SELF-TAUGHT MEDITATION FOR SPIRITUAL CULTIVATION
Also I was wondering what was the best qigong to practice to develop the spirit body for spiritual purposes.
— Tim, Canada
It would be helpful to give some brief background information. In Chinese philosophy, every person is made up of three components, namely “jing”, “qi” and “shen”, which refer to the physical body, the energy body and the spiritual body.Your physical body is the one you can (normally) see and touch, like your arms and the nerves and tendons in your arms. Your energy body is the network of vital force that operates your physical body. Your spiritual body is the real you, the commander that operates the energy body and the physical body.
All chi kung (qigong) — genuine chi kung — works on all these three components, though different types of chi kung place different emphasis on the different components. Generally, low level chi kung emphasizes the physical, and high level chi kung emphasizes the spiritual. Take note that the same chi kung exercise can be operated at different levels.
If all other things were equal — a presumption that is almost never true but is useful for discussion — the best type of chi kung to develop the spiritual body is meditation. Meditation is the training of the mind or spirit. There are many types of meditation, and there are many, many different techniques for each type.
Meditation is simple (and profound) but not easy. Hence, many people who practice meditation, usually on their own without a competent teacher, not only get no benefits but often harm themselves and often without their own knowing. This unfortunate situation has become so common in Western societies that if you tell others you practice or teach meditation, many “decent” people (like business executives and professionals) often look at you with suspicion.This is a big irony because meditation is a highly respected art. But it has been so abused that today many of those who practice meditation — wrongly — are depressed and nervous, and withdraw from societies, whereas meditation is supposed to make practitioners fresh and bright, uplift their spirit, and give them zest for work and play.
Microcosmic Orbit is an advanced art, it emphasizes the energy body. Meditation, emphasizing the spiritual body, is even more advanced. You have practiced Microcosmic Orbit incorrectly. Now don't mess yourself with meditation or any chi kung exercises that emphasize the spiritual body, otherwise you would get adverse effects like becoming depressed and nervous without knowing why.
My advice is for you to practice more elementary chi kung like dynamic patterns, such as “Lifting the Sly” and “Carrying the Moon”. You should learn from a competent teacher, and you may be surprised at the benefits you will get, including an improvement on your energy and spirit. If you can't find a good teacher, you may learn from a good book. Although the benefits will be less, you still will have good benefits and you are unlikely to harm yourself so long as you follow the instructions respectfully.
The above is taken from Question 10 of January 2004 Part 3 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.
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