Cut panic w/Meditation, qi gong

I’m not sure what’s going on in the Universe lately but I’ve been asked several times about how to meditate and how to deal with being “stuck”. So in today’s lesson I am going to talk about how to cut anxiety thru the use of meditation and energy (qi) balancing.

Both of these practices have been in use for thousands of years. They’re not easy to explain as each person’s relationship with their qi and their mind awareness is unique. This can be made into a really complicated thing involving religion and blah di blah but this is just a common sense approach.

I use meditation and qi gong (energy movement thru the body) for as long as I can remember. So if I’m unclear it’s because I’m taking certain steps for granted. I’ll endeavor to not do so.

The first thing to be aware of when you’re beginning either of these practices is that there is a center in your body where your energy lives. It’s kinda like the powerhouse of the whole shebang. This center is called your tan den. It’s located in your lower abdomen, three fingers under your belly button. Think of it as a ball that expands when you put energy into it and contracts when you take energy out. This is the first step in any Chinese practice, to just be aware of your tan den. Mine is a sort of bluish-purplish with shimmery strips of gold that move around it. So close your eyes and imagine this ball. Just that it’s there. It is whether you believe it or not, so you might as well find it. What color is it? does it move around?

Okay, so now we know where your center is. It’s actually the center of your entire body. So now imagine that you’re expanding the thing as you breathe into it. Just fix it in your mind and breathe in slowly. Breathe from there, not from your upper chest. When you breathe in your belly expands. When you breathe out it contracts. Count to 4 as you slowly breathe in. Count to 4 as you slowly breathe out. If you just keep your tan den ball in your mind pretty soon you will notice that it does get bigger when you breathe in and it contracts and gets denser as you breathe out. This focusing in is made much easier if you are sitting with your back relatively straight with your feet crossed in front of you. The important thing though is that you’re in a quiet place where you can rest. Because that is what you’re doing.

Right, so you now can feel your center. Time to meditate. Just sit in the posture I described above and light a scented candle or incense or something that has a strong scent. Close your eyes and just sit there, breathing slowly, noticing how your tan den expands and contracts. Remember slow, full breaths. Count to 4 on the inhale and 4 on the exhale. Breathe thru your nose. Pretty soon you will be aware of thoughts, sometimes really weird thoughts, popping into your mind. Try to notice them or hear it if it’s a song. Then refocus your attention on the sound of your breathing and your center getting bigger and smaller, bigger and smaller. The next thought will come up. Notice it then refocus on your breathing and your center again.

It often happens that things that pop into your mind are disturbing and you are having a hard time letting go. You get caught up in them. This is the whole trick to meditation, why doing it is so calming. As you refocus your mind to your breath or your center you may find it impossible to do so. In this case, try to focus on the scent you’ve got going on from your candle/incense. Pretty soon even the most devastating thoughts will go away. Because it is what thoughts do. They come and go all the time, but if we linger on them they will stick around.

The whole point is to learn how to let go of our thoughts when they disturb us and cause anxiety and panic. If you’re in a flashback trigger, imagine how hand it would be to be able to make it just float away. Let the thoughts come in, notice them, then go back to your breathing or smell your candle. The thought will go away if you don’t focus your attention on it.

Often I hear people say well when I meditate I go blank or I get very disturbing thoughts I don’t want to think. All of these things are okay. Thoughts are only that, thoughts. They come and go all day long. But you can choose thru meditation to let them move on. Which will have an immediate calming effect on the worst anxiety-provoking thoughts. No panic-provoking thoughts no panic.

So now that you’re meditating you can also focus on moving that energy around your body, which is a great way to balance yourself and be an even stronger tool to let those nasty thoughts go. Close your eyes and inhale, imagining that energy is being sucked up from your feet up your legs to your tan den, making it expand. Then exhale, sending the qi back down thru your legs and feet way, way into the ground. Inhale up, exhale down. With some practice you’ll actually be able to feel the energy, like a slight tingle. Inhale up, exhale down.

Now imagine that you inhale qi up thru your feet and legs. As you exhale imagine the qi shooting out your lower back all the way around the world. Inhale and it comes into your tan den from the front. Exhale back down your legs and feet deep into the ground.

Ok. Now imagine all of the above. When your tan den has sucked your qi in from going around the world exhale and send yhour qi up your back and thru your head, way way up into the sky. Inhale and bring it down thru your front to your tan den, which has expanded as you do so. Then exhale the qi down your legs and feet, deep into the ground. This is called a route. Routes are important because they balance your energy all thru your body. I could talk about chakras and lots of other stuff, but this is the basic point of the practice.

This is not an easy skill to learn. I took instruction from my sensei for two years before I really got the idea. But I have been meditating all my life and I will tell you right now that if you meditate twice a day, even for ten minutes, you will be able to much better control your anxiety level.

It works whether you believe it or not, so you might as well give it a go. Some days it can be easy as pie and other days it can be torturous. Is what is. I still have days when all I am picking up is some old disco song or whatever. If that is what my mind wants to tell me on that day, is what is. It’s really important to not judge yourself, to not think it’s good or bad or you feel like an idiot or whatever. Remember, these are only thoughts. Put your mind on other things and they will vanish.

Trust me on this one. Give it a couple of weeks and you will start to see a difference in your ability to control your anxiety. Have fun πŸ˜‰

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15 Comments

  1. July 7, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Yeah **raises hand** guilty as charged – thanks for the info Splint πŸ™‚ will comment when have digested adequately.

    xxx

    • July 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

      Whenever you’re ready hon, I’m here!

    • July 8, 2010 at 5:46 am

      How weird your 2nd comment shows up everywhere but on my WP of course. Anyway. You’re right hon when you say that when you stiop blocking them the memories can come flooding in, so we suppress them. But also as you know they always pop up in another form layer, right? That’s because as we suppress we don’t get rid of anything, we just force it down for abit, until it returns.

      So suppression, while it has the illusion of establishing control, really isn’t accplishing much. In meditation those thoughts will be back for sure. But the whole idea is to see them in your mind and let them keep walking on by. Because Iif u don’t look into the abyss, of you don’t poke the waspnests time and time again ( including wrestling them into the back of urine) they begin to lose their power.

      So it’s not about letting anything take control over you honey. It’s just…demon comes in my head oh look there it is okay breathe smell the candle/whatever listen to your breath slowing down try to move some qi around… And you know what with some practice one day I’ll realize wow I did not have to re-traumatizeyself or otherwise self-harm by getting sucked into those bad tmemories/flashbacks. They just come and go! Wow!

      And hence is born true self control. Help any?

  2. James said,

    July 7, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I miss qi gong. You’ve stirred it up again wise Spinteredone – ‘search for local opportunities to do tai chi classes and make sure I devote some time to meditation’ has put on my ‘to-do’ list.

  3. mentallygoingbackwards said,

    July 7, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    i really like this post and i think i am going to buy some insence and try it. It sounds rather simple. i know it probably shouldnt be simple or whatever but i feel like its something thats achieveable, therefore im going to give it a bash! ill let you know how i get on. Im sure i will post the outcome on my blog anyway.
    x

    • July 7, 2010 at 1:52 pm

      Hey fantastic! It takes some practice but doese a world of good. Be sure to lemme know how it goes or any questions you might have. Shoot for not long at first, ten minutes.

  4. Melissa said,

    July 7, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    This is great. I did Tai Chi for a while so had started exploring things (but you explain it so much better!). If I’m brutally honest, I’m really scared of meditation because I sense that it’s about letting go which I don’t like. Although it’s obviously a positive to let go of negative thoughts, this allows them to exist where as I have been used to eliminating them, if that makes sense. I have also, paradoxically, been used to letting them control me. If I don’t suppress, I play out and catastrophise.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I think this would be really helpful for me but I think it’s hard in emotional, as well as practical terms. That it goes against the tight control I’ve previously tried to exercise over my life – thoughts – feelings –

    But I’m going to give it a shot. xx

    • July 8, 2010 at 5:53 am

      Hi hon–take a look at my comment to WG above might be helpful. When u meditate/move your energy around you’re sctually exercising control. Suppression as you say does not work. It just pops up in weird places @ weird times right? Yup. So that’s really not control.

      When you learn to watch some horror come into ur mind then think “huh, well that’s interesting/scart/ whatever” then return fight away to breathing and smelling the incense/pushing qi around–THAT is real control over ur thougts. Get it? By letting them go time after time they loose their boogeyman power.

      I hope this helps hon. Lemme know what other questions k?

  5. July 7, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Splint – great post and what a wonderful “user friendly” description of the practice! I found that doing this has made such a difference in my own perception of myself and the world. The best tool I’ve found to practice calming those racing thoughts….great post! Thank you for that! Susan:)

    • July 7, 2010 at 8:47 pm

      Thank you hon. It seems so hard and complex/confusing when it’s really pretty simple πŸ˜‰

  6. doyourememberthattime said,

    July 8, 2010 at 4:52 am

    thank you. i really think these methods might be helpful for me.

    http://doyourememberthattime.wordpress.com

    • July 8, 2010 at 5:27 am

      Yup. The great thing is that u don’t even have to “believe” on anythkng. Ya just do it and it helps! Thanks πŸ˜‰

  7. melissa said,

    July 8, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Makes lots of sense. I wonder what I’m so scared of feeling. Will keep trying. xx

    • July 8, 2010 at 6:47 am

      The unknown can stop us in our tracks of fear love. In meditation the things, well whatever our silly minds come across to think about, just drift in. If we pay them heed and dig in deeper into them–yes they will take us ovah. But the ifdeah is to be aware of them ( mindful) and just sorta say oh, ok, well beathe in 234 out234 in 234 out 234. Imagine your center if energy expanding and contracting. Notice the scent…. It’s not about blanking out. It’s about noticing what comes up and letting it go to focus on something else. Make sense?


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