It appears that qi is running loose in my body, doing what it will without regard for my conscious mind’s wishes, timetable or understanding—indeed, it seems to be running amok.
This would explain the events that I’ve written about in recent months, events that have been officially characterized as “spells.” It would also explain some more recent phenomena which I’m not calling spells and haven’t reported to my neurologist because they seem so clearly to be energy events and because they have not been accompanied by cognitive shifts.
Among the non-spell phenomena are what I refer to as “balance issues” when speaking with outsiders and as “internal energy swoopiness” when talking with friends who practice qigong. Also included are the periodic uprisings of sexual energy about which I speak only with qigong friends.
Yesterday, both of these phenomena occurred.
First came the balance/swoopiness-related event.
I was in my kitchen, doing kitchen things, when I paused and felt a wave of softness descend downward from my lower back. It was lovely, and I was thrilled. The same thing had happened a few days previous, and I was thrilled then, too. My qi was sinking instead of swooping!
In recent months, internal swoopiness has become the bane of my taiji practice. Balance was never my strong suit, largely because of creeping scoliosis and poor alignment of body parts. But even as my alignment has been improving, thanks to a lot of hard work, my ability to do the kicks required in the form has been declining.
This internal swoopiness is a bit like the way you feel when you’re back on land after having been on a boat, where things are going up and down inside but not outside; sometimes, especially when I’m tired or a taiji class is stressful, I’m feeling so much internal roiling that I’m amazed I don’t simply fall over.
Taiji people all say I need to relax and sink my qi, although it is hard to relax given how hard I am working to maintain proper alignment.
My own view has been that my difficulty grounding might have to do with the lack of energetic sensations in my legs and feet—I used to refer to them as my dead zone—and I’ve been addressing this on many fronts for quite a while. Success has begun to come, albeit in small increments. I can now feel energy moving up and down my legs as I inhale up from my feet and exhale down through my sacrum to the earth. But I still can’t stick a kick.
When that wave of softness descended from my lower back yesterday, I took it as a sign that grounding was indeed beginning to happen.
Why, though, did this experience come so out of the blue? I hadn’t been doing taiji or qigong; I had been working at my computer and was taking a break in the kitchen. I’ve had other clear, amazing experiences that have been totally unexpected—indeed, my most significant energetic experiences have been phenomena I could not even have conceived—but those experiences all came within some sort of energetic context.
I said I had two experiences yesterday. The second was even more of a wowser, and it, too, came out of the blue.
I was in my kitchen again, taking another break from working at my computer, when I experienced a surge in sexual energy that dwarfed my little downward wave of qi.
I had become aware, while typing away at something that wasn’t the least bit sexy, that I had a lot of sensation in my genital area.
This had happened before. Indeed, it had happened often enough that I had asked my qigong teacher, Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun, what I ought do with the energy.
There’s considerable emphasis in qigong training on not squandering your sexual energy but instead using it to further your practice. I was worried that I was missing opportunities to attain enlightenment and thought that Dr. Sun would give me some special exercises to channel my sexual energy in a spiritual direction.
However, Dr. Sun said it was wonderful that I was experiencing these uprisings of sexual energy at my age—74—and that I should use it to nourish the health of my body and brain. He did not say I was on a fast-track to enlightenment, and he did not give me any magical exercises. He did tell me which of the basic Yi Ren Qigong exercises would enable my sexual energy to nourish my body as a whole.
So I was fairly well prepared for what happened yesterday.
But oh, my goodness….
I had walked into my kitchen when I started feeling a major expansion of sexual energy in the lower part of my body. Indeed, it quickly became quite distressing. What to do?
OK, Dr. Sun had said I should let it rise up. I made a few hand gestures suggestive of energy rising to my kidneys, then to my heart, and then into the small universe circulation, which is up the center of the back in the Du meridian and down the center of the front in the Ren meridian.
The energy was happy to do this, and I did a number of rounds of this modified small universe exercise, moving more energy than I think I have ever before moved when doing it.
The energy was clearly of sexual origin, but once it got moving, other than being particularly powerful, it felt to me like just plain, ordinary energy. It was not accompanied by sexual feelings or fantasies of any sort.
I tried a number of other exercises, but in the end, my modified small universe exercise was the most effective. Eventually the qi petered out, and I finished with a few rounds of the Yi Ren Qigong large universe exercise to distribute the qi to all my organs. Then I took a shower. A nice warm shower. Not a cold one.
Dr. Sun keeps reassuring me that my practice is progressing just fine. However, I’m really not sure whether the things I’ve been experiencing of late are par for everyone’s qigong course or whether they are merely par for a 74-year-old female with my particular body, brain and life.
Actually, it’s probably a little of both. Certainly I have read that many people experience heightened sexual energy at some point in their training—which, of course, can derail their qigong practice if they begin acting upon it in the wild and crazy manner in which it might like to be acted upon. I haven’t read that qigong practitioners routinely develop balance problems, although I know two who tell me they have.
As for the out-of-the-blueness of my recent experiences, well, back in the very beginning of my qigong practice I knew that what I might achieve, and wanted to achieve, was a better balance between my logical, linear mind and other aspects of my being. Perhaps I ought not be so concerned when it appears that the non-logical aspects of my mind and body are behaving in an illogical manner.
In any event, I continue to practice. Why? Because qi is there. Because I’ve experienced too many things that I once believed did not exist. I’m not seeking physical immortality; I think that’s silly. Nor am I seeking enlightenment, because how can you consciously seek something you cannot conceive. But I am after some greater knowing….