How often have you been in a meditation or tai chi or qigong class and the teacher says, “Imagine ……a ball of white light between your palms or energy flowing into your crown”? The list is endless for the experiences we might be asked to imagine or visualize before we have actually felt them.
My teacher Grand Master Tsai would always say to newcomers, “Qi is real if you feel it; Qi is fake if you don’t”. Isn’t that the way with most things, until we feel a measurable sensation we assume our experience is imaginary. For some the experience of energy in Qigong practice can remain in the imaginary realm for a long time before palpable experience is felt.
Qigong is an art and science. Qigong means energy cultivation or the effort we apply to understanding and cultivating the energy system of the body. We eat, drink and nourish ourselves with food and water, without ever realizing we have an energetic component to the body that needs to be nourished and balanced. Not only balanced, but aligned and activated if we are to stay youthful and harmoniously connected with our universe. That is why the ancients practiced Qigong. They understood that as human beings we are connected to nature and the infinite universe. This knowledge of internal cultivation has been preserved for the benefit of all humans desiring to awaken into universal consciousness.
While qigong is an ancient science in Eastern civilizations, it is just beginning to be understood in Western culture. What do we mean by the words internal energy cultivation? Just the word internal will leave some people scratching their heads. Internal in the West is mainly the realm for doctors and scientists with their complicated technology that can peer within our body.
Few humans will ever contemplate or explore their inner landscape unless directed to do so and even then inside is felt to be where the brain or guts are. We appear to think from our heads and of course we can have a lot of sensation in the digestive area of the abdomen. Pain or pleasure may localize our internal attention briefly, but in an isolated way. Internal then might be experienced as a place of involuntary body responses or imagination, something hidden from ordinary sight.
Why bring attention or awareness to our internal landscape? Every practice that aims at cultivating awareness, peace and compassion will have techniques to guide the awareness within to contemplate the source of thought or feeling. The reason for this practice is to tune out the external stimulus and our reactions to it long enough to become aware of the source of our thinking.
As we become more comfortable with this internal vision, we discover that thought can be experienced outside of the head. It is a misconception that thinking originates from the brain. The brain is for the body physiology. Thought is of the mind, which is an energy field of consciousness. It is a fluid field or stream of energy that can be focused and expanded into infinite possibilities.
When our perceptions of the world are continuously external we are living in a finite expression of the mind and as we will see, the past. Our physical body is one such finite expression. What makes living organisms unique is the integration of infinite spirit and energy with the physical body. Modern science is now able to demonstrate through traditional means of observation and measurement that everything is energy. All matter at the atomic level is wave vibration and atoms themselves are 99% space.
I believe this space is there so that we may, with our mental spirit, interact with all fields of energy. Creation begins in the thought energy before it becomes manifest in the perceivable world. Everything we are experiencing with our senses has already occurred in a very real, but invisible field of consciousness. Imagination is a powerful state of mental spirit that, as an energy field, can begin to inform the receptive fields of energy around us. The manifest world is always past the moment of creation.
There is a beautiful practice in ancient Asian Buddhism called ‘turning the light around’, the light being a natural expression of the expanded mind or mental spirit. We turn our own light upon itself to discover the source of mental spirit. On the path to discovering this source we develop awareness of the internal landscape or the energy fields of the body. It is a truly amazing journey that will bring light and expansion to the mind and body. What we focus on receives energy. This positive meditation on the source of light within cultivates that life affirming energy into our fields of consciousness.
In an energy cultivation program we prepare our body, energy and spirit for growth and refinement. Mind and breath coming together in harmony are at the root of the practice. Wherever we focus mindfulness and breathe into the body we have begun the practice of cultivating our energy fields.
The human being in made up of conscious universal energy. There is a primordial essence, energy and spirit that consciously integrate to become the human experience of body, breath and mind. By having a practice that balances and nourishes these primary energies internally we can have a positive effect on our health. In traditional Chinese Medicine Qigong is a primary healthcare practice that dates back thousands of years.
In our Qigong system the breath and mental spirit are connected to powerful internal energy centers within to cultivate additional energy in these fields. Energy that gives us strength, endurance, fortitude and protection can be felt. With consistent practice imbalances in our energy fields are balanced and harmonized with live giving energies.
Having an internal cultivation practice allows this access. Having only an external awareness of self and others brings serious limitation to the process of healing and growth. In the external perception we are limited to the manifest world, which as stated is always in the past.
This brings us to the concept of imagination and how people define this energy state. Having a good imagination is complimented and seen as a fertile state. If someone says you have no imagination they are seeing you as deficient in some way. The mental spirit of imagining always precedes manifestation; not the other way around. The fertility of the mind to create is a natural state of being inspired by the universal consciousness, of which we are part. Lack of imagination can be a natural time of rest or a diminished connection to the universal energies that are around us.
The practice of Qigong helps to restore and nourish these primordial connections so that our energy states can be in balance and aligned with infinite creative source. When practicing these internal techniques many will say, “But aren’t I just imagining it”.
How else is the energy going to know what you desire to manifest if you don’t fertilize the fields with your mental spirit first?
Return Qi and Breath to the Roots, 2 Day Workshop is a great foundation for cultivating breath awareness and internal life-force energy.