I was recently asked what role consciousness plays in Zhineng Qigong. Our practices usually include a variety of meditations, movements, stretching exercises, breathing methods and we generally feel better when our practice ends. We often talk about changing the body and the mind, but it is really our consciousness that is most important.
At the heart of qigong is awakening and activating the conscious mind which includes expanded perception, mindfulness and self-realization. Qigong practice naturally awakens the healing energy of the body and, therefore, awakens the mind as they are always connected, influencing and informing each other.
When we feel more balanced and healthy and in our natural state, it is much easier to sense and observe all thought patterns including those that are unpleasant and destructive. This heightened sensitivity naturally occurs during qigong practice. It gently opens a door to allow us to step out of limiting thought patterns and into an expanded consciousness. This is the place where repetitive thoughts of struggling, suffering and disease can be transformed.
“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.” Lao Tzu
If we are distracted from experiencing our true self in the present moment due to physical, emotional or mental discomfort, we are less likely to see the ways in which our mind operates, many times from a narrow, unsustainable perspective. Often our narrow view is the underlying cause of our discomfort. It is usually a result of patterns learned years ago and continued because we were unaware of it.
As we step through the door of consciousness over and over again our perceptions expand. We begin to discover and understand our patterns and reactions. We can come to accept that narrow thinking may continue, however, we are no longer held hostage by the relentless patterns of the past. We awaken to the ease of allowing the present possibilities to unfold. Through greater compassion we allow our true selves to come forward and even accept our so-called imperfections. We naturally experience an inner joyousness as we act with deeper kindness and generosity towards ourselves and others.
“When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.” Joseph Campbell
Zhineng Qigong theory and practice constantly points us towards cultivating consciousness. This practice of using the body to access the mind creates an exquisite opportunity for healing on all levels.
How we see ourselves and the world around is an inside job, one of opening the heart to compassion, contentment and generosity – this is the heart of Zhineng Qigong.