Studying with Sifu Lew it was clear that my early view of the world was far too limited.
Somehow in my life I had arrived at the idea that the world is supposed to make rational sense. It never did, of course. I assumed that was lack of understanding on my part. “If only I could be more rational, I could understand the world,” I thought to myself.
But after starting to practice qigong, things shifted. Rationality didn’t go away, but it started becoming less important than direct experience. Before too long, I saw that energy is present in ways I had never imagined. In that process I stared learning how to interact with it.
Of course the healing class was the first place to notice this. We practiced directly sensing and correcting imbalances in people’s energy flow.
But awareness of energy also happens in less obvious ways.
One evening, during the qigong class, Sifu had us practice what are called Shen exercises.
Shen exercises increase awareness of how attention affects energy. They also open awareness of energy at multiple levels. In addition, they increase the ability to focus intent.
On this particular evening, he asked us to stand facing a tree while doing the exercises. He had never done this before. He didn’t explain what we were supposed to do differently, if anything.
So I am standing facing the tree. I feel a bit odd doing this. I’m trying to think about why this should be different than any other time of practicing these exercises.
Then, during the third exercise, I stop thinking. I become acutely aware of the tree in front of me. This shift in awareness isn’t so much visual, but more like I become aware of the life force of the tree. And curiously, this life force is aware of me. It’s not reactive or even active – but it is aware. And it is very present.
Since I don’t know what to do, I ask the tree, “What do you have to tell me?”
Almost instantly, I hear words in my head. They say, “Stick to your roots.”
At the same time, I have a very clear feeling that there are energy “roots” coming out of the bottoms of my feet. They burrow down into the earth. I feel very solid, but at the same time light.
This sensation continues through the rest of the exercises. When we are done, my body feels filled with energy. I am happy and calm. And I am very present.
All the best for your health and happiness,