Alchemical Garden Forum

Please visit Entering the Garden and discover what are our sustaining roots. You may only apply with us if you agree and consent to our Community Vision and Purpose and Ethos and Ethical Guidelines.

The registration includes writing a letter of application in which you sincerely tell us why you wish to join.

Group study openly invites people to learn and exchange thoughts together based on premises that are always explicitly pointed out, however loose they might be. Any fixed discussion outcomes aren't called for, but the intent is in personal growth and understanding. It's good to keep mindful and respectful of both what is and what isn't relevant for discussion though.

Dragon Sickness​

Below is a very good video series explaining some basic errors that can be met while trying to engage in practical Daoist and even Buddhist meditations.

The first video is a great summary even for experts. The best benefit however is for self-initiates and newbies who are
Dragon is a mighty symbol in the Chinese culture. It often represents the well-developed yogic mind and magical super powers.
often clueless where to begin seeking teachings and questioning whether they can safely practice on their own. The answer to that is: Learning from a good teacher is an invaluable asset, and sticking to safe exercises practiced by many people for good benefits can rarely go wrong.

Proper foundation in internal training is based many conditions chiefly involving overall health, humility, and the peacefulness of heart, but being too sure of oneself is more evidence of Dunning-Kruger effect than real skill. The particular problem I'm pointing at is ignoring teacher's advice and trying to invent your own internal practice. Another issue comes with trying to forcibly push ahead and get "advanced results". Deviations are not fun and can take a long time to heal, yet very often we can often witness how someone's pride and arrogance reveal unwise disregard for their own continued well-being: As if they were completely immune to any shortcomings and mistakes, and as if mastery was attained with the snap of fingers!

It's good to be informed that these deviation conditions exist and why it's especially important to have regular contact with a knowledgeable teacher who can observe and help you correct yourself before unwitting mistakes and errors escalate into sickness.

 
Last edited:
  • Equanimity
Reactions:

Roots of Virtue

At Your Service
Staff member
Moderator
Continuing the series:




It's been a while since I watched the entire series, but I believe one crucially important warning was omitted:

Do not mix or combine practices!

Keep practices separate and consult your teachers whether any other styles you practice could be contraindicated.

Only masters can safely figure what is compatible, what modifications can be made and what not. With mixing you may be going against the instructions of two teachings at the same time.

Some of the qigong or meditation practices are powerful, but also very sensitive in that they conflict with a lot of other ways to train. For example, Fragrant Qigong will cause sickness if you practice any abnormal breathing methods, heavy focus, or visualizations within a few days before or after it. That's just how it is.
 
Last edited:
  • Equanimity
Reactions:

John Dolic

Sifu John Dolic
Teacher
Hm, let me see what can be added here. Well, since I am a hopeless Taoist addict (meaning being very lazy and always trying to simplify things :) I’ll say only this:

Most of what was said in the video is true. However, one can easily get the impression that Qigong is something one should be scared of and that the danger is lurking at every turn, ready to strike you down.

Qigong is neither scary nor should it be taken lightly. I totally agree with the presenter that people should not be playing with fire (as so many dudes do).

Qigong is very much like the internet. It indeed can be dangerous, but only if you don’t know what you’re doing. It would be like foolishly sharing your personal information, bank account details and passwords with strangers online. But, let’s nor forget all the benefits and great things that can be achieved after you arm yourself with proper knowledge and apply caution.

I personally have been practicing and teaching Qigong for decades and, for the last 7-8 years, have been doing it almost exclusively online. Wow, I must be very brave then, taking into account what I just said, ha ha.

One of the greatest masters of Qigong by the name of Yan Xin was saying that to really be badly damaged by Qigong and reach a level of zou huo (walk the fire) and ru mo (be possessed by the devil) by ordinary practitioners of Qigong is next to impossible, even if they wanted to get there.

And here is another analogy. Some people are afraid of flying worrying that they’ll die in a plane crash. But all the statistics show that far more people die in car accidents. Which is still less than the number of injured and killed pedestrians. In other words, while they are worrying about plane crashes, they foolishly step on the road and are being killed by a car or truck!

So, the bottom line is this. Qigong, like anything else in life, can be dangerous - driving a car without license, jumping in the water without knowing how to swim, “fixing” water pipes without any plumbing knowledge and the like are all the same. Or even just not paying attention to the road while driving (sometimes just for a moment!). Dangerous but all easily preventable. So, if you wouldn’t do any of those, why would you practice Qigong without first being properly taught?

To make things even worse, in today’s world, it seems, anyone can call themselves Qigong masters. Luckily, most of them focus heavily on the physical aspects and simple mind focusing / natural breathing techniques so no harm is done (as well as no real benefits :)

Yet, those who are truth seekers will find what they are looking for. It will take some time doing all the necessary research but it will be worth the effort.

A couple of months ago I posted a blog on Qigong safety where I elaborated on the subject a little bit more in detail. For those interested, here is the link http://www.qigongchinesehealth.com/blog/post/4097286
 
  • Equanimity
  • Loving-kindness
Reactions:

One Finger Chan

Practitioner
Tutor
I have met three people that developed psychotic reactions after doing qigong or yoga.

They had some things in common:

All of them had enough trauma in their past to fulfill the criteria for a trauma-related psychiatric diagnosis before starting to practice.

All of them believed that by pushing themselves (training to use external qi healing, three-month intensive training in India) was a good idea.

None of them understood that if your structure malfunctions you fix that before you try to build something on it.
 
  • Equanimity
  • Loving-kindness
Reactions:

endbegin

Practitioner
Tutor

Dragon Sickness​


Below is a very good video series explaining some basic errors that can be met while trying to engage in practical Daoist meditations.

The first video is a great summary even for experts. The best benefit however is for self-initiates and newbies who are often clueless where to begin and whether they can safely practice on their own. The answer to that is: it depends on many conditions chiefly involving health and the purity of mind, but being too sure of oneself is more evidence of Dunning-Kruger effect than real skill.

Deviations are not fun and can take a long time to heal, yet very often we can often witness how someone's pride and arrogance reveal unwise disregard for their own continued well-being: As if they were completely immune to any shortcomings and mistakes, and as if mastery was attained with the snap of fingers!

It's good to be informed that these deviation conditions exist and why it's especially important to have contact with a knowledgeable teacher who can observe and help you correct yourself before unwitting mistakes and errors escalate into sickness.


Jeffrey is a great guy. I haven't met him in person but exchanged a few emails a couple of years ago. I certainly recommend reaching out to him if anyone ever has a question as he's very open :)
 
  • Equanimity
Reactions:

Pak_Satrio

Practitioner
Tutor
Now this is my kind of thread!

My bad experience (and I hope it's the only one), I haven't brought it up much before with anyone or asked what happened because I would rather not find out and then panic. When I first got interested in cultivation a few months ago I did what anyone who just read Magus of Java and Opening the Dragon's Gate did and googled obsessively for anything and everything neigong related to try them out. Ended up finding a shuigong book by Wang Liping with some exercises to do in bed lying down. They all focused on the head, some specifically the third eye area. First few nights I did them was pretty cool, could feel some energy moving and see some nice colours with my eyes closed so I thought I was close to enlightenment. But one night when I opened my eyes the vision from my left eye was red! It was like looking through a red filter. My right eye was completely fine. I went to check in the mirror to see what was going on, but my left eye looked completely normal, not bloodshot or anything. It was just the vision that was weird. In the end I just went to sleep and when I woke up my vision was back to normal. Since then I stopped doing random shit I found online and learned properly from teachers.
 
  • Equanimity
Reactions:

Neirong

Magus
Teacher
So, the bottom line is this. Qigong, like anything else in life, can be dangerous

This is a good point, in-fact there are so many warnings now about qi practice and meditation, that we might be scaring potential seekers and practitioners off, by saying it is an inherently dangerous practice.

That is not the case, people are fully capable of developing qi sickness, dragon sickness, and mental illness, in their normal activities in the everyday life. It is not like meditation is dangerous and normal life is not. Countless activities in life can lead to the growth of Ego self-induced delusion, arrogance, and Dunning Kruger symptoms. Even people without any qigong practice can do something to their internal Qi without sensing it, and turn it into a foul-smelling swamp.

The meditation community is just more self-reflective and we tend to analyze our own faults, shortcomings, and weaknesses under a light microscope.

Also, developing any kind of sickness, the deviation is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as a person can get out of it and use this experience as a stepping stone, to never fall into the same pitfall again.
It is akin to building immunity against the virus. You can avoid getting sick altogether, or you can develop a resistance to sickness. Remember the famous story about a monk who did celibate, but once he came down to a village and saw a girl, all his cultivation vanished. The monk avoided the pitfall through external means but did not have any resistance.

I actually think most practitioners who do cultivation will step once or twice into a certain pitfall, and experience internal damage or a massive setback in life and their path.
It is like thinking you can do martial arts, and never get a bruise, or a broken bone. Even the strongest and most talented martial artists in the world were getting those.
 
  • Equanimity
Reactions:

Earl Grey

Gonzo Daoist and Dharma Punk
Moderator
I actually think most practitioners who do cultivation will step once or twice into a certain pitfall, and experience internal damage or a massive setback in life and their path.
It is like thinking you can do martial arts, and never get a bruise, or a broken bone. Even the strongest and most talented martial artists in the world were getting those.

Avoiding it altogether is as silly as saying, "I won't eat so I won't get food poisoning" or "I'll only eat good food and it will never happen because I'm smart" only to find out that some of the good food has rotten or flies laid eggs in them, or even had been prepared wrong by someone else.
 
  • Equanimity
Reactions:

Neirong

Magus
Teacher
Avoiding it altogether is as silly as saying, "I won't eat so I won't get food poisoning" or "I'll only eat good food and it will never happen because I'm smart" only to find out that some of the good food has rotten or flies laid eggs in them, or even had been prepared wrong by someone else.

We can say that the safest place to be for cattle would be a farm. It will be raised in most cases in good conditions with plenty of food, warmth and lack of external threats, seeking happiness in life, it will be buying the teaching of a farmer of how to live to be happy and fulfilled animal.

It is only in the end of the road, when it gets to a slaughterhouse, that it may realize that something is not quite right here.
 
  • Sympathic joy
Reactions:
Top