Shen Experiences – What students are saying

I have uploaded some of the Shen experiences that, in their own words and diagrams, students are having while practicing and as a result of practicing the Four Shen Qigong. It takes time and focus to gain access to the awareness and perception that these Qigong can develop. However, some benefits are quick to attain.

Always amazed

Hi Des
lots of qi tonight. when doing the second exercise before raising the heavens and working with small intestine and heart I felt a really intense pressure/pulsing in both lower hands in pinky, then when focus moved to face I felt a pressure in the centre of both cheeks, pushing out when turning right, pushing in when turning left. I was able to turn both sensations on and off with external rotations of hands. My pinkies still feel full even now.
Also when parting the clouds I felt a band of heat about 3 inches wide down the centre of my face downwards which intensified the longer we did it. This dispersed within 2 repetitions of the final one to calm things down.
This stuff never ceases to amaze me!

The Orbits

Impression of the Dan tien – today more like a ball of sorbet – not cold, but that sort of texture (a little rough and bumpy) and solid, and a very pale green. Static.

Microcosmic orbit with hands in front of body – direction up on the inside/palms and down on the outside of the hands, mirroring the orbit, but not sure if that was the yi making it happen, or shen sensing it…More of this for future classes please, and the shen exercises. L.

Microcosmic Orbit

Here are some experiences of the micro macro cosmic orbit.
There are less gaps in the orbit but it doesn’t come easily. Doing the microcosmic orbit I sometimes get an ache in the back below the shoulder blades on either side. In the microcosmic orbit, when reaching the dan tian, it rolls and turns and sometimes pops out. I get a flow around and through the body in all diffeerent directions. The energies of each flow are slightly different, and some are not as clear as others. Once, overlooking some vibrating bushes in the garden, they seemed to come inside, and the dan tian sort of mirrored the vibrating bushes, like both outside and inside had turned inside out. P.

Listening Jing

Feedback from Thursday training – I liked the image of ‘layers’ of the dan tien/energy field – rather like an onion? Albeit with the layers going in different directions.

I found it hard to feel movement of the dan tien, though I did get a soft pulsing eventually (not in time with the heart or breath). An image that came to me – if you’ve watched the Fifth Element, a sphere, black but with red veins, like lava waiting to burst out – or was it cooling? Also a cool blue/white light – larger/the aura? While feeling for the ‘size’ of the dan tien, it felt as if it extended out to the arms when ‘holding the belly’ out – hollow, deep, like a bottomless pit (in a positive way). Body continues to feel transparent at times, hard to let go of it, I’m ‘aware’ I have arms, or am I just used to them being there and ‘feel’ what is expected? L.

Fabulous class tonight.

During the last bit of the session my chi was noisy, clattering around my body, heart beating fast until I turned into a large white ball on legs. (Not sure quite what that means)
What fun! L.

Please explain to me the level of “five eyes and six Shen Tong”

As I said in my initial answer, I am unfamiliar with the term “Five eyes, six Shen Tong” and therefore cannot give a definitive answer regarding its meaning. However I do have experience of the “five eyes” and the “Shen tong” and will share these in the hope that you can find your answer.

The five eyes

  • The five eyes are reference to the Yi and the Shen (the cognitive, reasoning brain and the consciousness) and is a guide, an example, of how they differ.
  • The first four eyes are connected to the Yi. Two are looking forward, to the future, and two are looking backward, to the past. Yes, physically we only have two eyes but this is representative of how the Yi views existence……….. in a linear fashion.
  • The fifth eye is our inner eye and is connected to the Shen. The Shen is not touched by, governed by, time. It “sees” without constraint. This “seeing” is the same as the “listening” that we do in Qigong. The simplest (although crude) way that I can describe it is that the Shen is a single point in existence that “sees”, experiences everything that surrounds it. When practicing Qigong we use Wuji (the nothingness that helps us realise that single point in existence) and then “listen”. “Seeing” and “listening” are only words and they mean the same thing when working with Qi………….. Go beyond their physical uses.

The Shen tong are the levels, spaces, dimensions, that you can attain through the practice of Shen Qigong. The term that I am most familiar with is “the great halls” (of the Shen).

I have no idea why this term, “Five eyes, six Shen Tong”, has limited the number to six but, after meditating on it, I suspect that the Master used the term as a reminder to his students that they must learn to separate the Yi from the Shen, to be able to access the Shen without the interference of the Yi in order to access these higher levels of existence.

Shared experiences

I was very interested last Thursday evening when you mentioned an experience of seeing golden globes and realised you were one of them.
I have never heard anyone talk about such a thing before, but I experienced a similar thing one day while walking through the town.
It was a feeling of overwhelming love, and there were spheres of something which had personalities which I took to be other people. Not golden, and I didn’t think of myself as one of them, more as an observer.

I am learning so much from your teaching. I like the way you discuss your own experiences. It helps to see the things that matter, and not overlook them or consider them unimportant.


Here are a few recent experiences I found interresting.

When doing the exercise like parting wild horses mane it felt as if both hands touched exactly the same spot.

When doing the condensing exercise (awareness of skin, then just inside, then bone, and then outside the body, I felt a lot going on just under the skin.

Best wishes

Poor Sleep

I am a bit unsure how to continue the practice with the Shen. I am curious to explore but I notice that my night sleep is really suffering as body and mind are very active. I cannot settle the Qi properly after practicing in the evenings it seems. I did find my hands being moved by Qi (as in the last section yesterday) quite effortless which feels amazing but my mind starts intervening afterwards and I get sort of anxious for whatever reason. So I wonder what to do with it. I have an inquisitive mind pattern which I do value in other fields but it gets exhausting in this case. I had vivid “daydreamings” and inner journey times in my life but it was a rollercoaster and confusing in the “real world” being with it so I properly “switched buttons again”. 

Reply from Des: Yes, practicing these Qigong in the evening can lead to poor sleep because you are still “buzzing” with the Shen active. That is why I have taught you some of the exercises that can reduce and eliminate this activity so that you can get a restful night.

For some practitioners it only takes a few repetitions, for others it can take ten minutes of (focused) repetition. At the end of the class we are time limited as to how long we spend on this but there is nothing to stop you continuing with any of these once the class is over.

The “intervening” is the Yi trying to take back control. It does not like it when it is not fully in control. It tries to find reason in everything and is determined not to cede to the Shen where “reason” is meaningless. We all experience this process and, like all other things in life, some get through it quicker than others.

The “rollercoaster” is normal too. The Yi works with language and with linear time. The Shen is not bound by either so these experiences (They can seem like distorted memories but are more often than not a revisit to what actually occurred rather than the selective memory of the Yi) and they are often at extreme speed. Extreme for the Yi but natural for the Shen. When things are moving at this speed, when questions are being answered before you can finish formulating the sentence, just ask your Shen to slow down. It is as simple as that. Ask it to slow down because your Yi (left brain) cannot keep up.

Take time, after the Shen Qigong class, to gently close things down. Use Pressing Palms in Calmness, or the structured scanning from the Crown down through each of the Chakras and let each close as you do so.

Qualities of Qi – Arm Yin & Yang

“Thank you for that and enjoyed last night again.

Just a quick one to say I really noticed the different temperatures on my arms.

On the outside of my arms it was like someone had rubbed Vicks on them, it was that strange menthol super coolness that you get when the air hits your skin.

It’s like you say some of the things are so odd, your brain tries to tell you they are not happening – later on it felt like I was moving my hands through golden syrup.

Which reminds me, think I will have some on a pancake today ( golden syrup not the Vicks) Haha. Have a good holiday weekend and happy trails.”

The first Shen Qigong – The rooting and connecting experienced.

Shen experiences - the rooting and grounding that can be felt tangibly.
#trueqigong #deslawton

The first Shen Qigong – The expansion experienced.

Shen experiences - The, tangible, expansion of awareness felt.
#trueqigong #deslawton

“Think being screwed into the ground stops the lift off! Very fizzy feet for a while afterwards. I’ve been blaming the 10 fundamentals for opening up more smell and sound (extra access via right ear) but this one would probably blow those out the water….”

From the initial exposure to Shen exercise 1

  • “I found the Shen exercise we did today very interesting and felt quite mentally settled after it. I feel this might be a very good exercise to do before my morning meditation – I usually do some form of qiqong, but this one seems particularly appropriate. Will try it out and see.”
  • “I enjoyed learning the shen qigong today. It has left me feeling calm and centered, like I would after meditation.”

Comparing exercises 1 & 2

  • “Hi Des, Here’s my feedback on the exercise we did: On the first one (with hands facing inward), I felt a great expansion within my body, so I felt like my whole body was filled and energised on the inside and my 3rd eye had expanded outward. On the other one (with hands facing out) I felt a great expansion outside my body. So I felt incredibly expanded so that I almost didn’t know where my body began or ended. Very hard to explain!”

    Yes, very hard to put into words that have, up till now, only been used to describe the physical. The outward expansion can often lead to your awareness being a single point that is both infinitely small and infinitely big at the same time. A real paradox of an experience when the body “disappears” as the barriers between physical and energetic are removed.

The first Shen Qigong – The awareness and experience deepens.

#trueqigong #shenqigong

The second Shen Qigong – The initial awareness from this exercise.

#trueqigong #shenqigong

Three experiences from the one session

Couple of things I noticed last night

  1. When we were doing the looking down between our fingers in the gap, I could almost see an oily film like the surface of a bubble. Not as coloured as that but moving on the surface in the same way.
  2. In the exercise before that, when I was raising my hands to the back of my head it was as if my head was taking up much more room at the front. Kind of like a big balloon or watermelon. My head itself didn’t feel bigger if that makes sense it just felt like it occupied more space.
  3. Also hard again to fall asleep. So I tried to concentrate on looking at inside of my eyelids. Saw new colour I’ve not really seen before, a swirling dark brown and red. Almost like paint being stirred.
  1. That “oily bubble” can appear as “light reflecting off of a cellophane film”, “vague colours swirling”, “oil on water”, etc. It’s great that you picked it up.
  2. What you were experiencing there was the expanse of the Qi (your awareness of the Qi outwith the physical body). This is partly what I meant when I said that both of the exercises lead to the same place………….. That enlarged space can be interpreted as being inside or outside but it is both.
  3. Great that you saw colours but remind me of the sleeping difficulty next week so that I can give you all a grounding exercise. The Shen Qigong can be like drinking a lot of strong coffee (with the exception of the twitchiness) before going to bed.

Interested in Qigong? Why not join our Qigong community on Facebook. We are a group of friendly practitioners who are keen to share their experience! Click here to request to join – San Bao Qigong

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