September 28, 2015 at 10:57 pm #44882
I’m only a few months into my qigong experiment. At the risk of oversimplifying, I will say that my primary goal is to stabilize my mind against a tendency toward major depression. Early on, I discovered that I could use qigong to establish wonderful states of calm and clarity in myself. However, I also observed that these beneficial states only lasted for a matter of hours before my usual symptoms would return, often with what appeared to be renewed virulence. This seems to be pattern that I’ve been in for quite a few weeks now. I’m just wondering if it’s possible to say anything practical about this pattern, or about the possibility of creating a more stable form of change.
elephantSeptember 29, 2015 at 7:04 am #44883
I think this is quite common.
The best advice may be to try some different approaches and do what works for you, not everyone will respond to the same approach.
I can suggest some things you can try :
– try to increase the amount of time doing healthy things, from walking in nature, to doing chi kung, meditation, spending times with friends. You could do 3 hours of Chi Kung a day. Add as much good as you can to your day, so that there is little time left for the bad. A bit more light every day. Instead of worrying about what is bad, add in good.
– when you practice chi kung go deeper into it … really sink into the work
– inner smile is very good
– some form of meditation could be very helpful, BKF has a taoist meditation CD somewhere
– be kind to yourself
– eventually once there is enough stability within, the depression energies will need to be met and reconciled … it is not possible to outrun yourself … these things are in you and when you have stability then you will need to go into them. Feeling bad is not the same thing as entering into the painful / unhappy feelings. What you resist persists. But … in the beginning it is very good to build up some peace / stability / light inside you until you are strong enough to reconcile the darker energies inside.
There is not a great deal to be gained in being depressed, it is like being stuck in a bad place.
If you can have a routine of good work on yourself, and increase it every day … and just work. Follow the program, follow the rhythm.September 29, 2015 at 9:58 am #44885
The basic level qigong at the level of the fundamentals, with the 6 Healing Sounds, is very good for correcting minor momentary emotional issues and providing symptom relief. It’s not so good for correcting deeper chronic issues. For that, you need more powerful tools. So, onward and upward!
By getting more deeply grounded, esp. via rooted standing meditation, your emotional body becomes more stable. It doesn’t change so rapidly. Moreover, you can then become more detached from your emotional body and be a more of a neutral supportive witness to it. Consequences: you may still have the depression, but it won’t be so bothersome. In fact, sometimes you’ll find that you no longer even have a problem, i.e. the grounding can correct the problem all-by-itself. Also, even if not, adequate grounding is key to making changes “stick” in the body.
2. Fusion 1
This course follows the Fundamentals, and is all about getting deeply into the emotional body. You can process deeper-level, more chronic, emotional patterns. This extends beyond simple emotional symptom-relief at the level of the fundamentals. Deep emotions that your body-mind are holding on to, can be thrown into an energetic blender and ground up for nourishment.
3. Deep Healing Qigong
If you are impatient, and want to dig out some big guns now, this would be a good one. It’s one of the best tools for working with traumas, if that is one of the sources of your depression. It also uses built-in advanced level K&L material to rewrite your energy body with entirely new patterns.
4. Inner Smile ++
The most basic practice is also one of the most powerful, if you go deeply.
When you do the Inner Smile, spend additional time in the lungs. Try to feel the quality of them, and with a silent voice, gently and openly ask them what is bothering them. Patiently listen without judgment. Sometimes emotional patterns can’t break because there is some message and action that your body-mind wants you to take, but you haven’t done so yet. So doing practice without hearing this message just forms another source of avoidance, i.e. when the qigong is over and symptom-relief stops, the depression comes back stronger, because you haven’t gotten the message. Hearing this subconscious storyline can be a starting point to letting it go.
On this last bit, often depression is tied into being attached to some fantasy/storyline about the past. By being attached to this, you block new fresh opportunities for joy in the present and upcoming future. Letting go=large intestine=partner to lungs of metal element. Inability to let go=lack of courage (metal virtue) to make a change to a whole new type of life, i.e. something made you happy before, so you can’t let go of wanting that again, even though it is gone and there are completely new fresh joyful things waiting. Sometimes there is an actual change you know you need to make, but have been avoiding doing. Sometimes it is an action; sometimes it is a perspective and attitude issue (in this case, grounding can solve the problem in itself). But you won’t know until you get an answer from your lung spirit from what it is trying to communicate to you via the depression. Sometimes just getting a communication from the lung spirit is all that is needed to releasing this pattern; other times, you might need to use stronger tools, e.g. Fusion 1, DHQ.
Lastly, it is worth mentioning that this is now the fall, i.e. metal season, i.e. lung season. So any normal issues a person may have surrounding depression can be aggravated during this time.
However, having said all of that, I don’t think you are doing anything wrong. You are already starting to see some benefit via your qigong and practice, albeit only short-term. If you continue doing what you are doing, you learn some additional tools, and you are able to go a little deeper with time, then the benefits that you are already seeing will become more profound and more long-lasting.
In short, you are on the right track. Keep going!
StevenSeptember 29, 2015 at 6:06 pm #44887
Thanks all for your thoughts. I wanted to add one clarification on this topic: when I say that the symptoms return, it’s really something beyond just that – sort of a unique syndrome of its own, similar to my usual symptoms, but different or more intense in some ways. It’s characterized by a certain quality of fatigue that often leads to deep, dreamless sleep; also, body aches, especially in the joints; intense emotional reactivity, especially anger; and of course, depressed mood. Initially I thought that if I just did more, more, more qigong I could maintain my state of clarity. But I found that I might do 4 hours of practice one day, then be knocked on my butt the next. I interpret this as a sort of “detox” syndrome. The healing sounds definitely seems to trigger it. I think the “washing” sequence of DHQ also triggers something of this kind (though it’s hard to tell exactly what is causing what). The detox model as a way of thinking about this experience suggests that eventually, through repetition, one could empty the well of suffering – one could drain the swamp, and be permanently rid of that particular affliction. Is this also part of the answer?September 29, 2015 at 7:08 pm #44889
OK, now I understand what the situation is.
This is a combination of qigong detox (as you’ve surmised) plus ungroundedness.
When you do a lot of qigong per day, say more than a few hours (and for some who are really sick, it can be less than that), you can flush out too many toxins too quickly. It triggers a detoxification reaction. If you do an extreme amount of qigong for your system, you can trigger an almost flu-type response (or even worse). Certain really powerful qigong techniques really need to be done in moderation. When I teach the DHQ course, for example, I give warnings about certain aspects of the form that are very powerful (e.g. bathing sequence) . . . to not do them in excess, because it can trigger a healing crisis. As an example, a friend of mine (who has a lot of qigong background and should know better) did the bathing sequence continuously for over an hour. Big mistake to do that much of something so powerful. In his case, he began bleeding from his pores in his hands and feet, and had painful blisters for two weeks. [Of course, in his case, he kept raving about “how great” it was, because he had flushed out some heavy heavy stuff in the process, but for most folks, this attitude is a little nuts. And, to be frank, it is also kind of reckless.]
The other thing is that when you do a lot of qigong, especially high-powered stuff like DHQ, it tends to be very UNgrounding. You tend to start changing and shifting too rapidly which breaks your stability. How do you know you are ungrounded? Ans: intense emotional reactivity, as you describe. Namely, shifting from one extreme emotion to another very easily. In fact, this is what I would say is one of a few very clear indicators of being ungrounded.
Two different solutions:
1. Don’t do so much qigong in one day, and be careful to not do too much of the powerful stuff. Recognize that there is a lot that needs to heal, and that you need to go more slowly to minimize detoxification reactions.
2. Increase the percent of grounding practices in your routine to help stabilize yourself through the detoxification, e.g. rooted standing meditation, Tai Chi 1, etc. This, in itself, won’t eliminate the detoxification, but it will stabilize the emotions and emotional reactivity, as well as make the detoxification feel less severe. I’ve personally done periods (say during a private hermit retreat) where I’ve done upward of 8 hours of qigong per day. When a person does that much qigong, for example, you MUST make a good chunk of the practice, grounding practice . . . otherwise the detoxification and ungrounding aspects of shifting/changing very rapidly can be too much to bear.
Unless you want to make grounding practice, the bread-and-butter of your routine . . . You need to dial it back, and not do so much in one session. In extreme cases, so much stuck toxic qi gets mobilized, moving, and clearing in your system, it can trigger what is known as “qi deviation”, which is a sickness pattern in your body caused by improperly flowing qi.
WITH TIME, the amount of detoxification reaction you’ll get from doing a lot of qigong will diminish. Quite simply, as you begin to clear out, you won’t have as much detox/healing crisis to deal with. Nonetheless, even after this occurs, an excess amount of qigong can be very ungrounding, and needs to be counter-balanced by grounding practice, if you want to sustain a lot of qigong hours/day. Quite simply, even without toxic qi detox, you change yourself too rapidly, and while this may be a desired goal, it is also quite destabilizing . . . your energy body has a strong need to feel like it has something to hold onto while the changes are coming, and so you need to give it the anchor of the inner earth . . .
StevenSeptember 30, 2015 at 3:43 am #44891
This reminds me of something I just read from BKF : he was talking about dissolving practice, and the difficulty of dissolving some blockages … that they through out a lot of “stuff”. And he was talking about not having an agenda.
Just working, if you have a reaction like fatigue or negativity, you fully accept the presence of these elements … and without trying to evade them you can be simply in contact with them as they are. Without fear, or judgement … accept them.
They are part of your inner reality at this moment, and you accept their presence. As you work things are shifting inside and some things come to the surface.
But, you can just accept these things, and without an agenda take forward steps for your health.September 30, 2015 at 10:06 pm #44893
Is this the same as tai chi 1?September 30, 2015 at 11:30 pm #44895
Yes, it’s the same one.
It’s a decent DVD and can recommend it.
SOctober 1, 2015 at 8:52 am #44897
I second that. Marie’s DVD is how I learned the set. Well produced and easy to learn. The producer Jamee even sends you a couple extras via email after you order.October 9, 2015 at 3:29 am #44899
Can you tell us how is grounding done? Or in which course it is thought?
I am working on the Five animals do the healing sounds and I need grounding already. Yesterday I was doing the practice in noon for hour and a half and the process of cleaning went on throughout the day.October 9, 2015 at 3:29 am #44901
Can you tell us how is grounding done? Or in which course it is thought?
I am working on the Five animals do the healing sounds and I need grounding already. Yesterday I was doing the practice in noon for hour and a half and the process of cleaning went on throughout the day.October 9, 2015 at 5:16 am #44903
Grounding is quite simply developing a strong conscious awareness of the ground under your feet. You energetically drop your consciousness out of your head and down toward your feet. Your consciousness becomes more body-centered, and less head-centered. Thus you detach from all of the mental storylines in your head and your system becomes more stable due to having a lower energetic center-of-gravity. Obviously this isn’t about having a mental understanding–which is kind of the whole issue–but is about feeling it in your body via doing actual grounding practices. Our high-speed and frenetic pace culture tends to get the mind racing and tends to act in cross-purposes to grounding, so it is something that everyone needs.
Michael gives an introduction to it in his Qigong Fundamentals 3-4 workshop.
Techniques there include Deep Earth Pulsing (only taught live in QF3, but you can see a variant of it on the Sexual Vitality DVD) and the 3 standing-in-stillness postures of QF4. You can see this on the QF4 DVD.
Realistically though, these are only a warmup for the more serious grounding coursework: namely Iron Shirt 1 and Tai Chi 1, both of which are taught live at the Healing Tao summer retreats. The QF3-4 course is a good start, but (in my opinion) it’s not really enough, as neither the Deep Earth Pulsing nor the 3 standing-in-stillness postures involve you being rooted to the earth. If a person wants to get deeply grounded, then one really needs to do practices that involve having a strong root/anchor to the earth (IS1 and Tai Chi 1), because the high-paced culture and overactive thinking act in cross-purposes to being grounded. This bit takes live training.
Nevertheless, without getting into the IS1/Tai Chi 1 coursework, you should get the QF3-4 package now. If you are short on funds, just get the QF4 DVD (it has no prereqs) for the standing-in-stillness postures and get the Sexual Vitality DVD for the Deep Earth Pulsing. It’s a good start.
Even without any official training, if you just stand upright, feet shoulder-width apart and firmly planted to the ground, breathing slow-and-relaxed in your abdomen, EYES OPEN, and concentrate internally on your lower dantian . . . and notice the feeling your feet make with the earth . . . this exercise–in itself–is kind of a good beginner-level grounding practice that is better than nothing and will have a little positive effect, until you can learn more potent stuff.
StevenOctober 9, 2015 at 8:51 am #44905
Thank you very much Steven. I will share soon about my Five animals practice, its getting surprisingly deep lately.
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