Archive for December, 2019

Tai Chi Notes, December 31, 2019

Dec 31 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

I’d said last week that I was sticking with my meditation / Wu Ji even though I had a bit of a cold; might have been a mistake, because on Wednesday evening (?) the back of my knees were aching, which I think is supposed to be a sign of my Jing being depleted. So I stopped the Wu Ji for a few days.

Also, my neck and spine were aching. Might have been the lack of exercise, but I also think it might have been me trying to untilt my neck, and potentially accidentally throwing other stuff out of whack because of that? If that’s the case, then the only hypothesis I had there is that I’m vaguely wondering now if my left leg might be ever so slightly shorter than my right leg; looks that way when I sit down with them stretched out, but I don’t know if my pelvis is straight or not when I do that, and I haven’t pulled out measuring tape. It would explain why I feel sometimes like I’m landing a little heavy on my right leg when walking, though…

I was feeling better again by Saturday, so I started up the Wu Ji again, and went to Tai Chi class like normal; and one big surprise there was how good Silk Reeling felt. Lots of energy moving around, which, honestly, surprised me a little since I’d been skipping other practicing the second half of the week, so I would expect my internal energy level to be low? Maybe it was my body readjusting itself and feeling better as a result, with the energy being able to flow more. Certainly the aches basically disappeared after that.

One pointer from doing the form in class: when moving the left after the sort of reverse Oblique Posture in Diagonal Body-Stroke Fist, I should brush my knee with my left hand, not just put it straight on my waist. Also, I noticed while doing the form that I can move energy to my feet much more easily than I could have a few months back; not yet feeling the sort of stickiness or extra gravity that I sometimes see described, but I’ll keep on working on it; does help a little in keeping my balance, just not dramatically so.

It was raining on Sunday so I didn’t practice Tai Chi outside, but I did a full round of Silk Reeling in addition to my regular Sunday Lotus Nei Gong stuff, and that did feel good.

I was on vacation today, and I decided that I felt like spending a fair amount of it doing Nei Gong and Tai Chi. So I did 30 minutes of seated meditation, some stretching, 30 minutes of Wu Ji, and the Five Animal Frolics; I hadn’t consistently been doing my current Tuesday / Thursday / Sunday target of 30 minutes of Wu Ji for a while, but I’m glad I did today, because I was very surprised when it ended, I wasn’t sure I’d even been going for 20 minutes at that point. And it wasn’t raining and hadn’t been for a couple of days, so I did some Tai Chi outside; the ground was pretty muddy, though, so I only went through the first form once. But I went through the Jian form a few times, because I need to solidify that. (I think we’re maybe two thirds of the way through it on Saturdays, hopefully I’ll be able to learn the whole thing?) One thing I’d been feeling unhappy with was that I felt I was using my arm too much while thrusting; but I found that I could keep my attention more in my Dantian during the form, and that felt better. So I’ll keep on experimenting with that.

Then, at the end of the afternoon, I had some more time, so I decided that things had been going well enough that I’d do a second Wu Ji session, so I put in another 30 minutes. And I’m glad I did; halfway through, I sort of relaxed into a feeling in the lower half of my body, and I got a hard-to-describe tingling sensation through large parts of my body, especially the lower half. And also the lower half was feeling relatively full in general, almost like there was something in my body filling my legs and coming up to a little above my tailbone; and, even weirder, my vision felt less dark even though my eyes were closed, with a feeling of light or something coming from the lower part of my body. (I didn’t actually turn my head down and look, I should try that next time!) So it definitely felt different from just having 60 minutes spread out over multiple days; I won’t say that it was a breakthrough (and, in particular, I still feel like my Live Gate is closed off, which is the next change I’m hoping for, the feeling of fullness definitely stopped below that), but it also feels like my body is getting in shape to make progress? If nothing else, it sure was interesting…

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Tai Chi Notes, December 24, 2019

Dec 24 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

I managed to make it back up to 30 minutes of Wu Ji on Thursday, for the first time in a while: I’d been feeling infirm or sleepy too much recently. Though, unfortunately, I came down with a cold on Sunday so I’m feeling infirm again! I’ve managed to do my regular standing/sitting practice even with the cold, at least, the cold hasn’t been too bad, though I did skip my Tai Chi practice on Sunday.

Not much that I can think of from class on Saturday. And no class tonight (though I probably would have skipped it anyways), since it’s the end of the year.

I finished reading a book called The Mind Illuminated; it’s a guide to a meditation system, and I really liked it. It gives a step-by-step process to follow, a description of what to expect and what the goals are of each stage, and a theoretical framework to understand all of it. If I were going to carve out more time to focus on meditation, I would seriously consider following what the book says.

Having said that, it does raise the question of whether it would conflict with the Lotus Nei Gong approach. I am a little worried, for example, about its recommendation for focusing your attention on the tip of your nose; seems a little weird from a Qi point of view? Also it’s interesting to see how a lot of the physical effects (and Qi, for that matter) from Lotus Nei Gong does show up, but later on in the process; a different route to at least some of the same ends.

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Tai Chi Notes: December 17, 2019

Dec 17 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

Not much to report this week. On Thursday, I had a lunch meeting, so I didn’t do my usual Nei Gong (though I did of course do a little Wu Ji at the end of the day). In the Saturday class, I asked about the transition from Pat the High Horse to Cross the Foot; you can shift your weight to your left, turn your right foot, shift right, and then step, or you can just step directly with your weight on the right foot the whole time. (Which is a lot harder!)

The most exciting thing was that I finally got my knees working in the bit where you flash your hands in the Xinjia Oblique Posture: if I relax and sink my attention down to my Dantian, then I can get energy coming out from there, and some goes out my knees.

This Sunday was the monthly class, but I could only stay for 30 minutes or so because I had to pick people up from the airport. I was hoping to at least put in my normal Sunday practice time after that, but I was too tired to do that, either…

I’m in the middle of reading a quite good meditation book, I’ll have more to report on that when I’m done.

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Tai Chi Notes, December 10, 2019

Dec 10 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

Not much to say; it was raining Sunday so I didn’t practice as much, and not a lot came up on the other days.

I did some of my meditation (both standing and sitting) facing a mirror, and I really am a little tilted: I need to shift left while standing, and also my neck leans slightly to the right as well. Whoops.

Paying attention to where energy is gathering while doing standing meditation: my arms are still best at gathering it, and the bottom of my torso (beneath my Dantian, the Huiyin region) is pretty good, and I can feel it in my legs and the top of my head. But my back feels empty, or at least from the Live Gate up. So that seems like the next milestone to hope for. Not entirely sure what I can do to speed that up, though maybe I should think more about opening up my Live Gate.

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VGHVI Minecraft, November 21, 2019

Dec 07 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

Pictures from the November Minecraft session:

In October, I’d built a path up from a cave; I was trying to figure out what to do next. So: some flying around.

The entrance to the cave in question.

I like this side view of the mountain through a forest path.

A weird discontinuity in the water level. And you’ll see a very flat wall next to that, clearly I hit a generation algorithm change.

A sheep wandering in the water next to another one of those walls.

 

I decided that I’d build a pier on my cave, and another one at the lighthouse; there’s a water path from one to the other, slightly but pleasantly roundabout. The only weird thing in the path is a one block height discontinuity in the water (with a waterfall on half of it, to make it even odder), but that sounds fine.

Here’s the pier sticking out from the cave.

And here’s the one at the lighthouse.

Taking a trip in a boat to try it out.

The view of some more of those weird flat walls.

Here’s a top-down view of those odd walls.

And then I sunk my boat.

 

So, that discontinuity in the water. It (unsurprisingly) went fine when I took my boat down the discontinuity. But, when I tried to go in the other direction, rather than either preventing me from going up or having the boat climb up one block, the boat went straight into the higher water level and then sunk. And the same thing happened when I went back up along the part of the the discontinuity where the water was sloping down in a micro-waterfall instead of being a one-block step. So that’s too bad; it means that I can’t actually row the boat back from the lighthouse to the cave.

Anyways, a few last pictures:

Should I put in some steps down from the cave?

I decided I liked it better with sand blocks instead of steps.

I decided I preferred to have the pier to be two blocks wide instead of three blocks.

 

Dan, meanwhile, built a lot of (kind of Dadaist) random little objects, plus one big one: he was exploring how scaffolding works, and it turns out that it’s really easy to build scaffolding high up into the sky, and that you can plant trees on it. So now there’s a huge wall of trees growing near the cathedral.

A flat area with sand bricks and some red/black thing.

There are some pillars nearby with cakes on top.

A side view of those cake pillars, showing the flaming pumpkins from October nearby.

If you want more cake, here’s cake stacked on more cake.

A higher view of that stacked up cake.

Sure, let’s put some boats on top of some blocks, why not.

Some more random stuff.

Yes, those are beds on top of those trees.

A bunch of doors next to each other.

 

That’s the random stuff, but there’s also this huge structure of scaffolding with trees growing on it.

Approaching the tree scaffolding.

Here’s the base, trees growing thickly there.

Trees are much sparser at the top.

Some more trees have popped up on the right side.

You can see the trees growing in real time, the top right one is larger in this picture than in the previous one.

Here’s the view from the other side, it’s quite close to Roger’s unfinished cathedral.

And here’s the top-down view, with lots of seedlings waiting to grow.

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Tai Chi Notes, December 3, 2019

Dec 03 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

I was feeling on the edge of coming down with a cold last week, so I took a few days off of Wu Ji and didn’t do my regular Thursday practice. But I went back to my normal routine on Saturday.

Saturday’s class was wet but good: we went through the form something like five times, and my abdomen was feeling empty in an unusual but good way. Some things that my teacher said and/or that I noticed: in the blocks in Flash the Back, I should also expand down into my kua; also, in the first block, sink my right shoulder even during the block, that’ll help me relax my right arm during the second block. And when going from the following punch into the Six Sealing Four Closing before Hand Maneuvers, I should concentrate a little more on keeping my left leg stable, using it as a foundation after turning the leg while getting the rest of my body into place.

On Sunday it was too wet outside to practice, so I skipped Tai Chi, but at least I did my normal Lotus Nei Gong stuff. On which note, I’m thinking that it’s maybe time for me to start working on rotating my Dantian during Wu Ji?

In today’s class, my teacher said to concentrate more on folding into your left kua during Oblique Posture; and it does indeed help with my stability and makes my knee feel better. And actually folding into my right kua when shifting right in Embrace the Knee helps, too.

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