Qigong works through a growing awareness and enhancement of the "Qi" within us, as well as surrounding us. A consistent qigong practice enlivens the many layers of the body from the physical to the energetic. Many studies prove enhanced physical, mental and emotional health from dedicated practice and integrated qigong instruction. One of the primary reasons individuals choose to learn qigong is because they seek a technique to help change unhealthy conditions.
Through my qigong experience over the past six years, I have learned that "Qi" is the body's medium to connect conscious and subconscious information. When I began my Yi Ren® qigong classes with Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun, he spoke about the Qi being the bridge between the mind and body and that the body alerts the conscious mind through various sensations. In fact, through practice we learn a new body language in order to fully and properly understand the meaning of the signals, needs and information from this communication. Once we have clear communication and understand the body messages, we are able to make necessary adjustments to change unhealthy old patterns and habits to new healthy ones.
Yi Ren Qigong offered me a way to proactively, safely and intelligently navigate through the process of change. The body and mind can function together seamlessly and effortlessly to provide accurate internal and external information for daily decision making. (1,2) The mind respects the body and the body respects the mind to collaborate on choices. Each and every organ system shares responsibility, therefore no system is over burdened. Change is an ongoing process in life. Having an effective way to make the best decisions in order to truly live a meaningful life is necessary.
In my experience, the old system of intellectual analysis simply does not necessarily lead to the right decisions or choices when desiring change. The mind is a wonderful system, but when it is not integrated with the entire body system, becomes overburdened, stressed and overwhelmed. Yes, the mind has its responsibility just as each organ system and each cell has its responsibility to contribute to the whole. We need to use the body's full intelligence to make positive and healthy changes.
Healthy information is information with integrity. Each organ has its own intrinsic nature. Bringing forth the highest potential from each system physically, emotionally and energetically is possible. Balance and respectful communication among all body systems, the brain being one of them, results in proper use of our body and mind, optimal change, true intelligence, complete reality, and fulfillment of our potential.
New Patterns Of Behavior
Every individual I know would agree that it is important and down-right essential to find what nourishes us and then adopt the nourishing behavior. Through cultural expectations in education, families, religion, work, etc. we perceive what is needed and strive to fulfill that expectation. Filling expectations results in good grades, being the family hero, contributing and being recognized by our religious center, being well paid, and generally being rewarded for adopting the expected behavior. It looks very good from the view of others' expectations, but on the other hand, the adopted behavior may be contradictory to our intrinsic nature, to our health and actually to "truth" or what should be done to nourish and nurture our authentic self.
As our Qi increases and the mind and body communicate more effectively, we experience greater awareness in regards to inconsistencies and unhealthy behavior in our daily lives. The whole idea of enhancing our Qi is to become more aware and to change our unhealthy patterns. In theory we all shake our heads, "yes", but what does this mean on a practical level? It means we will confront areas in our lives that need to change in order to be healthier and able to express our authentic nature.
The authentic nature of our being is the expression of our soul. Who are you? What does your soul wish to express? What if the soul's wish cannot harmoniously exist with your life's structure? This is a practical question. Qigong practice leads to complete reality. Sometimes reality can be shocking especially if it is completely contrary to your preconceived ideas, concepts, and the way you have constructed your entire life!
The Choice With Internal Wisdom and Guidance
The reality is that often times the choice comes to either follow your soul's message or the expectation of others. Are you here to develop your soul or to only please others? How much is enough to repress your soul? Sometimes minor adjustments in our life's situation will result in the needed correction to please the soul and others, but sometimes the adjustment needs to be dramatic.
How will we know what the soul really needs? If the body is awakened through Qigong practice or internal Qi cultivation, the body will faithfully and accurately communicate through specific sensations such as a vibration, pressure, warmth, cold, or tingling along certain organ meridian points. The sensations are definite and specific. There is no guessing involved. It is important to know the body's organ specific meridians as well as the organ specific correspondence with emotions and external stimuli. While the mind can conjure up all sorts of excuses and reasons to do this or that, the body knows truth and only communicates truth about internal and external information. The body is the soul's means to express truth and it is through the Qi that this communication happens.
While it may be uncomfortable and extremely difficult on every level to change situations in life to nourish your soul, is there really a choice? If you choose to disregard the body's message for change, aren't you going "against" your own true self? How can that possibly be acceptable? When your body is awakened, and your authentic self is awakened, I believe that you will agree with me that it cannot. Therefore, a conflict is created with increased awareness and internal awakening. You begin to realize that when a conflict is present, illness will soon follow if the conflict is not resolved in a timely manner. You cannot go against your true self and expect to lead a happy life. The soul seeks ways to express itself. It is best to not wait for the mid-life crisis or to find ways to suppress its expression through alcohol, drugs, food or other additions and behavior.
Change requires courage, dignity and loving-kindness for your authentic self. Once you choose to be guided by the complete reality of the soul, how can you be unhappy? Others around you may not be pleased that you are no longer fulfilling their expectations, but you begin to understand that this is your path of growth. You may soon realize your individualization process and your maturation. You will be aware of your uniqueness and see things differently from others. At the same time, you will understand others better. Once you find your way of life and appropriate communications with others, those in your life will ultimately respect your choice to be authentic. Or if they do not, so be it. Shakespeare wrote, "To Thine Own Self Be True".(3)
The Authentic Self Internal Realization
The authentic self does not strive or grasp excessively at life. The authentic self simply "is". Each soul is gifted with talents to be expressed. The way to best express the gifts is to relax the mind and let the Qi again bring the communication to the consciousness. This may be in the form of a new idea, clear vision, story or dream. Athletes, scientists, and artists all understand the concept of being "in the zone" where inspiration bubbles to the body and mind and manifests in exceptional ideas, creations and performances. It is not through strong intellectual effort but rather authentic talent and inspiration that the personal mind transcends limits and goes well beyond ordinary restrictions. Qi connects the conscious with the subconscious as well as the individual consciousness with the cosmic consciousness. New creation manifests from the authentic soul blending universal, earth and human consciousness.
Excess mental effort blocks universal expression. When the personal mind takes over to push through a project or endeavor, creativity and productivity are absent. Once inspired communication is received for a new project, mission, endeavor etc. it is then time to move forward with the logistics of the project. As Laozi said: "The state of Xuan (between zero and one) is the profound gate of internal cultivation and realization, as well as external recognition and understanding of the birth and development of all things.(4)
Joint Collaboration Oneness with the Tao
It is important for each individual to find their true nature and express it. Each and every individual fuels the collective consciousness. The trinity of heaven, earth and human collaborate only when the individual is expressing their authentic soul because the expression becomes filled with 1) effortless energy; 2) joy; 3) a natural selflessness of giving; and 4) sheer delight. Certainly with many inspirations there is a lot of work to do to bring it to its final stage, but the work does not have the connotation of boring, mundane or tedious because it is filled with enthusiasm and fun. The consciousness of inspiration then fills the hearts and souls of those who work on the project; the inspired consciousness fills the air; feeds the earth and continues to spread out to the cosmos.
Qigong practice allows us to learn our nature and guides us to express it. Courage, dignity and loving-kindness for our authentic self allows us to overcome the obstacles in order to become authentic souls collaborating with heaven and earth to bring harmony and health to our lives, our communities, the earth and beyond.
1.Guan-Cheng Sun, PhD. and Jill Gonet, MFA, "Cultivating the Shen and Nourishing the Spirit". Yang Sheng, August, 2011
2.Jill Gonet, MFA and Guan-Cheng Sun, PhD, "The Essential Work of Being One's Self". Yang Sheng, August, 2011
3."To thine own self be true" William Shakespeare, Posted by Grechen Covine, Under Spirit Jan. 7th, 2011 http:edenfeed.com/?p=696
4.Guan-Cheng Sun, PhD. and Jill Gonet, MFA. "The Art of Internal Observation and Panoramic Knowing: Laozi's Classic on the Way of Virtues." Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness. 2008. 18(1): 18:25.
Lauri Amidon is a Board Director of the Institute of Qigong and Integrative Medicine and a certified Yi Ren® Qigong instructor in Seattle WA. For the past six years, Lauri immersed herself in the study of Yi Ren Qigong as her qigong practice resulted in healing several chronic health conditions. Lauri's training is in classical ballet and various dance styles. As a certified Pilates instructor and 35 year yoga practitioner, Lauri found the integration of qigong to greatly enhance all movement modalities. Her interests include herbal medicine, astronomy and gardening.
©Qi Journal (reprinted from the Spring 2012 issue)