CLOSING THE EYES TO NOURISH THE SPIRIT
My question refers to chi sleep. Is it possible to fall asleep focusing on your dan tian or chi and wake up refreshed and invigorated with energy? If so, is it possible to chi sleep for 3 hours and wake up and feel as if you had just slept for 10 hours?
— Stephen, USA
What you refer to is called “bei mu yang shen” in Chinese, which means “closing the eyes to nourish the spirit”. The practitioner sits in a cross-legged, single-lotus or double lotus position. He may just sit upright on a hard seat with his legs firmly on the ground and his hands gently resting on his thighs. Normally he does not focus on his dan tian or anywhere; he just closes his eyes and relax. Sometimes he may go into sleep while sitting upright. When he wakes up he feels fresh.
This technique of “closing the eyes to nourish the spirit” is usually done for a short period, like a few minutes, but when the practitioner wakes up he feels like having slept for one or two hours. With practice, the technique may be lengthened to 3 hours and have the benefit of having slept for 10 hours. In fact in his later years, my master, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, did not sleep in bed. Every night he would ”close the eyes to nourish the spirit".
When I wrote my book. “The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu” a few years ago, I often employed this technique. That book was actually written in just one month, but I worked everyday from 3 o'clock in the afternoon to about 6 o'clock in the early morning without stopping, except for showers and meals. I would then “close my eyes to nourish my spirit” for a few minutes, and woke up at about 6 to do my other daily work until 3 o'clock when I would resume my writing. The fact that despite not having normal sleep for a month, I still could have the sanity and energy to complete my book without affecting my normal daily duties, speaks well for the technique of “closing the eye to nourish the spirit”
This technique, unlike many other meditation techniques, is very safe, and can be learnt from books or from my description above, and practiced on your own. It is very useful when you feel tired or sleepy but do not have a bed to lie down. Just find a suitable place to “close the eyes to nourish the spirit” for a few minutes, and you will find yourself fresh when you awake.
The above is taken from Question 5 of Jun 2002 Part 1 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.
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