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Common Sensations Experienced in Still Meditation

by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, October 15, 2012
Dr. Yang photo by P. Segadães

Photo: P. Segadães

When you practice still meditation, regulating your body, breathing, and mind, you enter into deep meditation. Qi readjusts and balances itself, reaching even the smallest place in your body. You have feelings and visions, which cannot be experienced when you are not in meditation. The Chinese call them Qi scenery or Qi view (Jing Qi), and when you reach this point, it is called enter the scenery (Ru Jing). Don’t expect to experience all of these sensations, as they depend on the individual, the time of day, how deep you are in meditation, and even the environment in which you are sitting.

The Eight Touches (Physical and Sensory Phenomena)

The Eight Touches (Ba Chu) felt during Qigong practice, such as sensations of heat, someone touching you, or heaviness, are also called Touch Feel (Chu Gan) or Moving Touch (Dong Chu). Some practitioners list them as moving (Dong), itching (Yang), cool (Liang), warm (Nuan), light (Qing), heavy (Zhong), harsh (Se), and slippery (Hua). Others list them differently as shake (Diao), ripple (Yi), cold (Leng), hot (Re), float (Fu), sink (Chen), hard (Jian), and soft (Ruan).

These are normal sensations in Qigong practice, even in the beginning. If you experience something, determine its cause. If it is the result of Qi redistribution, let it happen and don’t worry about it. Otherwise, correct the circumstances causing them. For example, if you feel cold because the room temperature is too low, either put on more clothing or turn up the thermostat.

Don’t expect these phenomena or look for them, and don’t worry about them. Simply follow nature and let it happen, and continue your practice. Keep your mind clear and calm, and don’t be distracted.

Sensations of Movement or Vibration

This is different from the above where one part of the body spontaneously starts to move or tremble. This sensation occurs in the False Lower Dan Tian, and you might feel warmth there. After a couple of weeks, the area may start to vibrate by itself. This means Qi is becoming abundant there and it is time for your Yi to lead it through small circulation. This is often the first sensation, and it gives you confidence you are practicing correctly and making progress.

Sensations Inside the Abdomen

Once you feel warmth and vibration in your Real Lower Dan Tian, the abundant Qi spreads out through your abdomen. The movement as you breathe increases circulation in your intestines and sometimes causes sounds and the release of gas. After a while, you feel warmth and other sensations throughout your abdomen, and the Qi flows smoothly and strongly. Sometimes you sweat. Afterwards, these sensations disappear as all the channels in the abdomen open up, and Qi moves without stagnation.

The Feeling of Lightness

During deep meditation, with Qi circulating smoothly, your body may feel light and airy, and seems to disappear. This is very comfortable, but don’t be distracted by it. Be aware of what is happening, but don’t pay attention to it. To reach this stage, your body must be in deep relaxation, where breathing and heartbeat slow down to the minimum, and your mind is extremely calm and peaceful.

White Clouds in the Empty Room

You may suddenly feel your physical body disappear and blend with the surrounding Qi. It seems the room is empty, filled with a white cloud or fog. If you pay attention to this scenery, it disappears immediately, because your mind is not familiar with emptiness and generates an image of familiar, physical scenery to fill the void.

If you experience this white emptiness, be aware of it, but don’t pay attention to it. It happens only when your mind is completely regulated in a highly concentrated and relaxed state. The Daoist Wu Yi Zi said, “If you wish to fill the abdomen with Qi, first empty the Xin. If you wish to generate the White, first empty the room.”

To accumulate Qi in your abdomen, first empty the emotional mind (Xin). Only then can Yi (wisdom mind) start the fire (Qi Huo) to build up the Qi. White here means simple, pure, light, and clean, like fog or cloud, and represents the disappearance of the physical body. To unite with surrounding Qi, first let go of all objects, including your physical body.

Six Other Sensations

At a higher level of Qigong meditation, there are six other sensations you may experience. These are called Six Verifications (Liu Zhong Ying Yan), because they verify correct meditation.

  1. The False Lower Dan Tian is hot as though it were on fire
  2. The kidneys feel as though boiling in water
  3. The eyes emit a beam of light
  4. Winds are generated behind the ears
  5. An eagle is shouting behind your head
  6. Your body is energized and your nose trembles.

Six Transportations

When you have reached the level of regulating your Shen, your Shen will be high and its Ling supernatural power will be able to reach farther than any ordinary person’s. Your mind will then be able to communicate with the six natural powers:

1. Seeing the Present. Your mind is so clear that it can analyze and understand events or incidents clearly and thoroughly. This happens because, when you have learned to regulate your mind, you are able to see things or events from a neutral point of view, without being confused by your Xin. Since most people cannot do this, you can see more clearly than most people.

2. Understanding the Past and Seeing the Future. Your mind is able to understand the past and predict the future. Since your mind is clear, you will be able to analyze what has happened, understand its causes and see the results. As your experience with objectively in analyzing the past accumulates, you will be able to see what will happen in the future, since people remain the same and history always repeats itself.

3. Viewing the Entire Universe. When your meditation has reached the highest stage, your spirit is able to feel or sense the entire universe. You will (spiritually) see the mountains, the sky, rivers, oceans, etc. At this stage your Qi and the universe’s Qi have united into one and you are able to freely exchange information. This stage is called “unification of the heaven and human” (Tian Ren He Yi).

4. Hearing the Sounds of the Universe. Through your spirit you are able to listen to and understand all of the sounds generated by the variations of natural Qi, including the wind, rain, waves, and many other things. You will also be able to hear spirits and communicate with them.

5. Seeing a Person’s Destiny. After you have experienced all of the changes of the natural Qi field, and accumulated all of the past information related to human beings, you will be able to see a person’s mind, personality, and true nature, and this will let you see his destiny. You will even be able to see his spiritual future, whether it involves enjoyment (heaven) or suffering (hell).

6. Knowing a Person’s Thoughts. Since you have energized your spirit and brain to a highly sensitive state, your brain will be open to a much wider band of wavelengths. You will be able to match wavelengths with other people’s minds, and see their thoughts.

Daoist Wu Zhen Ren said, “Return to emptiness to combine with the Dao; after you have reached steadiness and (your spirit is) able to leave (your body), (your spirit is) able to suddenly enter, suddenly leave (your body). Then you are able to communicate with the six or ten (nature powers), and are able to transform into thousands of changes and ten thousand variations; nothing cannot be done.

This is the stage of Buddhahood and Enlightenment, where you are able to separate your spirit from your body and unite with nature.

(Excerpt from The Root of Chinese Qigong by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming)

Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, is a renowned author and teacher of Chinese martial arts and Qigong. Born in Taiwan, he has trained and taught Taijiquan, Qigong and Chinese martial arts for over forty-five years. He is the author of over thirty books, and was elected by Inside Kung Fu magazine as one of the 10 people who has "made the greatest impact on martial arts in the past 100 years." Dr. Yang lives in Northern California.


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