The 16 nei gong create the structure, content and principles that guide all Tao meditation and energy arts, forming the science of how the body, mind and qi can be developed and integrated to their full potential. Taoists used meditation practices over thousands of years to go inside themselves and discover what was there.
Through this long history of practice and direct perception, they developed the nei gong system as a method for cleansing the human physical and energetic bodies. The process entails removing all blocks, kinks, knots and reconnecting any breaks or holes within the human energetic matrix. Therefore, we do not create a nei gong weave but, in essence, are a nei gong weave. Taoist practices are about repairing and developing that which exists naturally within us.
How successful you are at any meditation practice, including any phase of dissolving, is ultimately governed by your willingness to go inside and your ability to implement the four primary skills of meditation. The four skills are what put you in the meditative driving seat, enabling postural alignments and deep breathing exercises to get the engine running and the ice-to-water phase of dissolving to put your vehicle into gear. Now you’re driving forward. Already, you have an enormous amount of variables for which to account and yet by no means are you entering into the deep or advanced techniques of Taoist meditation!
The ability of the mind to hold onto and integrate all these aspects depends upon slow progress through regular and sustained practice. Many students try to juggle all aspects; however, the point is to integrate them. All the time the mind is jumping from one point to the next, you will generate the opposite of what meditation aims to create, the antithesis of stability and relaxed focus. So when you go to meditate, start by becoming present to your basic posture and breathing. When stable, next apply your focus, awareness and concentration to the ice-to-water phase, looking for the point of integration. If your mind wanders, spaces out or juggles these components, then let go of the ice-to-water phase and stabilise the rest.
If you still cannot hold it together, drop the conscious breathing and work with your posture, applying the four primary skills. When these fuse or integrate into one whole, add breathing. Stay with this level of practice for awhile—maybe a month or two—before re-approaching the ice-to-water phase.
In meditation, like all nei gong energy arts training, you can work on the most simple and beginning aspects yet engage, bolster and advance the higher end material. If you add too much or jump ahead too soon, then you will lose your presence, focus, awareness, concentration or ability to integrate them. There is no competition, no goal to achieve, nowhere to go. You are simply honing your skills, developing yourself and opening to your path. Taking onboard too much or moving forward too quickly only derails your progress and sets you back. Finding the balance between patience and diligence—without laziness—allows you to stabilise the basics and slowly add ever-more refined layers of content. This is the space in which natural integration occurs.