When I first read this book on German, it seemed to me lack content. Months of work, soul-searching and practise later, I know it is a rare gem among its kind. First and foremost in its English edition, not the horrible German mistranslation by Windpferd publishing. If there are two books I'd recommend to anyone, than they would be this volume and "Opening the Energy Gates of Your body", who really belong together.
In the Qigong book you learn how to obtain body awareness, how to work with and through your energy body, and how to get the energy flowing again. This is a necessary skill best learned before trying to tackle the material contained herein. "Relaxing" builds on the material from the Qigong book and gives it a new, unparalleled depth.
In this volume you learn to deepen your breath and your awareness thereof, how to concentrate and how to combine this with the standing Qigong methods in a full standing meditation. Furthermore a snippet of Wu style Taiji is included and deepened into a full moving meditation, again expanding on a more well-known Taoist art and showing its true depth.
But its greatest strength this book shows as a guide towards what can happen for and with the practitioner if he (or she) starts the spiritual journey. Again and again I have been referring to this volume, which I am now deeply attached to, to know what's going on with me and within me as practise deepens.
The things within this book may well be part of your life for many, many years before you can think about practising stuff from its successor, "The Great Stillness". But this book starts the process of uniting energy work practise and awareness training into a full meditation that will benefit anyone who wants to have access to a fully healthy body, a deep capacity for feeling within and without, and a calm, relaxed mind.
"Opening the Energy Gates" can be learned to a decent degree within months. This manual can change your life if you want to. Get both, have an open mind, and you won't regret it.
Having started with "Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body" (*****) by the same author, followed by the 2 volume set "Relaxing into Your Being: The Water Method of Taoist Meditation Series, Vol. 1" (this book) and "The Great Stillness: The Water Method of Taoist Meditation Series, Vol. 2" I must admit my ratings go from great over OK to outspoken disappointment - in this review I shall refer to the latter two books simply as Volume 1 and Volume 2.
Volume 1 (***) takes you through the curriculum of "Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body", only in way less detail and with many additional personal experiences and anecdotes. I find the book inspiring on its own, but the only thing that really kept me going was the promise that Volume 2 would come down to some serious techniques and give me new insight.
Volume 2 (*) fails completely in my view. In comparison with "Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body" and Volume 1 there remains only hints at what higher-level meditation experiences can feel like, yet nothing not already covered to help get you there. In summary, Volume 2 presents no alchemy whatsoever, except of course for a) a limited introduction to the Bagua (eight trigram) circle-walk as well as b) hints on how to increase the sensitivity of your fingertips in order to improve your sex-life...?!?
Honestly, if Volume 2 was the accidental sequel to this book, I would have forgiven the author for screwing up, but advertising the two as the natural extensions of each other makes the series appear to me as both a joke and a rip-off as the promises from Volume 1 for what to expect in Volume 2 turns out to evaporate just like morning dew on hot summer day. Thus, three stars for Volume 1 as an inspiring read and only one star for the series as "a whole".