Meditation, the paramount way to Enlightenment


To deal with the above situation, I usually pause for a moment then continue again. But when I do “Swaying in the Breeze”, it seems that I always end up going into fairly vigorous Self-Manifested Qi Movement, instead of gently swaying. It is like every dynamic pattern inevitably ends up in self-manifested movement unless I consciously tell myself to slow down. In this case, should I just let the qi flow vigorously, or use my mind to slow the qi down into a “swaying” mode?

— Chris, Singapore


Yours is a normal progression of qigong development, except that your progress is fast and steep. What you did was correct. Depending on your objectives of that particular session and aims of your overall training as well as your developmental stage, you may let the qi flow vigorously, tell it to slow down, or perform other relevant tasks. You understand the philosophy and have the methods, but it still needs time to develop your skills.

Generally, beginners do not move much because they are tensed. Gradually as they relax, they move a little, then more and more. This progression from not moving to moving a little may take many months or even years for those who cannot relax. It also takes many months to progress from moving a little to moving a lot as the students relax more and their qi flow becomes vigorous.

Then, as much blockage has been cleared by the vigorous qi flow, their movements start to slow down. This progression may take many months. This gentle “Swaying in the Breeze” of advanced students is different from the earlier “Swaying in the Breeze” of beginning students. The beginning students sway gently because their qi flow is not powerful yet and they may not be totally relaxed. The advanced students sway gently because as there is not much blockage to cause vigorous movements, their qi, though powerful, flows smoothly.

After a few months, the advanced students may not move much. They remain flowingly still. This is what past masters referred to as “external stillness internal movement”. The main focus now is not cleansing but building. Qi accumulates at their dan tian into a ball, then into a pearl of energy, and at the same time permeates their whole body revitalizing every cell.

In the past when qigong standards were incomparably high, this was the stage when actual qi cultivation began — for mind expansion, martial art mastery and spiritual fulfillment. Earlier stages were preliminary, preparing the students to be healthy and fit for the long cultivation ahead.

At the highest levels of modern qigong practice, but actually the starting levels of past cultivators, practitioners remain still, usually in a lotus position. Different traditions may have different approaches, methodologies and goals.

In Taoist qigong, practitioners gradually let their pearl of energy rise from their abdominal dan tian at their qi-hai energy point to their crown dan tian at their bai-hui energy point, infuse their consciousness into this peral of energy, and emerge out of their physical body as immortals to roam heavenly realms. In other Taoist traditions, practitioners focus on the pearl of energy at their abdominal dan tian, let it expand and permeate their whole body in what is called the “Big Universe”, then merge into the cosmos to attain the Tao.

In Buddhist qigong, practitioners also focus on the pearl of qi at their abdominal dan tian. Their purpose, however, is to attain no-thought. When no-thought is attained, in a flash of momentless moment, they suddenly realize that their personal mind is an illusion, and they merge into the Universal Mind attaining Enlightenment. Such cultivation takes many, many years, or lifetimes.

Understanding this will give members of our Shaolin Wahnam family a better perspective in their training. Our attainments are often regarded as fantastic when compared to what most other qigong practitioners of the world today attain. But compared to past cultivators or to our potential, most of us are only at the beginning.

Nevertheless, most of our Shaolin Wahnam members are not ready for, or even interested in, the highest spiritual attainment. For most of us, our main concerns are to be free from pain and illness, and to have good health and vitality to enjoy our daily work and play for a long, long time. Hence, the earlier stages of “Self-Manifested Qi Movement” and “Swaying in the Breeze” are sufficient, and once a while we may go into “Flowing Stillness” to experience cosmic joys or to be with God.

The above is taken from Question 5 of November 2004 Part 1 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.


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