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  • My Dark Secret

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    I know I don’t come here very often any more, however I don’t know where else to go. You see I have a dark secret that I’ve been keeping to myself for some time. I’m depressed. I’ve been battling it for about four years now, and I don’t know what to do.

    For those of you who may not know, I’ve been a member of Shaolin Wahnam since 2006. When I first met Sifu I was very depressed, I suffered from asthma, and I was just all around a miserable person. My first course was the Intensive Shaolin Kung-Fu Course, and it was a very challenging course. I had had just shy of three years’ experience in a different school’s Kung-Fu when I attended the course. However I was woefully under prepared for the intensity of Sifu’s teaching. Sifu rode me very hard, and I honestly believed that he hated me. I’m not sure if he was expecting me to quit the course, however I persevered (although I dreaded every training session).

    After the course however, I practiced very diligently what he had taught me. I practiced almost every day without fail (I missed the odd day). Anyway over time I started to transform, the process was very unpleasant as the old petty, vengeful, and selfish me did not want to go, but slowly and arduously he was forced out. I think it’s interesting, when I first wanted to learn Kung-fu I desired power, I wanted to know the secrets of internal force training. However over time, I started to experience what Sifu calls “the subtle joys of stance training,” and gradually I began to experience the Infinite Ultimate. From my own experience, I can say that there is no greater pleasure that one can have than being in the presence of the Devine. I gradually fell in love with that which is nameless, and for a time, I believed I would become a monk, and seek God professionally. However it eventually occurred to me that I did not need to live a monk’s life to seek God, as I was already so unbelievably efficient that I could visit with God twice a day, and then just enjoy my work and play. And as I went about my work and play I was radiating with that Divine joy, and bringing joy to other people.

    Anyway, the time eventually came when Sifu said it was time for me to get a wife. He gave me some very specific instructions to follow to help the process along. Now at this point, I had become very powerful psychically, and I ended up doing something that was unethical. I did not believe that it was unethical at the time (otherwise I never would have done it), however it was, and I suffered for it. Eventually, I told Sifu what I had done, and he told me that since I had been motivated by good, the repercussions were not as severe as they could have been, and he gave me some instructions to remedy the situation. In the meantime, I was in excruciating pain, and I lowered my level of practice dramatically, while I performed remedial exercises. It took close to a year, however I eventually repaired the damage I had done.

    After I was recovered, I tried to visit God again, however I found I was no longer able to find him. The year of incredibly low level practice had taken its toll, and I was separated from him. I contacted Sifu regarding my inability to find God, and he graciously offered to let me attend the Intensive Chi-Kung Course with his compliments. I was ecstatic, as I knew that I would see God again very soon. I didn’t manage to see God on the course, however I figured it would just take time. Anyway, after a year of practicing the rule of three (don’t worry, don’t intellectualize, and enjoy your practice) I still could not find the Divine, so I decided to attend the Intensive Zen Course, afterward I continued practicing the rule of three, however I still could not find God. I have attended a number of courses since then, but I still can’t find the Divine. I’ve always assumed that I was doing something to block the transmission, however I think it’s clear now that Sifu just isn’t transmitting at the level he used to.

    I’ve tried reaching out to Sifu a few times to explain my situation, however he has responded by saying that I don’t need high level practice. And, whilst I understand that I don’t need high level practice per se, I know that my Chi-Kung will sustain me, and I will likely be healthy for the rest of my life. I feel incredibly empty without God.

    I’ve also had Sifu suggest that I might be over training, and whilst I realize that it’s a serious problem in our school, I honestly don’t believe that I’ve ever had a regular over training problem. I did however agree with him that I must be over training as I did not want to be disrespectful. In retrospect, I wonder if it was more disrespectful to agree with his diagnosis, when I believed it to be incorrect. If it was, then I am truly sorry, and I sincerely meant no disrespect.

    I should state that I both love and respect my Sifu deeply, he saved my life, and I will always be grateful to him for that. He is also probably the wisest man that I know, and is probably the closest thing that I have to a real father figure in this world. But, I am also terribly frightened of him (I have been since my first course), and it takes me a great deal of courage to try to talk to him. I wrote him in the fall, and tried to explain how depressed I felt, but I offended him, and I felt even more terrible for it.

    I’m not sure what to do, I feel hopeless. I currently practice one to two hours of sitting meditation a day (from another school), and I get results that are not anywhere near what I used to be able to achieve with a ten minute session of Chi-Kung. I’ve become a slave to my training, and I’m still not able to find God. At the best of times (I’m ashamed to say) my life is just a boring slur without God, and at the worst of times it finds me crying in my room, because I feel so alone without him.

    I’m not sure if Sifu is certain that he will never teach like he used to again, and if so, it is certainly his choice. But, I feel incredibly empty now, and would give just about anything to be able to practice like I used to.

    Anyway, thanks for listening Brothers and Sisters.

    Sincerely,

    Daniel

  • #2
    Hi Dan,

    1) Do you feel you are clinically depressed or are overcome by a longing for God?

    2) What answer are you seeking here?

    3) As just one isolated point, it seems you're attached to past experiences. You can't demand that God appear. Being in constant union with God is a very noble attainment.

    Best Wishes,
    Andrew
    Love, and do what you will.

    - St. Augustine

    Comment


    • #3
      Dear Daniël,

      I was separated from him you witte. Of course you are not. A manifestation of God is Chi and every time you train you experience that.

      I also know what you mean when you write connected to God. I experience it once in a while after doing high level Chi Kung like Cosmic Shower. It comes and goes, sometimes for a year or more. The important bit is to remember it is great to feel the connection so clearly but it is not necessary. I imagine longing for it will also make it more difficult to experience it.

      I do think you overtrained, being in that blissful state for so long .

      So now just carry on and train anything you like. I especially enjoy Shooting Arrows for the lungs, which may house grief and depression. Remember you don't need to experience the particular manifestation of God that you cling to.

      Good luck and happy training!

      Roeland Dijkema
      www.shaolinwahnam.nl
      www.shaolinholland.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Dan,

        I'm not sure you understand what you are asking of Sifu. Anyone doing mind-level transmission as he regularly did is willingly taking on the karma of their students.

        That is a heavy burden, even for Sifu, and certainly not one that can be asked of another. Willingly given, it is a beautiful gift, beyond what words can express.

        If you contemplate how much Sifu has transmitted over the years and be truly grateful for his generosity, you may find yourself closer to God. You may also wish to back down on the duration of your practice, and just find something enjoyable to do.

        Find a way to enjoy something other than your practice. Go hike a mountain, find a waterfall to admire, go swim in the ocean or a river, outside is good for you. The trees are also quite wise, go take a nap under one. Your malaise will lift if you just get out of your head.

        Comment


        • #5
          Dan's much loved and tightly held 'Dark' secret

          Hi Dan,

          Play a little game, count how many times you wrote I, I've, I'm or my in that post.

          I'll give you a clue - it's in the triple figures.

          That's a serious ego attachment for someone who is free to experience cosmic consciousness at will.

          You think you'll find God, or anything else worthwhile, wallowing in self pity with you?

          Go out and make someone elses life better. Then do it again tomorrow.

          Comment


          • #6
            Dear Daniel,

            although our Shaolin practice may give us special and even blissful experiences, it is best to just let them come and go. We are not in heaven, or enlightened yet. The human life is made of all emotions, and the strength to cope with them.
            If you cling to these blissful experiences you are heading for trouble. The chi kung practice is what it is, and it varies from day to day. Just like life.

            If you get benefits from your practice, like being more healthy, having more energy and being in peace with yourself, isn’t that more than enough for anyone?

            Always remember that your Sifu always gives you advice, that is meant for your own good. If you are ignorant, you may not understand. But whether you understand or not the advice given, if you follow your Sifu’s advice, usually within time you will see that it was given as what is best for you.

            If we want to become enlightened or be in total union with God, we first have to live our life here well. You cannot reach a high mountain without climbing it first. Your reason is to be here as a human and be a beneficial part of society.

            God is always there for all of us. By clinging to those experiences, willing them to repeat again and again, you actually block Him.


            You have already gotten all the advice you need from your Sifu. If you are wise, you’ll follow them. If not, it may be better to find something else.


            Best wishes,

            Nessa
            Nessa Kahila
            Shaolin Nordic Finland

            www.shaolin-nordic.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Dear Daniel,

              You have already received lots of wonderful advice. Maybe a change of perspective might help. If you have twenty minutes, take a look at this video :

              https://youtu.be/9sdkFHD9P1E

              Zen master Bankei had a very interesting biography, having taken on incredible hardships to find enlightenment. Yet, his teaching is that it was there all the time.

              Do you know the place he called the unborn? Yes, it is the Chi Kung State of Mind which Sitaigung transmits to us in our first lesson. We are incredibly lucky!

              All the best for your path,
              Steffen

              Comment


              • #8
                Dear Brothers and Sister,

                Thank you all for taking the time to write to me regarding my situation, it means a lot to me.

                Perhaps I am too attached to a specific experience, and I should let it go. Leaving aside for the moment my desire for Devine Communion, I do however have a number of other concerns, that I honestly believe stem from under training, and not over training. Just hear me out before anyone dismisses me outright.

                I first learned from Sifu when I was eighteen, and my body got used to taking in massive amounts of chi. It took me a little while to adapt at first. I remember for about the first six months of my practice I would get up and practice Kung-fu in the morning, and then around two o’clock I often would end up feeling as though it was nap time. Anyway, I persevered, and my body adjusted, and I benefited greatly from my practice for years.

                Since lowering my level though I have found that I have decreased mental clarity. I’m studying to be an accountant, and I find it takes me around three times the amount of time to solve problems when compared to how long it used to take me when I was able to practice at a high level. Moreover, if I spend time studying, I find myself feeling drained afterward. I used to be able to study for hours, and then go dancing (I used to be an avid swing dancer). Now if I devote a few hours to studying, I find myself depleted for the rest of the day.

                The same goes for any kind of vigorous activity. If I go dancing, I’m completely wiped afterward (and I never was in the past).

                I can’t pass the Shaolin arts on to deserving students. If I teach, it wipes me out for several days.

                The same goes for healing. I’m a trained healer, yet given what happens when I teach I don’t think it wise for me to take on patients. Someone I care deeply for is very sick, and western medicine is failing them. Old me would have had the energy reserves to study, dance, and treat this person. Now, I’m powerless to help them.

                This one is relatively minor when compared with the others; however I used to have a very lovely tenor singing voice that developed from my chi-kung practice (I wasn’t able to sing at all prior to chi-kung). And now I can’t sing anymore. It’s not particularly major in the grand scheme of things, however it was something that brought me great joy.

                I have decreased sexual virility (without going into too much detail), I will just say that if I ejaculate, I am wiped out for several days.

                I’m sure some astute individual will point out that everything I have described could be caused by excessive yang, and this is true. However Sifu had me practice at a very low level for about a year while I worked on a tissue injury, and my symptoms became exacerbated, not remedied. I spent a good chunk of that year lying in bed feeling drained.

                Moreover before someone says that I must be harboring a perverted view, and that is the cause of my problems. I promise I spent that year faithfully practicing the rule of three, and yet I still spent most of that year in bed.

                We have two groups of students in our school, those who learned from Sifu while he was still teaching at a crazy high level, and the new students who are taught at a reduced level. I’m one of the former however, I’ve sort of fallen through the cracks between the two groups. I practiced at a crazy high level for years, and I benefited greatly, now I’m only able operate at a greatly reduced level, and I’m continually sapped.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The additional information is very helpful. It looks to me like a lack of energy caused by a combination of the lower intensity practice and the extreme amount of time you do seated meditation.

                  I highly suggest dropping the seated meditation, since it converts free energy to Shen (experientially), it is simply doing what it is designed to do. The body has to have extreme reserves for that kind of meditation, and you don't currently have it.

                  Considering that I use a very short session of seated meditation and golden bridge to completely prevent excess energy symptoms caused by my close association with a certain deity whose presence floods me with energy, I'm confident that your practice of seated meditation for two hours a day is the main problem.

                  I suggest you maintain the level of your qigong and kung fu practice when you cut the seated practice. You may find that it is the right level for you right now, but only make one adjustment at a time so you can record it's effects. Be systematic about it, and remember to enjoy yourself. The dark night doesn't have to last if you let it pass.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Dear Dan,

                    in some ways your story reminds me of a vital lesson I had to learn myself some time ago.

                    After having practiced in our school for one to two years (I can't remember exactly), I went to visit my first mediation retreat in the Vipassana tradition as taught by SN Goenka. I experienced many wonderful things and learned a useful meditation technique. At the end of the course we were told that we had to keep up our meditation practice for two hours a day at home or otherwise we would regress spiritually. Being a dedicated student, I tried to incorporate this into my already quite full practice schedule. In total, I must have trained for about 3.5 hours per day: two hours of sitting meditation and some 1.5 hours of Chi Kung and Kung Fu. Writing this now, I cannot help but hear the word "madness" in my mind. And all this was before Sitaigung had introduced the 30% rule!

                    Needless to say, I deviated quite quickly in my practice. Looking back, I would say I both overtrained and trained wrongly (as in two tensed). The result was that I also experienced a similar drained, unbalanced and uncomfortable position as you have described right now.

                    I was quite hopeless - why did I not get the benefits I received before? Why was I depressed, conceited and angry? In my stark desire to see God (or Buddha or whatever you call the Supreme), I was even not entirely aware of my situation. I even considered myself advanced for all the hardship I was willing to take!

                    Then, in a gesture for which I am still deeply grateful to him, my Sifu came for help. He all but had to whack me to release me from my stupor. We had a long talk from heart to heart and he instilled the confidence in me to change my mindset and my ways. I took a complete break from training for one month. Afterwards, I limited my time in Vipassana for only some minutes a day.

                    Nevertheless, I was quite attached to sitting meditation for a long time afterwards, thinking our arts were somehow not enough to change me in the way I deemed necessary.
                    Only after some further intervention of my Sifu could I also drop this idea.

                    The result now is that I feel much happier, healthier and more vital than ever before. I know that God (our Buddha or whatever you call the Supreme) is actually with me all the time. All I need to do is to go to a Chi Kung state of mind and I feel him flowing through me.
                    Of course, I still have a lot of stuff to deal with and blockages of many life times to clear. But all this happens with the sure knowledge that I am not lost, but found.

                    This is incredibly powerful and liberating I can tell you!

                    If I want to do sitting meditation now, I just sit on a chair for five minutes, clearing my mind of all thoughts. This is a wonderful practice I learned from Sitaigung in China. Interestingly, these five minutes generate a lot more mental clarity, peace and joy for me than a typical session of Vipassana I used to sit for one hour.

                    Our cost - effectiveness is truely marvelous!

                    So, if you read this, dear Sifu : Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. You saved me more than once and continue to be an excellent guide for me. I am blessed to have you.
                    Of course, I also thank our dear Grandmaster, my Sitaigung, for all his dedication, time and effort. You are a living treasure!

                    As for you, Dan : just follow the advice you have been given and trust in our arts and your Sifu. Especially if we feel lost, we need to listen to our Sifu. Otherwise, ignorance can lead us astray quite easily.

                    All the best,
                    Steffen

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Dear Dan,
                      Why on earth would you want to meditate for 2 hours anyway? That's for people who want to become Enlightened. Not for us normal people who want to be healthy and live a happy life. If there is one thing I would skip immediately if I were you it would be that. Remember that the monks were taught Chi Kung because they were not ready physically and spiritually to achieve this. First become healthy.

                      Best wishes,

                      Roeland
                      www.shaolinwahnam.nl
                      www.shaolinholland.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Dear Dan,
                        Interesting thread! Thank you for posting your experiences and challenges here. And an apology for going a bit off topic below

                        Dear Sihing Roeland,
                        While I do not have a horse in that race (I do not practice Vipassana, etc), I would like to respectfully challenge the statements in your reply.

                        Bodhidharma came to the Shaolin temple > found monks unfit for seated meditation > said do chi kung.
                        Ok, but this does not necessarily mean that the monks stopped seated meditation and only did chi kung until they were fit to do seated meditation. Did they? Or did they continue to do seated meditation and also do chi kung? I would guess that since the Shaolin temple existed for the purpose of attaining enlightenment, that they would not stop their hours of daily seated meditation as seated meditation is the premier method for working to enlightenment. Please tell me if I am incorrect.

                        Why would someone want to meditate for 2 hours a day? Why would someone watch 4 hours of TV a day? It is my understanding that seated meditation can be very rewarding and pleasurable for practitioners; while enlightenment is the highest goal, many find seated meditation makes them healthier and happy as they walk that path.

                        What is a "normal" person? I could argue that people that do chi kung are not "normal' compared to people who do seated meditation because (at least as far as I can tell) there are more people practicing seated meditation than there are practicing chi kung. Ah, but we are exceptional, not normal, because we do Shaolin Wahnam Chi Kung. But then is it not more exceptional to aim for Enlightenment then it is to aim lower for being health and happy? They are on the same path so it does not matter? But seated mediation is the most efficient method for enlightenment and chi kung is most efficient for health. Do both? Sounds like the Shaolin Temple to me.


                        Sincerely,
                        Dom

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hello Dom,

                          From Sifu on seated meditation: (https://shaolin.org/zen/zen13.html)

                          It is also pertinent for our students to be reminded that while we enjoy and value supra-mundane experiences like expanding beyond our physical body or being in touch with the Supreme, we practice Zen for mundane needs, like being peaceful, happy and energetic so that we can better enrich our lives and the lives of other people here and now in this phenomenal world. Unlike monks (the Shaolin Monks in the pasty for instance) who have renounced the world to cultivate professionally, our aim in Zen training is not to attain Enlightenment or return to God the Holy Spirit. Hence, there is no need to extend our meditation time or to attempt more advanced techniques.[/I]

                          One of the hallmarks of our school is that we focus on quality over quantity, which is a manifestation of our cost-effectiveness....At the Zen course in entering Zen in a seated upright position on a chair, we achieved better result in five minutes than many other students in an hour or two in a lotus position.

                          Aiming for enlightenment is noble I believe, but not good for most, including myself. One of the main reasons for me to go to Sifu all those years ago. I wanted to become a Taoist hermit and attain a really high level. Instead I met Sifu (lucky me) who told me to get a family and do well in this life. Ironically, Sifu's teaching is of a much higher level than I could have dreamed of when I did Taoist Chi Kung. I would never have attained much as a Taoist hermit, not in this life and not spiritually either.

                          Best wishes,

                          Roeland
                          Last edited by wooden shoes; 3rd April 2018, 06:46 AM.
                          www.shaolinwahnam.nl
                          www.shaolinholland.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hello Roeland,
                            Thank you for sharing your experience! It is interesting to see the many routes that people take in meditation, be it Zen, Chi Kung, Vipassana, etc.

                            Sincerely,
                            Dom

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Heyya Dan,

                              Thank you for sharing, I am sure you will get back into the swing of things soon. I've had low points in my training in the past as well, and yet things always turn upwards again...

                              It is important to be able to share our problems with the greater community when we find ourselves stuck or a bit lost. There is no shame and no dark secrets, just hurdles that come up in our training that we need to jump over, sometimes we trip and fall and need to pull ourselves out of the mud puddle. Sometimes we need each other to lend a hand up.

                              No one is perfect. We are all just humans working towards the best versions of ourselves as best we can.

                              I am a fast learner when it comes to internal force for combat, but a slow learner when it comes to internal force for healing. It took me years to get over a simple issue with my arms... that still comes to pester me once in a blue moon if I overdo it when typing. Everyone is different and persistence is so vital. I am sure that most of the people in our school can attest that they are not perfectly 100% supermen and superwomen, but we always strive towards the ideal.

                              We do have the tools, as you very well know, to always be a bit better than yesterday, that is the true power. So here is another helping hand among many. Keep at it man, you got this.
                              Shaolin Wahnam USA

                              "Every morning you are born again. What you do today is the most important thing".

                              Comment

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