Qi and the emotions

Qi and the emotions

Postby LarryC » Sat Oct 21, 2006 8:19 pm

I recently experienced several deaths in my family (my mother and my mother-in-law), and have been experiencing the attendant sadness and grief.

I bring this up in the forum because I noted that during these times of emotional grief, I found the tai chi set particularly easier to do. I associated this ease with a sense that the qi was sinking with more facility than at other times.

I have heard that when someone is angry, one might say that “his qi is up”. This experience has made me contemplate the role of emotion in the manipulation of qi, or at least on one's sense of qi movement in the body.

I’m interested in a general discussion of the role of emotion on qi movement.


P.S. I’m not recommending attending funerals to improve your practice! Image
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Postby shugdenla » Sun Oct 22, 2006 4:56 pm


I found the same thing when my mother died a few years ago and came to the self realization that balance is more than just walking a fine line. It is about integrating the divergent emotions and knowing that too shall pass. It is hard but according to TCM pronciples, grief and anger balance each other so instead of not crying, just cry it out is a letting loose way (not grasping) at the self control level!

All relaxation is good but how we do it for starters is more challenging. Music is a start, for others walking.

Just my 2 shillings!
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Postby Audi » Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:16 am

Hi everyone,

Larry, sorry for your loss. Such experiences are never welcome, even if they can sometimes help to teach us certain lessons.

I have been considering how to respond to your post. As I understand it, Yang Jun teaches that you want to be calm when you do Taijiquan. I believe that is because Taiji strategy implies the opposite of the ferocity that many hard styles call for.

Grief can induce a tendency to a certain type of calm, if it is not excessive.

I think that any strong emotion tends to bias our engagement with reality along certain paths. The emotions are not good or bad in themselves, only a disproportionate excess or lack of emotion would be bad.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine ("TCM"), grief is said to affect the "lungs" or "lung system." Some of TCM theories have been incorporated into Yang Style, but how much you may want to follow the other aspects of TCM may depend on your particular tradition, interests, and beliefs.

If your "lungs" are weakened, I would guess that it would be hard for your Qi to rise and easy for it to sink. The cost of this, however, might be a diminished capacity to raise your jingshen ("vital spirit," "morale," or "elan"). Qi, jing, and shen are interrelated.

My experience of grief is that it shakes me out of certain complacencies. Detaching myself from certain things is a good thing as long as I reattach myself to certain other things. Shaking my complacencies about the form allows me to feel the ground differently and let go more.

I think that grief can also help you to allow the form to do more work by itself with less controlling interference from the thinking mind (i.e., using more wuwei). Since the nature of the form should impose its own movement and movement principles, the less we add, the better from a certain viewpoint.

Ultimately, I think we want to work towards awareness of a dynamic balance that does not require a particular balance point.

Take care,
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