A very simple and effective approach to meditation is called Wuji Qigong in Chinese. Its core is standing meditation. Loosely translated, “qigong” means “energy work” and “wuji” means “void” or “emptiness.” The two pillars of this practice are to still the mind and the body. Once we are into the silence of the mind, the void or empty mind, we begin to sense the natural state of our being.
Wuji Qigong may be practiced while either sitting or standing. In either position, the three harmonies are an essential part of this practice. The three harmonies are as follows:
- Harmonizing your bodyAllow your eyes to eventually close naturally. Your back and neck should be straight but definitely not tense. Your hands rest on your thighs or knees. Now, mentally scan your whole body from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet, simply being conscious of your body. Don’t try to modify anything at all. Allow yourself to move but only with unconscious thought, not with a verbal command in the mind.
- Harmonizing your breathJust put your attention on your breath at the level of your lower abdomen. Don’t try to modify your breath in any way but welcome it as a reflection of yourself in this present moment. Breathe normally and naturally.
- Harmonizing your mindForget about what was happening one minute, one hour, or one day ago. Don’t plan anything for the next minute, hour, or day. Allow yourself to pay attention to what you are doing now-simply breathing. Don’t think of anything in particular but don’t try to not think. If ideas come, don’t dwell on them. Just let the thoughts pass by with the same detachment you show when watching cars pass by on the street, and bring your attention back to your breathing.
Retire to a calm and peaceful place where you will not be disturbed. Take a chair and sit on the edge so that your back is not resting against the back of the chair. It is all right if you rest your back on the back of the chair if you need to rest instead of practicing ch’i-kung; otherwise, you should be sitting straight and forward so that your centering mechanism is functioning. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart and parallel as much as is comfortable. Your lower legs should form a right angle with your thighs; again, as long as it is comfortable. Being comfortable within reason is a priority in this practice. Next, follow the three harmonies.
When you feel like it, stand with your feet remaining at the same place as when you were sitting. Your knees are slightly bent and definitely not locked. Your arms should be relaxed hanging to the side of you. Your back and neck remain straight as if suspended by a string out of the top of your head. Remember to remain comfortable in your posture. When you feel tired, sit down on the chair in the position described earlier and rest. When you feel like standing again, stand. Remember-keep breathing normally and naturally and maintain a comfortable posture. This process of sitting and standing, while maintaining the three harmonies, is Wuji Qigong.
Begin with sessions of 60 minutes. From there, any lesser amounts of time are “a piece of cake.” At first you may feel some negative sensations. If you are patient and don’t push yourself too far, these negative feelings will go away rather quickly and probably not return. For the best results, you must practice each day.
With practice and time, you will become less and less stressed. Your mind will become clearer and it will be easier to see your goals, as you begin to sense the natural state of your being.
This is the most economical way of standing in that particular posture. You are doing it at its best, so any unnecessary effort added to your posture is counter-productive.
(Sifu Fong Ha)