Meditation notes for today.

I tend to interchange the terms “qigong” and “meditation” because the style of qigong that I practice is very meditative in that you’re “sitting and forgetting,” but with the added intent of gathering and circulating qi. It’s called “Stillness-Movement” (SM), or if you’re into Chinese names, it’s called “Jing Dong Gong” (more on that later).

Just a little background… when I used to practice Taoist zuowang meditation, it was very much like zazen in a way that you sit without any of this “gathering qi” stuff. My body used to slow down and get into some cool state where I’d be somewhere halfway between full consciousness and sleep. But since I started practicing SM I started feeling the opposite of that, as if I’d enter some state that was maybe a step or two above normal consciousness. It feels like I’m totally relaxed but I’ve got this surge of energy coursing in and around me, and everything is vibrating really, really, really fast. I’m starting to sound pretty New-Agey here, so I’ll have to be careful because New Age is bullshit. There I said it.

Anyhoo… today’s session was pretty rad.

Normally the vibratory sensations that I feel are more on the superficial surface of my skin, vibrating at a high frequency as if every nerve in my body is buzzing fast and loud as hell. It’s cool, and sometimes I actually hear a really low pitched thundering noise to accompany that sensation, and it sounds like a really bad dubstep song. I usually try to lead qi into my dantian (energy center about 3 inches below your navel, and if you’re Japanese, it’s called “hara”), but the qi tends to fill up my entire body cavity instead of staying in that one concentrated space. But it’s weird that I only feel the buzzing along the surface of my skin.

But today I guided qi into my dantian and successfully kept it there for the most part. But what was interesting was that I could feel the qi building up in my dantian so intensely that I could feel it spilling over and rising slowly to my head. Kinda like a flood that you can’t stop. Then I felt all three of my dantians (upper (between the eyes), middle (center of your chest), and lower) lighting up, buzzing so intensely that it almost felt as if I had palpable masses in those spots. Is that what it feels like to harmonize all three of your dantians? But oddly enough, what resulted from this was not only being high as hell from all the energy I felt, but also a heightened sense of consciousness while being completely and utterly relaxed. More specifically, a heightened sense of clarity of “Not-Two.”

It’s an odd experience to explain, and I have had similar experiences like this, but not as intense, and this is the first time I’ve ever felt all three of my dantians buzzing at the same time.

So that was pretty sweet.

Interesting note: every time I successfully guide Qi into my lower dantian, I get new prospective patients. Today I received five new patients. Isn’t that something?

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Tai Chi Chuan, Wushu, competitions, and meditation.

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I can haz medals?

Just last weekend I participated in my first ever Tai Chi Chuan/Wushu performance competition and won 1st Place on all of my categories (beginners levels)! I participated in Tai Chi Chuan empty hand forms, Tai Chi Chuan sword forms, and Traditional Wushu short weapons forms (Wudang sword). I did so well that the judges encouraged me to compete in the intermediate level next year, which was quite a complement, considering that I’ve only been studying forms for roughly a year, and my Wudang sword form was self-taught.

As far as my Tai Chi Chuan forms, apparently my flowing movements were so smooth and serene that someone had asked me if I was an actual monk LOL. Technically I was, but not in the way that he was thinking. I’m not a Wudang warrior monk (the Taoist counterpart of the Shaolin)… just a Longmen Pai religious monk. I just study martial arts forms for the exercise and as a form of moving meditation. I guess you can say that I take after the Wudang warrior monks in that I’m using wushu forms as a way towards physical and spiritual health (like yoga), but I’m picking and choosing what forms I want to study. But in the end, it’s all the same thing: meditate, exercise, use exercise as meditation, study Taoism, and do Qigong.

What I love about performance competitions is that you have the freedom to believe that you are your only competition. Your only competition is yourself… or your “self.” So my secret to training is Taoist meditation/Qigong practice. It was only when I started practicing Taoism (with the help of Soto Zen’s explanations of this subject) was when I began to understand who or what this sense of “self” really is. I personally am not experienced enough as a teacher to explain it in a linear sense that’s comprehensible in words, but through this Taoist understanding of the “self,” any sense of anxiety or nervousness before my performances that day were quickly quelled before they became a problem. And because of that, I was able to focus more on every single micro-moment of my performance with a heightened sense of concentration that I didn’t have when I wasn’t practicing Taoism. And by “concentration,” I don’t mean that I was thinking really, really hard about my technique, it was quite the opposite, actually. I mean that I simply let go of everything… my sense of “self,” my thoughts, my senses… everything. Above all, I let go of any concept of success or failure and embraced the moment. So all I did was move.

Obviously you have to practice long and hard to get to that point to where your performance is absolutely second nature. But the beauty of these competitions isn’t truly about how good your stuff is compared to other peoples’ performances, because with all abilities being equal, it’s all about how much you can let go. Because once you start thinking about your “self,” success, and failure, that’s when you mess up. That’s why the secret to my training is Taoist meditation/Qigong. It’s the balance of emptiness and “Not Two” that helps you achieve perfection in any aspect of your life – from washing dishes to taking your final exams to performance competitions.

Hence the name of the type of Taoism I practice: Complete Perfection (Quanzhen) Taoism (technically it’s Longmen Pai Quanzhen Taoism, but you know what I mean).

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So far, this is inspiring.

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I’ve already started this book, but once I get past the reading projects that were assigned to me by my head priest, I’m going to try to finish this bad boy. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Brad Warner, but he’s the punk rocker turned Zen monk who wrote the amazing book “Hardcore Zen.” I recommend “Hardcore Zen” if you’re tired of overly scholastic-sounding, overly esoteric-sounding, or wimpy books about Zen.

Back in 2010 when I initially joined the training for Taoist priesthood, I was going through a lot of loss. My father had passed away a year prior, and because my father never settled many of the financial responsibilities he had gotten himself into (that we didn’t even know about), everything – almost everything – that he achieved in terms of financial and material success was getting taken away. Even assets of my own. Even till this day I’m still feeling the aftereffects of that situation. So not only was I reeling from the loss of my beloved Dad, I  was wondering whether or not I was going to have a home to live in. Not to mention that most of my relatives and close family friends had pretty much turned their backs on us.

So there I was, in the middle of this Taoist priest training with my spirit splattered all over the floor (I was intensely depressed), wondering how to deal with all of this. One day I asked a member of the Taoist priesthood (but not the head priest) “So how do I deal with this?” And the only answer that he could come up with was basically that I was too “attached” blah blah blah. Attachments, I get it. At the time I was new to the whole “attachments” concept, so his answer didn’t help at all. Not one bit. Here I thought I could get an answer from a real Taoist priest to at least jumpstart my spiritual healing, but that answer was all he can come up with? Come on man, give me something I could use. Needless to say, that moment was the starting point from which I would eventually leave the training program in 2011. I was thinking, what good is being a priest if you can’t help anyone get through a rough patch?

Well, I quit the program and I got through it on my own, no thanks to him.

Fast forward four years later, I would spiritually evolve and return to the Taoist priesthood training with one thing in mind… to become a spiritual guide and to help others get through those moments in life when they need help the most. If I had to do the extra work to translate ancient esoteric Taoist scripture into a much more pragmatic approach to life, then I would.

Which brings me to this book “Zen Wrapped In Karma Dipped In Chocolate: A Trip Through Death, Sex, Divorce, And Spiritual Celebrity In Search Of The True Dharma,” by Brad Warner.

Damn right I judged a book by its cover.

But how could I not? Why wouldn’t I want to read about how a Zen monk was able to deal with life when his entire world was crumbling? That’s how I felt back in 2010, so hopefully (when I get around to actually reading it) it could help inspire me to get into the mindset of translating the Tao into work that people can truly use to deal with the crappy moments in life.

And from what I read so far, it’s pretty darn good. I can actually use this stuff.

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Thelonious Monk wasn’t a Taoist monk, but his music was monk-y.

This is “April in Paris,” by Thelonious Monk.

Isn’t it lovely? It’s one of my favorite all-time jazz standards… and Monk’s version is one of my all-time favorite renditions.

Thelonious Monk led a pretty interesting personal life aside from his music, and he was definitely a pretty far-out guy. He would lock himself in a room and play piano for weeks like the eccentric genius he was. But what intrigued me the most was when in one interview with his wife, she’d talk about how Monk would need some time to himself and would wander off into the woods for days on end. They never really talked about it in these terms, but he struck me as a loner and an introvert who needed to take time away from society to cultivate himself from time to time. Like a monk.

If you listen to the music carefully, you can hear the meditative tone between each note. The recording brilliantly captures the space between each interval, the reflection of his hermitic personality. If the beauty of jazz is the musical spontaneity that allows for the brilliance of the moment, then Thelonious Monk himself is the musical embodiment of a true Quanzhen Taoist monk, and through his art he realizes “Complete Perfection.”

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Why am I even doing this?

One of the questions assigned to me by my head priest is “Why do you want to become a Taoist priest?” And I’m supposed to give an answer that does not reflect an egotistical desire. Like some sort of “Koan,” as he put it.

So why am I even doing this Taoist priest training? Why do I want to become a Taoist priest?

To be honest, I have no idea. I really, honestly, truly, madly, deeply don’t know. I have no interest in answering the huge questions of “why am I here,” “who am I,” and “what is existence?” Also, I have zero interest in attaining “enlightenment,” despite the fact that I’m fascinated by other people’s experiences, and although I myself have had many “waking up” experiences while doing enlightening things, such as the various types of meditation and healing that I do.

So I don’t know why I’m doing this. But I just am. If Alan Watts defines “Karma” as “what is happening right now,” then training to become a Taoist priest is my Karma in his eyes.

I’m just going with the natural flow of things, not forcing anything to happen, keeping all my doors open, and just letting life unfold before me while enjoying the journey. It’s called Wu Wei. And this is where I am right now.

So if I’m forced to answer my assigned “Koan,” then my answer would be Wu Wei. It takes a huge taming of the ego to let Wu Wei happen, so I can’t think of any answer better than that.

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“Nameless,” and a bunch of annoying questions.

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“Wu Ming.” No Name. Nameless.

The Tao that can be spoken of is not the real Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching Chapter 1.

So I changed the name of my blog. Am I confusing you with my URL change and blog name change? Can you find it in your heart to forgive me?

So what was the name of the universe before it was created? Really? And did it name itself that?

What about you? Who are you? Is that all you are? Just a name? Oh, and you’re a nationality? So you’re a name, nationality, and a job? Oh, and you have opinions too, is that all who you are? No really, who duffuq are you? Duffuq am I even talking about? What is this crap?

That all sounded existential, but it isn’t an existential question, per se. I hate existentialism. No really, it’s odd that I do, but I do because I just kinda take things for what they are and leave it all be. But in many respects, Taoism can sound somewhat existential, and I admit there are times when other Taoists interpret some Taoist concepts as existential which can be pretty interesting… but for the most part I just kinda put up with it, consider it, and move on.

But there’s an aspect of Taoism that I truly enjoy that’s a tiny bit existential (because nothing in the universe is completely “is” or “not”)… and it’s words vs. experience. I know that some Western philosophers touch upon this, but this blog isn’t about those dorks.

So back to the question, “who are you?” [And I'm not asking that in a Buddhist sort of way 'cuz that's another monster I'm trying to tackle for myself, and that subject is not the point of this dumb entry anyway]

Whenever I talk about the Tao Te Ching, I always bring up the very first two lines of the first chapter of the book as quoted above. People usually don’t really know what it means, so I ask them who they are. They often give me their name, job, nationality, tastes, preferences, familial status, and whatever they can think of. But is that really it? Are those words the complete summary of what makes you “you?”

Of course not. Let’s say I jot down all the “things” that make you “you,” and told everyone that those things are all that you’re about. Would that be fair? Nope. Because a lot of people can identify with being that stuff too. A lot of people are named John Smith, a lot of people are male, probably share the same opinions, are dumb sports fans, and probably wipe their asses the same way too. They probably also even get severely turned on when they see pretty women wearing high striped tube socks as well.

Truth is, you’re greater than sum of your parts. You’re more than just a name, a status, opinions, or a bunch of dumb hobbies. And you’re certainly more than just a bunch of words.

So words don’t exactly describe you, life, the universe, and the Tao. Words can’t. Words always fall short. Life isn’t words, life is an experience.

And that’s the whole point to this post.

Ever try to describe an awesome, life-altering experience to someone who doesn’t give a fuck? Sucks, right? Since they haven’t experienced it, they won’t know what you’re talking about. They can probably regurgitate your words to someone else, but without experiencing it, those words are empty.

And that’s why Lao Tzu also says “Those who know don’t speak… and those who speak don’t know.” It’s because those who truly, truly know, they understand that the Tao is something to be experienced, not something to be talked about. And if those individuals do talk about it, they understand that their words are just a rough estimate – a reference point, if you will – of the true Tao.

So I love the first two lines of the Tao Te Ching. It basically says, “Look talk-ass muffucka, let’s establish one thing… you don’t know shit. Everything you thought you knew, you don’t.” And out of my own experience, the funny thing is that even if you read the entire Tao Te Ching, you still won’t know. And the only way you can know is if you actually do the work: meditate.

And maybe then, you can really, truly, know who, what, where, when, why, and how you (and all of us, and all of “it”) really are… and all you have to do is sit down and stfu.

“Without going outside, you may know the whole world.” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 41

So that’s my long winded (and redundant as hell) explanation of why I got the dumb tattoo and why I renamed this dumb blog. I, you, everyone, and everything are all an experience. This experience cannot be summarized by a name.

Hence, “Nameless.”

Plus, “Nameless” is my favorite movie character of all time from the Jet Li movie “Hero” about a nameless warrior who took it upon himself to sacrifice himself for the good his people.

It’s the famous people who get all the credit, but it’s the Nameless people like you and I who make the world work.

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URL Change… RebelliousQi?

My new URL is “RebelliousQi.wordpress.com.” I got rid of the “NamelessWayfarer” URL because I wanted to go back to the original handle that I started with when I first began using social media. Plus it’s my user name on wordpress anyway.

So what is Rebellious Qi anyway? [Qi is pronouced "chee" by the way]

You’ve heard the word “Qi” before in terms of a mystical energetic thing that is the underlying substance behind all matter and existence. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Qi is just a metaphor for “function.”

In the body, according to TCM technical theory, Qi circulates in certain directions, just like how blood flows in certain directions. In pathological conditions (diseases or dysfunctions) Qi may go against its natural direction and start flowing backwards causing a condition called “Rebellious Qi.”

The most common forms of “Rebellious Qi” are hiccups, acid reflux and vomiting.

To make a long story short, throughout my life I have always been a bit rebellious (yet very quiet about it), and treated like the vomit of society (and even within my own relatives). However, I’m more like a vurp (vomit-burp), because I always invite myself back in. They don’t like that.

Hence, “Rebellious Qi.”

I fancy myself as a bit rebellious and call myself a renegade monk, but I’m not rebellious or a renegade in a pop-culture sense. I’m too quiet and introverted. I do have tattoos, I used to have some piercings, and if the US Navy allowed me to wear dreads and/or color my hair, I would. But that doesn’t make me rebellious.

Freeing my mind from the shackles of conventional thought in order to realize my own true original nature, yet living in harmony within the matrix of our overly materialistic and megalomaniac human society does make me rebellious. And breaking away from the conventional stereotypes of what’s considered “religion,” a monk, priest, or a “spiritual person” makes me a bit of a renegade.

Taoism to me is about liberation, and liberation to me is a rebellion. Taoism to me, as Henry Rollins once said, “To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone.”

I don’t think Henry Rollins is a Taoist. Interestingly enough, Taoism always talks about returning to being an “uncarved block,” your original nature. Your original “you.”

And what is this “you” or “I”? That’s a whole other discussion.

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