Integrating Theory with Expereince:
Medical Qigong for Healing & Health Care
[Part 2 of 2]
Jill Gonet, MFA and Guan-Cheng Sun, Ph.D.
Develop Internal Strength and Cultivate the Energetic Transforming Body
The cultivation and development of the internal energy matrix enables medical qigong practitioners to increase their awareness levels and sensitivity and greatly enhances their intuition and dream quality and capacity. Practitioners become able to feel things they were not able to feel before; they become able to hear things they were not able to hear before; they become able to see things they were not able to see before; and they are able to know things they were not able to know before. Such increased types of awareness and sensitivity not only allows medical qigong practitioners to explore and realize the properties, emotions, memories, intelligence and gifts within, but also greatly enhances communications with others at the energetic, informational, sub-consciousness and unconsciousness levels. This internal awakening provides great opportunities for self-healing and for healing others, but can be overwhelming and challenging particularly in the beginning and early stages of the internal awakening. In order to overcome increased sensitivity and overwhelming information exchange with others and achieve self-mastery, it is important and necessary to develop the internal strength and cultivate the energetic transforming body. For example, the internal power of “Jing” is a dynamic current in the body which can be developed by integrating authentic Qi with the force of the muscles. The power of “Rou” is the flexibility of the body, which can be developed by integrating authentic Qi with the strength of the tendons14.
During the internal cultivation and development, one big challenge is overcoming and over-riding the past difficult memories and unhealthy emotional patterns. For example, the emotions are raw energies that have been stored in the internal organs. (Emotions are energetic functions of the internal organs: anger is associated with the functions of the liver; fear is associated with the functions of the kidneys; envy is associated with the functions of the heart; worry is associated with the pancreas; and depression is associated with the lungs, and so forth.) Accumulations of emotional and mental stress often become root causes of chronic illnesses such as chronic pain, fatigue, arthritis, cancer, etc. In order to overcome conditioned emotional responses and transform any unhealthy emotional patterns and tragic memories, it is essential to cultivate and develop the energetic transforming body by means of the codes of the virtues and by learning to apply the five phases of transformation theory within.
Virtue, in Chinese, is called “De (德). ” According to the ancient Taoist tradition, one of the ways of emotional and spiritual development is to accumulate De. At the energetic level, the “De (德)-virtue” means to be gaining energy, which represents the power of assembling15. For example, Zhuang Zi said: “One’s life is the assembling of Qi. The assembling of Qi makes life vital and alive; the dispersal of Qi causes aging and death.” This statement not only expresses Zhuang Zi’s understanding of the relationship between the Qi and physical body, but also emphasizes the relationship between the Qi and spiritual life15. The specific code of virtues resides in the deep layers of each internal organ; for example, benevolence and love in the heart, conscience and justice in the lungs, integrity and loyalty in the liver, and so on. Actual application of the codes of virtues can greatly affect the internal energy flow, prevent dispersal of qi and energy depletion and lead to healing and health recovery.
With authentic Qi-cultivation and five phases of transformation theory application, practitioners gain experiential understanding of the functions of the internal organs at energetic and emotional levels; they may experience the internal organs from an integrated and interconnected internal organ network that is working together seamlessly with great coordination and collaboration to support each other and help each other.
Recalling the Mind, and Establishing the Bright Mirror Within
The goal of becoming a medical qigong therapist is to heal others or to assist others in healing health conditions and improving the quality of life. In the view of medical qigong, all health care professionals are healers. In a clinical practice, health care professionals not only provide professional care for patients, but also provide compassion and an energy exchange. The energy exchange plays an important role in healing and recovery for their patients. On the other hand, this exchange can create excess stress, energy depletion, and emotional and mental burn-out for the practitioner. Many health care professionals–including nurses, health care givers, doctors of osteopathic medicine, acupuncturists, naturopaths, medical doctors, massage therapists, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, psychologists, and social workers, Reiki masters, healing touch therapists and spiritual healers–may not be aware of the impact such repeated energy exchange has, over time, from their professional practice.
For medical qigong therapists, it is important to be aware of the energy and information exchanges between practitioners and patients during the healing sessions. In order to recognize and distinguish the energies, thoughts, images, and information between medical qigong practitioner and patient, it is a significant step to develop and establish the internal mirror. The internal mirror not only assists the medical qigong practitioners to perform excellent diagnosis—to identify and understand the root cause of the health conditions- but also helps the medical qigong practitioners to find the optimal treatments for their patients.
The development of an internal bright mirror is essential for medical qigong therapists. However, it is not easy to establish the bright mirror within because practitioners have to train their mind to achieve self-mastery. For example, one of the challenges is to overcome the natural tendencies of the human mind towards curiosity. Curiosity can lead to bewilderment, however, when faced with a world that is suddenly experienced as a communicating world.
Curiosity creates an openness, and yet what is encountered may not always be of benefit. In other words, curiosity needs to be managed until the educational process can keep pace with it in a balanced manner. Curiosity may lead the practitioner, otherwise, into spaces where the interpretive capacities may be lacking sufficient clarity to lead to anything but deepening of either past programming, family/cultural conditioning, or perhaps even delusion.
It is the mind, in general, that is curious, and would like to inquire around about the state of things. This is why it is necessary, eventually, to learn to Recall the Mind, in order for the consciousness to become concentrated in the body. It doesn’t matter whether it is the intellectual mind, or the intuitive/instinctual mind or a combination thereof—Recalling the Mind and training one’s curiosity will behoove the process of cultivation and education, for then the practitioners will not have to expend time and energy clearing dirt and mud and dust off the internal mirror; indeed, the internal mirror may become restored to its originally clean state. In it the practitioner may view whatever is necessary and which will become visible if and when necessary.
Recalling the Mind, and Internal Observation in the Mirror are both extremely important attainments for medical qigong therapists. In the tradition of internal cultivation, one of the goals is to transform intellectual intelligence into wisdom (it is called “Zhuan Shi Cheng Zhi” in Chinese-转识成智) and to transform the instinctual intelligence into direct knowing and internal realization (it is called “Jue Ming Sheng Hui” in Chinese-觉明生慧). The process of these transformations requires the following steps: 1) recalling the mind back to the body; 2) adjusting the mind to the xuan state for internal observation; 3) integrating authentic Qi with intellectual intelligence; and 4) integrating authentic Qi with instinctual intelligence, including the intuitive mind and the perceptions of the internal organs. These practices strengthen the energy field and allow the personal mind and energy to integrate and unify with the universal mind and the One Qi, or Cosmic Qi. Dependence on intellect and reason alone will not lead to this attainment! With these attainments, time becomes more like sand; thought becomes more spherical.
It may seem like a conundrum, but the facility of interpreting the communicating world comes about through cultivating detachment, by slowing down the pace of reactivity and conditioned reflexes, and observing patterns with a slower rhythm and the space of objectivity. In other words, habits, reflexes, conditioned impulses become more integrated with the thought processes, and may, thereby, begin to be transformed. In the archetypal and elemental Tao, breathing is different, deeper; the mind is not racing but is calm, and consciousness is recalled to the body. Encounters with the communicating world are, after all, nothing extraordinary, as the cultivator abides in a present moment, naturally attuned to and positioned to synergize with elemental forces with which there has been first-hand contact.
The cultivator/practitioner does not lose him or her self in the process of making this contact, but remains aware and retains integrity. This state can be viewed as the “Internal Bright Mirror.” In such a state, the senses may be trusted, and may be experienced as reliable and helpful navigators for attaining knowledge. And this is important in terms of applying these arts in healing situations.
For medical qigong practitioners, it is important and necessary to develop their internal energy body, the transforming body, and to establish their internal bright mirror for self-healing, self-care and healing others. Without a well-developed energetic transforming body, health care professionals can easily feel physical fatigue, energy depletion, and emotional and mental burn-out after three to five years of providing their services. Without a well-developed energetic transforming body and internal mirror to serve as a reliable navigating system, after their healing sessions they might exhibit symptoms and behaviors of their patients or clients but may not be aware of it; this may lead to poor health for themselves.
For medical qigong therapists, it is essential to understand the way of healing and health not only at the mental level, but also at the energetic and informational levels. A medical qigong therapist needs to have clear alignment between the intelligence of the internal energy body, the personal mind, and the information communicated within the healing situation. A medical qigong therapist also needs to have clear understanding about the “property” of patients, not only at the physical level but also at energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. During healing sessions, a medical qigong therapist must respect a patient’s property and space at energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual levels and keep clear professional boundaries. A medical qigong therapist works most efficiently and effectively by performing healing sessions in which they are providing service to the soul of the individual but NOT to the unhealthy programs of the individual’s mind or the body. Ultimately, a medical qigong therapist performs healing sessions by synchronizing with universal support, makes the alignment with the principle of the healing truth, and permits synergetic collaborations and resonance between the therapist and patient.
1. Sun, GC., Gonet, J. Qi Cultivation For Healing Chronic Health Conditions. Qi Dao, 24-26 (2010).
2. Shahar, M. The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts. University of Hawai’i Press-Honolulu, 160 (2008).
3. Cohen, K. The Way of Qigong. Ballantine Wellspring, 17-20 (1997).
4. Liu, T., Chen, KW. Chinese Medical Qigong. Singing Dragon, 209 (2010).
5. Xu, X. History of Qigong. http://www.innerself.com/Fitness/qigong_history.htm (2012).
6. AS. Arthralgia Syndrome. http://www.herbertchung.com/arthralgia/diagnose_arghralgia.HTM (2012).
7. Sancier, K. Qigong and Neurological Illness Alternative and Complementary Treatments in Neurologic Illness 15, 197-220 (2001).
8. HMQSM. Hebei Medical Qigong School and Hospital http://www.medicalqigongschool.com/qigong.php (2012).
9. QH. The four qigongs sanctioned by the Chinese government for health and healing. http://bewellqigong.blogspot.com/2008/05/four-qigongs-sanctioned-by-chinese.html (2008).
10. CHQA. Chinese Health Qigong Association. http://jsqg.sport.org.cn/en/index.html (2012).
11. Sun, GC., Gonet, J. The Art of Internal Observation and Panoramic Knowing: Laozi’s Classic on the Way of Virtues. Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness 18, 18-25 (2008).
12. Lao, T. Tao Te Ching. http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/lao-tzu/works/tao-te-ching/te.htm (2012).
13. Chan, A. What is Xuanxue? . http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/neo-taoism/ (2009).
14. Sun, GC. The Tao of Internal Cultivation. Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness, 28-32 (2004).
15. Sun, GC., Gonet, J. Cultivating the Shen and Nourishing the Spirit. Qi Dao, 21-23 (2010).
Jill Gonet, MFA earned her BA at the University of Massachusetts, and her MFA. from the University of Washington. Her writing has appeared in numerous literary journals over the years, including Poetry, Ploughshares, The New England Review, The Gettysburg Review, and The Best American Poetry, among others. She is the recipient of awards from the Poetry Society of America, as well as grants from the Seattle Arts Commission. She was interested in ancient Daoist classics since high school years, and has studied Dao De Jing-the Way of Virtues, Yi Jing-the Book of Change, Ling Shu-the Spiritual Pivot, Zhuang-Zi, Lie-Zi, diligently. She meditated and practiced Qigong daily for over 20 years. She has combined her interests in writing, Chinese culture, and the art of internal cultivation by collaborating on many writings with Dr. Sun. http://www.iqim.org/), and two Medical Qigong Certificate Programs–Medical Qigong Self-Care Program, and Medical Qigong Therapist Program—through Bastyr University, Seattle, Washington (http://www.bastyr.edu/civicrm/event/info?id=236&reset=1).
Guan-Cheng Sun, PhD is the founder of the Institute of Qigong & Integrative Medicine. Dr. Sun earned his Ph.D. in molecular genetics from the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Japan in 1993, and was awarded a fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. From 1994-1997 Dr. Sun conducted postdoctoral research in molecular endocrinology at the University of Washington. This research enriched his theory and practice of Qigong. His understanding of modern molecular genetics and scientific principles, as well as his experience with internal cultivation, allowed him to create a unique bridge between cultures. Dr. Sun has spent over 30 years refining his skills and has developed a new system of Qigong called “Yi Ren® Medical Qigong” (