The above image is my artist representation of what it looks like to see the path of Chi (Qi/Ki) 氣. As your hand moves through your field of vision it looks like it creates a short trail of distortion similar to looking through rippling water.
When studying and practicing Qigong (Chi Kung) you may begin to experience various new phenomena. The first such phenomenon is often to feel the flow of Chi (Qi/Ki) in different ways from sensations of tingling, heat, cold or sparking, to feeling waves of pressure or magnetic repulsion. I began to feel Chi within a few months after I first started practicing Qigong, primarily in the hands, where multiple meridians end. I’ll expand upon feeling Chi in a future post along with some simple exercises to help you feel your Chi.
Eventually, you may begin to see Chi or the effects of Chi. After about a year of practicing Qigong daily, including Baduanjin Qigong Stretching Warmups, Tai Chi Meditative Movements and Zhan Zhuang Standing Meditation, I began to notice some new visual phenomena. I first noticed this while practicing Tai Chi Motion Meditation #7, Single Whip & Split. While practicing outside in the sunshine, I would sometimes catch a glimpse in my peripheral vision of a subtle distortion field trailing behind my hand as it passed through my field of vision. This distortion is similar to looking through rippling water or shimmering heat. It is most noticeable when the hand passes in front of a textured background, such as sunlit grass. In time I was able to see this distortion field in my peripheral vision while performing most Qigong moves where the hand passes through the field of vision in Baduanjin, Tai Chi Meditative Movements and the Tai Chi Yang 24 form. This visual effect is only visible in the peripheral vision while in a state of zen meditation as your hand passes through your field of vision. It disappears if you look directly at the moving hand.
While feeling and seeing the effects of Chi are not the end goals of Qigong practice, they can be indications that you are on the right path and making progress sensing, strengthening and flowing your Chi, which is the internal foundation of Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan).[UPDATE: My followup post: Piercing the Matrix with Qigong explores additional visual phenomena and the underlying foundation of reality, namely that Everything is Energy.]
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-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino