This is a form of mindfulness meditation guided imagery/visualization chi kung.
Herein, this guided imagery will be set forth for a standing position, but it can also be done in a sitting position – sitting on a chair/stool, or in a lotus sitting posture.
Ancillary preparatory exercise: titled as a question – How Much Gratitude Does One Need to be Healthy?
Stand with one’s feet almost together (called a ‘humble stance’), and bend one’s knees comfortably. Put one’s tongue against the roof of one’s mouth (connecting the Governing and Central Vessels – congruent with acupuncture theory). Relax one’s face, shoulders, hands, and feet – it’s said, “if they’re relaxed, you’re relaxed.”
Realize that relaxation is a true skill – there is always room for improvement. Realize, we ALWAYS have some stress, no matter how relaxed we are. Be so relaxed that one is barely standing – in what we coin as a Swaying Willow demeanor. Gently roll the spine above the waist, forward and backward. This demeanor is much like a willow tree swaying in a gentle wind. Breathe in, all the way forward and backward, and breathe out in between. Constantly adjust one’s eyes so that one is always looking slightly above straight ahead, without focusing or staring (though it is done both with the eyes open and closed – begin with the eyes open).
Get the ‘engine’ of the (advance vs. reverse) diaphragmatic/abdominal breathing going. Breathe in, push one’s abdomen out, breathe out, pull one’s abdomen in. Pretend that one’s lungs are in one’s abdomen. One of the greatest gifts one can allow oneself, is all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing – there is nothing more healthful. If one practices this breathing for five minutes twice daily, in 30 to 60 days most people will realize all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing. It greatly enhances circulation, and promotes the secretion of relaxing, pain killing hormones (empirically substantiated).
Be in a spirit of gratitude and true appreciation. Be all in the moment. A true appreciation of the miracle of the moment. Ask oneself, “How much gratitude does one need to be healthy?”
Try not to think, just witness one’s breathing, relaxation, and subtle movement. Endeavor to play the part of a less and less blemished witness. If a thought comes to one’s mind, embrace it, see it for what it is, don’t hang on to it, just let it go – put all of one’s attention in just what one is doing.
Mindfulness meditation is putting ALL of one’s attention into just one, two, or three aspects of what one is doing at any given time. It is next to impossible to be upset, anxious, worried, depressed, sad, or frustrated, if one is not thinking such thoughts. This is a primary purpose of mindfulness meditation – it is the sword that cuts out internal dialogue and/or cyclical thinking – ideally all thought…BEING ‘light’. Thoughts are often ‘heavy’.
Five Senses Guided Imagery
Continue in the humble stance with the gentle Swaying Willow chi kung. In all forms of chi kung, be as relaxed as one can be while still standing (or like earlier, this can be done sitting, but without the Swaying Willow mien). Keep one’s tongue against the roof of one’s mouth. Keep the engine of the diaphragmatic breathing going.
Put all of one’s attention in one’s sense of sight:
Ideally, try not to think about, just witness through one’s sense of sight. ALL of one’s attention is therein. Look slightly above straight ahead – about one degree above the imagined or real horizon. Be aware of everything in the 360 degrees of one’s peripheral vision – while NOT moving one’s eyes, just gazing, not staring, again just one degree above straight ahead. If the light in one’s eyes seems to fade, change, or darken…
Try not to blink it away.
Try not to move one’s eyes.
There is nothing to fear.
This visual effect is part of gathering a ‘visual meditative demeanor’. Meditation is not just with one’s eyes closed.
Often we take these wonderful gifts, these five senses for granted…endeavor to be in a spirit of gratitude and true appreciation for these wonderful gifts. Again, endeavor to witness, not think about, just witness through one’s sense of sight.
Moving on, close one’s eyes: Put all of one’s attention in one’s sense of hearing:
Ideally, try not to think, just witness through one’s sense of hearing. ALL of one’s attention is therein. As always, one can hear the music, me, background noises – one can hear one’s own breathing (*to the point, this is set forth as such with the instructor narrating these steps and calming music in the background). Imagine all is new to you, you know nothing – without expectations, like witnessing it for the first time. Be aware that witnessing is a true skill – it will never be perfect, there is always room for improvement.
Moving on, put ALL of one’s attention in one’s sense of smell:
Ideally, try not to think, just witness through one’s sense of smell. Breathe in and out through one’s nose, or breathe in through one’s nose and out through one’s mouth – all-the-while still performing diaphragmatic breathing. Never breathe in through one’s mouth, unless one has congestion.
It is said in these traditions that “the senses of smell and taste have an intrinsic connection which can be greatly enhanced by the deep diaphragmatic breathing.”
Moving on, put ALL of one’s attention in one’s sense of taste:
Ideally, try not to think, just witness through one’s sense of taste. Place all of one’s attention at the top of one’s tongue. And try to witness, not think about, just witness what we in these traditions coin as the ‘five tastes’ plus neutral…
Sour, bitter, sweet, hot, salty, rarely neutral.
It is usually a combination of a couple (of tastes).
One does not have to have food or any such in one’s mouth, in order to taste.
Moving on, put ALL of one’s attention in one’s sense of touch:
Ideally, try not to think, just witness through one’s sense of touch. As always, one can feel one’s…
Feet on the floor –
Clothing on the body –
Air currents in the environment –
Feelings within one’s own body –
Ideally one can feel the rise and fall of the abdomen with each diaphragmatic/abdominal breath.
One can feel a budding sense of lightness, a lightness of being, a lightness in the moment – according to the Theory of Lightness, one feels lighter and lighter the more and more relaxed one is.
The sense of touch is so broad, it is likely impossible to be aware of the whole of it at one time. Place all of one’s attention in just one or two aspects of it, at any one time.
In moving on, but still with regard to the sense of touch…
Imagine there is a fire, a flame, a sparkling furnace just behind one’s navel (CV-8), and that one can fan that furnace stronger and stronger and stronger, with each diaphragmatic abdominal breath – so strong that one can learn to feel that sparkling furnace AT WILL. There is nothing more healthful, combined with the deep breathing and playing the part of a less and less blemished witness. These are important facets of this mindfulness meditation guided imagery chi kung.
– Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)
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