At a recent half-hour demonstration talk about Shibashi Taiji Qigong, a woman asked me if it could put you in a trance.
She caught me totally off-guard.
I’m teaching a lovely, gentle set of movements to help people relax and experience flow. Am I trying to induce trances?
That sounds like zombies or the circus.
I said yes, I think I’m in a trance sometimes—depending, of course, on what you mean by the word “trance.” If you mean an altered state of consciousness, then, yes, I do go into a trance when I do qigong, but I don’t fall over or begin to drool or otherwise lose control of my body or mind.
I didn’t do a very good job of explaining what I meant and now am worried that I may have frightened some people. I may also have oversold what I can offer as a teacher because the woman said, “Oh, good, I want trances.”
But when I do qigong, I experience my body in a different manner, as moving smoothly and effortlessly through a somewhat dense medium, and I feel an expansiveness, an all-is-OK open-heartedness that I wish I could feel more of when I’m living the rest of my life. My brain relaxes along with my body; my thinking becomes less analytical and more creative.
By some definitions of trance, this would qualify. It is an altered state of consciousness—as are many other states that we all find ourselves in from time to time.
I’m in an altered state when I become lost in thought, watch an episode of “Sherlock” or drink a glass of wine.
People who are meditating or praying or playing a video game or crazy in love are also in altered states.
Some altered states are clearly better than others: They feel better and they have better consequences.
I enjoy my qigong states, and I’ve yet to find a negative consequence….
Well, that’s not entirely true. I sometimes lose track of how many times we’ve done a particular movement when I’m leading Shibashi Taiji Qigong, and if the qigong I’m doing is taiji and I lose my place in the linear sequence of moves, I sometimes have difficulty figuring out how to get back on track.
Am I a zombie?
You be the judge….