A couple of people in my classes have asked what to do when, while doing the Qigong or Zhan Zhuang, the energetic internal process is too much?
This is a really good question, and for some people it will make complete sense, while others will have no clue what we are talking about, as we all have different Internal Processes we are working with.*
When it is all too much, it feels like the energy we are working with in our system, around us, our bodies, our essence, our feeling in space, feels overwhelmed. Our system feels over stimulated. Feels like there is too much going on, or out of control, disturbed, like a rock concert or roller coaster is happening in our system without us being able to turn it down or shut it off. We’re out to sea. We’re spacey. We’re inside out.
This is all pretty normal and actually a good thing if used and directed and relaxed into. But it can feel like we have imploded, especially in the beginning.
After about a year and a half in the monastery in my twenties, I got really sick, and almost lost my eyesight. In retrospect, this was because I was not meeting my internal process, my internal momentum of energy. It was like I was grinding my internal gears all of the time, like the energy was doing something and I couldn’t match it.
Laying in the dark on the tatami, I saw that I had to sync up with this internal momentum, I had to learn to interact with it. It was like my energy and my breath had to meet, and my body had to manifest out of that. It had a speed, a power, and I had to harmonize with that. I had to meld with that, or I knew I’d be sick again and live in chaos as before. Discovering this and working with it changed everything for me. I am still guided by it at all times.
I am so grateful I had this opportunity at that point in my life to look at all this and interact with this, as so many people are dealing with similar issues but unconsciously.
Here are a few tips for exploring how to work with harmonizing this internal process.
One simple thing I often do, is to completely stop any input we are putting into the situation. Chances are we are missing what is trying to happen in our system, with our energy. We are disrupting it, going against the internal process and momentum which is moving through my system. So, stop what you are doing and see if you can feel movement in the system which is happening, and get out of the way. This sounds simple. But it is hidden and often moving at a pace which we cannot immediately fathom. Often extremely slow, like a car driving at us from way out in the desert.
-Does it Have a Direction?
Often there is a direction this energy is trying to move through us, and we are not paying attention to it. We are missing it. We can’t feel it yet. And we’re either hoping for a direction that the energy in our system will take, and trying to make that happen, or we unconsciously become rigid, invested in a plan of how it should go, instead of remaining open. At various times we will get a sense of how to follow this process, only to have it shift. We must adapt at that time, and with fresh awareness, allow it to continue to reveal how to open up to us.
-Let Go Into the Momentum
There might be a momentum to it, a wave moving through us. Chances are, we don’t understand that wave vector. If we did, then we would naturally allow it to open us up. This wave might feel something like a second breath. We have our normal breath, in, out, huffing and puffing. But this second breath is something very different, and we begin to understand that our breath and energy are the same thing. In time, we may discover it is there all of the time, waiting for us to listen, organizing us, healing us, opening us up if we can get out of the way.
-Feel the Tanden
When the energy feels too big, feels too raw, check back in with the Tanden. You might be surprised to discover that the base of that expansive energy is the Tanden. Like butterfly wings that extend out into space, moving and expressing, but still the root of them is in the base. It can often feel like the expansive movement of this energy is standing on top of the tanden. But we are not aware of the root. To sink into the tanden, rooted while the wild energy expresses around it. Discovering this, we are not so blown away by this seemingly out of control feeling, feeling in our system that it is all springing from the Tanden.
-Remove the Barrier
Is our system interacting with the room, and how can I harmonize with the room or the forest or the mall or wherever I am? Often if we feel too stuck, are overwhelmed in our bodies, it is good to take our awareness to the environment around us. To find a way to become one with the trees, or the room, or even the shopping mall. To remove the barrier between us and everything around us. If we harmonize with the room, then our bodies will align, will sort themselves out. We see that our bodies are just another part of the harmony of the present energetic environment.
-Faith That it is all Trying to Happen
Faith that the universe is on our side, is directing us to open up, align, deepen our state of mind, align with this great life energy. As we do these practices more, we gain faith that even if things open up, that the process will smooth out, the universe is not against us, the energy does not have to be scary. Someone told me once, “Before kensho, energy is very exciting and people have energy problems. After kensho, energy is just energy.” There is some truth to this.
-Bring it Back to Wuji
If you are doing some non-directed movement and the energy gets too far out there, it is good to do some simple Zhan Zhuang practices to root the energy, to align, to bring us back to the center. I find that the dialogue between structure and unstructured is a great lively conversation. If one dominates too long, then it gets lopsided.
-What is really Happening?
For some of us, there is an urgency to working with this internal process. It is not just something interesting, but something that must be done in this life. What I am trying to do in my classes is to inspire people to catch that fever which drives us to discover what it actually is that is walking around, standing, sitting, laying down, etc. If we can discover that great life energy shining through us, it might shock us, penetrate us deeply, and then our lives will be about interacting with that, sharpening it, cultivating it, sharing it with others.
Three things have guided my practice for many years.
Curiosity– We have to be so curious about what is actually happening. Not our idea. Not our fantasy or even our wish. What is this moment revealing right now. The thing itself.
Honesty– We have to be incredibly honest. To look at this stuff, to open up ourselves, is really difficult. It is very frightening. But we have to be honest. To face what is happening. Be able to adjust, to adapt, to be moved by this great life energy. We have to be honest with this moment. And continue that honesty all of the time. This becomes easier and easier, as we see the gifts this huge moment reveal. Or we’ll be stuck in our mozo (thought patterns) forever. We’ll stay in our holding patterns.
Courage– When we have to face ourselves, we’ve got to have courage. Things do not just open up without us being brave enough to face them. Trauma, pain, epigenetic stuff, birth trauma, unresolved karma, physical injuries, etc, it will often only open up if we completely bare all our of ourselves to the moment. It is often like grabbing hold of this moment with the utmost sincerity and allowing it to pull you through to the other side. But I can say that it is worth it. And then of course, the moment will change.
It is often like being molded, like the universe is a blacksmith pummeling us. For years, my mantra was Dozo (Please go ahead), to the universe. Do with me what you will. Just trying to get out of the way. It may feel very strange at times. But what a chance! I must say that having energy be too wild is actually such a blessing if we can learn to lasso it, to ride the ox, to surf its grace. To open up all of our senses and allow the universe to flow through us! To let all of the horses run free! I am excited for you all! I’m excited to keep going myself forever. Please keep me posted. Questions welcome. Lots of love!
I am also open for private consultation in person or online.
*None of this is meant to be medical advice. If you are struggling mentally or physically, you should see a medical doctor.