wandelaar

Chi - how does it feel?

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I am not very sensitive to processes in my own body, but some feelings kind of surprise me. I wonder whether they are related to chi flows in the traditional Chinese view of life. In this topic I like to explore whether I can make sense of the concept of chi in my own body on the basis of my body feelings.

 

One peculiar feeling is the following. When I have a headache and close my eyes it is like if inside my physical body there is another more subtle body that is in a chaotic state and as if indistinct thought-like things are wildly bouncing around mainly within my head. Can this be expressed (or maybe even understood) in terms of chi?

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Good question and could be an interesting discussion.

 

For now I will wait until some of our alchemy friends have commented.

 

 

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1 hour ago, wandelaar said:

if indistinct thought-like things are wildly bouncing around mainly within my head. Can this be expressed (or maybe even understood) in terms of chi

This is "the mind".
And yes it is energy of a sort, when the mind is like this it leaves a trail of destructive energy over your head and deregulates the energy in other parts of your presence and also outside of you.
Therefore the "awakening" of the mind is the most important thing a human being needs to do in his life, first it can be attempted by "controlling" the might forcefully with discipline, but this must quickly be replaced by something more stable than controlling ... and that is Presence.   I Am in the seat of the thinker.
To do this kind of work, that is close to the wild mind, it is important to be exceptionally grounded elsewhere (for instance in the breathing or belly) only then can you work on the seat in the forehead without getting smashed to pieces.
And this ... is the job.
This job cannot be really fixed with energy because to take ones seat is a question of learning who you are, and owning it.
The best you can do with energetic approach is to (a) be calm, (b) open your dantien or solar plexus so your energy is not so concentrated up in the head, (c) yin yang regulation so the energy flows are smooth .... but still unless you sit in the forehead the mind will roam and it will smash.

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Thank you. Happily the "indistinct thought-like things wildly bouncing around mainly within my head" only happens when I have a headache! I never take medicines against that as I consider it a very useful signal to slow down and take a rest. Then things slowly return to normal.

 

Still thoughts keep appearing in my head whether I like it or not. Even while meditating...

 

 

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2 hours ago, wandelaar said:

Thank you. Happily the "indistinct thought-like things wildly bouncing around mainly within my head" only happens when I have a headache! I never take medicines against that as I consider it a very useful signal to slow down and take a rest. Then things slowly return to normal.

 

Still thoughts keep appearing in my head whether I like it or not. Even while meditating...

 

 

 

If you approach your being as a spectrum of body - jing - qi - shen then if you experience a disturbance like this at the shen/mind level you can adjust be releasing the tension at different levels.  Physical body, subtle energy body, mental body, consciousness.  the most useful is the subtle energy (qi) body which is quite fluid.  But it is usual to start with physical tension/imbalance and work up.  You could try Sung Breathing exercises.  You should find that the imbalance will be released and headache/turbulent thoughts will be reduced if not go away entirely.

 

https://www.lotusneigongbristol.co.uk/sung-breathing/

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First I want to find a way to relate my body feelings to chi, if that is possible. That will then give me a handle to further explore the concept of chi in the human body. Until now all statements about chi flowing in the human body are just empty talk to me. It has to relate to something that I can understand and/or feel before I am prepared to actually work with it.

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2 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

First I want to find a way to relate my body feelings to chi, if that is possible. That will then give me a handle to further explore the concept of chi in the human body. Until now all statements about chi flowing in the human body are just empty talk to me. It has to relate to something that I can understand and/or feel before I am prepared to actually work with it.

 

 

For what it is worth I have found the best way to experience qi is to learn to relax physically and to cultivate stillness.  Standing or sitting.  To stimulate qi then gentle qi gong movements.  The odd thing I found was that many of the normal body feelings (even something like indigestion!) are qi related once you feel the qi movement behind the feeling.  the problem is. I think, that you can't force qi sensitivity - you just have to let it develop.  Also qi is a very general term and there are actually many forms of qi (even air can be thought of as qi) - so for instance if you do martial arts you work to develop a kind of hard qi/force which feels quite different to the qi of internal arts (although it is fundamentally the same thing).

 

One thing that is a problem is too much expectation or mental searching, vizualisations and wotnot which are not helpful.  Any kind of expectation tightens you up in a way to inhibit qi.  I know that's not very helpful but it is how it is.

 

 

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Not sure where you want to go with this, but maybe helpful are the traditional indications of chi movement.  Some of the common sensations people report when they feel the chi starting to move in their bodies include: feelings of warmth, extreme heat, electricity, heaviness, lightness, expansion, contraction, pressure, an internal sense of wind or water moving.  Sometimes that is simplified down to hydraulic (fluid movement) or electrical (buzzing) feelings in the body.

 

Re: "thought like feelings" you mention above, I can't say a I've ever felt thoughts.. but I have felt a kind of energetic chaos in my head.  When you write "like if inside my physical body there is another more subtle body that is in a chaotic state" ...this is exactly it!  See if you can track that "subtle body" when you do some simple energy practices... grounding and simple chi exercises can shift that, and you start to be able to notice the changes in that subtle body more.

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There is also the feeling of the subtle body suddenly contracting inside my physical body when I am startled by something.

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4 hours ago, wandelaar said:

I am not very sensitive to processes in my own body, but some feelings kind of surprise me. I wonder whether they are related to chi flows in the traditional Chinese view of life. In this topic I like to explore whether I can make sense of the concept of chi in my own body on the basis of my body feelings.

 

One peculiar feeling is the following. When I have a headache and close my eyes it is like if inside my physical body there is another more subtle body that is in a chaotic state and as if indistinct thought-like things are wildly bouncing around mainly within my head. Can this be expressed (or maybe even understood) in terms of chi?

 

Yes, but you could describe what you are saying with the headache perception as kind of ‚Äúpre-chi‚ÄĚ. Chi is the actual movement and perception of that energy within your local body-mind. What you are describing is more like the mental reflection of the underlying chi energy. Like getting a mirror view, rather than the actual thing itself. Next time you do that with the headache, instead of watching with stuff bouncing around your head, try to move it from your head down lower into your lower body or heart. It is not really a mental forcing, but more like a guiding intent. Energy naturally follows attention/focus. When you get it right, you will notice that your headache will just naturally end with it.

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I already do that as most of the time that I have a headache it's because I have been too busy thinking or ruminating in my head, so I then imagine that the basic locus of my internal activity sinks into my belly and I withdraw the energy from my head. It helps.

 

Edited by wandelaar
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4 hours ago, wandelaar said:

I am not very sensitive to processes in my own body, but some feelings kind of surprise me. I wonder whether they are related to chi flows in the traditional Chinese view of life. In this topic I like to explore whether I can make sense of the concept of chi in my own body on the basis of my body feelings.

 

One peculiar feeling is the following. When I have a headache and close my eyes it is like if inside my physical body there is another more subtle body that is in a chaotic state and as if indistinct thought-like things are wildly bouncing around mainly within my head. Can this be expressed (or maybe even understood) in terms of chi?

 

Some personal opinions, not meant to be definitive or authoritative...

 

If you feel something, anything, it can be expressed and understood in terms of Qi.

Qi "feels" like everything. It's not simply a warm and tingly feeling you get when you close your eyes and put your fingertips together.

That's a parlor trick. It is, along with other methods, a way to begin to connect awareness to the body and environment but that's really all that is happening when we "feel" Qi. Qi is much more foundational than any particular feeling. It is something we cultivate and connect to in a deep and comprehensive way in Daoist neigong and neijia.

 

Qi is a word which denotes the fundamental and pervasive animating force or energy pervasive in all life, including the "life" of larger systems such as our Earth, our solar system, even the universe.

It has infinite variations and applications but is always seems related to movement, flow, relationship, and connection.

 

In living with the concept for decades in neigong, qigong, and neijia, I've found it to be referring in a way to the relationship between awareness and manifestation on a very personal level - a description of mind-body connection of sorts. This is more a personal interpretation than a classic or widely accepted definition.

 

There have been two characters historically used to designate Qi - 

ÁāĀ¬†is a character only found in old Daoist manuscripts to denote Qi and is mostly seen in¬†Daoist talismans and magical writings. According to my teacher it is specifically used to denote the most subtle and profound meaning of Qi, eg. the life force that animates¬†all living systems, and may be extracted from air, for example, which is a grosser and less refined form of Qi.

śį£¬†is the more widely used character which as a more comprehensive meaning related to air, energy, and so forth.¬†

 

In terms of understanding and feeling Qi, I suggest it is firmly rooted in you perspective and expectations. Rather than look for Qi as something separate or distinct, I find it best to look at it as a fundamental quality of every experience, be it physical, emotional, psychological, etc... In particular, the quality of movement, connection, interaction, animation, and vitality that is inherent in every experience. 

 

If you like to read I highly recommend the Neiye which dates from around 350 BCE, the oldest manuscript describing the cultivation of Qi. It's available in an English translation by Harold Roth as Original Tao: Inward Training and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism.

 

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4 hours ago, wandelaar said:

Still thoughts keep appearing in my head whether I like it or not. Even while meditating...

 

 

Did you start meditating recently? Eyes open or closed?

If you are a beginner like me you might want to consider to start with standing meditation with eyes open - Zhan Zhuang. If you practice indoors it helps to stand facing a window looking outside. Don't worry if you're not "meditating" while you are standing, just relax and stand. After a couple of months you'll notice your mind is a lot more quieter and not only when standing. This is a natural process and there's no need to think about it, just practice.

 

You are in the Netherlands right? I think Peter den Dekker teaches in Amsterdam. He is an inner door student of Master Lam Kam Chuen and a TCM Dr.

 

Master Lam Kam Chuen's books

 

Peter den Dekker book

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5 minutes ago, KuroShiro said:

 

Did you start meditating recently? Eyes open or closed?

If you are a beginner like me you might want to consider to start with standing meditation with eyes open - Zhan Zhuang. If you practice indoors it helps to stand facing a window looking outside. Don't worry if you're not "meditating" while you are standing, just relax and stand. After a couple of months you'll notice your mind is a lot more quieter and not only when standing. This is a natural process and there's no need to think about it, just practice.

 

You are in the Netherlands right? I think Peter den Dekker teaches in Amsterdam. He is an inner door student of Master Lam Kam Chuen and a TCM Dr.

 

Master Lam Kam Chuen's books

 

Peter den Dekker book

 

Great suggestions here.

Standing meditation is a million dollar secret.

Basic standing post posture is all that is needed, IME, and can be a door to awakening and a deep inner journey.

All of the more complicated postures will naturally arise over time, as will spontaneous movement and qigong.

It is a very slow and gentle method and requires patience and dedication.

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2 hours ago, wandelaar said:

First I want to find a way to relate my body feelings to chi, if that is possible. That will then give me a handle to further explore the concept of chi in the human body. Until now all statements about chi flowing in the human body are just empty talk to me. It has to relate to something that I can understand and/or feel before I am prepared to actually work with it.

 

Go to a good acupuncturist. :)

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1 hour ago, steve said:

If you like to read I highly recommend the Neiye which dates from around 350 BCE, the oldest manuscript describing the cultivation of Qi. It's available in an English translation by Harold Roth as Original Tao: Inward Training and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism.

 

I already read the book. It was interesting.

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1 hour ago, KuroShiro said:

Did you start meditating recently? Eyes open or closed?

 

I started many years ago, but there were long periods in between in which I discontinued my daily practice. I do just sitting with eyes open for one hour. I experience feeling much more relaxed through the day as long as I keep doing these simple daily meditations.

 

Edited by wandelaar

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Sensitivity to Qi is interesting. One of my teachers actually decreases the sensitivity in some of his beginner students! This really surprised me at first.

 

In fact, it turns out that in the beginning stages, feeling Qi is completely counter productive. Because it focuses the mind in the wrong place (sensations) rather than on Realease and Listening (Song and Ting)

 

We rarely actually feel Qi directly... we normally feel the effect that Qi is having on our body. Others have mentioned the common sensations. For me it was mostly heat, pressure and vibration. But these sensations happen in the background as a result of (eg) standing in the correct posture.

 

Secondly the Qi of an untrained person will be very different to the Qi of someone who has trained correctly for a while. The Qi of a later stage qigong practitioner will be a lot ‚Äėthicker‚Äô and more consolidated. A Qigong master should have the Qi many times that of a¬†‚Äėnormal‚Äô person. When it moves in the body you can feel it like a viscous honey slowly flowing under pressure with your tissues being affected as it moves.

 

When normal people feel subtle things in their body it is generally not Qi - it is just sensations in your nerves under the action of your awareness. For example, if you focus your awareness on the palm of your hand for 5 minutes, all sorts of sensations come up. This is not Qi.

 

The beginner level Qi gong practitioner will feel the side effects of Qi. This is the heat, pressure, vibration stuff - less subtle than before... This is the sensations in your nerves under the action of Qi.

 

At a later stage in training you’ll begin to sense Qi in a very different way. It becomes very unsubtle. 

 

The easiest way for a non practitioner to get a sense of how unsubtle Qi really is, is to get a Qi transmission from a master. This is when you’ll feel a range of sensations - like extreme pressure that feels as if it might crush your bones. Or strong electric shocks moving through your body... similar to accidentally touching an electric fence, but moving inside the body. Strong sensations of heat. Uncontrollable convulsions, shaking and spasms.

 

The sensation of strong Qi is generally really rather unpleasant! I remember beginning to finally touch and collect Yin Qi in my Dan tien. I made the mistake of telling my teacher how pleasant it felt. He had a look and explained that I’m just skimming the surface. He did a short transmission and these pleasant waves of gentle pressure turned into bone crushing pressure going up my legs and into my abdomen where my insides started to contract and convulse like an alien is about to burst right out. I couldn’t take a crap for days :)

 

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What does Chi feel like ?

 

Okay, I do 5 Animals, Lung, Kidney, Liver, Heart, Spleen (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer, Earth) .... and 10 seconds after I begin I feel this coursing feeling flowing through my body particularly in the area of the relative meridiens.  Coursing like a young forceful river.  
If a blockage is broken open one day it feels a bit like a bubbling fart, until it starts flowing then is not so noticeable.

Then the Water Chi is very beautiful and feels like midnight blue dusk, which is a sensuous and cool feeling, a bit like James Bond's energy.  Everything is possible because the flow of youth is flowing in you.
Summer Chi (Fire) is wide and expansive and joyous, like the sun and the red crane soaring higher and wider.
Then the Wood chi I know well it is growing doing pushing mighty and a bit mysterious.
And so on.

Some images of what chi feels like inside, Water, Fire, Earth

 

B.jpg

D.jpg

E.png

Edited by rideforever
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21 minutes ago, rideforever said:

Okay, I do 5 Animals, Lung, Kidney, Liver, Heart, Spleen (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer, Earth) .... and 10 seconds after I begin I feel this coursing feeling flowing through my body particularly in the area of the relative meridiens.  Coursing like a young forceful river.  
If a blockage is broken open one day it feels a bit like a bubbling fart, until it starts flowing then is not so noticeable.

Then the Water Chi is very beautiful and feels like midnight blue dusk, which is a sensuous and cool feeling, a bit like James Bond's energy.  Everything is possible because the flow of youth is flowing in you.
Summer Chi (Fire) is wide and expansive and joyous, like the sun and the red crane soaring higher and wider.
Then the Wood chi I know well it is growing doing pushing mighty and a bit mysterious.
And so on.

 

Are these the forms that you do?

 

 

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21 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

Are these the forms that you do?

I do the Michael Winn ones.  It's not just the movements you see ... for instance that blue picture I put up there, if you open it full screen and feel the scene, feel that feeling of the blue/black, the coolness of the water, feel the freshness of it and then breathe it up into K1 and then up your body until the whole body is blue/black with cool fresh water chi.  Then you feel the sensual resh spring like nature of it.  MW teaches very nicely.
So if you do this youtube video I don't think you will get that.  MW teaches that it is not necessary to do many movements - traditionally they did 5 for each animal, so 25 in all.   But ... if you feel the elemental force, then you develop the skill of it.  Feel the force.  You see.  So MW when he does the animals, at the end of each one he connects the universal fire element, to the dantien, and then to the internal fire element heart / small intestine.   Joining micro to macro cosm.
Then as you move through life, you start to feel the elements in your day ...  you might feel that my arguments with this person stem from a weak fire chi ... you feel it instinctively, and then you know how to change the chi ... you know what comes next, eventually it becomes instinctively automatic and the skill has been learnt and the dantien starts balancing the forces automatically.  afaik

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just stand in the  wuji posture for 10 minutes at a time, after applying the basic structural guidelines + relax your stomach, rest your mind on your lower dan tien and do long breaths in a smooth and soft manner. You will feel qi flowing in your body. This will also help you sink your qi and potentially reduce your headaches (which you feel in form of chaotic movements in your head). With enough practice you can sink your qi to your dan tien instantaneously. 

 

Qi can feel different for different people. My first thought on seeing you post title was "Qi feels like Qi". Because imho, that is exactly what it is. But our mind can interpret it into sensations we are familiar with (electric, magnetic, hot, cold, etc etc). 

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3 hours ago, dwai said:

just stand in the  wuji posture for 10 minutes at a time, after applying the basic structural guidelines + relax your stomach, rest your mind on your lower dan tien and do long breaths in a smooth and soft manner. You will feel qi flowing in your body. This will also help you sink your qi and potentially reduce your headaches (which you feel in form of chaotic movements in your head). With enough practice you can sink your qi to your dan tien instantaneously.

 

Just did 15 minutes of standing in the wuji posture. I didn't feel any chi flowing, but I sure had a burning feeling in my calf and shoulder muscles...

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