Nei Gong Notes, June 18, 2024

Jun 18 2024

I tried out the new Dao and Jian some more, and I am glad that I got them. (Though I’m not convinced yet that I like the handle wrap; but it’ll be fine if I decide I don’t like that, not a big deal either way.) They’re enough heavier that it will take me a little while to get used to them: the Hunyuan Dao set in particular has a bunch of moves where you use your wrist to spin the Dao in various ways, and I can’t yet do those at full speed; but even given that I feel like a heavier Dao is more honest. (And I still have two other Daos that are lighter by various degrees if I want to show off.)

I mentioned last time that my energy levels were uncomfortably low, so I did noticeably more Wu Ji over the last week than I had been, 30 minutes most day. And yeah, it’s probably bad that that’s noticeably more than I had been doing! It’s understandable on days when I work, at least if I’ve got another standing exercise that I’m working on; but on my days off, I think I haven’t been putting in enough time towards standing work, I should be able to put in 30 minutes of Wu Ji and 30 minutes of some other exercise just fine, and I should be putting in an hour of Wu Ji sometimes too. And hey, if I actually succeed in getting my energy levels up, maybe I’ll respond by doing more than two hours of Nei Gong a day; that’s what happened when my energy levels were high back at the start of the year.

I didn’t do quite as much Tai Chi last week as I’d hoped I would, but still a reasonable amount; I’m caught up on my weapons, and did almost everything else at least once. (I kind of ran out of energy at the end of my practice session on Friday, otherwise I would have done everything at least once; but I’m feeling like I shouldn’t push my body right now.) The one thing that I’m worried about is the Hunyuan 48: I really do want to learn that this time, and I already wasn’t solid at the very last bit I’d learned, and I’m missing two Saturdays because of the Nei Gong workshop. So I should try to spend some time in the evenings working on that; fortunately my teacher just posted a video of the bit I wasn’t solid on plus the next bit that he did this Saturday, so if I put that on loop then that will help a lot.

Anyways, I’m two days into the workshop now. I was a little worried at the start because I was coming down with a cold or something on Sunday, but fortunately it seemed to be very mild, and it cleared up Sunday night, so I think I’m okay. And the first two days have been very good indeed. Mostly so far because of the lectures: Damo’s planning to go into Alchemy, I think, but the first two lectures have been on foundational material that is very useful to me. Monday’s lecture was partly on what it means for your mind to be inside and partly on the Jing system; and in the latter bit, the bits about not believing your emotion, about strengthening willpower, and avoiding addictions all seemed directly relevant to me. Not that I have an addictive personality; I actually think I’m relatively good on all three of those fronts compared to many people! But also, I do spend time playing puzzle games on my phone that honestly isn’t well spent; fighting back against that sort of thing, and trying to strengthen my willpower in some other areas feels like it would be useful. And if doing that has some of the consequences on the rest of the Jing system that he describes, then that would be directly useful for me as well (strengthening my spine, nourishing my brain, increasing my physical energy level); and the alchemy consequences are interesting too.

And today’s lecture was about Calm Abiding: he was making a case that this is absolutely fundamental across a whole range of internal arts, because it enables both your mind and body to strip away a lot of bad habits and start reshaping themselves in healthy manners. The way he presented it is pretty different from the Year 1 IAA Nei Gong lesson on the topic; but, for a short version, you want to relax your body and mind (though with your body in a good structure to begin with), let gravity pull your mind down, and have your mind fill your entire body. (But with your center of consciousness more in your Dantian rather than looking down from above; that latter bit is something I’ve actually experienced before, with the help of one of the techniques from my Silk Reeling Principles course; I should get back to that technique again, to see if it helps me get to that location more easily, and, if so, if it links up to Calm Abiding or if I’m only reaching it via a technique that doesn’t help with the broader goal.)

So I should spend more time on that. I’m not sure when – right now I’m doing Hui Chun twice a week, Advanced Dantian Gong once a week, MCO prep three times a week, and that only leaves one day, which isn’t enough to really work on something new. So I either need to cut back on one of those or double up some days; both of those seem plausible, but I’ll have to think about it.

We’ve done much less standing work compared to other Lotus Nei Gong courses I’ve been to; in general the days have actually been a little shorter, but also we’re doing quite a bit more seated work. (So, basically, one third seated work, one third lecture, one third standing.) So we haven’t yet had a non-perfunctory Wu Ji session, for example; though today’s session had us spending an hour on a shoulder opening exercise, so it was strenuous enough! (Holding your arms out forward and then moving your shoulder blades in circles.) I was really surprised how it turned out: I was in a decent but manageable amount of pain 10 minutes in, and with that arm positioning I wasn’t able to get the kind of inflation via relaxing that I normally do to have my arms feel buoyant, so I was expecting it to get more and more painful over the course of the hour. And it would have been fine if it had, Damo even showed us a way to rest our arms without completely stopping the progress, but actually, the rest of the hour my arms didn’t feel any worse, so I made it through the hour just fine? I do wish I’d felt a stronger feeling of shoulder opening, though; there was some, but not as much as I’d expected, given the length of the exercise, I’m not sure what’s going on there.

Definitely looking forward to the rest of the workshop: it definitely seems like interesting information that I’m hoping I’ll be able to build on, and while I’m a little surprised that it hasn’t been more strenuous, that will probably change, and also I’ve been to enough workshops that I don’t know that I need to spend more time seeing the same exercises over and over again, I mostly need to do them more myself, so having a workshop that’s skewed more towards learning thing that are new to me but not too far out of reach seems like a good idea. And presumably the Foundations courses will give me more back-to-basics stuff, so I won’t be missing that side of things over the next couple of years.

No responses yet

Leave a Reply