Pitfalls of Cultivation - Core Mistakes


Pitfalls of cultivation is a term that can be used to describe common flaws, errors, inadequacies, and mistakes that people make while adventuring into self-development, spirituality, and cultivation. There is a great variety of challenges and issues on the path at each level and step of progression. A person may be too dull, lack energy, have too much-unbalanced energy, have an obsession with materialistic values, or the opposite; he may have character flaws, insecurities, mental traumas, or physical misalignments. You can spend your whole life compressing Qi into Dan Tien as you get stuck doing something that won't advance you spiritually anywhere.

It is an important topic to discuss if you want to get somewhere and reach any meaningful attainment on this path. If you are stuck in a loop, unable to start training, or going into circles from one Teacher to another; you have most likely been a victim of any of those pitfalls.

In many cases, walking into a pitfall is normal and is a learning experience, but only once a person grows to understand the problem and overcomes it. It can still consume much time that is inherently limited in life and limit any potential benefit from the cultivation path. Sometimes a single pitfall takes multiple lifetimes to solve, and it is because a person is not being proactive in solving issues but goes with the flow.

Often, people are unaware of any potential risks and dangers when pursuing spirituality; reading marketing texts praising the insurmountable benefits of spirituality and esoteric arts makes it easy to fall into the delusion that all doors are open and the path is clear. Pseudo-teachers will say that you need to sit and meditate, and you will progress endlessly.
It is understandable if people would talk about all the difficulties, hardships, challenges, and risks on the cultivation path, they would never be able to teach or sell it to the masses.

The road to perfection is brutal, and perfection in itself is not what people think it is. Personal ideas about cultivation are within early limitations at the beginner level. As a more advanced being, you could easily aggravate others, as they would feel lacking and stupid.

Like most other texts and books we recommend or write ourselves, reading about these things adds to general practice and training in a good school with Teacher guidance. Even if you are extremely careful and thorough in your path, making mistakes and errors is inevitable, and without guidance and correction, you are bound to be stuck for a long time. No single case is known of a self-taught cultivator getting far on the path. It is because the difficulty and complexity of the path are high, but also because you need an external observer who can monitor and check your progress. That is why even advanced cultivators with nothing to learn from books or public teachers are still forming closed communities and keeping each other in check.

There is a phrase in Hinduism Tradition: Shiva meditates on Vishnu, Vishnu meditates on Brahma, and Brahma meditates on Shiva. In reality, it is about mental contact and keeping each other in check. You may not see a flaw or an issue developing before it is too late, but other advanced cultivators can discern and save you from developing a critical error or wasting time in vain.

Even if someone reads about a pitfall, he may think it does not apply to him. A narrow view and fixed position from which an ego sees itself and reality is inherently limited and inflexible. Most people enjoy getting stuck inside an ego bubble and moving only where it resonates and fits their Ego, which blocks any real opportunity to evolve and find genuine teaching. Even if there are a dozen paths available to a person, a person would, of his own volition, refuse any true path of cultivation and go towards something that allows him to stay in a warm and cozy Ego swamp. You could also explain it with a law of physics, of water flowing down from the mountain looking for the path of least resistance, where a cultivation path would mean climbing the mountain and changing self in the process.

Scope of this Article

Pitfalls of cultivation is a broad topic that could be written into a thick 600 plus pages tome and still would not cover all flaws we have observed in thousands of practitioners over the years.

With rich experiences and developed Third Eye, we can identify key pitfalls and issues that prevent cultivators from progressing and developing. Awareness of these issues can save a practitioner from wasting his life at a dead end.

This writing will be limited, covering several of the key issues :

  • Inability to start
  • Scamgong Teachings
  • Full Glass Syndrome
  • False attainments as markers of progress

Inability to Start

One of the major pitfalls in cultivation is the inability to start walking on the path. There are many reasons why it happens. Some people are not ready for the path. Some do not have enough energy to start moving toward self-development. Some do not believe it is even possible.

The most common trend is waiting for the right moment to start. Many people stay inside their inner shells, waiting for some benevolent Magus - Dumb-ldor to knock on the door of their apartment, show them miracles and prove to their limited mindset that things are possible beyond their belief system and invite them to a magick school such as Hogwarts, and more so do it completely free of charge because they are special.

In reality, nobody is special, and everything has to be earned. Leechers and freeloaders are the most useless beings and never get anywhere in cultivation. Cultivation, in general, is not about taking; it is about doing work. Parasites can never develop past the very initial stage - it is a factual reality.

The second common trend is not believing in cultivation at all. A person may like and enjoy the idea of cultivation, and he can spend his whole life reading about cultivation in novels, and manga, playing games, watch movies and TV series. It is common to come across the topic and terms such as visualization of energies, chakras, astral travel, and lucid dreaming; even the Hollywood Inception movie is made around it.

Cultivation is like an open secret; it is practiced by many and widespread in society, but for people outside of the practice itself, it is a parallel reality. They don't believe it is possible. They don't even ask where all those ideas about Energies, souls, chakras, and otherworldly beings came from. There is no smoke without fire; signs in folklore tell us that there were practitioners spread across the planet many thousands of years ago, even before skills like writing and reading became widespread.

If, by chance, you are reading this and think that it is all a myth, you are only a short step behind from experiencing all of the above in your life - it does not take long (for most, they can start sensing electromagnetic energy between hands in the very first semester) when you begin training. And that is only the starting point - the most trivial and common experience; there is so much more to explore and unveil: energy bodies, astral travel, mental worlds, arcanas, and Magic tradition. Whatever is holding you back from starting this path is the first pitfall in cultivation.

Another case is people who choose to follow the flow. They are closed to experimentation, unwilling to make a step personally somewhere outside of their crowd. They ask a question. "If nobody around me cultivates, why would I do that?"

Some people in our school came to study because they met me and practically observed the difference in our capabilities and skills. The usual reaction is, oh, that person is a genius; he has a rare talent. I cannot become like that. But in reality, genuine cultivation can develop and nurture any skill or quality. We are not seeking geniuses or incredible talents. Talent can be created and developed through hard work. If you put a genius in a room where everyone is a genius, he would instantly become ordinary. In fact, what is more important, is a proper mindset and dedication that allows one to learn and grow.

Even then, those skills and abilities people can notice in the physical world are only at the tip of an iceberg compared to real attainments in higher realms. It further adds to the difficulty of understanding the benefits of cultivation that you cannot go inside someone's life and see his personal experience. Most people would never be able to tell an ordinary person from an immortal magus who lived hundreds of years cultivating through multiple incarnations. You can see external things and physical vessels - bodies, cars, homes, riches, physical attainments, even good body shape, can motivate people to do some work. But you don't see the internal world and how greatly internal conditions vary. Usually, people think that others see the world the same way. In reality, it is nothing like that. Even if we take a physical object like a pen and let different people see it, they will see it differently.

Life is not suffering

Most people internally have a mess, with uncontrolled internal dialogue, rampaging emotions, mental parasites, clinging, attachments, and mundane desires. It is a self-torture lifestyle that affects all perception channels. Many people believe life is suffering to the point of making a religious cult out of the concept and setting their goal to cease personal existence permanently; Life is not suffering if you cultivate genuine values and properties.

It is impossible to explain how much benefit and better life quality you can obtain via proper internal arts and magic training. It is as if you have been sailing in a water stream on a tiny wooden boat, controlled by emotions and things happening in life. And then you go into a comfortable spaceship that can take you anywhere you wish with a finger flick. Many things will lose value, but you will obtain a wider horizon and perspective in life.

Jeff Bezos paid billions to get closer to orbit and see the cosmos from the tiny window, while cultivators can freely travel through the vast deep space and explore other planets and realms. It is a skill that takes years to develop but cannot be equalized with any material value.

Scamgong Teachings

The course of cultivation is a riddle full of trials and challenges; on that path, you eventually meet "Teachers." Gurus who bait onto the path, saying it is all safe and well known, and all you need to do is stand on this plot of land, graze grass, and bow to your spiritual leader's image daily. Count 10,000 days, and you will get close to ascension in higher realms. In reality, those spiritual leaders are victims of pitfalls as well, and they are similar to shepherds who grow and bring sheep (followers) to their end. The end is death, and while death is an inevitable experience for all living beings, the path to it and the gains (experiences) you (your soul) may acquire in this life can be hugely different.

Imagine going to a school and studying; there are grades, exams, and stages until you graduate. Some people come to school, but instead of studying and progressing, they play games or get distracted by side activities. You may not even realize that you are in the school, what the goals are, and how to progress. People get lost in life, and that is where Scamgong teachers appear and say that the meaning is this or that. You end up spending your lifetime doing meaningless work, believing it will let you progress spiritually and ascend eventually.

Cultivation is not about growing sheep; it is not about amassing a large following, becoming a celebrity, and going around at concerts talking about buzzwords - spirituality, "saving the world, " and "becoming a better person." While that kind of public Teacher attracts the masses, it is nothing different from fire attracting moths to their demise.

Scamgong teachers generate a smoke field that prevents people from finding real knowledge and training that could change a life and make a difference. For one real school out there, there are hundreds of scams.

It gets worse when most scamgong teachers teach schizophrenic ideas and spread autism and delusion, like a belief in 7=4 or the zodiac or any other medieval rubbish. It is why many people who could do well in cultivation prefer to stay away from the esoteric after seeing multiple frauds and mentally unstable fanatics preaching nonsense. Going towards the mystical pathway with such teachers would often mean going broke, becoming impotent, and starving to death while sitting 20 hours a day on a concrete floor.

Full Glass Syndrome

You cannot teach someone who already thinks he knows everything. His container is full and not open to any teaching, wisdom, learning, or practices. Such students, even with some minor attainments, skills, or abilities developed, can be a lost cause, as they cannot develop further. Being perpetually stuck in development is the worst nightmare of any cultivator, and this pitfall is certainly making many people stuck.

Building the Foundation

Imagine building a tower. You have rushed through your life and thrown many materials together into a huge, tall garbage mountain. You are proud of your work and accumulation. It is very easy to delude oneself into believing that a garbage pile is a pile of rare materials and priceless knowledge. While your accumulation may look massive and contain a lot of courses, books, different schools and teachings, and stuff, the lousy quality of your foundation would prevent you from ever advancing further in cultivation.

You cannot build any proper structure on top of an already existing garbage mountain; you would have to clean up the place, unlearn and remove all the rubbish, which would take as much time as it took to construct the mountain, if not more.

Ariving at Destination

You cannot transport a person to Rome if he already thinks he is in Rome.
You cannot train and evolve someone into a Magus if he already thinks and believes he is a Magus.

Many people read about cultivation, imagine it, fantasize about it, and ultimately think it is cultivation. They never actually walked the real path, never even made the first step. You can't know what is in Rome until you get there and look around for yourself. But people with this pitfall tend to overthink, to imagine they are already there. They are often forum trolls, "know it all," discussing which path of cultivation is better, despite the obvious reality they have not made it past the first step in any of the paths.

Think about reading books. You could read books and even chapter titles and think you know everything. But reading titles, compared to knowing the full content of a book, and fully understanding and practically applying it in action is a heaven and earth difference.

Another example to further illustrate the point. Most people have experience of an Ocean; most have been on beaches, swimming around in the ocean. You could say and think that you know and experienced it. But what do you truly know about the ocean? Dipping your toes on a shoreline a few meters deep into the water is a good example of superficial understanding.

The ocean's depths, plunging to several kilometers beneath its surface, present an enigmatic realm that remains shrouded in mystery despite modern civilization, science, and technology advancements. These depths encompass a colossal expanse of water, dwarfing the land masses that dominate our planet. In fact, approximately 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by the ocean, while a mere 29% comprises land areas. Yet, most of this immense aquatic realm remains unexplored due to the inherent challenges associated with investigating the deep sea.

Feeling Special - The chosen one Syndrome

Feeling special is one of the sub-items of Full Glass Syndrome. It is a common pitfall for many people who wander into any self-development; as soon as you make one short step advancing from the common swamp around self, you start believing that you are the only one, the chosen one, the special being. This disease is very common among self-initiates, as they fall into a delusion of grandeur that they have made some unique breakthroughs on the path. If they would ever join a good school, they would have to face reality and realize they are like 1st graders coming to university, far below anyone's level of development.

Generally speaking, many people who seek cultivation are in it for some dopamine rush, to feel special, belong to an exclusive group or caste, boost self-esteem, grow immense Ego, and look at everyone else like garbage. It is not said or verbalized; a person often may not realize what truly drives him and conceal it with any noble buzzwords read in books.

Real cultivation is nothing like that; it is more like challenging work on self and routine training. You find an issue and work with it until it gets fixed. You develop a proper skillset step by step. So when reality does not meet expectations, people drop out or go out there to seek cheap thrills, psychedelics, some special seminars, and fancy gurus. People could spend many years traveling searching for special teaching, spend all their savings in 6-7 digits, pass some trials to get accepted, and take pride in being a part of an "uber unique ancient lineage."

Unfortunately, for most people who get deep into a pitfall, it also means ending the development path in this life. The more you invest into a dead end, the more difficult it will be to turn back and say no, I am nothing special, and my imperfections and flaws have brainwashed me. The time you spend thinking you are special and unique is an utter waste of life.

Bookshelf Sickness

Bookshelf sickness is a very widespread syndrome in Esoteric Circles. Often on the opposite side of the spectrum with scamgong teachers, these people did not have any direct teacher and did not attend any school training; in general, they barely ever practice but read books on various topics like Magic, spirituality, alchemy, philosophy, neigong, shamanism, and so forth.

These people produce countless discussions of various gradation of mental illness about topics in which they have zero practical experience but only compare different books and citations. Constantly referring to one or another spiritual authority or guru, who cannot be wrong.

This audience is doing great work of creating persona cults as praising authors of books and not being able to verify nonsense from truth creates a circle-jerking motivation. Praise the author = boost your Ego as you are the reader and consumer of his product.

Books and written works, or sometimes even prerecorded lectures of various teachers, are considered the holy grail and word of god that must be followed and trusted blindly. They essentially turn the "esoteric path" into a religious path of blind faith and belief.

I have looked into esoteric and Magic bookshelves over the years, and only a few books can even be considered worth browsing through. Even the top readable literature on the topic contains dozens of critical errors and missing critical pieces of knowledge. The information is often intentionally missing or altered, as those teachings were never meant to be shared via books. People often think that knowledge passes through oral tradition, not books, but even that is untrue.

If we talk about any internal, spiritual, and esoteric teaching, the essence of teaching comes from the energy and mental imprints shared by the Teacher. Who could record it in words and pass it via a book?
Observe the massive deviation between the 3D Earth model and the 2D - map. Can anyone describe a 12-dimensional object in the 2-dimensional space of a book? The language humans use in any country does not even have terms that would be able to represent spiritual realms.

There is no precedent of successful development case from reading books alone on a spiritual path.
To no one's surprise, Mother Seagull feeds her children with fish caught in the ocean. She does not feed them with images or words describing a fish. The young Seagull, taking in the food, is able to grow, learn, and develop to a point where he can travel on his own and hunt for a fish. Again, a real one, not lectures, words, or books describing a fish.

False Attainments as Markers of Progress

While this is also a section of pitfalls, this section is more of a comedy relief for readers. Unfortunately, the things listed here are not made up and are real stories.

As we have observed in public forums where self-initiates go, many nonsensical deviations are linked to "high spiritual attainments." In other words, unless your an idiot and get a certain deviation, people in those circles won't see you as an advanced or spiritual being.

Without having a proper foundation in tradition and having developed extrasensory perception skills and a Third Eye, those practitioners stuck in the stone age of spirituality rely on some primitive signs to evaluate progression.

Imagine if, instead of using precise scientific metrics and tests, you would have to rely on zodiac signs or tea leaves fortune telling to evaluate things and use that information as feedback to plan further actions. Think about doctors planning surgical operations based on changes in weather or economists applying economic policies depending on the aftertaste in the mouth. It sounds ridiculous, but it is exactly what happens. Self-initiates and quacks worldwide use tell-tale signs and beliefs to evaluate progress. It helps them massively to reinforce delusion and false beliefs in their path.

Sweet Saliva
Daoist couch-forum practitioners reported that one of their traditional tests is tasting each other spit. A master would spit in the student's mouth, and vice versa, to taste each other saliva. Sweet saliva is a sign of a massive spiritual attainment called Amrita or an Elixir of Life.

In the real world, sweet saliva is also a sign of another massive attainment called Diabetes, an extremely widespread condition, even more so among Daoists with little gym training and poor diets.

Visual glitches
Many people report that "Seeing Light" or "Light Halo" after effects are signs of meditation and spiritual development attainment. They are oblivious that light is everywhere; we are the beings of light in a light world, and everything glows constantly. Just because you momentarily see some light does not mean you have reached enlightenment or a person you are looking at has reached a profound state of "Jhanna." You are merely seeing a thing that is casual and always exists.

You could also be glitching, hallucinating, and having many other issues associated with unhealthy practices.

Throat ache and neck pain
Some practitioners associate with growing Nimbus and lots of high-frequency energy on high chakras. (In other words, physical tension is associated with spiritual growth).

Karma Clearing
People believe that when some bad things happen to their life, some misfortune is all a result of bad karma, and it is cleared up due to their spiritual work.

Belly growing
Do you think potbelly or beer belly is a sign of spiritual development? Well, Daoists do. It is a sign of developed lower Dan Tien; there is even a reference point in old Daoist statues with massive bellies.
I have seen Gurus, who explain their unsightly physiques with proper internal cultivation. Having muscle is bad for your Qi circulation; doing heavy weights and going to the gym ruins your "energy body."

Crown Chakra
A common thing in Yogi circles is the belief that you get a vertical skull growth or softening in the crown chakra, a sign of great attainment and enlightenment.

Detoxication of the Body
Rawfoodism, raw vegan, and fasting cults link the body's pain and suffering from dehydration and malnutrition to miracle healing and detoxing. This way, you can detox all the way toward a corpse, and many of the cult followers have gone to the final destination. Jasmuheen and many other Cult Leaders promote breatharianism, autonomy, prana eating, and other "attainments" as a sign of spiritual progress. You are not spiritual unless you don't eat and don't go to the toilet.

2023 Neirong