Mad Daoist; in my opinion, smartest guy in the world, just about everything here is from his site or he said it. MD we are forever in your debt...
All the ancient Daoists; without you we would know nothing of Qi
Mysterious, sublime, beings in the Dao. They exist in special circumstances that we can't even begin to comprehend. Powers gradiose and umlimited, only the most talented human beings will ever become one, and only then with the wisest instruction and perhaps a bit of luck. Immortals are first mentioned in a Chinese work called the Zhuang Zi, (Chuang Tzu) where he described beings as shy as virgins, with health unimaginable that dwell in mountain retreats. To become an Immortal, or Xian in Chinese, is the life's work of all Daoists. Some achieve it through hygenic methods alone,. combining Internal Marital Arts, Qigong and Neidan, or Internal Alchemy, to facillitate the most reliable method of attaining Xian-hood. Others, through perfection of rubrics and magical practices, can attain Xian-hood and easily bestow it upon others, as well. This is my goal, as well. And I hope with this section of my site I'll be able to articulate exactly why. Just to prepare you for the rest of the site, here is a beautiful quote having to do with Xian-hood:
" When he achieves salvation, the adept will wear a feathered garment, will ride on light and straddle the stars, or will float in empty space. He will have wind and light as a chariot and dragons as steeds. His bones will shine like jade, his face will be resplendent, his head will be circled with a halo, and his whole body will radiate a supernatural light as incandescent as the sun and moon. He will be able to realize all his desires and will enjoy an endless youth and a longevity equal to that of heaven and earth. Moreover, he will know the future, will be able to travel a thousand li in a single day, and will be able to immerse himself in water without getting wet or walk through fire without getting burned. Neither beasts nor weapons will have any power over him. He will command the forces of nature and the spirits."
Here are a few methods cataloged as being methods for Immortality:
Recitation of Mantra
Abstinence from Grains
Retreat to Mountains
Asking the Gods
Taking an Immortal Peach
Consuming an Immortal pill of Laojun's
*ahem* Dual Cultivation
Sleeping for loooong periods of time
This old one's mantra. "No self. Only breath."
The Microcosmic Orbit
The Microcosmic orbit is both subtle and grand, overt and yet covert, practical, yet incredibly esoteric. As in most Daoist related things, it is a union of paradoxes ;) Anyway, on a coarse level, it is an excercise to promote health and longevity, as well as refine one's level of qi manipulation. If practiced for 100 days, or so the Daoists say, the foundation for Longevity and Immortality are set, and manipulation of qi has increase substantially. It also acts as an excelllent prep for meditation, as well as being a meditation in of itself.
The excercise itself is deceptively simple. It is, basicly, passing qi up and the du and down the ren channels, which are consdiered to be fairly important meridians. The basic practice is this:
1. Get into whatever sitting or standing position you find comfortable, you can sit in seiza or in a full or half lotus, or just do it standing up.
2. Close and lift the anus. This will be akward and uncomfortable at first, but after a while it'll become second nature.
3. Focus the eyes on the tip of the nose, then fully or partially close your eyelids.
4. Put your hands in a mudra you find comfortable. Some of my favorites are the fists, balled up and sitting on the knees, or making one hand into a fist and resting it in the palm of the other.
5. If possible, elevate your buttocks (if you are sitting) to encourage a straight spine. That won't be requisite if you are in seiza.
6. Relax for a moment, begin to focus on your breathing.
Note- the breathing for the microcosmic orbit will be reversed breathing, also called Daoist breathing. That is, as you breathe in you will also pull in your stomach, as you let out air you will allow your stomach to go back. This is done to encourage the qi to flow out of the dantian.
7. Breath in, visualizing the qi rising up the du channel. (du channel runs from the perenium, up the spine, over the head and ends on the upper palate)
8. As you finish breathing in, the qi should be at the "Hundreds' meeting place" or the top of the skull, exactly in the middle.
9. Begin exhaling, and let the qi fall down the reminder of the du channel. As the qi comes to the upper palate, take your tounge and pass the qi from your upper palate to the bottom of your mouth, where the qi enters the ren channel. (the ren channel runs from the bottom of your mouth, to right back at the perenium)
10. Keep exhaling until the qi arrives at the perenium, where it began.
11. Repeat four times further. (when you think you are ready, you can increase the number, to about a maximum of ten or so.)
12. When done, be sure to strech out and limber up. Before you get up, swallow the saliva that acclumulated during meditation, visualizing it as a gold liquid falling into the sea of the dantian. Daoists call this Jade Nectar, and they believe to be very benificial, like a piece of gold left over from an alchemical firing process.
THE GREAT WORK--CHINESE
There is a true secret about starting practice. The operation is different for men and women; men begin practice with the attention in the lower abdomen, just below the navel. Women start work with the attention between the breasts.
After midnight and before noon, settle the breathing and sit. Tune the breath so that it is even. Sit with unified attention on the object of meditation. With pure attention in the center, a unified energy flows, thus pressing tightly on the midspine, and going on through the brain. At this time the positive energy goes all the way to heaven in the form of a fiercely blazing fire, like a flaming wind.
Then the Spirit must be allowed to dive down into the abdomen (solar plexus). The energy then unites with Spirit, and Spirit unites with the energy.
The work of the circulation of the Light depends entirely on the backward flowing movement, so that the thoughts are gathered together in the place of the heavenly heart. If you can be absolutely quiet then the heavenly heart will spontaneously manifest itself (between the eyes). The Light is easy to move, but difficult to fix. If it is made to circulate long enough, then it crystallizes itself; this natural Spirit-body is formed beyond the nine heavens. If you work diligently, when that one point of energy returns of itself and sinks into the body, it turns into year-round spring. This is the method of starting the Work.
In time, the primal Spirit transforms itself in the dwelling of life into the true energy. At that time, the method of turning the millwheel must be applied, in order to distill it so that it becomes the Elixir of Life. The Elixir is created through melting and mixing; that is, through moving the Light to dissolve the anima, and fixing the Light to complete the animus. This is the method of the concentrated Work.
When the Life Elixir Pearl is finished, the embryo (Light-Spirit) can be formed; then the Work must be directed to the warming and nourishing of the spiritual embryo. This is the method of finishing the Work.
When the energy-body of the child is fully formed, the Work must be so directed that the embryo is born and returns to emptiness. You must perceive that there is a form within nothingness, you must see the original human being in person. This is the method of ending the Work.
To refine oneself thoroughly and have autonomy, one must take the positive energy of heaven and earth day after day, and concentrate to clear the mind, before the effects of the practice will be experienced. It may take several months; the length of time depends only on the depth of one's Work.
Once the elixir is crystallized, the vitality, energy, and spirit in the body become completely stabilized. It is possible to extend life in this way, but this is not yet immortality.
Every morning before sunrise still your mind and sit quietly, waiting for the sun in a state of empty openness. All at once you will forget about the universe and break through space. Then a point of positive energy, like a drop of dew, like lightning, will spontaneously appear in the great void and enter your belly, passing into the spine and rising up to the center of the brain; there it will turn into sweet rain and shower the inner organs. Then you should cause this energy to circulate throughout your body, cleaning it out and burning away pollution, to change your body into a mass of pure light. After a long period of development, your body will transform and become immortal.
If you practice refinement according to the right method for one hundred days then your earthly soul will lose its form, the parasites that sap your vitality, energy and Spirit will disappear without a trace, the senses will submerge into hibernation, and demons will flee. If you carry out this refinement for a thousand days, your whole body will become like a crystal tower, clear inside and out; the flower of your mind will be radiant, and a spiritual Light will become manifest. Whether to remain in existence or pass away is up to you; you may leave or enter without obstruction. Some remain physically in the world, some shed their bodies and ascend to Immortality.
Whew that was a lot huh. Well again I would like to thank Mad Daoist for the info. Well now I guess you should try some of this if you wish...