YANG-QI EXERCISE (YANG QIGONG)
YANG-QI EXERCISE (YANG QIGONG).
Let’s deal with its description in full to use it as an example explaining meditation practical principles and showing the common method of all the exercises practiced in Wu Chan Zhong Qigong.
With Big Tree exercise we generated much Qi energy.
Now this energy must be refined, made better, transformed into the “lighter” Yang form, so it would become a new fraction and rise higher; easily going along the channels; it would start nourishing the brain and developing the spirit.
This exercise is called Yang-Qigong or just Yang-Qi for it makes Qi more Yang.
Sit down with your spine straight. Relax… Put your palms together on the Lower Dantian... Men cover the left hand with the right. Women do visa versa. To provide better energy generating under your palms, put the thumb of the upper hand onto the centre of the lower palm covering Laogung point.
The tongue as usual is pressed against the upper palate.
Imagine a small red hot ball in the abdomen under your palms. It may take a few seconds.
Visualization of the ball is done only in the very beginning and at the end when it is specially mentioned. You don’t need to hold the image during the exercise.
No exercise of Wu Chan Zhong Qigong need constant maintaining of the image..
In the beginning of Yang-Qigong you may imagine for some time that it is hot in the area of the Lower Dantian; then, as in all the other exercises, you just stare at the level of the Lower Dantian, “just somewhere there;” no concentration or focusing on some particular point or some particular object…
Keep watching... “the small ball seems to be, seems not to be”... Feel this “something” within your abdomen...
As you proceed with the exercise you are bound to go deeper in thought. To return you to the process of the exercise they usually say: “watch the ball” or “feel the ball”. Some people get confused. They think they must see the real ball again and again and bring its image again and again. This is wrong.
The word “ball” is used here (as in Big Tree exercise) just because it takes too much time to explain all the details. What it always means is to imagine, to create an image in your mind of (or just to feel) some area. In this case it is your abdomen.
You do not need to imagine any internal organs or try to see your intestines or navel. You do not have to analyze your sensations or trace what is going on in your belly area. Do not hold either the image of the ball, its red color or the sensation of warmth.
You should feel the whole area in a relaxed manner.
It takes too long to give a detailed explanation each time. That is why when there is an instruction to do Yang-Qigong, they simply say “watch the ball” or “feel the ball”. Do not reflect on or try to find something within your abdomen. No one told you to have the ball in your belly or that due to practice it could appear in your belly. These terms are used to ease the understanding for newcomers to get the required sensation… Later you just simply watch and feel the Lower Dantian. This verbal signal (“feel the ball” or “watch the ball”) is to remind the practitioner to go on with the exercise.
How does one produce an image of the red hot ball in the very beginning?
You should not go into detail. It is a momentary image. The kind that you get in your head if you hear someone say the word “bacon”… You imagine something, don’t you? There is something that flashed across your mind, isn’t it? Just this, and no more then this, and like this you should imagine the ball in the beginning of the exercise. This happens to most people quite naturally when they say aloud “red hot ball”. Even these words are enough to trigger the energy change in your body. Now all you need is a regular practice, however long it takes – five years, ten years, or more…
Basically, if you do not feel the ball really well, but want to feel it better, you may keep doing Yang-Qi for several weeks or months in such a manner that for the first 15 minutes you are to squeeze the ball and let it go, making it bigger-smaller, bigger-smaller... Then you just “watch it”. But the sensation of the ball is not the most important…
There are some processes that with all our desire are impossible to make happen. If you are possessed with picturing the ball during all of the exercise, problems may arise with your health that are caused by an overexcited mind. And the main thing about this is that fundamental Qigong state – the “pause” -- may never happen!
Some people are very proud of the fact that they have been diligently practicing Yang-Qigong for a long time, and have developed a stable and constant feeling of the ball in their belly; they can even “see” it.
This, however, is not what we need. We are looking not for the sensation but for a “pause”. Only in this basic state real transformations in the body, energy and soul start. These sensations or that sensations are only psychosomatic phenomena that should not be paid attention to, for they excite the mind and prevent the practitioner from getting the state of a “pause”.
Of course, there is no such a thing as a ball in the belly; and there can never be. The “ball” image is just a mental formula; a psychophysical clue to the Mind. Energy channels, balls, Dantians are concepts, and we need them to exchange one mental affection for the other. In fact, nothing should be taken in literal fashion. Balls and channels are not in the body, they are somewhere else; and in a different way…One day you will understand that with the practice; but to be able to practice correctly you will have to follow the instructions precisely and imagine everything as it is told: channels – in the body, balls – in Dantians and so on, for there is a direct connection; we are the indivisible creatures and our body is the sequel of our mind.…
We have explained the word “ball”. Now it is time to talk about the other part of the expression – “to watch the ball” and “to feel the ball”.
By the way of perception people are divided into two types: some are visuals, they are good at imagining and actually see the reflections of their mind and memory. This is for them when it is said “to watch the ball”. The other type is kinesthetics. Kinesthetics usually have poor visual imagination but an excellent ability to sense. That is why if they can not “see the red ball” they have opportunity to “feel hot ball”. Both mean the same and both are right. For some people the first is easier, for the others – the second…
Thus, the sensation of the ball and its vision in the Lower Dantian are THE STYLES OF MEDITATION; methods of keeping slight attention on the object of meditation, in this case the Lower Dantian.
What is going on during this?
Let us come back to the theory of meditation.
Now the Qigong State “Pause” is of a particular interest. It may be achieved with the help of various methods.
1. Some static methods:
•The slightest concentration on one object (when you “watch” one object for a long time, just keeping it in the area of your attention). You may use some item or a part of your body or even your energy systems.
• Different ways to breathe and control of your breath.
• Special exercises to generate and refine energy (different traditions give this energy different names: Prana, Ki, Qi and so on.) Once you have generated much energy you may achieve the state of “Pause”.
• Prayers, mantras (often direct transmission from a teacher is required.)
• «Meditation on emptiness», which is considered by the Greatest acknowledged systems to be the highest and the most fundamental and advanced practice called ChanTso (Chinese), Zazen (Japanese) or “sit still and wait quiet” (English). In this type of exercising the practitioner achieves “pause”, “silence” or “stoppage” with no mediation on an object… with proper experience and some natural ability... you mind is quiet, lucid and clear... everything gets dissolved... there is no thought, no mind or body...
2. Active/dynamic meditation.
• Spontaneous fast movements:
«Spontaneous Qigong» - this is an exercise of an advanced level.
Energy circulates in our body along the channels. Like water along the hose. If the pressure is strong and there is much water (energy)and if the hose is flexible and light in weight (the body has learnt to relax) then similar to the water pressure jerking the hose from one side to another your energy will stir your arms and legs, all your body, clearing the debris and blocked up segments...
When you let it go, just watching and being relaxed, you may achieve the basic State of Qigong – “pause”.
In any case, this exercise is very useful as energy clears all the debris and blocks on its way. The practitioner naturally improves his health without long term practicing of complex Yoga and TaiChi that will never become as individualized, effective and useful for the adept as his own spontaneous Qigong...
Now we are interested in the first and the last points of achieving the basic Qigong State.
These are slight concentration (meditation at an object) and meditation on Emptiness.
Meditation “on an object” is a starting point in progressing along the path towards “meditation on Emptiness” – if you start concentrating (slightly) on something, then, as it has already been mentioned, you may achieve the basic States of Qigong.
What does this “slight concentration” mean?
Methodology of WCZ Qigong suggests this formula: “Seems to be, seems not to be”.
Divide the strength of your attention into one million parts and have one part at your disposal; this tiny part, so small and imperceptible, that it seems barely to exist. But still there is something…
See (feel) your Lower Dantian in Yang-Qigong exercise delicately, feathery –light, with this tiny part of your attention.
Do not reproach yourself for still having thoughts in your mind, as if they have broken loose and become even more chaotic then before the meditation.
This is the energy activity, it is as if someone threw a stone into a lake and all the dregs rose from the bottom. There is the time to wait for these dregs to settle down again.
Do not try to calm your thoughts down.Just don’t pay attention to them.
Like tea-leaves, as soon as you start fishing them out you encourage a stronger storm in the teacup. Master your patience, and the tea-leaves will settle down on their own…
The state of “silence” or “pause” is impossible to force or achieve by the power of will, but it is quite possible to create special energy and information conditions contributing to these basic States of Qigong. This is what we do when we do Qigong exercises, especially ancient and fundamental Yang-Qi, the basic exercise of Buddhas.
You should not get nervous and increase the intensity of concentration, if you do not feel any warmth in your belly or “see” anything. As it has been mentioned, some processes cannot be sped up. However, to postpone the “pause” is quite simple…
Treat Qigong practice as running around a frozen lake.
Suppose, you live on the lake bank and one day you decide to go out for a jog. It is a December, and you go out and start running…
This is nice and useful.
However, if you suddenly decide to make the lake melt by running around it faster and longer… this is a similar idea to the one that more Qigong exercising and concentration may contribute to a “pause” and better skills.
Keep jogging every day. You will become healthier, fresher, more cheerful and attractive. And don’t you worry in vain. There are some things that don’t depend on us.
Everything follows its natural course. One day the spring comes and the lake melts itself.
So, now we are doing Yang-Qigong regularly for an achievable time and intensity every day.
So it goes…
Imagine a red hot sphere in the Lower Dantian.
Feeling is a good tool which suppresses the process of analyzing...
Slowly come to the state of relaxation and dissolving… and only on the periphery of your awareness you slightly feel or watch the area of the Lower Dantian... Do not control the posture, forget everything. Do not move...
See (feel) the Lower Dantian, “seems to be, seems not to be”.
If you catch yourself thinking, just return your slightest quiet attention to the Lower Dantian again and again.
Do not fight with your thoughts for any effort of will or a wish is already an action...
The thoughts will stop one day ON THEIR OWN. With no effort or participation from you. When you finally stop taking part in the process, when you are lost in contemplation of the Dantian as you are watching the fire... and forget all the world... So, just be watching the Dantian... and wait… And nothing extra...watch the ball and do not be fighting with thoughts. Having caught yourself for the ten thousandth time being deep in thought but not exercising... – softly return your attention to the Lower Dantian... Seems to be, seems not to be...
Do not fuss and do not get fixed on the results. See beyond any concept or idea, do not get stuck in self-admiration or assessing your achievement… and do not feel keenly the lack of correspondence with your own expectations of the “right” effect. When there is a result it will differ from the one you expect, suppose, predict…
Lucid and light like a fluff in the air follows His Way Bodhisattva... It seems that a slightest breath of wind might carry Him away... but sooner the Sun rises in the West than the Bodhisattva swerves from His Way!
Do not force yourself to see the ball. Do not have questions about its shape or size. The red hot ball is not a real object... treat it as a mental formula, the ‘clue’... Do not slow down the processes going on in your body and mind... do not invent anything...how do you know what it should be like and if it should be at all? Let it be as good as it gets... Everything changes. Now it is red, in a second it may be suddenly yellow, then of another color, shape and size... Is it a ball or your delusion? Maybe there is nothing at all... Everything changes in Universe... Do not stick to the image of the ball. Do not interfere with your mind with what is to happen and develop in its natural way regardless of your concepts. If you are not ready to recognize it and are trying to go beyond the Law of Universe, the Law will not suffer or change, you will suffer. So, let it go according to the Law of Universe, for according to the Law of Nature, everything changes... You are to imagine a red hot ball and then not to make obstacles for it, just watch the changes, watch, allowing any changes... Watch the area. If such a trifle prevents acting in accord with Tao, how can we act effectively in the really tough situations of life? Just watch and let it be... One day something will happen and it will be an unexpected and unpredicted result... anyway, it can’t be expressed... explained or forecasted.
There may occur various phenomena. Once, you might feel the fire. The warmth and heat will rise and fill all the body… And then – “pause”... That is what should be accomplished...
Do not get attached, do not seek or expect... Let your Existence flow according to the natural law of Tao, and not to your expectations or wishes. At first you imagine a red hot ball and then let it be...
All the static Qigong exercises are to be done for no longer than 30 minutes at this point. In the end of the exercise imagine the red hot ball again and shrink it into the dot.
Pat your body and shake yourself… Rub your face and massage your ears...
End of exercise.
ATTENTION!: Women in the period of menstruation and pregnancy should hold the ball in front of the Middle Dantian. While completing the exercise they should place the ball into the Middle Dantian and then send it down Zhong-Mai channel to the Lower Dantian, where they shrink it into a dot.