The idea for today’s post came to me during my Qigong meditation this morning. I try to practice my Qigong outside in the sunshine and fresh air whenever possible, like today. One of the Qigong forms I practice is Nourishing the Kidneys where you first bend forward toward the ground and then bend backward looking up at the sky.
Look up at the sky on a bright sunny day. What do you see? Very little really, just a vast expanse of blue sky with some white clouds floating by. If you were only awake and outside during the day you would have no idea that the vast expanse of the Universe was being hidden from you by the blazing light of the Sun. The Sun is but one tiny star among infinite others. But, because the Sun is so close to us, its light illuminates our atmosphere so brightly that it blots out everything else that would normally be visible in the sky.
Look up at that same sky on a clear dark night, preferably far from the lights of a city. What do you see? The vast expanse of the Universe stretches out before you with countless stars and galaxies. If you have a telescope or binoculars, take them out and look at the sky with those. With the aid of such a tool you can peer even further into the Universe revealing even more than you can see with the unaided eye. But, only at night, when the Sun has set.
Does that universe not exist during the day? Of course it does. The brightness of the Sun just blots it all out. What you can see during the day is but an infinitesimal bit of what really exists. What you can see during the day prevents you from seeing all that really exists. Your conscious mind is like the blazing Sun. Whenever you are awake, your conscious mind blazes brightly. It illuminates everything in your immediate surroundings and hides everything else in reality, just like the Sun does during the day.
The first step of Zen and/or Qigong meditation is to quiet your mind — to “set your sun” so to speak, to reach the state of Mushin/Wuxin or Still Mind. Only then are you able to see the fullness of reality which your conscious mind hides from you. A simple way to begin the process of calming your mind is through beginning Qigong exercises such as the individual meditative movements or motion meditations. While practicing one of the simple repetitive motions, first focus on slowly counting. By focusing on one simple thing, like counting, it prevents your mind from wandering to other thoughts. Then let go of the counting and simply focus on your slow steady breathing as you slowly move through the simple repetitive motion. Then finally let go of your focus on the breathing and just focus on nothing, Mushin/Wuxin. The more advanced your Qigong meditation becomes the more it magnifies what you can feel/see once your mind has been stilled, like using a telescope at night after the sun has set.
During Qigong meditation some of the first signs of this new awakening may be the physical sensations of feeling qi and/or visual effects like seeing the path of qi or seeing auras. Stay tuned for a future post about how to feel your qi/chi. Once you can feel your qi you will be on the right path of Qigong to control/flow your qi.
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-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino
The Tai Chi Meditative Movements are based on those in Chi – Discovering Your Life Energy