Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Qi is the Medicine
An Editorial by Michael Tse
Qi Magazine | Issue 71 | June 2004
What do you feel when you practise Qigong? There are so many answers. Sometimes you will feel feelings, sometimes you will feel emotional and maybe feel like crying. Sometimes you might even feel like laughing. Some people will say they feel peaceful, more aware of the Qi flowing inside the body, pulsing and some people will even see colours, pictures, people, scenery and even smell things. There are so many different feelings.
When you practise movement, we usually feel good, warm and the breathing is very deep. Sometimes though, you might feel stiff or ache. This is quite normal because when you move, you open your body up and allow the Qi to flow all around it and find any problems you might have. It is like water washing the dirt out of your clothes. Qi cleans up the internal organs and even your joints, muscles, skin and bones. Qigong is like giving your body a good service, the same you do with your car. If you always maintain your body and keep it in good condition how can you not be healthy? This is one area that Western medicine misses and is going in the wrong direction.
Practising Qigong movements rids us of bad, old energy, opening up the channels and acupuncture points and stimulating the internal organs. It keeps the flexibility in our joints and maintains our muscles and the whole body. Then we can be healthy. So when we do this we must have some sensations in the body. This is normal because you are releasing all your problems, which have no other way to release or recover. Actually the feelings are usually good, just like having a good massage. That is why we must move regularly. If we do not move the body, we will become lazy and the more we do not move, the lazier we become. Move more and enjoy the movement and particularly the results and feeling afterwards. The second part to Qigong is meditation, which comes after the movement. This helps us to recharge our Qi and lets the Qi settle at the Dantian, the centre of the body. In Qigong we have a term, “Collecting Medicine”. What is the medicine? The medicine is Qi, which we collect from nature.
When we move, we collect Qi from nature and this penetrates the body and becomes part of the body and supports the energy we need and so we feel better. However, without meditation, the Qi is too active and so we can become too excited and use the Qi very quickly. Meditation lets the Qi settle down at the centre of the body so we can store it and not use it too quickly.
When we start to meditate, we will feel warm and the breathing will become strong and deep. Even then we will feel stiffness and aching in the body. Again this is normal. Many people today do not know the deeper feelings of the body. We should be able to feel the heart beat, the lungs breathing, even the liver and kidneys if we let our feelings go. In the beginning, you will feel the right and the wrong in the body. So you will notice things like your temperature, your breathing and the blockages in the body.
We must let go of all those feelings so the body can recover. The best method for clearing any problems is to let them release and then change the problem. After we let go the pain and stiffness will ease and then the warm, good, comfortable feelings will come. This is one of the principles of nature. If you can handle the difficulty then the situation will turn and become positive. The Qi will slowly flow through all the blockages and then you will feel much better.
Also when you start to meditate you will have a lot of thoughts going through your mind. This makes most people give up as they think to meditate the mind must be completely empty. Actually a lot of people, even people who are high level in mediation will have a busy mind when they start. Then later it clears up. I remember I was practising in the park once, when a man asked me “Do you need an empty mind to do meditation?” my answer to him was that meditation is about patience. He was very surprised by my answer as he thought that it was about emptying the mind. Therefore, many people with this concept cannot do meditation because they cannot empty their minds.
Actually, if someone can empty the mind straightaway every time, then they do not need to do meditation. In reality, the mind cannot be totally empty. You can feel peaceful, relaxed, calm and enjoy the meditation, but it is very rarely totally empty. However, some times it needs to be like this. For example, if you want to have dinner you need to either cook or go out to a restaurant, but without any preparation or action nothing will happen. So meditation is about patience. We just need to sit or stand, close the eyes and keep a good straight posture and then allow everything to happen. No matter what happens, it will be good for us. The first thing to happen will be the blockages will clear and so that is why we feel things that are not good or uncomfortable, even painful. But this is good as without letting these go, we cannot become stronger and healthier. Then we can reach a level, which is better and more enjoyable. After all the discomfort has gone, we will feel more relaxed, calmer and the Qi will flow through the body. So some parts of the body will feel pulsing or twitching, or certain muscles will vibrate. This is because the Qi needs to go to the tense areas. It is normal and very common and this is why certain areas feel as if they have more Qi than other areas.
Once we allow everything to happen, then a lot more things will start. Colours are very commonly seen. Bright colours mean the Qi is strong and weak colours when the Qi is weak. Green colours come from the liver, red from the heart, yellow from the spleen, white from the lungs and blue from the kidneys. If there are different colours, then they are usually between two of the organs which means you can see more than one organs’ Qi. When you are very healthy, you should see a rainbow of colors.
The deeper you go, the more you will see. Sometimes you might see yourself, your organs or skeleton. Sometimes you will not know what it is you can see. Just let it happen because this is the process of meditation and it is the Qi stimulating the body that causes all these things to happen. Qi is not just energy. It is more than that. It can carry messages and information. Some see pictures of the past or the future, but you must not take them too seriously. So when you are patient and allow everything to just happen you will enjoy the “ride” of meditation.
I remember one of my Qigong ancestors was a Daoist monk. When he sat down to meditate, he knew what was happening all around him for a about one mile. Why was this? It was because he was totally still and calm, so that he could pick up the messages and changes all around him. Of course, to do this you must have a very deep level of meditation.
If you can really let go and be patient, then you can reach a high level of human ability. But remember movement is as important as mediation so you can reach a high level with a healthy body.