Who doesn’t want more energy? Whether we’re a student, parent, working adult, or retired person, we all want the vigor and youthfulness to enjoy and succeed in what we are doing.
Energy is at the source of all manifestations we experience. Our connections with others, creative expressiveness, and even our emotional wellbeing are all dependent on the vitality that flows within us. Therefore, it’s important to nurture and grow this sacred power.
We all possess an abundance of resources and tools to cultivate Qi, but it’s not always easy to use those resources. The way in which we relate to our inner and outer worlds greatly influences how much energy is available to us.
Today, we’re going to explore how Qi Gong principles can protect us from energy-draining thinking patterns. Then, we’re going to share a meditation to apply these principles at home.
Where the Mind Goes, Qi Flows
One of the core principles of Qi Gong relates to the relationship between our attention and energy: where the mind goes, the Qi flows.
In other words, our energy will be directed wherever we focus our attention. If we concentrate our mind on a certain emotion, our energy will flow into that emotional space to intensify whatever we’re feeling. This happens for both positive and negative experiences that we allow into our mind.
Based on this, it’s not hard to see how the mind can be its own worst enemy. If we let our thoughts wander and begin thinking about a stressful or upsetting situation, we’ll have more than just our thoughts to deal with…
Stressful thoughts quickly transform into negative emotions and even painful physical experiences. Physiologically, negative thoughts can activate the body’s sympathetic nervous system which increases our heart rate, expands our blood vessels, and directs blood away from our organs and into our extremities so we’re ready for “fight or flight.”
Although this natural reaction is valuable when we’re facing actual danger, it causes us to waste energy when our greatest threat is nothing more than our own thoughts.
In Chinese Medicine and Qi Gong, the mind’s consciousness is referred to as “Shen.” Shen is revered as our connection to the divine and our source of spiritual guidance. As illustrated above, our Shen has the profound ability to lead both our emotions as well as our physicality. This enables our mind to channel divine awareness into our body, but it also allows it to lead us astray.
For this reason, experienced teachers will sometimes say “Shen eats the Qi.” In other words, our thoughts can consume our own energy.
Thousands of years ago, this truth was known only through self awareness. Today, modern research has revealed that the brain represents only 2% of the body’s weight, but consumes more than 20% of the body’s oxygen. During times of intense thinking, it can consume up to 50% of the body’s oxygen—an unbelievable number for or an organ that weighs only about three pounds.
It’s clear that the mind can drain enormous amounts of energy through the process of unnecessary and stressful thinking. Therefore, it’s important that we pay attention to our thoughts and focus our mind on those that serve us.
When we can quiet our chattering minds and focus our awareness to the present moment, we can regain an abundance of energy that was otherwise being released. This gives us more vitality and inspiration to use in our relationships, our work, and for ourselves.
Qi Gong Meditation for More Energy
It might seem ironic to use calmness to cultivate energy, but Qi Gong practitioners have been using meditation for thousands of years to let go of stagnant Qi and free up their inner resources for things that truly matter.
Meditation is sometimes referred to as “slipping into the gap between thoughts,” because it allows us to find a space in time between those when thoughts prevail. This allows deep healing and rejuvenation to occur.
This meditation is both profoundly simple and deeply powerful. Like all of our meditations, we suggest reading through these instructions a couple of times before you begin.
To start, find a comfortable sitting position, close your eyes, and allow your body to relax.
Begin to breathe slowly and deeply. Inhale as you count to four. At the top of your inhale, hold your breath for the count of two. As you exhale, count to four. Hold your breath out at the bottom of your exhale and count to two.
Inhaling while counting to four.
Holding the breath while counting to two.
Exhaling while counting to four.
Holding the breath out while counting to two.
Repeat as many times as you would like.
Your intention is only to focus on your breath and your count. As you do so, thoughts will fade from view and your emotions and body will follow your mind into a calm and still state.
You can do this meditation for as long as you’d like, but perhaps try to go for at least three to five minutes. When you’re ready, just imagine all of the cells in your body sparkle and vibrate with energy and vitality. Feel your mind, heart, and body fill up with all of the Qi that exists within you.
You have let go of stressful thinking. Now, direct your attention to whatever you would like to set your mind to, whether it be work, a conversation, or even just a routine task on your to-do list. Go forward with creativity and aliveness.
If you enjoyed this meditation and want to learn more Qi Gong practices to help you feel more energized and less stressed, be sure to check out our upcoming Qi Challenge!
The Qi Challenge is a wonderful way to explore the ancient art of Qi Gong and cultivate a consistent practice. All of the lessons are virtual so you can practice from the comfort of your own home. Click on the banner below to learn more or sign up today.