Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Three Powers

In Chinese metaphysics, born in the I Ching, there are the three powers (the "sancai"). These are "The power(Tao) of the World", the "Power of Man", and the "Power of Heaven".

It is the reason why the level of the elements, the Trigrams (which are the building blocks of all reality) are expressed as three-line symbols.
In each trigram, the lower line can be understood as representing the power of the World, the middle line represents the power of Man, and the upper line represents the power of Heaven.

So the world is outside, that which is below, the common, the natural, people and things, society, the law, the default way of things, that which manifests in a concrete manner, etc.

The power of Heaven is beyond, that which is above, that which is uncommon, the supra-natural, the extraordinary, that which manifests in the abstract, unconcerned with the affairs of society, unbound by law.

The power of the Human is the link; it's what between the two, it is what is within, it can touch in either direction, it connects the Heavenly with the Worldly, it is Consciousness, it is the freedom to choose.

The human being is the BRIDGE between the World (nature) and Heaven (the spiritual realm).
Of all the creatures in creation, only humans are capable of making that connection between what is below and what is above, and uniting the two.

Animals can be powerful, spirits can be powerful, but only human beings can become the Sage, united to the Taiji (the "all", the 'ridge-pole' that unites all things).

It should be noted that this cosmology does not suggest that the Sage is one who leaves behind the animal, or the human, to go up somewhere else and "ascend" into heaven.  The Sage, the Enlightened one, is not the Sage because he has left humanity behind.  He is the Sage because he has fulfilled that role as the "bridge".

The I Ching guidance to the Superior Individual is a guidance to how to form that 'bridge' in any given circumstance; how to act in such a way, at any time and situation, so as to unite the 'big picture' to the 'little picture'.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

On The Experience of Standing Cultivation in Yi Fa Qi Gong

Rushing in all directions
suddenly pauses.
In stillness time stops.
The body relaxes
where no tension was felt.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Some Unusual Experiences in Early Qi Gong Practice

The following is an excerpt from the Level 2 book "The Universal Yi Fa":

"Brand new students may feel, sometime in the first week or two of daily Qi Gong practice, some physical symptoms that are not unlike having a mild cold; this is also normal and happens to at least a third of all new students. The ancient teachers suggested that this was due to the expulsion of stagnant Qi (or later, once Buddhism had become popular in China, the expulsion of "bad karma"); however it may also bepossible that these symptoms are in fact due to the way Qi Gong stimulates the lymphatic system into more effective detoxification.

Many students will experience, after their first few sessions of Qi Gong, feelings of excitement and pleasure during the practice, and a general sense of well-being after the practice. This is different from the bliss stage of pre-enlightenment, but is rather an effect of that initial enthusiasm for practice (and the conscious or unconscious sensing of initial Qi cultivation). It happens to at least a third of initial students. Instructors should make it clear that this is a normal sensation, but not to dwell too much or make that kind of pleasure the goal (otherwise, in the middle-early stages, when perfecting the technical
side of the movements becomes more challenging, they may start to get discouraged).

On the other hand, at least a third of the students may find that, in the days after initial Qi Gong practice, they start to feel more easily annoyed or irritated by everyday things in their life and environment. This is likely caused by the initial increase in sensitivity and perception that properly practiced Qi Gong generates. Students should be advised not to worry too much about it, to try to avoid outbursts or reactions caused by such irritation, and that once they get used to their higher level of perception, these sensations will pass.

One very common physical side effect of Qi Gong practice is most curious: practitioners will experience an increase of "bubbles" in their urine. The ancient teaching suggested that these are due to "excess Qi", not yet able to be contained in the new student as they are still in the process of activating the First Furnace. It may also be likely, however, that this is a side effect of increased oxygenation produced by improved breathing when practicing Qi Breathing. In either case, this curious side effect is completely harmless.

Finally many students, after the first two or three weeks of practice, report that they are getting less sleep than they used to; and for some this can seem quite distressing. However, the student should consider whether their reduced hours of sleep actually translate into a sensation of being tired when they wake up. They will likely find that even if they have slept one to three hours less than they were previously used to, they wake up feeling no more tired than they would normally. This is because the physical effects of Qi Gong, and the increased life energy generated by the proper circulation of Qi in the body, makes less sleep necessary to get the same amount of physical regeneration. So if a student is sleeping less but is not feeling exhausted from it, they should realize that this is not a serious problem at all, but rather an advantage of practice! At the same time, the instructor should warn students away from intentionally getting less sleep; if their body naturally sleeps less, that is different than if they are trying to use Qi Gong as a way to "burn the midnight oil", which is not as such advised."

If you are interested in Yi Fa Qi Gong, you could start on it by checking out the Yi Fa Society Playlist on Youtube.

If you are interested in joining the Yi Fa Society and working on its curriculum, please feel free to contact me!

Monday, September 5, 2016

What is a Divination System?

There's a difference between a common fortune telling device and a divination system. To elaborate, let's say you put together a bunch of random words on cards, or you made up a system of interpreting google searches, or some other system where the input was completely random, so the meaning could be entirely and totally whatever meaning the 'reader' chose to gave it. That is not the same as the I Ching (or other systems of divination, like Tarot or Runes, etc.).

In a system of divination what you have are symbols and messages that are NOT random, but also do not have a single meaning. They have multiple layers of meaning, which you must then interpret and determine how to apply it to your question.

Systems of divination are based on some kind of Cosmology (a map of the universe, and/or of space and time). So, how much you know about the context of the system (its structure and mechanics) and the meaning and principles behind the symbols or messages being used will help determine how accurately you apply it. There ARE 'multiple meanings', but meaning is not random, and thus things like how the system is presented/taught, how deeply you have studied it, and how good your sense of general awareness are will affect the usability of the system for divination.

The I Ching's usability for divination wouldn't really matter to people who are ONLY interested in it out of academic curiosity or otherwise have no intention of using it. But to everyone else, and especially to those using it within a system of spiritual practice, this issue does matter. If it didn't matter, then we could all save a lot of time by just doing fortune-telling with bottlecaps or baseball cards.