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 vision so that one is looking just slightly above straight ahead, without focusing or staring: herein, one is endeavoring to play the part of a less and less blemished witness to one’s external environment – ideally without expectations…as if all is new to you, you know nothing (it isn’t genuinely possible to do this, but it is important to try). After a bit of time (as one chooses – but try not to hurry), continue with one’s eyes closed. Keep one’s eyes in their sockets as if one’s eyes are open and looking just slightly above straight ahead (don’t let one’s eyes droop or drop): herein, one is endeavoring to play the part of a less and less blemished witness to one’s internal environment, without fear or discomfort.
Get the ‘engine’ of the (advance versus 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. In practicing this breathing for five minutes twice daily, within 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. Again, 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, try not to 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’.
Long Breathing Guided Imagery:
In the ages-old traditions that I teach, coach, and endeavor to follow, this type of guided imagery was primarily engineered to assist in the treatment/healing of insomnia, stress/anxiety, excess heat, inflammation, and additionally is the primary guided imagery utilized during the practice of moving chi kung and also tai chi chuan.
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 advance (versus reverse) diaphragmatic breathing going.
As one inhales, imagine that this inhalation is a cool, refreshing, soothing, healing breeze – imagine that one can actually feel this healing ‘breeze’ as it moves down one’s centerline (just beneath the surface of one’s skin). Move the breeze in behind one’s navel by the end of the breath in, and then hold for a moment. Ideally, the breeze moves steadily/fluidly.
Then, in time with the breath breathing out, imagine there is a light, warmth, sparkling cursor moving forward and down the the centerline, e.g., beginning at governing vessel acupoint #20 – the slight concavity/depression just behind the crown of one’s head on the centerline. As stated, this cursor moves forward and down the centerline, and by the end of the exhalation, the cursor has reached just behind one’s navel. Ideally, the cursor moves steadily/fluidly.
*If one has trouble with one’s imagination, e.g., envisioning the breeze and cursor, then put one’s index/middle fingers together (from one or both hands), and train/trace the lines of the guided imagery in proper time with the inhalation and exhalation.
**As with all forms of guided imagery, ALL of one’s attention is on just what you are doing, in this case your breathing and visualization – ideally nothing more nothing less. Endeavor to play the part of a less and less blemished witness, e.g., try not to think, just witness your breathing and guided imagery (the cool breeze and the cursor). Please realize that these techniques are true skills, and that there is always room for improvement, greater awareness and skill.
***Additionally one should ideally realize, that one should do this guided imagery until it works, e.g., if you are using it to treat insomnia, then in each given circumstance, keep doing it until you wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and pleased with the outcome. The same goes for using this guided imagery to treat stress/anxiety, “do it until it works.”
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Thanks so much. Great advice. I practice mindfulness regularly and I’ll add this to my practice. Thank, Dr. Glen!
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My pleasure, Olga! And thanks so much to you. Brightest of blessings to you in this and all things.
This is beautiful in its simplicity, Dr. Glen. I am not a good student when it comes to stress. But my toxic work environment is spiraling, so I will try.
Some nights I’d never sleep without the guided meditation video recordings I play.
Well done! (Sharing this) Hugs on the wing!
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Thanks so much sharing, Teagan. And thanks so much for the compliment. As always, please know it genuinely means a lot. Brightest blessings and hugs!
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