Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Cultivating the True Will and Superior Individual

What you have to understand is that achieving the True Will (what in I Ching terms is called the Superior Individual) requires three basic ingredients:

The first is self-inquiry. That is to say, growing in your understanding of your self, and what you are really capable of, and developing a way of tapping in, at every given moment and each given decision, to what is the best choice you can make to manifest that true will. Both meditation (Qi breathing) and the study of the I Ching helps with this; the former because it connects body and consciousness, the latter because it guides you in the situations where you can come to frame your choices in time and space. The I Ching is used for divination, but in the context of the Great Work it is a lot more than that; sometimes you will need to cast the I Ching to get answers to difficult situations, but as you grow in practice and if you've spent enough time in contemplating and considering the meaning of the I Ching you will eventually develop an ability to understand what to do by an "observation of nature" (that is, by paying attention to where you are in time and space, and being able to manifest the best possible self in your choices at that moment).

The second is developing in Virtue. The term Virtue is a very specific thing in the context of Yi Fa work; it means working on improving your dedication to the four core concepts inherent in "Yuan Heng Li Zhen": Union/Love, Discipline, Harmony/Justness, and Truth/Sincerity.

It isn't enough to just think about or study these concepts; you have to work on trying to embody them in everything you do in your everyday life. This takes a lot of work, it's like an exercise regime: you'll get better at it the more often you do it. The practice of self-inquiry mentioned above is very important in this regard because as you get better at being able to overcome the passions and impulses of the Inferior Person (the opposite of your True Will, your conditionings) the easier it will be to remember to manifest these qualities.

And the third part is the exercises of Yi Fa Qi Gong. These exercise are a kind of internal alchemy; they gradually transform your body and consciousness at the same time. First off by giving you the opportunity to accumulate Qi (life force) within yourself, that is then transformed within your body to a force that breaks down the attachments you have to activities of the Inferior Person (relating to what in modern lingo could be called the mind/body connection). Beyond that, the regular practice of the exercises helps to generate Virtue, which you can then apply as mentioned above in your everyday life.

As you become more advanced in the Qi Gong practice, it will unlock new levels of your consciousness which will grant you the ability to increasingly directly manifest the Superior Individual.

Of course, all of this depends on you practicing the Work with sincerity and dedication. It takes time, but the longer you do it the more cumulative and lasting the benefits become.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Cultivation Practice Qi Gong Requires Progressive Steps

There are many schools of Qi Gong. Many of these teach amalgam systems, which have either been created by a collection of different exercises from different sources with no consideration as to the progressive nature of cultivation teaching, or from very ancient traditions over many influences of teachers with a lot of mixed up or added material from different sources.

At present, many, undoubtedly most, Qi Gong teachings in the west (or the east as well) focus on good health, and are largely just seen as exercises for health. And in that sense, the significant majority of Qi Gong schools are perfectly adequate for that simple goal.

But the true nature of Qi Gong is not to develop good health. Qi Gong descends from the techniques of eastern Internal Alchemy, and their true purpose is to transform one's consciousness; real Qi Gong is an Enlightenment practice. And when it comes to practicing Qi Gong as a system of spiritual cultivation for Enlightenment, you can't just settle for a hodge-podge of mixed exercises that aren't concerned with establishing solid foundations followed by progressive steps of further transformation. 

The way Qi Gong really works is to imagine a pyramid: the first lowest tier of that pyramid is the Body. it is the absolute foundation. This is why you begin all cultivation practice by being present in your body.

If you are doing things without your active consciousness being in the body it's like you're trying to build a house on air. So that's the first thing you have to learn, how to BE in the body. Because today most people in the West certainly don't know how to do that.

Following that, you must learn how to breathe properly, because the breath is key to the circulation of Qi. In order for that circulation to work properly, your body must be able to relax, so you must not only be consciously in your body, but also to help your body to relax, and breathe naturally.   Only after that can you effectively begin in the basic first-step practices of proper spiritual cultivation, taught in the first level of Yi Fa Qi Gong.

After that, like in the subsequent levels of the Yi Fa society, the work begins to focus on other tiers: the second is the cultivation of Virtue. After that, the effort to unite with what is beyond you, and after that, to experience Reality.

All of these are necessary steps for the system, which is part of why you can't just pick and choose spiritual practices outside of a coherently ordered system, systems of spiritual Cultivation are of necessity progressive. If you just do thing A here, and thing D there, but you skipped B because no one told you about it and C because you didn't like it, then you end up creating a warped practice that will not be able to fully succeed at cultivation.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

I Ching Hexagram Commentary #14 - Great Holdings

Here is the latest I Ching video. If you are interested in deeper teaching on the I Ching as part of an ongoing program of spiritual cultivation, please consider contacting me about applying to the Yi Fa Society.