In my Qigong classes, I’ve been teaching a version of the “Between Heaven and Earth” form or set of exercises.
The movements are quite simple, and each set of movements builds logically on the previous set. It’s any easy form to learn and do at the physical level. However, the energetics of this form occur at a deeper level of the body, helping to promote the flow of energy of the Eight Extraordinary meridians – the “8X”, as we call them.
The key with this form is to use relaxed intention to become aware of the deeper energetic movements within the body. When performed properly, the movements of the form coupled with the proper intention help promote the flow of energy and gradually eliminate any blockages or stagnation along the meridians.
The 8X form the constitutional level of the energetic body. When they are strong and flowing, they provide the foundation for our physical, mental, and emotional energy and health. They also serve as backups for our Twelve Primary meridians, providing reserves of energy we can draw upon in times of sickness, severe disease, or severe stress.
The 8X and the 12 Primary form a virtuous cycle. Through our Qigong, healthy diet, exercise, getting enough sleep, and other positive lifestyle practices, we build up our 12 Primary meridians as well as the health of each meridian’s associated organ system. The overflow of energy or Qi from the 12 Primary can flow into the 8X, helping to build up our constitutional reserves and, therefore, our resilience. Likewise, building up our 8X meridians – our constitution – can also flow into the 12 Primary to help us improve or restore health, particularly after an illness or other severe stressor.
Our Constitution Impacts our Spiritual Life
I consider myself a Christian and have also studied Daoism for many years. My Medical Qigong training is from an ancient Daoist lineage, as are many of the Qigong forms and practices I have learned over the years. I am always struck by the commonalities between ancient Daoist teachings and practices that help cultivate robust health, mental and emotional harmony, and higher spiritual realization…and the teachings and actions of Jesus, as well as the earliest interpretations of his teachings and example in the Gospels.
The Daoist emphasis is on cultivating the body first so it can become the foundation for deeper mental and spiritual training. We lay the foundation by firmly rooting and connecting to the Earth. We learn to become aware, to listen, to enhance the flow of energy in the physical body. We connect with the energy from Heaven, which in turn helps to raise our awareness to an even higher level and helps us connect into the deeper dimensions of existence.
The Between Heaven and Earth form helps us embody as human our connection to Earth and to Heaven – to the physical as well as the metaphysical or spiritual. In so doing, we increase the dynamic power of our energetic body.
This is consistent with how Jesus is depicted, particularly in the Gospel of John. From the beautiful opening of this wonderful Gospel:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….What has come into being in Him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”(John 1: 1-5)
Jesus is represented as Logos – the Word. He is also represented as Light. Humans are said to share in this light because we each have the divine spark within us. Yet Jesus was also human. He had a human body and shared in all the very human aspects of existence – the joys, the laughter, the challenges, the rejections – indeed, up to and including an excruciatingly humiliating and painful death.
Daoist practices recognize this divine light. Their deeper meditations led early Daoists to perceive the Light – the biophotonic energy within the human body. Yes, we are biophotonic, electromagnetic entities. Modern science is now discovering this light within us and how our cells use it to communicate.
Yet Daoist practices also honor our physical selves and the importance of being healthy in body as a prerequisite for gaining mental and emotional health and, ultimately, enlightenment.
When we begin to listen, to sense inside ourselves – whether through Qigong, meditation, contemplative prayer…or simply relaxing and being while surrounded by nature…we tap into the Heaven and the Earth that are part of us.
The North Rose Window
So, now that I’ve gone all religious and metaphysical on ya…let’s consider a wonderful example of the Logos and the Light as manifested by Human hands on Earth: the North Rose Window of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
This “symphony in stained glass” exemplifies the two main concepts through which John explains Jesus:
-Jesus and Logos or The Word: the mind, pattern, and plan of God (or the Universal Consciousness) is made incarnate through the patterneed, organized, coherent design of the window. We see a profound harmony and unity of all its elements – glass, stone, colors, and shapes.
-Jesus as Light: “The entire North transept of the cathedral basks in the powerful glow of the Rose window…Like Jesus, the light captured by the windows of Notre Dame shines even into the depths of the darkest places…”
You Can Do It!