Tag Archives: qi

Putting the Jigsaw Together (means extending it infinitely on all sides)

Collecting the past few months…

A subpersonality of mine could see superconscious light and show it to “me” (previous post). I’ll compare that with: in October last year I talked about LeShan’s concept that we can ‘break the laws of physics’ and experience psi because other laws are in operation when we are in other states — ‘different states, different rules’. Whilst in normal consensus-social mindstates I couldn’t see the light, but this could change in a different state.

What could any person do if not bound to normal states? What could they experience? Emmerson tells us that most people have 5-15 commonly used states for everyday life. But there’s an awful lot more to any human than those 5-15 states.

Spiritual training = new states and expanded relationships. Entraining to one’s own chakras as described in January this year expands the energy and function of the chakra which in turn affects the whole system — as all entrainments and all selves do. Opening chakras is opening new selves.

When entraining to the consciousness of a tree as mentioned in March this year an interesting thing happens — an “image” (loosely) of that tree is in you and one of you is in that tree. Whilst the entrainment continues there can be ‘one being’, ‘one system’; later the image of the other half of the system remains. This image is known as an ‘introject’ in some forms of psychology, and is a kind of internal model of who and what the tree is or was; it is with you and is affecting and transforming the system. Mutual transformation can do a lot of processing as trees like things we don’t.

1st in Image sequence from Grof’s Realms of the Human Unconscious showing shattering-rebuilding — click to enlarge

So we swap ch’i and parts of ourselves become parts of others (not in any diminishing way), introjects are taken in, exchanged. We take on ch’i of a tree, or a friend, and they take on ours, and having the introject is related to having the ch’i. Thus after Glenn pumps a lot of ch’i into Kevin Millis he gets an occasional “urge to surf” (Path Notes, p. 52). This is the Millis-introject, who likes surfing.

Selves can build around empowered images, introjects with ch’i attached. Again in January this year, I mentioned TV controls people — by entrainment to it which implants introjects that can be empowered. A good way to ensure they are empowered is to use music and bright colour, sexual themes, friending tactics, social displays, excitement or life/death situations, and quick cuts to prevent cortical processing. This is exactly the combination you would use if you wanted to implant images to bind to Freud-style neuroses. (An empowered image is the same as a “cathected” one in Freudian terms.)

Trauma can build walls between surface and deeper self-states which can dissociate or split off, and the effects of this can be incredible — consider: Murphy describes cases where a person is allergic to citrus juice in some personalities but not in others, has stripe marks from a childhood whipping in some personalities but not in others, and so forth.

Later stage in the sequence — click to enlarge

But we know that we can regather these selves into one again, reassemble. The resulting (time-based) “one” is not stiff, it flows into every area of the world(s) and spins and triggers and entrains as it needs but remains one. This reassemblage reminds us of shamanic initiation. Also of the myths of reassemblage — Osiris and Zagreus (or Lemminkäinen, or Ganesha even). What comes of those reassemblages is not what was before, it is a new synthesis and in particular is friendlier with death. Being torn apart and reassembled is normal for kundalini experiencers. Empedocles is relevant too, with his universe alternately split apart by Strife and reassembled by Love. This post is reassembling many past posts.

The step after the previous, showing the rebuilding. Click to enlarge. The full sequence in this case study had 14 steps.

The work of Grof reveals many deep parts of everyone are already entrained to non-physical things. It couldn’t be otherwise. At the ground-of-being level we are all entrained to the same thing and thus the whole system is constantly affecting the whole system. Those with “issues” aren’t able to access easily, but the tools are there. (Sometimes the therapeutic tools are too linear but we have workarounds). Having integrated that self of mine which could “see the light” — now “I” can see it. And I can do more, I can become it, which is pretty good going actually, although not at all equivalent to en“light”enment in itself of course.

It must be clear that the same drive that pushes the OCD sufferer to wash themselves 100 times a day pushed me to the light, and pushes the goddess energy through the spine and vagus nerve, and something equally important is sought in all cases, but shifting consciousness is required to get to that something.

Entrainment means that you are being changed, the influence is coming in and also going out, and you are changing what is entrained to you as it develops an introject of you. Something is brought into being by this process, a pathway. Those pathways can be walked and their directions can be changed. Different states, different rules, different entrainments. Each entrainment works by psychological absorption. The body is a kind of tradition of entrainments — we by no means possess some complete introject of our own bodies, they are mysteries in both senses. The universe is another such tradition.

In December last year I mentioned the culture could turn polyparadigmatic, which is equivalent to reassembling it and might be better than nervously trying to enforce ideocratic monoparadigms. Science that knows about the non-material is split off from the culture as a rejected subpersonality. We know how many of Zeus there are — when Zeus is entrained to the Olympic festival he is Zeus Olympios, when entrained to his task of hurling thunder he is Zeus Brontios, and a hundred others. Don’t we always experience how superficial oneness not only masks multiplicity but also prevents deep-flowing-oneness-of-manyness?

Significantly, the ego-states approach, with use of hypnotic trance, shows the same pattern of internal resolution of trauma followed by transcendence that you would get from LSD therapy and from the breathwork of Grof. (Although it can be far better controlled I think, and there are many other possibly useful techniques.) Things suddenly turn mythical, archetypal, bigger — and you’re away. No-one ever really lives in just those 5-15 social selves, surely. Seated yoga and qigong are, or begin as, forms of breathwork, and altered states involve strong levels of absorption. The initial moments of LSD entrainment are playful like the initial Smile of Glenn.

Kundalini rewires all the old relationships as well as making new ones possible. Thus a person with all her introjects empowered with ch’i, with that mosaic arranged throughout her life, is carrying pieces of the world with her as live connections which are consistently informing and being informed by her life(ves) at a series of levels. It is for this reason that the world becomes enlightened when the person does.

Not so fast!

Human energy knowledge is a precious resource -- click for artist Olver Sorin's facebook page

Ch’i exists — fine. It travels through the body in meridians, which the yogis call nadis — fine too, but a map of the nadis doesn’t look like a map of the meridians. Now my feeling here is that if in doubt, they’re both right, and I’ll back that up this week, in other words I’m arguing anti-exclusivism, but I’m also going to argue anti careless syncretism.

Subjects like these are touchy for some which prevents clarity, so I can’t say how grateful I’ve been for independent scholarship on religious and transpersonal issues — the secular is one of the best things ever to have happened to the spiritual.

Taiji Symbol

Let’s take a nice one — yin and yang and how they manifest creation. I was talking of Tao last week, and most will know its close relation, taiji. We learn in Tao Te Ching ch. 42 that: “Tao produces one, one produces two…” etc. Now stop me if you’ve heard this one:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…

Personally I see a connection there. Division into or generation of two different things as the beginning of generating everything else is a feature of so many cosmic beginnings I’ve happened across that it looks like a definite pattern. Would you expect this if a prime unity comes at the apex of much mystical experience? Well yes, but the division into two is never of two things the same. There are two definitely different substance-principles and they seem to differ in consistent ways. Genesis has more right away — when God has created light, he goes on to separate it from the darkness, and then he has to separate the upper waters from the lower waters, etc.

Lao-tzu of course is not myth, but the god Wenchang is more mythically Chinese and also happens to be one of the few gods of whom we can read the autobiography, which begins:

When Hundun first divided into opaque and clear,
In the astral quarter of the Southeast the phosphors shone sharp and bright.
In its midst were contained the billowing energies of the Great Monad.
I was already in secret correspondence with the quintessence of creation.

– Terry F. Kleeman tr., see A God’s Own Tale (1994)

More of Wenchang next week, but again there’s that division, this time into ‘opaque and clear’. Those are standard attributes of yin and yang. “Hundun” is the primordial Unintelligibility/Chaos.

In the Babylonian Enûma Elish, there’s a primal deity named Apsu who represents fresh water and is male. He mixes his waters with Tiamat, who amongst other things is the salt ocean, is connected with primordial chaos, and is female, to produce ‘sky above and earth below’.

In the Greek Orphic theogony, Ananke, whom we met last week, is a primordial player. She was serpentine and spread her limbs through the universe. She mated with Chronos, or time, male, also serpentine in form. In some versions they enwrap the egg of the cosmos and split it into two. Out of that came Phanes, a being of Light, who was married to Night.

The Vikings how ‘before the dawn of time’ there were two regions — Niflheim, dark and cold, and Muspelheim, hot and fiery. In between was Ginnungagap, the great void. The cold mists of Niflheim and firesparks from Muspelheim met in Ginnungagap and produced an elixir which dripped down to form a humanoid shape: Ymir, the first of the giants.

(Now don’t get me started on those giants.)

I myself have not yet seen a vision of the actual formation of the cosmos, although some I know have, but am rather experientially familiar with the yin/yang thing and its differentiation and marriage. If I were to sum up the relevant terms above, carefully hoarded down the ages in 5 very different places, I’d have something like:



What happens if we say all of these look related?

One has only three options at that point, and I’ll skip over the first, which is to say this is all just cultures passing stories to one another along with “coincidence”, as simple whimsical materialism. These records are prized because someone “sees”, and their vision concerns the nature of the universe rather than just the inside of shamans’ heads. Such visions coincide because they were each, in a different way, seeing something which actually is in a more-than-symbolic way “at the root of the universe”.

So we have two options left. I’ll call the first Hard Perennialism. If I were doing Hard Perennialism I’d say things like: the Light produced by God was called the Great Monad in China, and Phanes in Greece, whilst the direction of Southeast is equivalent to fire in China or Muspelheim to the Norse where ‘phosphors sharp and bright’ were said to exist, etc… gradually I produce a composite story with terms from the multiple cultures. I’ve gone from seeing a connection to seeing identity.

This sort of thing is a) sometimes enlightening, b) useful in that it makes a transcultural space, and c) fun. It goes back a long way. Zosimus of Panopolis, the first Hermetic Alchemist of whom we have record (3rd-4th c. CE), was a master synthesiser, but I can’t be the only one today who finds his zippings-together a little awkward at times:

In the original hieratic language the first man… is designated Thouthos. The Chaldeans, the Parthians, the Medes and the Hebrews call him Adam… the Adam of flesh is called Thouth with respect to the visible outer mould, but the Man within him, the Man of Spirit… is Phos, and from this it follows that men came to be known as “photes”…

On the Letter Omega, Howard M. Jackson ed./tr. (1978)

… etc. The Adam of Genesis and the Egyptian god Thoth both happen to be namers in their respective mythologies, so Zosimus can blend them for his particular practice — Hermetic alchemy.

Thoth. on the right in ibis-headed form

Ultimately he also seems to claim more: to know the “actual meaning” behind it all, what Adam and Thoth “really were” all along. That’s what Hard Perennialism tends to do — “I get what these people were all driving at, now it can be revealed.” But in actual fact it often makes a new belief system entirely, by pointing up similarities but completely ignoring differences. The ibis-headed Thoth, associated with baboons and the moon, is a deity, magician, peacemaker, and judge of the dead, and had originally precisely dingo’s kidneys to do with Adam, the biblical first human being. They coincide at one point but differ at most others. Not even a Jungian could elide them on archetypal grounds.

Spiritual vision is a funny thing, reports of it even funnier. Connection does not equal identity — necessarily. Sometimes there is no doubt – — sometimes a lot. Tao is not necessarily “God”. They may be the same, it depends upon human choice and perception. (There are Taoist religious movements, of very long standing, that make Tao a personal-style god and re-imagine Lao-tzu as its incarnation BTW.) Ginnungagap is never said to have produced Muspelheim and Niflheim but was used by them to form an elixir. In what sense was God’s light “married to” the darkness from which he separated it, as Phanes was married to Night? Tao produced one, one produced two, but then two went ahead and produced three which is a whole different kettle of tilapia. And so forth.

Are these differences important? Actual practices tell us much here. Broadly, yang is said to exist on the right of the body and yin on the left, across cultures — but not absolutely always, and there are plenty of people making the opposite way work right there. This is not intellectual; actual exercises and energies are used involving ch’i in relation to the body, and these have a considerable effect on it, and on the mind. It is very easy to see these ideas as the same conceptually, but sometimes the actual use of them is dead opposite. Practice trumps theory.

When two ways conflict but are both right, this is tricky to Hard-Perennialise. It happens quite a lot. Glenn’s system of stacking the elements, for example, is the usual one in Budo and Mikkyo Buddhism, which puts the element of fire below air at the solar plexus, whereas the Westerner Bardon puts fire at the top, above air, in the head — following, say, Robert Fludd (in the first illstration on this page, note the elements at the bottom of the monochord with their latin names). Both can’t be right, if we’re looking for some kind of complete match, yet both absolutely are right, in that both systems have been shown to work. They have actual effect on bodies and souls, more than enough to prove the underlying visions are at least to some extent real rather than mere fancy.

So the seemingly simple ideas of yin and yang division or 4 elements are actually multiple, and filtered through cultural windings into systems and ways that don’t always correspond. Each is a truth. They may be at odds when seeming to chime, or to chime when seeming to be at odds.

That’s why I say not so fast! to Hard Perennialism. I tend to go with what I call Soft Perennialism, which means acknowledging things are the same and also different, which they tend to be, and which knits together terms admitting that one particular kind of sense may not be the only kind. (Zosimus’ Adam was not nonsense in context, but was nothing a rabbi would want to go with.)

Creative use of mythic and visionary materials is very important, and can turn up great stuff — I’ve always held the Jungian attitude in high esteem, for example, and the shadow/anima concepts combine very well with Glenn. But, “true” though this stuff is in the sense of ‘it corresponds to the symbols and works in practice’, one can’t look at it as ‘the truth’. Jung’s alchemical psychology is a great use for the material but alchemists like Zosimus and his successors weren’t psychologists, in fact used chemicals and laboratories as well as spiritual techniques, and were often interested in some very physical results. There is no ‘one true answer’ about used of the four elements, about yin and yang.

Perhaps there’s one more reason to prefer Soft Perennialism — it leaves the aesthetic of the original intact. Take the Viking cosmology, wedded to the Iceland landscape. Kevin Crossley-Holland goes wild with the descriptions of the beginning of the universe, with his ‘yeasty venom, ‘dismal hagger and rime’ and so on. He may go a little past his sources, but what he’s saying is that these people were of their land, and it was a tough one in a tough time, a time for tough people who took the evil of the world for granted and snarled at it. Many modern will say things like, “We don’t grovel before our gods, or they wouldn’t think we were worth listening to.” I value that, the particular flavour of something adapted to a particular niche, something not universal but particular to certain individual cultures, just as much as anything general to be abstracted therefrom.

Now I’ve brought in gods again… today we’ve had Yahweh and Tao-as-divinity, we’ve had Wenchang, we’ve had Thoth. But what are these ‘god’ things anyway? That’s my topic next week.

Target Adaptability or The Divinely Potent Influx or “Stop, you’ll break science!”

Associate Professor Zhang Tianbao made a bow… “I fully guarantee the reliability of the experiment. But the results are too terrifying for me to take responsibility.”

– Lu Zuyin, Scientific Qigong Exploration (1994). p. 184

Yan Xin (l) and Lu Zuyin (r) click to enlarge

We know about fear standing in the way; here you have it. The problem was not that the results were unreliable, it was that they were reliable. For years, physics professor Lu Zuyin had been successfully measuring ch’i emitted by Dr. Yan Xin, a qigong master of the fever period, on a variety of targets and meterings. He hit on the idea of seeing whether Yan could affect the decay of atomic nuclei. He could.

The uproar was immense as this was known to be impossible. The vaunted ‘Laws of Physics’ were the legislators here. Yan broke their decrees with aplomb and it was not a one-time thing. The experiments continued over a period of fourteen months with ever more stringent protocols. As the above quote shows, even when no-one could believe it they had to. The effect of Yan’s ch’i was always strongly significant and could speed or slow the emission of α particles, at will. Half-life was shown to have been changed. Yan could happily achieve this whilst emitting with precise targeting from 1,900 km away. As Woodroffe put it, “Impossible. Yet it was so.”

How? What is this “ch’i” stuff anyhow? Some people today are still talking as if it were “mostly electromagnetic” — others like the term “bio-energy” — but this is far from the whole ench’ilada. Sure, ch’i does very importantly connect with electromagnetism in the human body, as anyone with kundalini arousal who hasn’t figured out how to stop blowing light bulbs yet will know, but Lu and others showed far more was going on.

At the time (the 80s) the Chinese scene was constantly absorbing news from labs. Infrasound pressure at around 10 Hz was detected in ch’i emission, increasing with practitioner experience up to 70 dB, so perhaps ch’i was infrasound. Same thing with infrared of qigong practitioners, or the magnetic field sometimes rated at 10,000 to 100,000 times normal.

Yan Xin's bleaching of Bromine + N-hexane mix could be precisely targeted -- click to enlarge

But Lu and Yan began throwing out less straightforward results. Yan’s emission would fade colour in bromine + n-Hexane mixtures, something only ultraviolet light would do at room temperature. Ch’i wasn’t UV light, as the test tubes were covered. UV light could not have reached the liquid. What the ch’i had done was to behave like UV light, to have the same effect as UV light, without being UV light.

It seemed ch’i could do many things physical energies could do, but was not essentially one of them. Lu proved this in the spring of 1987, by asking Yan to emit ch’i at multiple kinds of target simultaneously: bromine + n-hexane mix, liposome, and DNA material. To change each would require different radiations — UV for the bromine + n-Hexane, heat for the DNA. For the liposome, no-one knows.

Yan was 9 km away at the time he successfully emitted the ch’i — he always said distance gave greater leverage, like winding up for a punch. All the substances were incontrovertibly altered in different ways by the same energy. No single physical energy could have done it. And no physical energy could change the half-life of radioactive elements. (Some preferred to suspect Yan was monkeying with the equipment telekinetically rather than contemplate it. Lu controlled for that later.)

Ch’i was a sort of Swiss army knife energy, an effect for every occasion. Lu began to call this ‘target adaptability’. (This may remind some of the wave-particle duality of light.) It acted as if it were high heat even when the thermometer didn’t move. You could record the presence of neutrons and γ-rays in it even when they certainly weren’t actually there.

What is measured is not what ch’i “is”. That won’t surprise those who use it regularly who know it carries ‘information’, which to we humans means feelings, images, sometimes facts and ‘extraordinary knowings’ which no machine could follow. (What Robert Monroe used to call ‘rote’.) It is a gateway to a world some love, others run from. “It seems to scare the living shit out of most people,” says Rob Williams. Qigong, says Lu himself, is “more advanced than science” (p. 246.) Frankly, that is what some people don’t like. Physical experiment yields invaluable information and validation, but will never completely penetrate Mystery.

I’m reminded of the alchemical Philosopher’s Stone, which turns lead into gold, ameliorates the conditions of all substances it touches, and in some cases immortalises the physical human frame. Clearly a form of target adaptability. It crosses cultures too. Materialists have branded alchemy a fumbling and childish physical chemistry manqué, just as they have done their best to kill off soul of any other kind. Even if they are doing the metering themselves, their hands shake like Professor Zhang’s: “The results are too terrifying for me to take responsibility.” If they knew this stuff carried feelings too they might keel over. Science isn’t that good on feelings anyhow, let alone ones carried by strange energies. I have a few ways cooking to relate all this to the Humanistic psychology stuff, because research has gone on — but even there, mostly against the grain of that scientistic desire for a neat mechanical solution to everything.

Still, when the truth is allowed to speak it does so clearly. Ch’i is the movement in our world, in all worlds, of a universal creative power, with which humans have carefully learned to work over the millennia. The establishment of target adaptability as a fact proves ch’i can change myriad states and conditions of matter, mind and soul. These vary with person and practice. Ch’i is not simple.

And since it can certainly change the composition of organic tissues and DNA, no doubt it can change yours. No-one is simplistically fixed by any mindless physical mechanism, no matter what the fearful may say. No-one’s soul and personality is left out of their life either, nose pressed to the window in a Cartesian split.

Putting this kind of creative power into anyone’s hands is what the qigong movement has been about. That’s a fairly interesting thing to happen in itself. Next week more on how it came about (a story which may surprise you) via an intro to the life of one lynchpin figure in qigong history.


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