Da Mo’s Cave is one of the most versatile, entertaining and productive meditation exercises to come out of the long

history of the East. By imagining and populating a dwelling with certain specific contents and doors, the meditator directly sharpens their visualisation and concentration skills, while the particular exercises involved with the cave can deepen the connection to the subconscious, overcome past fears or increase the meditator’s skills or attributes. It can also provide a peaceful place inside of oneself, a haven of quiet as effective as a literal physical retreat from the blows and buffets of the world. A version of this exercise has been used by captured military personnel to withstand interrogation, solitary confinement and other privations of being in the hands of a hostile power by mentally building their ideal home to a high level of detail. While the title implies a cave, the exercise can in fact involve any area in which it is possible to dwell and have a reasonable number of sub-areas e.g. a building, a village, a cruise liner or even a spaceship. It is first necessary to imagine a primary entrance and exit to the cave. While this will be less important to begin with than the rooms or sub-areas within the cave, it will be useful when heading for some more non-specific or free form visualisations which will be suggested later. Also, there remains the matter of getting to and from the cave at the start or end of each meditation session. While some may imagine themselves simply ‘waking up’ in the cave as they ‘go to sleep’ in the ‘real’ world, others may prefer a more elaborate entrance sequence. The choice is open. As with most other aspects of the cave, the entrance can be anything you might desire, such as a simple tunnel in a hillside, the entrance to an underground bunker, or a spaceship entrance ramp or teleportation unit. The cave is illuminated with a lighting system of your choice (or no obvious system at all, according to taste); it is sufficient that the cave is lit. To start with, the cave contains your living quarters which themselves contain anything you might require. This might include your bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, entertainment system, library and so forth. Any of these areas have anything you might want – the bedroom can contain waterbeds, minibars or other luxury items, the bathroom can contain a jacuzzi, the library contains any book you might imagine (whether or not extant in the real world) on any subject you might want to know about. The entertainment system can include televisions, stereos, DVD players, game consoles, personal computers, and so on. Conversely the whole area can have a monastic simplicity and austerity or be anything in between. It is important that the area is customised entirely to suit you. There is also a physical training room, containing any machines such as weights, treadmills, stairmasters and so on you can imagine or might require. Swimming pools and saunas can also be provided, or not, as the need arises. There is also a martial arts training room with whatever weapons, armour, padding, matting and so on might be required. In your bedroom is a hidden door and a trapdoor. However, you don’t go through them at this stage, but you are aware of them in future visits. Elsewhere in the cave is a workshop, with a workbench with whatever tools you might wish, a lab station with any chemicals you might want, and the remaining space filled with any tools, lathes, drills, CNC and other machines you might require. There is also a plentiful supply of materials for you to work on, with not only mundane materials such as wood, metal and stone but also imaginary materials such as orichalcum, mithril, vibranium or adamantium. In this workshop you can make, or experiment with making, tools, weapons and technological devices limited only by your imagination. There is a garage with vehicles of transportation of your choice – these can be mundane such as a modern car or motorcycle, exotic such as a speedboat or helicopter, or fantastical such as a flying car, swoop bike or starfighter. These are yours to go anywhere you might wish, limited only by your imagination or the confines of your mind. Conversely, the garage might contain nothing at all – for the moment. Elsewhere there is a stable for animals, and again this can contain mundane animals, exotic animals, fantastical animals, or nothing at all according to taste. There is also a room which is like the bridge of an advanced starship containing all the futuristic technological fittings you can imagine. In a prominent position is a viewscreen capable of showing anything you like. Dominating the room is a large commander’s chair, complete with arm controls, bearing your name. There is also in a significant place in your cave a lectern which bears a grimoire (as usual, these are to your own design). The grimoire bears a legend – There is no knowledge that is not power.

Seek the truth within. This grimoire contains all the knowledge in the universe. All you need to do is open it and look within to find the answer to any question you might have. It’s also important to realise that the cave can be populated and many of its most useful applications stem from this population. Anyone you like can be added to the cave, including imaginary figures, historical figures, figures from literature or fiction, real persons living or dead, and so forth. They need not even be human and can include aliens, mythological gods, intelligent animals or the like. However, since the cave is designed to improve your own confidence and personal power, the figures should be on the whole attractive, intelligent, and well disposed and helpful towards the meditator. Some of the common figures that are added to the cave are a trainer in physical culture and martial arts, staff for the starship bridge room, a guardian at the entrance who will greet and admit you personally but no one else, and pets. Other possibilities include mentors or teachers of various kinds on various subjects. Again, the choice is down to the meditator. Remember that all areas are open to you as this is your cave and your property entire. At this stage take another tour of your cave and examine everything, fix it in your mind and memorise it to make it easier to return to. You can come back at any time and explore further. Da Mo’s Cave is also used to take standard journeys which are based on the Indian chakras and the five elements of classical Taoist cosmology. These journeys are accessed through a staircase which is present in your cave. The staircase is huge and has five immense steps. Each step is used to take a particular journey. The first step is made of stone and is red in colour. It has a doorway on the right side, also of red stone, which is open. A desert is visible through the door, and within the desert is an ancient city built of stone with an encircling stone rampart. A desert convoy, travelling towards the city, can be seen. The second step is made of timber and is orange. The door is divided horizontally in such a fashion that the bottom half may remain shut while the top half opens, or vice versa. The door opens onto a spring, which flows downward in a stream through a forest and develops into a river. It ends in a delta where it flows into a beach-lined ocean. Far away, travelling on the ocean you see a three masted sailing vessel from days of yore. The third yellow doorway and step are made of wrought iron and crystal. The iron is wrought in the shape of leaves, and the crystal is transparent. You can see out into a mysterious metropolis with a great many trees and buildings. Some of the buildings are in the trees, resembling the elven city in the Lord of the Rings movies. Some of the buildings stick sheer to the side of a cliff. The cliff drops down into a harbour, and down below are warehouses for merchants and docked landing vessels. The inhabitants of the city look elven, again like those in the Lord of the Rings. The city is a place of laughter and music. There are open spaces and gardens where people are playing. The city is both a bohemian enclave and a developed commercial civilisation. There are also areas where fighters are training. The fourth doorway and step are green and the doorway is like a window opening into the sky. The blue sky and the green step are both visible and stand out in stark contrast to one another. In the sky you can see a bird, and in the far distance is a city floating in the air. It seems to be made of crystalline energy, which is transparent and is both visible and invisible. The bird is flying towards it. The fifth and final step is a ramp going up. The ramp is many different colours – light blue, indigo, dark blue, violent, white. It goes up to a room which contains a virtual reality machine, waiting for you to use it. The cave can also be used as a springboard for more esoteric meditation exercises. While they do not necessarily have to start from the cave, the fact that the cave has already been visualised extensively and used for positive results will make them easier. To begin with, the meditator will realise that they imagine themselves to be physically present in the cave and thus they will have a residual self image, like the characters in The Matrix (Da Mo’s cave can be thought of as a self created and entirely positive version of the Matrix). It’s important to ensure that your residual self image is as positive as possible – i.e. it should have an enhanced physique, be perfectly dressed, have superb carriage and charisma, and so forth. However, do not venture into superhuman territory as for this application the suspension of disbelief will be violated and the effect lost. To increase your competence and confidence imagine yourself performing exercises that would be difficult or impossible in real life, but again not superhuman for the above reasons. If you are

having difficulty with any particular martial arts movement or application in the real world, imagine yourself performing it perfectly here. This can also apply to any other skill or activity you have trouble with in the real world – imagine yourself performing it perfectly, or solving the problem, here and it is likely that when you try it again in the real world you will have more chance of success. Particularly complex skills can be imagined in a new, and mutable area which can be imagined by going out through the exit and creating a new environment. Unlike what you have created for yourself in your cave, the exterior does not have to be fixed. The area can simply be imagined outside the exit every time, or to increase the verisimilitude you may wish to imagine a linking sequence whereby you travel to the area in a vehicle (such as those in the garage) ride there on a steed (such as those in the stables) or the entire cave moves its location (such as if it was imagined to be a helicarrier, ship, or spaceship on creation). For instance, if the meditator has the common fear of public speaking, they can transport themselves to an auditorium and imagine themselves successfully presenting to a large audience. This can be adapted to any other fear or triggering situation, so long as the meditator imagines themselves performing successfully. More cerebral exercises can include asking yourself questions and then allowing your intuition to supply the answers (this can also be done by asking a mentor-visualisation the same thing and allowing them to answer). You can strengthen aspects of yourself or reduce negative characteristics. Cause bad memories to be less harmful by visualising only positive images, or changing the outcomes of previous events (imagine how it went, then imagine how you’d like it to have gone, taking care to maintain only positive attitudes, determination and learning rather than bitter regret.) It can be seen that Da Mo’s Cave is one of the most versatile techniques available, and can also be seen to be entertaining in its application. However, it is worth noting at the last that the cave will alter, not only that the meditator can change it themselves according to their own imagination – they will also find that the cave will change on its own. Either way the meditator will have to accommodate these changes. But the changes are likely to have come about by the meditator’s personal growth, a literal embodiment of ‘doors opening’ in their mind. As such they will find that while they have yet achieved much, they can achieve more as they go on to explore further the potential of Da Mo’s Cave. Shamelessly Stolen From: http://www.taichistuff.com/html/da_mo_s_cave.html

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