RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CLEANSING AND BUILDING
At the Cosmic Shower course two years ago in Bern you went deeply into explaining that physical, emotional, mental and spiritual cleansing as a result of a good circulation of energy should in general have more importance or priority than the building of energy.
Interestingly and to many students' surprise you would mention that the better a student cleanses or is being cleansed the more or better he/she also nourishes and builds up energy/internal force.
Could Sifu please elaborate more on the relation between cleansing and building the energy?
Sifu Roland Mastel
Cleansing and building are two important processes in any chi kung training. These two processes correspond to the two dimensions in chi kung training, namely circulating energy or "yun qi" in Chinese, and nurturing energy or "yang qi". (Please note that "yang" here is different from "yang" in "yin-yang".)
In other words, when a person practices chi kung, as long as it is genuine and even if it is low-level, he circulates his energy flow and increases his energy volume. Naturally, if the chi kung is of a low level, it will take a long time to have some result. If it is of a high level, it can give a lot of result in a short time. If it is not genuine, like practicing external chi kung forms as gentle exercise, it will not circulate or increase energy, it merely works on the physical body.
The circulating and the nurturing processes occur at the same time, though one process may be more pronounced than the other. Whether circulating or nurturing is more pronounced usually depends on the type of chi kung exercise a practitioner performs. But we in Shaolin Wahnam can influence it with our mind.
Exercises with dynamic movements, like Lifting the Sky and Carrying the Moon, induce more circulating than nurturing. As a rough estimate, Lifting the Sky would induce 70% cleansing and 30% nurturing. Exercise with very vigorous movement, like self-manifested chi movement, will have 90% cleansing and 10% nurturing.
On the other hand, quiescent exercises like Abdominal Breathing and Golden Dragon Tapping on Earth (Flicking Fingers) induce more nurturing than circulating. As a rough estimate, there is 70% nurturing and 30% circulating in Abdominal Breathing. In very quiescent exercise like Golden Bridge, there is 90% nurturing and 10% circulating.
As mentioned earlier, because we are skillful, we can use our mind to change the proportion between circulating and nurturing in any exercise. When performing Lifting the Sky, for example, we can have 10% cleansing and 90% nurturing, or 10% nurturing and 90% cleansing, or anything in between. However, unless there is a good reason for this modification, it is generally wise not to alter the natural proportion. In other words, we let the exercise to perform its natural processes to give us the best benefits.
If we classify chi kung training into two categories -- circulating which corresponds to cleansing, and nurturing which corresponds to building -- then what about nourishing. Whether we classify into two categories -- circulating and nurturing -- or into three categories -- cleansing, building and nourishing -- it is for convenience and better understanding. If we use two categories, nurturing will include nourishing. In other words, the two categories are circulating (cleansing), and building (nurturing and nourishing).
When a practitioner circulates his energy, he cleanses. When he nurtures his energy, he builds (and nourishes). Thus, if he wishes to overcome illness, which means he has much blockage, he should choose exercises that focuses on cleansing, like Lifting the Sky and Carrying the Moon. If he wishes to become stronger, he should choose exercises like Abdominal Breathing and Golden Dragon Taps on Ground.
It is a common misconception that if one wishes to progress in chi kung, he should add more energy, i.e. building. This is unwise, as it not only slow down progress but also may bring harm.
For example, if a person practices Abdominal Breathing straight away, he may need one year to attain a reasonable amount of internal force. If he cleanses himself first, he may need only nine months, including the time for cleansing. If he is sick, and practices Golden Dragon Taps on Ground to become stronger, he will harm himself. He should cleanses first to become healthy, then proceed to strengthen himself.
The above examples apply to people who practice chi kung correctly, which is less than 20% of chi kung practitioners all over the world. More than 80% practice chi kung forms as gentle physical exercise.
The examples do not apply to us. Our students would be able to have a reasonable amount of internal force by practicing Abdominal Breathing in three months. Even if they practice Golden Dragon Taps on Ground when they are sick, they will not harm themselves. In both cases it is because of chi flow.
Cleansing as well as building occurs at all the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels, and can be effected by an genuine chi kung exercise. In other words, you don't have to choose a particular exercise for physical cleansing, and another for emotional cleansing, etc, though certain techniques and certain skills are more effective for cleansing or building certain levels.
If a practitioner performs Lifting the Sky, for example, he can cleanse and build at the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. But if he is sick and wishes to focus on cleansing at the physical level to overcome his sickness, employing self-manifested chi movement will be most cost-effective. If he wishes to focus on emotional cleansing, using Bone Marrow Cleansing at the Organ Level is a good choice. Abdominal Breathing and Cosmic Shower are excellent for mental and spiritual cleansing respectively.
If he wishes to build at the physical level, Separating Water is very cost-effective. For emotional building, Dancing Butterfly is excellent. Three-Circle Stance and Cosmic Breathing are very effective for spiritual building.
Besides being cost-effective in the above examples, these exercises also bring other wonderful benefits.
Why is it that the better a person is cleansed, the better he can build up his energy or internal force?
There are two main reasons:
1. If a person is sick, which means he has much blockage, building which means adding more energy is harmful.
2. If a person is weak, which means he has not enough energy, adding energy is also harmful.
3. If a person has some blockage but is not sick and not weak, adding more energy is not cost-effective for building.
Adding more energy when a person has a lot blockage may cause the added energy to be blocked, thus aggravating the sickness. He should, therefore, recover from his sickness first by clearing the blockage with cleansing before adding more energy.
If a person does not have enough energy, how would adding energy be harmful? This is because his bodily condition is not strong enough to accept the extra energy. An understanding of yin-yang harmony will make this clear. Here, yin represents his bodily condition and yang represents the amount of energy he has. His lack of energy is due not to insufficient energy entering his body but due to his body being unable to accept more energy. He now has yin-yang harmony that is why he is not sick but week. Because his bodily condition is week, it can only accommodate little energy.
If he builds energy, i.e. adding more energy to his body, it will cause a situation of excessive yang resulting in yin-yang disharmony which will make him sick. It is a case of a weak body containing too much energy, and can be dangerous.
This is a very important concept to know. When a person is weak he is often given stimulants to increase his physiological functioning. If his internal organs are not strong enough to accept the increased functioning, it may cause serious damage.
What should he do? He should focus on cleansing. In other words he should practice chi kung exercises that focus on circulating chi like dynamic patterns, not on building chi like stance training. His internal organs are blocked which result in their functioning below optimum level.
Suppose his organs are blocked to 70%, which means they function at only 30%, and is able to hold only 30% of potential energy. Hence, he is weak although he may not be sick. This is the usual condition of most people.
If he cleanses off 20% of the blockage, he will be able to function at 50% and hold 50% of energy. Compared with most people, he will have much vitality although he is only functioning at half his potential. If he cleanses off another 20% of blockage, and functions at 70% he will be radiant with vitality.
It is worthy of note that his increase of energy and subsequent increase of vitality is not due to building but to cleansing. In other words, without purposely adding energy by practicing chi kung exercises that build, but by cleansing away blockage by practicing chi kung exercises that circulate, a practitioner can substantially increase his energy and vitality.
The same principle is frequently employed in traditional Chinese medicine. When a person is infected with a contagious disease, for example, there are three therapeutic approaches that can help him recover, namely restoring good, removing evil, and restoring good cum removing evil. Removing evil is considered third-class treatment, restoring good cum removing evil second class, and restoring good first class.
Removing evil is prescribing drastic medicine, sometimes called poison, to kill the invading agents. This approach is used only when the other approaches are ineffective. Restoring good is restoring the natural defence and immune systems of the patient so that they will naturally overcome the invading agents.
The third situation where cleansing first before building is better than just building is when a practitioner is not sick and not weak, but has some blockage in his body. It may not be harmful if he just build, but it is more cost-effective if he cleanses first. He will have better result in less time.
The blockage, thought not substantial enough to cause sickness or weakness, stills takes up space and reduces flow. If he cleanses away the blockage, not only he will have more space to hold more energy, he will also remove hindrance to flow, resulting in a bigger volume of energy and a more vigorous flow.
Energy flow is like cash flow. The bigger and more vigorous your cash flow is, the more cash will be attracted to you. Similarly, the bigger and the more vigorous your energy flow is, the more energy will be attracted to you. And like cash, we must use our energy wisely.
The questions and answers are reproduced from the thread Stages of Cleansing, Building and Nourishing: 10 Questions to the Grandmaster in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.
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