Monday, May 31, 2010

Flow or Stillness

Comparisons between the energy based meditations of Qi Gong and the concentrative or stillness based traditions of meditation.

This Sunday (6th May) I am going to be doing a workshop on Qi Gong meditation for healing and health, and so I thought it might be a nice idea to have a look at the way in which Qi Gong meditation differs from other forms of meditation. Put in very simple terms it could be stated like this:
Whilst many traditions of meditation such as the Zen tradition and the Insight or Vipassana focuses on stilling and focusing the mind to create insight and inner peace, Qi Gong focuses on the circulation of energy or Qi within the body, in order to promote balance and harmony (for an example of Qi Gong meditation, see my articles on the microcosmic orbit meditation HERE).
So, which one is better? I personally enjoy practising them both* as they complement each other very nicely, and both move us in the same direction in the long term. For example if you practise Qi Gong meditations on circulating energy within the body, then this will make your mind and body feel very balanced and harmonious, which will make it easy to move into a state of stillness and inner peace. Conversely, when you practice stilling the mind, this has a very beneficial effect upon the flow of Qi through the body, and so an experience of bodily balance is induced through meditation on stillness.

Another reason that I practise both is because, although they take us in the same direction in the long term, the two different forms of meditation help us to develop different “skill sets” along the way. To give simple examples of this; Stillness meditation forms help to calm the monkey mind and give us insight into the dynamic of our psychological being, whereas Qi Gong energy meditation shows us how to quickly and effectively clear negative or blocked Qi within our body that is created by negative emotions or other imbalances.

So, my advice here would be to learn simple versions of both types of meditation, and by working with them together in tandem in a way that feels right for you, you can learn the specific skills that each type of meditation has to offer.

(*for examples of stillness meditations see my articles on the meditation blog on Zen meditation HERE, and Insight meditation HERE)

© Toby Ouvry 2010, please do not reproduce without permission.

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