March 30, 2007 at 10:25 am #21826
Here is something that I have been puzzling over for a while and wonder if anyone has similar experiences or can help me straighten my thinking out.
I have been practising/teaching Tai Chi and other chi kung/nei kung methods for about 15 years – including standing practice and some other internal power exercises. When I do these practices I get a real sense of embodiment, integration of, and connection to my physical body. In other words, I feel more centred, denser, more grounded and the chi is more embodied.
I have also been practising Michael’s internal alchemy chi kung and meditations up to lesser kan and li for about 3 years. When I work with these practices I feel as if it is my energy body, rather than my physical body, that is opening up and becoming more substantial. As a result of this, I feel less connected to my physicality, lighter and while I might have an energetic root, I certainly don’t get a physical root.
My sense is that only working with the energy body and not integrating it into the physical body creates a subtle disembodiment. I can end up feeling really balanced and harmonious as a result of the practice but less embodied.
I also feel that if I have done some of my own practice for a while and then try to open up my energy body out with the IA practice their is some resistance as if my chi is saying “no, we’re nicely contained now. Stop trying to get us to expand beyond the boundaries of our container”.
My understanding of internal development from my tai chi practice is that you start with the jing level, our physicality and work with that until you have a sense of integration. As you continue to work the chi begins to open up within the container of your body. This would be jing to chi. As you then continue working, your shen begins to shine through and you start to get a balance of jing, chi and shen.
Has anyone else had thoughts of this nature? How then do you integrate the two?March 30, 2007 at 12:07 pm #21827
Interesting observation. I have had similar experiences with all of the Nei Gung processes – from inner smile onto Sun-Moon (as far as I am).
The disconnect seems to occur for two reasons: in alchemy we tap into non-polarized yuan while bodily existence is quite polarized into yang or yin, and once you find the shen level of being it is easy to dwell there.
The solution to both of those issues is simple: once you have deepened into the yuan/shen experience, let it spread to the physical levels of your being. Explore the continuum from the depths to the surface, learn to change the vibration. Find which parts of you are not part of the experience, and ask them what they would like, and then ask the deeper parts of yourself what they would like to share.
I hope that helps,
ChrisMarch 30, 2007 at 1:57 pm #21829
I have some random thoughts. Chris talks about emphasizing the chi kung as a communication skill which is helpful. To keep living in the question and listen.
I also hear in what you describe a tension between the contained physical feel of your one practice and the lighter energetic one of IA. I think what Chris is inferring is this is not a problem but another portal through polarity where openings can happen if we can listen and use it.
Your experiences/results may appear as opposites and perhaps the linear internal development paradigm of your tai chi practice would see this as moving so quickly you cannot integrate the two. That is an inner belief you have to challenge and question for yourself.
It seems if IA attracted you the capacity to integrate is present and by putting it out to the Forum to be witnessed you are on the verge of discoveries.
My personal experience is opposite yours but may offer an idea. I find it easier to connect to IA as the energetic practice it is and have found the need to discover ways to ground myself.
In the practice it seems if I really attend to detail of structure and form….say in the Primordial…rooting as one would in standing practices the tension between the energy body which is stimulated by the form, intention and visualization etc. is met by the intention to root in body.
This has been helping me with all the forms Michael teaches, Fundamentals onward. Not to get sloppy with them is helping me now. Stay intentional and grounded.
The other thought is when a practice affects my life deeply, areas of emotion and relationship with work, intimates, my past, my future are all affected. If this is happening and the chi is being shaped according to some mysterious and uncontrollable origin I am happy (well not always happy but stimulated)
And we live our lives on all these levels anyway don’t we, so I think the paradigm from the tai chi approach as you understand it seems impractical and unusable as life is daily lived. Looking forward to others, BarryApril 1, 2007 at 12:31 am #21831
What I like to do now, and what I’ve found to be the perfect balancing agent for me after many years of inner and outer practice, is to close every practice I do by rubbing my palms together gently several times and then placing them over the center of my chest, sometimes smiling and sometimes just maitaining a softness about myself.
Somehow this contact with my spiritual heart allows my inner wisdom to determine the best thing to do with whatever energies are circulating at the time. Sometimes I just quiet down and sometimes I see my energies spin together or move around in spirals or other patterns and then settle into a little pearl formation in my abdomen. Then there is always stillness with a sense of being connected within the earth through my feet.
In peace, SApril 1, 2007 at 6:54 am #21833
The heart the belly the feet the earth…I like it…balance out the big head
Plus I am feeling more the sense behind the pearl which holds substance and energetic wanderings. Holds the physical circulations and the energetic/heart circulations.
Thanks, SophiaApril 3, 2007 at 10:25 am #21835
Thanks for all the feedback. I think I need time to fully digest what everyone has been saying. My personal feeling from my own practice at this time is that IA is a high art and requires a certain grounding and opening in the physicality of the body before you can work with the energy body in an embodied way.
I know from my own teaching that a significant number of people are quite disconnected from their bodies. My feeling is that if these people are introduced to techniques that gets them into their energy body too soon i.e. before they have established a good sense of grounding, rooting and physical mind/body integration then it can cause their disconnect to get bigger. Consequently, they have a well-developed energy body but their is a split between this and their physical body. This is probably magnified if people try to rush through the higher formulae without taking the time to really work on the fundamentals.
LudrupApril 3, 2007 at 3:28 pm #21837
“…IA is a high art and requires a certain grounding and opening in the physicality of the body before you can work with the energy body in an embodied way.”
Ludrup, The essence of the work, as I experience it, is finding balance between yin and yang until that balance spontaneously continues on its own. It’s always a matter of unifying the physical body, the yin, with the energy body, the yang; they are the two modes of the one original force. There is a long process of integration at higher and higher levels until it establishes itself as one. But it is never about anything but this balance.
As for what you say about people being ungrounded- we must be able to feel the energy in order to be properly grounded because that is part of what we are grounding. But we will be able to go only so far into the higher formulae if we are not willing to take the body and its emotions along with us. Disconnection is due mostly from not allowing our feelings to direct us instead of our minds -as in Barry’s comment about balancing out the big head.
From the Heart, SApril 3, 2007 at 6:19 pm #21839
When we say people are disconnected from their bodies what do we mean?
I experience it in myself as a sickness of direction and attitude. The disconnection holds a lot of unfelt emotion.
I mean the core of this energetic practice is grounding- earth cultivation- but if heaven/energy or earth/body is experienced without the center it will be dysfunctional.
There is always the third force emphasized which isn’t just energy or the body. What I mean is when we move into the center we face our light and our darkness.
Personally Fusion isn’t enough for me. I study and employ its forms. I use the baguas and feel into the shen pulsing the center and back out. Digesting.
But emotions and the attitudes they hold up are not just ‘energetic’ they are personal. They have been and are the stories we tell about ourselves and spiritual practice isn’t always a fun ride.
To say that those disconnected must somehow connect to their bodies before using these practices is all backwards. These practices are made to break us open. To challenge this disconnection not increase it. This is not an upwards heaven seeking practice but one where we meet the body.
If in meeting the body someone cannot find themselves there is work to be done. And we need practices like this to do it. BarryApril 4, 2007 at 3:37 am #21841
B- “When we say people are disconnected from their bodies what do we mean?”
What *I* mean by that is not being in touch with what we feel, physically, emotionally, psychically or spiritually. The place that we feel from is our body. We want to bring it all down here. That is what is meant by “embodiment.”
B- “These practices are made to break us open.”
Personally, Barry, I do not like the use of the word “break” there. I am not trying to break myself open in an effort to get free of my stuff. I think of all this more as a spiritual sex kind of thing where the body and spirit are moving together in love, and through the space they create in the middle let love steam away the miscreated energies and blockages, and create identification with neutrality and wholeness.
I think of doing these practices as simply following the course of nature. When we do them we “accelerate” our growth only because we are deciding to swim in the direction life is already taking us. It is actually easier to swim with the tide than against it, so the idea of working hard on my growth I have come to understand as part of the problem.
Ludrup is suggesting that if he takes people into their energy bodies before they have some rooting skill that they will get lost, and I agree with him. But a careful balancing of both sides is necessary and that is a very individual thing. Westerners in particular have the desire to escape from their feelings and ignore their bodies, and to live from their heads instead. So it is necessary to emphasize building a relationship with earth energies downward to support the growth upward, like a tree does. Since we are human, we encounter ourselves along the way. This shows us where the love isn’t, and what we have next to do.
For emphasis, I agree with focus on the center, the cosmic space in which it all happens.
-SApril 4, 2007 at 4:47 am #21843
I think this is an incredibly helpful discussion. I really agree with Sophia in that we have to establish our relationship with the earth first before we can begin the process of moving in the other direction. I think the bottom line for me is that we each need to unfold our own process in our own way.
I have certainly worked with people who are incredibly disconnected from their physicality and their emotions and yet have a strong awareness of energetic and psychic phenomena. I see this as a real problem in that unless the body is really earthed then these more powerful energies can literally cause a fuse to blow.
However, i have also met people who are too in their bodies and the nature of their physicality and are unable to expand out into more energetic sensation and processes.
What I am trying to say is that I think we need to start with the body because that is how we can most effectively connect to the earth, root and centre ourselves and then expand out into our energetic essence. To me this is the nature of jing converting to chi.
LudrupApril 4, 2007 at 6:09 am #21845
Thanks,I feel the warmth of your comments and approach. Also the wisdom of not working so hard. A constant edge for me in this time of great shifting.
Your comments make me look at what I really mean and try to put into clearer words.I will ramble a bit, but that is what the forum allows- to listen to myself unedited and get reflections back.
Granted I tend towards the excitement/fire of breaking ground but not so much to get away from my stuff as to figure out with heart/mind how use its energies to take me to another level of self expression.
I think my point is people want a spiritual practice but not want to really change which is impossible. Just look at what is happening to yoga in the culture. Not all but the image of comfort,beauty, wealth, attainments has risen to the surface. Most who are into yoga will go once a week, if that, to a class and not know how to touch deeply into their halted voices.
Yogis stare at this and scratch their heads.
When I want to get away from my own stuff I get nowhere- though a part of me tries over and over. I do this as a subtle way to resist real change. I think your expressed approach(taoist approach) reveals a strong earth-body connection.
I get that real change is an acceleration of where I am already swimming. That is a good touchstone.
It is in the space though between meeting the places where love isn’t and doing what we have next to do where the discussion opens up.
This is where life can break open and really shift like a plant that pushes the soil up over its head. But unlike the plant we bring fear along and together- adventure and fear- one is on their own journey.
On some level I experience it as a gentle art. In my deepest heart. I would like to rest here more. And I am, with modeling like yours and others, but I also struggle and fear and resist and move awkwardly.
As I do I remember most people will move from this place as they try to hold what has given them apparent safety in the past. So I have great self compassion and for others too.
Well, I am called to a promised card game with a 7 year old- be well, barryApril 4, 2007 at 12:02 pm #21847
This is a few hours after writing the above and gracefully losing the card game ( I chose not to win (; and I feel the value of having a forum of practitioners who can tangle and disentangle the mind.
As I walk about today I sink into the gentleness of change and not the mental drama. It is a body experience, a whole body and comes in and out of focus.
I think it was this expression and also Ludrup’s affirming the value of each others path as unique:
‘let love steam away the miscreated energies and blockages, and create identification with neutrality and wholeness.’
It is so important for me to hear another voice the intention I hold and cultivate and find difficult at times to remain present in.
it shows once again the value of sangha, satsang, community- even the cyber kind. BarryApril 9, 2007 at 5:55 am #21849
I agree with what I think Barry is saying, which is that by practising the inner smile/fusion/kan and li, and forging a pathway of communication with the five shen, we are communicating with the body-mind.
The forms of unconsciousness and resistance that come up are what make up the disconnect, these are hopefully dissolved at various levels by cultivation.
Rooting takes place through connecting with our inner earth and creating a sense of boundary that allows us to feel our individual self. Earth energy practice is very important, but be careful not to focus externally for grounding; by being aware of our energetic consciousness through cultivation, we can find the earth energy within ourselves that communicates with the earth being below our physical feet, and bridge and embrace the areas of physicality within ourselves that resist communicating with our inner witness.
Of course, though westerners are very head centered so any physical qigong or movement practice will be helpful in getting us out of our heads and into our body.April 9, 2007 at 5:54 pm #21851
“…be careful not to focus externally for grounding; by being aware of our energetic consciousness through cultivation, we can find the earth energy within ourselves that communicates with the earth being below our physical feet, and bridge and embrace the areas of physicality within ourselves that resist communicating with our inner witness.”
That’s a beautiful thought and one that helpfully emphasizes the oneness of all things. It is so habitual to see separation, when seeing relationally produces that healing state so necessary as well as a more pleasant experience in general. -Sophia
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