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Neidan, or internal alchemy[1] (simplified Chinese內丹术traditional Chinese內丹術pinyinnèidān shù), is an array of esoteric doctrines and physical, mental, and spiritual practices thatTaoist initiates use to prolong life and create an immortal spiritual body that would survive after death.[2] Also known as Jindan ("golden elixir"), inner alchemy combines theories derived fromexternal alchemy (waidan), correlative cosmology (including the Five Phases), the emblems of the Yijing, and medical theory, with techniques of Daoist meditationdaoyin gymnastics, andsexual hygiene.[3]

In Neidan the human body becomes a cauldron in which the Three Treasures of Jing ("Essence"), Qi ("Breath") and Shen ("Spirit") are cultivated for the purpose of improving physical, emotional and mental health, and ultimately returning to the primordial unity of the Tao, i.e., becoming an Immortal. It is believed the Xiuzhen Tu is such a cultivation map. In China, it is an important form of practice for most schools of Taoism.

Neidan is part of the Chinese alchemical meditative tradition that is said to have been separated into internal and external (Waidan) at some point during the Tang dynasty. The Cantong qi (The Kinship of the Three) is the earliest known book on theoretical alchemy in China; it was written by the alchemist Wei Boyang in 142 AD. This text influenced the formation of Neidan, whose earliest existing texts date from the first half of the eighth century. The authors of several Neidan articles refer to their teachings as the Way of the Golden Elixir (jindan zhi dao). The majority of Chinese alchemical sources is found in the Daozang (Taoist Canon), the largest collection of Taoist texts.

Neidan shares a significant portion of its notions and methods with classical Chinese medicine, fangshi and with other bodies of practices, such as meditation and the methods for "nourishing life" (yangsheng). What distinguishes alchemy from these related traditions is its unique view of the elixir as a material or immaterial entity that represents the original state of being and the attainment of that state. The Neidan tradition of internal alchemy is practiced by working with the energies that were already present in the human body as opposed to using natural substances, medicines or elixirs, from outside of the body. The Shangqing (Supreme Clarity) tradition of Daoism played an important role in the emergence of Neidan alchemy, after using Waidan mainly 

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Philosophy of  Wild Goose Qigong

(Yang Meijun)

 

Relax-quiet-empty-nothingness

The yin and yang must be centred on the inside

Because Tao is the way and morality is as one

This is the way of the form

-Whilst practising the form, remember these thoughts:

 

Practice successful, practice succeeding

Practice relaxed, practice precisely

Practice relaxed, practice in emptiness

Practice form, practice intent in form

Receive in the mind, receive qi

Receive qi, receive power.

 

Let qi flow to the ten fingers and repeat

As qi flows the mind must accept

This is the way

The proper path leads to complete circulation

Circulate and circulate thoroughly

It will be easily achieved.

 

Thanks Michael!

BTW, would she be my auntie?

Mental health in Daoism means the complete alignment of mind and spirit with the flow of Dao 道, the underlying, creative power of the universe that—if
left to its own devices—manages everything to perfection. Part of the greater universe, mental health within the individual is a dimension of bodymind en- ergetics, attained through the perfect balancing of the dynamic vibrations of a vital energy known as qi. Qi 氣 is the material aspect of Dao, the subtle matter- cum-energy that makes beings appear in physical form and come to life. Work-
ing with a model of dynamic processes—expressed in terms of yin-yang and
the five phases—rather than of solid, stable entities, the Daoist understanding of mental health goes far beyond its Western counterpart, which tends to see
it primarily as the ability to function consciously and competently in the world.
In this respect, it is much like “health” in Chinese medicine: the integrated
balance of physical well-being, personal happiness, good fortune, and har- mony, it is much more than the mere absence of physical symptoms.

Have you ever considered augmenting your spiritual and qigong practices according to moon and planet phases? In my own practices I've found that even meditating in particular directions effects my energies and my inner reflections. Personally, I've found the best results from facing South and East, whereas the North has made me feel somewhat nauseous and strange. I know the directions play a big part in Feng-Shui and in practical magic, so I'm curious if anyone has any further insight into this, or any personal experiences. Thanks.

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