Learning to use external qi is also very effective in helping us realize the things we wish for. People who come to my lectures often ask whether external qi is something that anyone can learn to use. I always answer that it is, but only if the person's will is strong enough to continue practicing the exercise faithfully. The two other requirements are imagination and firm belief.
In order to develop your imagination and your conviction, you will need to do all the following.
1. Start small and practice. For instance, beginners should start with something as simple as changing the taste of food or drinks.
2. Take on more difficult matters little by little.
3. Look for sensible people who understand you, so that you can enjoy a constructive rivalry with them.
4. Bear in mind that you are simply trying to awaken a hidden ability that everyone has.
There is nothing mysterious or extraordinary about the skill of releasing external qi. It is only about as difficult as learning to play a musical instrument, to swim, or to cook. It is possible to learn to release external qi even without understanding the theory behind, it—for example, by aligning yourself with a teacher or chanting to the god of your religion. However, if you do not understand the theory, it will be difficult to set new goals for yourself and to reach new levels. It will be difficult to overcome problems you may encounter. What is more, a lack of theoretical understanding can cause you to depend too heavily on a teacher who acts like a religious leader.
The goal of qi exercise is to unite with the qi of the universe, without depending on anyone or anything. You may want to rely on your teacher at the beginning, but you must conquer your dependence as soon as possible. Avoid any "teacher" who tries to frighten you by mentioning a curse or such things. If you are teaching external qi, you must have as a top priority the goal of leading students to independence.
I suggest that you do not speak unnecessarily about the mysteries of the qi world, and that you tend to keep the information secret.
5. Maintain an attitude of inquisitiveness and scientific inquiry. Be sure to reconsider and check any results that you see. For instance, prepare two portions of a given food, and release qi into one of them, so that you can compare the difference in taste.
6. Watch and imitate more advanced practitioners. This process of imitating will allow you to improve your ability to accurately recognize and imagine. Thus it will help you to become better at visualization.
7. Begin to do away with your negative thoughts on the impossibility of success.
8. Use your five ordinary senses, as well as your qi sense, when you visualize.
Perception will occur with the five senses, so heightening of perception is especially important. When the qi sense is added to your five senses, your ability to perceive objects correctly is heightened, and your imaginative ability can develop. When the qi sense is added to the tactual sense that reacts only through touch, you can sense warmth, pressure, tingling, or electricity on your palms, which means that your ability to receive qi has improved. As a doctor of Chinese medicine, I often take my patients' pulse. From the pulse alone I can tell a great deal about a patient's current condition—including appetite and the state of the autonomic nervous system. I would suggest that this is an example of what happens when perception is heightened.
I have friends who practice qi and who work as musicians, cooks, or painters. They tell me that qi energy is present in sound, in taste, and in colors. According to them, the more qi they feel, the better the results. When artists concentrate intently on a certain thing, the five senses are sharpened, and the qi sense also develops at the same time.
Now, how is an image related to the five senses? When you hear the word "image," you may think of the ordinary visual sense and try to "see" in the usual way. But in fact that is not enough.
When you do visualization, try to add elements that employ other senses; add details about the sound, touch, taste, or even the aroma of the scene. When you practice Standing Zen, imagine that you are looking at the rising sun. The golden sun at the ridgeline of a mountain is blessing you, warming your entire body with its soft rays of light. Your body is now shining golden.
Listen to the wind and the birds. Take in the smell of the fresh air and the trees all around you. Enjoy the texture of the trunk of your favorite tree.
If you find it difficult to visualize in this much detail, climb a mountain yourself first. Then you will be able to "recall" the surroundings, and this will make it easier to visualize. When you can visualize well, you will be able to practice Standing Zen anywhere, at any time. Enter and wander through the world or a picture of painting. Clear images held in the mind's eye can create a new reality.
I know a few people who are gifted with very strong powers of imagination, making them truly psychic. One such person is Toshi-hide Hisamura, whose extraordinary abilities I will discuss in the next chapter. I have visited him more than twenty times, and each time have been completely amazed at his ability. For example, he can make objects float. It seems that he releases power with a very clear image in mind, while assuming that a certain phenomenon has already occurred. When he wishes to make objects float in the air, for instance, he creates a clear image in his mind, in which the object is first stationery, and then rises. As soon as the object actually seen overlaps with the one visualized, the physical object begins to float. Needless to say, his powers of imagination are far beyond the ordinary.
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