taoist practice

Walking the Circle to Find the Path

(Follow the Heart to Find the Path, Walking Gong Fu) Thanks to Abbe for so much help in the translation and understanding of these ideas.

Basic Movements and Explanation:
1. Di yi quan sun zi shi zhen zou yuan, qi guan zhong dan (tian), xing gong zhong zi ran fu xi.
(the first circle should be walked in a clockwise direction starting from the South. The Qi gathers in the Dan Tian, and rises from the feet as well. This style of Qi Gong utilizes a relaxed and natural breath. The Qi is gathered and stored and should become more and more abundant with practice.)

Additional Notes: When walking the first circle, begin from the South. Walk completely around the circle, clockwise moving first towards the West. The "Qi" gathers in the Lower Dan Tian and passes around the body naturally, with a relaxed breath. Begin walking with the left hand behind and all inhalations should be simple and natural. The hands move in circles, parallel to the ground, slightly lower than chest heaight. The breath should be deep and penetrating. A slow, calm, relaxed breath will bring a great benefit to your wandering mind. The eyes follow the hands.

2. Di er quan zou ba zi, di yi ci sun shi zhen zou, shou zuo hou bai shi yong bi zi sheng xi (qi), you hou bai shi, yong zui sheng fu, yan sui shou bai, hui dao yuan wei shi, zhuan shen ni shi zhen, zou yi quan ban dao yan xin, shou you hou bai shi bi zi sheng xi, zuo hou bai shi, yong zui sheng xi, zai yuan xin zhuan shen 90 degrees, xiang xi sun shi zhen xing zou.

3. The second step is to walk the "figure 8" pattern, beginning with the Southern point and proceeding North in a clockwise direction. Sway the left hand from the rear position, towards the front, using the nose to inhale. When the right hand is in the rear position, it then "floats" forward and the exhalation should be done through the mouth. The eyes follow the hands. When you return to the original starting position, proceed counter-clockwise towards the center of the circle, and walk the "figure 8" in the opposite direction, reversing all breathing. For example, the right is in the rear position first, and all inhalations are through the nose. When the left hand is in the rear position, the exhalation is through the mouth.

Once again, you have returned to the original starting position. Now walk only one half of the "figure 8" and this will bring you to the heart of all of the eight "figure 8's." Can you catch them all? Turn the body 90 degrees to face the East. The left hand begins in the rear position and all breathing is slow, soft, and natural, like when you first began walking. Proceed to walk this "figure 8" in a clockwise direction. After you have walked it once, and have returned to the center, reverse direction and walk the same "figure 8" with the right hand in the rear position first.

This third shape is also a "figure 8," but you will notice that the breathing has returned to normal. The eyes should look straight ahead, and the back should also be straight. Both hands follow the same movement as before. When you return to the center of the circle, this is when you receive and gather the energy that has been accumulated so far. The breath should be relaxed and natural. When you receive the "energy" or "qi" that has been focused and gathered, stand in the center of the circle and meditate with your eyes closed, for several minutes. All the forces of Heaven, Earth, the cosmos and multi-universes, come down and converge. The voice is empowered, the body feels a greater amount of electricity, magnetic forces, heat, healing light and Heavenly forces, and all of these powers gather and fill the body like a balloon. They spiral and penetrate the body with great power and fill the Lower Dan Tian, and then spread accordingly throughout the whole body. When you are finished, take several moments to gather and store the energy accumulated. The appropriate amount of time to gather energy is one quarter of the time spent in practice. So if you practice for one hour, you should spend fifteen minutes in silence and stillness, massaging the stomach, or making circles with your intention mind, so that the energy goes deep into the abdomen. Be cautious not to let the qi and energy leak out the extremities (legs, arms, fingers, eyes, head, etc.). It is important to meditate on the gathering of all of the forces into the Lower Dan Tian where this energy can be stored for long periods of time. Don't be discouraged if you don't feel anything at first. Tingling in the hands and warmth is usually what comes first, then perhaps a glowing sensation in the feet, then a more pronounced flowing of heat followed by a slow pulsing in the belly, bringing heat from within. Make sure you contain this heat and don't allow it to flow around wherever it may, especially towards the heart. Please consult a master or your training coach if you experience too much heat or you cant' get the energy to flow evenly. Focusing on the energy flowing in the body is only the basics of the Gao Neng Qi Gong format. It is the expansion of your entire circumference as an eternal being that brings about the dramatic change in dynamic power and healing ability.

It is generally not recommended to talk freely about these techniques to non-practitioners, and it is inappropriate to discuss the training casually. Silence is often the best form of communication as far as these techniques are concerned. Of course, practicing them with each other, and trying out the healing practice is the best way to make improvement. But take care not to use your own energy, lest you deplete your own resources. Expand and focus your intention mind and receive the energy from God and the Heavens above and all of the Immortals living among us.

NOTE TO REMEMBER: When walking in one direction, with the left hand beginning the movements, the breath is taken in using the nose, and exhaled through the mouth when the RIGHT hand is back. When changing to the opposite direction, inhale through the nose when the RIGHT hand is back, and exhale through the mouth when the left hand is back.

The pattern of movement given above, is the bare minimum. In fact, you should double the number of times walking the "figure 8" patterns. So each time you walk one "figure 8," you should walk it twice before reversing direction or moving on to the next pattern.

A certain amount of creativity is also welcome and so you can create patterns and images for yourself, taking care to make them symmetrical and even for both hands. It may appear that there are only four shapes within the grand circle, when in fact there are more than that. There are EIGHT patterns inside the grand circle that can be used for walking, and these can be divided further to create even more profound images to stimulate your creativity and growth as a Gao Neng Qi Gong Practitioner. With the proper visualizations, the energy that falls from the cosmos and beyond will empower your life and enhance your pre-existing healing techniques.

Below, are a few points to contemplate while performing the walking excercises:
1) The slower the better. With each session, your movements will become more fluid, beautiful, and confident. "Yue man yue hao." This means "the slower the better" in Chinese!

2) Each time your foot touches the ground, or leaves the ground, you imagine it getting bigger and bigger until it rivals the size of the Universe itself. Your steps can become lower and larger as long as you remain in control of your balance. No wobbling!

3) Your hands should move in a circular fashion. The circle of perfection without cracks or grooves in your imagery. But don't beat yourself up over that, time will bring this perfect geometry.

4) The movements should resemble water and so assimilate that into your practice.

5) Probably the most important visualization that you can perform during this practice, is the idea of your body, hands, head, feet, all of the circumference of your body, gradually becoming as large as the Universe. It is the same idea as the "Diao Tian Qi" (Falling from Heaven Qi) healing practice, previously taught by Master Lao, where you imagine your hand becoming as large as the Universe and filling with energy. This imagery should be expanded to the whole body until you feel as if your are strolling through the Universe itself. Your foot is the Milky Way, and your head and other extremities expand even beyond what your mind can grasp. This helps to "break the connection" of the rational mind, allowing it to focus on the senses of your body and igniting the electrical impulses needed to perform physical movement. But the mind is no longer needed to put together the jigsaw puzzle containing the many pieces of these separate actions.

6) The more you relinquish control of the mind and let it settle downwards into the Dan Tian, and merge with the heart and its five "windows," the more capable you are of making the medicine of healing energy in the cauldron of your body.

INTERESTING NOTE: Bodhidharma, Da Mo in Chinese, created several exercises that match the ones instructed here. One technique called, "Da Mo Cao Yao" (Bodhidharma's Herbal Concoction) is one of them. "Da Mo Quan" and "Da Mo Zhuang" are other fist and palm sets that also use visualizations of this nature, but are more directed towards strengthening the body, tendons, and muscles*.