Qi Sensitivity and Awareness
Some of my favourite translations for Qi are Circulation, Communication, Information, and especially ‘Qualities of Aliveness.’
There are many other interesting translations, but the first time you experience Qi, it will almost always be a shift of state that happens with your whole Body and Being. There is nothing to do or fix. Just focus on the interaction. Qi only exists in function and interaction.
Just Play and Explore!
Take a moment and feel into what that implies. Take a moment and interact with/as your sinuses as you breathe in and out through your nose.
The best way to explore the many qualities of your Aliveness, and your sinuses is to Ting Jin 聽勁– feel into the experience. Listen with your whole Body and Being. (You can learn more about Ting Jin in the next article: Listening with Your Whole Body and Being).
The capacity to slow down and feel into what is already there is a kind of magic and a kind of medicine.
It can also be a doorway to unlock much deeper levels of interaction, experience, and practice.
It is an instinct to experience and explore the unknown. Find that quality of attention and ‘listening’ that has no way to predict what will happen next. Connecting with the Mystery (Xuan) is funny that way…
You are not experiencing something new; you are actually experiencing what is already there.
It is natural to be excited and full of wonder when you begin having consistent and progressive Qi sensations and experiences. Feeling the Aliveness of the Universe is no small thing. It can also be very distracting and one-dimensional if you get caught up in the packaging.
When you think of Qi as a substance, you will rely mostly on the predictive mind, or your Left Brain. This understanding focuses on quantity. When you see Qi sensations as interaction, a complete and embodied felt-sense experience, the qualities of sensation and shifts in your State of Being become a symphony of tangible sensation – and possibly even an ocean of meaningful connection.
As your Right Brain, you are the Universe experiencing itself…
This is such an important aspect of Qi Gong that there is a separate book in the series that I am writing, that focuses primarily on that subject. It is called Volume Three – Cultivating Qi Awareness and Sensitivity.
The most common practice to cultivate a direct awareness of Qi, is to create a Qi Ball between your hands. Then La 拉 (make more room) between your hands and then Na 拏 (bring together) your palms, feeling into all of the sensations in your hands. After a while, you will feel like you are holding a ball of ‘energy.’
Notice the ‘object’ – and gently return to interaction with sensation and today’s qualities of Aliveness or Qi.
If you commit some time to these aspects of Qi Gong practice, you can confirm an increase in both Qi sensitivity and Qi activity when experiencing any (or all) of the following initial Qi sensations:
- Warmth and in your hands.
- Numbness and tingling in your palms and fingers.
- A mild vibration or ‘buzzing’ feeling in your forearms and hands.
- A dissolving sensation of your hands, arms, or sometimes your whole body.
- An enhanced sense of dexterity and coordination.
- Your hands and forearms may feel inflated like a balloon.
- You can see white irregular shapes or spots under the skin of your palms.
- Feelings of contentment, euphoria, love, acceptance, and emotional release.
- Your palms feel like magnets, gently pushing away from each other.
- A sphere of energetic interaction that can feel almost solid – often visible inside of the mind.
After getting comfortable with these sensations, and any images you may have of your Qi Ball, you have an opportunity to discern the sensations of shape, size, place, strength, colour, power, and Wild magic, that makes up this tangible experience. These many sensations of Life, light, state, emotion, reverence, and the Sacred, are the most normal aspects of being aware and being sensitive to what is, and was, always happening.
Being Life in a Living Universe can take some getting used to.
Do You Need to Feel Qi to Practice Qi Gong?
If Qi means subtle and meaningful sensations, then yes!
By that, I mean sensations like:
Relaxation Qi – the feeling when tension leaves your mind and body at the same time.
Playfulness Qi – the brightness in the eyes and childlike smile say it all!
Patience Qi – the calming experience of not reaching or running – in any aspect of being.
Curiosity Qi – the sensation of being open to everything and the will to look around corners.
Appreciation Qi (C’an – 参) – opening your senses, perceiving, and being touched by everyone and everything.
If Qi can only mean ‘Life Force’ in the abstract sense of a ‘substance doing things in your body,’ then no, absolutely not.
Then, No! You do not need to have that relationship with Qi to have a beneficial Qi Gong practice.
The practice of Qi Gong happens on many levels, even if you are not interested in or aware of some of them. It is said that the Mind leads Qi. When you focus on the interaction, not what you can predict, you maximize the free expression and capacity for Qi functions to do their amazing work. The Gong in Qi Gong actually means both capacity and work.
The most important aspect of Qi Gong, in the beginning, is creating an enjoyable, calming, and yet energizing personal practice. Start with what makes the most sense for you – literally – what creates the most tangible and positive sensations.
Experiencing Qi as a force of nature takes some time. It is also a strange and elusive friendship once you begin to interact with the Qi of the Day –which is a combination of all of the subtle qualities and influences around you, and within you.
Qi is everywhere, and how everything connects to everything else.