When you compliment someone on their energy, or even notice someone else’s energy, what are you really saying?
You’re alluding to an intangible — a force, a feeling, a figurative quality.
You’re going to keep hearing that word all year — energy — in headlines, in articles, in documentaries, on podcasts.
That’s because everyone is trying to get at the same point.
Everything we do in life — from thinking your thoughts to wiggling your toes to managing your career — takes energy.
So everyone has the same question on their minds. How do we enhance our energy? How do we remove the restrictions to it in the cells of our bodies? How can we restore the energy that we spend all of our time — commuting to work, binging TV, getting drunk at happy hour — draining?
The thing is, there are as many answers to that eternal and persistent human quest as there are people to consider setting out on that path.
But for me, it comes down to this.
Jing, Qi, and Shen
In taoism, there are three main elements. The jing, the qi, and the shen.
Think about them like they’re three corners of yourself.
Jing is the essence of you, the you that you’re born with, the you that never changes deep down. The you that you can recognize is missing from your daily doings in the world.
Qi is your energy. It’s the vibe you live by, the drive that pushes you or crushes you, ever-changing and ever-flowing power of your moods and wants and impulses.
And the shen is your mind.
The shen is the crux. It’s the part of you that decides the direction of your qi and your jing.
It’s vital, because your qi follows your mind. And the essence of you is most alive when your energy is flowing well.
So if you feel like you’re living in a world of chaos…
It’s because you are. The world is in a state of chaos because the energy of humanity is creating chaos from an unsettled collective mind. Our collective attention isn’t focused, isn’t moving toward a common goal. It’s lost in reruns, in policies that serve cash flow and not energy flow, in the blocked and misdirected qi of a distracted population.
Because most of us? We’re making our choices with tense shoulders, frightened thoughts, and an overall sense of helplessness.
Thousands of years of developing humanity hasn’t solved the problem of survival. Our bodies think we’re fighting and flighting all the time…
Instead of resting and digesting.
You Already Know the Answer
And the irony is, everyone knows how to fix it.
Everyone knows what good choices look like. Everyone knows that big dreams and big peace take sacrifice.
That goes for every person. Me too!
I’m writing a book. I’m making films. I’ve got babies.
And even though what I love to do most is meet people and connect with them, see the difference that the practices I practice can make, I have to make sacrifices to power my life forward.
Like right now… because I’m writing a book, that means I go to bed earlier. Then I get up earlier. I don’t have cocktails with friends if they come over. I don’t eat food that won’t support the vitality.
And you know these answers already. Most of the people who come to see me are there because they can’t make themselves do the things they know are right.
They really want to most of the time. The intention is present but the attention is wavering because there’s blocked energy. The hose isn’t connected. And without a steady source of power, you can’t fuel the change to your brain chemistry — your shen — that’s required to redirect your shen.
So How Do You Connect the Hose?
If you don’t, you’ll always be suffering in the now.
And because you’re suffering and dissatisfied and worried and stressed and nervous, your body reacts to stimulus like you’re in danger. You’re thinking and acting through your amygdala, the emotional impulse part of your brain, and not through your prefrontal cortex, the higher moral reasoning area of your brain.
There’s no reason for your brain to concern itself with the long game when you’re trapped in the amygdala mindset. It’s just trying to make it through the short term.
In order for your body to rest and digest, it needs to feel calm and serene about the status of the things in your life garden — your self-esteem, your career, your marriage, your kids, your passions, your hobbies, your physical capabilities.
That requires balance, and that requires energy flow.
That’s what my qigong practice does. Qigong promotes energy flow through the body through precise and specific movements in the body — coordination of the eyes, mind, body, and breath that link up the disconnected parts of you and make you whole.
I write about this all the time. It changed my life and I’ve watched it, stunned every time, change the lives of thousands of people I’ve worked the qigong practice with.
Suddenly there’s an energy overflow. Suddenly you’re unstuck. Suddenly you know which tools to use to clear the stagnant, stale air you’re recirculating every time you falter on a personal commitment and can’t get yourself started.
And from April 24th through the 26th, we have a chance to start at the beginning together.
I’ve taken out this amazing space at the Snowbird Mountain Ski Lodge. And for those three days, I’m teaching level one (which I’m forbidden from filming, by the way. The Grand Master requested that it never be taped before he died. This is a direct transmission kind of system.)
And maybe this isn’t your year to get yourself together. That’s alright!
But maybe it is. Maybe it’s that’s the weekend you’ll look back on next April 24th, and marvel at all the things you’ve done that you thought you never could.
Qiqong is the practice of lightness, of levity.
Gravity can feel awfully heavy… The weight of your decisions, your feelings, your trauma, your history, your limitations. But levity is stronger.
And you find levity by moving your energy.
Click here to find out more about the Level One retreat this year.
I sincerely can’t wait to meet you!