As described in the Introduction, I have reached a point in my life where the focus seems to be on physical pain. I write, “seems to,” because so often, the body’s outcry of pain reflects facets of one’s lifestyle or temperament. In my case, wear-and-tear are the medical “cause”: A need to temper anxiety with near-constant movement, however, led to the current arthritic result. Of course, other factors—climbing multiple flights of stairs with heavy loads every day, for example—also placed undue pressure on my joints. And certainly, ongoing concerns for a loved one’s mental state and living situation add emotional stress to any physical stressors.
I mention these components, in order to establish the setting for how to think about qigong visualization. Should you find yourself needing to heal or transform some aspect of your mind or body, the first step is to sense, name, and/or visualize what it is that you want to alter, and how you want to alter it. For example, do you need to modify or completely eliminate an activity or perspective?
With physical pain, a goal is to lessen the degree of discomfort. Psychological suffering, too, seeks release, or perhaps reframing. Once you have set a specific intention, the next step is to create a calm, centered internal space conducive to concentration and creative visualization. To do this, fist connect to the Second and Sixth chakras, which correlate with creativity and intuition, respectively.
Some basic warm-ups will stimulate these chakras, and also relax the body for a period of sitting. First, sit in any position that allows your spine to be upright and aligned: Use whatever props are necessary, given likely physical limitations due to pain. Then, begin Sufi Grinds: Circle the entire torso, moving through the ribcage and waist, in a clockwise direction. The hands hold the knees or arms of the chair, so that you can use a push/pull action to accentuate the circling. Continue for 1 minute, then reverse directions for another minute; this move fires up the Second Chakra.
Now, lie on your belly. Bend the knees, and reach back to hold the ankles. Keep the head on the ground, consciously connecting the Third Eye point to the floor. With the closed eyes focused on that point of insight and intuition, begin Breath of Fire: rapid and equal inhale and exhale through the nose. Continue for 1 minute.
Release the prone posture, and help yourself into a seated position. If you have physical pain, hone in to the specific location of discomfort. If your pain is bilateral, you will use both hands simultaneously to clear the blocked energy of the painful site; however, if you have a sore shoulder, for example, use only the opposite hand.
To clear the area, use your hand as a scoop, fingers or full, open palm. If using the right hand, move counter-clockwise; the left hand moves clockwise. Either hand scoops in an outward motion. With eyes closed, imagine the quality—texture, tone, color, consistency—of the ailment. Use your hand/s to “dig down” into the area; grab the pain, and scoop it out and away from the body, and down into the earth. Do this in a fairly rapid, but highly focused manner, for a few minutes; you will sense the smoothing or release of energy when the area has been cleared.
Special note: If your concern is emotional, energy needs to be shifted and ejected. To do this, stand up (if possible): It is your choice to engage in free-form dance, bouncing, and/or shaking. Whatever movement (or combination thereof) you select, commit to vigorous activity: Move powerfully for 2 minutes. When finished, you will sit and begin the visualization.
Now you are ready to create the healthy energy that will be placed in the clearing, whether physical or psychological. With one hand on the Dan Tien (just below the navel), and the other palm on the Third Eye, allow your imagination to conjure forms, colors, textures, words, images—whatever resonates as healthy and protective for you. When one or some combination of the senses intuitively conveys safety and calmness, mine that treasure: Use your mind’s eye to project the quality and imagery of your visualization into the area of pain. Or, envision an auric field of your conjured color or quality around you, in order to protect yourself from negativity.
This technique may be used as part of ongoing pain management. Additionally, you may practice this visualization prior to any situation that you typically find stressful. Now that you have the ability to create ease, whether physical or mental, return to the practice as often as needed.
Next time: Power and Peace