Traditional Chinese Neigong and Tibetan Meditation systems for the betterment of humanity
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, 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 it 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 distratctions. 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.
Chinese 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/
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.
As for Tibetan meditation, my teacher Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is recommended. He is a lay monk of the Bonpo Dzogchen Tibetan tradition and has a “Getting Started” program with some free instruction videos and guided meditation practices here: https://ligmincha.org/getting-started/
Basic Lesson: 9 breathings of Purification from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. Clear the upper Respiratory system at nostrils.
Sit in the 5 point posture: 1. legs crossed to close off energy to keep it inside, left leg on right leg, 2. Hands on lap in equalize posture, left hand on right, thumbs touch the base of ring finger to close body to outside spirits. 3. chest open, for circulation of breath and blood, 4. Spine straight to assist the channels, 5. Chin slightly tucked to assist in conquering thoughts. You have to be still in this posture and find calm abiding within.
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:
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.”