October 31, 2010
A Meditation Gong-Fu Case Study
A practitioner from overseas wrote:
Since 2003 I started cultivating and practice your teachings. I ordered and read all your books, listen to the topics you speak about and read all your emails. I practise every day for a minimum of an hour before going to bed.
The past two years I am intensifying my practice. During day time a practice the Zhunti mantra, I have done about 252,000. At night before I go to bed, I practice the Vairocana-Zhunti mantra and visualize the flame on all the 8 petals and like you said I also try to be creative. Then I say 3 times the Usnisa Vijaya mantra for myself, the hungry ghosts and for my family. I also practise the 9 bottle wind anapana. After that I practise the Skeleton meditation. That goes quite well and then after that I try to sit and meditate on emptiness by trying to let go of myself as a person or just observe like a third person observer.
Lately I have these feelings in my head. When I am just sitting at my desk at work or doing something else I regularly feel these energies in my head. I have not yet realise emptiness, because I will know when it happen. You will probably say it is just Wind and I know for myself this is the case, but lately I feel quite overwhelmed. I have these intense emotional feelings at my heart and cannot fall into sleep. Because I am 44 years old, I wonder if these feelings are just because my hormones are bugging me. I didn’t have much problems until now, or is this because something is starting to happen, because of the practise? I have seen a Chinese docter and she tried to help me, but I still feel the same. Talking to my doctor doesn’t help because he will not understand.
I also have 2 little books to keep me on track with my cultivation and had read your book the White Fat Cow lately. I write down my Merits and Demerits for the day to try to get grips with my thoughts and behaviour.
If you have been reading our materials, you should be able to analyze this easily. Do not take this as a medical diagnosis or treatment, and if you are ever feeling ill please see a doctor. But if it is due to cultivation work, the following would be the normal analysis. Once again, you must first rule out medical things before proceeding to a cultivation analysis of the typical responses to spiritual practice. However, as my teacher told me many times, and as I found for myself, doctors do not understand this material even though the same patterns happen over and over again as the result for the same types of spiritual practice. Doctors never understand cultivation gong-fu,and frankly, for cultivation gong-fu there is nothing for anyone to do. In any case, the following is easy to write.
All these phenomena are normal signs of progress for someone who cultivates hard. It is EXACTLY what is supposed to happen. It has been written about many times in many schools. Many people pray all their lives to get this far, but no one does because they don’t cultivate hard enough or cultivate in the right way. Most people read books on spiritual topics and do nothing. Therefore they never get any progress. They just read more books. But if you do what’s said, which might seem a lot of effort but becomes natural or second nature after it becomes a habit, you make progress.
This person is experiencing Vajrayana / chi channel opening / body purification phenomena most people hope for but still do not get after 15-30 years of practice. Why they don’t attain it? No commitment to consistent discipline practice, they use the wrong methods and/or they practice incorrectly. Usually it is a combination of these factors and others that explains someone’s lack of cultivation progress.
That’s why I always teach people to do several different things simultaneously to cover all bases and not waste time. It’s more efficient and you make progress quicker. In short, this person’s chi is finally opening their channels from their spiritual work…But this is just the simple stuff. The central channel and front/back channels have not even opened yet. This is equivalent to energy rumblings, but in the right direction.
The skeleton practice + emptiness meditation + celibacy + mantra + visualization + time + patience = gong-fu. It’s a simple as that.
Spiritual progress means cultivation progress, and attaining that progress is a science. As the channels start clearing you will have more and more mental and emotional experiences. You will always finally feel the chi trying to open up the energy channels in the body after doing lots of cultivation work. You will usually feel the energy in the head, abdomen or running up the spine. However, because this person concentrated on the heart chakra, they are feeling the sensations there. As the chi rises to the head, you will feel sensations there. When chi rises to the head, you will also have trouble sleeping at first and will feel energy streams in the head. If they had concentrated on the du-mai they would have felt it in the back of the head. A different emphasis on a different set of channels will cause the energies to be felt there first.
This is actually what happens in Vajrayana, too, as well as in Taoism, Western Alchemy, Kabbalah Judaism, Esoteric Christianity, Hindusim, Jainism, Islam, Buddhism, yoga, Hinduism, Kashmir Shaivism, etc. If you work hard at spiritual practice then the channels start opening and you’ll feel it.
Christian monks who used to recite the Prayer of Jesus at the heart would have the exact same sensations at the heart, but they would get worried and interpret things incorrectly. Many would have palpitations because of the chi working to open up that region. The symptoms are less when you do full body cuiltivation work and open up other channels at the same time, which this practitioner did and what I always recommend. Sometimes the monks or nuns would even see a little flame in that region or have visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Why? Because the chi (kundalini) is opening up that region due to your concentration on it. If you concentrate on a region with visualization, the chi goes to that region because chi and consciousness are linked. Since this is a chakra location, it’s trying to open up the heart chakra region along the sushumna which send chi into the brain.
This is why the “Six Yogas of Naropa” tell people to concentrate on the chakras along the sushumna central channel. But if you don’t also do mantra and deity yoga (visualize yourself in the form of a deity, which is equivalent to full body skeleton meditation) and other practices, then nothing happens. You have to do a lot of necessary PREPARATORY work for anything to happen, which this person is obviously doing. That’s why they are lucky enough to experience progress. That work is also called the “intensified practices” to prepare you for seeing the Tao.
However, once again it is similar to what many people have experienced when the chi finally opens up the channels. Please read Chapter 4 in Measuring Meditation (which is sent on the first day you sign up for our newsletter) to see various typical reactions just like this.
To get the chi channels to start opening is difficult, not easy. Everyone thinks it’s easy but it only happens after lots of committed work, for those are the ones who deserve it. They really want it. Everyone else is after sex, money, power, status, fame and so on so how can they make progress like this? That is their first and foremost prioirty, so the extent of their practice is to visit the Church or mosque or temple on the weekend for an hour or so and participate in a ceremony and listen to some lecture. It’s impossible to make real spiritual progress unless they create a disciplined cultivation practice schedule.
When the chi starts surging upwards into the brain one sometimes cannot sleep. This person is NOT yet at the stage of chi trasnforming into shen causing sleeplessness, but simply chi clearing the channels in the cranium. When yang chi (kundalini) goes through an organ system then emotional stuff comes up which the Chinese have catalogued in their medical system. If it starts clearing the liver channels you tend to get angry or irritated, as an example. Every organ system produces different emotional responses as a predominant response when the channels inside them start to open.
As those channels clear lots of emotional stuff clears, too. It HAS to happen this way for ardent practitioners. When it opens all sorts of areas in the brain, then just as an electrical current in the brain will stimulate memories, memories and other material might come out as chi hits the region and the channels clear. The opening of chi channels causes all sorts of reactions.
So there is nothing in this report that is not typical. It’s just that, despite how many times we write about this, explain it, give case studies, historical examples, tell the science, when it finally happens no one believes it. No one believes they can achieve it. No one believes in the science in the first place. Everyone thinks their case is different.
If you cultivate sufficiently you will experience these things. If you don’t cultivate then they will not happen. The reason they have not happened to you is because your cultivation is insufficient, not because these things don’t exist or don’t happen.
This is all part of the science of human beings. When my book of Hercules and the tantric stages of cultivation like this is released, it will show that even the ancient Greeks and Egyptians knew of these things, not just the Indians and Chinese. Why? Because the gong-fu of spiritual progress is non-denominational.
This person is experiencing the typical reactions of REAL progress. If you practice in this way, you will awaken the kundalini (yang chi) and experience similar things too. Not necessarily the same pattern, but it will follow the typical symptomology or patterns that happen based on your practice.
Hats off to this practitioner. Good work so far and hopefully more to come! Don’t stop now for this is where it gets really interesting.