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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sense or Senseless? by J. Reynolds Nelson

High level Qigong Masters develop their sense of Qi, through sight and touch, and more in their practice and may begin to use these characteristics outwardly.

While some Qigong Masters use their skill for martial purposes, many go on to use their special abilities in a medical capacity to help others. One special characteristic they have in common is that their senses are highly developed. They are able to see their patients in ways lower level practitioners are not. They see the circulation of energy, and are able to diagnose without Western scientific methods to a high degree of certainty. They may be able to move their energy into patients to augment the opening of blockages, even heal the patient. More research is being published now on these phenomena than ever before. Certainly, this area is controversial because of its lack of method of empirical measurements. It is often exploited by individuals of lesser character, but however predominately they may figure, we should not discount those few with genuine extra sensory ability. 

The expression of sensitivity on a spiritual level is one of the more difficult characteristics to develop for all practitioners of the Chinese internal arts. However, it is as fundamental to our training, as is the development of sensitivity on the Qi and Jing level. Indeed, in our culture we have many clues that this sensitivity exists even in our language. Take for example the phrases, "you could smell the fear on him," "it made my hair stand on end," "I could see that one was trouble from the start," "I should have listened to my instincts." 

On a spiritual level, we need to develop the sensitivity to recognize the sensitivity to recognize the development of danger before it occurs. Our perceptions must broaden beyond mere experience to sense all the elements of our environment as we pass through it. Being here now leaves little room for random voices in our mind or runaway emotions, both of which cloud our sensitivity. As both hunter and prey, our lives depend heavily on our ability to sense our way through the day. Those individuals characterized as insensitive seem to blunder their way from one disaster to the next. In a way, they develop the sense of finding trouble or fault in all things around them, stuck in a downward spiral of self-destruction. 

By being sensitive to the pattern and spirit of those around us, we can learn to find ways to avoid those of lesser character or be in harmony with balanced individuals without the loss of our own boundaries. However, if the need arises for the display of Jing or Qi, being in touch on a sensory level with those around us better prepares us to act more immediately. 

Learning to develop our sensory perception and awareness to a high level can benefit our training in many ways. It can develop our character and skills, as a martial artist or health practitioner beyond measure. It can help us to be in immediate harmony with those around us. It can broaden our experience to sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and sensations denied those who cut themselves off from life's fullness. Emotion and base instincts obscure the senses from reaching our true nature and deny us the ability to perceive. 

The development of greater sensitivity challenges many of our more base characteristics but likewise rewards us with a more peaceful and rewarding existence. And while it may be difficult to acheive, it is not beyond the grasp of any of us willing to invest in loss.

Qi Magazine - Issue 45 - Fall 1999