Back to the subject of esoteric practice, Master Nan said once he visited a Taoist meditation practitioner with his own "college". Nan was surprised to notice that the elderly practitioner had a hunched back. He was surprised because through a proper microcosmic cycle training, one should result in having a straight back, through opening one's three gates (三関) at his back (the subject of front three gates (前三関) and back three gates (后三関) in Taoist meditation shall be discussed in some future post). After befriending the master (which in Chinese culture would probably including some valuable and/or "exotic" gifts plus paying good personal respect), the elderly (and over-weighted) master told Nan the logic of his practice.
According to the elderly master, animals with longevity (including cranes and tortoises) can achieve their longevity through pointing their heads towards their...anus when resting! To achieve longevity, as the logic goes, one should do meditation with one's head dropping down, hunching one's back and trying as much as possible to point one's head towards one's anus.
Master Nan observed the elder's family members doing meditation this way ( each seated "like a meat ball", according to Nan). And before they went out of meditation, they would do a few forward/backward rows on the mat. Kind of good physical finishing sequence to end a deep meditation session, I would thus comment.
The thing is, despite a not very straight back, the elderly master did achieve a good flow of chi! And his family members and students likewise did achieve good chi-flow and good health too (again, except going to have a hunched back when they got older, if not having got it yet).
Lesson for the modern practitioner: Chi-related practices try to "reverse" the natural order of thing (like getting old, getting back-pain, 50s shoulders, shivering doing cold shower, using our sexual energy solely for procreation or pleasure, allow our survival instinct to take its natural "fight or flight" course...). A certain element of "being esoteric" is unavoidable. The question is: Is there a better approach that can achieve the level of well-being of the elderly master without having a hunched back? A question all serious seekers should ask, from time to time.
|Good and bad posture|