Welcome to the MIT Qigong Blog





Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Meditation is impossible without a pure body, open meridians, and qi.

From the Chronicles of Tao
By Deng Ming-Dao

The Grand Master finally introduced elementary meditation to Saihung. As in all his training, the learning proceeded from the simple to the complex in cumulative stages strictly controlled by the Grand Master. Nothing was to be left to chance. The Grand Master explained the procedure to him and warned him in advance of what he would experience. There was always a task to be achieved in his meditations, and Saihung was required to report all that happened to him in the process. The Grand Maser then either confirmed the validity of Saihung's experience or rejected it as hallucination. 

"In our tradition," said the Grand Master, "meditation is impossible without a pure body, open meridians, and qi. We've explained to you since childhood: Without qi, there is no spirit. We require also that the trainee have a refined personality. Otherwise, a monster could emerge. Finally, the trainee must know something of cosmology, which provides the right context.

"You begin meditation upon these foundations. There are three kinds of meditation: moving, standing, and sitting. You have already experienced moving meditation by learning Xingyi, Bagua, Taiji, and the Five Animals of Huado. In moving meditation, the external is dynamic, but the internal is still. In standing meditation, the external is static, but the inside moves. This is where you shall begin."

Standing meditation was a series of static postures combined with specific hand gestures. Although the body position was a factor, the crucial force was the mind. Standing meditation developed concentration with pinpoint accuracy. 

At the end of his meditations, Saihung performed a series of dispersals. This was a hallmark Taoist procedure the dispersed the energy accumulated during meditation. The Taoists felt that meditation concentrated blood and qi in various centers, but primarily in the brain. Unless the accumulation was released and the entire body made neutral again, headaches, loss of hair, nervousness, insanity, heart problems, and hemorrhaging could result.

This philosophy completed the explanation of meditation. Meditation was an activity to be undertaken only after long years of preparation and the attainment of perfect health. It unleashed great forces in the body and accelerated the circulation. Unless a body had been strengthened, it could not withstand the shock. Sometimes breathing slowed so much that it stopped spontaneously. Without qigong training, the practitioner would pass out.

"Now you see how you've changed," said the Grand Master, a year after he had "challenged" Saihung. "You see that meditation is supported by the three pillars of your previous training. You find yourself of a calmer temperament, and you believe it because it works. It gives you measurable results. Now you have an inkling of what it is to be an internalist. Nothing in the outside world compares. It is the basis of your life, and you must go deeper and deeper."