I’m just starting in meditation. What is the best advice you can give a beginner?
I'm a big proponent of keeping it very simple. Stay within the body, connect to your organs, bones, and breathe back and forth to the earth through the bottom of your feet.
This video provides some grounding exercises to help calm down any excess energy you feel, that may feel new, strange, or uncomfortable:
What time of day should I practice these meditations?
You may try to use variety in the time of day that you practice. For instance, if practicing at 9:00 pm wakes you up at three, maybe practice the orbit during the day and the inner smile or healing sounds at night as you go to sleep. The best time to do it is when you actually do it.
When I practice the Microcosmic Orbit, I descend energy from the North Star and planets to the crown and down to the navel. Can you explain me how you commit this part of orbit practice?
I love using star and planetary energy in the microcosmic orbit. I have used the same book you mentioned to learn when I first began, in addition to lots of help from teachers.
At the same time; I found it more effective to really work on grounding energy. For instance, i'd balance out the star and planet energy with at least as much (or more) grounding earth energy. I've found that the more earth energy I'm absorbing it increases the amount of star and planet energy I can actually absorb.
The analogy Mantak Chia uses is that a person is like a 10 Watt light bulb. Trying to absorb 1000 Watts from the Big Dipper is not easy for a 10 Watt person and it may even blow out circuits!! By grounding with earth energy, and grounding deep into our own body, (organs, bones, tendons) we increase the amount of energy we can absorb from the Big Dipper, stars, and planets.
Can I practice in a laying down position?
Mediation is great lying down, especially drifting off to sleep. However, when one is learning a new technique, I think it is easier to do it sitting up, because one can fall asleep and not learn the technique. Just before sleep, bone breathing and waking up the bone marrow is a great practice. Another caution of lying down and falling asleep is that the energy can get stuck in the head or the heart or another organ or channel, and, as you know, it is recommended to store the energy in the navel when ending a meditation.
How should I end my meditation?
The navel and kidneys massage are a great practice to keep energy out of the head and heart.
Can you tell me more about the six healing sounds?
For the healing sounds, I like to keep it very simple... performing each sound/exhalation 3-6 times... taking a break in between each and every sound to smile to that particular organ. I find the following order to work well for me:
Lungs, kidneys, liver, heart, spleen, triple warmer. Here is a video that may help:
What is the essence of the microcosmic orbit practice?
I’m experiencing great results from the male sexual energy practices. I want to keep increasing my amount of practice, but my body is showing resistance through stagnant energy and inflammation in my bladder. I don’t want to stop the sexual energy cultivation, and I don’t want to return to excessive ejaculation. However, I want the inflammation to subside. What should I do next?
My advice right now is to take it easy on the healing love/male sexual energy practice.. take a soft and yin approach.. put the same dedication from the ejaculation saving into the six healing sounds. Also, I would stop the urination holds all together. The benefits will continue even if you have more ejaculations than two a month (your current rate)... the idea is to harness some of the energy even if an ejaculation occurs. For instance, 80% of energy may nourish organs and channels/the orbit and 20% may go out with an ejaculation.. its not a zero sum game.
Also, the answer to most questions is usually more grounding and more basics. (Iron shirt/orbit/inner smile/six healing sounds.) How much are you practicing the grounding and the basics? The male sexual practices are really advanced and the basics help provide stability and space for the more advanced practices. You're doing well, but time to slow down and let the bladder inflammation relax.
Also, I wanted to share that sometimes I have great leaps in my spiritual practice when I take the yin approach... it's one of those paradoxical Taoist riddles of how less can be more, but it is true that when we take a break from "doing-ness", the investment of time and energy is allowed space and freedom to “unravel”... kind of like watering my house plants, I was gone for two weeks and it turns out they grew more without me watering them. Of course, the water and fertilizer helped them and prepared them for the growth, but without me meddling with them, their natural blue print had the space to work its magic.
Is the energy generated during sexual energy cultivation coming from my Dan tien or 'outside' and coming through points, such as through the crown?
My opinion is that the energy comes from the sexual organs. When they are aroused, the body has a way of putting its best energy forward in every cell because it thinks it is going to make a new life. It can be taken and stored to the dan tien, and/or mixed with external energy by circulating it through the Microcosmic orbit.
Any tips for moving the energy up? I find it difficult to visualize the orbit pattern moving up to the head then down and looping. Won't it do that on its own anyway if I’m not ejaculating? I try to but feel nothing apart from perhaps a sensation of slight discomfort at my kidneys.
I think the first step, before taking the energy to the orbit, is to take it to the lower tan tien. There it can be stored safely and it can nourish the vital organs of the body. I also like to circulate the energy in a "mini-orbit" from the pubic bone, to perineum, to sacrum, to door of life between the kidneys, to the navel and back again. The reason the orbit won't circulate on its own is because the orbit is blocked in most people who have not done practice to open the orbit. The energy takes the path of least resistance, and this may mean the super-charged sexual energy goes straight to the head and causes migraine headaches, or into a particular organ (such as the heart or liver) and can further imbalance a pre-existing issue. Lots of energy is great, if it is healthy and balanced. If it isn't balanced, it just magnifies and sticks to whatever is there and that can be illness or imbalance. The Tao basics (inner smile, healing sounds, and microcosmic orbit) can really help clear pathways to ensure the extra energy is built in a safe way. In opening the points of the orbit, I find it very useful to use the hands to massage the points of the orbit. This allows me to feel energy more strongly, where I may not have had any awareness of energy.
This practice is outlined in this video series:
If I generate sexual energy (masturbate) for a longer period, such as 2-4 hours, will it create more chi in my system that I can direct to the dan tien for storage instead of circulating in the microcosmic orbit? Isn’t storage more important?
You can store it in the Tan Tien and energy can be stored in the Orbit as well. Two to four hours of energy cultivation is a lot of energy and it will likely be more than can be stored in the lower tan tien or orbit, at first. If someone has the eight extraordinary vessels opened and has practiced the Microcosmic orbit regularly, then the "eight great rivers" are open, flowing, and can absorb this much energy. In my experience, there is a lot more to practice than just sexual energy cultivation, so I recommend maybe 10-20 minutes of practice and spending that other time working on grounding practices like Iron Shirt chi kung and Fusion of the Five elements Emotional Alchemy, or learning a simple Tai Chi short form. These aren't as juicy of practices in the short term, but they will allow one absorb more of the sexual energy in the long term. A problem can arise with doing that much practice (2-4 hours) in that negative spiritual entities can latch on to someone and take some of this energy. Also, it can be like running the heater in your house at 90 degrees, during the winter time, but leaving all the doors and windows open. I have done 2-4 hour practice sessions in the past and I made a lot more progress when I expanded my repertoire and practiced other techniques too.