July 18, 2005 at 5:14 pm #6471
Im reprinting some of this here from down below.
In an earlier post Michael said he doesnt teach visualizations. I asked about this because Ive heard him say things like imagine blue energy move into the dan tien, imagine theres a little person in your dan tien . . . etc.,.
His response was:
The difference between visualization and actualization:
the imagination is actualized when the “yi” (creative mind intent) is functioning from it owns center, expresses its own authentic chi, and is not filtered through the head and superimposed as an empty visualization onto the body from above.
That is why the alchemical training is progressive. If you develop the chi in step one, it moves in step two. If you don’t develop step 1, step 2 becomes empty visualization.
Sorry, but I just dont get it (and the explanation is so obscure as to appear almost willfully so).
When you say form a pearl in your dan tien I with my inner eye see a pearl there. To me, thats a visualization. By the way, I also FEEL a pearl there. To me that is the energetic body following the lead of my (very mental) visualization (or chi follows the mind in the classical sense). Theres nothing wrong with that. That is indeed WHY PEOPLE USE VISUALIZATIONS.
To argue that I could do this one way where the visualization of the pearl was filtered through the head and imposed on the body and another way where it isnt (but was, rather, actualized from the center) is, IMHO, fruitless semantics. And somewhat dishonest.
First off, nowhere on almost 6 hours of Fusion tapes Ive been reviewing does Michael say oh, by the way, all these pictures Im asking you to place inside your body, these things that wed commonly call visualizations, well, youre not really visualizing them. Indeed, youre not really using your mind at all, theyre just being actualized from your center.
I seriously doubt he says this in his beginner tapes either. I mean does everyone who takes a beginner class with Michael learn how to actualize their chi BEFORE he says OK, breath white mist into your lungs? If not he must be teaching a lot of empty visualizations.
I understand that a visualization can be empty or full but really to me it involves more about how committed you are to it AFTER your initiate it. Anyone can say ho hum, Im in a house, its burning up, its very hot, Im on fire, blah blah blah and not really pay much attention to what their doing, commit to the experience or have faith in the reality they are reciting. This to me is empty. But if you invest in it — you begin to sweat, feel warm, scared, etc. — then the visualization is full.
I saw Chia in NY recently and while guiding a meditation he said something like imagine the beam of light, feel it, its really there. And perhaps this is trying to get at the same thing.
Im using a lot of words like commit, invest, believe and maybe thats all Michael means by the new age speak actualize from the center. But I think the initial steps of the practice are the same. You use your mind to see the visualization, and run from there. Michael seems to be implying youre doing something else that is way more esoteric and difficult. And I think thats misleading, particularly to all the students he keeps cuing with a bunch of mental pictures.
Reading over this it sounds more confrontational that I mean it to be, which is probably a result of my frustration. I mean I asked an honest softball question about a very dogmatic statement and got obscurity in response. If Im missing something Id definitely like to hear it. Especially because I do (or think I do) a lot of visualizations and am not sure Id know my yi if I tripped over it..
Michael or anyone is invited to reply. Let er rip.
spyrelxJuly 18, 2005 at 7:14 pm #6472
Here’s my two penneth worth. I suppose it depends on the intention behind the visualisation. Is it mere fancy or a concerted attempt to influence how energy is expressed? Is the visualisation centred on one’s own mind/body complex or does it aim to connect with something outside? Regardless of the aim and focus the key ingredients, some say, are sincerity and trust or as you mention commitment and belief.
Regarding the difference between visualisation and actualisation: suppose the aim of a visualistion was to establish some sort of relationship with an external agency. The image formed and energised with ‘sincerity and trust’ comes to the attention of the agency. If the agency likes whats going on the mentally created image becomes a common means of communication and activity. Once this happens meditation becomes mediation, the visualistion is ‘full’ instead of ’empty’ and imagination becomes reality.
RexJuly 18, 2005 at 7:16 pm #6474
All of the Natural practices have been lost in time because now
adays its all about selling your product.
Its all about beefing up your material to gain attraction
towards purchasing your material.
I think michael will say anything in light of these fundamental ideas.
Hey, its just the name of the game. I am not judgeing…
Fact is, when you practice something, I would be asking myself just how
natural and effortless you can do something to achieve the desired result!
This in a sense is the essence of the Dao…
Dragging out these practices on 12 tapes filled with tons of malarchy
when in a sense you may just be wanting to connect to a star,
or transform your sexual energy or connect to the earth ect…
is just a MARKET ploy…
If you strip the practices down you will see the essentials…
Namaste!July 18, 2005 at 10:23 pm #6476
still hearing ron’s voice rip thru dimensions….. “get out of your head.”July 18, 2005 at 11:00 pm #6478
There are visualizations you can have and even play with, ie: of your car exploding or an axe chopping at a tree or gremlins running around your lawn. These pictures are not likely related to any useful/powerful process. Merely daydreams. Or brainstorming your next painting or film.
Then there are visualizations that are not only accurate metaphors for real processes … but are also keys for participation in these processes … especially when engaged in as if they are true.
First, stay seated staring at this post and picture a ball bouncing on your desk. Picture yourself taking out a gun and shooting it and the ball bursts.
Woopdee dooh. Empty visualization.
Second .. stand up and imagine your head is a balloon and the rest of your body and limbs are dangling strings. Walk around the room as if this were true. Sit down. Stand up. Jump. Bend over.
It’s likely that this latter experiment produced a noticeable effect. The images used accurately reflect a process, and more importantly engage real processes that direct your whole self to make a change.
“Actualization”, as Michael calls it, is “just semantics”, but is also useful for making this distinction.
Now … wether or not Chia/Winn’s imagery is accurately describing real processes … and wether engaging this imagery can actually initiate real work outside of your imagination is a whole nother argument …
My two cents would be that really stepping into the as if frame is crucial for making visualization work. IMO problems arise when you get stuck in the frame and turn it into a rigid belief. “My legs and arms really are strings. My head is a balloon.” This is one of the reasons magickians create astral circles to do their ritual work in. Creates a safe space to temporarily surrender completely to a strong “as if” frame for a specific working without having to believe it literally after stepping out of the circle.
The Tao BumsJuly 19, 2005 at 12:02 am #6480
“stand up and imagine your head is a balloon and the rest of your body and limbs are dangling strings. Walk around the room as if this were true. It’s likely that this latter experiment produced a noticeable effect. The images used accurately reflect a process, and more importantly engage real processes that direct your whole self to make a change.”
“”Actualization”, as Michael calls it, is “just semantics”, but is also useful for making this distinction.”
“My two cents would be that really stepping into the ‘as if’ frame is crucial for making visualization work. IMO problems arise when you get stuck in the frame and turn it into a rigid belief. “My legs and arms really are strings. My head is a balloon.””
Sean I agree with you. In fact, if this is the distinction Michael is making then he, you and I are all in agreement.
But I think we’re all VISUALIZING our heads as balloons, etc. THEN we “step into the as if frame”, commit to it, “actualize” it etc.
In other words, the first step is “see your head as a balloon” and then we go from there, either not committing (wrong), committing (correct use of technique) or what you’re calling “rigid belief” (which is like “over committing” and an incorrect use of the technique). So I just think its misleading to say were not engaged in visualizing when were doing it properly.July 19, 2005 at 5:05 am #6482
How did you arrive at the point that you were knowledgeable enough to “strip down the practices”?
Did you not study in depth?
How can you play music if you first don’t learn the scales?
I get it, we all who dwell here on occassion understand you of the many voices don’t agree with Michael.
I think the majority of us, though I only can speak for myself, disagree with your vis a vis the value of Michaels teaching.
Nothing wrong with charging for teaching.
oops, I’m bored again.
ByeJuly 19, 2005 at 11:28 am #6484
I appreciate your wanting clarity on this issue, as i feel it is important.
Part of the problem comes from listening to tapes – I do not record all qigong processes to keep recording time down to the parts with verbal guidance. I try to get people into a qigong state of flow BEFORE having them do what would otherwise be empty visualizations. Images after you have gotten into the qigong state of flow instead become a particiular shape of chi, one part of the actualization process, adding to the richness and depth of the actualization, but certainly not the “director” of the process.
Part of the confusion is that I am really teaching neigong, which goes beyond ordinary qigong and is involved in shaping the chi in specific ways.
And part of the problem is that westerners don’t have the concept of chi in their culture, and so they think that it is something unusual, that it arrives only after they have visualized it and made it real. i believe this is just cultural conditioning that is best overcome.
The distinction between visualization and actualization has real meaning, it is not “empty” semantics, unless you want to argue that ALL words are empty concepts and thus have no meaning. In which case your frustration is also not real, etc. This leads nowhere. Wittgenstein’s famous essay on the Private Language Argument dispatched this handily: words are given meaning by their collective useage, by public agreement as to what they mean. So chi flow or qigong are now in the process of gaining meaning in this culture. And that makes the distinction important.
And its certainly not new age double speak, as I pointed out the Chinese do not have the word “visualization”. This is the opionion of numerous scholars I have asked at Daoism confernces. And i think the majority of qigong or neigong teachers in China would agree with me (if they spoke english well). The distinction is parftly a cultural perception of the meaing and experience of “chi”.
it appears you are attached to believing that the visualization process begins in the head and is layered onto the body experience. This is the standard mind-body dualistic perception, the modern scientific view that the head generates our reality and is the “mind”. The Taoist notion of xin (heart-mind) is that the vital organ spirits create our reality – including what passes through the brain at the end of the creation process as thoughts, feelings, sensations. In this model, images can only be shaped AFTER you have the chi to shape it into an image.
That is why I say the chi should be generated first with whole body movement and breath, and then the image can be included in that process.
If you do it the reverse way, the image rapidly dissolves and you are left with no steady state of flow, only continuous effort from the head. This gives rise to legitimate criticism of “forcing the chi” or “false chi”.
The problem is that we live in a society that believes everything orginates in the brain, and we are bombarded with millions of images in ways the ancient never were – from tv, magazines, videos, etc. So I understand your difficulty in grasping what I meant. But I think the helpful first step towards shifting from this illusory flow of images is to change our language about it. You may find your practice flows more easily as you shift from head-visual commands to relaxing into whole body experience that includes visual iamges as part of communication with the life force.
To your self-actualization,
MichaelJuly 19, 2005 at 11:53 am #6486
I would love it if everyone naturally embodied the Tao and lived effortlessly. I would drop this website and all my products in a minute if that were the case.
But your perception is historically inaccurate and reflects your own lack of groundedness in this reality. You have a partly fairy tale concept of Tao as somehow divorced from the struggle and difficulties people experience in the physical plane. My webmaster needs to eat. Everything costs, and that is why it is balanced to charge for something that is shared. it is a circle of support that is voluntary.
Your viewpoint is a reflection of a certain kind of childish selfishness. You want me to pay for you to have a free space to post, so you can express your multiple personalities and soothe your loneliness.
Would you prefer I charge you per posting instead of subsidizing your endless stream of verbosity with my video sales? That might reduce the near spam levels of your postings I have tolerated for the sake of your occasional useful contribution.
I taught for 18 years without selling a single product. I only began to sell products because students requested them for review purposes, and later sold them to the public because there was too much false and misleading changes being put out about the original healing tao practices. And because i don’t want to travel constantly to share what I love. So I have my video body do the travelling.
You can mail your financial contribution to my non profit 501c3 anytime.
Box 601, Asheville, NC 28803. Its fully tax deductible.
thanks in advance for making a real contribution to support the community that supports you.
michaelJuly 19, 2005 at 12:31 pm #6488
Well said Michael. Thanks.July 19, 2005 at 12:58 pm #6490
I feel your frustration…
Maybe its all that butter your eating starting to clog up
You want to talk about groundedness…
Just listen to your tapes,
you sound like a space cadet…
You think your really helping the matter by getting people so out of
touch with reality and thinking they can just magically change there
fate by listening to your tapes…?
I think that is so funny that you can even bring up the issue…
This is beginning to sound like an ECONOMICAL LOVE STORY…
Mikey your on the VERGE of a MONOPOLY…July 19, 2005 at 2:03 pm #6492
We are so lucky to have these products available. It is better in person, but these products are wonderful. Thank you Michael.July 19, 2005 at 3:07 pm #6494
>>We are so lucky to have these products available. It is better in person, but these products are wonderful. Thank you Michael.<< I second that!!! HarryJuly 19, 2005 at 3:45 pm #6496
Maybe you will get Mikey’s Milk…
Oh Mikey, we need your tapes…
Without them we would be more lost than we already are…
Those tapes are more of a CURSE then they are any good.
They only confuse the issue more…
With the constant blabbing and self driven ego
Hey if you want to be a slave, go right ahead.
I will tell you one thing those tapes are good for…
Seeing what is ABSOLUTELY WRONG with commercial Daoism…
Its all about COST and supporting peoples lifes.
Is that what SPIRITUALITY IS ABOUT?
Dont you think this CLOUDS the true nature of
WHEN YOU TRY TO MAKE A LIVING OFF IT!July 19, 2005 at 6:05 pm #6498
Thanks for the response. And I think I understand the distinction you’re making (hopefully with my heart mind!). I could argue some more about semantics but I won’t. What I’d rather do is understand with a concrete example without trying to label the experience.
PART I: I do some chi kung, ocean breathing, tai chi, the brocade, whatever. I sit down to do some fusion. My blood is flowing, my chi is flowing. I feel the earth beneath me and the heavens above. I actually feel the MCO running like a ribbon of energy up and down my body. I smile into my body, and my five major organs. I’m present with them and actually feel them. I smile to my dan tien and feel a warm, active presence there.
THEN, PART II:
I form a glowing pearl in my dan tien. I actually picture it there. Or, I picture a pakua there, or I picture a pakua on the 4 sides of my dan tien with the pearl in the middle. And this is where my question arises. Do you have any issues with PART II? I.e., do you feel what I’m describing in PART II — which is coming immediately after PART I — is somehow improper visualization rather than proper actualization?
If I understand you correctly, PART II would be actualization and — since the above by the way is pretty much my typical meditation experience — I’m certainly hoping it is. If not, though, I’d like to know how to make it so.
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