Saving Energy

chat.efnet.org_motd

In the mid-90s I had a chat on IRC with an older man who had studied spirituality. I peppered him with questions, and he patiently answered most of them. At the end of the chat, seemingly apropos of nothing, he said: “Save your energy”.

Even then, I knew he was referring to sexual energy. What else could he have meant? He wasn’t being judgmental or moralizing, he was stating that I needed the energy to make spiritual progress or even build a good life in the material world.

Meditation Update

Alex-Grey-Meditation12

Until today, my practice was to get out of bed, do 108 bows, and then meditate. I’d sometimes skip or shorten my meditation because I was breathing heavily and sweating from the bowing. I also neglected meditation because it seemed insignificant compared to the physical effort I had just exerted.

An extremely interesting reddit post has changed my thinking. A young man describes the astounding benefits he’s gained from several years of meditation. I don’t know how much of it is factual, but the post has inspired me to meditate much more diligently. From now on, I will now meditate first and then do the 108 bows. I will also meditate for at least 30 minutes at a time. Maybe my slow spiritual progress was due to not putting enough time and energy into meditation.

Microcosmic Orbit Update

calch-s1

I’ve been doing the microcosmic orbit for a few weeks. I don’t feel any energy flowing around my body yet, and I didn’t expect any quick results. I will keep doing it for years or decades if needed. Part of this practice involves contracting the pelvic floor, which reminded me of a book I’d heard about years ago, “How to Good-bye Depression If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday” by Hiroyuki Nishigaki. Although it got attention in the West as a joke due to the English and anatomical references, I believe the author was describing time-tested chi cultivation practices. I haven’t read the book, but I think it tells readers to contract their anus and pull in their navel (like a stomach vacuum) many times every day, and practice having bowel movements several times a day to improve physical, mental, and spiritual health. Common sense tells me these things would at least improve digestion, get rid of toxic undigested food, and trim the waistline. The book also includes a chapter on fasting and saving sex energy, practices that are used in many spiritual paths. His website offers positive and sound advice.

Spiritual progress has been slow for me; it took more than a decade of sporadic meditation to be able to clear my mind for more than ten seconds. Maybe this is due to bad karma or lack of effort in past lives. I’m in no hurry though. I believe everyone gets the spiritual gifts they deserve: no more and no less. My current life seems to be about enduring and dealing with limitations while controlling my lower urges.   

Sitting_Meditation

More mundanely, I’m no longer sitting cross-legged during meditation because my knees are getting sore. I noticed this while doing leg exercises. I now sit in a chair with my back and neck straight and feet flat on the floor.

Bowing Update, Exercise

exercise

I’m currently doing 108 bows after getting out of bed. I do the bows while listening to YouTube recordings that give a statement of repentance, gratitude, or aspiration for each bow. In addition to the bowing, I’m exercising at least two and usually three or four hours a day. I don’t bow before sleeping because it’s too exhausting and I can’t get out of bed the next morning. I might compensate for this by bowing 500 + times on Sunday when I am not exercising.

I don’t know how wise it is for a 39 y.o. guy to be exercising this much, but I have an extreme urge to improve myself physically. I’ve had this desire even as a kid but I didn’t know how to improve and nobody helped me.

I want to be able to lift what I was able to lift two years ago before my injuries, and go beyond that level while I’m physically able. I’ve substituted front squats and lunges for back squats. I think the bowing is also helping my leg strength. Although bowing isn’t intense, it stimulates the legs every day.

Before I started lifting weights at age 30 I think I had too much “yin” energy from mental work and reading, lack of exercise, and of course, sexual exhaustion. This had nightmarish results socially and even in the workplace where I naively thought only effort and competence mattered. Now that I’ve made exercise a habit, I don’t want to go in the other direction and be overloaded with “yang” energy, becoming a macho tough guy. I would end up resembling the people who tormented me and make bad karma and entanglements. I need to do at least eight hours a day of mental work or development and achieve a balance of mind and body.

Early 1900s Article on Masturbation

Not too far from the truth

Not too far from the truth?

http://www.oldandsold.com/articles08/marriage-23.shtml

This article, a chapter from a book from the early 1900s, discusses the effects of masturbation, why people masturbate, and how to recover from the habit. To me it seems like solid common sense that is somehow not accepted or even known in the 21st century.

The chapter is long so I’ve given a summary below:

  • Masturbation is the worst of all sexual excesses because it is often done during the formative years when the most harm can be done.
  • It drains, weakens, and exhausts the body and mind, and has negative moral effects.
  • It is more damaging to high-strung types, who are more likely to indulge in it.
  • Withholding information about sex due to prudery is one of the main reasons young people start masturbating.
  • Parents and teachers should educate children about the dangers of masturbation. This would help children resist the urge to masturbate.
  • Masturbation damages sexual function and weakens the body.
  • Masturbation is like a gradual castration.
  • The sexual effects include premature ejaculation and impotence.
  • The general effects include lack of energy, weak muscles, lower intelligence, and low confidence
  • Masturbation doesn’t cause insanity, so people with the habit need not worry about going insane.
  • To recover from the damage done by masturbation, one should build a strong body. A strong mind will follow from a strong body.
  • One must 1) have a firm resolve to quit, 2) stop worrying, 3) keep busy, and 4) try to be among good people and avoid being alone.
  • One can expect good results after two or three years of continence, exercise, and clean living. 

Bowing Update

meditation-108-bows-1-1-s-386x470

  • Its been about three and a half months since I started bowing every day. I usually do 216 bows a day, 108 after waking up and 108 before going to bed.
  • When I bow in the morning, I listen to a recording that gives a short statement (of repentance, resolve, or a wish) for each bow. These are basic statements but they seem to be helping me a lot and reminding me to live a better life. Doing 108 bows while listening to the recording takes about 30 minutes. English videos of these statements can be found on YouTube under “108 bows”.
  • Before going to bed, I do the bows for “speed” without any audio. I downloaded an app that makes a noise at regular intervals and counts how many bows you do. Recently, I’ve been doing one bow every eight seconds, and at this rate, I can do 108 bows in about 14 minutes and 26 seconds.
  • My bowing technique has improved a lot. I used to wobble when going down and getting up and it was hard to breathe properly. Now I think my form and breathing is almost textbook.
  • When I began this practice, I would sometimes rest after a few dozen bows, look at websites on my computer for a few minutes to an hour and then finish the bows. The app helps me do all the bows in one go. I now have the discipline/ability to do 108 bows in one session without the app as well. Doing the bows without resting is better exercise, saves time, and helps expel karma from the body on the out-breaths.
  • I tried doing 300 bows at a rate of eight seconds per bow. I managed to do them but it was very difficult. It seemed endless and sweat was pouring from my whole body and down my face onto the mat I was bowing on. It was one of the most exhausting things I ever did, comparable to long-distance running or high-rep squats. And that was a mere 300 bows, not 1,000 or 3,000 like people sometimes do at temples.
  • I seem to have more discipline and “good energy”. I thought I was fit from years of weight training, but even a few months ago I used to dread having to bow after getting out of bed, and would stay in bed for hours just to avoid it. Now, bowing in the morning isn’t so hard: 108 bows doesn’t seem like that many. 
  • My legs seem to be strong despite not doing barbell squats. Bowing seems to work the quads more than the hamstrings though, while squats worked everything.
  • I meditate for about 20 minutes after bowing.
  • When I bowing before going to bed, I fall asleep in 20 or 30 minutes. It used to take me more than an hour to fall asleep. I’m also doing the microcosmic orbit in bed while trying to fall asleep (so far I don’t feel anything).

Microcosmic Orbit

Macrocosmic Orbit

Microcosmic Orbit

Yesterday I read a very interesting blog post. According to the post, the writer sent his sexual energy up his spine after three weeks of abstinence and breathing exercises. He experienced a spiritual awakening and a dramatic, Matrix-like change in his self and his outlook. I think he is telling the truth.

After reading Mantak Chia’s “Awakening the Healing Energy through the Tao” years ago, I tried the microcosmic orbit for a few weeks, but gave up because nothing seemed to be happening. I was also scared of a bad experience, as I had read various frightening experiences online and in Gopi Krishna’s book, “Living with Kundalini”. Maybe I should have stuck with it.

If I’m going to be celibate, I might as well circulate the sexual energy through my body and see what happens.

Scoring My Daily Discipline Level

Discipline

To make myself more disciplined, I will give myself a “discipline score” of 0 to 10 each day. The score will depend on how early I wake up, how much work I do, whether I bow or not, and how I conduct myself. I will start with a score of 10 each day and add or deduct points depending on my performance.

Although it is possible to score higher than 10 or lower than 0 due to bonus points and deductions, the highest score will be 10 and the lowest score will be 0.

The system is not perfect, but I think it will help me live with basic discipline. I will not do everything at the highest level every day because that might lead to burnout followed by laziness. I will gradually try to raise the level of discipline over a year until I am living at a high level of discipline.

For now, a good day for me would be to wake up at 6 am, work eight hours, have a one-hour workout, do 108 bows after waking and before going to bed, and not have any instances of “bad conduct” despite going out and dealing with people. Of course, sex is prohibited. On such a day I would give myself a discipline score of 10. If I wake up a bit later but do more work or exercise to compensate, I would still get a score of 10 because the level of discipline is similar.

I think this is roughly the discipline level of an average adult in a developed country (excluding the “bowing” and “sex” parts) and most adults live like this every day without having to score themselves. A monk would perhaps have a score of 14 or higher from waking up earlier, doing more work, bowing, and living a cleaner and more impeccable life (e.g. meditating, being celibate, helping or teaching others, not watching TV, following a vegan diet, etc.).

One thing that seems to be helping me is brewing a pot of green tea and drinking it through the day. This subtly purifies and settles my mind and keeps it focused on higher things.

I am also considering going on a temple stay to ratchet up my level of discipline by being among cultivators and adhering to a very strict schedule under severe conditions. I hope the self-control will transfer into my regular life. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but never had the boldness to jump into.

Having a “score” of 10 is basic and something I should have implemented a long time ago. I truly need to get this dialed in if I want to improve my life.

Sleep
woke up before 6 am: + 1
woke up 6-8 am: 0
woke up 8-9 am: – 1
woke up 9-10 am: – 2
woke up after 10 am: – 3

Work (Mon-Sat)
worked > 9 hrs: + 1
worked 8-9 hrs: 0
worked 6-8 hrs: – 1
worked 4-6 hrs: – 2
worked 2-4 hrs: – 3
worked < 2 hrs: – 4

Bowing
324 bows or more: + 2
216 bows: + 1
108 bows: 0
0 bows: – 2

Conduct
no bad conduct*: 0
1 act** of bad conduct: – 1
2 acts of bad conduct: – 2
3 acts of bad conduct: – 3
4 acts of bad conduct: – 4

Exercise
2 or more workouts: + 1
1 workout: 0
0 workouts: – 1

Sex
erotic contact: – 5 every day for a week
intercourse: – 10 every day for a week

[masturbation is not included because I haven't masturbated in nine years and don't even feel tempted to do it]

*”bad conduct”: chat, useless internet browsing, sexual thoughts, rudeness, meanness, irresponsibility
**1 “act”: 1 hour of chat/internet browsing, 1 sexual thought, 1 incident of rudeness/meanness/irresponsibility

[Edit Feb 5, 2014: I made several revisions to these rules. First, I made the penalties for erotic contact and intercourse more severe: - 5 and - 10 every day for a week respectively, because sex undermines my condition for at least a week. Second, under "bad conduct", I've specified that only "useless" internet browsing (not related to work or self-improvement, such as humor sites, entertainment sites, lewd sites including porn, random blogs, and facebook) be penalized. Third, I extended the punishable time unit for chat and internet to one hour from 15 minutes because the latter seemed too short. Fourth, under "bowing", I assigned a "+ 1" to 216 bows and a "+ 2" to 324 or more bows because I felt bowing 216 times should be scored higher than bowing 108 times.]

 

Another Celibacy Site

I recently found another site related to celibacy. It’s a forum dealing with sexual exhaustion and dysfunction. It requires you to register to view the posts. I’m surprised I never discovered it until a few weeks ago. I’ve added it to my post that lists celibacy-related sites. I’ve also copied the list to a separate page, “Helpful Sites“, for easier access.

Article on Boxers and Abstinence

http://ryanman.tripod.com/sexarticle.html

This article discusses the opinions of several legendary boxers and trainers on abstinence. They include Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Robinson, Cus D’Amato, Marvin Hagler, Jeff Mayweather, Angelo Dundee, and Buddy McGirt.

Some excerpts:

Sugar Ray Robinson

Sugar Ray Robinson

Sugar Ray Robinson typically abstained for six weeks before a fight. “One of the biggest sacrifices in being a champion is sex,” Robinson said. “If you’re a fighter, you need your energy. You can’t leave it in a woman.”

Marvin Hagler

Marvin Hagler

On the contrary, Marvin Hagler abstentation would carry over into all indulges. Describing the beginning of training camp as “going to jail,” Hagler would stay away from women, alcohol, essentially anything that goes with the trappings of success.

Jeff Mayweather

Jeff Mayweather

By and large, contemporary trainers tend to believe that sex is a no-no when preparing for a fight. “I think it’s definitely not good to have sex when you’re in training camp,” says Jeff Mayweather, trainer of WBO Heavyweight champ Sultan Ibragimov. “When you’re in camp, your mind should only be on boxing.”

Buddy McGirt

Buddy McGirt

McGirt offers his own unique perspectives on the topic “If you’re a minute-man, it won’t be an issue. But if you’re up all night having sex, it will take all your energy. There comes a time in a fight when you have to dig down for energy and if it ain’t there and it’s sitting ringside in a young lady, it can’t help you.”

The article mentions scientists who claim testosterone levels rise after sex, but my experience does not support this at all. I always feel weak, timid, and exhausted after sex; my energy is not even one-fifth of what it was before sex. I need at least a few days to start functioning again and a couple of weeks to recover my former energy level. That’s two weeks (or almost half a month) wasted for a few moments of sexual pleasure.