Sunday, July 19, 2009

An answer to an interesting question

A friend noticing my sudden increase in interest in Chinese Qigung asked a good question: "You already know and are working the Tibetan energy body systems as well as your own system that you are putting together, why Qigung now?"

Though he didnt say it, his facial expression added "you are already involved in too many things and people already don't know what to make of you, why jump into something else?".

Excellent question with more than one answer. As I think that my approach to such matters is relevant to more than just me, I thought I would share.

First, Qigung isnt really a new interest. I took some workshops in Philly back in the day and found the 8 pieces of brocade set pretty useful over the years. I particulartly took interest in it now that I am a parent of new borns and would not be able to regulate sleep normally*.

Second, and more important the Chinese Taoist and Tibetan Buddhist systems of subtle body anatomy are extremely similar, yet the goal and what gets worked is very different. Buddhism in general is not very pre-occupied with the current life and material goings on. Tibetan Tsa-lung practices mostly gather all the energy at the central channel and than do some pretty radical things that really rock your world. They rock it so much that it is not easy to finction normally. Two years ago while doing Tummo practice in VT, everything turned white and I couldnt see for almost 30 minutes. The goal of these practices are to create as intense an experience of bliss and emptiness as possible, they are usually done on retreat where the only concern in life is the work at hand. These experiences literally make samsara fall away, revealing the underlying reality.

Taoist practice however are much more concerned with health and longevity, immortality actually, in this incarnation. They circulate energy around the outer orbits more than they gather it all into the central channel. One is not really better than the other, and they are not incompatible. In fact I think that they compliment each other nicely, though obviously one has to focus on one at a time.

In the past I have always been less concerned with the matters of this incarnation than most. My inner life has always been more real to me than the outer one. Just how I am wired. Now that I am a parent however, I am taking a bit more interest in the mortal coil, and its reflecting in the signs and omens that giude my practice. When I got the spontanous dreams about Mantak Chia, it became pretty clear that there was a lot to investigate.

Am I going to become a Taoist? No. Just working the Qigung energy system. I do not need a statue of general quan for that any more than someone needs a statue of Padamsambhava to use some Tantric sex yogas. One of the reasons that I am working with Mantak Chia's stuff is that he presents it in straightforward non-religious ways. Am I missing out on some of the subtleties and beauty of the Taoist system - bet your ass I am. There is however only so much time in a day.


Frater POS said...

It has been my observation that those that who work many systems are better teachers than those that have worked only one.

I never thought of this before but I *almost* feel sorry for any school yard bully that picks on one of your daughters. Almost.

Suecae Sounds said...

I am looking forward to anything penned from you about Taoist system of thought.

I am reading one of Chia's works right now in unison with Regardie's One year Manual and are trying to incorporate some of the practices advised when beginning. I am very curious as to how you progress.