Qigong In Everyday Life

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24-Hours-A-Day Qigong

This describes a state where your energy is running correctly at all times. It is in your conscious awareness and under your control.

Your energy operates all of the time — from the moment of conception through every moment of your life. When it stops working, so will you.

When you pause what you are doing and practice Qigong you take a special time to focus on a particular purpose with your attention. This is the only way to learn. The practices in the accompanying document on Eight Extraordinary Meridians Qigong give you a range of possible ways to do this.

However, once you have learned these or other practices, they become part of how you know and experience yourself. They change the relationship between your mind, body, and spirit, bringing them into a more fully integrated whole. You know what your energy system is, how it works, what it is doing, how to read it, and how to bring it back into correct alignment and balance.

Carrying out a specific practice for a particular purpose is a desirable and necessary thing. But there is a way in which you can also have your energy running, at a somewhat lower level, all of the time. This is called 24-hours-a-day Qigong. This does not require stopping what you are doing, but it does require paying attention so that your energy is in your consciousness and under your control. After a time you not only experience your energy as being 'within' yourself, you also experience it 'as' yourself. In fact, it becomes who and what you are. You become energy experiencing itself.

Holding on to your Qi

It is also necessary to become aware of what to avoid — the situations, places, people, and events that will drain energy out of you, if you let them. Traveling in the rush hour, sitting on a subway, being in the middle of vast crowds of people, they can all be draining. In these situations there is nothing to do but protect yourself. Draw your external energy, your Wei Qi, tight around you like a protective coat and seal your energy in, but do not take any external energy into you. Slowly circulate the Microcosmic Orbit. Conserve and protect your energy as you would your wallet or purse.

If you encounter a person who drains you, either because they need your energy for themselves or because they are attempting to rob you of it, then again draw in. Do not give it away or let it be taken. Be aware of how this feels and happens, and avoid or minimize such encounters in the future.

In the same way, avoid places that are energy draining. There is good energy and bad energy of location. Some places can even be dangerous. Learn to identify the difference and stay away from places that do not nourish or feed you, keeping your own environment as clear, clean, fresh, and uncluttered as possible.

Remain aware of the dynamics of the events and situations that you are involved in. It is not always possible to control events, but you can often decide whether or not to engage in them. In extreme cases, this may involve changing a job, moving somewhere else, or ending a relationship.

When you practice 24-hours-a-day Qigong your energy is working all the time. Food and diet are important aspects of this. Daoists consider that we generally eat too much. In a natural state the body can get-by quite adequately on one meal a day — it has evolved to do so. Periodic fasting to cleanse out any accumulation of toxins and waste is also essential. At the very least do this a couple of times every year, once in the spring and once in the fall. If you are not familiar with how to fast in a safe and controlled way, then seek advice and supervision from a health professional such as an Oriental Medicine practitioner or a naturopath.

With enough Qigong practice you can just draw in energy as a natural event. Your mind can read and modify your Qi as it requires. When you move or act you can do so in ways that preserve and accumulate energy. With 24-hours-a-day Qigong you can end a busy, productive day refreshed and relaxed.

24 Hours, 12 Meridians

In the West, we measure our days by dividing them into 24 hours. This is simply a convention we all agree upon in order to interact together. Each hour is divided into 60 minutes and each minute into 60 seconds. It is usually a delicious delight, reserved for holidays, vacations, and days-off-work to "lose track of time," to not know what hour of the day it is. But there is also a way of knowing time through the energy system. The superficial/surface Qi circulation runs in a continuous loop around the body, progressing from one channel and organ to the next in a strict sequence. The Qi surges round our bodies in a 24-hour cycle as if mirroring the Earth's rotation, and this acts as an internal metronome timing all of our biological functions.

If we understand this circulation and what it affects and when, then we can align ourselves with our own natural internal rhythms. It is a way to synchronize with your natural biological cycles and therefore maintain better health. The Qi energy peaks or crests in each of the 12 meridians for 2 hours each, and at these times it has an emphasized effect on the corresponding organ/function/official.

7 am-

-9 am

Stomach/Yang Earth

9 am-

-11am

Spleen/Yin Earth

11am-1pm

Heart/Yin Fire

1pm-

-3 pm

Small Intestine/Yang Fire

3 pm-

-5 pm

Bladder/Yang Water

5 pm-

-7 pm

Kidneys/Yin Water

7 pm-

-9 pm

Pericardium/Yin Fire

9 pm-

-11pm

Triple Heater/Yang Fire

11pm-1am

Gall Bladder/Yang Wood

1am-

-3 am

Liver/Yin Wood

3 am-

-5 am

Lungs/Yin Metal

5 am-

-7 am

Large Intestine/Yang Metal

Watch Face
THE WATCH-FACE OF THE FUTURE?

Qigong in Leisure

Many activities are natural Qigong. Many things that people do inherently function to activate the energy system. They are natural and spontaneous expressions of the body's energy. What is your natural Qigong? What do you already do that has an effect upon your energy system? How could you experience your energy more by changing your attention and focus? Try paying attention to what you already do, and observe your energy. The following are some common activities.

Walking

Simple walking has powerful effects upon the energy. When you walk you breath more deeply, and take in the outside air. Most people spend the majority of their time indoors, and the quality of the air degrades. A brisk walk will draw fresh heavenly Qi into you. When you walk you are upright and your feet are in contact with the ground — this activates the Yungchuan/Bubbling Spring point in the center of the soles. The movement of the hips activates Gall Bladder 29 and 30, which are powerful centers of Qi. The rhythmic alternating swinging of the hands and feet bring Qi into the extremities. If you do not have to drive or take a bus, then walk. Afterwards it feels good.

Gardening

Many people garden. Some have vast estates and elaborate gardens designed by landscape artists, some have an area around their house, and some have window boxes and indoor plants. In China there are many public parks landscaped according to Feng Shui principles (this is pronounced 'Fung Shway' and is known as the 'art of placement' or landscaping). Outdoor gardening brings direct contact with the primary Earth. You stand between Heaven and Earth. Having your hands in the soil does you good, and you draw in energy through the Lao Gong points in your palms. Working with and caring for live plants is an interaction with their fresh, live, energy. Similarly, fresh, homegrown food, straight from the ground is self-evidently preferable to canned and preserved goods.

Swimming

Swimming involves floating in water. You are horizontal rather than vertical and your body can move up and down vertically, and this is a relief to the muscular and nervous systems, and it induces relaxation. A "floatation" tank, which fully supports the body and in which there are no external stimuli, creates a profoundly deep and relaxing experience. But swimming involves the rhythmic movement of the arms and legs, and this distributes and equalizes the energy channels that run up and down the limbs. It puts the center of focus on the abdomen, centered on the navel. It is especially good for older people, as it relieves pressure on the joints. Swimming also activates the fluids in the body, which comprise a large portion of our bodily constituents. This is how we all began, floating in the amniotic sac.

Other sports and activities

Many other exercises or sports activate and affect the energy system. Bike riding, running, tennis, dancing, soccer, and skiing, to name but a few, can all be seen to have energetic dimensions. When people engage in these activities they work off the accumulated, stagnant energy from work, while redressing their biological animal nature. Most such activities re-activate the Jing level of energy.

Any activity that you do can be Qigong, can be a form of practice. It all depends on what you do, and how you do it. Now that you have an awareness of what your energy system is, how it works, and what it feels like, pay attention to what you do, especially with activities that you do on a regular and repetitive basis. Sitting in a chair can be Qigong practice, standing upright can be Qigong, walking across a room can activate your energy, shopping can be an energy-accumulating event. It all depends on what level of attention, awareness, and intent you apply. ***************

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