Archive for energy

The Life of Qi

Posted in Buddhism, Daoism, Fighting, health, martial arts, Mysticism, Qi, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Full-body movement is very interesting. When using the entire body to move at once, as in Taijiquan or a variety of other martial arts, there is no place where the movement originates. Sure, it’s seemingly POWERED by the legs and the waist, and you keep your mind-intent in the dantien or hara, but the movement does not originate anywhere specifically on the body. Which connects the intent to the mind, rather than any telegraphed isolated point in the limbs or whatever.

As a result, the individual gains a subtler awareness of the body’s relationship to itself and its surroundings. Full body movement generally takes place as one eliminates unnecessary tension from the muscles — tension which is the result of excess stress from thoughts, worries and other typical mental baggage and metaphysical funk. Upon releasing tension from the muscles, one’s structure becomes naturally stable and strong (held up by the skeleton), and the qi begins to fill the dantien and then move throughout the structure of the body, strengthening the bones.

Strange things can be done with qi. Qi is, of course, difficult to define or pin down (preaching to the choir here!). And why don’t Buddhist masters talk about qi? Surely many of them knew about it, and Hindu religious practices emphasize prana. Tibetan Buddhism has it’s own set of definitions about bodily energy which are fascinating, but most Buddhism emphasizes all personal energy or ability, health and whatnot as coming from the mind alone.

Yes, Buddhism and even Hermetics focus upon the mind/breath as the object of meditative practice. I’ve heard people claim that meditating upon the qi is missing the point or somehow allows people to get lost in ideas of power or energy or trance. Yet in my experience, qi meditation is merely a means, and is never explicitly described to be an end. Qi meditations are not the only ones I use, but in certain cases, such as in the martial arts, it leads to an increased subtle awareness which makes one’s practice much deeper.

Anyway, everyone is sensitive to the qi meridians. Just run your finger along the sensitive, ticklish spots on the inside of your arm or the back of your legs and ankles. I found I could follow the qi meridians right away because the qi flows where a person is naturally sensitive/ticklish. For what it’s worth, although I had already read about the qi meridians in books before being “transmitted” the meditation process in person, I did not actually recognize or follow the qi until someone showed the process to me.

On that note, qi transmission is problematic because it is hard to make sure someone else is learning it properly. I know folks who have been practicing longer than me who still claim not to feel anything qi-related, and quite advanced meditators who claim to have no experience with qi. This lends to the skepticism of many empiricists who do not trust qi to be a valid experiential medium. But in my experience, qi is verily real. One teacher of mine had the strange ability to undo tension in other people by using his qi. Whether or not it’s actually qi, he did it by extending his energy into you through his hands, at the point on the upper palm, and the personal result is a hot stream of energy in your body where he sends his intent. Wild stuff. Sounds like reiki or shiatsu or whatever, but I’ve felt those things and this was something else.

Everything that exists has qi, but it differentiates from the concept of mind, in that qi is limited to the dynamics of being a life-force medium which is unknowable. The mind is itself perhaps unknowable as well, but the mind is the very intangible fabric in which all things are reflections. Qi does not have reflections, but is the subtly tangible, yet unknowable, essence behind all existences.

Magical Musical Miasma

Posted in Mysticism, Occult, Philosophy, Poetry, Tantra, The Arts, Ultimate Reality, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2008 by wizardsmoke

As a serious initiate on the musical path, I use music to illustrate a lot of mystical/creative/magickal ideas analogously. You know, stuff they don’t teach you in music theory.

In a great Leonard Bernstein concert series back in the day, one he held for children in New York City (Radio City?) in the 1960s, the conductor demonstrated how the pop hooks of the Beatles song “Help!” were actually the same simplified chord progressions behind a small segment of an orchestral piece by Brahms. Not that I remember the name of the video or the Brahms piece, oh no! But Bernstein got his one moment of applause from the young audience when he transitioned into “Help!” on the piano.

But Bernstein was pointing out that what pop songs do (as opposed to orchestral pieces or other kinds of music) is drill a simple pop hook or melody into your head until it is jammed in there. A good pop song gets stuck in a person’s head, like a commercial slogan. Pop music is like good propaganda and is often utilized as such by businesses (and very poorly by political campaigns, har har).

Okay, that’s nice and obvious. What interests me, though, is how the energy or inspiration behind the original compositional idea is communicated when one repeats the melodic idea or “hook” in one’s own conscious mind. That is to say, the spirit of the song-writer can be moderately transmitted to the listener, particularly as one repeats the work or continuously surrounds oneself with the music. Angry music will transmit an angry flavor, sad music a melancholy sentiment, etc. It also comes down to the integrity and ability of the composer and performer, but the spirit of the original moment is captured in the music — like in any other thing they produce (writing, film, art, whatever). In fact, if I had one criticism of classical music, it is that sometimes the energy of the composer is hidden by the fact that they are not often performing the music!

So, the reason a pop hook is more “malicious” (or functions like brainwashing sorcery) is ‘coz when a person consciously retraces the steps of another individual’s spiritual or creative output, the listener/viewer begins to recreate that energy within their own mind. This is why religious mantras are useful — they function as ways of influencing the mind to take on a certain disposition. The more one repeats something, until it is second nature, it seeps into one’s psyche.

This seems to be how spells and magic work with verse and such things. By creating a poem that both appeals to the subconscious with veiled intentions and yet is simultaneously is “catchy” at face value, sticking in the mind for its clever phrasing, alliteration, or whatever. I feel like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Doors and a bunch of other hippies were trying to play with this stuff (musically, visually, lyrically) when they were young (and overrated — ahahaha!) but I don’t think this method can really do much for you unless you’re a real big deal in the underworld.

Furthermore, I think most people seem to not consciously be aware of why they like or dislike things, why they are attracted to some flavors of experience or energy, why some music is good or bad (there are 5 factors that make up musical potential in my system of reasoning), and so forth. But even if you can find the most profound, blissful music in all the cosmos, people still like the same things for different reasons. And have I not repeatedly said that all people have the same emotions and poetic sensibilities, but with different capacities? Weaker music can still evoke deep emotions from someone with a lower capacity for musical depth.

That’s enough for now. I was going to discuss hand seals, mudras and so forth but more pressing business awaits! Stay tuned.

Energy Vamps Attack

Posted in Doom and Evil, Reality Bites, Relationships, Religion, World of Emotions with tags , , , on May 17, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Modern gurus aren’t going to turn anybody away. That is, so long as the person in question isn’t really messing up his/her lineage (a la Michael Roach in the case of Tibetan Buddhism) or doing something really terrible (surprisingly not Aum Shinrikyo in the case of Tibetan Buddhism). The deal here is that, whether or not the guru has huge, explosive compassion for everyone, they’re not going to turn someone down simply for being a manipulative person, so long as the “energy vampire” plays by the rules in the guru’s presence.

Trust me, I’ve seen high-quality supervillains who get the blessing to teach from some top-dog gurus. The scariest manipulative people are the ones that are just soulless. You know, they got nothing in their eyes, no empathy whatsoever, no pause for personal gain. People for whom compromises are not compromises, but merely opportunities to get ahead or get more power. And yet… I’ve seen these guys get transmissions!

What is a manipulative person? For obvious cases, I’d say pretty much anyone who revels in personal propaganda. I.e. they can’t stop telling you how much awesome stuff they do, how accomplished they are, how happy or content they are, how many great wonderful spiritual experiences they’ve had, how many spiritual gurus and cool people they’ve met or chilled with. The list of annoying things they do goes on and you get the idea. There’s also the negative versions of this, but I’d say all manipulative people need or desire attention — or some other person to dance to their tune.

(I know what you’re thinking: “Wizard Smog, that just describes a resume!”. Well you’re on to something there, gumshoe! Peruse that line of thought a bit further…)

Newsflashery: having a picture with a guru doesn’t mean anything. Just because you meet a guru for a photo doesn’t mean they like you. And it doesn’t mean anything at all, really. It’s like meeting any celebrity, albeit one who is spiritually rockin’. Which is cool, but how much time can you spend with a busy famous person and get their magic to rub off on you? Not much. That’s what I always think now when I see videos of Hatsumi teaching at his dojo; like what the elite Bujinkan teacher Kacem Zoughari said: there’s a difference between showing techniques and teaching them.

When people brag about how they met some holy person, I can’t help but roll my eyes…uh metaphorically that is! That’s right, I’ve got no sarcasm or ill will here, no siree… *WS desperately washes his hands in an effort to clean away the guilt*

Wisdom from the Village Idiot

Posted in Happiness, karma, Mysticism, Philosophy, World of Emotions with tags , , , , on March 23, 2008 by wizardsmoke

People take the goal and meaning of life from varying, obscure practices. Some people like to play music or make art. And some people like to fight. Or they achieve a feeling of accomplishment from exposure to violent interactions. Some people get all their energy from being alone and contemplating their existence. Some people jog in the morning or decide to have kids. Some people follow their greed or lust for power. If it exists under the sun, it’s someone’s religion.

Really, people are so conditioned by so many factors in life, shaped by karmic circumstance. How much of it is a choice? The only choice we make is to say yes or no to mentally (sometimes physically) participating in activities. We tend to forget we’re our genetic dispositions, our environments, our inheritance of merit and intuitive wisdom. We all think we know what’s best for us, but no one really knows. Not that there’s no free will, but everything is connected. So you can’t blast off away from everyone or your past or your inheritance.

To get somewhere astrally good, ya gotta have faith in yourself, but I’ll be damned if most people even know what they’re doing day-to-day, much less in life and the universal scheme (you should be able to assess your trades, talents and volitional qualities by the time you’re 25 as far as I’m concerned). It’s only okay to have faith in yourself if you’ve got some nice comfy insight into your existence on this endless wave. Ah, again though — everyone thinks they’ve got it, don’t they? What a tricky situation! It’s like that high-larious joke I’ve heard: to be a ruthless dictator you’ve got to have really good taste.

As I’m prone to say, the real trick to being satisfied is just getting up early in the morning and getting stuff done. That’s your base on which to build energy. And then on top of that, there’s the pleasure of having little satisfactions.

Little things that make life fun. Like, for example, the way everyone is so excited when they have a package coming in the mail. It’s just so universal — everyone loves it! Nobody hates it! It’s seriously like hitting the first jhana, every time you’re anticipating a package! Other examples of these pleasures include digging into a good new book or watching a great new movie or reading a great new Wizard Smoke post, etc. You know, little things. And they’re obviously not only materialistic, but these are cool examples because they’re minutely materialistic. They don’t have materialism as some goal.

The opposite of that, when life sucks the most, is when you get up late and neglect to do the important daily functions and errands of life. Work, school, the things we love — when these are neglected and slept through, a person feels like crap. Energy gets zapped! And then the drained misery is accentuated by the bothersome little things in life, right? Like, when you go to the store for a little audio adapter and drive all the way home to discover it’s the wrong one. Or when you start a band practice and break a string right away and have no replacement, or when you anticipate eating your favorite cereal (usually Corn Pops) and discover your little sister ate it all first! Augh!

Yeah, I guess it’s all about anticipation, right? When we anticipate things, our very contentedness, our very happiness hangs in the balance! Our happiness relies on the success of the object of anticipation! It’s a good thing I cleared that one up. Your lives should be smooth sailing from here on out.

Anxiety Attacks!

Posted in Reality Bites, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Life is in constant motion and if you want to stay in good mental health, you’ll stay in constant motion too.

What does it mean to stay in motion? I’m referring to the ability to constantly refresh the things one does. By refreshing and putting new (original) effort into each day, a person can fight off laziness and drop off the mental agony of restlessness. It seems sometimes like restlessness can build up energy to be exerted in our ambitions and activities, but ideally we keep ourselves moving in order to keep restlessness from overcoming us and creating great emotional misery. Energy coming from developed restlessness or anxiety tends to be a bit unbalanced and misplaced.

Following those impulses makes them more likely to keep appearing, and also influences one to keep doing things that make their neuroses stronger. Many times one thinks that following their impulses will satiate them and thus solve the problem for the moment. In that sense they are like sexual impulses. They are always strong, but each time they are followed they become easier to follow and the rest of the mind or will becomes correspondingly weaker as a result.

Everyone has their own definition of what it means to be productive. But some kinds of productivity rely on outside partnerships and influences to be fulfilled. I mean, if productivity in one’s life is merely being defined by social, material or financial gains, that productivity is limited and unstable. It is not a dependable source of personal satisfaction. By learning to leave behind anxiety, stress and restlessness, one learns to balance one’s life and intimately penetrate the concept of change. Change is interesting because ultimately nothing is changing when one is maintaining a sense of balance. One will appear differently throughout each “form”, but the root is always the same.

So one needs to be constantly “productive” or to be doing things that are fulfilling, however these fulfilling activities must periodically change in order to stay fresh and effective, and they must be activities that need not rely on other people — and also do not directly interfere with the lives (and desires) of others.

This is also part of the ability to see through illusions – constantly changing one’s habits and daily actions. Sometimes it is important to do the same thing every day, the same kind of practice. But at the same time, if these practices are not challenged or changed from time to time, they can become stale. And stale practices are a waste of time. A stale practice, like idle time and interactions, is like mold. It leads to nothing except self-indulgences and foolishness.

It is true that we sometimes like to rely on people for a dependable pattern (i.e. artists). However, it is important to keep changing or else one becomes something of a technician – one who is following a formula. For an unchanging person, the formula has become their life. A great artist is constantly reinventing themselves. Their source is always the same, but they always find new ways to surprise others and also create works which do not quickly betray their deepest integrity. But their change is also a result of evasion from the demon of despair, which arises as soon as one ceases to change. Then anxiety swells and one falls into an unbalanced indulgence of self. The external appearance of change is observed empirically by the world, but internally the changing artist is in most perfect balance with the world. But these people are rare and the world often mistakes who is of this caliber. It is almost impossible to categorize such people.

Those who are ahead of their time are forced because they intimately abide by a divine law of change which has shaped their life. All follow this law, but it is only intimately known by those who feel compelled to reinvention again and again and so become at ease within change. This is how the transmigration of life and death can be understood – by the mastery of infinite change and having the compulsion to do so.