Recently on a weekend in May I was standing on top of Mt. St. Helen’s. This was my second time–nearly exactly 10 years later in time. The conditions and internal sensations that makeup my personal life are different 10 years later just as the conditions that make up ‘the mountain’ have also changed.
As we broke out of the trees and were able to first see the mountain in full glory up close, her rounded slopes looked lovely. I could feel the aliveness of the mountain with each step up her at times steep slopes. The climb was in snow the whole way with many ‘steps’ already made by previous climbers. The climb is long which allowed for a beautiful unfolding of connection to occur with each step. I could sense a solidity, calmness, steadiness, steadfastness, and constancy all contained within a wide sense of strength being pulled up through me with each step. With certain steps I could perceive more of a quality of earth energy and with other steps more of a quality of metal or mineral/rock energy.
A rhythm of slow, continuous steps began to emerge to the deep slow and steady ‘beat’ of combined earth/rock energy. A ‘melody’ of wind/air would at times come into the foreground of my sensations cascading over and through the underlying earth rhythm. The wind played a solo upon arrival at the summit insistent on my becoming cozy with my down clothes before sitting down to immerse in the next merging unfolding.
The raw power of fire, water, and metal/rock was awesomely present–subtlely and not so subtlely changed in 10 years time. The mountain’s vibrant dynamic aliveness was vividly present. I could still feel the raw shear force from the explosion almost 30 years to the day earlier within the craggy yet sensuous shape of the crater. The dome growing inside the bottom of the crater was completely transformed in 10 years just like an adolescent’s body is over a relatively short period of time.
The cornices hung over the edges of the crater in shapes reminiscent of jagged bolts of lightning. Swirling cloud formations constantly changed in appearance from where I would view them from. Asking for permission from the mountain and then peering over the edge of one of the cornices to see inside the crater involved a continued sensing of deep connectedness to the steadfast, calm and strength of her earth/metal energy.
Here the paradox (and the dynamic mingling of interconnectedness) begins. Fire, water, and wood energy were all alive at once!
What were just a few rocks at the very bottom of the crater floor 10 years ago were now a ‘clump’ of haphazardly growing rocks appearing in organized chaos similar to the ‘pattern’ on a head of cauliflower. This ‘dome-like’ growth sported many smoking ‘peaklets’ and the grand smoking ‘peak’ in the center. I imagined a mother dragon’s bellyside as she rolled over to nurse her dragonlets with wisps of smoke curling out from each of the many nipples. The path of fire, water, ice, and rock could still be traced snaking east to culminate in Spirit Lake and beyond. The intermingling of the current alive fire energy manifesting as the smoking dome peaklets was entwined intimately with the ice and snow (water energy) like lovers entwined together.
Standing there on top of the summit and feeling the power of the mountain growing directly beneath me was a moment of complete permeable interconnectedness with my essence and the mountain (one and the same).
Opening to the power and subtlety of the elements of Mother Nature allows us to feel the dynamic ‘pulse’ of these elements vividly alive within and moving through us. Being able to discern our inner world more vividly, more clearly and with an attitude of unconditional warmth is our path to wake up to our true nature or to return to our Original Spirit as it is said in Daoism. A sitting meditation practice along with a movement practice can together create the space for us to wake up to our interconnectedness to our Original Spirit.
Qi Gong ‘forms’ or movement sequences are interlaced with gentle visualizations and moments of stillness all done with gentle continuous presence to the immediate direct sensory experience of the unfolding moments as they occur. These forms are directly a manifestation in human movement of the many ‘faces’ of Original Spirit or Source or God/Goddess Consciouness. Doing the movements with an open, warm heart, a persistence to remain present for the unfolding movements in sensation and following the particular ‘face’ or ‘intent’ of the form allows that particular manifestation of consciousness to come alive and become highlighted in your sensation.
Some of the ways these ‘faces’ of Source Consciousness are recognized in Qi Gong forms are through movements and visualizations that follow cycles of nature and the elements within nature. Of course these cycles or elements are easier to access when we are directly immersed in the beauty of nature. Imagine sitting by a roaring river and hearing all of the nuances of ways that water and rock intermingle. Imagine sitting under a star-filled dark night sky in an open field next to a campfire with a light breeze wafting in and out, interacting with the flames in a beautiful spontaneous dance. You can imagine many of your own personal moments like these.
We can find these same qualities in any ordinary or mundane moment simply by sensing the primacy or immediacy of the moment–the whole of our felt-sense experience. We can find the qualities of the elements imbued within the felt-sense experience. We can at times pick out a particular quality (say steady like mountain or earth or bubbly like water) or we can feel the co-mingling of them all. We can also allow ourselves to feel and welcome those moments when the quality of an element feels challenging–too ablaze like fire, too roaring like water, or rigid or cold like metal.
A Qi Gong practice done with awareness can be a powerful bridge to allow those inner sensations to become more vivid, refined and accessible. As our capacity grows to feel the refinements, we allow and expand our capacity to live more fully inhabited and harmonious with Source. This constitutes true vitality, health and freedom.
As you practice Qi Gong movements with awareness, your ability to become more present increases which feeds back a sense of increased harmony with what it is that you just connected with. Your inner world refines the flow and ease of the outer movements and this increased fluidity and flexibility refines the connection to your inner world in order to create more presence and ease for yourself.
All qualities are in all Qi Gong forms as all qualities are within you. We practice to welcome all of them with a warm heart and a spacious moment. Just join a class or a workshop and begin to allow this ‘presencing’ connection to begin!
I will be starting a weekly Mon evening Qi Gong in Seattle class in Sept 2010. Stay tuned for details!