Training of Qi vs. Nourishing of Qi

The Wild Goose system includes both qigong and meditation. Both their functions are for moving the qi inside our body. When we practice Wild Goose Qigong, we are using our physical movements, and especially those circular movements, to influence the direction of our qi-flow. That’s why we say qigong is for the training of our qi. When we practice Wild Goose meditation, we are using awareness, posture, mudra, and mantra to consolidate and refine the qi-flow pattern we’ve learned in Wild Goose Qigong. That’s why we say meditation is for the nourishing of our qi.

“Movement First” Approach

According to the Wild Goose tradition, beginners usually start with practicing qigong. After they’ve practiced several sets of Wild Goose Qigong, they start to learn Wild Goose meditation. The reason for this kind of arrangement is mainly for safety and also for effectiveness. When we start to practice Wild Goose Qigong, we just relax and move our body, mimicking the delightful and playful movements of an innocent bird. We are not using our awareness. We are not even thinking of our breathing. Gradually, our hands feel warmer; our body becomes more flexible. Those are some of the signs which show that our qi-flow has already been influenced by the movements. Keep on practicing the movements.

Awareness and Meditation

After you’ve practiced several sets of Wild Goose Qigong, you may already feel some connection between the movement and the direction of your qi-flow inside your body. That’s the time you should start practicing some Wild Goose meditation. Try to consolidate and refine the qi-flow pattern you’ve learned in Wild Goose Qigong.

Here’s an example. Suppose you’ve practiced Wild Goose-I Qigong well. You feel energized and your mind is much clearer. And if you pause at a certain point while you are practicing, you may feel certain involuntary movements. Your instructor might tell you what you’ve felt is the movement-induced Micro-Cosmic Orbit. This rough contour of the Micro-cosmic Orbit occurs when you are doing qigong. But it will come right away to your awareness during your meditation. Your body will become more relaxed, your mind quieter, and your breathing smoother after you’ve practiced Wild Goose meditation-I (Five Elements Meditation). But what may surprise you is that your Micro-Cosmic Orbit has been improved and refined during the meditating process without any particular efforts.

Awareness Through Mantras

Let me repeat what I’ve mentioned before. Wild Goose meditation is using awareness, posture, mudra, and mantra to consolidate and refine the qi-flow we’ve learned in Wild Goose qigong. But the most important awareness we’re using comes through the mantras. We are saying something silently to ourselves. And we listen carefully to the mantras. In most cases, these mantras convey specific meanings.

For example, in Part One of Wild Goose meditation-I, we have the mantras: “My breath is sinking. It’s sinking to my feet. It’s sinking to the floor.” Instead of visualizing how bright light ( which symbolizes qi ) is going straight down to the floor, we use the “gentle reminder” of words to influence our breath to gradually sink. When we feel our qi is already sinking to the bottom of our feet, we can soften our intentionality by saying quietly and casually to ourselves: “There’s no awareness”. “There’s nothing”. In this way, we can further reduce the intensity of our awareness of inducing the qi to sink evenly and gently. That’s how we allow the quietude to deepen. That’s how we eventually induce the earth energy to come up from the feet and the heaven energy to come down from above, and then enjoy the big micro-cosmic Orbit in Wild Goose meditation-I.