“Running Energy”

December 7, 2010
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Qigong can be practiced by anyone, I am convinced of that. However I don’t mean just on the physical level. It’s true just about anyone can do the moves but that is decidedly not the art of Qigong. After all, I can dribble a ball but that doesn’t make me an NBA player. And as for people coming out of Qigong classes and feeling that they are “running energy” I say the same thing I’ve said for over 30 years: “Congratulations, you just found out that you are alive.”

But in the big scheme of things running energy is a minor distraction. It may be that in a Western-based culture the feeling of running energy can almost cause a crack in the cosmic egg; perhaps  in the case of some religious people, it can actually be a philosophical and personal threat.

Sir William Harvey

A similar thing occurred when Sir William Harvey described the course of human circulation. He was highly criticized by those who believed that it was not an autonomic physical process but the direct action of God’s will. Nowadays we don’t see these as mutually exclusionary; they could both be true. People who are new to Eastern arts (which is the equivalent of Eastern science) are astonished at the first signs of something like what they think qi feels like. But, as in the above example, when you first consider the circulation of blood in the human body you realize that your blood is circulating and you can almost FEEL it. And the answer to this frightening phenom? Forget it. It’s just natural. So is the flow of Qi, whatever you believe about  the cause of that flow.

So if some Qigong guru tries to convince you that your feeling of qi movement is a big deal, ignore him. It’s nice to feel like you are an enlightened being right out of the gate—tuned into the universe and all—but think: what were you before you felt the flow? Don’t give up your day job or your corporeal existence just yet.

Relax and concentrate on the details, the precision, the structure. Forget the fireworks, for now.

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