Alex Megann wrote:
Meditation, as I understand it, both in the yogic and Christian traditions, is a very personal practice of letting go of the debris of everyday living, and learning to see more clearly the true essence of things. This is nothing like emptiness.
Hmmmm.....Yogic and "Ki" practices of meditation all are ultimately aimed at taking the "essence" of life, bringing it up the spine, and "awakening" the higher conscience. The "emptying the mind", etc., is part of the process of approaching those controls. The metaphors of "heaven" and "earth" also play into this belief system (analogy within analogy), BTW.
The "reproductive chakra" has its analogue in the "lower dantien" (not the middle dantien that Tohei is talking about focusing on) and there is the same idea of mind, essence, spine (through the "Gate of Life", etc.) that there is in yogic tradition. Take a look at some of O-Sensei's doka and writings ... I think there's more than a comment or two, if you look for them, in "The Essence of Aikido" the mentions these relationships, even though they're cloaked in Japanese terminology, etc. They still derive from the Chinese ideas, which in turn derived from the ancient Indian ideas.
In other words, it's not "spiritual" in the seraphic western sense to do this type of meditation.... there is a common mix-up of the "purifying and sanctifying yourself" idea in western thought with the "get in touch with your inner body control mechanisms" of the eastern approach to meditation. They're not the same thing.
Again, I think the theoretical part of these things is interesting, but it has to be understood that the seemingly esoteric ideas of "meditation", "dantien" (or "chakras"), "ki", and so on, are all rooted in tangible phenomena and observations from the physical world. And the old saying of "if you know it, you can do it; if you can't do it, you don't know it" holds true.
And even if you know it and can do it, you're not necessarily assured of a long life. Introduce me to one Taoist Immortal.