Recounted by psychologist Robert Cialdini:
One night at an introductory lecture given by the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program, I witnessed a nice illustration of how people will hide inside the walls of consistency to protect themselves from the troublesome consequences of thought.
The lecture itself was presided over by two earnest young men and was designed to recruit new members into the program. The program claimed it could teach a unique brand of meditation that would allow us to achieve all manner of desirable things, ranging from simple inner peace to the more spectacular abilities—to fly and pass through walls—at the program’s advanced (and more expensive) stages.
I had decided to attend the meeting to observe the kind of compliance tactics used in recruitment lectures of this sort, and had brought along an interested friend, a university professor whose areas of specialization were statistics and symbolic logic. As the meeting progressed and the lecturers explained the theory behind TM, I noticed my logician friend become increasingly restless.
Looking more and more pained and shifting about constantly in his seat, he was finally unable to resist. When the leaders called for questions at the completion of the lecture, he raised his hand and gently but surely demolished the presentation we had just heard. In less than two minutes, he pointed out precisely where and why the lecturers’ complex argument was contradictory, illogical, and unsupportable.
The same strategies used by a military commander to defend the nation can also be used to protect one’s self. Sun Tzu’s classic manual The Art of War is therefore required reading for all serious martial artists.
Here is a summary of Sun Tzu’s most important points (based on translations by Roger Ames):
On Assessments (計篇第一)
Warfare is the art of deceit. Therefore, when able, seem to be unable; when ready, seem unready; when nearby, seem far away; and when far away, seem near. If the enemy seeks some advantage, entice him with it. If he is in disorder, attack him and take him.
Attack where he is not prepared; go by way of places where it would never occur to him you should go. These are the military strategist’s calculations for victory—they cannot be settled in advance.
After reviewing the training methods of Qi Dao, Kumar Frantzis suggested that such material would be more precisely labeled as shen gong, or spiritual cultivation, rather than as qi gong (energy cultivation). While I cannot disagree with his observation, it seems to me that most English-speaking qigong enthusiasts are in fact seeking self-realization, harmony and peace of mind—not merely a vehicle for increased physical vitality—so some imprecision can be forgiven here.
Qi Dao: The Art of Being in the Flow is (to my knowledge) the first English book on the obscure Tibetan art of Shamanic Qigong, or trul khor. Written by Lama Somananda Tantrapa, an ordained Buddhist monk and longtime martial artist, Being in the Flow introduces the basics of this unique brand of Tibetan Yoga.
Excerpted from the book Tao and Longevity by Nan Huaijin
Does the spirit actually leave the body during the transformation of chi into shen?
…There are many [Taoist] descriptions of being pregnant for ten months, suckling the baby for three years, and facing the wall for nine years that have led some people to believe that successful meditation must involve astral projection. The supposition is that the spirit or divine self has a fetal body of its own which ultimately shoots out of the top of the head and ascends into heaven itself. To believe that this is the way of transforming chi into shen is a serious mistake.
According to the Tan Tao school, yang shen (or positive spirit) and yin shen (or negative spirit) may both account for the projection of the spirit from out of the body.
While conducting some unrelated research, I recently came across an book written by the disciple of a blind kungfu master. I was gratified to read his advice, so similar to that which I received from my own martial arts teachers. I’ll explain why in a moment; first, a few quotations:
On the primacy of coordination…
The principle of “divide and conquer” may have some validity in those branches of education concerned with knowing rather than doing, but in the education of the artist, “integrate to coordinate” should be the battle-cry.
Demonstrating the ability to make one single movement by genuinely coordinated means, is worth more to the growth of the student than showing them now to negotiate any supposed technical difficulties by the employment of “end-gaining” methods.
Clumsiness in general, and technical failures in particular, have no other origins than in the making of simultaneous contradictory gestures.
Every person’s body has an aura (light). All living things have auras. Even nonliving things have auras. Physicists refer to the aura as a field, a space which contains active magnetic or electrical lines. The aura of the human body is the qi field of the body. Some individuals are born with the ability to see auras. Others are able to see auras with qigong training, as well as after a session of meditation. With the ability to see human auras, it is possible to understand the workings in the human body. Depending on the colors and the intensity of the aura around the individual, the condition of the individual can be deciphered.
With the ability to see auras, one can also decipher the depth of another person’s energy cultivation. The aura of Laozi was described as purple. The auras of Sakyamuni Buddha and Avalokiteshvara (Guan Yin) were described as a ring with multiple radiating colors. Drawings of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary also showed auras. Indian yogis, Chinese Daoist and Buddhist cultivators all have large beautiful auras.
by Rick Bauer
Over the last twenty years, a considerable amount of interest has been generated concerning the use of acupoints and pressure points in the martial arts. These include material on medical uses of acupoints (also referred to in certain Western publications as “pressure points” or “vital points”), as well as their use in fighting techniques. The commercially available products include seminars, books, videotape and magazine articles; much of it coming from Europe, Asia, North America and Australia.
Documentation suggests the martial uses of acupoints were first discovered about fourteen hundred years ago in feudal China… These techniques have been incorporated into several Asian martial arts systems.
The term “acupoint” refers to specific spots along the body, all of which are highly reactive to stimuli. These are the same points used by acupuncturists for treating ailments and promoting health. In all, there are 361 classic acupoints sprinkled across the human anatomy. The martial use of acupoints, however, refers to controlled strikes to these same anatomical locations. When executed correctly, acupoint strikes can elicit an array of physiological effects, dependent on the angle, direction, and force of the strike, as well as the specific point(s) used.
The term “pressure point” or “vital point,” as used in the West, is slightly broader (conceptually). In addition to the classical acupoint centers, the Western conceptual view of a pressure point or vital point may also include sensitive anatomical regions of the body, which are unrelated to acupoint centers, but have useful martial applications (such as certain joint-lock release centers).
Acupoint striking techniques where originally developed in the Orient.
The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.
From the book Zen to Go: Bite-Sized Bits of Wisdom