May 1, 2015 at 2:28 pm #44310
So far I haven’t seen any references in Taoism stressing the importance of visualization and how to train it. Whether you’re reading a book, shadow boxing, engaging in meditation practices or attempting a lucid dream induction in which you keep your mind awake and body asleep the crispness and clarity of your visualizations can make all the difference.
I’ve skimmed through a couple of books claiming to train your visualization abilities to the point where your visualizations become as real as life itself and all of your 5 senses are also involved. The reason I don’t practice/read them is because I don’t want my focus scattered in the areas of hypnosis and yoga nidra. I will provide links to these books but what I’m really looking for is a Taoist approach to visualization training to that level (if it even exists).May 1, 2015 at 4:20 pm #44311
Internal alchemy meditations become more effective with good visualization, and visualization is one aspect of these meditations. Thus by simply doing alchemy practice regularly and consistently, visualization ability naturally tends to improve. In other words, you are already getting training in it by simply doing the Healing Tao practices.
The Deep Healing Qigong form is also highly effective at this, because there is a lot of color therapy built into the form. By doing the form repeatedly over time, the ability to “see” colors in the deep meditative components improves.
Whether one does sitting alchemical meditation, or say does the Deep Healing Qigong form, the ability of one to visualize comes about–IN SHORT–via practice with consistency.
SMay 1, 2015 at 9:18 pm #44313
just like to add, it seems to me that too much emphasis on visual channel can really stuff up your energy balance, especially as we know out culture tends to over emphasise this one. As Steven says it is one aspect of inner alchemy training. Learning how to shift your attention around the fives senses, the organs, meridians and the into the core allows us to recover a natural balance and the magic at the core. In push hands group practice for a few years the emphasis I was given repeatedly, in that context, was to be attuned to ‘listening jing’. Listening for your partners body and movements. Not too much emphasis on watching, just join with, listen with whole body and respond. Shifting attention as necessary is a better model I think. Back to visualisations, yes can be OK but best I think now to rotate around the five shen, into the core and back, all working together. Say you want to train for good fortune, health, prosperity and alignment with soul purpose (including complete old programs, patterns, inherited conditions, past life boogers living through you (if any exist) etc), set up your request for help and guidance, attend to all five as per fusion, go to centre, integrate the changes into one unified whole, carry on. Even dream practice – I ask whether appropriate on a given night as can tend to keep energy ‘up’ in some visual channel; now I prefer to just set up request for mind (shen) to work on solution while I rest, mostly don’t dream. Solution can show up without any overworked attention to that channel. You mentioned hypnosis and yoga nidra – both emphasise set up intent, let go, go into core, find solutions, emerge, integrate and carry on. With MCO practice, then no reason for them to involve scattering your attention. The thing that Barefoot Doctor (UK Taoist teacher) emphasises is that doing the MCO (Micro orbit) around spine before going into deep meditation and on return contains your energy and prevents psychic shock, if that is what you meant by concern about scattered attention. If all hypnosis and meditation practice included this simple protocol the results would be much better, no need to be walking around feeling half dead, in the spirit world, partly dissociated, new age ungrounded zombie etc. Taken me 40 years to get it. Really some simple explanation resolves all that confusion, that’s what is on offer with these good methods. Just my 5 cents worth.May 5, 2015 at 6:59 am #44315
I have impression that those ancient Taoist visualizations are not widely used.
But for example Buddhists especially have retained very elaborate visualization procedures.
If one would like to have short introduction to the Bihar School of Yoga practices best book in my opinion would be ‘Meditations from the Tantras’ by Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
It’s quite miserably written and clearly mostly by someone else than Satyananda, but it has quite nice selection of various practices anyway.
Included are certain amount of asanas, mudras, bandhas, japa, pranayama, trataka, yoga nidra, antar mouna, prana vidya, Kundalini kriyas etc.
…so far I haven’t seen any references in Taoism stressing the importance of visualization and how to train it…
This above mentioned book is very good introduction to visualization and Satyananda also is very liberal in his views and suggests to make use of one’s cultural background and personal experiences, especially in the beginning, when choosing consciously visualization objects.
Ps. Sorry for my broken English.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdccXUmu20g (mortalkombatxerronblack)May 5, 2015 at 9:58 am #44317
The degree to which a person can do pratyahara succesfully depends very much on his ability to sit in a comfortable asana for the duration of the practice. If he feels continual physical comfort, then of course his mind will be continually aware of stimuli from the sense organs giving information about pain, stiffness and so on. Pratyahara, and consequently meditation, will be out of question. It is therefore necessary that the practitioner trains the body so that it can maintain one postion for a prolonged lenght of time, without any discomfort whatsoever.
-SWAMI SATYANANDA SARASWATI, Meditations from the Tantras
A recapitulation is the forte of stalkers as the dreaming body is the forte of dreamers. It consists of recollecting one’s life down to the most insignificant detail. The first stage is a brief recounting of all the incidents in our lives that in an obvious manner stand out for examination. The second stage is a more detailed recollection, which starts systematically at a point that could be the moment prior to the stalker sitting, and theoretically could extend to the moment of birth.
-CARLOS CASTANEDA, The Eagle’s Gift
Although is would not seem to be Taoist practice and also even when Buddhist version is mentioned, here or there, Buddhists seemingly have kept it as a kind of secret practice; I would start visualization from recapitulation.
Satyananda’s yoga nidra also works in that direction but for my taste also his version for immediate purposes is too ritualized.
Some phases of antar mouna have links also to recapitulation and also visualization, but one needs to learn to deconstruct these kind of practices.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjhCZHxsSlo (finnishaladdindiscorap)May 7, 2015 at 2:40 pm #44319
“The most comprehensive and awe-inspiring of Taoist reference works available today. . . . Begun in the mid-1970s . . . this three-volume set is a truly magnificent achievement of scholarship, well worth the wait of several decades. . . . A model research tool that will further open the doors of traditional China and encourage more in-depth studies of the Taoist religion by providing systematic guidance to its key sources. . . . It provides a well-organized, systematic, and superbly executed collection of highly relevant and often overlooked materials, giving scholars access to an enormous trreasure trove of information and historical data.”
-LIVIA KOHN, Asian Folklore Studies
This is very interesting scholarly work also for serious practitioners.
If somebody has time and interest, this is engrossing trilogy about Daozhang to leaf through even when one wouldn’t have time and language skills to study those original texts.
So here you of course don’t find actual texts but short descriptions of them.
It’s quickly very evident how much Taoists have been influenced by Buddhists.
And this seem to be especially so what comes to visualization practices.
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