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Qi Fields (part 1)

You know that thing when stuff just gets a bit too woo woo? Well that’s how I felt about the idea of qi fields for a long time…

Before I go any further, I should say that the Qi Field is a central tenet of Zhineng Qigong. Although the concept undoubtedly exists within other practices, the importance that it is given within the Zhineng system bothered me. I just couldn’t relate to it or understand it. The whole thing just felt too esoteric and mystical and although I experienced qi in my practice, the idea of creating a field of this stuff seemed inaccessible, irrelevant and wrong.

Over the years my opinion on the qi field has changed. This shift of perspective has made the concept become more accessible, more relevant and far easier to engage with. While I still hear ideas around it that sound woo woo, explaining the concept in practical terms really helps to break through to the benefits of the idea and gives us, as qigong practitioners, a little bit of wriggle room to explore and play with the concept thereby making it our own.

The two main factors that have been instrumental in changing my opinion were an experience with one of my teachers, Gao, Yuan from Big Qi Field, and the framework of Qi, Space and Information. Let me explain the first of these factors:

Learning from a Master

In 2016 Laoshi Gao ran a retreat for the 3 Monkeys School of Qigong at Samye Ling in the Scottish borders. As one of the organisers I was hanging back a little to make sure everyone was okay and to be ready to step in if anyone needed support, so in the first session I was not as immersed in the practice as I may have been. At the end of the session I was chatting with one of the participants and they were enthusing about the strength of the Qi Field and how powerful Laoshi Gao was. Maybe because I was hanging back a little I didn’t get the same sense, but I was intrigued by the observation and wanted to find out more.

In the next practice session, once again I remained a little detached but this time I observed Laoshi Gao and the group to try and get a sense of what had created such a strong sense of the Qi Field. To my surprise, what I observed was quite different from what I was expecting.

My expectation was for some kind of transmission of energy from our teacher, but in reality what I sensed was more about a highly skillful teacher creating the space for people to connect and work together as a group. The Qi Field that was thought to be so strong was not one that was controlled or imposed by an individual, it was the result of a group of people working together in a coherent way.

In that moment I started to realise that the organisation of the qi field is not an imposition, it’s about creating space. It’s not something that needs to be done to a group of people, it is something that is done with a group of people.

One of the terms that gets used quite a lot is “organising the Qi Field”. Up until this point it felt like it was controlling the Qi Field, but now I was starting to realise that it was far more subtle, far more permissive and had far greater potential than I had accepted. This then leads to the question of how do we “organise” a Qi Field.

We will explore this in part 2

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