By Bruce Eichelberger
M.T.O.M., O.M.D. (China), L.Ac., Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM)
Qi Gong is the process of exercising mental intent to direct one's internal energy through the body. This can be used for a variety of purposes, as a self-healing technique, as a technique for healing others, as a martial art, and as a means by which you can enrich every aspect of your life. This article comes to Acupuncture.com from a long-time practitioner of
Qi Gong who has discovered how to incorporate what Chinese philosophy has to offer directly into one's lifestyle.
Intention is everything.
Well, okay, maybe not exactly everything, but it is a critical, if largely ignored part of most experiences. In a certain way, intention can be considered the key when doing anything in the world. The trick is to remember that every moment is a moment of intention. That makes every moment a moment of creation since we can ultimately choose what we intend in our actions. For most of us intention is happening on a completely unconscious level most of the time.
Think about it this way - intention is fueled by thoughts and each thought carries something like the weight of a piece of paper - by itself one doesn't weigh much. All day long we are having thoughts - moment by moment. As we stack these thoughts on top of each other (like pieces of paper) after a while they become quite heavy indeed! If you only had 500 thoughts each day (most of us have lots more than this!) you would have a "ream" of thoughts fueling your intention for that day.
If these thoughts are all aligned and working together, things get done. If they work at cross purposes, little or nothing gets done. This means that it is useful to notice how this process occurs and, when possible, to focus intention to increase our life-force, happiness, productivity, energy, etc. rather than old, habitual thoughts which have not proven effective.
Nothing demonstrates this more than a little exercise you can easily do. Simply decide that you will become aware of how intention functions in your life. Spend a week, during which time you regularly remind yourself to do this, and see what happens. Avoid obsessing or fixating on it, and definitely do not "do" anything to fix it, just a give yourself a regular, gentle reminder to notice the intention of each moment. During the week write down what you notice.
Most people find when doing this exercise, that they have areas in their life in which they are either unclear, or have conflicting intentions. The exercise gives you a chance to identify where these areas might be. Even if you are fairly clear in your intentions in every aspect of your life (congratulations!), you can always refine and improve the focus of intention even further.
If the above exercise proves interesting, you can continue by identifying one area of your life which you would like to change. This may be related to work, relationships, health, money, personal growth, etc. Just pick one area where you are not entirely satisfied with your experience. Identify exactly how you are dissatisfied. Now figure out what the very best experience could be for you in that situation - not just a little bit better, not as good as other people you know, but the absolute best you can even imagine. When you've done that spend some time seeing if you can imagine it being even better!
When it is clear in your mind, turn the idea into a statement - an example might be, "I intend experiencing resilient, radiant, robust health now and always." Notice that in this example we don't say, "I intend getting over this rotten cold and finally feeling better," or any other limited, "factual" statement based on present experiences. We are not going for factual, i.e. what you think may be true or possible, but rather what it would be if it was as good as you can imagine.
Work on the statement a bit until it looks/feels/sounds right to you. When the statement is right it will actually be kind of exciting or even inspiring to you to contemplate the experience as you say the statement.
With your statement prepared, practice saying it aloud to your self, along with any imagining you can do about what it would feel like, look like, sound like, etc. The best times to do this are right before sleep and just when you wake up. If speaking aloud might disturb someone you can go into another room (bathroom works well) or speak very softly to yourself. Of course you can remind yourself about it at other times during the day - just make sure you do it at least one regular time each day.
Be as elaborate and detailed as you want, but not so much that it becomes an onerous task just to make the statement. It should always be interesting and even exciting. If you find it is becoming too routine or boring it's time to change the statement. After a week or two you may want to add other statements to the process.
One additional note: Tension implies fear and fear generates it's own intention - usually the opposite of what you think you're intending. Intentional work is therefore best done from the calm "eye of the hurricane." In other words, no matter what is going on around you, be relaxed, confident and playful when making intentional statements. Intentional work has the property of EASE in its application. If you are forcing, imposing or otherwise struggling to make something happen, you're generating tension and increasing the likelihood that the opposite to your intention will occur.
I really love hearing stories from people who seriously use this process. If you spend some time doing this, let me know how it turns out!
Dr. Bruce Eichelberger, OMD has
dedicated more than 30 years to working with people seeking natural alternatives
for relieving pain, stress and other health problems. He specializes in
individually personalized treatments, addressing each patient's unique health
situation with a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, metabolic typing,
therapeutic exercise and medical qigong. Licensed in the State of Nevada as a
Doctor of Oriental Medicine, he is also nationally certified in acupuncture and
Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture
and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). "Quality of Life is Everything." You can reach
him at his practice in Reno, Nevada. (775) 827-6901.
© 1995 Bruce Eichelberger All rights reserved.