Tuesday, November 02, 2004

This week, those times I've been online, I've just spent too much time reading the political stuff and then have had no time for blogging. After today (or whenever the election process is over), either outcome, I'm simply deleting many of my political links and kicking the habit. It's too time consuming, enjoyable though it is.

Interesting post a few days back on Jay Thomas' blog, Bad with Titles, about a Somatics class he's taking. It brought to mind this description of a meditation retreat two years ago. Well, it is also on my mind because the annual retreat this year went to southern China, and I didn't, and it's happening now. Today they are at Luofu Shan, I think, where Master He is the "guardian-master" (I'm not sure of the translation, I've also heard it as "chairman of the board") of a Daoist temple though he himself is not a Daoist in the religious sense. Maybe next year I'll be able to go.

The context is that the bulk of the people at this retreat are basically trying to will calm for their bodies, and heal themselves, the majority of them of cancer. And that the will is not the agent of healing itself, but the motor for what is (qi, and clear qi flow, which is the result of a clear unconscious, and an uncompromised immune system). Just as will is not the agent for winning (let alone completing) a marathon, but without it you never will access what will win you that marathon, or even get across the finish line. So. I haven't read it in two years, and it is not what I'd write now, but it still is expressive of something important and I don't think it is too far to see how it is also me talking about poetry. I think.

"I've never meditated with 79 people in a room before. Even in the intensive classes (never less than intimate), I've found it difficult to relax completely in unfamiliar company. At the same time, the strong chi field is undeniable, both in sensation and healing power. Following trainings, it usually takes me a few weeks to really relax again while meditating, to reacclimate myself to the less-strong, more-personal, chi field. I always learn where I've, unguided, wandered into a misperception or indulged an illusion which actually interfered with my practice (does anyone else have difficulty reliably feeling out the difference between “following the natural” and indulging onproductive/misleading lines of action?). Each time, also, I've learned some new attention I can bring to my practice which I do not think I would have come to on my own, some form I am grateful for, in that it deepens my understanding of what cultivation means. I found surprising not only my tolerance for sitting hours on end in deep meditation, but that the whole group took to such discipline so easily. The amount of attention in that room was enormous--and in the course of our healing it grew, at times, stifling. Powerful healing, I think, in which the old bad ways are flooded with energy and returned, almost against our wills, to their healthy forms, often gives rise to uneasy feelings. This, I think, is because often we have held to the old bad postures not just out of habit but out of fear: that once we learned, on our own or from someone we trusted, that such ways of being were good, necessary, or comforting in the face of a pain we could in no other way control. Without these habits/postures, vulnerable, perhaps less than perfectly ourselves, we are unsure of how to be and, in that void of intention they start reasserting themselves. Another way to say this is that, having removed the Yang aspect of an illness, the Yin aspect, which remains, will convert in part to Yang, to maintain the balance which is the natural law. We all know we must change our consciousness to dampen this effect, but it is not always easy to know what change to effect, nor to trust ourselves to pick, among the myriad choices which seem possible, the true and simple self we know we are. That we all know such momentary confusion (and its eventual melting away) is part of the qigong process can, of course, lessen its difficulty by giving us a reason to be brave and placid when we otherwise would be turbulent and timid. This is, I suppose, why Master He made the “Virtues” and the “Don’ts,” so prominent in our meditation room, to help us guide ourselves as strongly as possible through the difficult task of remembering ourselves. It is why, I suppose, Master He has stressed so consistently the importance of selflessness to cultivation. No matter how much chi one manages to gather, if you are overly forceful, passive, pleading or resigned, you have not given it a suitable home or form, and it will return to where it came from, for that will have been the deeper and stronger intention than what you have offered it. I imagine there are other reasons why Master He has stressed the importance of selflessness to cultivation, reasons which will no longer be mysterious once I reach a certain level of cultivation, and while I look forward to learning them, I am now grateful to have seen to this reason, and satisfied."

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