August 19, 2005 at 10:24 am #7391
Hi, I’m new here, and I apologize if my question has been covered before, but I’m ill and need to expedite this research. I’d like to know which taoist meditation practice would be best for me. The considerations are:
1. I’d like to purchase books/tapes but can’t afford to spend much at all.
2. I’m in a weakened condition from years of chronic illness and severe fatigue.
3. I’m a restless/anxious type, yin deficient, false yang.
4. I need to begin VERY simply.
5. I’ve had previous experience with energy healing, so am not a total beginner in that sense.
Thanks for any suggestions!
KarenAugust 19, 2005 at 10:46 am #7392
Read the first chapter of this book and follow the tests to see if you have an abnormal breathing patterns.
Normal BreathingAugust 19, 2005 at 10:49 am #7394
The beginning meditation practices are very simple and very helpful for getting your health back. The basic ones are called the inner smile and six healing sounds. After that you move on to something called the microcosmic orbit meditation. Many teachers (e.g., Michael Winn)also add some simple movement practices (chi kung).
If you’re looking for video/audio for these beginning practices, then Michael Winn’s Chi Kung Fundementals is a fine place to start.
If you’re looking to spend less or just get a book then I’d start with Mantak Chia’s introductory book: Awaken Healing Light (AHL). This book is a bit overstuffed, but contains the basics (There’s also an earlier, simpler book that AHL was meant to replace which is also good or better than AHL, but I’m not sure it’s still around and can’t remember it’s name.)
Another Mantak Chia book is called Transform Stress into Vitality, but AHL only cost a bit more and coverst the same ground plus a lot more other info.
Another book you might want to check out is Bone Marrow Nei Kung. This is an advanced book, but if I remember correctly, it’s got a very good overview of the beginning practices.
Finally, depending on where you live, you might want to take a few lessons with a live teacher. Teachers for the more advanced stuff are few and far between, but the basics are taught around the world.
Let us know if you have any additional questions.August 19, 2005 at 10:53 am #7396
That simple book I couldn’t remember is called Awaken Healing Energy Through the Tao. It’s simpler and less overstuffed than Awaken Healing Light and might be better for you.August 19, 2005 at 10:59 am #7398August 19, 2005 at 11:12 am #7400
Thanks! Ok, a few questions:
1. Re. the Chi Kung Fundamentals program.. I already have Ken Cohen’s tape set that goes through the healing sounds and has various other practices.. It felt like a hodgepodge of techniques, and I just didnt’ feel comfortable with it. I feel I need something more systematic. Would you recommend the Chi Kung Fundamentals program over this, or would it be rather repetitious?
2. I have Mantak Chia’s book Awaken Healing Energy Through the Tao, and began to do the microcosmic orbit a bit. But my sense is that I need to develop chi first in order to have something to circulate.. is that a fair assumption?
So I have been concentrating simply on dantien meditation for now, and have started to do inner smile.
I will look for the Bone Marrow Nei Kung book.
To Max, thanks for the suggestion about breathing.. I’m sure I’m breathing improperly; I have very little lung capacity and find it uncomfortable to practice any sort of breathing technique besides just allowing the breath to be natural when I do dantien meditation.
Sometimes I feel the urge to do a little deep breathing, but only when my body wants to, and I can never anticipate when that’s going to be 🙂
So the key issue for me I think is to start right from where I am and get the most out of very simple, subtle practices.
Also, I am suffering from severe migraines currently, so anything specifically addressing this would be great. I assume that dantien meditation would help nourish the yin and help with the flareup of false yang.
I’m always open to hearing more ideas; thanks again for the quick responses.
KarenAugust 19, 2005 at 12:14 pm #7402
Thanks Plato. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Sam Biser in the past. But on the website, I see what he’s railing against, and don’t see what he’s actually advising. Can you give a short gist of the principles he’s advocating?
My health history is actually something I’m viewing in very different terms as I’m healing. I don’t buy into conventional diagnoses, and I never fit into those categories anyway. My healing journey has been bizarre and complicated, and I’m making it much simpler now.
I have had severe chronic fatigue and difficulty eating for most of my adult life, although the latter problem is finally resolving now with homeopathic treatment. I was hanging onto life by a thread for a long time, and am finally feeling like the thread is getting stronger :-).
Over the years I have been treated with every “natural” healing modality on the planet, from every angle, and have studied them intensely. (Much of what is promoted as natural healing is misguided or not used wisely, IMO.. it’s probably a blessing that I was too weak to travel for all the various types of treatments I had wanted 🙂
And I have lost a lot of vital energy in the process.. not only because the approaches themselves were inappropriate, but also by being so disempowered in the fearful search for healing, and being too open to every great idea that came down the pike. Now I still listen but sort through more wisely and discern what I personally need and don’t need. In other words, I trust my body’s choices of what and when.
The homeopathic treatment has helped to shore up some inner resources and transform some of the fear. I’m beginning to see some results after many long years of no perceptible results and hanging by a thread of faith.. so that I trust the inner healing process more. I feel that Chi Kung would be a helpful complement to that treatment now.
I had done some meditative chikung practice in the past, but without a teacher, I lost interest. I’m not physically up to going to a class. I think I have more motivation now to stick with it on my own, and I trust that I can get what I need whatever the circumstances.
KarenAugust 19, 2005 at 1:54 pm #7404
Sounds like the Biser book is for you. Just order it and you won’t be disappointed. I ordered mine already and can’t wait to read it. Read his ad copy thoroughly and his website and it will all make sense.
See, if someone is suffering from fatigue or just flat-out has no energy, then there are two avenues to look at.
1. Organs aren’t working. If lungs are weak can’t get chi out of air. If liver is weak can’t digest, etc.
2. There is a trauma (most likely non-physical) that you have inside of you.
Sam Biser talks a lot about this sort of thing on the website.
-PlatoAugust 19, 2005 at 2:31 pm #7406
Yup, I’ve had many TCM diagnoses.. deficiencies across the board.. no wonder, after a lifetime of malnutrition. As for trauma, yes, very much so, and the Heilkunst treatment is designed to specifically address that.
The thing about Biser I’m not comfortable with is that his one-book “course” costs $100. Many people I know who are seriously ill and living on meager disability income, including myself (the audience he is apparently speaking to), simply can’t afford that. Surely there must be some way to make this information more accessible.
I have to wonder what’s so unique about this course. I can appreciate someone who’s put together a way for people to cut through the dizzying confusion of all the nutritional and supplement information that’s out there (which IMO is largely health food industry propaganda). I’ve gone pretty far doing that for myself already; that’s why I’m very discriminating when it comes to spending money I don’t have 🙂
But thanks; I do appreciate the suggestion and look forward to hearing about the book when it comes out.
KarenAugust 19, 2005 at 4:09 pm #7408
It sounds like you’re in a pretty weakened state.
Inner smile, dan tien meditation and 6 healing sounds are three simple, easy practices that, over time, should provide both strength and healing.
Off hand, I don’t know anything specifically for migranes (look in the back of Awaken Healing Light and see if Chia reccomends anything). I do think that dan tien meditation, which should bring energy and attention away from your head and to your belly, would be good for it.
The only breathing you should worry about at this point is natural, relaxed breathing. This should be “belly breathing”. I.e., when you breath in your belly expands rather than your chest. If you’re not doing that, try to get into the habit of doing it, without forcing anything.
I like Ken Cohen and have read one of his books, but don’t know what’s in his taped material. I do think Winn’s material is well organized, with a lot more theory linking it together than most usually give. I think Fundementals I is around $60 and covers the basic practices that you’re interested in (smile, sounds, tan tien). You can always get Fundementals II later.
Finally, I’d also reccomend exercise. Even if it is just walking outside in the fresh air. Do as much of that as you can, regularly. Physical activity — especially in nature — is a “practice” in its own right. And very beneficial.
spyrelxAugust 19, 2005 at 4:39 pm #7410
Hi Karen (real name? – maybe not?)
Anyways if you don’t mind I will put my 2 cents in. Migraines – probably food allergy. Do you have yeast infections, if not try Burrow’s Lemon Cleanse for 10 days. No longer. Is on website and most health food stores have a pamphlet you can get for free on recipe. YOu donot need to use organic maple syrup but it is healthier to do so.
Best qigong practise to do to bring energy into your middle dantien – Standing post. However best to ground to heaven and earth and then clear self first.
This may be a bit long, but hey, its FREE and if you don’t like it just don’t use it.
My thanks to Dr. Jerry Johnson’s Medical Qigong book for affirming all of this technique. And to my chen style taiji master and only him and I know who that was.
Before starting any energy work just think lightly that you are in a very large bright white light and that white light comes to you, only bright white light energy comes to you with compassion, love, understanding, wisdom, grace (and you can add anything else you want that you are comfortable with for positive and easy healing)
Place your tongue just behind your top teeth, on gums very gently. (Creates bridge for energy).
1. Stand with knees slightly bent, feet shoulder width apart.
2. Hands casually resting at your sides.
3. Your head is straight, looking straight ahead – imagine that your head is suspended from the universe by a silver thread. Now as you do that kind of bend your knees. You should feel your vertebrae in your spine straighten and lengthen. Pretend your tail bone goes straight into earth, which means you will be flattening your back a little, tucking it in almost to a pelvic tilt but not quite. Now Relax.
And this next technique is in Jerry Johnson’s medical qigong book, but I pretty much did it all anyways thru my neigong training – so I will kind of add my own to it, but it is pretty much Jerry’s and I want to give him credit for that.
4. Imagine white light coming from universe, it lands on your head like oil, like a bright white light smile, and melts down the front of your face, taking with it all emotion, all tension, all blockages,melting down the front of your face, then down front of neck, to shoulders to front of arms and out thru finger tips. All emotion, all tension, all blockages are released thru your fingertips to the earth. Now bring your attnetion to where you left off at your neck, see the white light smile melt down the front of your chest, past your abdomen, pelvis, quads, knees, shins, down to your feet and melts out thru you feet into earth taking with it all tension, all emotion, all blockages. The earth cleanses. Now take your attention to the top of your head again and see the white light like oil melt down the back of your head and envision as you did with the front, now happening in the back of your body, the back of arms, etc. Taking your attention after releasing thru fingertips back to the upper back and working way down body past buttocks, hamstrings, calves, etc. releasing into earth. Then again cleanse with white light melting into middle of body, past brain, eyes, throat, middle of arms, etc. then coming back to middle of throat, working down thru heart lungs, etc., releasing into earth.
5. Feel silver thread attached to top of the crown of our head, attached to your head and to universe.
Feel your feet in the earth, feel them spread out and feel them as roots of a tree go deep into the earth. Deep, deep into earth.
Now you have cleansed and you are grounded and I don’t care what energy work is done after that for anyone or anybody but this process should be done first. I found out the hard way. No grounding, that takes a lot to heal, many friggin years. No cleansing and no thought of white light. Heck you may receive anything. Any everything out there is not what you want believe me. Thought and intention is very strong in what our body lets in energy wise.
So now if you want to create nice strong dantien energy. Well nice way is to use a taiji ruler and hold it with palms or just don’t use the ruler (see below) -gently in front of your dantien which is about 1 -1/2″ below navel (belly button). Hold it so that your arms are just a little bent. Qi flows better thru joints that are juat a little bent. Now relax, you can close eyes or not. Think just lightly of a nice bright warm red ball in your dantien (tummy area),then just let your mind relax, realign your body …head hanging from silver thread, vertebrae lenghten, tailbone into earth, shoulders relax…. like a feather you bring mind back to your dantien. Never straining just like a side glance of a thought. For the mind if forced will do the oppositeof what you think it to do. In my training I was taught to relax mostly, do not make qi travel. I was told by my taiji master that you can not cook unless you have fire in the oven first. I was told, very strongly, yelled at I think to not think about the qi moving. I was told to not move it but rather let it go itself. So your mind will bring thoughts to you (have to go to the mall, phone friend, damn person cut me off on freeway, I forgot to pay the water bill, I am hungry, etc., etc., etc., and so I found it best to release them. Let them flow to earth and the earth always cleanses them, uses them for fertilizer, for flowers, think of it that way. I found that if you try to stop a thought you can cause more tension and that is not so good. So relax. LIke a spring waterfall see the thought, recognize it gently like a side glance and let it go, flow to the earth. Then bring your thought to dantien, to the red ball,nice and warm by your tummy area. Ever so gentle thoughts.
You can do this exercise using the taiji ruler or just empty handed. Your palms relaxed, facing each other like you are hugging a tree.
Work up to 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 20 minutes standing. I was up to 40 minutes and I wanted to move the energy. My master gave me heck for that. I was not allowed any music. Nothing. Just relax.
When you do this make sure you will not be interrupted. No phones, no nothing. If the phone rings it will disrupt your energy and you will be scattered. Before moving take a few seconds to mentally bring all energy back to your dantien (tummy area). You must do this. You may use your hands to aid in bringing the energy to your dantien. This will help in the scattered energy feel you may get. But it may still take a few hours to days to reclaim your center. Disruption may not be so much of an issue in the beginning with short times but when you are deep into meditation it can “hurt”. But you can recover of course. Nothing you can’t fix. Just be aware that you need a quiet time.
Some of my taiji brothers would do standing post while watching TV? I am not so sure it still works, they think it does, but I never did it.
After the standing post do closing technique exercises. They vary but any are good as long as you include patting the top of your head lightly and patting all over your body with hands. Include any others you have learned in martial arts, like rubbing your ears or lightly tapping your kidneys with open fist, etc., etc.
Then voila! Standing post is best for creating strong dantien. Along wiht that safest thing is taiji ruler circles to keep away stagnation. That I cannot explain over htis email.
Anyways, got to go.
Good LuckAugust 19, 2005 at 4:58 pm #7412
Plato’s suggestion seems to have some merit, but I know nothing of it except what I read in brief today.
But, since you came to this particular site and asked specifically about advice towards practicing Chi Kung I will try to respond to your exact question.
I would suggest the best basic book to start with would be “Transform Stress into Vitality” by Mantak Chia. This “ancient” tome is one of M. Chia’s first and probably purest books about the most basic of the healing tao practices.
As time went on, it seems layers and layers of complexity and theory were laid on top of some of this material. As evidenced by the appearance of the encyclopedic book “Awaken Healing Light” which is probably 2.5 times as large as that which preceded it “Awaken Healing Energy through the Tao”.
This book can be found for sale on this website. Code B03 and ISBN 0-935621-46-6.
The material covered is concise and in my mind very clear.
What is covered is
1. The inner smile meditation
2. The Six healing sounds
The inner smile meditation is really the primary foundation practice of the healing tao system. It seems very simple, but in my opinion can, when practiced regularly be a fine method of relaxation and foundation for steady meditation practice. One of the concepts which is easy to grasp intellectually is that it is common in the modern world for their to be a great split between the mind and the body. Inner smile, with it’s exploration of every part of the physical body does wonders in my opinion in bridging that split. This is one of the very important concepts of Taoist meditation, chi kung and , Nei kung practice, the establishment of consciousness deep in the body. the concept of making a connection with your center, your earth, being grounded. All of these flow from integrating your consciousness more fully with your physical body.
I suggest you get the book and learn the whole meditation by reading that section. Then, what I did, way back when I was a beginner was to record my voice reading the steps of the meditation. Then I could play it back and go through the steps myself. This is a good process tolearn and it will cement the practice in more thoroughly by hearing it in your own voice. Also, it fits with your budgetary considerations.
The second part of this book covers the six healing sounds. The healing sounds exist throughout chinese culture in a myriad of forms. I think that M.Chia and M.Winn have a distillation of this practice which will engage the various aspects more fully than other methods. Practicing the sound, with the movement, with the color and organ all combined are quite powerful once you learn to summon all the pieces together. I find that other systems are not as fully integrated. Many teachers approach this practice
as only sounds alone. I find the more you can incorporate simultaneously, the more will happen.
This practice is more akin to chi kung and the inner smile is more akin to meditation. They both take your attention into the body and take you to a level of integration with the body which are very beneficial.
I know you have particular issues which you have alluded to, including strength and stamina. I suggest learning the inner smile as I have described and this can be done while lying down, though one should strive not to fall asleep while practicing, it is not harmful at all in this practice. The six healing sounds can require a good deal more energy, but you can take it slow. emphasis on the meditative aspect of the resting phase between execution of the sounds will allow you to proceed at your own pace. Also, it may be helpful to you to practice the lung sound a lot at first and emphasize drawing down energy into your body to be stored in your kidneys. This is the activity which the lung controls and it can and should perform the function of charging your batteries (your kidney function) which have been taxed, by your own description of your situation.
IN addittion I would recommend Michael Winn’s chi kung fundamentals as well. Especially the practice of Ocean breathing, which will help you connect and charge up your vital center of gravity – Tan tien.
These are simple practices, but they can be profound in their affect if you do them with committment and consistently. I think Chi kung teachers all emphasize the importance of the cumulative effect of daily practice, perhaps even more so than other teachers of healing methods. I agree with this as well.
CraigAugust 19, 2005 at 5:43 pm #7414
Thanks spyrelx, very helpful. I’ll concentrate on those three practices. At this point even walking outdoors for more than a couple of minutes is too much. I try to sit outside when the weather is good, although here in upstate NY we don’t have much in-between weather. So I do a lot of visualizing 🙂
karenAugust 19, 2005 at 5:52 pm #7416
Sounds perfect, thanks!August 19, 2005 at 6:35 pm #7418
Karen happens to be my real name; easier to use than to think up anything else 🙂
I can’t do standing exercises, but some of the visualizations you describe sound great and I will try. (I can stand, but it’s way too tiring for more than a minute, so it seems not a good idea to force it).
I can sit with feet on the floor at least, to connect to earth.. although I’m up on the third floor, so even the floor isn’t exactly on the earth, but hey, we do our best.
As for the noisy thoughts, I have practiced Buddhist and other forms of meditation in the past, so I’m used to dealing with that.. or at least, I’m not worried about it 🙂
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.