Intention not Tension

Here’s a great little exercise. What’s so effective about it is that all you need is a little imagination. This exercise is about “intent”, that is bringing your attention to a specific task and then continuing to focus your mind while you accomplish this task. In Qigong most of the tasks are very easy because the real work is mainly on the internal functioning of breath and mind. Simpler tasks make controlling the intent and focusing on the essentials that much easier. Later, however, some of the advanced tasks are not only highly sophisticated but as beautiful as a dragon swimming through the waves.

Stand with your arms handing down as relaxed as possible. Slowly raise them to the height of your shoulders. Keep everything relaxed and soft. For this next section close your eyelids until just a little light shines in. Imagine you are in a room alone except for a single fly. The fly is buzzing around you and could at any time alight on the tops or you forearms or, being a fly, on the bottom sides. Concentrate until you are actually sensitizing the tops of your arms, waiting for the instant that fly will set down. When you can almost FEEL the fly about to land on one of your upper forearms then switch you intention to the underside of your arms. When you have a true feel for this relax your arms and allow them to fall to your sides as before.

You are now ready to practice “leading by intent”, an important component of Qigong training. Stand with your arms relaxed and hanging. Begin to imagine the fly on the tops of the arms but DO NOT MOVE at all until, allowing your imagination to become more and more real, you have an almost overwhelming urge to raise you arms. Keep imagining the fly but it is hovering just above the arms and your arms are drawn to the upside, slowly following the movement of the fly as it “leads” you upward. When you have reached shoulder level halt the movement of your arms. Concentrate once again  until you can almost feel the fly about to alight on your forearms undersides. Again, let the fly descend just AHEAD of your forearms as though you are being magnetically pulled downward with the movement. When you have reached the original position you have completed one entire cycle of movement controlled entirely by your intent. Each time you practice this you will feel a finer, subtler interaction between you arms and your intent. You are making real progress now.