A Consideration of “Transactional Energetics” for Qi Cultivators and Healthcare Providers
by Jill Gonet, MFA and Guan-Cheng Sun, PhD
When Taoist practitioners develop the energetic body via qigong and/or martial arts practice, in addition to developing the power of the muscles and tendons, there’s also a development of the reflexes, which may become so quick they’re almost imperceptible.
However, this type of rapid reaction can also have drawbacks. In the case of martial arts practitioners and qigong practitioners whose bodies are extremely advanced, there may be a discrepancy between body and mind if the awareness is not advanced enough to keep the practitioner balanced.
For example, excellent reflexes can be led by external stimulations easily and automatically without the individual’s being consciously aware of it at the level of the intellectual mind; this may cause unexpected energy loss, or undesirable energy exchanges, or unexpected outcomes. This kind of unconscious dynamic energy exchange might be termed “transactional energetics.”
When such discrepancies between reflexes and mind, body and mind – in other words, when such passive-reactive “transactional energetics”- are pronounced, the awareness will have to work to keep pace with what happens to the body when the body and its energetic development have become advanced.
Transactional Energetics and Passive Reactive Responses
In order to overcome reactions relating to “transactional energetics,” practitioners must go deep into the level of the organs and, thus, of the virtues.
The energetic development of the virtues of the internal organs takes place as the practitioner comes to regard situations with enhanced clarity. This is a grass roots development, and forms a central focus in many Taoist schools.
It’s not that we decide intellectually, ‘oh, I should be more virtuous because it will make me more holy and that will make me look good.’ It’s more the case that the energetic development of the organs themselves makes the new vantage point and/or course of action possible.
In all cases, the real issue is one of mastery. A reaction, whether in behavior or in emotion, that does not flow from the higher ground of the virtues and alignment with the Tao, is not a decision. A decision is an entirely different order of creation, intent, and will, than an emotionally or behaviorally passive-reactive response.
It is, therefore, very helpful to engage in practices that quiet the mind, allowing the catch-and-release of thought forms (and thereby slowing the pace of reactivity), to cultivate the energies of the mind, and firmly bridge the energies of the mind and ground them into the body. Doing so allows a greater range of responses, a broader spectrum or array of possibilities, and more skillful management of those possibilities.
When we look at transactional energetics, those who “get it,” (i.e. who learn the ropes of transactional energetics, who learn to recall the mind, to go to the higher ground, etc.) continue to enrich themselves as those who do not “get it,” continue to lose energy, stature, treasure, and time.
Development of Body-Mind Union
When practitioners begin to synchronize the mind and the body, they also become aware that the body itself has “mind” in all of its parts.
As qi flow is enhanced and increases, this awareness that the body is also the mind, grows intuitively and experientially. There is a mind in the liver. There is a mind in the stomach. There is a mind in the heart. There is mind in the knees, in the hip joints, in the blood. There is mind in the intestines.
All of these parts of the body, all parts of the body, are mind and all are associated with emotions, with virtues, and with particular elements. This is not intellectual book learning, but the body-mind union learning to read the book of itself!
Reunion with the True Source of Healing
As mind and body become more comfortable and established in this connection and their synergy, an understanding comes about regarding expenditures of energy.
It is important to note here that the attainment of the virtues described is not just occurring within the ordinary, mundane parameters of the persona, or with self control or with concern over appearances. The level of attainment described above is a reflection of the harnessing of highly conscious energies that have been grounded at the level of the internal organs and have thus created the spontaneous emanation of a higher-order of energies within the organs.
To reach this degree of realization requires dis-identification from previous habits we may have considered to be our “self.” This “self” is very much tied up with body memories of wounds received by that personality, and while that personality may not have any ultimate reality, the body has stored the wounds of that personality and those vibrations become real and self-perpetuating in the body because the body remembers all injuries.
The saving grace is reunion with the one qi, the true source – a quiet and powerful and concentrated source and communicating reality that allows new possibilities to emerge.
It will, for example, allow us to observe energies at a lower level with which we may have previously identified – to observe them, see them trying to find their way back to us (e.g. belligerence, depression, apathy, etc.) and with time and repeated practice and experience, see them lose their strength so that instead of the old reflexes of our old “self,” there may come to be new reflexes which are developed and which have a tremendous power behind them.
How does the development of such awareness relate to the field/s of healthcare, and how might it be applied within them?
Energetic communications are happening in many situations, such as between physician and patient, between nurse and patient, between therapist and client, between colleagues, between friends, between family members, between the individual and his/her living environment, and so forth. Again, such energetic communications might be called “Transactional Energetics,” or perhaps even “Qi-mail communications.”
For example, in psychotherapy treatment sessions, a phenomenon has been observed, since 1946, which is termed “Projective Identification.”
Projective Identification occurs in circumstances where A (psychotherapist) experiences feelings that belong to B (client) but that B is unable to access; and instead “projects” them into A (his or her therapist).1 Projective Identification has been known as unconsciousness communications between therapist and client. The problem is that both the therapist and client are not aware or not conscious of these kinds of communications during psychotherapy treatment sessions. If the therapist is not aware of projective identifications from their clients, over time, the projective identifications can become a root cause of compassion fatigue and burnout of the therapist, or the therapist can become a victim of the client’s projections.
Or to take some other examples, while the medical profession prepares for treating millions of patients who will be newly insured under the current healthcare law, the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.) reports that nearly one in two (45.8%) of the nation’s doctors already suffer a symptom of burnout.2
Most nurses enter the field of nursing with the intent to help others and provide empathetic care for patients with critical physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Empathic and caring nurses, however, can become victims of the continuing stress of meeting the often overwhelming needs of patients and their families, resulting in compassion fatigue.3 One of the causes of compassion fatigue and burnout for healthcare providers may be inadequate awareness of transactional energetics and therefore of the skills required to do healing and service work in a balanced way over an extended period of time.
Importance of Authentic Qi Cultivation for Healthcare Providers
When healing chronic health conditions, the health condition might require attention not only at the level of the physical symptoms, but may also need to be treated at the internal energy level, emotional level, mental level, spiritual level, or in relation to habitual behavior, personal and professional relationships, and so forth. The authentic qi cultivation can assist healthcare providers in seeing the client as a whole person at all different levels. The study and practice of medical qigong, as well as medical Yijing, greatly enhances healthcare providers’ ability and performance in understanding the root cause of health conditions and fosters an ability to treat a patient or client not only at the level of the symptoms but at the global level, as a whole person.
Medical Qigong and The Healthcare System
Medical Qigong is the study of authentic qi cultivation and management of the body based on classical Taoist alchemical cultivation, traditional Chinese medicine, as well as modern life science. Medical Qigong techniques can be practiced on oneself for self-healing, self-care and self-cultivation or can be performed to facilitate the healing process of others. The authentic Qi holds the key to the healing and improvement of chronic health conditions.
Qi is a complex of bioenergy and intelligence of the body including different forms of energies and health-related information and healing intelligence. Medical Qigong exercises can be used for specific health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, chronic pain, hypertension, arthritis, cancer recurrence prevention, chronic fatigue symptoms, fibromyalgia, chronic migraine, chronic anger, depression and so forth.
Qigong is a several-thousand-year-old internal authentic qi cultivation practice that empowers individuals to explore and develop their inherent potentials for self-healing, self-care and for improving the quality of practitioners’ lives. When a Qigong practitioner has mastered the techniques and skills of internal authentic qi cultivation and management, she or he will be able to facilitate healing for others as well.
Whereas modern western medicine has focused on the body’s “hardware” care and management from an “objective” anatomical and physiological point of view, Medical Qigong excels at healing of non-crisis illness (such as chronic pain, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, insomnia, fibromyalgia, and so forth) by improving the balance and harmony and circulation of internal Qi-energy.
The Qi pathways or acupuncture meridian system are an interface between the physical body’s hardware and the body’s “software” – e.g., the mind, consciousness, memories, emotions, and intelligence of the body. The Qi network is responsible in greater measure than is generally realized by Western medicine practitioners for the management and coordination of the activities of the internal organs, tissues, cells, genes, and also for the sharing of the body’s resources.
The integration of human body hardware care with human body software care holds great promise for the future of human healthcare.
There is, currently, a big gap in understanding between the East and West regarding the human body’s hardware and the human body’s software.
The authentic Qi represents a bridge between the West and East, as well as a bridge between the human body’s hardware and human body’s software. Medical Qigong offers new light and brings new hope to health care, particularly regarding chronic health conditions, and it also offers important awareness and self-care practices to both eastern and western providers of healthcare.
An accomplished Medical Qigong practitioner will be aware of “transactional energetics” in Qigong class settings, professional consultation sessions, and even during phone conversations and email communications.
An important aspect of training in Medical Qigong is the overcoming of the passive/reactive behaviors of the body at energetic and information levels, which are then redirected consciously and proactively.
Thus an accomplished Medical Qigong therapist becomes able to cultivate their awareness and, thereby, to release, neutralize, and transform unhealthy or undesirable energies and information from their clients, work place or living environment.
Such knowledge and techniques can be extremely valuable for healthcare providers in terms of self-healing, self-care and coping with stress from their working environment as well as for enhancing the effectiveness of treatments for patients and clients.
1. Michael Jacobs, Psychodynamic Counseling in Action, London 2006, p. 109.
2. Janice Lloyd, Doctor burnout: Nearly half of physicians report symptoms. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-08-20/physician-burnout/57173110/1
3. Barbara Lombardo, RN, MSN, PMHCNS-BC Caryl Eyre, RN, MSN., Compassion Fatigue: A Nurse’s Primer. http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol-16-2011/No1-Jan-2011/Compassion-Fatigue-A-Nurses-Primer.html
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.
Guan-Cheng Sun, PhD is the founder and executive director 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 35 years refining his skills and has developed a new system of Qigong called “Yi Ren® Qigong” (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/continuing-education/certificate-training-programs-non-credit#Medical-Qigong).