Today I am going to talk a little about sitting meditations. I want to remind everyone that I’ve only been doing this for a couple of months, so I really don’t know what I’m talking about, and shouldn’t be viewed as an expert by any means. Also, remember that I’m very skeptical of the results some people claim for Qigong, and VERY skeptical of the mystical explanations for the results one gets, while still believing that it is a useful discipline.
So some of my explanations are going to be very unorthodox. They are also very incomplete. You can’t do Qigong by reading what I say and trying it yourself. You should find a teacher.
I have learned to do two sitting meditations. One is called “Small Universe”, where you visualize “Chi” moving into your body with your breath. It requires a lot of focus and concentration, but also relaxing. It is quite demanding. After I do it, I feel very energetic, but also rested. Like after a good nights sleep. The rhythm of the breathing is dictated by a chant, which I currently have on CD. For all meditations, both active and sitting, there is a special method for breathing called “reverse breathing”. Some people would call it “breathing from the diaphragm”.
This is the first Qigong sitting meditation I ever did. I had a very strong reaction to it, which I told about in a previous entry.
What I didn’t mention in that entry was that I had a panic attack right in the middle of the meditation (which I haven’t done for years). My chest, throat, and sinuses closed up. It was all I could do to get any breath. I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest. I felt overwhelming sadness. My eyes watered uncontrollably. When it all cleared up, I got angry…or maybe it was the other way around.
I had other physical sensations, like my lower body going to sleep, but that is very consistent with sitting cross-legged and unmoving on a floor for half an hour when you are not used to it.
Small Universe has gotten easier and easier to do as time has gone on, and the meditations, while pleasant, tend to not have a very strong effect anymore other than generally being energizing and centering.
The other sitting meditation I do is called “Self-Concentration”. This is where things get interesting. You are supposed to visualize your “chi” as a ball of energy that sits just behind and below the navel. You focus on that, and breath. For a specific length of time. I usually go for half an hour. I have a CD that has music made for this meditation, but it is not necessary.
This meditation is a lot like sleeping, although you don’t really sleep, you just sort of become blank consciousness. During this time, it is not unusual for me to “see” and “hear” things…much the way you do in a very vivid dream. You know you’re not really hearing it, and yet it is very vivid. The first time I did Self Concentration, it was lot like the first time I did Small Universe.
I’ve done quite a few since then. None of them have been quite that intense. No more tearing in the eyes, no more panic attack symptoms.
I see a lot of bright and vibrant colors with my eyes closed…a lot like the Northern Lights. Purple, white yellow, orange, green, and red. Mostly purple and white. Everyone sees colors when they close their eyes, but the ones you see in meditation are much more intense and bold.
I’ve “seen” such things as familiar, favorite places. Felt the wind, the warmth of the sun, smelled the grass and trees. I once had a meditation where I was looking at a room I’ve never been in through a prism. That was a weird feeling. I “heard” a woman whisper “We don’t have to keep doing this to each other.” I once “heard” SiFu’s voice asking “Why do you always have to re-invent the wheel?”, and mine answering “Because the wheel is broken.”
When I recorded that last one in my journal, I wrote “Fortune cookie anyone?” That is seriously inscrutable.
Other visual images I’ve had in meditation are:
- A swarm of ants.
- A gust of wind bending a grove of trees and carrying Aspen leaves upward in a swirl of air. For some reason, there was an old pump house near the grove of trees, but no other buildings that I could see. It was a very desolate and painfully beautiful image. Ang Lee would have been proud of it.
- An image of a drowned woman’s face underwater, accompanied by a feeling of peace, acceptance, and gratitude (Drowning is a serious freak-button for me. This should have squicked me right out). Not to mention that the image was seriously creepifying, though I didn’t have that response to it. Didn’t seem to have any effect on the every-day life issue of drowning squickiness, though.
- Once, an old person came and offered me a huge box full of things. There were a lot of very valuable, precious, and shiny things in the box. I chose a small piece of tiger’s eye. Later, three young men showed up and were goofing around near me. I got the impression that they should have bothered me greatly, as they were malicious, destructive, and petty…and I got the impression they were trying to start something with me. They didn’t bother me though. I took minimal notice of them and they went away.
- Once I felt like the right side of my body was shrinking, causing my spine to twist. It was very uncomfortable and freaky. I just kept concentrating, and it went away.
I’ve had lots of images, sounds and sensations in the meditations where I remember that I had them, but don’t remember what they were…just like in dreams.
So, you might be wondering, since this stuff is so weird and a little creepy sometimes, and uncomfortable…why am I doing it? What do I get out of it?
But that is a question for another time, as it is nearly midnight, and tomorrow I have four hours of Kung Fu and then a good night of partying (a friend of mine is having a house party) after that. I went to help mix the margaritas this evening, so I have some idea of the vast quantities of booze before me tomorrow night. Must rest up. J