Nei Gong Notes, March 21, 2023

Mar 21 2023

Quite a good week. On Wednesday in particular I had a very good Nei Gong session: I did my normal Spinal Dao Yin and Kidney Hui Chun for Wednesdays, but then, later in the day, I felt like practicing more, so I did a longish Advanced Dantian Gong session. And it felt like it was useful: I relaxed my abdomen in a way that seemed to help stuff get in there more. So I feel like I’m getting more out of that than I was when I was trying it last summer; I’m still not at the Qi swallowing stage of that exercise, but this felt like a step in the right direction.

And also, over the course of the week, I’ve reminded myself of how the various MCO preparation activities went. The previous week, I’d gone through the Bellows Breathing / Huiyin plucking video, and this week, besides practicing Advanced Dantian Gong, I went through the Line of Ming, Mixing Kan and Li, and Lesser Orbit videos, and took notes. I think that’s a good set of practices to remind myself of; and, for now, I think I should be focusing on Advanced Dantian Gong, Bellows Breathing, and Line of Ming. (As well as Anchoring the Breath and the Kidney and Spleen Hui Chuns.) And once I feel like those are in a good place, I’ll add in Mixing Kan and Li and the Lesser Orbit, and then a couple of longer sequences from the Maryland retreat.

And my Tai Chi was okay this week. We had Sunday Tai Chi this weekend, and so I wanted to work on my Guan Dao; and I did get back to where I was before going on vacation. So I still wasn’t caught up to where the class was, but I was only a month behind; hopefully I’d be able to follow along well enough on Sunday and then get completely caught up before the April class.

But it turned out to be raining on Sunday, so we didn’t do Guan Dao at all! So I have less catching up to do than I expected, I should be completely caught up in a couple of weeks, I hope. Instead, we did some push hands; nice to get some pointers from Tony, but also it was nice to do push hands with somebody other than my normal partner. (Not that I don’t like doing push hands with him, he and I are actually well matched, just that variety has its virtues too.) And in particular, with one of the other people I was pushing hands with, I started to feel like something was moving around in interesting ways; I should try to capture that feeling more often.

Though, having said that, I’ve been watching a few videos of Damo or Adam Mizner doing push hands, and either those videos are fakes or they’re doing something that is fundamentally different from what my teacher is teaching. Not necessarily fundamentally different from what he can do – one of my fellow students was saying on Sunday that, when my teacher does An, he feels incredibly heavy, which seems consistent with the videos of Damo doing An? But I don’t really see how to get there from what I’ve seen my teacher teach. Though maybe that’s just that, so far, he’s been teaching push hands at a basic level because we’re starting out, so maybe I just have to stick with it more.

But it is getting me to think again that I should get back to Damo’s Tai Chi course and follow it along seriously, because I think he has things to say about Jin and how to develop it that I would really like to learn. Having said that, I’m also not convinced that I have the energy / motivation in practice to stick with that: I’m already not reviewing the Tai Chi forms that I know or am learning frequently enough, and so I’m hesitant to add in another commitment on top of that. (Because I don’t think I’d learn Tai Chi from Damo’s videos without really committing to it; just watching the videos and trying out the exercises a few times won’t be enough.) So, for now, I’m not picking those videos up yet, I think the real issue is that I need to make more time for various kinds of Internal Arts practice. But once I’ve made more time (and maybe once I’ve gotten to where I can activate the Microcosmic Orbit outside of a workshop) then that is something I’m considering doing.

So: good week. The one bump in the road is that I had a colonoscopy on Monday; the prep during most of the week wasn’t bad, I just had to avoid a couple of kinds of food, but on Sunday and Monday morning and afternoon I was on a liquid diet, and Sunday afternoon and Monday morning I had to take something to empty out my system. So, while I was fine during Sunday Tai Chi, it was also good that it was Sunday morning rather than Sunday afternoon; and it didn’t feel wise to practice on Monday. But the procedure itself was totally fine, and I had a good dinner on Monday evening, and I felt back to normal today. So I’m not worried about that going forward, I should be fine the rest of the week.

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