Chapter 1 - Crystal Contemplation
Sleeping god, sleeping god, lost in time during his sleep on high pillars.
His character perfects itself as his essence spirit and energy slumbers.
Qi returns to the primary meridian, and his breaths flow naturally.
Don’t be uncollected, stay calm. Gentle nourishment creates mercury and your character will be perfected.
Waiting for the mercurial flower to appear.
Nothing is lost, and one must prevent oneself from being too idle, and to achieve the real level of attainment. The flow of Qi in the middle of the body
Repeat seven times, not very hard: repeat nine times, and why complain.
Watch silently as the dragon and tiger battle on the warfield, and secretly disorder the order of Ying Yang.
People say I am a hazy man, but I tried sleeping without any success
If you can learn it, it is the true zen
If you can nourish it, it is the real fetal energy
A crouching dragon rises to the sky as soon as it gets up
This crouching method, who was it taught by?
Shaggy Toaist, Zhang Sanfeng
This poem is called the Hymn of the Hibernating Dragon. The author is Zhang Sanfeng who is the creator of Taichi.
It describes that people practising cultivation and achieve the state of 'Unification with Nature' do so through sleep.
Currently, the year is 2250 and humans have long since entered the galactic era. The ancient art of cultivation is not declining but instead flourishing.
"Deep Sleep! You must enter Deep Sleep in order to increase your life energy!"
A piercing voice echoed in the 3000 metres squared sports stadium.
The voice came from a female teacher.
She had large round eyes and peachy cheeks, as well as a soft and elegant figure. She was certainly a beautiful lady. However, her manner and vigour were fierce and without restraint. She was like a curved sword. People who met her eyes had a sense of suffocation as if their throats were cut.
Behind him, Jiang Li's best friend, Guo Meng, said to him in a small voice.
"Jiang Li, Miss Blade is throwing a tantrum."
"Shsh..." Jiang Li moved about his fingers, "Keep it down. Deep Sleep is not so easy. Out of the 8 hundred thousand students at the school, it's uncertain whether there are even 50 students who can enter Deep Sleep."
"Miss Blade" was the nickname for this female teacher. Apparently, she used to be a soldier and became a teacher after retirement from service.
Jiang Li was a year 12 student currently in spirit class.
Spiritual training was the most important class for modern day students. It even exceeded physical training in importance.
Through meditation, musing, contemplation and guidance...... these trainings could allow development of a stronger inner self, concentration of spirit, better control over breathing, heart beat, pulse and other bodily functions.
When spiritual training had reached an advanced state, the phenomenon "Deep Sleep" would occur.
Prior research indicated that one hour of Deep Sleep for humans had a better effect than seven to eight hours of normal sleep.
How much time could be saved for study and other things if people slept seven hours less each day?
The effect of one hour of Deep Sleep could render a person to be energetic for the whole day with superior memory. In the long term, it could improve one's health and extend their life.
"You people shouldn't think that spiritual training is unimportant. Let me give you an example. There were two patients with a lethal condition. One of them didn't know of his medical condition and lived happily every day. As a result, the immune cells in his body increased and killed the diseased cells and he was healthy again. The other patient knew of his condition and lost all hope and spirit. He died in a few days even though he still had hope of recovering." Miss Blade continued teaching her class, and her sharp voice reached out to everyone, "This is the power of the spirit!"
Miss Blade pointed at a 1.9m tall and handsome male student in front of her, "You are the only person to have gone into Deep Sleep in this class of few thousand students. Give everyone a demonstration."
"I don't think it's necessary to demonstrate this miss." Zhang Yue was the class captain but he looked down on everyone in his class. He sneered, "Spiritual training is a gift. You're a genius if you can comprehend. If you can't comprehend it, then you're useless for your whole life."
"This guy is so arrogant!" Guo Meng said angrily.
"He relies purely on resources." Jiang Li was contemptuous, "His family is wealthy. He burned expensive incense every night before sleep to calm his spirit and supplement his brain. On top of that, his family also hired a hypnotist to hypnotise him. Without the help of these resources, there's no way he could’ve reached Deep Sleep. If he demonstrates on the spot, he would expose himself.
Guo Meng nodded, "Yea, only those who can go into Deep Sleep at anytime without assistance are geniuses! But his life force is becoming stronger and stronger, it has reached 0.9."
"What's he got to be cocky about? His grades in the school is only just top 100." Another student said in disdain, "Not even the first three in the school can get guaranteed entry into the Astral University."
"Yea, you're only good if you can get into Astral University."
"Keep it down, if Zhang Yue hears he will come looking for trouble with us. A life force of 0.9 can easily take care of more than ten of us."
The students discussed quietly, "If only my family could afford a hypnotist. That way, I can be hypnotised into Deep Sleep everyday, and my physical abilities and spirit will all increase."
"You wish, the hypnotist that can hypnotise people into Deep Sleep are Secondary Hypnotists. Each time they hypnotise, they charge more than 1000 star coins!"
Astral University was humanity's best educational institution. It was the dream of countless number of students.
Life force was the students' grades. It included physical abilities and education.
Out of the two, physical abilities took priority and education was less important. This was of significant difference to education two hundred years ago.
Tests with countless questions had long been abolished by the education system of the galactic era.
Two hundred years ago, high schools centred on literacy grades. The result was that some people fainted and some people died of exhaustion after running 1km. This had become a great joke nowadays.
Jiang Li's life energy was 0.7. It is an average score, one that just passed. However, he could sprint 100m in 10 seconds, which was close to the world champion's time, two hundred years ago.
"Okay Zhang Yue, you may sit." Miss Blade didn't have the slightest intentions of criticising him as he was the most outstanding student in the class. "You shouldn't be too confident. Deep Sleep has three stages and you're only at the first stage, so your life energy is only 0.9. This is far from what will get you into Astral University. Once you reach the third stage, your spirit will sleep but your will will not sleep. Your body also sleeps but your will doesn't sleep. Going into sleep during exercise is the ancient art of the [Drunken Fist]. Your mind activates the adrenaline inside of you, which is like an analeptic shot, making your punches very powerful. Only then will you rise to the skies."
"Rest assured miss, I will definitely reach a life force of 1 by the end of this semester," Zhang Yue was full of confidence, "and next semester, I will be even stronger!"
The students with a life force of 1 were crazy. Their running speed exceeded those of leopards, their strength could tear apart tigers, and their literacy subjects were also top amongst their peers. They were the all rounded talented people.
"Now, begin training with me."
Miss Blade clapped her hands and sat with her legs crossed on the mat.
"First, you must calm yourselves and let me tell you about [Crystal Contemplation]. Imagine your bodies as a crystal with many impurities! Breathe in and out. When you breathe in, imagine the air as water, washing your insides. When you breathe out, the water brings out the impurities. Gradually, your body will become more and more crystal clear!"
It was the main class of spiritual training.
To clear thoughts from their minds people did this through comtemplating like a crystal.
This was an elementary type of contemplation and it was very hard to train to the advanced stages. At the same time, it was decided to be the safest and most effective contemplation method after the research into countless contemplation methods by many spiritual masters. Other ones such as the [Buddhist Impure Pagoda] and [White Bones Pagoda] were all likely to cause mental disorders and drive people crazy with hallucinations.
On the screen in the training room, a three dimensional crystal projection appeared. It was lively and carved into a human form.
This human shaped crystal breathed. At the beginning, the body was full of impurities but it gradually becme more transparent and eventually became crystal clear.
The mind was clear like a mirror.
This was the image for contemplation
Jiang Li was also trying to contemplate and breathe but he just couldn’t enter that state. He couldn’t focus.
This was common for most people.
“How can I concentrate and enter the state of [Crystal Contemplation]?” Jiang Li was getting more and more distressed. But the more impetuous he was, the more he couldn’t concentrate.
After a set of [Crystal Contemplation] moves were finished, the teacher Miss Blade scanned the class of a few thousand students and glared sternly. She saw that more than ninety percent of the students were pretending to work. Their breaths were short, and their heart rates were fast. Suddenly, she yelled, “Stop!”
The students opened their eyes
Miss Blade was preparing to scold them but thought about it again and then used a slow voice, “ What is inner strength? It is mastery over one’s heart. You guys probably read a book by Jing Yong called “Tian Long Ba Bu” two hundered years ago. Inside was a passage about the secret to inner strength from the Shaolin temple’s [Iron Palm Technique]. If you can’t sleep and let your thoughts fly away, how will you conquer your heart? In actual fact, this came from the classic book “Wu Deng Yuan Hui” of the zen practitioners but novelists saying it is a secret way of practising inner strength is also correct. This is the real inner strength. It isn’t ki flying about when you slice your palm. Haha, it is your mind interefering with matter, how can it be easy. Okay back on topic. When you contemplate, wandering thoughts and inability to focus is a very normal phenomena. Even zen artists who have practiced the art for many years can not overcome this problem. The heart is like a Monkey. The heart is the monkey king. It isn’t easy to master it.”
“Spiritual training is first Deep Sleep, then Stasis. The next step is Fetal Respiration. Each state is harder than the one before.” Miss Blade waved her hands, “I won’t explain if you don’t understand, class dismissed!”
Hearing school was over, all the students relaxed. When Miss Blade left the gymnasium, the students were ready to leave in groups. Jiang Li was also ready to go home and eat dinner.
Suddenly he was called and a tall figure appeared in front of him.
It was Zhang Yue.
“What?” Jiang Li took a step back. He was only 1.75m. Facing the 1.9m Zhang Yue made him feel like he was suffocating. This was the oppression from life force.
Zhang Yue’s life force of 0.9 was too strong. In a fight, not even ten Jiang Li’s would be a match.
Even students with a life force of 0.8 could defeat four or five Jiang Lis.
A difference of 0.1 in life force meant a huge difference in physical capabilities.
“I heard you go to the park to feed homeless cats everyday?” Zhang Yue was contemptuous. He held his hands behind his back and looked in condescension, “Lara feeds with you sometimes too? I warn you, you better give up on those pathetic motives.”
“What right do you have to tell me what to do?” Jiang Li was angry.
“Very simple, because of my strength and my family’s status.” Zhang Yue cracked his bones fearing the onlookers, “Remember, never try to argue with me or I will rip your mouth apart. Lara is not someone you can be intimate with. A lame toad may never eat swan meat.”
“Class captain, class captain.” Guo Meng saw Jiang Li was getting in trouble and came up immediately, “Lara is one of the four goddesses of the school, us normal students would never have those thoughts. Oh right, Jiang Li’s brother is finishing school. They are eating dinner together later at home.”
“Jiang Tao!” Zhang Yue was scrupulous upon hearing this name. Nonetheless, he sneered, “This is a warning today. If I still see you feeding cats with Lara, you will know the consequences.”
He turned and left as he finished his words.
“That was close.” Guo Meng was sweating, “We can’t even resist if Zhang Yue is to beat us up.”
“Let’s go, he won’t dare to fight at school.” Jiang Li was furious but he didn’t leave behind any tough words. He knew the difference between him and Zhang Yue were too great. It was pointless to act tough but that does not mean he was admitting defeat.
“You should be careful, Zhang Yue is very strong and his family is also wealthy. If he targets you, you will be in trouble.” Guo Meng was very worried, “I think you shouldn’t see Lara for the moment. Lara is a well known member of the school with a life force of 1. Her family is also very wealthy. You will cause many trouble if you interact with her.”
“I know, I would kick the prick.” Jiang Li’s eyes shimmered. He longed for strength.