting system, because of this misunderstanding of “song” relaxed.

Ren Gang says the body must be turned into a flowing, free-moving entity where one can move in an even, nimble and alive state. Some people like to imagine their bodies move like water, as this conjures up this feeling, but he says to move like air is an even better analogy.

When one is genuinely relaxed, one can not only move smoothly, quickly and naturally to deal with the opponent, but one can face life’s challenges easily too.

Of course, Ren says when one first learns the Taiji form, one needs to have the correct body posture and movement, particularly in relation to the waist and kua (hips).

Sometimes, new practitioners will feel that their body or hips etc are not in the right position, and thus they will feel that their own bones are holding them back; at this juncture it’s very hard to use one’s shen qi (energy).

Once your body postures are correct you can start to move freely and you will start to discover your shen qi.

In Chinese, Ren says, the waist eventually becomes an energetic centre of the body, not a physical muscular or skeletal centre.

At the outset, when one begins learning, students will treat the waist as a physical entity which they will turn and move using bone and muscle, but this is a preliminary stage. The heart “Xin” first decides what to do and tells the waist, (this second energetic centre or second heart and mind) and the waist then controls the energetic field or shen qi and the shen qi moves the rest of the body.

He said that this concept of the waist is not easy for beginners to grasp, but over years of practice one can obtain this feeling of it being a non-physical centre. Without this sensation, he says he would not be able to smoothly and effortlessly remove an attacker’s grab to his throat or body.

If he said, he treated his waist as a hard or physical place, then an attack on his throat in particular, would cause him to tense up and try to resist, thus allowing the attacker to gain an even stronger hold.

When the waist moves, the legs and feet should follow the waist; this is what the principle of the waist being the commander means.

So what is “shen qi”?
When somebody practices Taiji form, they will slowly get a feeling that as they move, the air and energy around them is moving with them. (Taiji is often described as swimming in air.) Later one will feel that one is moving within an energy field, that one is connected to the surrounding environment, and that they can control and move this energy all around them.

This energy is shen qi.

To explain more about the different types of energy connected to the body, Chinese says

“Gu rou de neng liang shi li liang, jing shen de neng liang shi shen qi”.

Basically translated, it just means that physical strength (li liang) is the expression or manifestation of energy (neng liang) from the physical body (gu rou), and an invisible but yet tangible feeling of energy surrounding a person (shen qi) is the manifestation of the (jing shen) spirit’s energy.

When you meet somebody who is usually quite strong and energetic, but who at that time is ill, you will feel that they have no vital force, no shen qi, so you don’t feel intimidated or afraid of them, and are able to overcome them.

He says this kind of invisible energy force and spirit is what drives the body’s movements, not your physical structure that carries out the movements.

In Taiji we should constantly try to practice, develop and enhance this shen qi. In doing so, one will also change not just one’s physical movements but one’s character as well. The more relaxed one becomes, the greater their shen qi will be and the more generous, calm and open one will become.

He said this sense of calmness is a fundamental part of tui shou (push hands), fighting, or life in general.

In push hands or san shou (sparring) one must be calm and still inside. You must allow the opponent to fully take up his position or stance. Let him show you what he intends to do, this way you can clearly see where his faults and weaknesses are, thereby allowing you to take advantage of them and overcome him.

If you act as most people do and immediately try to go against him or react out of anxiety or impatience the moment he opposes you, then you and he become locked in a battle, the outcome of which rests on the big overcoming the small, the strong overcoming the weak, or the fast defeating the slow. None of which are part of Taiji’s internal principles.

Going against him also allows the opponent to espy your weaknesses and utilize them to defeat you.

Here is where the practitioner must again invoke the state of Wu Jie.

In English we use one word to mean “emptiness”, but in Chinese the idea of empty or nothing has many different meanings:

“KONG” – empty or free

“DIU” – empty, lost or without any firm structure or spirit

“MEI YOU” – without, nothing

So the problem for foreign students learning Wushu or the Chinese language itself is how to understand what real emptiness is, as in the state of “Wu Ji”.

We must realize that emptiness is not just nothing, but that it is emptiness and fullness combined. It is nothing and everything in complete harmony.

Before one moves, thinks, talks etc, one is first empty – wu ji. An integrated whole which is in complete harmony with its surroundings.

So, wu ji is in fact a quiet balanced state, where one thing exists peacefully and in harmony with another.

Ren Gang says that in push hands or sparring etc, one must first look upon the opponent not as a separate entity that you must defeat – The Enemy – but as a part of you, a part of your energy circle.

Chinese philosophy looks upon a person as being as one with the earth and sky; they are in harmony not separate. If you can fully realize this and have a sensation of this state, than you can cultivate the feeling that the opponent is also one with you.

But, it’s not just his physical body that is one with you, his spirit and “shen qi” vital energy around him, is part of your energy sphere too.

So in Taiji, we want to first become aware of and later be able to harness this shen qi.

Often people play the form and have a feeling of energy moving the body’s structure, but as soon as they push hands with someone, they go back to using physical strength or their structure, and are more concerned about winning and thus lose control of their shen qi.

In “Nei Jia Quan” internal arts, like Taiji, we want to forget about the body’s structure and strength and utilize the shen qi to move our own body and deal with the opponent.

In Chinese they say the “Xin” heart or unconscious thought controls your waist, the waist controls and moves the shen qi and your shen qi moves the physical body.

If you want to do something, you feel what it is you want to do, and then your body responds.

Ren says that you must train yourself to use your heart (Xin) and waist to control your shen qi and thus change your old habits of the physical body or your rational thought moving the energy.

He said that when one moves, whatever one wants to do or decides to do, the body will just follow precisely what you intend. In push hands, when you see the opportunity to dissipate or strike the opponent, your body immediately obeys this “thought” or feeling with action.

He said if you have to wrestle and struggle to try and overcome the opponent to move him, then this is wrong.

At first, Ren mentioned, your body won’t listen to your intention or your waist, but over time, as you concentrate on this aspect, you will start to cultivate a sensation.

Ren says that he personally doesn’t think that a person’s form postures are so important, for example if your hand is higher, lower etc; but a student’s basic postures and structural position must be correct.

It’s like eating, he said, it doesn’t matter if you use chopsticks or a knife and fork or how you hold them that matters, but that you get the food in your mouth and not your nose that’s important!

Finally I asked him about his hopes for the future of Taiji.

Ren replied that he hopes that all practitioners of Taiji can learn the genuine art, and not have a false impression that Taiji is either an art based on physical strength or some mystical, magical art that is so complex that a student can never master or comprehend it.

He said if he ever reaches a stage where he understands the secrets of Taiji and can use them, then he would certainly want to share this knowledge with everyone, so that all lovers of Taiji can share in the splendour of this wonderful art.Finally, he reiterated, that you must be open and generous in spirit. Your shen qi (an energy field that surrounds you and is interconnected with your spirit) and your “qi liang” (generosity of spirit) is connected, so if you’re a mean person your shen qi will also be small, and you’ll be able to utilize very little of this force. Personally, I think that he is already well on the way to reaching this state, and apart from Master Dong Bin, I can safely say that I have learnt more about Taiji and internal arts in the short time that I have known him, than I have in over twelve years of study from many teachers around the world.

His belief in Buddhism has certainly been instrumental in understanding many of Taiji’s principles, and his generosity in sharing with all who meet him, is a testament to the fact that having an open mind and generous spirit, really does raise and benefit one’s Taiji practiceHopefully those attending the event in Shanghai China in November this year, will have a chance to find out for themselves!

by courtesy of www.doubledragonalliance.com

Sung

Cheng Man Ch’ing

I have been practicing Tai-Chi Chuan for over fifty years. Only two years ago that I started to understand the word “relax”. I remember my Tai-Chi Chuan teacher Yang Cheng-Fu who did not like to talk much and he used to sit all day without saying a word if no one asked him questions. However, in our T’ai-chi class he would tell us to “relax” repeatedly. Sometimes it seemed like he would say the word hundreds of times during the practice so that the word could fill up my ears. Strangely enough he also said that if he did not tell me of this word that I would not be able to learn T’ai-chi in three life-times (meaning never). I doubted his words then. Now that I think back, I truly believe that if he did not keep reminding me of the word “relax”, I doubt if I could have learned T’ai-chi Chuan in six life-times.

What is the meaning of “relax” in T’ai-chi? Here is an example to help you understand the word. When we go visit a Buddhist temple we usually see a statue of Me-Lo Buddha. The one who has a big rounded stomach with a big smile on his face. He carries a large bag on his shoulder. On top of this statue we see a motto: “Sit with a bag. Walk with a bag. It would be such a relief to drop the bag.” What does all this mean? To me, a person himself or herself is a bag. Everything he or she owns is baggage, including one’s children, family, position and wealth. It is difficult to drop any of one’s baggage, especially the “self” bag.

T’ai-chi Chuan is difficult to learn. To relax in practicing T’ai-chi Chuan is the most difficult phase to go through. To relax a person’s mind is the most significant obstacle to overcome in practicing T’ai-Chi. It takes a great effort to train and exercise one’s mind to relax (or drop one’s “self” bag).

Chang San-feng on Chi

Its said that when you breathe out you contact the Root of Heaven and experience a sense of openness, and when you breathe in you contact the Root of Earth and experience a sense of solidity. Breathing out is associated with the fluidity of a dragon, breathing in is associated with strength of a tiger. As you go on breathing in this frame of mind, with these associations, alternating between movement and stillness, it is important that the focus of your mind does not shift.

Let the true breath come and go, a subtle continuum on the brink of exisence. Tune the breathing until you get breath without breathing; become one with it, and the spirit can be solidified and the elixir can be made.

Reference:
A Complete Guide to Chi-gung
by Daniel Reid 2000 (Thomas Cleary Vitality, Energy, Spirit)
ISBN:1570625433

p. 38-39

Two Scholars

Once upon a time in Xinye County, Hunan Province, China, there was a temple known as the Jade Emperor Temple. It was quite far away from town, but many people still liked to visit it. The temple was very popu- lar as it made a lot of people’s wishes come true.

One day, two young scholars, Zhang and Li, were on their way to the capital to take the Imperial Examination and they decided to visit Jade EmperorTemple before they went on to the capital. At that time, the Chi- nese government held this special examination every four years in order to find the most talented people to help them run the country. If they passed with high marks, then they would be very famous in the whole country and earn a lot of respect from other people and be able to get a good position.

Zhang and Li came to the temple. Inside was a table behind which stood a Daoist named Ci Hui. On the table he had a sign which read, ‘Your date tells your life and death. My prediction tells your good and bad. I can save you, if you believe me.’ The two young men looked at the sign and then looked at the Daoist and then said to each other, ‘He does not look like an ordinary man. He looks like an Immortal! Maybe he can tell us our future as we are going for the Imperial Examinations.’ Although they were strangers, the two young gentlemen sat down at the Daoist’s table together and asked Ci Hui if he could tell their fortunes. First, he asked for Zhang’s date of birth and looked at his face.

Then he started to do some calculations on his fingers and murmuring certain words as he touched the pad of each finger with his thumb. This is actually a traditional way to find out the Five Elements for the hour, day, month and year of birth of a person’s horoscope.

He then looked at Zhang and said, ‘Congratulations! You will pass tomorrow’s Imperial Examination with high marks. You are in luck. This is because in your last life, you did a lot of good things and you are going to be rewarded in this life.’ Of course, Zhang was very happy to hear this. He bowed to the old man and paid him and then left to go back to the place where he was staying.

Next the old Daoist looked at Li and did the same calculations and looked at his face. After a few moments, he said to Li, ‘I am sorry, but your fortune is not good. In fact, it is very bad. Forget taking the Imper- ial Examination because today you are going to die. You have this ill fate because in your last life you did a lot of bad things and so now must pay back.’ Li was shocked. He felt all his Qi leave his body and his face become pale. He paid Ci Hui and stumbled from the temple in a daze, feeling his whole life turn upside down.

Zhang, on the other hand, was so full of happy spirits that he was like one in a good dream. He wandered here and there enjoying the scenery around him. He suddenly arrived at a rope bridge that crossed a power- ful river. The bridge was not that stable and only had loose wooden planks as a walkway. As Zhang was crossing over, he accidentally kicked some of the planks and they dropped into the river, leaving a big gap.

He guiltily looked around to see if anyone had seen what he did. When he saw that no one had, he turned quickly to run away. However, as heran back up the pathway, in his hurry he knocked over an old man who was coming around the bend in the path. He did not think about help- ing the old man up, but continued to run.

Li had been also walking and he came to the bridge from the oppo- site side. He was very depressed. As he walked across the bridge, he was so lost in his thoughts that he almost fell into the gap left by the missing planks. The gap was big enough that he could easily have fallen through if he had not caught himself in time. He stood gasping on the bridge with his heart beating fast.

Just then, he looked up to see an old man coming towards him on the other side of the gap. Li thought about what Ci Hui had told him. If hewas going to die today, he thought he would try and do something good and maybe atone for some of the bad things he had done in his previous lifetimes. So he called out to help the old man.

He shouted, ‘Sir, be careful, there is a gap here. You should turn and go back! Don’t come this way!’ The old man replied, ‘But I must go across here as I have to go to my home. My old wife is waiting for me. There is no other way. I am sure that I will be able to find some way to cross.’ Li thought for a moment and then said, ‘OK, how about this. I will lie down and cover the gap and then you can walk over me.’ The old man was very impressed by this and he was able to cross over the gap. He started praising Li for his goodness when suddenly it started to pour down with rain. Li took off his coat and covered the old man and helped him the rest of the way to his home. The old man said to Li, ‘You are a good-hearted person. You must have a good future ahead of you.

Live long and take care.’ Li decided to find a hotel to hide himself in, hoping to avoid any bad fortune that might be the cause of his death. After the dinner, Li went to bed and covered himself with the blanket, waiting to see if he would be able to pass the night alive. Eventually, after much worrying, he fell asleep without even realising it. The next day, he was so surprised when he woke to find the sun shining in his face. He was not dead! He was so excited that he hurried to pay his bill and go back to the Jade Temple to see Ci Hui.

He walked into the temple and saw the old Daoist, the same as yes- terday. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his hands folded as if he was waiting for him. Ci Hui said to Li, ‘Good morning, Mr Li. It is good to see you again. Today, your face is in luck.’ Li said, ‘Sifu, I don’t understand. Yesterday you said I was going to die and yet today you say I am lucky. How can this be?’ Ci Hui laughed loudly. He said, ‘You must have done some good things yesterday. Maybe you did something to help someone else, think- ing about more about their well-being than your own. These good deeds changed your fate.’ The Old Daoist then leaned over the table and clapped his hand on Li’s shoulder and said with a great smile, ‘Hurry up and go to the capital to take the Imperial Examination! You will place number one!’ So Li hurried off to do as he was bid.

After some weeks, the results of the examination were announced, and it came about that Li had, indeed, won first place. He received much attention and praise and became very famous throughout the country. However, Zhang did not place at all and did not get any title.

Upset, Zhang went back to the Jade Emperor Temple to talk to the old Daoist.

He saw Ci Hui sitting in his usual place and he knelt before him and asked, ‘Sifu, when I came to visit you before, you said I was very lucky and that I would come first in the examinations. However, I did not place at all. Why is this?’ Ci Hui said to Zhang, ‘Ask yourself, what did you do in the time before the examination to change your fate?’ He then told Zhang to look at the statue of the Jade Emperor behind him. When Zhang did this, his face went pale. The face of the statue was the exact image of the old man whom he had knocked down that day by the bridge.

Watching Zhang, Ci Hui said, ‘Sometimes we think no one sees our actions. However, all our actions will eventually have their result’.

Reference:
Qi Gong for Healing and Relaxation: Simple Techniques for Feeling Stronger, Healthier and More Relaxed
by Michael Tse
ISBN 0749924675

p. 35-39

Ki Breathing

by Koichi Tohei Sensei

Replenish Ki when sleeping
Sleeping is important to replenish Ki.
Human beings consume Ki constantly while awake. Everyone sees things, listens, smells, tastes and touches things by using their five senses.
All those actions are actions of Ki. Therefore, we need to replenish Ki which we have consumed. Sleeping and Ki breathing are the best way to replenish Ki efficiently. Sleeping is the action to replenish the Ki of the Universe.
At night, when we are asleep, the mind is calm. At that time, the Ki of the Universe fills our bodies. When we awaken after sleeping soundly, Ki is charged fully and our strength is renewed and we feel great.
However, if our brains are in turmoil rather than at rest, this will block an adequate flow of Ki. When we awaken in the morning, because our supply of Ki is not high, we cannot get up immediately and recover mentally and physically, even with10 hours of sleep.
Sleeping medicine reduces the sensitivity of the brain and makes people sleep. When the brain is calm and you sleep soundly, we can replenish the Ki of the universe. However, if you sleep with your brain in a state of dead calmness, you cannot replenish enough of your Ki.
If you regularly use a sleeping medicine because you can’t sleep, you will become Ki deficient soon. You will feel listless and lose motivation for everything. Furthermore, you will lose your vitality and physical strength and become susceptible to diseases.
Because you extend Ki, Ki will go into your mind and body.
An extremely high number of people disregard the need for sleep as a necessity to replenish the Ki of the Universe. They disregard the importance of their sleep time to work longer hours. They get an insufficient supply of Ki and get sick. They then have to use sleeping medicine or they cannot sleep at night. They are carelessly shortening their own lives.
Because people who learn correct Ki development always maintain the one point in the lower abdomen and keep a calm mind, they have no problems with falling asleep quickly. If you have ten or fifteen free minutes during the day and want to sleep, you should be able to sleep calmly.
Pour some water in a tub and stir it up. Now try to calm the water with your hands. You will succeed only in agitating it further. Let the water stand undisturbed a while, and it will calm down by itself.
The human brain works much the same way. When you think, you create waves in your mind. Trying to calm the waves by thinking is only a waste. People who cannot sleep and lie awake thinking, “Go to sleep, go sleep,” are creating more turbulence in their mind.
It is difficult for them to sleep because, as they try to, they are constantly thinking and upsetting their minds. They trouble themselves with thoughts like, “If I don’t get some sleep, I won’t be able to work tomorrow,” and then move on to even more useless reflections about things that are bothering them, until sleep becomes totally impossible. When your mind is upset, lie completely still, and it will calm down by itself. When your mind has calmed down sleep will come.
The old habit of counting to ten until you fall asleep works on the same principle.
You do not have to think about counting to ten, and while you repeat the series mechanically over and over, your mind calms down and you fall asleep. This could help sometimes.
On the other hand, many people find that this kind of simple trick does not work for them.
People of a nervous temperament cannot even count to ten simply, because they cannot stop thinking about the fact that no matter what they do, they can’t fall asleep.
We have to maintain a firm conviction that if we cannot sleep, we might as well be awake. Humans cannot live without sleep, and sooner or later, it will come naturally.
If you are really sleepy, you cannot stay awake. Suffering to put yourself to sleep is foolish. When you are awake, exercise sufficiently; and when you go to bed, you will be able to sleep. If you cannot sleep, do not feel that you absolutely must.
Often the body’s blood rushes to the head and makes it feel hot, leaving the feet cold resulting in making sleep difficult. From olden times, people have correctly held that the healthy way is to have a cool head and warm feet. If you follow this advice, you will find that you can sleep soundly.
In cases like these, practice shifting your concentration by calming your Ki into the one point in the lower abdomen. By doing this, you will be able to sleep soundly anytime, and replenish your Ki.
First, lie on your back with your hands and feet comfortably outstretched. Then, think with all your mind that the blood is continuously flowing down to the tips of your toes. “Mind moves body”, therefore, it will do so. Your blood circulation will improve and your feet will become warm.
When you feel your feet become warm, you will fall asleep. Even before you feel your feet become warm, you many times will fall asleep.
Some people eat and/or drink just before going to bed. However, the purpose of sleeping is to rest both your mind and body fully. Ki is used to digest foods, therefore, Ki is not replenished fully.
The quality of sleep is decided by how well we can exchange Ki of the Universe. It is important to sleep with oneness of mind and body.

Reference:
The article is translation of Koichi Tohei sensei’s book, Ki Breathing by curtesy of Shinichi Tohei universalmind.way-nifty.com

Tai Chi Chuan Method Of Breathing And Chi Direction

Written by Chen Yen Ling
Translated by Tchong Ta-Tchen

Some people call Tai Chi Chuan an “inside family fist”. There are three reasons for doing so. First of all, Confucianism discriminates against foreign influences. Secondly, the Tai Chi Chuan technique concentrates upon grabbing the joints of the opponent;s body so that whatever bodily harm that is inflicted is internal and invisible to the opponent. Third of al, Tai Chi Chuan concentrates upon directing the chi to circulate inside the body (to cultivate vigour, chi and spirit).

The basic breathing of Tai Chi Chuan uses the nose only, not the mouth. This differs from the common people who use the nose to inhale and exhale through the mouth. After mastering Tai Chi Chuan to a higher level, the chi inside the chest can be separate into two levels (usually people call this “pre-birth chi” and “post-birth chi”). When exhaling the upper level chi (post-birth chi) is breathed out from the nose and, at the same time, the lower level chi (pre-birth chi) sinks to the dan tien. When inhaling, the upper level chi is breathed in from the nose and, at the same time, the lower level chi rises from the dan tien, along the spinal cord, to the area between the shoulder blades. When a person can achieve this technique, we call it “unobstructed chi” (the chi is able to circulate through the body freely). Everyone who practises the correct form of Tai Chi Chuan for a certain period of time and to a certain level may achieve this “unobstructed chi”. However, the beginner does not have to concentrate upon this breathing technique, but concentrate instead on the forms for the correct movement and postures. The only requirements for hte beginners are slow moevements, natural breathing, and a relaxation of the entire body. If there is too much pressure to push the chi to sink into the dan tien, it will head in the wrong direction. This may cause interstinal diseases or haemorrhoids may flare up.

After practising to a certain level, we have to know how to breathe. If we do not understand the breathing theory then we cannot strive to attain the highest level of Tai Chi Chuan. The Tai Chi Chuan classic, “Thirteen Postures: Comprehending External and Internal Training”, states:”Able to breathe, one may be agile and alive.” Meaning that the breathing and movements must be coordinated. When one sould exhale, then one must exhale; when one should inhale, on must inhale since inhalation is insubstantial whereas exhalation is substantial. If performed correctly, the body will be agile and alive. Otherwise, one cannot discriminate the substantial and insubstantial, and the meaning of practising Tai Chi Chuan is lost since Tai Chi Chuan emphasizes the substantial and insubstantial.

Usually a teacher teaches the students to learn Tai Chi Chuan in two parts: the internal and the external. The internal is breathing while the external is the forms. If both parts are taught simultaneously and the student is unable to get it right, then there will be difficulties. Therefore, the beginner should let the breathing be natural and not emphasize the breathing technique. In this chapter, we study the breathing knowledge. Therefore we cannot avoid discussing the breathing technique in detail simply due to the above problem.

The details of the method are: when practising the forms, one exhales when extending the arm and inhales when withdrawing the arm; one inhales when rising and exhales when sinking; to lift is to inhale, to lower is to exhale; when opening up, one inhales, when closing, one exhales. When turning the body and in between movements, there should be a “little breathing”. A “little breathing” means taking short breaths quickly and has the quality of relaxation and stoppage. Generally, breathing is used to lead the movement. Themovement must be coordinated with the breathing. The body opens up and the chi closes. The chi opens up and the body closes. In push hands, to push is to exhale; to roll back is to inhale; to ward off is to exhale; to neutralize is to inhale. If one is rolled back by an opponent, there shouldbe a natural “little breathing”. This “little breathing” should direct the mind to calmness. When the mind is calm, then one is able to see and hear the opponent’s movements and void being caught off guard. If one is pressed or pushed by an opponent, one should inhale. However, if one is unable to inhale, then one should exhale because the chi from inhaling circulates to the hands and legs. Therefore when one exhales to the extreme, there should be conversion to inhalation; andwhen one inhales to the extreme, there should be conversion to exhalation. Inhalation and exhalation can be converted alternately.

In big roll back, to strike the face is to exhale; to push is to exhale; to shoulder strike is to exhale; to roll back is to inhale. If one is shoulder struck by an opponent, one should inhale. If one is rolled back by an opponent, there should be “little breathing”. When turning the bodyand just before pushing, a “little breathing” should occur. When performing other footwork and before striking, thre should be a “little breathing” as well so that one is calm and able to see and listen as well as have a sticking power. The method in which the breathing is performed in the use of knives, swords, spears, and sparring is the same as that when practising the forms.

The method to circulate the inner chi is separated into two types: from pre-birth to post-birth and from post-birth to pre-birth. The first is from the front to the back, meaning that the dan tien chi travels down to the hai ti and reverses to the tailbone, travels along the spine to yu zhen up to tian ling, down the forehead and the nose to ren zhong, to the throat, chest, navel and finally back to the dan tien. The second is from the back to the front, meaning that the dan tien chi heads up from the navel to the chest, throat, ren zhong, forehead, reaching tian ling, down to yu zhen and continues along the spine to the tailbone, and finally reaches hai ti and returns to the dan tien. Note, the second is the opposite of the first.

This type of “chi moving method” may seem very vague at the beginning but after a long period of time, one will be able to fully understand and achieve it. These two types of inner chi circulation must be used during solo practice as well as in sparring practice with an opponent and in striking practice. Otherwise, even if the strike is made with much power, it is still not good enough. Tai Chi Chuan masters not only use the inner chi circulation method but can even listen and know the opponent’s inner chi: when it rises or lowers, moves to the front or back, move left, right, up and down. This kind of supreme technique is never achieved until after a few decades of good training. Of course, for the beginner, this is difficult to understand.

Thre are two sounds “Heng” and “Haah” produced when inhaling and exhaling (the great masters can also use mouth or naval to do their inhaling and exhaling). The masters, when they practice, whether in solo or with an opponent, their mouths produce these two sounds naturally for three reasons. Firstly, it makes the internal chi smooth and comfortable; the internal organs will not get hurt by the pressure. Secondly, the internal power can be released completely; none of it remains inside. Thirdly, it scares the opponent (if an opponent experiences fear, their movements become loose or scattered, their mind gets lost, their footwork becomes undisciplined and therefore is unable to defend themselves and one has a chance to win). Therefore, the two sounds of “Heng and Haah” are very useful and the learner must pay close attention to them. One make sthe sond “Heng” when one is neutralizing and the inner chi is inhaled. The sound “Haah” is usually produced when one grabs or strikes and the inner chi is exhaled. The Old Tai Chi Chuan Classic of Ching Chyan Long Dynasty states: “Hold the dan tien to practice internal kung fu. The two chis of Heng Haah are wonderful. Move open, quite close, bend and extend to follow your opponent. Slow or fast, respond, follow the thoery and understand thorughtly.” Another Tai Chi Chuan Classic state: “To apply (push hands) on forth and back earlier or later, to close or to strike is like an arrow. It cultivates a lot. ONe chi “Haah” then push far away. It needs to be taught by mouth and secretly then open the door and see the sky.” From that we can understand the two sounds of “Heng Haah” are marvellous and infinite.

Reference:

The Annotated Theoretical And Practical Tai Chi Chuan by Tchong Ta- Tchen

The Secret Method of Release

The Four Characters: Support, Lead, Relax, and Release
Support the opponent’s power and borrow his force. This involves agility. Lead the opponents power to the front of your body, then begin to store your force. This involves concentration. I relax my force without bending. This involves stillness. I release my force from the waist and feet. This involves completeness.

The important Points in Form, Application, and Power Training
The ancients have said, “If you can entice the opponent to enter and then cause him to fall into emptiness, you may use four ounces to deflect a thousand ponds. If you cannot entice the opponent to enter and then cause him to fall into emptiness, you will not be able to use four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds.” This statement is very deep and has broad applicability; it is beyond the scope of beginners. I will continue with an explanation so that those who have made the decision to study may make progress as they practice. If you want to know your self and know others, you must first give up yourself and follow the opponent. If you want to give up your self and follow the opponent, you must first obtain the opportunity and superior position. If you want to obtain the opportunity and superior position, you must first move the entire body as a coordinated unit. If you want to move your body as a coordinated unit, the whole body must be without misalignment, your spirit and qi must be stimulated. If you want to stimulate your spirit and qi, you must first raise your spirit. If you want to raise your spirit, you must not let your spirit be dispersed externally. If you want to prevent your spirit from being dispersed externally, you must concentrate your spirit and qi in your bones. If you want to concentrate your spirit and qi in your bones, the front of your hips must have power, the shoulders must be relaxed, and the qi sunk downward. The force (jing) must come from the heels, transform in the legs, be stored in the chest, and moved in the shoulders. The leader is the waist. Above, the arms coordinate in attack. Below, the legs follow. The force is changed internally. Withdrawing is closing. Releasing is opening. When still, all is still. Stillness is closing. In the midst of closing is the desire to open. When in motion, everything moves. Movement is opening. Moving through the forms is the gung fu of understanding the self.

Before moving, first check to see if the whole body is conforming to the above described principles. If any part of the body is not in alignment with any of the principles, immediately make corrections. This why the forms must be done slowly and not quickly. Striking Hands (pushing hands) is the gung fu of understanding others, of knowing others in movement and stillness. All this still involves questioning the self. If positioned correctly, as soon as the opponent strikes I do not have to disturb his actions in the slightest but take advantage of his movement and enter. I am assured of borrowing his force. The opponent throws himself. If you are not in a position of power, you still not have remedied the problem of “double-weighting.”1) The answer is found in yin/yang and opening/closing. This is what is meant by “Know yourself and know others, and in a hundred battles you will taste victory a hundred times.”

1) “Double-wieghting” refers to using force directly against the force of the opponent, there by creating two centers or “weights.”

A Study of Taijiquan
by Sun Lutang, Translated by Tim Cartmell
ISBN 1556434626

p. 219-20

Five Energies Meditation

Every day you should spend from twenty minutes to two hours harmonizing and adjusting your internal energy. If you can balance your emotions, you will have no anger or sadness and will not be easily excited. In doing this Five Energies meditation, it does not matter what position you sit in, but it is important that you are not disturbed during the time that you do it. So unplug your telephone.
As you sit, you correspond a specific color to certain internal organs. Begin with the heart and visualize red Ch’i or a soft red cloud that is transformed from your heart and watch it carefully with your internal vision. After a few minutes, watch the red cloud move to the area of the stomach and then gradually change to become yellow. This is a pure mental practice; you need to do it until there is no “me,” only clouds. From the stomach, the cloud moves up to the region of the lungs, expands to cover both lungs, and becomes white. Then, after a while, the white cloud sinks down to the kidneys and bladder where it becomes dark, like the water of the North Sea, deep, dark blue with a little gray in it. This cloud surrounds all your water organs and then moves up to the liver area just to the right of your spleen and gallbladder. When it comes to this region, it changes from blue-black to green. From here, you can begin the cycle over again by moving the green cloud to the heart where it becomes red, and so forth.
Do this cultivation calmly and gently, following theorder I have given you. Do not change the order. Water gives birth to wood energy, which gives birth to fire; fire gives birth to earth, and earth gives birth to metal; metal gives birth to water and the cycle repeats itself. By your visualization, you burn away negative energy, and your internal movements harmonize your sexual energy beautifully. People are made of living energy. Someday the physical house of your soul will die, but these five clouds will be your new home that can carry you flying. The minimum goal of this practice is to fortify your energy and balance yourself.
Be gentle when you do it; be gentle when you stop it. After several circulations, you should take a break or stop. If you have done the circulation for two hours, then slow down before you bring it to a close. Collect your energy back to its original order. just calm down. You do not need to use strength to do it. Use your gentle mind.
The second stage of the Five Cloud Meditation is to sit quietly and visualize the center of the chest or the area one half inch above the navel. I recommend that women use the point in the center of the chest.

Reference:
Entering the Tao by Master Huang Ni

Spirit – Shen Concentrated

Having the above four, then you can return to concentrated spirit: if the spirit is concentrated, then it is (continuous and) uninterrupted, and the practice of chi (breath) returns to the shen (spirit). The manifestation of chi moves with agility. (When) the spirit is concentrated, opening and closing occur appropriately, and the differentiation of substantial and inubsubstantial is clear. If the left is insubstantial, the right is substantial, and vice-versa. Insubstantial does not mean completely without strength. The manifestation of the chi must be agile. Substantial does not mean completely limited. The spirit must be completely concentrated. It is important to be completely in the mind (heart) and waist, and not outside.

Not being outside or separated, force is borrowed from the opponent, and the chi is relased from the spine. How is the chi released from the spine? It sinks downward from the two shoulders, gathers to the spine, and pours to the waist. This is chi’i from the up to down is called “closed”. From the waist the chi mobilizes to the spine, spreads to the two arms and flows to the fingers. This is chi from down to up and is called “opened”. Closed is gathering, and opened is discharging. When you opening and closing, then you know yin and yang. Reaching this level your skill will progress with the days and can do as you wish.

Red.: from Li Yi Yu’s Five Character Secret (Calm, Agility, Breath – to gather the chi, The internal force – the complete chin, Spirit – Shen concentrated).

Reference: T’Ai Chi Ch’Uan Ta Wen, Questions and Answers on T’Ai Chi Boxing Chen Wei-Ming ( Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo & Robert W. Smith ) North Atlantic Books 1985
ISBN: 0938190776

Page: 55

Sitting Still Doing Nothing

Let the Void be your cauldron; let Nature be your furnace; for your primary ingredient, take stillness; for your reagent; use quietude; for mercury, take your vital essence; for lead, use your vital energy; for water, use restraint; for fire, take meditation.

[Union of the Triple Equation]

Triple Equation of essence, energy and spirit unites to form the Golden Elixir of immortality during deep meditation. According to Master Chao Pi Chen the generative force changes into vitality when the body is still; vitality changes into spirit when the heart is unstirred; and spirit returns to nothingnessb because of immutable thought. The Elixir Field (Dantien) under the navel is where the genrative force [essence] is sublimated into vitality [energy]; the middle Elixir Field in the solar plexus (Middle Dantien) is where vitality is sublimated into spirit; and the upper Elixir Field in the brain (Upper Dantien) is where spirit is sublimated for its flight into space.

“When the mind is stilled, the spirit radiates a brilliance that illuminates all the great mysteries of the universe”. Chao Pi Chen

Reference: The Tao of Health, Sex & Longevity by Daniel P. Reid
ISBN 067164811X

P. 373

The Golden Flower

By Master Lu Tzu

1. Heavenly Consciousness of the Heart
Master Lu Tzu said: That which exists through itself is called Meaning. (Tao). Meaning has neither name nor force. It is the one essence, the one primordial spirit. Essence and life cannot be seen. It is contained in the Light of Heaven. The light of Heaven cannot be seen. It is contained in the two eyes. Today I will be your guide and will first reveal to you the secret of the Golden Flower of the Great One, and, starting from that, I will explain the rest in detail.

The Great One is the term given to that which has nothing above it. The secret of the magic of life consists in using action in order to achieve non-action. One must not wish to leave out the steps between and penetrate directly. The maxim handed down to us is to take in hand the work on the essence. In doing this it is important not to follow the wrong road.

The Golden Flower is the Light. What color has the light? One uses the Golden Flower as an image. It is the true power of the transcendent Great One. The phrase, “The lead of the water-region has but one taste,” refers to it. The work on the circulation of the Light depends entirely on the backward-flowing movement, so that the thoughts are gathered together (the place of Heavenly Consciousness, the Heavenly Heart). The Heavenly Heart lies between sun and moon (i.e., the two eyes).

The Book of the Yellow Castle says: In the field of the square inch of the house of the square foot, life can be regulated. The house of the square foot is the face. The field of the square inch in the face: What could that be other than the Heavenly Heart? In the middle of the square inch dwells the splendor. In the purple hall of the city of jade dwells the god of utmost emptiness and life.

The Confucians call it the center of emptiness; the Buddhists, the terrace of life; the Taoists, the ancestral land, or the yellow castle, or the dark pass, or the space of former Heaven. The Heavenly Heart is like the dwelling place, the Light is the master. Therefore when the Light circulates, the powers of the whole body arrange themselves before its throne, just as when a holy king has taken possession of the capital and has laid down the fundamental rules of order, all the states approach with tribute, or, just as when the master is quiet and calm, men-servants and maids obey his orders of their own accord, and each does his work.

Therefore you only have to make the Light circulate: that is the deepest and most wonderful secret. The Light is easy to move, but difficult to fix. If it is allowed to go long enough in a circle, then it crystallizes itself: that is the natural spirit -body. This crystallized spirit is formed beyond the nine Heavens. It is the condition of which it is said in the Book of the Seal of the Heart: Silently in the morning thou fliest upward.

In carrying out this fundamental truth you need to seek for no other methods, but must only concentrate your thoughts on it. The book Leng Yen says: By collecting the thoughts one can fly and will be born in Heaven. Heaven is not the wide blue sky, but the place where the body is made in the house of the creative. If one keeps this up for a long time, there develops quite naturally in addition to the body, yet another spirit-body.

The Golden Flower is the Elixir of Life (literally, golden ball, golden pill). All changes of spiritual consciousness depend upon the Heart. Here is a secret charm, which, although it works very accurately, is yet so fluent that it needs extreme intelligence and clarity, and complete absorption and calm. People without this highest degree of intelligence and understanding do not find the way to apply the charm; People without this utmost capacity for concentration and calm cannot keep fast hold of it.

2. The Primordial Spirit and the Conscious Spirit
Master Lu Tzu said: In comparison with Heaven and earth, man is like a mayfly. But compared to the Great Meaning, Heaven and earth, too, are like a bubble and a shadow. Only the primordial spirit and the true essence overcome time and space.         

The power of the seed, like Heaven and earth, is subject to mortality, but the primordial spirit is beyond the polar differences. Here is the place whence Heaven and Earth derive their being. When students understand how to grasp the primordial spirit, they overcome the polar opposites of Light and darkness and tarry no longer in the three worlds. But only he who has looked on essence in its original manifestation is able to do this.

When men are set free from the womb the primordial spirit dwells in the square inch (between the eyes), but the conscious spirit dwells below in the heart. This lower fleshly heart has the shape of a large peach: it is covered by the wings of the lungs, supported by the liver, and served by the bowels. This heart is dependent on the outside world. If a man does not eat for one day even, it feels extremely uncomfortable. If it hears something terrifying it throbs; if it hears something enraging it stops; if its is faced with death it becomes sad; if it sees something beautiful it is dazzled.

But the Heavenly Heart in the head, when would it have been in the leased moved? Dost thou ask: Can the Heavenly Heart not be moved? Then I answer: How could the true thought in the square inch be moved? If it really moves, it is not well. For when ordinary men die, then it moves, but that is not good. It is best indeed if the Light has already fortified itself in a spirit body and its life force gradually penetrated the instincts and movements. But that is a secret which has not been revealed for thousands of years.

The lower heart moves like a strong, powerful commander who despises the Heavenly ruler because of his weakness, and has seized for himself the leadership of the affairs of state. But when the primordial castle can be fortified and defended, then it is as if a strong and wise ruler sat upon the throne. The two eyes start the Light circulating like two ministers at the right and left who support the ruler with all their might. When the ruler in the center is thus in order, all those rebellious heroes will present themselves with lances reversed ready to take orders.

The way to the Elixir of life recognizes as supreme magic, seed-water, spirit-fire, and thought-earth; these three. What is seed-water? It is the true, one power (eros) of former Heaven. Spirit-fire is the Light (logos). Thought-earth is the Heavenly Heart of the middle house (intuition). Spirit-fire is used for effecting, thought-earth for substance, and seed-water for the foundation. Ordinary men make their bodies through thoughts.

The body is not only the 7 ft. tall outer body. In the body is the anima. The anima, having produced consciousness, adheres to it. Consciousness depends for its origin on the anima. The anima is feminine, the substance of consciousness. As long as this consciousness is not interrupted, it continues to beget from generation to generation, and the changes of form of the anima and the transformations of substance are unceasing.

But, besides this, there is the animus in which the spirit shelters. The animus lives in the daytime in the eyes; at night it houses in the liver. When living in the eyes, it sees; when housing itself in the liver, it dreams. Dreams are the wanderings of the spirit through all nine Heavens and all the nine earths. But whoever is dull and moody on waking, and chained to his bodily form, is fettered by the anima.

Therefore the concentration of the animus is effected by the circulation of the Light, and in this way the spirit is protected, the anima subjected, and consciousness is annulled. The method used by the ancients for escaping from the world consisted in burning out completely the slag of darkness in order to return to the purely creative. This is nothing more than a reduction of the anima and a bringing to perfection of the animus. And the circulation of the Light is the magical means of limiting the dark powers and gaining mastery of the anima. Even if the work is not directed toward bringing back the creative, but confines itself to the magical means of the circulation, one returns to the creative, If this method is followed, plenty of seed-water will be present of itself; the spirit-fire will be ignited, and the thought-earth will solidify and crystallize. And thus can the holy fruit mature.

The scarab rolls his ball and in the ball there develops life as the effect of the undivided effort of his spiritual concentration. If now and embryo can grow in manure, and shed its skin, why should not the dwelling place of our Heavenly Heart also be able to create a body if we concentrate the spirit upon it?

The one effective, true essence (logos united with life), when it descends into the house of the creative, divides into animus and anima. The animus is in the Heavenly Heart. It is of the nature of light; it is the power of lightness and purity. It is that which we have received from the great emptiness, that which has form from the very beginning.

The anima partakes of the nature of darkness. It is the power of the heavy and the turbid; it is bound to the bodily, fleshly heart. The animus loves life. The anima seeks death. All sensuous pleasures and impulses to anger are effects of the anima; it is the conscious spirit which after death is nourished on blood, but which, during life, is in direst need. Darkness returns to darkness and like things attract each other. But the pupil understands how to distill the dark anima so that it transforms itself into Light.

3. Circulation of the Light and Protection of the Center
Master Lu Tzu said: Since when has the expression “circulation of the Light” been revealed? It was revealed by the “true men of the beginning of form”. When the Light is allowed to move in a circle, all the powers of Heaven and earth, of the light and the dark, are crystallized. That is what is described as seed-like, or purification of the power, or purification of the concept.

When one begins to apply this magic, it is as if, in the middle of one’s being, there was a non-being. When in the course of time the work is finished, and beyond the body is another body, it is as if, in the middle of the non-being, there were a being. Only after a completed work of a hundred days will the Light be real, then only will it become spirit-fire.

After a hundred days, there develops by itself in the middle of the Light, a point of the true Light-pole. Suddenly there develops a seed pearl. It is as if man and woman embraced and a conception took place. Then one must be quite still in order to await it. The circulation of the Light is the epoch of fire.

In the midst of primal becoming, the radiance of the Light is the determining thing. In the physical world it is the sun; in man the eye. The emanation and dissemination of spiritual consciousness is chiefly brought about by this power when it is directed outward (flown downward). Therefore the meaning of the Golden Flower depends wholly on the backward-flowing method.

Circulation of the Light is not only a circulation of the seed-blossom of the body, but it is, in the first place, a circulation of the true, creative, formative powers. It has to do, not with a momentary fantasy, but with the exhaustion of the circular course (soul wanderings) of all the eons. Therefore a breath-pause means a year – according to human reckoning – and a hundred years measured by the long night of the nine paths (of reincarnation).

After a person has the one tone of individualization behind them, they will be born outward according to the circumstances, and not until he is old will he turn a single time to the backward-flowing way. The force of the Light exhausts itself and trickles away. That brings the nine-fold darkness (of rebirths) into the world.

In the book Leng Yen it is said: By concentrating the thoughts, one can fly; by concentrating the desires, one falls. When a pupil takes little care of his thoughts and much care of his desires, he gets into the path of depravity. Only through contemplation and quietness does true intuition arise; for that, the backward-flowing method is necessary.

In the book of the Secret Correspondences, it is said: Release is in the eye. In the Simple Questions of the Yellow Ruler, it is said: The seed-blossom of the human body must be concentrated upward in the empty space. That refers to it. Immortality is contained in this sentence and also the overcoming of the world is contained in it. That is the common goal of all religions.

The Light is not in the body alone, neither is it only outside the body. Mountains and rivers and the great earth are lit by sun and moon; all that is this Light. Therefore it is not only within the body. Understanding and clarity, knowing and enlightenment, and all motion (of the spirit), are likewise this Light; therefore it is not just something outside the body. The Light-flower of Heaven and earth fills all thousand spaces.

But also the Light-flower of one body passes through Heaven and covers the earth. Therefore, just as the Light is circulating, so Heaven and earth, mountains and rivers, are all rotating with it at the same time. To concentrate the seed-flower of the human body above in the eyes, that is the great key of the human body. Children, take heed! If for a day you do not practice meditation, this Light streams out, who knows whither? If you only meditate for a quarter of an hour, you can set ten thousand eons and a thousand births at rest. All methods take their source in quietness. This marvelous magic cannot be fathomed.

But when the work is started, one must press on from the obvious to the profound, from the course to the fine. Everything depends on there being no interruption. The beginning and the end of the work must be one. In between there are cooler and warmer moments, that goes without saying. But the goal must be to reach the breadth of Heaven and the depths of the sea, so that all methods seem quite easy and taken for granted. Only then do we have it in hand.

All holy men have bequeathed this to one another: nothing is possible without contemplation. When Confucious says: knowing brings one to the goal; or when Buddha calls it: the view of the Heart; or Lao Tzu says: inward vision, it is all the same.

Anyone can talk about reflection, but he cannot master it if he does not know what the word means. What has to be changed by reflection is the self-conscious heart, which has to direct itself toward that point where the formative spirit is not yet manifest. Within our 6 ft. body, we must strive for the form which existed before the laying down of Heaven and earth. If today people sit and meditate only one or two hours, looking only at their own egos, and call it contemplation, how can anything come of it?

The two founders of Buddhism and Taoism have taught that one should look at the end of one’s nose. But they did not mean that one should fasten one’s thoughts to the end of the nose. Neither did they mean that, while the eyes were looking at the end of the nose, the thoughts should be concentrated on the yellow middle. Wherever the eye looks, the heart is directed also. How can the glance be directed at the same time upward (yellow middle), and downward (end of the nose), or alternating, so that it is now up, now down? All that means confusing the finger with which one points to the moon with the moon itself.

What is really meant by this? The expression, “end of the nose,” is very cleverly chosen. The nose must serve the eyes as a guiding line. If one is not guided by the nose, either one opens wide the eyes and looks into the distance, so that the nose is not seen, or the lids shut too much, so that the eyes close, and again the nose is not seen. But when the eyes are opened too wide, one makes the mistake of directing them outward, whereby one is easily distracted. If they are closed too much then one makes the mistake of letting them turn inward, whereby one easily sinks into a dreamy reverie.

Only when the eyelids are sunk properly halfway, is the end of the nose seen in just the right way. Therefore it is taken as a guiding line. The main thing is to lower the eyelids in the right way, and then allow the Light to stream in of itself, without trying to force the Light to stream in by a concentrated effort. Looking at the nose serves only as the beginning of the inner concentration, so that the eyes are brought into the right direction for looking, and then are held to the guiding line; after that, one can let it be. That is the way a mason hangs up a plumb line. As soon as he has hung it up, he guides his work by it without continually bothering himself to look at the plumb line. Fixating contemplation is a Buddhist method which by no means has been handed down as a secret.

On looks with both eyes at the end of the nose, sits upright and in a comfortable position, and holds the heart to the center in the midst of conditions (on the fixed pole in the flight of phenomena). In Taoism it is called the yellow middle, in Buddhism the center in the midst of conditions. The two are the same. It does not necessarily mean the middle of the head. It is only a matter of fixing one’s thinking on the point that lies exactly between the two eyes. Then all is well. The Light is something extremely mobile. When one fixes the thought on the midpoint between the two eyes, the Light streams in of its own accord. It is not necessary to direct the attention especially to the central castle. In these few words the most important thing is contained.

“The center in the midst of conditions,” is a very fine expression. The center is omnipresent; everything is contained in it; it is connected with the release of the release of the whole process of creation. The condition is the portal. The condition, that is the fulfillment of this condition, makes the beginning, but it does not bring about the rest with inevitable necessity. The meaning of these two words is very fluid and subtle.

Fixating contemplation is indispensable, it ensures the strengthening of illumination. Only one must not stay sitting rigidly if worldly thoughts come up, but one must examine where the thought is, where it began, and where it fades out. Nothing is gained by pushing reflection further, One must be content to see where the thought arose, and not seek beyond the point of origin; for to find the heart (consciousness), to get behind consciousness with consciousness – that cannot be done.

We want to bring the status of the heart together in rest – that is true contemplation. What contradicts it is false contemplation. This leads to no goal. When the flight of thoughts keeps extending farther, one should stop and begin contemplating. Let one contemplate and then start concentrating again. That is the double method of strengthening the illumination. It means the circular course of the light. The circular course is fixation. The Light is contemplation. Fixation without contemplation is circulation without Light. Contemplation without fixation is Light without circulation.

4. Circulation of the Light and Making the Breathing Rhythmical
Master Lu Tzu said: The decision must be carried out with a whole heart, and, the result no sought for; the result will come of itself. In the first period of release there are chiefly two mistakes: laziness and distraction. But that can be remedied; the heart must not enter into the breathing too completely. Breathing comes from the heart. What comes out of the heart is breath. When the heart stirs, there develops breath-power. Breath-power is originally transformed activity of the heart.

When our hearts go very fast they imperceptibly pass into fantasies which are always accompanied by the drawing of a breath, because this inner and outer breathing hangs together like tone and echo. Daily we draw innumerable breaths and have an equal number of fantasy-representations. And thus the clarity of the spirit is depleted just as wood dries out and ashes die.

Should a man have no images in his mind? One cannot be without images. Should one not breathe? One cannot do without breathing. The best way is to make a cure out of the illness. Since heart and breath are mutually dependent, the circulation of the Light must be united with the rhythm of breathing.

For this, Light of the ear is above all necessary. There is a Light of the eye and a Light of the ear. The Light of the eye is the united Light of the sun and moon outside. The Light of the ear is the united seed of sun and moon within. The seed is also the Light in crystallized form. Both have the same origin and are different only in name. Therefore, understanding (ear) and clarity (eye) are one and the same effective Light.

In sitting down, after dropping the lids, one establishes a plumb-line with the eyes and shifts the Light downward. But if the transposition downward is not successful, then the heart is directed toward listening to the breathing. One should not be able to hear with the ear the outgoing and inhaling of the breath. What one hears is that it has no tone. As soon as it has tone, the breathing is rough and superficial, and does not penetrate into what is fine.

Then the heart must be made quite light and insignificant. The more it is released, the less important it becomes; the less important, the quieter. All at once it becomes so quiet that it stops. Then the true breathing is manifested and the form of the heart can be made conscious. When the heart is light, the breathing is light, for every movement of the heart brings about breathing power. If breathing is light, the heart is light, for every movement of the breath affects the heart. In order to steady the heart, one begins by cultivating the breathing power. The heart cannot be influenced directly. Therefore the breathing power is used as a handle, and this is what is called protecting the collected breathing power.

Children, do you not understand the nature of motion? Motion can be produced by outside means. It is only another name for mastery. One can make the heart move merely by running. Should one not be able to bring it to rest then by concentrated quietness? The great holy ones who knew how the heart and breathing power mutually influence one another, have thought out an easier procedure as a way of helping posterity.

In the Book of the Elixir, it is said: The hen can hatch her eggs because her heart is always listening. That is an important magic spell. The reason the hen can hatch her eggs is because of the power to heat. But the power of the heat can only warm the shells; it cannot penetrate into the interior. Therefore with her heart she conducts this power inward.

This she does with her hearing. In this way ash concentrates her whole heart. When the heart penetrates, the power penetrates, and the chick receives the power of the heart and begins to live. Therefore a hen, even when she has left her eggs, always has the attitude of listening with a bent ear. Thus the concentration of the spirit is not interrupted.

Because the concentration of the spirit suffers no interruption, neither does the power of heat suffer interruption day or night, and the spirit awakes to life. The awakening of the spirit is accomplished because the heart has first died. When a man can let his heart die, then the primordial spirit wakes to life. To kill the heart does not mean to let it dry and wither away, but it means that it is undivided and gathered into one.

Buddha said: When you fix your heart on one point, then nothing is impossible for you. The heart easily runs away, so it is necessary to gather it together by means of breathing power. Breathing power easily becomes coarse, therefore it has to be refined by the heart. When that is done, can it then happen that it is not fixed?

The two mistakes of laziness and distraction must be combated by quiet work that is carried on daily without interruption; then results will certainly be achieved. If one is not seated during meditation, one will often be distracted without noticing it. To become conscious of the inattention is the mechanism by which to do away with inattention.

Laziness of which a man is conscious, and laziness o f which he is unconscious, are many miles apart. Unconscious laziness is real laziness; conscious laziness is not complete laziness, because there is still some clarity in it. Distraction comes from letting the spirit wander about; laziness comes from the spirit not yet being pure. Distraction is much easier to correct than laziness. It is as in sickness if one feels pains and itches, one can help them with remedies, but laziness is like a disease that is attended by loss of feeling. Distraction can be overcome, confusion can be straightened out, but laziness and absent-minded are heavy and dark. Distraction and confusion at least have a place, but in laziness and absent-mindedness the anima alone is active.

In inattention the animus is still present, but in laziness pure darkness rules. If one becomes sleepy during meditation, that is an effect of laziness. Breathing alone serves to remove laziness. Although the breath that flows in and out through the nose is not the true breath, the flowing in and out of the true breath is connected with it.

While sitting, one must, therefore, always keep the heart quiet and the power concentrated. How can the heart be made quiet? By breathing. The heart alone must be conscious of the flowing in and out of the breath; it must not be heard with the ears. If it is not heard, then the breathing is light; if light, it is pure. If it can be heard, then the breathing power is heavy; if heavy, then it is troubled; if it is troubled, then laziness and absent-mindedness develop and one wants to sleep. That is self-evident.

How to use heart correctly during breathing must be understood. It is use without use. One need only let the Light fall quite gently on the hearing. This sentence contains a secret meaning. What does it mean to let the Light fall? It is the radiance of the Light of one’s own eyes. The eye looks inward and not outward. To sense brightness without looking outward means to look inward; it has nothing to do with an actual looking within.

What does hearing mean? It is hearing the Light of one’s own ear. The ear listens only within and does not listen to what is outside. To sense brightness without listening to what is outside, is to listen to what is within; it has nothing to do with actually listening to what is within. In this sort of hearing, one only hears that there is no sound; in this kind of seeing, one only sees that no shape is there. If the eye is not looking outward and the ear is not harkening outward, they close themselves and are inclined to sink inward. Only when one looks and harkens inward does the organ not go outward nor sink inward. In this way laziness and absent-mindedness are done away with. That is the union of the seed and the Light of the sun and moon.

If, as a result of laziness, one becomes sleepy, one should stand up and walk about. When the spirit has become clear one can sit down again. If there is time in the morning, one may sit during the burning of an incense candle, that is the best. In the afternoon, human affairs interfere and one can therefore easily fall into laziness. It is not necessary to have an incense candle. But one must lay aside all complications and sit quite still for a time. In the course of time there will be success without one’s getting lazy and falling asleep.

5. Mistakes During the Circulation of the Light
Master Lu Tzu said: Your work will gradually draw itself together and mature, but before you reach the condition in which you sit like a withered tree before a cliff, there are many other possibilities of error which I would ;like to bring to your special attention.

These conditions are only recognized when they have been personally experienced. I will enumerate them here, My school differs from the Buddhist yoga school, in that it has confirmatory signs for each step of the way. First I would like to speak of the mistakes and then the confirmatory signs.

When one sets out to carry out one’s decision, care must be taken to see that everything can proceed in a comfortable, easy manner. Too much must not be demanded of the heart. On must be careful t hat, quite automatically, heart and power correspond to one another. Only then can a state of quietness be attained. During the quiet state the right conditions and the right place must be provided. One must not sit down (to meditate) in the midst of frivolous affairs. That is to say, one must not have any vacuities in the mind. All entanglements must be put aside and one must be supreme and independent. Nor must the thoughts be directed toward the right procedure. If too much trouble is taken there is danger of doing this. I do not mean that no trouble is to be taken, but the right behavior lies in the middle way between being and non-being. If one can attain purposelessness through purpose, then the thing has been grasped. Supreme and without confusion, one goes along in an independent way. Furthermore, one must not fall victim to the ensnaring world. The ensnaring world is where the five kinds of dark demons disport themselves.

This is the case, for example, when, after fixation, one has chiefly thoughts of dry wood and dead ashes, and few thoughts of the resplendent spring on the great earth. In this way one sinks into the world of darkness. The power is cold there, breathing is heavy, and many images of coldness and decay display themselves. If one tarries there long one enters the world of plants and stones.

Nor must a man be led astray by the ten thousand ensnarements. This happens if, after the quiet state has begun, one after another all sorts of ties suddenly appear. One wants to break through them and cannot; one follows them, and feels relieved by this. This means the matter has become a servant. If a man tarries in this state long he enters the world of illusory desires.

At best, one goes to Heaven; at the worst, one goes among the fox-spirits. Such a fox-spirit might also occupy himself in the famous mountains enjoying the wind and the moon, the flowers and fruits, and taking his pleasure in coral trees and jeweled grass. But after he has been occupied thus for three to five hundred years, or at the most, for a couple of thousand years, his reward is over and he is born again into the world of turmoil.

All of these are wrong paths. When a man knows the wrong paths, he can then inquire into the confirmatory signs.

6. Confirmatory Experiences During the Circulation of the Light
Master Lu Tzu said: There are many kinds of confirmatory experiences. One must not content oneself with small demands but must rise to the thought that all living creatures have to be freed. It is not permissible to be trivial and irresponsible in heart. One must strive to make deeds one’s words.

If, when there is quiet, the spirit has continuously and uninterruptedly a sense of great gaiety as if intoxicated or freshly bathed, it is a sign that the Light principle in the whole body is harmonious; then the Golden Flower begins to bud. When, furthermore, all openings are quiet, and the silver moon stands in the middle of Heaven, and one has the feeling that the great earth is a world of light and brilliancy, that is a sign that the body of the heart opens itself to clarity. It is a sign that the Golden Flower is opening.

Furthermore, the whole body feels strong and firm so that it fears neither storm nor frost. Things by which other men are displeased, when I meet them, cannot cloud the brightness of the seed of the spirit. Yellow gold fills the house; the steps are white jade. Rotten and stinking things on earth that come in contact with one breath of true power will immediately live again. Red blood becomes milk. The fragile body of the flesh is sheer gold and diamonds. That is a sign that the Golden Flower is crystallized.

The Book of Successful contemplation says: The sun sinks in the Great Water and magic pictures of trees in rows arise. The setting sun means that in Chaos (in the world before phenomena, that is, intelligible world), a foundation is laid: that is the condition free of opposites. Highest good is like water, pure and spotless. It is the ruler of the Great Polarity, the god who is revealed in the sign for that which greatly disturbs, Chen. Chen is also symbolized by wood, wherefore the images of trees in rows appears. A sevenfold row of trees means the light of the seven body-openings (or heart-openings). In the northwest is the direction of the creative. When it moves on one place farther, the abysmal is there. The sun which sinking into the Great Water is the image for the creative and abysmal. The abysmal is the direction of midnight (mouse, north). At the winter solstice the thunder (Chen) is in the middle of the earth quite hidden and covered up. Only when the sign Chen is reached, does the Light-pole come over the earth again. That is the picture representing the row of trees. The rest can be correspondingly inferred.

The second part refers to the building of the foundation on this. The great world is like ice, a glassy world of jewels. The brilliancy of the Light is gradually crystallized. That is why a great terrace arises and upon it, in the course of time, Buddha appears. When the Golden Being appears who should it be but Buddha? For Buddha is the Golden Saint of the Great Enlightenment. This is a great confirmatory experience.

Now there are these confirmatory experiences which can be tested. The first is that, when one has entered the state of meditation, the gods are in the valley. Men are heard talking as though at a distance of several hundred paces, each one quite clear. But the sounds are all like an echo in a valley. One can always hear them, but never oneself. This is called the presence of the gods in the valley.

At times the following can be experienced: as soon as one is quiet, the Light of the eyes begins to blaze up, so that everything before one becomes quite bright as if one were in a cloud. If one opens one’s eyes and seeks the body, it is not to be found any more. This is called: In the empty chamber it grows light. Inside and outside, everything is equally light. That is a very favorable sign. Or, when one sits in meditation, the fleshly body becomes quite shining like silk or jade. It seems difficult to remain sitting; one feels as if drawn upward. This is called: The spirit returns and pushes against Heaven. In time, one can experience it in such a way that one really floats upward.

And now it is possible to leave all three of these experiences. But not everything can be expressed. Different things appear to each person according to his gifts. If one experiences these things, it is a sign of a good aptitude. With these things it is just as it is when one drinks water. One can tell for oneself whether the water is swarm or cold. In the same way a man must convince himself about these experiences, then only are they real.

7. The Living Manner of the Circulation of the Light
Master Lu Tzu said: When there is gradual success in producing the circulation of the Light, a person must not give up their ordinary occupation in doing it. The ancients said: When occupations come to us, we must accept them; when things come to us, we must understand them from the ground up. If the occupations are regulated by correct thoughts, the Light is not scattered by outside things, but circulates according to its own law.

Even the still-invisible circulation of the Light gets started this way, how much more then is it the case with the true circulation of the Light which has already manifested itself clearly. When in ordinary life one has the ability always to react to things by reflexes only, without any admixture of a thought of others or of himself, that is a circulation of the Light arising out of circumstances. It is the first secret.

8. A Magic Spell for the Far Journey
Master Lu Tzu said: Yu Ching has left behind him a magic spell for the Far Journey:

Words crystallize the spirit in the place of power.
The sixth month the white snow is suddenly seen to fly.
The third watch the disk of the sun sends out shining rays.
The water blows the wind of gentleness.
Wandering in Heaven, one eats the spirit-power of the receptive.
The deeper secret within the secret:
land that is nowhere, that is the true home. 

These verses are full of mystery. The meaning is: The most important thing in the Great Meaning is the four words: non-action in action. Non-action prevents a person from becoming entangled in form and image (substantiality). Action in non-action prevents a person from sinking into numbing emptiness and a dead nothingness. The effect is in the two eyes. The two eyes are like the pole of the Great Wain which turns the whole of creation; the cause the poles of Light and darkness to rotate. The Elixir depends from beginning to end on the One; the metal in the middle of the water, that is, the lead in the water-region. Heretofore we have spoken of the circulation of the Light, indicating thereby the initial release which works from without upon what lies within. This is to aid one in obtaining the Master. It is for the pupils in the beginning stages. They go through the two lower transitions in order to gain the upper one. After the sequence of events is clear and the nature of the release is known, Heaven no longer withholds the Meaning, but reveals the ultimate truth. Disciples keep it secret and hold to it strictly!

The circulation of the Light is the inclusive term. The further the work advances, the more can the Golden Flower bloom. But there is a still more marvelous kind of circulation. Til now we have worked from the outside on what is within; now we tarry in the center and rule what is external. Hitherto, it was a service in aid of the Master; now it is a dissemination of the commands of this Master. The whole relationship is now reversed. If one wants to penetrate the more delicate regions by this method, one must first see to it that the body and heart are completely controlled, that one is quite free and at peace, letting go of all entanglements, untroubled by the slightest excitement, with the Heavenly Heart exactly in the middle. Then let one lower the lids of the two eyes as if one received a holy edict, a summons to the minister. Who would dare disobey? Then one illumines the house of the abysmal (water) with both eyes. Wherever the Golden Flower appears, the true Light of polarity goes out to meet it. The principle of that which adheres to (lightness), is light outside and dark within; it is the body of the creative. Darkness enters and becomes master. The results is that the heart (consciousness), becomes dependent on things, is directed outward, and is tossed about on the stream. When the rotating Light shines within the heart, it does not become dependent on things, the power of the dark is limited, and the Golden Flower shines with concentration. It is then the collected Light of polarity. Things that are related attract each other. Thus does the polarity Light-line of the abysmal press upward. It is not only the Light in the abyss, but it is creative Light meeting creative Light. As soon as these two substances meet each other, they unite inseparably, and unceasing life begins; it comes and goes, and rises and falls of itself, in the house of primordial power. One is aware of effulgence and infinity. The whole body feels lighter and would like to fly. This is the state of which it is said: Clouds fill the thousand mountains. Gradually it (life) goes here and there quite quietly; it rises and falls imperceptibly. The pulse stands still and breathing stops. This is the moment of true creative unity, the state of which it is said: The moon gathers up the ten thousand waters. In the midst of this darkness, the Heavenly Heart suddenly begins a movement. This is the return of the one Light, the time when the child comes to life.

But the details of this must be carefully explained. When a person looks at something, listens to something, eyes and ears move and follow the things until they have passed. These movements are all underlings, and when the Heavenly ruler follows them in their tasks, it means: To live together with demons.

If now, during every movement and every moment of rest, a person lives together with people and not with demons, then the Heavenly ruler is the t rue man. When he moves and we move with him, the movement is the root of Heaven. When he is quiet and we are quiet with him, this quietness is the cave of the moon. When he continues to alternate movement and quietness, one ought to go on with him unceasingly in movement and quietness. If he rises and falls with inhaling and exhaling, we must rise and fall with him. That is what is called going to and fro between the root of Heaven and the cave of the moon.

When the Heavenly Heart still preserves calm, movement before the right time is a fault of softness. When the Heavenly Heart has already moved, the movement that follows afterwards, corresponding with it, is a fault or rigidity. As soon as the Heavenly Heart is stirring, one must immediately mount with all one’s feeling to the house of the creative. Thus the Light of the spirit sees the summit that is the leader. This movement is in accord with the time. The Heavenly Heart rises to the summit of the creative, where it expands in complete freedom. Then suddenly it wants the deepest silence, and one must lead it speedily and with one’s whole being into the yellow castle. Thus the eyes behold the central yellow dwelling place of the spirit.

When the desire for silence comes, not a single thought arises; he who is look ing inward suddenly forgets that he looks. At this time, body and heart must be left completely free. All entanglements disappear without trace. Then I no longer know at what place the house of my spirit and my crucible are. If a man wants to make certain of his body, he cannot get at it. This condition is the penetration of Heaven into earth, the time when all wonders return to their roots.

The One is the circulation of the Light. If one begins, it is at first scattered and one tries to collect it; the six senses are not active. This is the care and nourishment of one’s own origin, the filling up of the oil when one goes to receive life. When one is far enough to have gathered it, one feels light and free and need take no further trouble. This is the quieting of the spirit in the space of the ancestors, the taking possession of former Heaven.

When one is so far advanced that every shadow and every echo has disappeared, so that one is quiet and firm, it is safe within the cave of power, where all that is miraculous returns to its roots. The place is not changed but divides itself. It is incorporeal space where a thousand and ten thousand places are one place. The time is not changed, but divides itself. It is immeasurable time when all the eons are like a moment.

As long as the heart has not attained complete peace, it cannot move itself. One moves the movement and forgets the movement; this is not movement in itself. Therefore it is said: If, when stimulated by external things, one is moved, it is the instinct of the being. If, when not stimulated by external things, one is moved, it is the movement of Heaven. The being that is placed over against Heaven, can fall and come under the domination of the instincts. The instincts are based upon the fact that there are external things. They are thoughts that go on beyond their own position. Then movement leads to movement. But, when no idea arises, the right ideas come. That is the true idea. If things are quiet and one is quite firm, the release of Heaven suddenly moves. Is this not a movement without purpose? Action in inaction has the same meaning.

As to the beginning of the poem, the first two lines refer entirely to the activity of the Golden Flower. The two next lines are concerned with the mutual interpenetration of sun and moon. The sixth month is the adhering fire. The white snow that flies, is the true darkness of polarity in the middle of the fire sign, that is about to turn into the receptive. The third watch is the abysmal water. The sun’s disk is the one polar line in the sign for water, which is about to turn into the creative. In this is contained the way to take the sign for the abysmal and the way to reverse the sign for the adhering fire. The following two lines have to do with the activity of the pole of the Great Wain, the rise and fall of the whole release of polarity. Water is the sign of the abysmal; the eye is the wind of softness. The light of the eyes illumines the house of the abysmal, and controls there the seed of the great Light. “In Heaven” means the house of the creative. “Wandering, in Heaven, one eats the spirit-power of the receptive.” This shows how the spirit penetrates the power, and how Heaven penetrates the earth; this happens so that the fire can be nourished.

Another source of translation of The Golden Flower:
The Secret of the Golden Flower translated by Thomas Cleary
ISBN 0062501933

Buddha Palm Chi Kung Set

Resting Posture

Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, toes and heels in line pointing straight forward. Bend the knees slightly so that you can’t see your shoe laces, but you can still see your toes. Knees should be centered vertically over the feet, not collapsing in toward each other. Have a slight crease at the hip joint, so the bowl of the pelvis is level. The torso is erect, but relaxed into the bowl of the pelvis. Arm pits open to fit a small ball under the arm pit. Elbows turned out to the sides. Fingers extended, but relaxed. The arms should resemble a horse shoe shape. This is the same posture as the Grounding posture.

Notes

1. Three sets of five repetitions of each posture will take 25 to 30 minutes. Three sets of three reps will take about 15 minutes. Two sets of three reps will take about 10 minutes.

2. Pause at the Resting Posture between each set of repetitions. Run the energy routes with the breath alone. Keep the fingers open and still.

3. Yin route:

Inhale – the energy flows from the balls of the feet up the inner sides of the legs to tantien.
Exhale – the energy flows from tantien up the chest to the shoulders, down the inner sides of the arms to the palms and finger pads.
4. Yang route:

Inhale – the energy flows from the fingernails along the backs of the hands, outer sides of elbows, shoulder blades, spine and down to mingmen (a point on the spine opposit from solar plexus, T-11).
Exhale – the energy flows from mingmen to the buttocks, down the outer sides of the legs, back to the balls of the feet.

Reaching

1. Inhale yin route – the arms rise from the resting posture to shoulder height extending forward, relaxed. (Hug the tree posture)

2. Exhale yin route – bend knees, tuck pelvis, round the back, hollow the chest, reach strenuously with the hands, pulling the shoulder blades away from the spine. Do not hinge at the waist and lean forward. Your weight should remain centered in the feet.

3. Inhale yang route – straighten knees and torso, arms relax at shoulder height – same position as #1.

4. Exhale yang route – arms float back down to Grounding Posture.

Phoenix Wing

Begin as in Reaching #1 and #2.

1. Inhale yang route – open arms to sides like the wings of a bird.

2. Exhale yang route – fingers lead the way down and toward each other at waist height, wrists and elbows follow, rounded back, hollow chest.

3. Inhale yin route – fingernails meet, then backs of hands, then elbows touch. At nose height, hands unfold like holding a book. Then pinkies “unzip” and heels of hands and thumbs connect.

4. Exhale yin route – with thumbs and heels of hands still connected, stretch fingers back as elbows straighten the arms forward. Bend knees, tuck pelvis, round the back, hollow the chest.

Repeat or finish as in Reaching #3 and #4.

Swallowing the Bitter Pill

1. Inhale yin route – stay in Resting Posture and expand rib cage like wings.

2. Exhale yin route – arms float up to hold a ball (gold on the outside and silver on the inside) at chest height. Keep fingers and hands still, shoulders relaxed, elbows below the wrist-shoulder line.

3. Inhale yang route – ball expands, pushing arms to sides, still at chest height.

4. Exhale yang route – ball contracts to the size of a grapefruit at base of the throat, elbows drop as hands ride the ball in.

5. Inhale yin route – hands draw the ball down to tantien (just below the navel) and place it inside the cauldron of the abdomen.

6. Exhale yin route – wrists relax, hands float slowly back to Resting Posture as a fountain of purified energy rises from tantien up chest, out shoulders and down arms to hands.

Repeat and the energy routes will alternate.

By courtesy of www.chionline.com

Grounding Exercise

Stand in relaxed position with the feet placed directly under your hips, knees slightly bent, ankles relaxed and the armpits open. Press the tip of the tongue against the soft palate of the mouth. This connects the energy circuit of the governing (back) channel with the energy circuit of the functional (front) channel. Breathe by pulling the diaphragm down toward navel as you inhale. Imagine a weight hanging between your legs, attached to your coccyx by a cord. As the weight pulls your coccyx toward the floor, allow your sacrum to relax and sink down and forward with it. Relax the ankles. Relax the knees. Relax the waist. Imagine there is a cord attached to the top of the head that is gently lifting your head, allowing it to float above your shoulders. Fix your gaze on the horizon to infinity.

After fulfilling the above requirements, imagine that everything inside your body is comprised of nothing but thick water molecules and that the skin is made of rubber. Feel the water molecules pressing against the skin as gravity begins to pull the water molecules down through the body, toward the floor. As the water molecules are pulled lower and lower, you can feel the arms and chest begin to swell. The fingers feel as though they are swelling to an enormous size.

As gravity pulls the water molecules even lower, the thighs become thick and heavy. The molecules flow deeper into your legs and feet until your feet feel as though they are going to burst out of your shoes. Feel the feet spread. Feel the toes spread. Your body now feels like a pyramid, heavy at the floor and light at the top.

Continue to breathe deep into the lower abdomen. Allow your attention to move to your feet and notice where the primary weight is located. It should be in the middle of each foot. If it’s not, adjust the position of your pelvis until it is. An imaginary plumb line should travel through the crown point of your head, to a point just behind your ear, through your shoulder, hip, perineum and ankle. Don’t forget to be aware of the imaginary weight pulling down at your coccyx and the cord pull upward on your head. Relax the waist and allow the coccyx to sink down and forward.

Once you have accomplished the feeling of being grounded well into the earth or floor, imagine that the floor is pushing up against your feet, trying to up-root you. This is one of the most important aspects of the exercise. The more relaxed and grounded you become, the harder the floor pushes up against your feet. Use your imagination to keep the floor from pushing you upward. Hold the floor down. Do not allow the floor to push you up. Your feet will now feel as though they are glued to the floor.

After about 10 minutes, your feet will feel energized and your hands will become warm. Stand in this position for 10 to 30 minutes. Be sure to keep the knees bent.

by courtesy of www.chionline.com

Embracing the Tree with Chi Condensing and Circulating

1. Stand with the feet shoulder-with apart. Bend the knees, pressing the sacrum down.

2. Position the arms as if they are encircling a tree; hold the thumbs up and relax the fingers, barely permitting them to touch. Relax the chest and hold the head erect.

3. Place the tongue on the palette. Practice abdominal breathing 9 or 18 times. Feel the sexual organs move up and down with the breath.

4. Inhale 10 percent to your navel, keeping the abdomen flat and pressing the diaphragm downward as you pull the sex organs up. Inhale and pull up the left and right side of the anus. Pack and wrap the chi at the kidneys, then collect energy at the navel.

5. Breathe into the lower abdomen, without spiraling. Breathe into the perineum and feel it bulge out.

6. Exhale through the back of the legs and the feet. Feel the palms and and soles breathing.

7. Suck energy from the Earth through K1, Bubbling Springs. “Claw” the ground with toes as you inhale and circle the energy 9 times counterclockwise at the Bubbling Springs (Kidney 1). The spirals on the soles of the feet move in the same direction.

8. Inhale, bringing the energy to the knees. Lock the knees; do not spiral at the knees.

9. Inhale up to the perineum; circle the energy there 9 times clockwise and 9 times counterclockwise. Feel the bulge at the perineum.

10. Exhale. Harmonize the breath and be aware of the soles and palms breathing.

11. Inhale and pull up the left and right sides of the anus, packing the back and kidneys.

12. Inhale up to the sacrum. Tilt the sacrum back, packing it. Circle the energy 9 times clockwise and 9 times counterclockwise. This will strengthen and activate the sacral pump.

13. Inhale to T11, inflating the kidney area. Press outward at T11, then spiral 9 times clockwise and 9 times counterclockwise.

14. Inhale to C7, pushing from from the sternum to tilt C7 back, straightening the curve at the neck.

15. Lock the neck by tucking in the chin. Circle the chi 9 times clockwise and 9 times counterclockwise.

16. Inhale to the Jade Pillow (C1), clench the teeth tight, and squeeze the skull and temple bones to strengthen and activate the cranial pump. Circle the energy here 9 times clockwise and 9 times counterclockwise.

17. Inhale to crown (pineal gland) and circle 9 times clockwise and 9 times counterclockwise. If you cannot go all the way up on one breath you can pass over the Jade Pillow, or you can take an extra breath where needed until your capacity increases.

18. Exhale with the tongue up to the palate.

19. Regulate the breath. Concentrate on the third eye until you feel the chi energy build up there. Bring the energy down to solar plexus and circle 9 times clockwise and 9 times counterclockwise. Bring the chi down to the navel. Stand still and maintain the position.

20. Press the soles to the ground. Discipline your mind to move the energy downward.

21. Feel energy flowing up from the ground. Circulate the energy for as long as you wish.

22. Practice Bone Breathing.

23. Practice the Power Exercise.

24. Stand up and bring the energy to the navel, putting your hands over the navel and bringing the feet together. Relax. Collect the energy in the navel area.

25. When you feel calm, walk around and brush the energy downward.

Reference: Iron Shirt Chi Kung by Mantak Chia
ISBN:1594771049

Summary: Embracing the Tree with Chi Condensing and Circulating p. 129-132

5 Clouds

Based on the exercise from Master Ni Hua Ching:

1. Centre the Mind in the cloud of golden light in the solar plexus. Each out breath, intensify and expand the light taking the Mind deeper until the body and breath are lost in the light.
2. Allow the cloud to drift up to cover the lungs where it becomes white like the clouds. With each out breath, intensify and expand the light as the Mind goes deeper.
3. The cloud moves down to cover the lower abdomen and turns a deep blue like the ocean. With each out breath, intensify and expand the light as the Mind goes deeper.
4. The cloud moves to the region of the liver on the right side of the body and becomes a deep green like the forest. Intensify and expand the light as the Mind goes deeper.
5. Let the cloud float across to surround the heart and turns deep red like a ruby. With each out breath, intensify and expand the light as the Mind goes deeper.
After one or more cycles, return the cloud to the solar plexus and rest in the golden light.

( by courtesy of patrickkellytaiji.com )