SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
DECEMBER 2011 PART 1
Over the years I have slowly been developing an interesting mental ability. I can look at something, or gently think of a challenge or issue, and then a stream of solutions or insights will just spontaneously come to me. I assume this is because of my training.
— Alex Baranosky, USA
Congratulations. This is wonderful.
Yes, it is because of your training. Besides giving us internal force, our chi kung, Shaolin and Taijiquan training are excellent for mental clarity.
Actually all chi kung and kungfu training provide mental clarity. Obviously, low-level chi kung and kungfu training provide low-level mental clarity, and high-level chi kung and kungfu training provide high-level mental clarity.
But much of chi kung and kungfu today is so debased that not only the training does not promote mental clarity, but it makes the practitioners stressful and their mind dull.
Critics would attack us for this statement, but it is a fact. It is more easily seen in the question of health. Martial art training is supposed to promote good health, but many martial artists become more unhealthy the more they train!
When I first learned how to use my mind to solve problems at one of your courses I remember solving 5+ problems in less than a minute: it was so natural to do. At other times when presented with a few options, my chi will naturally guide me to one of them, and it will just feel right.
This was noticeable in my recent Intensive Chi Kung Courses and the Small Universe Course. I allotted just 5 minutes for course participants to solve real or imagined problems. For ordinary people, solving a problem in 5 minutes is quite ridiculous. But many course participants told me that their mind was so clear that real-life problems that had been troubling them for months before were solved in a minute or two!
What exactly is happening when doing this ability? Is it allowing the subconscious (or superconscious?) to enter our conscious minds?
This marvelous ability operates at two levels. At the first level it is your conscious mind working. Your mind is so clear and fresh that you see the problem instantly.
A major reason why many people have much difficulty solving problems is that they do not really know what the problems are, though they vaguely feel the problems exist. In turn, a major reason why they fail to define their problems is because their mind is crowded or distracted by other thoughts.
Let us take an analogy. Suppose your problem is to find out whether a particular friend is wearing a watch. You place him in a room, which represents your mind. If there are a lot of other people in the room, which represents a lot of other thoughts in your mind, it would be difficult for you to know whether he is wearing a watch. This is the situation with most people. Their mind is so full of thoughts that they cannot see their problems.
Now you clear all the other people from the room, which represents clearing away all other thoughts. When you friend is alone in the room, it is easy to see whether he is wearing a watch, that is, it is easy to identify the problem.
If your friend is not wearing a watch, when you mind is also fresh and strong because of your training, you can easily work out a few solutions. You may buy him a watch or lend him one. Or you may ask him to buy a watch for himself or borrow one from somebody.
At a higher level, it is your subconscious mind working. You enter Zen (or Tao, or a chi kung state of mind), and link your mind with the Universal Mind, which is all powerful and wise. Then you throw your question to the universal Mind and wait for an answer, which may come immediately or at a later time, often when you least expect it.
How can I get the most out of this ability?
Like other abilities, you can get the most out of this ability of mental clarity by following the three golden rules of practice -- don't worry, don't intellectualize, and enjoy your practice -- once you are sure that your practice is effective. In other words, first you-wei then wu-wei, or first the right practice and then be spontaneous.
You don't have to worry how you can use your mental clarity to solve problems, think deeply, write a report or present a paper. Once you have mental clarity, the you-wei part, the wu-wei part will naturally follows, that is you will do better whatever mental as well as physical activities you do.
It is the same with internal force. You don't have to worry how you can use your internal force to have more stamina, to have more power in your sparring, or to enjoy your daily work and play. Once you have more internal force, the you-wei part, the wu-wei part will naturally follow. Without you having to do anything extra, you will have more stamina, more powerful in your sparring, enjoy more your daily work and play, and do better whatever you do!
Needless toi say, you must always use your mental clarity, internal force and other abilities for good -- for your own good, for the good of others, or both.
I am very excited to learn kungfu or wushu. Please send me some information.
— Raghul, India
Traditional kungfu and modern wushu are differeent, though the Chinese word for kungfu is "wushu" which means martial art.
Modern wishu however is not practiced as a martial art but as a sport. It is also magnificent for demonstration. There are many places in China today as well as in many countries where you can learn wushu.
Traditional kungfu is practiced for self-defence. Good kungfu is also excellent for health, and great kungfu also for spiritual cultivation irrespective of religion. However, many kungfu schools today employ kick-boxing instead of kungfu techniques for self-defence.
There are many different styles of kungfu. The styles we teach are Shaolin Kungfu and Wahnam Taijiquan.
If you wish to learn from us, please contact one of our certified instructors. Please see http://www.shaolin.org/general/instructors-list.html . If you wish to learn from me, attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course or Intensive Taijiquan Course. Please see http://www.shaolin.org . You need to have some Shaolin or Taijiquan experience before you can attend these courses.
Is it good to think of the disease area so that chi can be directed there more efficiently to overcome the problem?
— Jose, Spain
The answer can be yes or no.
Yes, if you clearly know the cause of the problem, and for short-term purposes.
For example, if you just fell and have a bruise at your elbow. Directing chi to the bruise will overcome the injury faster.
But if you do not know the cause even when you know the site of the disease, the answer is no.
For example, suppose you have a stomach ulcer. You know the site of the disease, but not the cause. In this case it is better to let chi flow freely. It will flow to the cause of the illness, and overcome the problem without you knowing what is happening. In chi kung terminology, this is "wu-wei".
Even when you know the cause and direct chi to it, it is also advisable to have some free chi flow. Suppose you know that the cause of your stomach ulcer is a blockage of your spleen meridian. You may direct chi to clear your spleen meridian, but you should also sometimes let chi flow freely. This is to prevent or overcome another more series problem that you may not be consciously aware of.
Suppose there a more serious problem developing at the kidneys. While your directed chi flow will overcome your known stomach problem, your free chi flow will overcome the unknown kidney problem. This is the reason why practicing chi kung gives us good health and longevity. Diseases still attack us without our conscious knowing, but our chi flow clears them away before they can develop to cause trouble.
I practice "Standing like a Tree" daily for 30 minutes, deep on my knees, and ordering my joints and muscles to relax.
— Laurent, France
If you suffer from scoliosis, I would advise against practicing the Three-Circle Stance, which is sometimes called "Standing like a Tree".
The Tree-Circle Stance is a powerful exercise if practiced correctly. But if you learn it on your own and practice it without supervision from a competent teacher, it is likely you will practice wrongly, which can bring insidious harmful effects, especially to the knees and back.
I can feel something in my arms but not in the legs. Is it chi? I have heard that it is always so because our hands in our daily experience are more sensitive than our legs. For a beginner it is consequently easier to feel a flow of energy in the arms. Is it true?
It is not possible to tell from an e-mail whether what you felt during your stance training was chi.
While chi is often felt in the hands first, this is not always so. In stance training, many people may feel chi at their legs or dan tian before they feel it at the hands.
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