Monday, October 18, 2010

Balancing your awareness of the six directions
 One of the simpler and the more profound realizations that Qi gong seeks to impart to us is the experience of ourself as a point of primal, formless, eternal energy (also known as Wu-qi) that simultaneously inhabits a physical body located in time and space.

In order to make our awareness still, stable and balanced enough to get in touch with our self as primal energy, it is necessary to balance our manifest energy in time and space. What are the basic elements that need to be balanced in order to do this? There is more than one answer to this question, but a major one is that we need to balance and center our experience of the six directions:

• Awareness of in front and behind

• Our left and right

• Above and below

The six directions are obvious, always present, and yet often we are always not really fully conscious of the way in which we interact with them in time and space, from moment to moment.
The following exercises are designed to help us cultivate awareness of the way in which we are constantly interacting with the six directions, and help us become grounded, strong and stable within that context. It is good to do them as a formal practice a few times, but once you get a feel for them they can be done wherever you are. Just to re-emphasize, these exercises are REALLY SIMPLE, but they are also profound and if practised regularly will reward you with many different layers of insight and a sense of deep mental, spiritual and physical stability.

Exercise 1: Basic awareness of the six directional elements of your body

Sitting or standing (in the basic Qi gong standing posture, or other standing form)

- First be aware of the front and back of your body. Alternate between awareness of either the front or the back for a while, then practice awareness of them both together.

- Then be aware if the left and right halves of your body. Practice alternating between awareness of the left and right for a while, then practice holding awareness of them both together’

- Now practice awareness of the top and bottom halves of your body, alternating between them for a while before practising awareness of both simultaneously

- Finally alternate between awareness of front and back, left and right, top and bottom for a while, finishing with an awareness of all six aspects of your body simultaneously held in a single awareness.

- Conclude with a brief period of stillness, enjoying the sense of balance within your body.

Exercise 2: Basic awareness of the six directions

Again, sitting or standing as is your preference, outside if you can but it is not necessary per-se.

- Extend your awareness in the direction in front of you, both in terms of what you can see and mentally beyond that. Then extend your awareness behind you, sensing into the landscape behind you. Alternate between awareness of the space in front and behind for a while then practice holding them both simultaneously. Feel them coming together and balancing in the centre of your body.

- Do the same thing for the landscape to your left and right, alternating between the two for a while and then holding awareness of them both simultaneously

- Then practice alternating your awareness between feeling deeply into the Earth beneath you, and then up into the sky and stars above you. Alternate between awareness of above and below for a while and then practice awareness of both simultaneously

- Then alternate between individual awareness of all six directions around and above you, concluding with a simultaneous awareness of all six directions simultaneously, with yourself as the centre.

- As with exercise 1, conclude with a brief period of stillness.

© Toby Ouvry 2010, you are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Alchemical Qi gong meditation

Is alchemy an external art turning base metals into gold? Or is it an internal one which is really about learning to transform lower levels of consciousness to higher ones? My view on this is that it is both. The basic idea being that:

• If you isolate the elements of the periodic table (as in basic chemistry) from planetary and lunar influences, and expose them to primal stellar and solar forces, then they evolve or develop. Hence the idea of lead being placed in a crucible (that is, isolating it from planetary and lunar forces, and exposing it to stellar energy) and then as a result evolving into gold.

• If you isolate consciousness from the everyday coming and going of thoughts and emotions through meditation, then it will start to evolve naturally as the influence of “cosmic” or “universal” consciousness starts to fill it. Thus the mind of the meditator evolves from the “lead” of the everyday mind to the “gold” of the enlightened or cosmic consciousness.

Actually, the outer practice of alchemy and the inner practice of meditative alchemy come together in the body of a good meditator, and so it is not just the mind of the meditator that evolves, but the physical elements of the body that evolves as well. When the meditator goes into deep meditation, their mind and body are exposed to cosmic energies which cause both the mind and the body to transform.

This is why when the bodies of highly realized meditators (for example within the Tibetan Vajrayana, or Taoist Masters) unusual, pearl-like or metallic objects are discovered when they are cremated.

Another way of expressing this meditation is by saying that it is a way of connecting us as directly as possible to the non-dual energy of Wu-qi, the most powerful and primal form of qi, which acts as the source of all other forms of qi.

In terms of Three Body Qi gong™ , this is a form or practice relating to our cuasal or stillness body.
So, here is a very simple alchemical Qi gong meditation, please note I am in no way claiming that you will start to become an instant enlightened being, or that your body will suddenly increase in net worth. But it will begin a process that, if pursued will lead to expansion of consciousness and energy, and a peaceful, healthy body.

Alchemical Qi gong meditation:

- Find a quiet spot, indoors or outdoors. If indoors the room should be simple, not too many things in it and with space around your body. Actually if you have a handy cave, or other appropriate hole in this ground, this is ideal (!)

- A stone, bowl of water or solitary candle in front of you if you wish.

- Sit or stand comfortable in a suitable meditation posture that can be comfortably sustained

- Follow the breathing for a while until the mind starts to settle. If you like do some core body breathing or core cellular breathing to settle and energize the mind and body

- See your energy field like an oval or egg of light around your body, 20-40cms distance from the skin. The “shell” or edge of your energy field is dark and insulating on the outer surface, and shiny and reflective on the inside surface.

- See a small hole at the top of the oval, directly above the crown of your head

- See a small hole at the bottom of the oval, directly beneath your perineum.

- See a line of stellar or universal light coming down from the sky and into your energy field through the top hole, flowing down into the crown of your head and down into your heart/central chest area

- See a line of light and energy extending up from the core of the earth, rising through the hole at the bottom of your energy field and then into your body, rising to the centre of the chest area, where it converges with the primal star light coming down from the top of your energy field.

- In the centre of your heart space see a very bright ball, or flame of universal light being formed by the converging streams of energy from above and below.

- The universal light builds in the heart, and is contained within your energy field. As you will remember, the inner edge of your energy field is reflective, containing the light in your heart, and reflecting it back on itself, causing it to intensify.

- The outside of your energy field is dark and insulating, cutting it off from planetary and lunar sources of energy.

- Sit for a short while in this crucible-like structure, keeping your mind as gently focused and concept-free as possible. You may feel an intense flow of energy at times, sometimes deep peace. Don’t try and control it, just focus on “holding the space”.

- When you have finished, see the crucible form around your energy field dissolving. Ground your energy fully into your physical body and return to your daily wakeful state.

- 10-15 minutes should be fine, no more than 30 mins unless you are in some kind of retreat conditions.

© Toby Ouvry, you are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact