Qigong practices

“Now we will practice the simplest meditation on the concentration of attention, so that you can learn how to control the Qi energy.  But before that, I would like to repeat again for those who came late.  In addition to the material body, the human also has an energy body.  The energy body consists of an aura, chakras, energy channels, meridians, and special reservoirs for energy accumulation.  Each of them has its own name.  I will tell you later in detail about them, depending on the meditation.” 

“And what is a chakra?” I asked. 

“Chakra is a tiny spot on the human body through which different energies enter and exit.   It works….so for you it would be easier to understand… like an iris or diaphragm in a camera.  Do you know what that is?”

We nodded assent. 

“It is the same way with chakras; they instantly open and instantly close.”

“And does all that energy really come out in that instant?” Slava was surprised. 

“Well, it’s not like emptying a bucket of water.  After all, a human being is an energy and material creature, where energy and matter exist by their own laws and time, however they are fully interconnected and interdependent.  Any other questions?” Everyone was silent.  “Then let’s begin.  Right now, your objective is to learn to feel inside of yourselves the movement of air, the movement of Qi.  You all think that you perfectly understand and feel yourselves.  But I’m pretty sure that you can’t see right now, for example, the toes of your feet.  Why?  Because you don’t have internal vision.  Internal vision, just like internal feeling, can be trained with time, in everyday training.  That’s why we will start with the simplest and easiest meditation.  We’ll try to learn to control thoughts and feelings, to evoke them and to guide them.

“All right, now make yourselves comfortable and relax.  Calm your emotions.  You may close your eyes, so nothing will distract you.  Dissolve all your thoughts and everyday problems in the emptiness.”

As soon as that phrase was spoken, I recalled a pile of tiny household chores.  “Gosh!  Those impudent thoughts again,”  I thought.  “You were told to get dissolved.”  I tried again to not think about anything.

“Concentrate on the tip of your nose…”

With closed eyes I tried to “see” the tip of the nose, guided more by my internal feelings.  I felt my eyes slightly strain. 

“Now breathe in deeply, slowly and gradually.  First, with the bottom of the stomach, then with the stomach, chest, raising shoulders… Slightly hold your breath… Slowly breathe out...  We concentrate our internal vision only on the tip of the nose… You should feel and imagine that the tip of your nose is like a small light bulb or small flame, and it flames up with your every breath out...  Breathe in… Breathe out… Breathe in… Breathe out… The flame flares up more and more…”

At first, I felt a slight burning and pricking in my nose.  There was such a feeling as if I were filled with something material, like a jug with water.  Later it seemed to me that in the area of the nose tip appeared a dark distant contour of a purple tiny spot.  At first, I couldn’t clearly focus on it.  Finally, when I was able to get it fixed, it started to lighten up from inside.  Moreover, when breathing in, the light narrowed, and when breathing out, it widened.  When I got used to breathing this way, I heard the words of Sensei.

“Now switch your attention to another part of meditation.  Slightly raise your hands a little forward, palms facing the earth.  Breathe in as usual: through the bottom of the stomach, then through the stomach and chest.  Your breath out should be directed through the shoulders, hands, to the center of your palms, where the chakras of the hands are located, and through them into the earth.  Imagine that something is flowing through your hands, Qi energy, or light, or water, and then overflows into the earth.  This flow rises from the bottom of the stomach up to your chest, and there it is split up in two streamlets and overflows into the earth through your shoulders, arms, hands.  Concentrate all your attention on the feeling of that movement… Breathe in… Breathe out… Breathe in… Breathe out…”

A thought flashed across my mind,  “What does it mean to breathe through the hands?  How can it be?” I even panicked a little.  Sensei, obviously feeling my confusion, came up and placed his palms over mine, without touching the skin.  After some time, my palms began to burn, like two stoves, spreading warmth from their center to the periphery.  And what astonished me most of all was that I really felt how tiny warm streamlets were pouring through my shoulders.  In the region of my elbows they weakened, but I felt them very well overflowing through my palms.  Deep in these new, unusual feelings, I asked myself,  “How am I doing this?” While I was thinking it over, I lost the feeling of the streamlets.  I had to concentrate again.  In general, it worked with variable success.  After one of my next attempts, I again heard Sensei’s voice. 

“Close the palms of your hands in front of you, firmly grip them so that the chakras of the hands are closed and the movement of energy stopped.  Take two deep, fast breaths in and out… Lower your hands and open your eyes.”

After the meditation, when we started to share impressions, I understood that everyone experienced it differently.  Tatyana, for example, didn’t see the flame; instead of it she felt some kind of light movement through her hands.  Andrew had a shiver in his legs and light dizziness.  Kostya shrugged his shoulders and answered,  “I didn’t feel anything special, except a pins and needles sensation.  But that is quite a normal reaction resulting from the oversaturation of the body with oxygen.”

“After the third, fourth breath in, yes,”  answered the Teacher.  “But at the beginning the brain fixes the thought, in particular before the movement of the Qi.  And if you listen to yourself, relax and breathe in deeply, you will immediately feel a widening or paresthesia feeling in the head, or in other words, a certain process that develops there.  That is exactly what you need to understand, what is moving there, and learn to control it.”

“Why didn’t I feel anything?” ­asked a disappointed Slava. 

“And what did you think about?” Sensei asked half in jest.

It turned out that Slava didn’t really know what he had been expecting, maybe some kind of a miracle.  Sensei replied,  “Right, that’s the reason you didn’t feel anything, because you concentrated your thoughts not on the work but on waiting for some extraordinary miracle.  But there won’t be a miracle until you create it yourself...  You shouldn’t wait for anything extraordinary just because you breathe correctly or concentrate on something.  No.  The biggest miracle is you, yourself, as a Human!  After all, where does great spiritual Art lead?  It helps you become Human so that you gradually wake up and recall the knowledge that was given to you primordially.  These meditations are merely a means of awakening from spiritual lethargy and recalling long-hidden and forgotten information that you knew and used once upon a time.”   

Continuation of practice:

Sensei glanced at his watch.

“Alright guys, it’s time to begin a meditation, otherwise our conversation might go on for a long time.  Today, we will repeat for some of you and some of you will try to work through the chakras of legs and the chakra ‘Hara’.”

“Where are they located?” asked Stas.

“The chakras of the legs are located in the center of the feet, and the ‘Hara’ chakra is three fingers lower than the navel in the point of ‘Dan Tien’.  Translated from Japanese, ‘Hara’ means belly.  This is a center of the human and it practically coincides with the center of gravity, both in the physical and the geometrical sense.  This meditation, just as the previous one, is focused on concentration of attention… And now stand up, relax, put your legs as wide as your shoulders…”

We stood up in a comfortable way, relaxed, and concentrated on performing the meditation.

“Now we’ll breathe in as usual, in other words, voluntary, and breathe out into the bowl-like ‘Hara’, as if filling it with ‘Qi’ energy until you have a feeling of light heaviness.  When the ‘Hara’ fills up, you should let this ‘Qi’ energy pass through from ‘Hara’ into the legs and through the center of the feet into the earth…”

For some time I drove this energy only with my thought.  But then my imagination switched to an evidently real feeling of my belly bursting as if water had been poured into me.  Meanwhile Sensei reminded us,  “When ‘Hara’ is filled up, you should pour this energy out through the legs, through the center of your feet into the ground.”

I tried again to do it in my imagination, mentally working on my body.  Gradually, I started to feel some kind of warmth, starting with a small streamlet.  It wasn’t wholly but only partially felt in the area of my shin and, especially, my foot.  Even though it was pretty cold outside, my feet in my boots started gradually to warm up.  When I noticed that I switched to thinking about how I was able to do it, the feelings somehow disappeared as I gradually deepened my mind into logic.  But just as I tried again to concentrate, Sensei notified us that the meditation was over.

“Take two deep breathes in and out.  Sharply clench your fists, open up your eyes.”

I looked at my watch; only about ten minutes had passed.  To me it had seemed like a lot more.  Someone noticed that the snow had melted under us.  We looked around with amazement.  Under some of the senior guys, the thawed patches were about 40 centimeters in diameter, and under us just ordinary ones. 

Eugene glanced at Stas and declared,  “You see, and you complained, ‘It’s so cold, it would be good now to be in Africa.’ There’s no need for you to go to Africa.  There are already palm trees starting to grow under your legs.”

Addressing Sensei, he added,  “I suspected a long time ago that something was not right with his origin; he is always drawn to Papuans.”

After another series of jokes, when everybody calmed down a bit, Sensei said that we could work on this meditation on our own at home.

“And on the ‘Flower of Lotus’ as well?” asked Kostya.

“Of course.  Pay special attention to it and do it every free minute.”

“When will we see results?”

“Don’t worry, if you aren’t lazy, the results won’t make you wait.”

Excerpt from a book Anastasia Novykh «Sensei of Shambala. Book I»

  
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