Miscellaneous Articles

Letting go and faith

There will always be things we don’t want to happen, but have to learn to accept. Things we don’t want to know, but have to learn… and people we don’t want to leave but have to learn to let go of. My thoughts of late have been revolving around...
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Middle School Nei Dan: fundamental principles and practices

Neidan is the art of energetic meditation in Daoism and represents the most direct route to cultivating the three treasures of essence, energy and spirit. Neidan was formalised under the masters Lu Dongbin, Zhang Boduan, and Wang Chongyang before the thirteenth...
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Return to *dao*: a personal account

Daoism as paradox As I sit down to think of how to describe what I know of Daoism, I see a complex and confusing tapestry open up before me – a fabric with rich hues, subtle textures and fascinating spaces that enfold and expand in mysterious dimensions. This tapestry...
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Becoming who we are: Daoism and health

‘It is one of the commonest of our mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all that there is to perceive.’ – Charles W. Leadbeater When comparing and contrasting modern society’s view of health to that of Daoism, it is...
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Reflections on training

If it’s not too philosophical, I think it’s often important to reflect on why we practise. A daily practice is not as much about consistent progression in your technique as it is about giving yourself a constant background on which your behaviour, and thus...
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A Short Feng Shui Consultation

One of the many arts closely connected with the tradition of Daoism is Feng Shui or literally ‘Wind and Water’. This is the art of time and placement with regards to both Yang dwellings (homes) and Yin dwellings (graves). As with many ancient practices it...
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The Fire Rooster Year

January 28th sees the end of the lunar year of the monkey and the beginning of the year of the Fire Rooster. For many, the monkey year has been challenging and unpredictable and so many have been hoping for a somewhat more steady time in 2017. Unfortunately the year...
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Hubris and the plight of Ignaz

Acupuncture has undergone a substantial transformation over the last century. Whereas for many years it was confined to the Far East, it has now spread across the planet, and is now so commonly practised that it is routinely prescribed within the modern healthcare...
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five-element theory for *neigong* – part 1

part 1 – zang-organ theory Daoism always emphasises the interconnectedness of the physical, energy and consciousness bodies. Our general state of being—including our physical health, emotional balance and degree of spiritual attainment—is dictated by how those...
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Life in the Fast Lane

“The way to a man’s heart is his stomach.” Though this phrase is traditionally cited in reference to the battlefield that is romance, a bit of searching will reveal that the seed of truth underlying the adage has also been noted and utilized by spiritual...
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Letting go and faith

There will always be things we don’t want to happen, but have to learn to accept. Things we don’t want to know, but have to learn… and people we don’t want to leave but have to learn to let go of. My thoughts of late have been revolving around...

Return to *dao*: a personal account

Daoism as paradox As I sit down to think of how to describe what I know of Daoism, I see a complex and confusing tapestry open up before me – a fabric with rich hues, subtle textures and fascinating spaces that enfold and expand in mysterious dimensions. This tapestry...

Reflections on training

If it’s not too philosophical, I think it’s often important to reflect on why we practise. A daily practice is not as much about consistent progression in your technique as it is about giving yourself a constant background on which your behaviour, and thus...

A Short Feng Shui Consultation

One of the many arts closely connected with the tradition of Daoism is Feng Shui or literally ‘Wind and Water’. This is the art of time and placement with regards to both Yang dwellings (homes) and Yin dwellings (graves). As with many ancient practices it...

The Fire Rooster Year

January 28th sees the end of the lunar year of the monkey and the beginning of the year of the Fire Rooster. For many, the monkey year has been challenging and unpredictable and so many have been hoping for a somewhat more steady time in 2017. Unfortunately the year...

Hubris and the plight of Ignaz

Acupuncture has undergone a substantial transformation over the last century. Whereas for many years it was confined to the Far East, it has now spread across the planet, and is now so commonly practised that it is routinely prescribed within the modern healthcare...

Daoist Reflections from the Scholar Sage

So it is finally here! The Scholar Sage comes to print! After a couple of years of collected authors producing articles for the website, Singing Dragon have put us into printed format. It was one of our most commonly asked questions – ‘how do I read your...

The Scholar Sage Book

Daoist Reflections from the Scholar Sage One of our biggest requests for this site was ‘please put some of the articles into print’. I guess, like me, many people do not like reading things on a screen as much as they like reading the printed word. Well,...

Life in the Fast Lane

“The way to a man’s heart is his stomach.” Though this phrase is traditionally cited in reference to the battlefield that is romance, a bit of searching will reveal that the seed of truth underlying the adage has also been noted and utilized by spiritual...

Roads back to pizza

Over the past few years, I have come to find that practising qigong on a regular basis is something that just seems to make sense to me. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to say that all the deep theories, cultural ideas, and philosophic principles make sense to me....

Daoist Nei Gong for Women

The 21st of April, 2016 saw the release of the new book by Roni Edlund and Damo Mitchell. This book is entitled ‘Daoist Nei Gong for Women – The Art of the Lotus and the Moon‘. Published by Singing Dragon it includes a detailed look at the nature of...

The experiential understanding of *qigong*

From a basic introductory qigong course I took in college, I was aware that I felt better in general when doing qigong, but I wasn’t invested enough in it to commit time and contemplation into going deeper, and learning about connections to breath and mind. I...

Tantric Daoism and internal development

Key ‘define tantric Daoism’ into your computer and  all the information that appears on the screen links tantric Daoism with sex – a sad reflection of modern society… The emphasis linking tantra with sex rather than spiritual development...

Letter to a friend

the stamps the postcard (1) the postcard (2)   'Imagine the heart as a bird, the bird as an abyss, the abyss in flight. Now cut off the wings on the abyss.'   *      *      *   letter to a friend page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4 page 5 page 6 page 7 page 8...

Teacher spotlight: Linda Hallett

Please tell us a little about your background in the internal arts. I am a late-comer to martial arts. My background is nursing as a lifelong profession and horses (breeding, training and competing) as a total obsession. I came across the Daoist martial arts when I...

2016 – Year of the Fire Monkey

February the 8th 2016 will see the start of the Monkey year according to Chinese astrology; the Fire Monkey year to be more exact. Let us look at what this means according to ancient Chinese thought as well as making some predictions for the coming year. If we look at...

Happy Xmas from Scholar Sage and Lotus Nei Gong

Whatever your belief system, happy Christmas to you from the Scholar Sage Online Magazine and the Lotus Nei Gong School of Daoist Arts. 2015 is almost over and soon another year will begin afresh. January 1st for those following the western calendar and February 8 for...

Teacher spotlight: Donna Pinker

Please tell us a little about your background in the internal arts At the age of 14 I became extremely interested in Indian esoteric philosophies and spent a lot of time travelling to the city centre library. The Internet wasn’t invented and this was the only...

Daoism and Politics

Daoism is a spiritual tradition that has had a long and often bumpy relationship with governmental politics in China. It was explained to me by some of my teachers that part of the reason Daoism had fallouts at various times in history with the other two great...

Teacher spotlight: Mike Jones

Please tell us a little about your background in the internal arts I practised Ki Aikido for 16 years and got really good at falling over. Bonuses were breathing abdominally, releasing tension, developing focused yi and maintaining a centre of gravity at the lower dan...

Teacher spotlight: Steve Galloway

Please tell us a little about your background in the internal arts  My ex drove me to martial arts when she sold my mountain bike behind my back and bought a trip to France for herself. I could not afford another bike in those days so zero cost Tai Chi worked for me....

Teacher spotlight: Liam Bauckham

Please tell us a little about your background in the internal arts I got into the internal arts via the external arts. In 2007 I was learning Wing Chun in a small Somerset based school where I happened to meet Damo which started my journey into the world of the...

Teacher spotlight: Neil Lodge

Please tell us a little about your background in the internal arts I spent many years practising Shotokan Karate which gave me a good foundation in structure and developing a strong spirit, but I began to search for other answers, this lead me to practise Aikido which...

Teacher spotlight: Paul Mitchell

Please tell us a little about your background in the internal arts 35 years have passed since first I embarked on a life of training. My initial methods were of an external martial art nature. However to label a method of cultivation as external is in my opinion...

The 20 Guiding Precepts of Karate-Do

The 20 guiding precepts of Shotokan Karate-Do were penned by Gichin Funakoshi; an Okinawan who is commonly known as the father of modern Karate. Though not strictly speaking an aspect of the Daoist arts these precepts are interesting as Gichin Funakoshi was clearly...

Teacher spotlight: Sophie Johnson

Please tell us a little about your background in the internal arts I began exploring Qi Gong and Taiji yang style when I was 15, studying with someone whom I was told was one of the senior students of Master Chu King Hung, who had recently set up a school for Yang...

Nei Gong Q & A’s

Here are a few videos from our ‘Question and Answer’ series on the Lotus Nei Gong website. I am not sure how useful the videos will be to those who are not directly involved in our system of practice but you never know; there may be something helpful in...

Teacher spotlight: Nik Benedikt

Please tell us a little about your background in the internal arts. The journey into the internal arts for me began in the quietude of the forest with curiosity and a search for deeper connection. I was innately drawn to Qigong, martial arts, and meditation and...

Teacher spotlight: Tino Faithfull

Please tell us a little about your background in the internal arts I’d like to say something about the concept of time in relation to training. I apologise in advance if this seems a bit off-topic… There’s an important question to ask yourself when you start studying...

Lessons in Daoist Alchemy – Part 1

Over the next few weeks we are going to be offering a series of videos looking at the subject of Daoist Nei Dan or ‘alchemical meditation’. In these videos Damo Mitchell will be covering the basic theory of the method as well as the practical training of...

Teacher spotlight: Roni Edlund

Please tell us a little about your background in the internal arts I started practicing the Daoist Arts when I moved over to England about 7-8 years ago. I was immediately intrigued by the strong effects that the practices had on my mind, energy system and the body. I...

Daoist Talismanic Fu (符)

A Daoist Fu (符) is a form of talismanic transmission. Originally, the term itself denotes a contract that exists between two people; it was taken from the practice of breaking a piece of Jade or precious stone in half as a sign of mutual agreement. Both parties within...

Homosexuality in the Daoist Arts

As I travel around and have more contact with people around the world I get to hear about their experiences training within different school’s and under other teachers of the internal arts. Some of these stories are positive accounts of life-changing studies whilst...

The Mingmen

A fascinating aspect of Chinese medicine is it’s rich connection to the ancient beliefs of the Chinese people. It is part of the beauty of the art that the patient is seen in conjunction with his or her path through life and destiny as much as with regards to what is...

The practice of commitment

Fall has arrived and, with its inward draw, I have the opportunity to reflect upon this year and my time as a student of Lotus Nei Gong. Along with the rest of the students on the American Qi Gong certificate, I recently completed the third training for this year and,...

Motherhood and the Dao

This article is for the women practitioners out there who are conflicted about whether or not to become a mother due to their perceived loss of time to practise. It is also for all the men who love their women, to help you understand a little more the dilemma that...

Returning from retreat

Watching the Swedish countryside pass by as my train takes me home gives me time for reflection. Two weeks of Nei Gong and living in a Daoist community gives plenty of food for thought. This retreat was the biggest gathering so far for Lotus Nei Gong students. Initial...

The real purpose of training

Look— You won’t see it. Listen— You won’t hear it. Use it— You will never use it up. [1]   Most animals seem to function primarily on instinct. Deep intellectual or philosophical reflection (as we understand it, at least) does not appear to be part of their...

On meditation and freedom

All ancient traditions feature some kind of meditative practice. The particular stillness that comes from sitting in quiet contemplation has always been recognised as an essential element of spiritual cultivation. Some traditions attempt to go straight to this...

Where attention goes, energy flows

Warning! Liam’s article on the nature of Pornography in modern society and its links to Daoism may be shocking to some of those with delicate sensibilities. Please only read on if you are prepared for Liam’s unique sense of humour and take on the world…...

Acupuncture as permaculture

A process as described is not the process as it exists; The terms used to describe it are not the things they describe. That which evades description is the wholeness of the system; The act of description is merely a listing of its parts. Without intentionality, you...

Fostering the skill of discussion

If you are reading this article then I assume you often read other articles on Scholar Sage. To me, this says that you have a thirst for knowledge or understanding a subject matter and have found a source which provides you with food for thought. Sometimes, just...

Our Father, who art in nature

“The word is a symbol and a delight which sucks up men and scenes, trees, plants, factories, and Pekinese. Then the Thing becomes the Word and back to Thing again, but warped and woven into a fantastic pattern.” – John Steinbeck Before you start running for...

Enticing the Line and Breaking the Rules

Here is an article which was emailed to me by long-time Lotus Nei Gong member – Linda Griffiths. Linda taught Taijiquan for many years in the North Wales area and now focuses on Chinese brush painting and Nei Gong in Glastonbury where she lives. ...

What’s Going On?

Here is an article written by one of our school members – Ellie Talbot. It discusses her experiences since beginning Taiji and Nei Gong as well as the results from her recent attendance of the Zhan Zhuang training we undertook in Bristol a few weeks ago where...

Moving into Stillness – Yin Yang Cycles

I had the notion to write this article about a week ago but it just didn’t happen. I prefer to write during the morning time or early afternoon. However, here I find myself tapping away at the keyboard late at night. The moon is waning, approaching the dark...

The Value of Belief

This article provides a counterpoint to my previous article on the value of skepticism. It emerged from another article I was writing about the placebo effect. The placebo effect is where measurable or felt improvements in health are observed following an inactive...

Adam Gives Up Meat!

This article was written by one of our students Adam Muller. He has trained with us for a couple of years now and in this time has gone through several changes to his lifestyle as a result of the training. A major change for him was giving up meat which formed a large...

Ragnarök 

As I step out of the training hall, I can feel that the heat of the day has finally started to dissipate; the air smells of cooling grass, with a faint skein of moisture beginning to settle amongst the chest-high stalks. The crickets, so claustrophic in the bellowing...

USA Teaching

I have been teaching in the USA for the last few years with courses in Berkeley, Oklahoma, Maryland, Virginia and San Antonio. These courses have been looking at various aspects of Nei Gong and now a sizeable core group has built up who are working their way through...

Nei Dan (Alchemy) Book by Damo Mitchell

I am currently working on the manuscript for my next book to be released through the Singing Dragon publishing house. I originally planned to write a trilogy of books with them looking at the foundations of Daoist energy work as far as I understood them. This trilogy...

Nature’s Medicine

“When peace comes at last to those who wrestle with temptation, when the light comes at last into the mind given to contemplation… it always comes with just one happy realization; “I need do nothing” ACIM – 18.VII 5 (7)   One of the side effects of our modern...

Yin Yang and the Ten Thousand Things Artwork

Follow this link to view the artwork of Barry Fishman who has fabulously interpreted the I Ching through a series of paintings. Below is a description by Barry of the meanings behind the paintings: General A series of 80 paintings based on ideograms of the Ta...

Damo the Miserable Bastard…

I am just leaving Hong Kong after a few days there receiving treatment for an injury I have sustained to me left shoulder. Whilst there I had some free time so wandered around the city and took the chance to see the protests taking place in the centre of the island...

Disregarding Religion and Division

A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest The title of this piece comes from the line of a song. For some reason at this moment in time the name of the song and the particular band that performed it eludes me, it is most likely from the nineteen...

Step Away from Society and Lose Your Self

One of the most important aspects of any internal work is to spend time on your own, or at least time away from your every day life. In extreme cases this may mean retreating up into the Himalaya’s to focus solely upon your own internal cultivation but in the majority...

The Value of Skepticism

  These days, it is quite fashionable to be a skeptic. Atheism is probably more popular now than at any point in history and there are numerous skeptics societies, websites and magazines around the world. This trend seems to be particularly prevalent among well...

Introduction to the Yi Jing

Below is a short passage taken from a forthcoming book which I am working on at the moment. This book looks at the Yi Jing, associated Qi Gong, divinatory methods and the connection between this text, alchemy and the practice of circle walking. I thought I would post...

The Evolution of Perception

In any attempt to save the world we are in one sense an immense help in changing the world, and in another sense paradoxically we are a hindrance and destructive burden upon the world. The world which most people seek is invariably based upon their own sense of...

The Hun and Symbolism

The Hun is our ethereal soul. It expresses reality by employing the creative, the symbolic, the metaphorical and the poetic. Its opposite is the Po, our corporeal soul. We can interpret reality through our Po or through our Hun. Within the West, there exists an over...

Chairman of the Bored

Anyone who has ever spent 5 minutes talking to me quickly realises that I’m not a very interesting person. In fact in the 10 or so weeks since I arrived in Sweden, I find myself rarely taking the time to even bathe or groom myself anymore. I find it quite funny when...

Dark Matter

It is not so much that the ideas I tried to explain to her about China’s Golden Age of Philosophy just did not appeal to her: rather that, I do not think she is ever going to talk to me again. What a difference a day makes. I have known her for some 30 years. She...

An Impression of Nei Dan in Sweden

Here is a report of a two week Nei Dan (alchemy) retreat that I undertook with the Lotus Nei Gong School of Daoist Arts in Linköping, Sweden. The course was aimed at the foundation stages of alchemical training which are ‘lighting the fire’ and ‘Ping...

The alchemical roots of Daoism

Like everything else, spiritual traditions evolve throughout history. The older the tradition, the more likely it is to differ from what it originally was. In the vast majority of cases, contemporary Daoism is very different from what it used to be two thousand years...

Yuan Shen

All things arise from Tao. They are nourished by virtue. They are formed from matter. They are shaped by environment. (Lao Tzu, 51) A Taoist rests his or her case for existence on Lao Tzu’s four sentences. There is no flowery language. There is no ambiguity. It is...

History in a Daoist Nutshell

The difficulty with Chinese history is that there always seems to be another version, and the older the history, the more stories there are. So it is with Taoism’s long tradition. Fortunately, there is a concensus: whatever knowledge predated the composition of a...

Letting Go

One of the hardest parts of studying the Daoist arts is learning how to ‘let go’. Nei Gong in particular relies on our ability to just release ourselves and go with the flow of energy taking place both within and around us. Why is this so difficult? Surely it should...

An Interview with Damo Mitchell

Here is a copy of a brief interview I gave for the Tao Bums Forum a few days ago. Members of their forum sent me the questions below and I answered in writing. I thought I would put it here for people to see as well… The questions are in bold. 1. When I contacted you,...

A New Media Order

‘He who can free his mind eternally of desire and attachment, / Can perceive the very essence of Dao’ (Dao De Jing). The necessity to free our mind of desire and attachment is a fundamental tenet of Daoism. As many of us will have experienced, it’s also a...

Guided by Wisdom

Something often misunderstood within eastern arts is the concept of having ‘silencing the emotions’. It does not mean you should stop having any emotions and become a robot. Rather, the teachings are discussing a state of consciousness not ruled by emotions such as;...

Qi Gong, Tantra and Ghosts

I am continuing my Blog theme of discussing Yoga since I am still in India surrounded by Yogis, both Indian and foreigners. I want to look at the nature of Yoga, its similarities to Qi Gong and ghosts! Confusion has arisen in modern times as we have now been exposed...

Practice and Philosophy

Over the last ten days or so I have been working on my next book, training and having the opportunity to speak with many practitioners of Yoga. Being in India, in a town well known for its Yoga schools, it is interesting to have the chance to speak to so many people...

The Pineal Gland

It is interesting to note how different cultures have placed great importance upon the pineal gland with regards to their spiritual practices. Almost without exception the pineal gland has appeared within the teachings of different ancient groups who assigned the...

Prejudices and the Acquired Mind

Relaxing in the evening time here in China. I am on Wudang mountain, about halfway up at the moment. If you click on the small image to the left you can expand it and see the view I had this afternoon. I am not training here, just visiting and helping my friend Lauren...

The Ding and the Lu

The Ding and the Lu (鼎爐) are two important elements of the energetic body utilized within Daoist Nei Dan alchemical practice. The Ding is the cauldron whilst the Lu is the furnace or cultivating fire. When working with these aspects of our inner universe it is crucial...

Fu Dog Statues

Continuing on the theme of exploring Daoist art and architecture this article looks at Fu Dog statues. If you have ever visited China or any Chinese temples you will have no doubt seen a pair of Fu Dogs guarding the entrance; in fact you may have even seen them...

Exiting Society

I do not have many memories from when I was at school. I always found school a rather pointless place that served little purpose other than to set up negative social programming constructs which tend to stay with people for far too long after they leave.Luckily I had...

Classical Training

Over the years I have been studied many different forms of classical martial arts. Some of these systems I have studied to a fairly high level of proficiency whilst others I have only really touched upon. Running throughout everything I do are the key principles...

Congenital Qi Gong – Part 2

Part 2 of the guidance on Congenital Qi Gong. Please read part 1 first. Once again kindly excuse my port grammar and spelling. This translation is from the notes for my next book, it was never intended to go public, I just thought some may find it useful. This is the...

Congenital Qi Gong – Part 1

Below is a translation of guidance in Congenital Qi Gong which was written down by master Kuang Qang Xiu before his death. They form a part of the notes for the next book I am working on which is a Nei Dan alchemical book written in the same step-by-step format as my...

Taijiquan and Pu

The human mind is far too complex. Throughout the course of our lives we accumulate useless information, biases, assumptions, trivia and misconceptions. Our media bombards us with an infinite number of images meant to strengthen our dependency on pointless products....

Realistic Training Times

It has been commented upon by many that my books are quite uncompromising with regards to timescales. The feedback I get is that I am overly brutal with regards to how long you have to practice before you manage to attain a certain stage in your development. I am not...

The Meaning of Daoism

‘No sooner is a form seen than it must resemble something, humanity seems doomed to analogy’ – Roland Barthes, Barthes by Barthes In just a few words, Daoism could be defined as the study of that which cannot be talked about: ‘The Dao that can be spoken of is not the...

Becoming Christ!

It is an interesting facet of human nature that we often wish to seek out some kind of higher purpose. This may be through the practice of an internal art such as Taiji or Yoga, through study of self-books written by modern Guru’s or through aligning ourselves with...

Mind vs Mind in Bangkok

Bangkok was abuzz today with news of the potential civil unrest which is set to begin in the next few days. Protesters are set to ‘shutdown’ the city in a demonstration of unhappiness with the current Thai governments recent policies. Businesses are...