Taoist Inner Alchemy

Book Reviews

Beyond Culture by Edward T. Hall I've always found Hall's books to be interesting and relevant to my life from business to spirituality and this book has lived up to that same expectation. In this book Hall, discusses inter-cultural communication patterns and raises up concerns about the tendency to focus toward using external resources as opposed to examining and utilizing internal, behavior skills. I find this relevant in an age where more than ever the focus is on using technology to communicate, with all the inherent problems that brings, especially when relying on text only to interact. This is a useful book for exploring cross cultural communication and examining the increasing role of technology in communication.

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Laban for All by Jean Newlove and John Daley

I was thoroughly impressed with this book. The authors did a thorough job of explaining the system of Laban and its relevance to dance, but also bringing it down to the level of an utter novice, such as myself. They also provided detailed descriptions of exercises that are easy to follow and do and quite rewarding. Where this book really shines however, is in the theory of movement that Laban created around space and time and other elements he deemed significant to truly understanding the body. I feel, as a result of doing the exercises, that I have a much closer relationship to my body and a much keener appreciation of movement.

5 out of 5.

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Managing Depression with Qigong by Frances Gaik

The author presents some useful evidence to prove that Qigong works to manage depression. What I would've liked even more was integration of Qigong exercises into the book. There was an appendix with some exercises, but it felt like the exercises were incorporated as more of an afterthought than anything else. This is a useful book for people who wish to make a case for alternative health practices, but isn't as geared to the lay person as I would have hoped.

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3 out of 5

The Taoist Soul Body by Mantak Chia

In this book Chia presents an advanced technique for Taoist inner alchemical work. While overall the information is good and in-depth, there are times were its clear Chia recycled content from previous books in order to fill out the book. Also some of the instructions are a bit more vague than they should be given the type of work involved. That said, if you've learned previous techniques it won't be hard to puzzle out what he means. The main thing to avoid is visualizing the work. You need to really experience it, and that's where the vagueness of the instructions is less than helpful. The technique in this book is worth reading and can be very helpful for body purification and health.

4 out of 5

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Changes in my energy since the elemental switchover

Since I switched over from the element of Emptiness to the element of Time, its been interesting to track other people's awareness of that switchover, as well as starting up a new program of energy work. When I was doing the Emptiness working, my energy was heavy, depressive...I was busy working through all of the blockages and issues in my life. Toward the end of the emptiness working, my energy began to change. I was cleaned out. When I switched to Time, my energy felt different. Different people told me I felt lighter, and I was also a lot happier (and have been since then). Lupa said she noticed a webbing of sorts emanating from me. At the same time, because the emptiness working had cleaned me out, it'd also cleaned up a lot of energetic structures in me. The Spider Goddess of Time told me that I needed to stop using the old daily meditations I was doing and switch to the Elemental fusion system that Mantak Chia has written about. The old practices worked with an energetic body that had been there prior to the culmination of the emptiness working, but with my energy changes so much, I needed to develop a new practice that accounted for that.

For the last couple weeks I've been working the elemental fusion technique each day. I'd tried it before and used it for a little while, but the difference now is that I really don't have any energetic blockages getting in my way. The energy moves differently, but I also realize why the Spider Goddess wants me to bring this technique into my daily workings...it'll keep me cleaned out, because that is its purpose, while also helping me build a new and different energetic body.

Energetically I feel different...I feel so clean. There's no weight on me, no feeling of emptiness that comes across in a way that is hurtful to me. I can still feel some emptiness, but I'm at peace with it. The elemental fusion work, in the meantime, will allow me to continue with my inner alchemical workings, without the baggage that was previously attached.

Review of Qigong Meditation Small Circulation by Jwing-Ming Yang

I just finished reading Small Circulation by Jwing-Ming Yang and I've been implementing the energy practices in it. It hasn't involved changing much that I hadn't already learned from Mantak Chia's work on the Microcosmic orbit. If anything, it's provided more of a concrete explanation of the energetic mechanics involved with internal energy work. What I find useful about his writing is just how much work he's done to translate documents and explain the processes described in those documents. The illustrations and instructions are straightforward and very helpful in learning how to work with the qi/chi of the body. Overall, I recommend reading this book as it will provide a thorough grounding in energy work techniques.

5 out of 5 Taoist sages

Some insights into Taoist inner alchemy

I'm reading Qigong Meditation: Small circulation by Yang Jwing-Ming. I'm finding this book to be really useful in further refining my understanding of Taoist energy work, particularly on one issue which concerns the retention of semen. If you've read any of Mantak Chia's work, Chia argues that it's absolutely essential to retain the semen during sex in order to avoid losing your energy. I've never been fully satisfied by Chia's explanation, mainly because I haven't fully understood the correlation between the loss of semen and the loss of energy. However in Yang's book this correlation is explicitly explained in a manner, which explains what the issue is, and also adds a further step to the process of refinement. Yang explains that when the semen is full the hormones stimulate the brain and generate sexual desire, which in turn energizes the person...and that the goal of the inner alchemy is to actually transform the semen into Qi (or raw energy) Having sex too frequently can deplete the amount of semen available to convert into qi, while not having it too frequently actually slows down the production of semen...so it seems having a somewhat active sex life is actually important for the inner alchemical conversion process.

When the semen is turned into qui, it can then be used to nourish the body. In fact, what is called marrow washing is essentially a process of taking converted qi and using it to heal/regenerate the body.

The explanation offered does provide some insight into how Taoist inner alchemy works, and specifically what the function of semen is for the energy work being done by the male (though you rarely find much written in regards to the female). I'll be sure to update readers further as I continue reading and/or trying out the techniques in this book.