Neigong and Meditation

 

    Traditional Chinese neigong, Tibetan, and India meditation systems for the betterment of humanity*

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   “As a bee seeks nectar from all kinds of flowers, seek teachings everywhere;

like a deer that finds a quiet place to graze, seek seclusion to digest all that you have gathered.

Like a madman, beyond all limits, go wherever you please;

and live like a lion, completely free of all fear.” – A tantra of Dzogchen.

      People get into meditation for many reasons. Some want to tame their mind, center and ground to know the true self, find everyday peace in life, seek a higher power (God, Buddha, Nirvana, Tao, etc.), develop latent potential, or prepare for death. You have to know what is important to you and make the decision to apply quality time to develop breath awareness, harmonize the mind, and cultivate energetic body skills. Your length of practice will depend on your ability and so it is important to not force it or be lazy. Early morning and late evening practice is recommend when mind is fresh or relaxed. You will need to have a quiet place like a room or corner of room to make your sacred space free from distractions. Diligent meditation will lead to a more pure and clearer mental state, aka contemplation. The natural state we all have, but demands the discipline of a monk.

*We are not here to change your religious beliefs, only present methods used in Asia that can enhance your spiritual cultivation. Also we firmly believe to take caution in learning these without a skilled teacher. We will share open and public methods that are allowed. Lastly, we are not trying to take away from your individuality. It is very important to ground yourself after working with groups so as to not be changed by group mind thinking. When individuals lose a sense of self and start to rely on organized religion and groups it can be cultish. Charlatans, fake gurus, and people claiming secrets or using psychological skills and mental powers in immoral ways are dishonest and seeking to control people and gain from you financially. Beware of what is out there and those who do not have a ethical/moral views and behaviors in the spiritual community. Have fun, generate merit, unify compassion with wisdom, find peace of mind, and blessings to you and yours. 

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Vipassana: Insight meditation

This is a good start, very simple, open, and to the public. It comes from the Theravadan Buddhist tradition. If you like meditation, we believe the link here:  Vipassana is a simple non-religious practice to observe breathing and calm the mind as best choice for true beginners. Sometimes called mindfulness meditation, because it uses 1. mindfulness, 2. calm, and 3. mindfulness of breathing, to 4. allow the mind to observe the changes in body and mind thus creating insight into your true nature of reality.

Chinese Taoist Neigong: Internal work

 Neigong ‘internal work’ is the more classic term for internal driven concentration methods inside the body. Qigong is a more modern term that takes from Neigong, but is more external driven in terms of movement and breathing. In Taoism, the ultimate is the generation of Neidan, or the Elixir of life and essence into true nature of self and universe.

China has a long 4000+ year history.  There was continual evolution in the areas in  medicine, physical culture, religion, and philosophy, art, politics, and martial arts throughout this historical timeline. The ancients already had terms like Dao yin (breath and movement), Du na (breathing methods),  Xingqi (Promoting and conducting qi),  Fuqi (Taking qi),  Shushu (breath-counting),  Zuochan (sitting meditation), Shi Qi (living on qi),  Jingzuo (sitting still), Nei qi (internal qi), and Wei qi (external qi). The Taoists, had Five Sacred Mountains where they studied the Tao. Mao Shan, the Jade capital sect was where astrology and sorcery were studied, Lungmen and Huashan, the heavenly pillar sect were the center of asceticism, Wudangshan, the Pole star sect was concentrated on military arts and exorcism, Lunghushan, the Jade prefecture, was the priestly sect, and lastly the Lushan, the Spirit Cloud sect were the Buddhist influenced Taoists. At these places Taoists’ studied to unify and harmonize with Taoist trinity of heaven, self (within humanity), and earth.

Neigong requires training in qigong (energy cultivation), yi gong (focus training), shen gong (spiritual mind training) to create the Neidan (elixir).

The nexus of it all is understanding the “3 treasures” which are Shen, Qi, and Jing. Shen is the “mind, consciousness, or spirit”. Qi is the “vital force” that maintains the health of the internal organs. Jing or “Essence” is the hormones that supports the body, muscles, bones, blood, and more.

When it comes to learning neigong, qigong, and meditation, it is important to proceed with caution, have an expert teacher who has obtain all levels clearly, and conducts retreats regularly. To deep dive into Taoist Neigong I recommend teacher Nathan Brine. He has a online program and some free sample videos here: https://nathanbrine.com/blog/

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You have to be gentle with yourself and your mind’s intention called “Yi” as qi cannot be forced by intention.  Forcing the body to try to make qi will cause some burnout and make the liver and kidney stressed. Blockages, stagnation, and even reversal of the natural normal pathway of qi can occur. This is the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish. Do not get nervous about not being able to stop thoughts. Go with the flow. If thoughts cannot be stopped, just simply do not proceed until you can. Do not seek visions or use visualization. Use feeling; listen within in a casual way. Have pure intention and be morally pure rather than chasing after power, money, and acting in competition with others as these will only lead to more stress.

Some pointers: The only way to find your Qi, is to be in the present moment and using your feeling. You cannot have a mind stuck in the past or thinking about the future.  Find a quiet place free of distractions. Simply sit in stillness, this helps calm the mind. Be aware of your body. Relax your shoulders, arms, wrist and hands. Hands on your lap or knees, chest relaxed, upper back slightly rounded, and tongue on roof of mouth. The nose naturally breathes and the belly expands on inhale and contracts on exhale, this lower diaphragm “dan tien” area is below belly button.  Most importantly, stillness is the key and relaxing in the sense of letting go physically, mentally, and emotionally will be critical. Seek out tension in the body and release it. 

A Standing Neigong lesson 1

Standing Neigong lesson 2: Dan tian

Tibetan meditation: Bon Dzogchen

As for Tibetan meditation, my teacher Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is recommended. He is a lay monk of the Bon Dzogchen Tibetan tradition and has a “Getting Started” program with some free instruction videos and guided meditation practices here: https://ligmincha.org/getting-started/

Here is a sample of some of my Tibetan teachers and things I’ve been taught. I’m not currently a teacher of this, but am working on the teacher program with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, you’d have to go to them or their organization. Thank you.

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Basic Lesson: 9 breathings of Purification from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. Clear the upper Respiratory system at nostrils.

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Sit in the 5 point posture: 1. legs crossed to close off energy to keep it inside, left leg on right leg, guides prana into secret chakra 2. Hands on lap in equalize posture, left hand on right, thumbs touch the base of ring finger to close body to outside spirits.helps guide prana in naval chakra. 3. chest open, for circulation of breath and blood, helps open heart chakra. 4. Spine straight to assist the 3 channels, 5. Chin slightly tucked to assist in conquering thoughts. You have to be still in this posture and find calm abiding within.

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Alternate nostril breathing: it opens the nose, the first passageway to the lungs. Buddhist Nine breathing’s of purification- is also known as Pranayama in various yoga circles, many of its uses are to balance the humors (phlegm, bile,and wind) of the body in India’s Ayurvedic medicine. Brings benefits of balancing both hemispheres of the brain, yin (lunar) and yang(solar) energies of the body, helps to develop a sense of centering and grounding.

 

To balance the channels- the method of “alternate nostril breathing” is applied. You inhale through left nostril, close left nostril and exhale out the right nostril (exhale anger emotions, pains, and conflicts) cleansing the white channel. Repeat 3 times. Then reverse: inhale through the right nostril, close the right nostril and then exhale out the left nostril (exhale attachments, anxiety emotions, pains, and conflicts) cleaning the red left channel. Do this 3 times. This should be done 3 times for each left and right nostril. It will clear out negative energies in the channels, stale air and toxins from the lungs and channels. The central channel is cleanse by breathing through both nostril cleansing the central blue channel, imagine from the two side channels into the central channel and out the top of head (exhale ignorance, doubt, self doubt emotions, pain, and conflicts). Do this 3 times. You can add the visualization of dark colored smoke leaving the Brahma’s aperture at the top of the skull making the central channel a pure blue color.

Guided 9 breathing of purification practice:

Dedication chant:

Go sum day pay ge wa gang ji pa,

Kham sum sem chen nam gyi don du ngo,

Dug sum sag pay lay drib kun jang nay,

Ku sum dzog pay sang jay myur thob shog.

“All the pure virtue done through the 3 doors of body, speech, and mind

I dedicate for the welfare of sentient beings throughout the 3 realms,

Having purified all obstructive actions accumulated by the 3 poisons,

May they swiftly achieve complete Buddhahood of the 3 bodies.”

India: Hatha Yoga, Transcendental meditation (TM), and Kundalini Yoga

My first meditation experiences: Hatha Yoga, Zen, and Tai Chi: early 1990’s.

Swami Satchidanada, a teacher of Hatha Yoga,  had a Yogaville retreat center in Charlottesville Virginia with several instructors in Richmond Va.. I used to work at his  Integral Yoga health food store in Cary Town. I also took Hatha yoga classes with certified instructor Ed Clapp who was also a co-worker at Grace Place Vegetarian health food restaurant and store on Grace street. There is some brief meditation techniques in the sets of Hatha yoga. 

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Zen was an interest and I read several books. On Grove Ave. in Cary town area, I went to the services there at a local temple Ekoji Zen center and Aquarian book store where they practiced Rinzai Zen. 20 minutes of still quiet sitting (Zazen) 15 minutes of Zen walking,, followed by another round of 20 minutes sitting, followed by sutra reading. 

Wilson Pitts had a free Tai Chi in the park class and taught the Yang short form, some Ba duanjin, 6 healing sounds, and more. He taught a lot about neigong practices like dan tien breathing, microcosmic orbit, and other sacred mountain Taoist trainings privately at his home school.

Transcendental Meditation (TM) I learned in college from philosophy professor Dr. Jonathan Shear who also happened to be a teacher of Guang Ping Taijiquan directly under Kou You-Ling in San Francisco in the 1960’s. This was on advice from my Chinese Doctor Amy Tseng as she herself was a TM teacher but wanted her patients to see Jon due to her English as a second language. TM teaches by a series of lectures, then the student is given their mantra, then trained on the method in a series of tunings until the method is confirmed to be done properly and effectively. The mantra given is based on birthdate, Aryvedic astrology, personality, etc. It is a personal mantra and should never be shared. The method uses sitting back in a chair and repeating the mantra, you go into a deep state of rest, like a dreamless sleep, and you come out of it like waking up from a restful sleep. The mind is refreshed and clear. It takes approx. 20 minutes to do. Prescription is to do twice a day. This method was made popular in the 1960’s through Maharishi Mehesh who taught many celebrities. The method is valid and very useful for those not wanting complex methods like those used in Chinese Neigong or Traditional Tibetan methods. TM is effortless. You can find a school here. TM.ORG

Kundalini Yoga: there are two forms I learned one is from here 3HO and KRI and did a few retreats. It is a very aggressive form and so I did not take that road. This method may be good for those you are tired and fatigued as it is very invigorating, but proceed with caution as with any new program you introduce into your life.

The second is gently through Sahaja mahayoga. It is a very nice method to use and very similar to qigong and neigong in some ways. This method is open and to the public. the main premise is that we all have the kundalini inside of us and you cannot charge money for what is already inside of you. First they raise the kundalini, second they do a bhanda to clear energy. Then they work on the chakra or wheels of energy along the centerline of body. There is a mantra “Hum Shum” which helps balance the hemispheres of the brain and helps with depression. It is repeated silently. They also will do silent sitting for about 15 minutes after activating the kundalini. There are also paired person methods to do like reiki style massage. On yourself and on a partner you can hover the the hand over the chakras and sense the energy there if weak or overly strong.

Method below in image and sample video with 9 breathings as a warm-up: Sample video here.

Bikram yoga is something I will do periodically, mostly in winter when I want to detox and warm-up the body. It is hatha yoga in a hot room approx. between 100 to 110 degrees depending on the teacher. You have to prepare with hydration before, during, and after going. This yoga makes you sweat out some toxins and the warmth is good for the muscles. This is a style not for everyone, but certain people seem to thrive on it. Use caution when doing this method.

In conclusion:

So we hope you have found this information beneficial and can make an informed decision to take a meditation system and go deep in it to gain some health benefit mentally, spiritually, and to have a better quality of life. We are not here to change your beliefs or religion, but only to share some methods that may enhance your spirituality or religion. We believe meditation is a unifying principle for self and humanity.