Meditation (Jing Gong) 靜功
“Quiet” is the principle method meditation. Quiet is basic to taking care of the body and is the foundation of meditation. When taking care of the body, its health and longevity (the energy source of all life) are developed in a quiet state. The growth of animals and plants is accomplished in the same way. Humans need rest after action.
Sleeping is one way to rest, and adequate rest continually regenerates one’s life force.
Lao Tze said, “All things return to their own roots. Returning to roots is called quiet.
“When one knows how to stop thoughts, then there is concentration; concentrate, then one can attain quiet; by mean of quiet one can achieve peace; with peace one can attain wisdom.”
Quiet is the greenhouse for cultivating the spiritual development.
Quiet is just quiet, thus, if someone uses his mind to seek quiet, that is, applies methods to seek it, he disturbs the quiet with mental activity. A teacher may say “your mind is busy right now, so go rest yourself.”
Consider physical states. One has all kinds of feelings at every moment: the circulation of blood, the feeling of nerves, and inhalation and exhalation. These feelings are much stronger when one is in a state of quiet than when one is not. One’s mind becomes more active when it wants to be quiet. Beginners, therefore, often find themselves with chaotic thoughts.
The concept of mind covers the modern concepts brain, consciousness and thought. Although this mind purports to achieve quiet by meditation, its early efforts are constantly flooded with disquieting thoughts. This is true because people are not usually aware of their minds being constantly full of thoughts from morning until night and from birth to death. However, when a person begins to meditate, as a result of the relatively quiet state that arises, he realizes the chaotic nature of his thoughts. This is actually the first effect of meditation. We do not usually see dust in a room unless sunshine suddenly passes through the windows, which enables us to se dust flying everywhere. Although we observe the mind’s “dust” in meditation, it is not necessary to remove it by any particular method. By just keeping quiet and not shaking or moving so as to neither increase nor decrease it, this mental dust will naturally stop flying around.
Chi 氣 Phenomena of the body
Chinese medical science, the technology of Taoism recognize that the source of human life is in the infinite storage of chi, the potential energy latent within the body. In ancient Taoist the primitive character 炁 is used to represent chi. If we disassemble this character, 炁 the ancient character for 無, meaning none. The ,,,, has the same meaning as 火, fire. In order words, chi 炁, mean no fire. What is meant by fire? Sexual desires, lust-filled affections and attractions, restless, bustling thoughts and a reckless mind are all connoted by fire. In the absence of this rapidly burning and all consuming fire, one would be filled with vitality.
In Taoism, it is supposed that there are front (Jen Mai)任脉, back (Tu Mai) 督脉, and middle (chong Mai) 冲脉, there is also the Taoist theory of upper Tan Tien 丹田, middle Tan Tien and lower Tan Tien. The Tan Tien. The upper Tan Tien is located in the center of the head, behind the point between the two eyebrows. The middle Tan Tien is located at the point bisecting the chest between the breasts. The lower Tan Tien is located approximately four fingers below the navel.
Tan丹 means the pill of immortality. Tien 田means a field.
Meditation and the chi 氣route
During meditation one becomes mentally quieter, and thinking slows down or ceases. The circulation of the blood becomes slower, so the burden on the heart is decreased. When one meditate in a correct posture, not exhausting energy through action, the endocrine secretion of the pituitary gland is evenly distributed, gradually creating the feeling of being full of chi. The most noticeable sensation occur in the central nervous system, at the end of the spinal cord and in the kidneys, and one may feel tightness or swelling at these places. The chi gradually advances from these locations, creating a serpentine sensation as it moves through a chi route. Everybody has different mental and physical conditions and will therefore notice different phenomena. One rule cannot be applied to all.
In seeking quiet during meditation, the mental and physical functions may be classified into two parts: consciousness and feeling. Consciousness includes thoughts, images, etc. Feeling includes emotions, physical sensations and chi circulation. Both consciousness and sensation are actually motions of the mind.
When the chi starts to move, most people subconsciously focus on the feeling of chi’s circulation, and it becomes much stronger. The movement of chi is then disturbed by one’s mental force, causing deception, illusion, association of ideas, chaotic mental states, etc. because of illusion caused by concentrated attention, tighten their nerves and fall into states of physical sickness.
Meditation does not drive a man crazy. But, misunderstanding brought about by ignorance of the basic principles of meditation can cause abnormal mental states and disturb the quiet of meditation.
Ching 精, Chi 氣, Shen 神
Like universal physical phenomena, ching, chi and shen are separate in human life but, step by step, they merge into one another. Shen functions in the brain, chi functions in the chest and stomach; ching functions in the lower abdomen, the kidneys and genital organs. The function of ching is closely related to the entire endocrine system in modern medical science.
One should realize that the feeling of happiness orgasm is from ching; determination and firmness of will are from the activities of the chi force when it is full; and the agility of outstanding sharpness and wisdom arise from the quietude, or shen.
Human life is the combination of mind and body. The main activities of the body are ching and chi, which belong to the realm of feeling. The major activity of mind belongs, in a word, to the realm of perception and consciousness, shen.
We have covered the physiological reactions of the body, or the dynamics of the chi channels. All this belongs to the realm of feeling. Feeling is later heaven with continuous change. The initial achievement of cultivation begins with feeling and returns to feeling and perception and enters into a state of unification. There is no way to cultivate without feeling.
The source of a new life force has an absolute relationship to the thyroid, pituitary and sex glands.
When the sex glands are active and one does not experience the slightest sexual desire, at that moment he is very close to real ching. if this state can be retained for a time, then a force will be produced naturally which will move to the root of the nerves at the base of the spine due to the fullness in the activity of the sexual glands. This force will ascend step by step until it moves downward from the top to stimulate the regenerative function of the pituitary gland. The salivary gland will be stimulated, which will enhance the activity of the thyroid gland. The heart, mind and chest will feel joyful and open. It is difficult to describe this experience of happiness.
At this stage, if a man can clean his mind, wait quietly for spontaneous contractions of the testicles and perineum, or if a woman experiences contractions of the uterus and reactions in the breasts, he or she will feel as if there is a line of force that moves through the inside of the pubis, rushing up to the lower Tan Tien, and meeting the chi which descends from the middle palace. This will suddenly revive the activity of the abdomen, and a tremendous orgasm that exceeds sexual orgasm will occur. This orgasm will flow along the inner legs and feet and reach the soles of the feet and the toes. At this time the joy and pleasure is like that experienced by a person who drinks good vintage wine. One will feel very comfortable and easygoing. This is really the first step of achievement in the transmutation of ching into chi.
The Wonder and Mystery of Breath (chi) 氣
A person who is actually full of the ching force, calm and quiet in mind and body, and has begun to enter the stage of transmuting ching into chi will first notice that his entire body has become soft tender and seems to lack strength. Advancing further, one will feel as if he has no bones. The chi is filling and spreading throughout the body in the absence of the slightest feeling. At this state a person forgets mental perceptions and physical sensations and feels as if he and the universe blend into one.
Remaining quiet in this way, one will feel the breath moving through this nostrils becoming weaker and weaker until the breath in the lungs nearly stops. The Tan Tien, which is within the lower abdomen below the navel, will begin to function like the lungs. This is inner breathing, or the phenomenon of Tai Hsi. Tai is an embryo and Hsi is breath, and thus Tai Hsi refers to embryonic breathing or breathing like an embryo.
Changing temperaments and cycles of chi
Confucian concept of Chi is the most obvious achievement of those who study to seek knowledge. If people understand how to apply their knowledge to cultivation, they will become perfectly calm and treat others fairly. They will be able to deal with others and their affairs in a way that does not involve personal feelings. This sort of cultivation begins with mental attitude. And this refers to matter or substance. When it is said that Chi changes, a person coverts not only his mental attitude but also his physiological functions and processes. 氣定神閒
The Chinese are fond of saying that a workman must have good tools if he hopes to do his work well. The situation is the same for one who practices meditation. He must have good tools although he cannot acquire them in the external world. The six indriyas, or sense organs, provide us with excellent tools for entering into Shen. 神
The six indriyas are the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind. They are confronted by six gunas, or sights, sounds, odors, flavours, tactile sensations, and ideas. These illusions, are always coming and going. The six indriyas are called the six thieves. “The eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin and mind are the thieves. They steal our precious treasure. Living human beings are forever dragged down by these things, which explains why it is so difficult to transcend this earthy world.” People who practice Shen 神 and who wish to return to their original nature can use the six indriyas as tools.