Wednesday, July 7, 2010

100 Days - at a glance

The 100 day mark of my Taoist Cultivation passed a week ago, and lemme tell ya:


I mean, give me a break here. I'm an entry-level urban monk. I got work, I got a medical "masters" program, I got a grieving mom, a wife and a toddler, all of which require my undivided attention (which puts this Taoist endeavor of mine often on the backburner). I'm not making any excuses... however, those are pretty darn good ones if you ask me. And if you want me to itemize every hour of my day, I'll be happy to oblige.

However, it wasn't a complete fail. Here's what happened:

1. I cultivated MOST of the 100 days, I'd say about 75 days, and for at least 30 - 90 minutes a day of both active movement cultivation and quiet sitting.

2. I was able to cut my cravings for food and cigarettes immensely, dropping 7 lbs with the diet change and light exercise.

3. I'm slowly becoming more in tune with the subtleties of life (that's where the sense of reality is starting to shift)

4. I'm more calm and collected, experiencing less anger, anxiety and depression

5. I'm able to project Qi to patients for medical purposes

Those are my changes after 100 days of Taoist Cultivation. Let's do another 100.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cultivation of Stillness

Here's an excerpt from an esoteric classic of Taoist scripture of which I will remain nameless for absolutely no reason at all, but enjoy:

"During the twelve double-hours of the day,
Constantly seek clarity and stillness.
The numinous tower of the heart emptied of all things:
This is called clarity.
Not allowing even a single thought to arise:
This is called stillness.

The body is the dwelling place of qi.
The heart is the residence of the spirit.
When intent moves, spirit is agitated;
When spirit is agitated, qi is dispersed.

When the intent is stable, spirit remains fixed;
When spirit remains fixed; qi gathers.
The perfect qi of the Five Phases
Then gathers together and forms a pinch of elixir."

It's interesting to find that the esoteric Taoist practice of achieving immortality is in line with the style of qigong I'm currently learning.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


It's hard being an Entry Level Urban Taoist Monk. See, I live in the CITY of Chicago, Illinois (almost 100% of suburbanites say they're from Chicago, but don't live in the city, and yes, there's a huge difference, but that's another story)... oh here we go, another driver thinking their car horn is my neighbor's doorbell. It's fucking annoying, and you'd think people would use their cell phones instead of irritating the entire block.

See, there you go. Much of the challenge of being an Urban Monk is dealing with that sort of thing. The overwhelming stimuli, the appropriate responses (many times involving cussing and sarcasm) and the overall busy-ness of living in the heart of a densely populated city. And in my neighborhood... it's a culturally diverse area, where over 60 languages are spoken (according to a local 2003 report) within a gigantic variety of cultures (I, myself, being an American-born Asian). So people all around the world, from Schaumburg to Sweden, bring both their brilliance and their bullshit here.

My point is, and I do have one, is that - sure, I can probably uproot my entire family and move to some granola town, or move in with Michael Winn in his cushy little area in the Carolinas or someplace nice and serene... but number one, that would be selfish of me. And number two, I'd consider that escapism.

I've seen documentaries on monks leaving their loved ones and living in the woods to meditate for the rest of their lives. If they're fine with doing that to their families (some who have wives and kids), then that's fine. But I couldn't do that to my wife and little boy. So I'm gonna have to grin and bear it right here, smack dab in the heart of the third largest city in the United States.

I tend to think that reaching enlightenment, cultivating the Three Treasures, cultivating stillness and returning to the Wu Ji are quite difficult, even if you're in a peaceful environment... but not as hard as trying to do it in my neighborhood, boy. Try quieting your mind when you got people constantly honking their horns, blasting hip hop or mariachi music, and especially in the summer time when the gangbangers are out making noise, dealing drugs and looking at you threateningly. So imagine the irritation, anger and fear that I encounter on a daily basis. It can get pretty intense.

Well you know what, if you can achieve stillness and serenity amongst all that, then achieving it in a cushy Taoist retreat would be relatively easy to say the absolute least. In a Taoist retreat, I wouldn't have to worry about getting knifed or shot to death for wearing a certain color.

But again, I'm not one to escape. What I do is IN-ternal cultivation. I work with-IN my own natural dwelling, which is with-IN the city, with-IN the Matrix, and with-IN the beauty AND ugliness of human society.

Yes, it's hard being an Urban Monk, but I gladly accept the challenge.

Monday, May 31, 2010

1000 Days - the plot thickens!

So I've taken up another Taoist challenge: I decided to go even deeper in my Taoist studies and take the plunge into religious Taoism. In other words, for the next 1000 days, I'm going to recite Taoist scripture and do some sitting/forgetting meditations, as well as my Qigong practice. This doesn't mean that my "100 days to internal alchemy" has been bumped, but definitely complimented.

I figured, I feel I have this gift of compassion (despite my indignation towards many - oh, the duality of my nature!) and willingness to help people medically and spiritually... so why not dedicate myself to reading scripture and meditating upon its meaning every day? Why not be more well versed so that people who just wanna try to "understand" can come to me?

I know that this is gonna take even more responsibility on top of TCM school, Qigong, work, family and my favorite hobbies like music and skateboarding... but you know what... anything that's worthwhile is worth sacrificing for. And definitely know the priorities.

Also, this gives me an opportunity to not spend so much time on the internet, especially Facebook, Myspace and YouTube. That's my TV. I wasted soooo much time on that bullshit. So enough. I got the Tao Te Ching and Jade Emperor's Seal Classic to read, suckas!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 57 - even MORE changes

The last 57 days have flown by so quickly that it's been a blur. However, in the last few weeks, I've been experiencing some major changes.

Basically, nothing has really changed in my workout regimen. However, my need to feel full every time I eat has been diminishing... but the big change is the frequency in which I eat. I've only really felt the need to eat a single meal every day. Not only that, but the meal is usually mainly greens and fruit, and very little grains/starch/bread.

What that means, is my meditations and Qigong regimen has really been helping me curb my appetite, yet have more than enough energy to workout and study throughout the day.

But the real changes were in my Qigong regimen. I was doing tree pose, microcosmic orbit and Tai Chi, but now I'm doing some simple movements to "play" with Qi, and doing quiet sitting cultivation. These techniques were introduced to me by a friend of mine who does Medical Qigong, and I find them far more powerful than the techniques I've done before, at least for me.

These techniques are called "Stillness-Movement," and are taught by an American Qigong master named Michael Lomax:

Just last weekend, a buddy of mine and I decided we were gonna take a trip to Indiana to learn more about Michael Lomax's techniques. The workshop was for 3 days, 2 days of learning some cultivation techniques, and the last day we learned how to apply our cultivation for healing others. Lemme tellya... when I first walked into the workshop and shook Michael Lomax's hand, it was incredible. I've never felt such an energetic presence like his before. It was like every cell of his being emits gamma rays of healing and compassion.

So naturally, I feel that his techniques really work for me and I can feel my vibrational level skyrocket when I'm done. I feel as if I'm as energetic as a beam of light, yet so relaxed that the world almost stands still.

That's interesting, because in Einstein's special theory of relativity, if you're riding on something going extremely fast (like a train), time becomes relatively slower. But if you're on a beam of light, time almost stands still. And that's what I've felt like. But I digress...

So yeah, while I was out there, (to make a long story short) I also came up with the idea start reading Taoist scripture every day, and be a true entry-level urban Taoist monk. I've been focusing on Qigong and school so much, I've been forgetting to study where it all came from.

Overall, I feel great so far. My wife is telling me that I look younger and certain stress lines in my face have diminished, like I've been reborn.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


You know... I'd have to be honest. I haven't been religious about my practicing of Qigong. For the last 2 weeks, I've been studying for midterms till late at night, causing me to sleep in until my son wakes up. Lemme tellya, it's pretty darn hard to supervise a 2 year old while trying to get into a meditative state. So yeah, now that midterms are over, I can get back on the horse.

As far as diet is concerned... again, I'd have to be honest, I haven't really been a good boy. But since the last entry, I've changed a bit. I probably lost a good 3-4 pounds, be it just water weight I bet. But since I'm well hydrated, losing excess water weight is a good thing.

I haven't really kept up with my cardio, although I have been doing my resistance training with weights, as well as calisthenics.

But the main thing here is Qigong. Over the past month, I've been influenced by real-deal guys, mainly Michael Winn and Michael Lomax. As a matter of fact, not only did I pick up books and DVD's from both of them, I also managed to book a Qigong workshop with Michael Lomax.

After reading his book and watching his DVD, I'm very much looking forward to working with Michael Lomax. From the looks of it, we're talking about some potent stuff here. Not only are we talking about gathering Qi, but we're talking about healing people... and at the highest levels, healing people through dreams and other planes of reality. We're talking quantum here. So far, I've just been working with the very basic stuff from his book and DVD and letting the workshop teach me the rest.

As far as Michael Winn, there's a level of healing in there as well because that's what Qigong is all about. But it's not medical Qigong, it's more on the gathering and harmonizing Qi, while healing yourself, not necessarily others (though he does have a DVD for healing others, which I just ordered). He comes from a very Taoist mindset and has pretty good seminars and retreats in his little nook in North Carolina (I think?) But after reading about him for a bit, he's pretty mystical. I like it. I haven't gone through all his DVD's that I ordered yet, but so far it's really good stuff.

After Lomax's workshop I'm gonna really work on what routine is gonna best work for my personality, lifestyle and philosophy.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 33 - a month passes by

So, it's been a month since I started this journey. And even though I haven't followed through in my diet change, the Qigong alone has given me some interesting results. I lost about 3 lbs even with overeating most of the time... and my body feels much more energized. Also I've adopted some new techniques along the way.

So for the coming month, I'm ABSOLUTELY gonna follow through on the dieting regimen, eating more high-frequency foods (veggies and fruit) while minimizing grains and meat.

Also, I'll be attending a Qigong seminar with some friends in Indiana, so hopefully it's gonna shed more light into the new techniques I picked up. The seminar also includes a section on medical Qigong, so hopefully I can treat my Mom for depression and hypertension, and hopefully even myself for PTSD and anxiety (my Dad suddenly passed away last summer).

So being the Entry Level Urban Taoist Monk that I am, I can't say that the past month's Qigong regimen has made me feel like Superman, however I can feel myself getting there slowly but surely.