Therefore, when you are in a state of correct breath regulation, your mind is free. There is no sound, stagnation, urgency, or hesitation, and you can finally be calm and peaceful.
You can see that when the breath is regulated correctly, the Chi will also be regulated. They are mutually related and cannot be separated. This idea is explained frequently in Taoist literature. The Taoist Goang Chemg Tzyy said: "One exhale, the Earth Chi rises; one inhale, the Heaven Chi descends; real man's (meaning one who has attained the real Tao) repeated breathing at the navel, then my real Chi is naturally connected."(* 16) This says that when you breathe you should move your abdomen, as if you were breathing from your navel. The earth Chi is the negative (Yin) energy from your kidneys, and the sky Chi is the positive (Yang) energy which comes from the food you eat and the air you breathe. When you breathe from the navel, these two Chi's will connect and combine. Some people think that they know what Chi is, but they really don't. Once you connect the two Chi's, you will know what the "real" Chi is, and you may become a "real" man, which means to attain the Tao.
The Taoist book Chain Tao Jen Yen (Sing (of the) Tao (with) Real Words) says: "One exhale one inhale to communicate Chi's function, one movement one calmness is the same as (i.e., is the source of) creation and variation."(*17) The first part of this statement again implies that the functioning of Chi is connected with the breathing. The second part of this sentence means that all creation and variation come from the interaction of movement (Yang) and calmness (Yin). Hwang Tyng Ching (Yellow Yard Classic) says: "Breathe Original Chi to seek immortality."(*18) In China, the traditional Taoists wore yellow robes, and they meditated in a "yard" or hall. This sentence means that in order to reach the goal of immortality, you must seek to find and understand the Original Chi which comes from the Dan Tien through correct breathing.
Moreover, the Taoist Wuu Jen Ren said: "Use the Post-birth breathing to look for the real person's (i.e. the immortal's) breathing place."(*19) In this sentence it is clear that in order to locate the immortal breathing place (the Dan Tien), you must rely on and know how to regulate your Post-birth, or natural, breathing. Through regulating your Post-birth breathing you will gradually be able to locate the residence of the Chi (the Dan Tien), and eventually you will be able to use your Dan Tien to breath like the immortal
(*18). HJBfSB : " Df »7C*BL*illj. " <*i9). mmxmmB: - s^JIM* . wsm* 1**7. -
Taoists. Finally, in the Taoist song Ling Yuan Dah Tao Ge (The Great Taoist Song of the Spirit's Origin) it is said: "The Originals (Original Jieng, Chi, and Shen) are internally transported peacefully, so that you can become real (immortal); (if you) depend (only) on external breathing (you) will not reach the end (goal)."(*20) From this song, you can see that internal breathing (breathing at the Dan Tien) is the key to training your three treasures and finally reaching immortality. However, you must first know how to regulate your external breathing correctly.
All of these emphasize the importance of breathing. There are eight key words for air breathing which a Chi Kung practitioner should follow during his practice. Once you understand them you will be able to substantially shorten the time needed to reach your Chi Kung goals. These eight key words are: 1. Calm (Jing); 2. Slender (Shyi); 3. Deep (Shenn); 4. Long (Chamg); 5. Continuous (Iou): 6. Uniform (Yun); 7. Slow (Hoan), and 8. Soft (Mian). These key words are self-explanatory, and with a little thought you should be able to understand them.
3. Regulating the Mind (IVau Hsin)
It is said in Taoist society that: "(When) large Tao is taught, first stop thought; when thought is not stopped, (the lessons are) in vain."(*21) This means that when you first practice Chi Kung, the most difficult training is to stop your thinking. The final goal for your mind is "the thought of no thought."(*22) Your mind does not think of the past, the present, or the future. Your mind is completely separated from influences of the present such as worry, happiness, and sadness. Then your mind can be calm and steady, and can finally gain peace. Only when you are in the state of "the thought of no thought" will you be relaxed and able to sense calmly and accurately.
Regulating your mind means using your consciousness to stop the activity in your mind in order to set it free from the bondage of ideas, emotion, and conscious thought. When you reach this level your mind will be calm, peaceful, empty, and light. Then your mind has really reached the goal of relaxation. Only when you reach this stage will you be able to relax deep into your marrow and internal organs. Only then will your mind be clear enough to see (feel) the internal Chi circulation and to communicate with your Chi and organs. In Taoist society it is called "Nei Shyh Kung Fu,"(*23) which means the Kung Fu of internal vision.
When you reach this real relaxation you may be able to sense the different elements which make up your body: solid matter, liquids, gases, energy, and spirit. You may even be able to see or feel the dif-
ferent colors that are associated with your five organs - green (liver), white (lungs), black (kidneys), yellow (spleen), and red (heart).
Once your mind is relaxed and regulated and you can sense your internal organs, you may decide to study the five element theory. This is a very profound subject, and it is sometimes interpreted differently by Oriental physicians and Chi Kung practitioners. When understood properly, it can give you a method of analyzing the interrelationships between your organs, and help you devise ways to correct imbalances.
For example, the lungs correspond to the element Metal, and the heart to the element Fire. Metal (the lungs) can be used to adjust the heat of the Fire (the heart), because metal can take a large quantity of heat away from fire, (and thus cool down the heart). When you feel uneasy or have heartburn (excess fire in the heart), you may use deep breathing to calm down the uneasy emotions or cool off the heartburn.
Naturally, it will take a lot of practice to reach this level. In the beginning, you should not have any ideas or intentions, because they will make it harder for your mind to relax and empty itself of thoughts. Once you are in a state of "no thought," place your attention on your Dan Tien. It is said "Yi Shoou Dan Tien,"(*24) which means "The Mind is kept on the Dan Tien." The Dan Tien is the origin and residence of your Chi. Your mind can build up the Chi here (start the fire, Chii Huoo), then lead the Chi anywhere you wish, and finally lead the Chi back to its residence. When your mind is on the Dan Tien, your Chi will always have a root. When you keep this root, your Chi will be strong and full, and it will go where you want it to. You can see that when you practice Chi Kung, your mind cannot be completely empty and relaxed. You must find the firmness within the relaxation, then you can reach your goal.
In Chi Kung training, it is said: "Use your Yi (Mind) to LEAD your Chi" (Yii Yi Yiin Chi)(*25). Notice the word LEAD. Chi behaves like water - it cannot be pushed, but it can be led. When Chi is led, it will flow smoothly and without stagnation. When it is pushed, it will flood and enter the wrong paths. Remember, wherever your Yi goes first, the Chi will naturally follow. For example, if you intend to lift an object, this intention is your Yi. This Yi will lead the Chi to the arms to energize the physical muscles, and then the object can be lifted.
It is said: "Your Yi cannot be on your Chi. Once your Yi is on your Chi, the Chi is stagnant."(*26) When you want to walk from one spot to another, you must first mobilize your intention and direct it to the goal, then your body will follow. The mind must always be ahead of the body. If your mind stays on your body, you will not be able to move. _____
In Chi Kung training, the first thing is to know what Chi is. If you do not know what Chi is, how will you be able to lead it? Once you know what Chi is and experience it, then your Yi will have something to lead. The next thing in Chi Kung training is knowing how your Yi communicates with your Chi. That means that your Yi should be able to sense and feel the Chi flow and understand how strong and smooth it is. In Tai Chi Chi Kung society, it is commonly said that your Yi must "listen" to your Chi and "understand" it. Listen means to pay careful attention to what you sense and feel. The more you pay attention, the better you will be able to understand. Only after you understand the Chi situation will your Yi be able to set up the strategy. In Chi Kung your mind or Yi must generate the idea (visualize your intention), which is like an order to your Chi to complete a certain mission.
The more your Yi communicates with your Chi, the more efficiently the Chi can be led. For this reason, as a Chi Kung beginner you must first learn about Yi and Chi, and also learn how to help them communicate efficiently. Yi is the key in Chi Kung practice. Without this Yi you would not be able to lead your Chi, let alone build up the strength of the Chi or circulate it throughout your entire body.
Remember WHEN THE YI IS STRONG, THE CHI IS STRONG, AND WHEN THE YI IS WEAK, THE CHI IS WEAK. Therefore, the first step of Chi Kung training is to develop your Yi. The first secret of a strong Yi is CALMNESS. When you are calm, you can see things clearly and not be disturbed by surrounding distractions. With your mind calm, you will be able to concentrate.
Confucius said: "First you must be calm, then your mind can be steady. Once your mind is steady, then you are at peace. Only when you are at peace are you able to think and finally gain."(*27) This procedure is also applied in meditation or Chi Kung exercise: First Calm, then Steady, Peace, Think, and finally Gain. When you practice Chi Kung, first you must learn to be emotionally calm. Once calm, you will be able to see what you want and firm your mind (steady). This firm and steady mind is your intention or Yi (it is how your Yi is generated). Only after you know what you really want will your mind gain peace and be able to relax emotionally and physically. Once you have reached this step, you must then concentrate or think in order to execute your intention. Under this thoughtful and concentrated mind, your Chi will follow and you will be able to gain what you wish.
Was this article helpful?