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May 27, 2013, 10:25:45 PM
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Koujiryuu

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Daoist Meditation and Qigong Study Group Introduction

Welcome. If you are reading this, you must be in the Veritas Qigong Study Group.

I am Koujiryuu. I am the group facilitator and mentor. I will be leading you guys through a series of exercises each week, picked specifically from my older articles for their efficiency in developing Qi. I have practiced Qigong and Daoist Internal Alchemy for 14 years as of 2012.

This introduction will be somewhat lengthly, but it is necessary to provide a proper introduction to myself and the group to prepare you for what's coming in the next few weeks.

The Purpose

I am here to help you, but I am also here to learn from you all and improve the course content. I will be doing the exercises myself along with you. However, this requires some commitment on your part, and from the group as a whole. You must participate by practicing the exercises, in general I ask for an hour of practice daily. This is not a definitive amount of time and I'm very lenient in how much you do or don't practice- after all, you get out of this what you put into it. I can't make you practice, and I realize that it's a time commitment some people can't do because of other obligations. That is okay, as long as you find SOME time to practice daily, if even for a short while. What is more important than rigorous daily practice, is participating in the group discussion. The first study group I ran, everyone stopped posting after the first week, and only one person continued to post their experiences for the entire course. Obviously, group discussion of the exercises, theory and experiences is paramount to this group functioning the way it was intended, and paramount to your own personal development. I need feedback, so I can help you along the way. If I don't get this feedback, I can't help you. It's really that simple.

This is not a group that is set in stone and is going to tell you what to do or how to live your life. We are all individuals and most of us are adults. I am not here to chastise you and tell you the way you live your life is bad. We are not here to work on character traits, self control, or self discipline. These are things that are implied from the beginning, and surely, these are things you will need to succeed at this group. It is expected that you all can muster the self discipline and self control to follow through with the practices and post your experiences. Of course, the purpose of the group is spiritual development, but more importantly I want you to be yourselves. I accept people for who they are, good and bad, and I'm not going to micromanage your individual character flaws. That kind of self improvement is for you to do if you deem it necessary. I am not here to change you or your personality, and I am no better than the next man. I am not great or worthy of praise and I don't want to hear any of it. If you want to make me happy, then practice and post your experiences and do what is necessary to get through the group. Above and beyond all else, realize that I am your friend. I am a normal guy living in the Midwest and if you met me that is exactly what you would see. I don't pretend to be something I am not. I am not a master and I am not YOUR master. It is true I am here to help you, but no one is perfect. Please keep this in mind and realize I am not unapproachable. Even after the conclusion of this group, I will be available to answer your questions and guide you on your path. Remember, that I am always only a PM away, and I respect and value the uniqueness of all those who want to learn from me.

The purpose of this group is simply to introduce you to Daoist philosophy and teach you Qigong exercises. No more, no less.

Likewise, in a community such as this I respect and honor the position I have been given and the opportunity to teach others my methods of energy cultivation. I also respect and honor other people's methods, experiences and way of life. I realize that my way is not the only way, and I also value what experiences and methods you already have. My way is the way of simplicity, sincerity, and humility; and this way is not great. I do not come from any kind of lineage, and I do not adhere to any particular form. I am self taught and I value freethinking and contemplation. Thus, I am not here to tell you that your experiences prior to taking this group are not worth anything. Indeed, they are worth more than gold, because they are what have brought you to this point in your life, and they will make it much easier to learn my methods. If you have experience in energy work, magick, yoga, and so on, that is great! It would also be good for you to share with the group your previous experiences and how they relate to the subject matter of the week. Being able to find parallels between what I teach and what you have already done is an excellent way to come closer to understanding the underlying truths of energy cultivation. We cannot simply ignore these things and believe that Qigong is the only way.

Think for yourself, question everything

The ideal, candid prospective student of this group will be one who questions himself, questions the methods, and questions the theory of the material. If you are asking "Who is Koujiryuu? Why does he practice Qigong? Where do his methods come from?", you are on the right track. Put simply: I have no Master or formal instructor in Qigong or internal arts. I have limited experience with Shaolin Kempo Karate that I took when I was young. My martial arts are mostly self taught, with some teaching from others who took martial arts, a lot of my own practice, and a reliance on the theory in "Tao of Jeet Kune Do" by Bruce Lee. As far as Qigong goes, the majority of the theory and exercises comes from Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming and his book, "The Root of Chinese Qigong". Some of the theory comes from posters on Veritas, many old message boards like MisteryShadow's and TheNewMystics, Tao Bums, posters on Mantak Chia's message boards (that are way more practical and useful than the stuff Mantak Chia writes himself), and other websites about Taijiquan like Gilman Studio. Pretty much all of the exercises we will practice are freely available online on many different websites. Most of them are also in Dr Yang, Jwing-Ming's books, and Deng Ming-Dao's books. I have been interested in Daoist methods of energy cultivation for about 14 years and much of that has been spent reading books and doing research. So, all I've really done here is take my knowledge and understanding of Qigong and structure it into an exercise based progression of theory and techniques to develop internal power.

The group content has been heavily reviewed by kobok and mystic. kobok, everyone knows as the Dynamic Psi guy, but it should be noted that he holds a high belt rank in an internal martial art (though I'm not allowed to say which one). So, he knows his stuff. mystic is an old poster and member of the community who is currently a student of the Longmen Pai sect of esoteric Daoist cultivation. I met him a long time ago when he ran a website called ki-teachings.com. He liked "Beginning Daoist Qigong" enough that he made me a teacher there and posted it on the website. At the time, I knew more about Qigong than he did. Eventually, our paths separated. Mine focused on teaching very basic Qigong exercises to others. His path took him towards Longmen Pai and receiving very authentic instruction in Qigong on a very high level from actual Chinese masters. At this point, he has a greater understanding of Qigong theory and practice than I do. However, he has peer reviewed all the content in this group and approved it's authenticity and potential to cultivate Dao when practiced regularly.

So, although I possess no sanction from any authority on the subject matter to teach these methods, please be aware that these methods are authentic and legit. They are not made up. They can be traced to Dr Yang Jwing Ming and Deng Ming-Dao. They have been reviewed by people with more experience than I and have held up. Furthermore, I have nothing to hide, and I can proudly say this, with a clear conscience. If you feel I am not qualified to teach Qigong or lead a group such as this, you are more than welcome to let me know, though I'd hope you can find someone better suited to teach you. I would totally understand.

So, here is an outline of this course over 7 weeks:

Week 1: Discussion of Qigong, where it comes from, what Qi is, proper Qigong practice, Qigong breathing methods and the theory of the San Bao (Three  Treasures). Exercises will include the Qigong forms Pushing Water,  Lifting the Sky and Shaolin Archer, as well as Zen meditation.

Week 2: Discussion of Daoist philosophy as it relates to Qigong.  Exercises include  "Void"/Wuwei meditation, and Dantian meditation.

Week 3: Discussion of Daoist philosophy as it relates to Qigong.  Exercises include Ki Cho Jaki (Pumping Qi) and bringing Qi to the  hands.

Week 4: Discussion of Jing as it relates to the martial arts and  Taijiquan, discussion of meridian theory. Exercises include Void  meditation and Baduanjin (Eight Pieces of Brocade) Qigong.

Week 5: Introduction to San Bao unification theory, and discussion of  how Qi, Jing and Shen interplay. Introduction to the microcosmic orbit.  Exercises include Dantian meditation and the microcosmic orbit.

Week 6: Introduction to Qi healing using empathy, emotion and "yi".  Exercises include healing exercises. Students will be required to find  somebody they trust in and can channel healing Qi into, and report the  results.

Week 7: Continuing training lecture, no exercises, course concludes.

Group Format

IMPORTANT

Here is the format for the group.

Every Friday: Lecture and exercises posted.

Comment and ask questions about the lecture in the thread it was posted in.

Your participation does hinge on how active you are in asking questions about lectures.

Post your experience with the exercises for the week in the numbered exercise threads I create for them. You are asked to spend an hour a day practicing the exercises given. However, this is not a strict limit- you get out of this what you put in. Because of the nature of the exercises posted, and also the fact that two are posted a week, an hour is a good amount of time to practice them properly. It would be better to spend an hour a day practicing both exercises every other day than to spend a half hour every day trying to fit them both in.
The progression of the group has been carefully developed, in order, to lead you from knowing nothing about Qigong to having basic understanding and ability with Qigong by the end of the group. Thus, posting your experiences at least once for each exercise is my indication that you are still with us, practicing and following along. You are welcome to post your experiences more than once, on different days, and this shows me you are going ABOVE and BEYOND what is required.


Keep in mind that I may need help running this group in the future, or I may pass on the authority to run it to someone else I trust, if they are willing. Your participation and mastery of the content, and subsequent activity on the Body Energy Arts forums, will influence this decision if I make it in the future.

Finally-

This is a message mystic wanted me to pass along to you guys.

He's a regular poster on the BEA forums. 8 years ago, he had a website called "ki-teachings.com", and I was a Teacher there. I've known him for a long time, and he actually helped peer review/edit the course content. Since he cared enough about you all to send this to me, I'm posting it here.

Quote
While I understand Kouji has a qi gong study group in session at the time of this writing, I wanted to clarify a few things that will only serve to help what you guys could be doing with Kouji in his study group. The group covers a lot of areas that may be important to generate optimum health as well as provide some basic understanding of Dao. That in itself is a great thing to undertake. But in the process of that undertaking, there are some recommendations that need to be made only to help your progress.

I think the first thing is to know what your goal is - what do you expect from performing these practices? Do you expect them to aid other practices? If you practice them exclusively, what is it you want from it? The question seems pedantic, especially when one considers the myriad aspects of Daoist cultivation. However, the question is an important one because it determines the "path" that one takes. My path and goals is not synonymous to your path. While I want to gain a deeper philosophical, anthropological and ontological understanding of the schools associated with the longmen pai sect of Daoism, not everyone is going to have that same intent. Some want better health, some want better concentration. In that, they are both applicable goals. Know what you want to deal with first. That creates a path in and of itself.

Let's be frank. Cultivation schools each have similar intentions to gain foundation to prepare the body and mind for the deep steps. The major rules are of sex, diet and physical exercise. Each aspect is linked in and of itself. Sex is somewhat detrimental to practice in that the more sex you have, the less in harmony your body is in. The same can be said of diet and physical exercise. Remember two fundamental things. Shen controls jing, qi charges jing and jing charges qi. The three are important for the beginning process.

But that doesn't mean that one should be obsessed if you have sex or eat something unhealthy. The unique thing about Dao is the diversity. Above the yang shen dao which stresses no sex or bad foods, there is some leniency to these rules. If you have to have sex, frankly go ahead and do it. If you have to eat a piece of pie or cake, do it! There's nothing wrong with it. Where issue arises is when the mind attaches to those things. And that becomes detrimental to any practice, no matter the path. No one is asking you to be buddha yet. Unless you want to go down that road. In those times, be cognizant of the cravings. Be cognizant of the aversion. You want to be with those things to the point to where they lack meaning and lack derivation of any feeling. When that occurs, the things become a matter of choice and you clearly understand that the cravings and aversions are derivation of the mind.

A major problem I had with starting my practices was my mind. I won't lie, I would constantly ask my teachers why won't my mind shut the heck up? Everyone knows what I mean. If the mind is actually quiet from thoughts, you hear elevator music of the mind and the first thought is come on! I just want to sit shut up brain! Of course, I make a jest of the process in the mind, but the important thing is the reaction you have from quieting the mind. A lot of times we often get dejected from the lack of silence in the mind. But there are a lot of things to understand with mental activity. It's coordinated by breathing and it is a form of attachment.

The mind is a funny entity in that it always has to attach to something. Be it some area of the body, pain or even a thought. The mind will attach to it. It makes aspects of ba duan jin (any form rather) and meditation a pain. However, in the beginning there are some fundamental aspects that have to be understood. First of all, don't feel dejected if your mind won't seem to quiet. The dejection you feel is more counterintuitive than the rumblings of your mind because it makes you not want to practice with an idea that you won't get it. In this aspect, you have to understand a lot.

What makes practice good or bad? What do you consider good practice? Immediately one will say when the mind is quiet, the body is flexible and relaxed right? I thought that way myself being a large perfectionist! By that logic, if your body is inflexible, you're not relaxed, that's not good practice, right? A key secret is that such concepts don't exist! You are creating those concepts and they are impeding your practice! There is no such thing as good or bad practice. It is practice! While I understand Allen Iverson hates practice versus the big game, Daoist cultivation paths is quite different. Don't associate good or bad with practice, JUST PRACTICE. If you feel something be with it. If you don't feel anything, be with it. But ultimately be open to all of it.

I remember starting out about 12 years ago on OECs like the kidojo or the Underground Society. A lot of what I mentioned was not there and there was heavy promotion of a lot of improper practices that stressed on feelings and things to derive results. [ed: Too much emotion and lots of tactile feedback] But even under traditional practices, I had very little progress because of my mind. And I understand in the beginning, above the body, there is mind that impedes a lot of practice. But even saying that assumes that we have no control of that. In many ways we don't, but you learn to live in harmony with that mind. With peace, balance, and acceptance.

It isn't much, but if you follow some of these suggestions, you will see some progress. Probably the main thing is be happy when you practice. Accept your feelings your mind and thoughts through your early practices. Even accept your physical limitations. I promise if you do that and the work, you will see progress with minimal work. We have a joke in our groups. A person can practice for 20 years and still won't see the white light, purify the mind or even heal the body!

Relax, be happy, do one selfless thing a day, meditate, and do something to generate a pulse. If you do all of that and detach from mind craving and aversions, you'll see lots of progress almost immediately.
Good luck everyone.

With that, I wish you all the best of luck, authentic and objective experiences, and peace of mind. If you wish to answer or discuss any of mystic's questions in this thread, feel free.

Good Health and Training,
Koujiryuu
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May 28, 2013, 01:48:44 PM
Reply #1

Koujiryuu

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Anyone have any thoughts on mystic's message?
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May 28, 2013, 02:04:57 PM
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Aprophis

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Lots of good advice.
Reading that, I'm glad that I can shut up my mind most of the time since my teenage years. I perfected staring at the wall then.
My goal is to try it, give my best and see what happens. Same as most of the things I do in life :P

May 28, 2013, 02:36:41 PM
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Agreed.

I think the core of his message is about letting go and acceptance; just practice and be with it.
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May 28, 2013, 03:39:09 PM
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I also agree: practice, persevere, and be open

May 28, 2013, 03:59:11 PM
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good post, i like your writing style and general openness

definitely good advice in there from you and mystic as well

May 28, 2013, 04:28:19 PM
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Thank you, Kouji. I will most assuredly be following and practicing avidly, alongside my Hermetic and Hatha/ Japa Yoga practices, as long as that is ok with you and you feel that it doesn't interfere with your instruction that much.
I was on ki-teachings a long time ago, when I was 12, back in 2002. A guy named James ran the site and they practiced "radki". I also believed in it and practiced it as well. However, brave souls eventually took over the site, people like Mystic, Kendamu, Donjitsu and yourself! You guys (especially mystic, I have always looked up to mystic, and I still keep the messages he sent me) guided me away from all the nonsense and into true Martial Arts. I am eternally grateful for that, and eternally grateful that I am presented with this opportunity to learn directly from you.
Concerning his words, I am most certainly surprised that he is still active online to some degree, and I am thankful for his message. I think the central theme here is, above all, commitment to practice and conquering the Will. I think because of what he wrote, I am going to try my hardest to refrain from all forms of sexual indulgence for most of this course. I'm curious about his statement regarding, "Shen controls Jing, Jing charges Qi and Qi charges Jing". I wonder what Jing and Shen is, and how the aforementioned concept can be applied to daily living and especially internal practices.
Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate. -Sun Tzu

When the Mind is clear and still, all things under Heaven fall into place. -Lao Tzu

Drink your cup alone, though it taste of blood and tears, and praise God for the gift of taste. -Almustafa

May 28, 2013, 04:58:31 PM
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Thank you, Kouji. I will most assuredly be following and practicing avidly, alongside my Hermetic and Hatha/ Japa Yoga practices, as long as that is ok with you and you feel that it doesn't interfere with your instruction that much.

It would be in your best interest to focus primarily on my methods during this course. I think light Hatha Yoga is fine, for physical fitness. The Hermetic stuff, not so much. It is recommended to practice my methods an hour a day, every day, but you can move up to 2 hours a day if you have the time, and devote 1 hour to each exercise for the week. The only reason I say this, is that if you only have an hour or two a day to practice, and you try and do Qigong, meditation, Hatha Yoga, and Hermetics, you are overloading yourself too much. Also, the energies developed in my course and the methodology is at times completely different or in direct conflict with other systems.

Quote
I'm curious about his statement regarding, "Shen controls Jing, Jing charges Qi and Qi charges Jing". I wonder what Jing and Shen is, and how the aforementioned concept can be applied to daily living and especially internal practices.

Spirit-Mind controls essence, essence charges energy and energy charges essence.

Read more about Jing (essence) here.
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May 28, 2013, 05:05:05 PM
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Watchtower

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I was reminded to look back on my goals, to remember why I decided to join the group and commit to doing the exercises regularly.  I am hoping to improve my health and concentration, and develop more internal power for my martial arts training, as well as feel more physically unified when I fight.  For the past few years, I have been feeling a decline in the coordination of my body as a single cohesive unit, especially during sparring.  Life responsibilities have reduced the amount of time I can train, and the two styles I practice are quite different in how they spar, so there is still some sort of "reconciliation" between the two going on.  The Tae Kwon Do has 18 years of neuro-muscular and mental conditioning in place whereas the muay thai has only a few years, albeit I did have 1 month of extremely intense training in Thailand.  The boxing aspects and low kicks in particular put me out of my comfort zone in sparring due to the karate/tkd sparring style and rules that I'm used to.  I'm hoping the qigong and regular meditation will aid in making my body communicate with itself better and adapt quicker, even if only indirectly.  I also wouldn't mind more power :P.

Regarding health, I am actually quite healthy in general, but I work-12 hour overnight shifts in EMS, which puts a lot of stress on my body and mind, and makes a regular martial arts and crossfit training schedule not only hard to manage, but makes my body less able to handle it.  I am getting injured more, and am currently trying to improve an inflamed left shoulder.  Lack of sleep and bizarre biological rhythms have proven a serious detriment to my physical training capabilities (no surprises there), so I would like to boost my body's healing capabilities and try to bring it closer to optimal function, given my less than ideal situation.  I'm also starting a side business and planning on going back to school next year (while still working full-time), so I've got a pretty full plate that's only to get more full, and the healthier and more energetic I am, the better I will be able to handle it all (hopefully).

I will probably only be able to abstain from sex to a limited extent, but I plan to do my best to get as much out of this course as possible to improve my health and training capabilities.  If I remember my goals, I will be more motivated to stick to the training.  My girlfriend and I are going camping in a couple weeks so it should be a nice opportunity to do some qigong and meditation in the forest  :).



« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 05:11:55 PM by Watchtower »
"For no matter how holy works may be, they do not make us holy because we do them, but in so far as we within ourselves are as we should be, we make holy all that we do, whether it be eating, or sleeping, or working, or what it may."

-Eckhart von Hochheim

May 28, 2013, 05:12:36 PM
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It should be noted that I don't require sexual abstinence for my methods of training.

I could write paragraphs about why I feel this isn't necessary outside of monastic tradition but I won't.

Traditionally, it was said that 100 days of Dantian meditation with no sex would form the immortal spirit embryo in the Dantian. Take this for what you will. My methods don't use the immortal fetus. I never did this and I still attained Kundalini awakening and induced backwards flowing Qi in the spine, up to the brain.

Going without sex will improve your training but it's not required.
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May 28, 2013, 06:44:57 PM
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Mystics advice is a treasure. I can't think of any other word to describe it, with all of the gems of wisdom he has provided, and so eloquently.

I have a couple of different goals for dedicating myself to this practice. Primarily, I want to improve my health. Not just my physical health, but my general health. I have made some progress in the last year, but a lifetime of neglecting the body doesn't heal quickly, or easily. Other than that, I want to tame my mind and inner energies after not having a consistent practice for a while. Concentration comes difficulty, my energy doesn't move as easily as it used to, and in general I am quite out of shape.  :P

And, more than anything, I love the philosophy and the spirit of the art. Though I have always bounced around, and still do, there are a few things I have always clung to. "Daoist" is one of them.

Edit: This seems to be the place to ask this, so--do we post experiences daily, or once per week, when the new exercises have been posted? I could not find where that was clearly stated, simply that we need to post experiences.



~:Shin:~
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 06:51:48 PM by Shinichi »
~:Completed the 2013 Qi Gong Study Group:~

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May 28, 2013, 07:30:18 PM
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I forgot to ask before, but with new exercises posted each week, and the need to practice them and post about them, what about the exercises learned from previous weeks?  Should we focus on spending most or all of our available practice time on a given week's exercises, and only do previous ones as our individual schedules allow?
"For no matter how holy works may be, they do not make us holy because we do them, but in so far as we within ourselves are as we should be, we make holy all that we do, whether it be eating, or sleeping, or working, or what it may."

-Eckhart von Hochheim

May 28, 2013, 10:16:10 PM
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Koujiryuu

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Quote from: Shinichi
Edit: This seems to be the place to ask this, so--do we post experiences daily, or once per week, when the new exercises have been posted? I could not find where that was clearly stated, simply that we need to post experiences.

The minimum is to post your experience with each exercise once per week. You can post more than once if you wish, and I consider that going "above and beyond".

Quote from: Watchtower
I forgot to ask before, but with new exercises posted each week, and the need to practice them and post about them, what about the exercises learned from previous weeks?  Should we focus on spending most or all of our available practice time on a given week's exercises, and only do previous ones as our individual schedules allow?

This is indicated in the later weeks and I usually give you a choice for what to do. For example, in Week 5 we learn the Microcosmic Orbit. However, at first you can only do 9 repetitions of it, so it doesn't take much time to do. For the rest of your hour I give you a choice between Dantian meditation and Baduanjin.
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May 29, 2013, 03:27:04 AM
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Aprophis

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The only reason I say this, is that if you only have an hour or two a day to practice, and you try and do Qigong, meditation, Hatha Yoga, and Hermetics, you are overloading yourself too much. Also, the energies developed in my course and the methodology is at times completely different or in direct conflict with other systems.

While I agree on the overloading, I cannot do the same on the point with the conflict. After all it's 'just' energy. In my opinion there's not really a difference, except that which you create yourself, since I practiced chaos magic and switching between paradigms comes easy to me.

May 29, 2013, 07:51:53 AM
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First of all I'd like to thank you for putting this wonderful intro together Koujiryuu and to Mystic for his guidance. This seems well thought out and addresses most questions likely to arise before starting practice. I know because I've asked many of these myself and can't think of anything more to ask.

I like to keep my goals simple so I've chosen improving my health and ability to work with qi as the things I want to get from this course. I also want to get the basic terminologies down so I don't make a fool of myself talking about qi when I mean something else  :P