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Has anyone had bad experiences in Neidan and overcome them?


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#1 QiLearning

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 02:58 PM

Okay, so I'm 23 and just started learning Neidan or inner alchemy one on one with a teacher, finally. However, back when I was 16 I had experimented with reverse breathing and the MCO (microcosmic orbit) from books without a teacher and had bad experiences that took a few months to correct (by itself). I still have anxiety about this event possibly affecting my future training in a negative way, but I realize it's psychological and I'm hoping that by learning to do things properly now with a solid foundation will help me to overcome this via a smooth unfolding of the process.

So, I was wondering if anyone else has had bad experiences with advanced Qigong or energy based meditations in general and learned to overcome their fears/anxiety that may have resulted from it, in time... Just a place to share stuff if people want to, I'm sure other people somewhere have had bad experiences with neidan, but they may or may not have chosen to continue with it at a later point in their lives...

At 16, I forced my Qi to run up the Du meridian along the back and created an area of qi stagnation behind the heart..., and it took a few months to open up the rest of the orbit (without meditation) as the mass of Qi got stuck at each point (very uncomfortably, along with various other adverse side effects) and gradually progressed to the next one. I see my current anxiety as a protective mechanism that will just take time to overcome with continued training, taking things slow and trying to see this as a new process and valuable opportunity...

Since then, I've read more on the topic of daoist alchemy: mostly Mantak Chia, Yang Jwing-Ming, and Jou Tsung- Hwa. Thank you everyone in advance for sharing your experiences and how you overcame any setbacks along the way. For those of you who may have opened the orbit b4 and then stopped practicing for months or years, did you have the same signs of progress and did things seem to happen faster or slower for you?

PS: Many people may think this was all psychological, however my personal experience tells me there were definitely physical components to this...

And as an aside, just wondering, what kinds of benefits have you personally noticed in your life from practicing the MCO or inner alchemy on a day to day type basis? I'm aware of health studies on meditation, but it's nice to hear other people's stories...

I also practice Yang style tai chi, and I see this as a way of improving that too, in time...

Thanks in advance everyone.

PPS: I don't log on to the tao bums very often...

Edited by QiLearning, 20 December 2011 - 03:02 PM.


#2 Protector

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 03:04 PM

Let's just say, don't touch any metal EVER

I will never forget you, report button *salutes*

 
Sword cuts in two pieces
Cutting two pieces is easy
Cutting two into one is hard part
You don't cut opponent
It is against universal law
You cut two into one

GRYFFINDOR

 

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It would mean a lot to me if you read this.


#3 QiLearning

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 03:11 PM

lol, yeah thanks. humor's a great way to let things go sometimes... :lol:

#4 Ish

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 03:16 PM

I dont think doing MCO early is very good, beginners can make too many mistakes with the instruction to "visualise". Also without a developed lower dan tian it's not much use anyway.
I recommend sponatenous qigong practices for clearing blockages.

#5 QiLearning

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 04:15 PM

@ Ish:
True, I agree with you. As far as things that help clearing blockages, I found acupressure massage helpful in some ways at that time, but I had to use it multiple times in a day... I don't know about "spontaneous qigong practices" though... I'm not sure what you mean by that, could you elaborate please? (maybe I'm over thinking here)

With the blockages back then, I found relaxed belly breathing to temporarily make symptoms worse... I remember that I found taking walks during the day to be helpful...

I think that movement based Qigong definitely would not move a Significant amount of Qi like what is involved when you force it into a meridian and create a large blockage(which of course is never supposed to be done in the first place). I don't believe that it is on the same level as getting a normal illness like a cold or flu and having a "blockage?" or energy depletion there. But idk I guess it might be slightly helpful in other ways simply by just doing it since it does help qi circulation and blood flow to some extent, of course having some effect would be much better than doing just nothing lol. I stayed away from meditating during that time for the most part cause I didn't want to aggravate anything. I remember I tried standing post qigong with deep breathing one day, and later on at another time I tried sitting meditation with deep breathing... not a good idea to use deep breathing (Natural Breath) in that situation lol...

I probably did some tai chi movements while breathing from the chest... I don't remember doing tai chi at that time (for the moment anyway), it was a long time ago... I also remember that sinking the dan tien just by relaxing while laying down with my back on a couch made it difficult to fall asleep, and I had to start sleeping on my side... My pulse beating would become extremely apparent/ distracting, but mostly I remember that was esp. an issue when the Qi was stuck in the head region like the Jade Pillow/ at base of skull on back of the head, that wasn't very comfortable at all... I found that deep breathing made the stuck points feel painful, esp. when the Qi reached the head area (also throbbing headaches...), and generated way too much internal heat... There were times when I thought my circulation was being affected too (temporarily during a day), which is why I found walking very beneficial/ corrective in that regard after attempting any deep breathing, and ofc blood and qi are connected... The Du meridian on the back was the most difficult to deal with, the Ren meridian on the front didn't give me nearly as much trouble and didn't take as long... that's why they call them the 3 Passes on the back, lol, for good reason... A learning experience...

The first few days after the initial blockage (at the area behind the heart on the Du meridian) were the worst, after that it was downhill as far as symptoms go, for the most part. I kept a journal then, but it's somewhere around...

Could you elaborate on what you meant by "spontaneous qigong practices"? Thanks for sharing your ideas.

#6 QiLearning

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 04:34 PM

Clarification: the walking helped my blood circulation after deep breathing, but the main Qi blockages at the points along the way were still there of course... I don't think doing tai chi or slow moving qigong would have much of an effect on a very large blockage at this type of energy level though in this case... I think the main thing would be to dissipate or decrease the energy as quickly as possible to reduce the pressure on the meridian cavities, while keeping the tongue at the roof of the mouth to connect the Ren and Du channels to help the Qi circulation along... I wonder if maybe acupuncture would've helped, hmm...

By the way, I don't have any health problems resulting from those experiences... in case anyone may have been wondering... and I didnt have any health issues b4 those events either... I'm pretty active in athletics now too.

Edited by QiLearning, 20 December 2011 - 04:37 PM.


#7 Protector

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 04:56 PM

I like to meditate facing the sun for that stuff (eyes closed)
It's like eating the sunlight, yum

I will never forget you, report button *salutes*

 
Sword cuts in two pieces
Cutting two pieces is easy
Cutting two into one is hard part
You don't cut opponent
It is against universal law
You cut two into one

GRYFFINDOR

 

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It would mean a lot to me if you read this.


#8 QiLearning

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 05:07 PM

sounds like a poem forming, lol, maybe throw some synesthesia (medical condition of blended senses) analogies in there... I generally meditate indoors, and occasionally I'll do tai chi outside in a park...

#9 Harmonious Emptiness

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    The space between the notes...

Posted 20 December 2011 - 07:50 PM

sounds like a poem forming, lol, maybe throw some synesthesia (medical condition of blended senses) analogies in there... I generally meditate indoors, and occasionally I'll do tai chi outside in a park...


I will say quietly, for the few people that will read this, way too much of the Neidan methods people talk about here lack the key fundamentals of mentally letting go. Everyone wants to rev up their circuits, but I have rarely if ever heard people here talk about the writings of the original Daoist Alchemy masters who spoke very much about correcting perceptions and attitudes first. With corrected attitudes, we can probably get more out of a nap than most are getting with the razzle dazzle. It's good to know some of these methods so that they are recognized when hinted at, but there is enough that can be corrected, energetically, by proper attitudes that much will happen on its own by allowing, following, and responding; having emotional harmony and mental equipoise. The main purposes of Neidan are mental balance and fortitude, and longevity and health. There are simple secrets that centenarians follow, which are really not secrets, and they are more consistent in allowing for long healthy lives if combined with gentle exercise, gentle hearts, and gentle minds.

Add "Vitality, Energy, and Spirit" (Cleary) to your reading list if you're interested. That will start you in the right direction....
Be humble, believe in yourself.

"Will is a functionary of desire. When you have many desires, then your mind is scattered; when your mind is scattered, then your will deteriorates. When your will deteriorates, then thought does not attain its object." (from "Master of Demon Valley" trans. by Thomas Cleary

#10 QiLearning

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 10:03 PM

@ Harmonious Emptiness.

Very well stated, thank you. I'll research the book. :lol:

I'm sorry that I gave a wrong impression to you about my comment regarding a poem, the "razzle dazzle" part you mentioned is not how I approach my personal meditation practice, though when I was younger in my teens I admit that was a factor, and I wasn't aware at that time of potential adverse reactions (also many writers of neidan do not address this...) that can happen without proper instruction from a teacher/a solid foundation, also the entire text is often not presented in full... Since then I've learned a little more esp about what NOT to do, and hopefully matured more in some ways... (The poem comment was simply a reaction to humor I saw in the other person's statement, as I had never heard of "eating sunlight" before, which was an interesting way of putting words together. I used to write prose/ poetry/ short stories for enjoyment and some things help to get the creative juices going...)

I have a tendency to take things in life too seriously... and sometimes worry about stuff too much.

Yes, proper attitudes are very important when approaching these practices, and I do need to work on "letting go", "doing-without-doing" and letting the results come, if any... I know that a "razzle dazzle" approach could lead to a lot of disappointment and esp. personal harm... (these things definitely should not be rushed into...) I think continuing with a daily meditation routine will be very helpful. Prior to these sitting meditation lessons that I recently started, I had unfortunately not been practicing my tai chi as a regular habit for a long time... I think adding this neidan/sitting will be great for cultivating tranquility/focus (esp helpful for stressful environments and a tool to help with intense college studies), mental/emotional/ physical relaxation at a deeper level, and as a health exercise which would be good on a day to day basis as well as the long run.

I also know from my tai chi practice there are times when it gets very boring to practice on some days, while other days are very enjoyable, and I've been told from some of my friends who are in their 60's that as one gets older it becomes more important to continue practicing regularly for good health and quality of life... Sitting meditation is great for training the mind, and I realize that it will take a little persistence stick with it as a daily habit...

Other books I've read have referenced or discussed aspects of the original texts (esp. "Secret/Mystery of the Golden Flower"). I think it's great to read/study translations of the originals, though they can be quite dense/ambiguous to get through so I know that a good translation/ commentary is essential.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration in posting a response to this topic, along with the book recommendation... :)

Edited by QiLearning, 20 December 2011 - 10:43 PM.


#11 chris d

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 01:01 AM

-_-

Edited by chris d, 05 January 2012 - 11:42 PM.

Entrainments for neutrality, anxiety and depression clearing. 

Improved intuition, clearing the amygdala. 

Improved creativity, more spontaneity.

Primal rage, inner critic, self-image.

 

http://insightguide.net/entrainments/


#12 Harmonious Emptiness

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 06:05 AM

Qi Learning,

:lol: , I just hit reply as a fast way to sign in and reply, and then didn't delete the quote.

As some more support of my suggestion, here is a quote from the website of Wang Liping, noted as probably the most authentic known Taoist Alchemist in China today.

meditation

Notice that this method cultivates shen first! Most of the other methods that start with jing were popular because older men realized their rooster wouldn't crow and so they got started when their jing was not as full. So, those methods are powerful, but not necessarily the be all and end all for those who have enough jing in their bodies to begin with.

Few people can work with simplicity, these days especially. They want scientific methods to show them what is happening in a way they can prove to someone else maybe..
Be humble, believe in yourself.

"Will is a functionary of desire. When you have many desires, then your mind is scattered; when your mind is scattered, then your will deteriorates. When your will deteriorates, then thought does not attain its object." (from "Master of Demon Valley" trans. by Thomas Cleary

#13 Stillness

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 04:20 AM

I appreciate this is an old thread.

 However this might be helpful to someone somewhere.

I will share a couple of cautionary tales from my own practice.

As a young man, of about your age, I had been reading about Chi Kung since I was a teenager.
I read all of Mantak Chia's books that were available at the time.

I had some success with "the inner smile" and "the six healing sounds" but began to have a few negative experiences with "opening the orbit"

Mantak Chia's stuff comes from a Neo Taoist tradition that has a lot of "Fire" in it. By concentrating on specific points, you are essentially "burning through" blockages. I started suffering from real pain at some points on my spine.

I'm not saying there is anything inherently wrong with the system, but the method did not suit my underlying physical and energetic constitution or my psyche. I was basically doing too much and creating blockages through too much tension in my attention. 

You then get in to a nasty place where your attention powers up the blockage you have just created making them worse. You may get through the block eventually but you have then created a underlying tension in your practice.

The real problem for me came when I read "Taoist Secrets of Love" and "The Multi Orgasmic Man"

As a young man I was naturally interested in sex. I thought these techniques were worth investing practice time in. I hoped the practice would allow me to have lots of sex, conserve my jing, make love all night long, the ladies would like it, I would get healthier and stronger, it would give me power in my martial arts... Everyone's a winner right? 

Sadly not. I had initial successes (and therein lies the danger) I started experiencing the contractions without ejaculation, the whole body sensations, all good ..... I thought....

Then things went wrong. Its difficult to say what happened or why, but I started feeling very agitated, my energy felt wrong. Worse I started suffering from alternating premature ejaculation and then impotence. For a young man this was disastrous! 

I stopped training in any Chi Kung at all and it took about a year for things to come back to anything resembling normal.

Interestingly, years later, I found B.K Frantzis books and in "Energy Gates" he has a section in the back dedicated to deviation from practice. There is a tale there of a practitioner damaging the lower energetic seal through unwise Chi Kung practices. I suspect I may have done that somewhat.

 I started training in Bruce's stuff. The Taoist Water Method. This is generally very much based on letting go, releasing, no strain etc. this is much better and helped repair the damage caused by my earlier training.

However....

I don't know if I somehow attract trouble!

I have a tendancy towards liver Chi stagnation and arthritic conditions. So I thought I would deepen my practice of "marriage of heaven and earth" one of the Chi Kung sets Bruce teaches.

 I have been practicing this for at least 10 years so it's a movement  I am very familiar with.

So I started doing about 45 minutes a day, for about 18 months. Things were going well. I started feeling very relaxed and open. Each time I did the "washing through the brain" bit, I would get a rush of saliva in my mouth. The saliva started tasting like honey, all good...

After the first couple of months I had a strange experience. I was at work just after my practice session and I noticed a purple flickering to the left of my vision. I initially put this down to the fact that I had started a new job that involved a lot of staring at a screen. After about 30 mins it went..... This was a foretelling of bad things to come....

I'd like to point out that I did go to the optician and had my retinas photographed and checked. All was well. (purple light can be a sign of detached retina) 

About a year later I was still practising "Marriage of Heaven and Earth" but I was alternating it with some standing practices "Zhan Zhuang" and "San Ti" 

I started getting very sore after my practice in the region of the back of the neck and occiput. I decided to back off Marriage practice (following the 70% rule) and do some "dragon and tiger" practice to balance out my energy until the soreness had gone.

I had done my dragon and tiger practice one morning and about half an hour later,  was looking at some paperwork. I suddenly realised that I couldn't see the words in the centre of the paper. There was a flickering shape in the centre of my vision.

Oh my god! I thought. 

Detached retina? Stroke? I tried to remain calm. I noticed that if I closed one eye or the other it was still there, so unlikely to be detached retina. (unlikely to detach both at the same time) There was a very unpleasant rushing tingling feeling going on in my head.

I knew this was somehow related to my Chi Kung practice.

The flickering shape in my vision widened to the point of making me effectively blind. I went and lay down for a while. About 20 minutes later the flickering effect went away.

It left me with a sickening headache.

I got myself on Google and found the interesting world of "occular migraine" the symptoms I suffered were exactly that of "scintillating scotoma" you can look at this on Wikipedia and see an animation of exactly what I saw, even the shape of the shimmering patch of vision was exactly the same. No agreed cause and no real treatment.

http://en.m.wikipedi...otoma#section_2

If this ever happens to you it's also worth looking up "spreading cortical depression" there's quite an interesting animation of the spread of electrical impulses through the hind brain.... 

I'd like to point out that before this period of practice I had never had a migraine or any visual disturbance of any sort in my whole life.

Following this was a very bad few weeks. I could feel painful blocks in my head at the occiput, side of head, forehead and where the top of the nose is. 

One day the nose one powered up and it was like having a nine inch nail hammered in to that area!

The problem is, you think of the block, it starts powering up, thus making you think of it more.... and it starts building in a exponential way. I actually felt like I was going to have some sort of fit at one point.

Things I tried....

1. Standing dissolving down... Nope even remotely putting attention on head powers up blocks.

2. Standing dissolving down from below the head. Better but still powers up the blocks.

3. Attention on Tan Tien and attempting to drop chi there. Very bad idea! Powers up whole orbit thus leading to instant sickening headache.

4. Massage down front. Very slight temporary relief.

5.  Intense physical exercise to take attention off the head. Helped a bit.

6. Movement 5 of Dragon & Tiger to drop energy in to the earth. Nope... very bad idea! As your heels hit the ground a lightening bolt of chi shoots up spine in to the now tenderised mush of your occiput.

7.  Acupuncture. Finding a good acupuncturist is difficult, and one that will take you seriously! There are acupuncturists out there who don't believe in Chi! Never mind understanding chi kung and chi deviations. It helped a little but only temporarily.

8. Meditation. This helped eventually I basically focused on my feet initially in sitting meditation for 30 minute periods. While doing very gentle connected breath.

9. Taoist breathing... (longevity breathing) this really did not help. It increases chi and blood flow to the head ..... Ouch! 

10.  Doing no practice at all for several weeks. Yup this helped.

11. When head powers up, continuously moving a ball of chi from crown, down front channel to Tan Tien in a stroking fashion. This helps a fair bit. But you have to do it very quickly to stop attention on the head powering up the blocks. You have to do it a lot.  It's like skating over the surface of your energy.

12. Reversing the microcosmic orbit. Again this caused problems related to focus on the head.

So now many months down the road. I can do about 20 minutes of standing dissolving down with no negative effects and maybe 5 -10 minutes of "cloud hands" but I have to be very careful with that bit.

If I attempt anything that moves a lot of  chi (Marriage of Heaven and Earth , Dragon & Tiger, Gods etc) the dangerous thing is nothing bad happens  immediately. You walk away from the practice session feeling good and relaxed and energised. Then a couple of hours later... Blocks in the head power up!

So why did this happen?

My guesses.

As a child and adult I have always enjoyed lying on a bed with my head propped up on pillows and reading. This has over many years caused poor posture and my neck to "bug forward". I think that while doing "marriage" the chi was hitting the occiput area and due to some misalignment was going where it shouldn't and getting blocked in occipital cortex (which of course controls vision)

Secondly, after years of late nights, partying hard in my misspent youth and my earlier experiments with sexual Chi Kung, this has left me as a study in "Kidney Yin Deficiency" one of the side effects of this is you don't have enough yin to control your yang and there is a tendency for energy to rise to the head.

It's a very frightening and humbling experience to go through this type of thing. You realise that essentially there is no one that can help you.

I can imagine turning up at an NHS hospital and saying  "Errr yeah, I've been like doing these ancient Taoist exercises and compressing chi in to my occipital cortex and am having some mildly Kundalini like symptoms..."

 You are more likely to end up being sectioned under the mental health act!  as it's completely outside the western medical model.

The majority of acupuncturists, healers, herbalists etc in the west (believe me I've tried a lot) are completely unqualified to even know where to start with something like this.

I'm sure Bruce could work his Chi Kung Tui Na magic, but sadly he has yet to train any of his teachers to the level of brain rewiring yet. And as he is fond of saying "he doesn't do that kind of work any more" 

I have yet to see him since this, so I will ask him (if I pluck up the courage) next time I attend one of his trainings.

Resources

1. Daverick Leggett book "Recipes for Self Healing" is very good for dietary advice to address Kidney Yin Deficiency. There's also a .pdf available with the basic principles here:

http://mybodywisdom...._Kidney_Yin.pdf

Any comments or suggestions welcome! :) 

#14 chris d

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 07:03 AM

Hello stillness.

I found a cool technique that works on anything



Maybe it works for you?

There is also the Yuen Method that I use on myself and others. It might help.

Clarity (member here) does Yuen sessions.

Entrainments for neutrality, anxiety and depression clearing. 

Improved intuition, clearing the amygdala. 

Improved creativity, more spontaneity.

Primal rage, inner critic, self-image.

 

http://insightguide.net/entrainments/


#15 chris d

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 10:24 PM

Stillness, another option is to contact kempomaster here to get a medical qigong treatment.

Entrainments for neutrality, anxiety and depression clearing. 

Improved intuition, clearing the amygdala. 

Improved creativity, more spontaneity.

Primal rage, inner critic, self-image.

 

http://insightguide.net/entrainments/


#16 Stillness

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 05:49 AM

Hi Chris,

Many thanks for taking the time to read my rather long post and thank you for your suggestions :)

In fairness I probably should have posted this in the healing circle, but I felt it was also relevant to this thread.


All the best

S

Edited by Stillness, 12 August 2012 - 05:55 AM.





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