Find the Qi and lose the physical
I have just read a short article about Qigong for beginners that is supposed to help them find the Qi. It gives the almost the same instructions that I received when studying Shiatsu. Both are wrong. Let me explain………
Both started with being in a comfortable stance……….. Fine so far but Wuji is far more than “a comfortable stance” with the knees slightly bent.
The second instruction was to rub the hands together, vigorously, for about two minutes. This “lets you feel the Qi”. Nope, this lets you experience the tingling from that physical stimulation. It is a physical effect created by a physical cause. It is nerve stimulation, not Qi.
Hold the hands together, in front of the chest, in the prayer posture for a few minutes. Then turn the palms to face the chest and feel the Qi. Nope, the stimulation of the nerves from that vigorous rubbing of the palms has reduced but it is still there and it is that what you will feel.
Hold the hands about 150mm apart and start moving them, slowly, towards and then away from each other. This lets you feel the waxing and waning of the Qi. Ah, once again, that physical stimulation is still there and it is it that you are experiencing.
Repeat this X amount of times. Sometimes it is over a hundred repetitions.
Using this method, the sensations felt can mimic those that are experienced when listening(using passive awareness) to the Qi. To really experience the Qi in all of its manifestations you need to work Internally and true Qigong does this by using various tools. Among these are the posture, the movement, the breath, the eyes, and the Yi (the brain). The Yi is the most important tool and, through practice, the rest are needed less and less.
Find the key to a new direction
Let’s have a look at what methods and tools we can use to find the Qi and truly experience it rather than physical sensations.
- Practice Wuji, refine it, find the stillness that it can bring. Stillness of the body and of the Yi and Shen.
- Practice any one of the Qigong exercises that you know. Practice them as #trueqigong and not merely as physical movements. Use the movements, the eyes and the breath to assist the Yi in guiding the Qi in the meridians (if you are doing a meridian based Qigong) that the exercise is used for.
- Don’t count the number of repetitions. Focus on the Qigong. You cannot truly focus on the Qigong if you are keeping count.
- When you feel that you have done enough, or when you start to lose focus, stop the exercise and stay in Wuji.
- Turn your palms up, keeping the arms relaxed. Listen to the Qi in your hands, just your hands to begin with. What are you sensing? Is it the same in both hands? Is it equally intense across the hands? Where is it most intense? Describe to yourself what you are experiencing in each finger.
- Turn the palms towards each other and note what changes, if any you are experiencing.
- Keep on hand still and, gently, move the other towards and away from it by about 30mm. What are you experiencing on the still hand?
- Change from a to and fro movement to a rolling movement by drawing circles with the hand (palms still facing each other). Change the direction. What are you sensing?
I have met many people who had been practicing “qigong” for years (over a decade in some cases) who had never actually experienced Qi. They had been working physically with no Internal activity at all. Experiencing Qi for the first time was a revelation that took them in a completely different direction, it took them on their own Qigong journey, their own adventure.
Qi manifests in a multitude of ways. Our Shen understands it but our Yi, being tied to the physical world, does not. Our Shen “speaks a different language” to the Yi and the Yi tries its best to translate non-physical experiences into the language of or physical life. I used to get frustrated at not being able to accurately describe my experiences with too many descriptions starting with “It feels a bit like……….” or “It is a mix of……………” When you truly experience Qi you will understand my frustration in not having the language. However, I learned to accept this and also to stop trying to make sense of everything that Qigong gifted me with. That is just the Yi trying to stay in control……………