In Qigong, questions regarding whether our actions are physical or energetic, whether they are External or Internal, crops up regularly. Here are two such cases, the first has been raised on numerous occasions, the second is a new one for me.
Is your Qigong mindset physical or energetic?
While taking part in a course that involved energetic healing a student was instructed to take their shoes off so that they could “Connect with the earth”. The student complied with the instructor’s wishes but, quietly, questioned the reasoning. Later, I was asked for my opinion on the matter………. Firstly, I had some questions:
- Were the shoes flat, stable and comfortable?
- Did the student have socks on?
- Was the session being held indoors?
- Was there a carpet?
- What level/floor of the building was the lesson being held?
A lot of questions that led to the student smiling. Their suspicions had just been confirmed. To comply with the teacher’s rationale to “Connect with the earth” they would need to remove all the barriers between their feet and the earth. If a shoe is a barrier then so are socks, carpets, floor boards and foundations.
The connection is twofold. There is the physical connection, the rooting, that provides a stable platform and allows the body and mind to quieten. This gives greater access to and greater awareness of the Qi. If the student had been wearing unstable, uncomfortable, footwear then removing it would have been recommended.
There is also the energetic connection, the sinking of the Qi. We guide our Qi through Kidney 1 (the Bubbling Spring) to “connect”. It is the same point that is used for the physical rooting and it is this that can lead to some confusion. What are we connecting to? Go on, ask yourself that question……… What are you connecting to?
We are human. We are physical. We live on a planet and are attracted to it by gravity. We are bipedal so that connection is through our feet……………… rooting.
We are energy. We exist in the universe (to be more accurate, we exist in the Tao). There is no gravity attracting our Qi. We are surrounded by it and are an integral part of it. The connection to it is always there but the awareness of the connection is not. Using Qigong, we increase that awareness and we “connect” through the feet is because it is easier to focus through the same point for both purposes. Our Qi connection IS NOT limited to connecting to the planet. Think about it…………
Using Kidney 1 is not the only method used in Qigong, and in other energetic systems to connect with the universe. It is used because it is convenient. As your Qigong journey continues this will become apparent and you will realise that the term “Raise the Shen and sink the Qi” refers to many things.
“When you talk about the tip of the tongue touching the palate…. Well.. should I be removing my full upper denture in order to actually touch the physical palate? Or is it more an energy connection that will work “through” the denture material?
I know it seems a silly question, but it is nagging me to no ends.”
There are actually three different positions that are used in Qigong with this being the most used. The positions, through practice, determine the direction of flow and what Vessels are being used.
The position of the tongue is rather like the postures, stretches and tensions we use to help guide the Qi. By using this position we are “programming” our Yi to guide the Qi along the microcosmic orbit, flowing up Du Mai (Governing Vessel) and down Ren Mai (Conception Vessel).
As in Case 1, there is the physical aspect as well. This is the natural resting place of the tongue and, when breathing nasally, it keeps the mouth moist. Neither over or under salivating and removing the distraction that both of these can cause.
It is a misconception that the tongue needs to be in this position to create a bridge between Du Mai and Ren Mai. This misconception is the result of thinking physically rather than energetically. Both cases are examples of being tied to the physical. Physical or energetic………………… don’t mix them up.