attaining mental clarity

Attaining mental clarity


You say that practicing chi kung is a good way to develop mental clarity. One of the conditions to practice chi kung is not to think of anything. But many Westerners are worried that if they do not think of anything, they may become stupid. How do you reconcile these two concepts?

— Matthew, USA


Thank you for asking this question. This question has confused many people. As you have rightly said, many people, especially in the West, are worried when they are asked not to think of anything.

Not to think of anything, or keeping their mind free of thoughts, is one of the two necessary conditions to practice genuine chi kung. The other necessary condition is to be relaxed.

In chi kung jargon, these two conditions are said to be in a chi kung state of mind. In other words, when a person is in a chi kung state of mind, he is relaxed and free of thoughts at the same time.

To be in a chi kung state of mind is an essential condition to practice chi kung. If a person is not in a chi kung state of mind, he is not practicing chi kung, although he may use chi kung techniques.

A good analogy is Taijiquan, usually called Tai Chi Chuan in English. Many people say that they practice Taijiquan, which is a wonderful internal martial art, because they use Taijiquan techniques. Actually they do not practice Taijiquan, because there is nothing internal and nothing martial in what they do.

"Chi kung state of mind" is a modern term, coined by the great chi kung master, Yan Xin, of China. In the past it was referred to as "entering silence".

One of the necessary two conditions to practice genuine chi kung is to free the mind of all thoughts. If he has practiced genuine chi kung daily for six months, he has freed his mind of all thoughts for six months. By then freeing the mind of all thoughts will have become habitual for him.

In other words, it has become habitual for him to have mental clarity, which will enable him to have better result no matter what he does. Hence practicing chi kung -- genuine chi kung, not just exercise that uses chi kung techniques -- is a very good way to develop mental clarity.

A main reason why some people are worried to free their mind of all thoughts is because they are worried that by freeing their mind of all thoughts they may be unable to think. Willingly freeing the mind of all thoughts and the inability to think are totally different issues. For example, willingly not wanting to move vigorously, like sitting on a chair, and an inability to move vigorously, like not being able to play games, are totally different issues.

When a person succeeds in freeing his (or her) mind of all thoughts, he has mental clarity. When he has mental clarity, when he chooses to think or intellectualize, he can have much better result.

Today, a major problem faced by most people is that they cannot free their mind of all thoughts. They think or intellectualize unnecessarily.

The above is taken from Question 2 February 2019 Part 3 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.


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