Right now, I’m learning Dao Yin exercises, which are exercises you can do to get rid of negative chi, while also cultivating positive chi. Whenever I learn a new technique, I take my time and learn them step by step, instead of trying to do the entire technique at once. I also make sure that I’ve learned all the preceding techniques and have a thorough understanding of how they work, before learning a new one, because learning the new technique necessarily builds off the preceding techniques.
A huge part of learning a technique is also paying attention to the experience. In fact, I’d argue that’s the most important aspect of learning something, because the experience will tell you a lot about what you are doing and may indicate if you are doing it right or if there is something that doesn’t fit.
I once had an experience where I’d been learning some Taoist alchemical techniques with the macrocosmic body and didn’t pay attention to the sensations and experience, because I was intent on learning the technique, until I came to a point where I became ill, because what I learned wasn’t right, or I had not done everything I needed to do to learn the technique.
What I chose to do was wisely stop the work I’d been doing. I started doing dissolving work, which allowed me to undo what I’d done and within a short time I felt better, but I learned a valuable lesson about going more slowly and really taking the time to learn a technique step by step instead of trying to do it all at once. I also started paying much closer attention to the sensations and experiences I was having so that I could use them to gauge what I was doing and determine if I was on the right track or if I needed to back track and start over again or even abandon the work.
Not all inner alchemical practices are for everyone. What I’ve discovered is that some techniques are better suited to some people and some are better suited to others. For example, water meditation techniques work really well for me, but fire meditation techniques do not because of how the internal energy moves. So I don’t do fire meditation techniques anymore. Instead I focus on the techniques that work well with me energetically and physically and the result is better health and as well as inner alchemical work.
When you learn a new technique, take your time with it and break it down into steps (if it already isn’t presented that way). Make sure you understand what you’re doing and pay attention to the experiences, because those experiences will help you figure out if what you’re doing squares with what has been shared with you. If you’re fortunate and can consult with someone who’s done the work, do that too. In my case, I’ve learned the various techniques from reading about them and then doing them, and paying attention to what I’m doing. Focusing on the experience is key to really knowing the technique and making it a part of your life.