At Your Service
Repurposing the Alchemical Garden ForumThe first year of this forum's existence is closing in and it's timely to have some thoughts about the Alchemical Garten Forum future.
If we look at how other discussion forums operate, The Dao Bums works well because it allows good practices to exist even in the midst of questionable advice. Somehow, this is very Dao. People make mistakes and then after re-examining their motivations they may discover gems they had glossed over.
When a wise man hears the Tao, he follows it.
When one of average mind hears it, he holds to it a while and presently loses it.
When a foolish man hears it, he only laughs at it.
If it were not held in derision by such men, it could not rightly be called Tao.
— Dao De Jing, chapter 41, translation by Walter Gorn-Old
It is my opinion that technical cultivation details and really advanced topics can't be discussed without discretion if the sincere respect and care for the traditions is anyhow at questionable ground. There is a definite limit for what can be disclosed on public fora before it becomes a detriment to cultivation and training. This is especially true to a forum such as this which has no general discussion that stimulates social participation and off-beat ideas. Thus, I would deem it relevant to consider whether this forum is currently shaping up the best it could be, and if not, then what would be done to realign and readjust in its premises to make the virtuous changes possible?
First, this discussion forum has been designed with sincere practitioners in mind through it's foundation. Second, introductory articles and discussion around the internal arts in general has been developed in order to support the first principle and invite people to investigate about spiritual cultivation topics. As such, I can only conclude that our current motto, "Serious Discussion about Wisdom and Spiritual Cultivation in a Relaxed Company", is not serving the prime idea well enough, but it gives an impression that there is an emphasis on discussion, which only is a superficial perspective.
Being a practice oriented forum means that we should put more energy and design into making Alchemical Garden a credible meeting point for committed practitioners who want trustworthy and long-term company. I would vastly prefer a 50 active members making their way ahead with a simple but regular practice to having countless talking heads that keep on jabbering and promoting their self-conscious agendas instead of practicing and not making a splash about personal recognition.
The key issue therefore is: How do we really create an attractive community for internal practitioners? Are they all digital hermits or volunteer workers engaging elsewhere? Who needs the framework that we can uniquely offer? Then how can we turn this momentum outwards, so that it radiates well-being outside of this digital space?
It's challenging, to be honest. We don't yet have any especially attractive quality that would make the forum really stand out, except a few well-enough written articles for fresh initiates and few budding forum branches with novel themes. There is something missing in terms of human association yet, and the only viable way might be that we get into the business of promoting these arts (Sifu Dolic and Sifu Terry) where people could actually enjoy the chance of sharing togetherness through video chats and otherwise synchronized meditative experiences. What else could we offer in order to make ot a more lively training place or gathering point?
What do YOU want?Playing around with some ideas: Are we a library for scholars? Or a gym with sports fields? Then how do we get people play those sports with their full heart? How about a place where good students and proficient practitioners could share their knowledge and learn new insights? Mentorship programs could be one interesting venue, but the sincerity and commitment of students is the real question.
I really can see fruitful tangents in offering shared training experiences in wisdom, ethics, magic, Xinyi, Flying Phoenix, Sleeping Qigong, Fragrant Qigong, herbalism, and Buddhist insight meditation and tantra. What could we ultimately offer to people who practice outside of these paradigms, but would nevertheless like to join us?
We already promote great ethics, wisdom, self-examination, and some of the best available practices. Shuigong, Tao Tan Pai, and Flying Phoenix all have the clear capacity to take to the proper meditative concentration or Samadhi. Many other minor styles from Sifu Dolic have a good capacity to attain Samadhi also, depending on your own practice and ethical life. Stillness-Movement Neigong is an example of another style that we sometimes mention in positive regard, even if we don't currently have any members who have formal ties to it. This is to emphasize that we are open to people's diverse practice goals and orientations as long as they align with the pursuit of universal wisdom and ethical self-development.
We have plans to publish the instructions for Golden Flower Meditation and I will later offer training courses for the Buddhist meditation. What else could we do for people to realize that the experience we offer is genuine and worth their while?