When interrupting thoughts enter my mind and I'm trying to “smile from my heart” against it, I feel like I have just abruptly stopped a rush of chi in my head which makes me a bit uncomfortable.
-- Dan, Holland
Dan's explanation of “non-thought” and “no-thought” in our Shaolin Discussion Forum on mind training at http://www.wongkiewkit.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1006&perpage=10&pagenumber=2 will be very helpful in identifying and then overcoming your problem.
What you did was using thoughts to stop thoughts. This resulted in blocking a flow of chi that you had generated in your chi kung training, and was uncomfortable or might bring about a headarche. If this is done intensely or for a long time, it brings harmful effect. Many people suffer from such a harmful effect without knowing it.
A related problem is to build up thoughts upon thoughts. This problem is pervasive in Western culture, especially amongst intellectuals. Ironically, such people when they cram too many thoughts into their heads, become dull and often depressed.
So, what should you, and these people, do? Actually it is very simple, but may not be easy for most people. Aim for non-thought, which is different from no-thought. In practical terms, do not think of anything. Just let you chi flow. Do not attempt to smile from your heart. Just smile from your heart. Do not smile from your heart to stop your train of thoughts. Just smile from your heart.
For those who have not been trained in such skills described above, those instructions are just hollow words. They have no difficulty with the dictionary meaning of the words, but they do not really know what the words mean. For example, they do not really know what actually is “Just let your chi flow” or “Just smile from your heart”. This is one of many reasons why unless he is already an expert, one cannot get the best benefits of an art by learning from a book or a video.
But you will have no difficulty to following these instructions because you have been trained to do so in my chi kung class. You may not be able to perform these instructions as skillfully as your seniors, or you may not even be able to perform these instructions well. But the important point is that you are able to perform these instructions. With time and practice, you will be able to do them well — letting your chi flow and smiling from your heart.
The following philosophical point will be illuminating and help to clear some mental blockage. Consciously or subconsciously, many people are afraid to let go of all thoughts. They reason, mistakenly, that if they have no thoughts they may become a moron. In many ways, this is a linguistic or cultural problem brought about by the Western concept of “the supremacy of the intellect”. It is also a manifestation of dualistic thinking, resulting in a failure to realize that purposefully choosing not to think is very different from not being able to think.
The ability to think well is enhanced when the mind is clear. Have you ever wondered what is actually meant when we say “the mind is clear”? It means the mind is cleared of all thoughts. When the mind has been cleared of all thoughts, we bring forth the one thought in question and focus on it. This is attaining a one-pointed mind, which means the mind is cleared of all irrelevant thoughts.
How do you attain a clear mind or a one-pointed mind? We do this all the time in our chi kung or kungfu training! For example, before you perform “Lifting the Sky” or the Horse-Riding Stance, you stand upright, relax, clear your mind of all thoughts and smile from your heart. Then as you perform the chi kung exercise or stance, you gently focus on your breathing. This is mind training — aiming at non-thought or a one-pointed mind. For us, it is not a question of how to do it, but a question of how well or badly we do it.
The above is taken from Question 3 Jan 2004 Part 2 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.
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