CLEANSING, BUILDING AND NOURISHING IN CHI KUNG
The only problem I have is that I still have very little energy and can feel very tired a lot of the time. I'm not sure if it is because of a deviation in practice or maybe it is normal.
— Sifu Joan Browne, Chief Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Ireland
You feel you have little energy because now you are at the stage of cleansing. In other words, the energy flow you have generated in your chi kung training is mainly used to clear away energy blockage that you accumulated in the past. This is normal, and you have no deviation.
You may at times feel some pain as the energy flow clears away the blockage. When you energy blockage is cleared, you will progress to the next stage of building, whereby you will increase your energy level.
In the stage of cleansing, the main purpose is to clear away pain and illness, resulting in good health. In the next stage of building, the main purpose is to increase vitality, with the result that you will find zest in your work and play. After you have built up your energy, you will enter the third stage of nourishing, whereby your vital energy will constantly nourish all your organs and systems, thus maintaining their beautiful and peak conditions. As a result your organs last a long time, which means you have longevity.
Such processes of cleansing, building and nourishing operate not just at the physical level; they also occur at the emotional, mental and spiritual levels. Hence, not only you overcome pain and illness, have vitality for work and play, and live to a ripe old age -- physical benefits; you will also benefit at the emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions.
Emotionally, the stage of cleansing clears away negative emotions like depression, agitation and nervousness. Next the stage of building enables you to be calm and cheerful at all times. Then the stage of nourishing enables you to have the awe and wonder of a child even at old age.
In the mental dimension, cleansing disperses mental fatigue, doubts and indecisiveness. Building enables you to comprehend difficult or profound texts, such as philosophical or mystical writings, in a way and to a depth you might not think possible before. Nourishing enables you to have a crystal clear mind even beyond the age of eighty.
Spiritually, cleansing removes negative traits like fear and loneliness. Building enables you to have spiritual wisdom and provides you with spiritual strength whereby you may feel you are as powerful as gods! Not many people, of course, believe this, and some may find this concept heretical.
This is also a delicate and risky stage where many people fall to their human weakness, such as becoming vain or abusing their spiritual power for evil intensions. Many people, including some of my senior students, fall at this stage. They became arrogant, and thought they were more powerful than their own teachers (who so kindly had led them, often hand in hand and step by step, to such an advanced stage). Here is one important reason why respecting the master is so very important, and it is for the students' interest.
In Christian terms, this failure is figuratively described as falling to the temptation of Satan. In Buddhist terms it is falling to the temptation of Mara. In Taoist terms it is "the good escaping, the evil entering".
Had the students realized that although they are powerful when compared to ordinary people, they are actually still very far from their spiritual goals, they would be more humble. Even when one has overcome this crucial test, the road to the ultimate goal, i.e. arriving at the Kingdom of God in Christian terms, or attaining nirvana or attaining the Tao in Buddhist and Taoist concepts, is still very long and hazardous. The stage of nourishing will provide the aspirant the spiritual strength, courage and wisdom necessary for this noblest of journeys.
Most people, especially those who practise gentle exercise but thinking it is chi kung, will not really comprehend or believe what has been explained above, though they may intellectually understand all the words. But those who have glimpses of its truth from direct experience will appreciate the Chinese saying that "learning genuine Shaolin arts is better than having the power to change stone into gold"! This also exemplifies why those who think they can learn chi kung from books and then teach others, are insulting the past masters and doing humanity a great dis-service
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