How neigong meditation has helped me so far.

I can post articles and Tumblr-friendly infographics all day about how qigong, neigong, or meditation in general can benefit you, but I feel like those things would have no real meaning unless I talk about it from an intimately personal standpoint. So how has neigong (a dynamic form of mindfulness meditation) helped me?

Well ever since my acupuncture practice has been getting busy in February, I was feeling drained by the end of each day. Like really drained. Like, I just wanted to go home and simply go to bed and sleep for twelve hours. But of course, any of you have a spouse and small children would understand that simply going to bed is just not something you “simply” do. So that wasn’t an option. So by the end of February, it finally kicked in that maybe I should start sitting on my zafu and cultivate some Qi. And since then I’ve been doing it religiously, so much so that I can’t go a day without doing it.

My body’s been going through a lot of changes. Since I started this meditative journey in March, I’ve been having a lot more energy and haven’t been feeling drained at all in my clinic since then. As a matter of fact, I’ve been taking on even more patients per day since February, and I’ve been feeling fine.

What’s even more interesting is that due to the nature of the type of meditation I do, my senses have been a lot more sensitive in the form of feeling, hearing, and sight. And because of that my acupuncture diagnosis and treatment outcomes have been incredible. I’ve also become even more intuitive than I used to be, which not only improves my diagnosis and treatment strategies tremendously, but my intuition has improved in every aspect in my life.

But what I really like is that I’m more calm, less angry, and feeling less stress. The things that really get my panties in a bunch really don’t bug me as much as they used to be. And if they do, it’s only for a few seconds. Stress is virtually non-existent. Even being a Navy Reservist, with the looming possibility of having to leave my family constantly hangs over my head… that doesn’t bother me anymore either. I feel liberated.

And because I’m starting to let go of all those toxic emotions, and uncluttering my brain, I’m able to concentrate more, and concentrate better.

But one really interesting side-effect to doing neigong every day is that I’ve become ultra-sensitive to my body’s needs which helped change my diet and lifestyle tremendously. Neigong basically means “inward training” which really makes you experience and observe everything from inside of your body from your thoughts to your bones. Everything. And because of that, I’m able to listen to what my body needs. And lately, it needs to be vegetarian. It’s so weird. One day I snapped out of my meditative state, jumped off my meditation cushion and decided I’m going to be a vegetarian, after years of eating medium-rare prime ribs and eating every bit right down to the gristle. But it wasn’t a conscious decision to become a vegetarian, my body decided it just didn’t want any meat. Starting in late-October, I’ve been feeling sick after eating beef, chicken, pork, etc. Even some seafood too (I’m actually still good with salmon but the shit’s expensive so I keep that to a minimum). I guess I’m more a pescetarian. But I don’t crave it. Just plant-based food. It’s so weird, but I welcome the change. And I’ve been losing unwanted weight easier, and feeling even more energetic.

So those are my most palpable changes I’ve experienced since starting my neigong meditation regimen on the first of March. Pretty sweet, huh? I mean there’s also that intuitive understanding of our interconnectedness and oneness with the Tao and all the other stuff (etc etc etc), but it’s not like I’ve never intuitively felt that way or experienced it before. I’ve experienced all that shit when I was a kid (long story there). But if there’s one thing that neigong meditation is doing towards “enlightenment,” it’s that it brings those things out towards the surface, and holds it there the longer you practice. Because sometimes you forget. Meditation is there to remind you that you’re absolutely brilliant in the most selfless and compassionate way.


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Meditation Notes

My neigong practice has been doing quite well lately, ever since the last post where I realized that what I’ve been doing wrong was that I was “trying” to do something. More specifically, I was “trying” to get my Dantian to light up. So since then, I’ve been simply sitting, observing my Dantian, and just allowing things to happen, experiencing every nuance and every sensation that comes along with it. Usually, I feel my Dantian heat up, and within minutes I feel that heat spread through my body and eventually filling up my head. It’s pretty interesting, and makes for some pretty interesting sensations, but then after a while I start feeling a little too much pressure in my head.

Like the other day, my head started feeling a little too much pressure, I had to do some light acupuncture on myself to relieve it. But it wasn’t enough, and I didn’t have time to give myself a full session, so I had to take an herbal formula from my sales stock and pound some of that, which helped. But interestingly enough, when I punctured my Yintang point (the third eye), it gave me a stronger than normal De Qi sensation (a sensation unique to acupuncture), and stayed red around the area and stimulated for a few days after I removed the needle. That normally doesn’t happen. I wonder what that means?

In any case, a couple things have been happening:

I’ve been feeling anxiety (with palpitations) for no reason at all for the past two weeks. I’m not stressed out, my diet is good, and I exercise. I’ve researched “anxiety and meditative practice” on google, and the only things that I find that might be relevant would be that sometimes when people have “awakenings” or have attained a level of “enlightenment,” anxiety might be a symptom that comes along with it. Which is interesting because whenever I do get that sensation that “everything is me,” or “I’m one with the universe,” my heart starts beating out of my chest.

Another thing that is happening is that I’m becoming much more sensitive to peoples’ energy. It sounds new-agey for sure, but I’m talking more in terms of my acupuncture practice. There are more and more instances that if I’m not blocking out people, I can actually feel their pain symptoms in myself. For instance, the other day I had a patient who came to my clinic asking me to treat her for chronic migraines. When I felt her pulse, I felt a headache coming on. When I asked her if she had a low-grade headache on side of her head, she said yes. There was another patient whom when I felt her pulse, I felt this rush of nervousness and my heart started racing. I asked her if she was nervous, she said yes. It’s happened to me a lot in the past, but nowadays much more frequently than before.

One more thing that’s been happening is that my craving for certain foods have been changing. I used to be the biggest meat eater you could imagine. Meat meat meat. Give me a prime rib, medium rare, and I was in heaven. But since the first week of November, I had this urge to be a vegetarian. No rhyme or reason, I just simply wanted to become a vegetarian. As a matter of fact, my body has been rejecting most animal flesh, except for some seafood. I’d feel sick after eating beef, chicken, pork, etc. Dairy is fine, but the thought of eggs has been disgusting to me lately. So strange, I used to love eggs up till a month ago. Perhaps my body just wants “higher frequency foods?”

In any case, I feel like my body is becoming more and more “tuned in.” I can feel things. Sometimes see things, like [energies?] [spirits?] and even hear things too. I’m trying not to be a phenomena seeker, I just wanna heal people. As far as that’s concerned, my treatment outcomes have been doing increasingly better, and my Qi projection has been doing really well. And although I’m still not sure exactly what I’m doing… I’m still getting good outcomes with my patients who I project Qi into.

It’s all pretty strange. But I welcome it. I like it. I love feeling like my body is vibrating so hard I get head pressure and chills. I feel like something is on the verge of happening, but I don’t know what, and really I don’t really care. I’m just enjoying it all.

It’s damn near impossible for me to sit and do Zuowang practice without it turning into Neigong. But really, is there a difference? My mind is still and my body has fallen off, yet I can feel every nuance of the world around me.

I still don’t really care about this “enlightenment” thing that everyone is seeking. I just enjoy my sittings and the good things that come out of them… like healing others due to my heightened senses, and having achieved a sense of inner peace that I never thought I’d have. I mean nothing gets to me as much as it used to. I used to be a super angry guy. Could it be that I’m just maturing? Maybe. But one things for sure, all of these changes started happening only after I’ve been doing my sittings religiously. My inward practice is important to me, but enlightenment isn’t. The results of my dedicated sittings are incredible. They’re very important to me because it helps others.

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Meditation Notes

Since my last meditation entry, I’ve been stumbling through my meditation sessions like I’m still brand spanking new to this. It’s stupid. I’ve been doing my neigong every day (except for a few Sundays or Mondays here and there) but you’d think I’ve never done this before. But I guess it’s true when my Qigong master says “you’ll have good days, and you’ll have bad days.”

At first I didn’t believe him when he first said that because I was progressing really well at the time and just like the attitude of a dumb teenager/young adult, I would scoff, “No… yeah, I got this.”

But after having made milestone after milestone, I’ve plateaued. There are times when I really can’t feel my dantian, or that I can’t control my attention for the entire session. And then I’d be mentally scrambling through the myriad of ten-thousand neigong techniques and visualizations and breathing techniques that I somehow learned, but to no avail. Then when the session is over, I’d get up off my mat with the resigned feeling of “yeah that hour was pointless.”

It’s been happening over the past week. Weird though, because while I was out on vacation in Mexico a few weeks ago, I was locked into the wuji. But over the past week, it’s been futile. I wonder why? But it doesn’t matter. I want so badly to contact my Qigong instructor, but I know what he’s going to say… nothing. He never e-mails me back. So today I got pretty desperate and went into The Tao Bums website to look through his responses on various threads and every advice he gives out is basically the same advice. Simplicity.

In Qigong/Neigong there are so many damn techniques out there, and many of them are really advanced techniques. Many of them are very involved. But Lomax’s techniques are very simple. And it was that simplicity that resonated with me and got me to experience things that I’ve never though I’d experience.

But I tend to forget. Sometimes I need a reminder. Just relax, don’t engage your thoughts, and “observe” the dantian. Don’t try anything.

In Taoism, there’s much emphasis in quiet observation of nature. And nature has this way of spontaneously allowing the brilliance of all things to shine. When a tiny, young tree grows, no one pulls on its trunk to make it grow. All it needs is the environment to grow, such as good soil and nourishment, and in time it becomes beautiful tree. And I guess it’s the same thing with Qi cultivation. I can’t “make” my dantian heat up and vibrate. I can only provide it with the environment to do so by making the mind and body still. Then spontaneously, it will do it’s thing.

Wu wei or the highway.

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Happy Veterans Day

Coming from a place of healing, and being a deeply spiritual person myself, I was asked once how I was able to resolve being in the military while claiming to be a healer and spiritualist.

That’s easy. I’m a Hospital Corpsman in the US Navy Reserve. Part of my job is to work in a hospital setting, and another part of my job is to treat combat-related injuries on the spot while the bullets are flying. But not only is it my duty to give care for our own and our allies, but it’s also my duty to give care to the people trying to kill us. So if my orders are to give our enemies the same standard of care we give to our own, then that’s what I’ll do. It takes a level of compassion in order to do that, and that I have.

At the end of the day, I view our “enemies” as people who feel that they’re right about the world as we do, we just have differing views.

I know it sounds odd that I’m giving who we consider “terrorists” the “benefit of the doubt,” but it’s my duty both as a member of the military and as a fellow human being. I admit, it’s a very unique way to view life, but that’s just how I view it.

If not for our political or religious differences, I’m pretty sure that in any other circumstances we can all get along really well. Please, no Rodney King jokes right now, okay?!

And that’s who I give compassion and medical care to… once you strip away the part of the human ego that sets itself apart by politics and religion, you get this beautiful human being that lies underneath it all. That’s who I care about.

But please don’t get me wrong, it’s my duty first and foremost to protect my men, and to protect my country by any means necessary. It’s only after the bullets stop flying is when my compassion for any wounded kicks in.

My thanks go out to my brothers and sisters of the US Armed Forces, and special thanks to those “damn few” who have been down range and sacrificed on my behalf.

Happy Veterans Day

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Meditation Notes

Interesting sessions today, did my neigong for a total of 90 minutes (1hr, and two 15min sessions), all of which had me buzzing at a pretty good vibrational rate. During one of the 15min sessions, I thought my head was gonna explode. I thought I was gonna get a stroke or aneurism. But I kept pushing through it testing my limits. I should be careful with that, though. I probably could end up like the one guy my professor said who did Microcosmic Orbit excessively and ended up going through a neurologic shock that rendered him unable to teach mathematics or do any simple math equations. I did try to push the energy back into my dantian, but the shit wanted to ascend, so I let it. I should’ve at least taken my herbal meds afterwards though, cuz I felt it all stagnate up in my head for a few minutes afterwards. The other 15min session was good, kept it in my dantian for the most part.

But one interesting thing to note, in his book “Sit Down and Shut Up” by Brad Warner (I quote his books all the time, so bear with me), he said that the universe loves you. And I believe him to be right, which is why we have such a thing as Karma, the law of cause and effect that keeps us in check for being a dirtbag or rewards us for being good. The universe wants us to survive and live good lives, otherwise it wouldn’t have given us ways to protect ourselves from disease like skin and immune systems, or legs and hormones to help us run away from danger.

With that thought in mind, I realized that the Wuji, the void, the emptiness that the universe was born from, loves us. Therefore, the source Qi is love and compassion.

I realized all this after my initial 1hr neigong meditation. So for the next two sessions, I cultivated Qi by uniting it with love and compassion, and the results were amazing. I was calm, yet full of energy and vitality, and the pain that was menacing my lower back had subsided.

After that, I also remembered that Tibetan monks meditate upon love and compassion, and scientists measuring their brainwaves noticed that neural frequencies were higher than normal, all the way up to Gamma waves, which is really, ridiculously high. I may have touched upon that.

And another test I did on myself was to perform medical qigong on one of my patients suffering from a torn ligament in her knee. So I projected on her knee the same Qi mixed with love and compassion that I cultivated, and she walked away with no pain.

Note: she had no idea that I was doing any sort of energy work. She didn’t know I did any energy work, she probably doesn’t even know what energy work is. I merely told her to relax and focus on her breathing, so not to minimize the placebo effect.

On another note, I’ve been curious about another aspect of Taoism which included magic and sorcery. I remember a few months ago a lady called me asking if I could remove a hex that she had. I remember actually feeling negative energy through her phone call even before she told me she had a hex on her. So I asked one of my friends if exorcisms is done with medical qigong, and he said no, and not to get into any of that. I asked if having a protective shield around myself is enough to keep others from putting hexes on me, he said yes, but Luke 9:1 is the best:

Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.

In terms of Taoist healing, I interpret that as you’re calling upon the source Qi of love and compassion to protect yourself from evil. The same way that radio waves are no match for gamma waves, the low level frequencies of evil and hate are no match for how strong love and compassion are.

I’m sorry this is poorly written and seemingly contrived, but I’m being honest here. Plus it’s late.

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Ever since I was a kid I always had this sense that I didn’t deserve to belong on this planet.

I never understood why, but the neighborhood kids always threw their little cheapshots at me, same with the kids in school, and even people who I thought were my friends, as well as members of my own family. Throughout my life and into my adulthood people continued to “hate” me without even knowing who I was. Many times it was a race issue, and many times it wasn’t. People just didn’t like me for some reason despite the fact that I was always nice to everyone if I wasn’t keeping to myself.

Alienating me seemed like a fashionable thing to do, and this made me incredibly sad and lonely all the time, especially being an only child with no siblings (or any relatives) to really turn to. I used to think that maybe there really was something wrong with me, that maybe I just wasn’t good enough to be considered a human, and maybe I existed separately from this very world that I apparently didn’t deserve to live in.

But that didn’t seem right, because ever since I was a kid, every time I went outside I saw myself in trees, animals, and even the sky and clouds. I felt like there was a little bit of myself in the moon and the sun. I felt like even though I didn’t have human company, I had the company of everything else. So how could I be something that existed completely separate from everything?

But later on in life, I found that the source of my sadness wasn’t that I lived a separate existence from the universe… it was that all these people, despite my attempts at wanting be a part of them, separated themselves from me. According to a Buddhist named Brad Warner, this idea of viewing yourself as separate from the rest of creation is “real” hate.

For many years I suffered from sadness and loneliness that turned into resentment and anger. I gave into that whole delusion of separateness. It wasn’t till I found Taoism and Zen when I started feeling “whole” again. It’s through those teachings that I’m finding my way back to my original self with a child-like silliness and that youthful fascination of the universe around me.

And as for all my fellow humans who live under that delusion of egotistical separation from each other, from mother nature, and from me… well, it’s just not their time to wake up yet. And for that, I should forgive and replace my indignation with compassion.

It’s a work in progress.

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The reality of an Urban Monk.

I’ve read enough stories about Taoists achieving oneness in their meditative practices, and then going outside and being able to identify themselves with the trees, the sky, the rocks, and the grass. And it’s a beautiful thing. And it happens to me too. A lot actually.

But that’s only one aspect of reality.

At my office, for two hours every day before my clinic shift starts, I meditate, recite my Taoist scripture, and practice my qigong and tai chi forms. If I’m lucky, I can do it after my clinic shift.

Now mind you, I work in the East Rogers Park neighborhood of the city of Chicago, and on the busiest street as well. So I’m right smack dab in the heart of “everything.” By “everything,” I mean that it’s nothing but traffic and construction noises, loud conversations from pedestrians passing by, sirens from ambulances, firetrucks, and police cars, and sometimes even gunshots (I heard five the other day and a couple last week). From time to time there are gangbangers congregating right outside of my storefront, and sometimes there’s even hookers and drug dealers. And when the high school lets out between 2:30p to 3:30p, I refuse to go outside because that’s when all the attempted murders happen. And it all doesn’t occur at night, nor in the alley… but in broad daylight right smack dab on my street. And it’s all committed by people under the age of 20 popping off at seemingly random people. And being a minority male myself, other minority males will want to mistake me as a rival gangbanger.

That’s my fucking reality. There aren’t any trees or grass or sparrows or flowers outside to call “me.”

I would imagine that many or most people who call themselves Taoists (or spiritualists in general) who may live in grassy-green retreat-like peaceful areas of our country may have a hard time cultivating the Tao in such a chaotic backdrop. I don’t blame them though, because hearing constant noises from police cars, ambulances, guns, and general urban ruckus could be a bit jarring for most. It still is for me.

But that’s the beauty of my practice. Working on maintaining your center amidst the chaos is fucking awesome. It’s like that feeling that Chuang Tzu mentions about perfected people… walking into fire without getting burnt, jumping into water without getting wet… is what it all feels like when I’ve successfully cultivated in the middle of the concrete jungle. I don’t do it successfully 100% of the time, but when I’m locked in, it feels incredible.

But not only that, but it might be a true challenge for people to find “Not Two” in the middle of that. It is for me. And it’s easy for me to see myself in a tree or peace of grass. But what about that drug dealer? The gangbangers outside with the teardrop tattoos, or the 13 year old hooker trying to find a john for the hour? Or that dead 19yo lying dead with a hole in his head in the middle of the McDonalds parking lot a few doors away. Aren’t they me as well?

You bet your sweet ass it is.

As an Urban Taoist Monk, you have to accept Taoism at its absolute most fundamental concept of Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang (or the Taiji symbol) represents the universe, and the universe in and of itself is reality. Trees, grass, the moon, the stars, and the sun are reality, but so are gun-toting teens, the screaming pedestrians running from the mental health facility, and young prostitutes. They’re reality too. And therefore you have to accept them as “Not Two” as well. Otherwise you’re just full of shit. Don’t even tell me how you can be one with everything in your posh and peaceful surroundings if you can’t do the same in the urban jungle.

[But just be careful here, accepting these horrible things as reality is not the same as condoning criminal behavior. In no way do I condone criminal behavior.]

So when I’m on my meditation cushion or reciting scripture or practicing my qigong, all of the above experiences is the universe, all of it is reality, and all of it is me. There has to be “Not Two” in everything that you do and see and hear and taste and feel and experience. Consistency on every level is so important to me (though many times I mess up, but hey, this blog is about my learning and evolution).

This is just me talking to myself. I think this whole blog is just me talking to myself.

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