Tuesday, March 24, 2009

mana prana chi ki

A nugget from the Wikipedia article on qigong...

In some styles of qigong, it is taught that humanity and nature are inseparable, and any belief otherwise is held to be an artificial discrimination based on a limited, two-dimensional view of human life. According to this philosophy, access to higher energy states and the subsequent health benefits said to be provided by these higher states is possible through the principle of cultivating virtue (de or te 德, see Tao Te Ching, chapters 16, 19, 28, 32, 37, and 57). Cultivating virtue could be described as a process by which one comes to realize that one was never separated from the primal, undifferentiated state of being free of artificial discrimination that is the true nature of the universe. Progress toward this goal can be made with the aid of deep relaxation (meditation), and deep relaxation is facilitated by the practice of qigong.

Monday, March 23, 2009

progress, really!

I'm finally coming back to something that I new very well a year or two ago but got sidetracked from. At that time when I'd meditate the feeling was of getting into a warm bath, of making time to enjoy all of these small energy events occuring in the body, tingles here and there, taps, emanations of heat, odd pulls and swoops. I guess because there are so many ways to meditate I lost my sense that all I needed to do was get into that bath and observe the currents of energy.

Reading Mysteries of the Life Force by Peter Meech has helped me become aware that the kind of steeping I was doing was a tribute to the life force, which grows when nurtured by awareness. The Chi Kung master who is the subject of the book teaches that when we properly nurture chi, it heals us, knowing exactly what to do.

Sometimes it requires patience to feel anything. Other times the sensations are rather remarkable. I was just meditating on the brown sofa in the living room and feeling the sensation of fingertips making delicate down strokes around the crown chakra, pressure in the third eye regions and tingling lines helping to relax tension in my left glutial. After a while I had the inclination to put both hands over my heart which brought a heavy warmth and radiance to it. I began to feel that my heart wanted to drink from the chi of my hands steadily and heartily and would not let them leave there. Oh, poor heart. Then I felt like moving the left hand down to dan tian and felt the energy from that little furnace connect with the heart energy in a powerful column of radiant, warm stillness. Now, as I write this, I still feel a very distinct pressure on my third eye and the happiness in my still recharging heart.

I suppose if the life force likes to be cradled in the awarness, then it also won't mind being cradled in an um, blog.

But wow, what a way to go. From what I've been reading there's a whole mountain range of life force that I haven't even come close to and wouldn't be strong enough to perceive at this point. And then, there's those little devils who are so good at stealing it away when I'm not looking.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thinking about Chi

This morning it appears that meditation that simply observes various sensations appearing in the body is a meditation on chi, or a way of cradling and strengthening the life force. This meditation has a wider scope than that meant to be purely an excercise in strengthening focus by observing the breath.

Chi seems to appear as ebbs of coolness and heat, electrical rushes here and there, maybe down through the tongue and into the fingertips, tickles and pricks, and hopefully the development of a sensation of heat in the dan tian. But this isn't something to be controlled, we can trust when we pay respects to the subtle life force within us it knows better than us where to travel and how to heal, and how to instill deeper wisdom.

Maybe we can call chi "nectar." Yesterday at the Tara Puja Matthew explained how the word nectar derives from the roots of a word for "death" and the root of the word "tar" which means to cross over.

Nectar is derived from Latin nectar "drink of the gods", which in turn has its origins in the Greek word νέκταρ (néktar), presumed to be a compound of the elements nek- "death" and -tar "overcoming". The earliest recorded use of its current meaning, "sweet liquid in flowers", is 1609.[1] ~wikipedia

I had no idea the word was as loaded as the flowers that offer it.
He also mentioned a book called Ocean of Nectar by Geshe, which is a title I'm going to have to look into.

Monday, March 16, 2009

When we break, God rejoices

That is, when we give up because we realize it's never going to happen, when we exceed the limits of our smallness, when we give birth to something larger than our egos and preferences, when we realize there's no way we're up to the task we set before ourselves, but in spite of that, we're full tilt in effortless bounty.

happy with less

That seems to be the message of the day, coming to me with surprising sanity in spite of the groggy exhausted achy condition I'm in for no reason I can pin down, except for that most optimistic diagnosis some like to call "a healing crisis."

So many buttons I've pressed today are sticky, what glommed on to the camera? The Y key downstairs? Entropy the enemy, the weights on the bench press, it's not easy to get anything done. It's not easy to do something good. In fact, to do something really really good is really really hard and we do fail often, don't we? We're all climbing very slippery vines.

Through the fog of my middle world malaise comes a renewed appreciation in all the things I take for granted, breathing, for instance. I can do that. All the food in the refrigerator, the warmth and tremendous beauty of friends and company, the minds also hard at work trying to navigate this trying maze. Nature, whose beauty expands with each second, third and fourth look. Whose call is so loud.

Our lot is hard, our choices difficult. We are pulled in every direction and hunger for so much, and each of our steps is threatened with innumerable pitfalls. We find it hard to place limits on our indulgence, indulgences that undermine our better sense. How much more then should we celebrate every wholesome resolution, every graceful evolution, every just revolution.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Puzzle of Order

What a gorgeous day it is today, what subtle architecture of light seems to fill the hour. While my to do list beckons, I have to take time to ruminate a bit on Order as it appears this morning.

Each plant and animal and living structure bears its unique order, cascading hierarchies of traits like you see most clearly in trees. I also see these beautiful subtle structures in people and am so deeply moved and humbled. In each mind, unique tendencies and preferences uncoil from an inimitable sensibility, especially in the case of artists, whose work sometimes reflects the delicate playfulness and self-atunement which to my mind resembles the infinitely various patterns God's breath makes when it blows and melts the elements into networks of unutterable beauty. A man, a woman, her mind, a snowflake, a dancing city of woven light.

Considering the infinite array of order in minerals, plants and animals, elements, planets, suns and galaxies, this 3 dimensional patchwork of form and law, the instinct of animals and man, the sensibilities and interests of writers and artists, builders and chefs, doctors and mothers and gardeners and arborists, the invisible cords that pull the curiosity of scientists into various configurations, leave me peaceful and fulfilled. For once, not hungry. For a moment, happy to be like air or water and mold to revelations of form.