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Balance: Achieving a Wuji State

I sometimes struggle with a body state where my body energy seems to be low, while my mind is overactive. I have looked at Yoga, Jin (compassion) Shin (spirit) Do (Tao), and Qigong as possible ways to achieve balance. I think all three share a common base, though it is easy to get lost in definitions.

The following is a very long quotation from The Essence of Taiji Qigong by Dr. Yang, Jwin-Ming. I read this a few times over many years without really grasping the meaning. The last time I read it it struck me that a lot of things would fall into place if I understood this properly and put into practice. There may not be a better explanation of how Yin and Yang, Kan and Li, Fire Qi and Water Qi, Xin and Yi are involved to create a balance Wuji state.

You will be rewarded for spending some time reading, contemplating, and learning to practice the wisdom of the following text:

Chapter 2: The Root of Taijiquan-Yin and Yang

KAN AND LI

The terms Kan and Li occur frequently in Qigong documents. In the Eight Trigrams Kan represents "Water " while Li represents "Fire." However, the everyday terms for water and fire are also often used. Kan and Li training has long been of major importance to Qigong practi­ tioners. In order to understand why, you must understand these two words, and the theory behind them.

First you should understand that though Kan-Li and Yin-Yang are related, Kan and Li are not Yin and Yang. Kan is Water, which is able to cool your body down and make it more Yin, while Li is Fire, which warms your body and makes it more Yang. Kan and Li are the meth­ ods or causes, while Yin and Yang are the results. When Kan and Li are adjusted or regulated correctly, Yin and Yang will be balanced and interact harmoniously.

Qigong practitioners believe that your body is always too Yang, unless you are sick or have not eaten for a long time, in which case your body may be more Yin. Since your body is always Yang, it is degenerating and burning our. It is believed that this is the cause of aging. If you are able to use Water to cool down your body, you will be able to slow down the degeneration process and thereby lengthen your life. This is the main reason why Chinese Qigong practi­ tioners have been studying ways of improving the quality of the Water in their bodies, and of reducing the quantity of the Fire. I believe that as a Qigong practitioner you should always keep this subject at the top of your list for study and research. If you earnestly ponder and experiment, you will be able to grasp the trick of adjusting them.

If you want to learn how to adjust them, you must understand that Water and Fire mean many things in your body. The first concerns your Qi. Qi is classified as Fire or Water. When your Qi is not pure and causes your physical body to heat up and your mental/spiritual body to become unstable (Yang), it is classified as Fire Qi . The Qi which is pure and is able to cool both your physical and spiritual bodies (make them more Yin) is considered Water Qi. However, your body can never be purely Water. Water can cool down the Fire, but it must never totally quench it, because then you would be dead. It is also said that Fire Qi is able to agitate and stimulate the emotions, and from these emotions generate a "mind." This mind is called Xin and is considered the Fire mind, Yang mind, or emotional mind. On the other hand, the mind that Water Qi generates is calm, steady, and wise. This mind is called Yi, and is considered to be the Water mind or wisdom mind. If your spirit is nourished by Fire Qi, although your spirit may be high, it will be scattered and confused (a Yang spirit). Naturally, if the spirit is nourished and raised up by Water Qi, it will be firm and steady (a Yin mind). When your Yi is able to govern your emotional Xin effectively, your will (strong emotional intention) can be firm.

You can see from this discussion that your Qi is the main cause of the Yin and Yang of your physical body, your mind, and your spirit. To regulate your body's Yin and Yang, you must learn how to regulate your body's Water and Fire Qi, but in order to do this efficiently you must know their sources.

Once you have grasped the concepts of Yin-Yang and Kan-Li, then you have to think about how to adjust Kan and Li so that you can balance the Yin and Yang in your body.

Theoretically, a Qigong practitioner would like to keep his body in a state of Yin-Yang balance, which means the "center" point of the Yin and Yang forces. This center point is com­ monly called "Wuji" (no extremities ). It is believed that Wuji is the original, natural state where Yin and Yang are not distinguished. In the Wuji state, nature is peaceful and calm. In the Wuji state, all of the Yin and Yang forces have gradually combined harmoniously and disappeared. When this Wuji theory is applied to human beings, it is the final goal of Qigong practice where your mind is neutral and absolutely calm. The Wuji state makes it possible for you to find the origin of your life, and to combine your Qi with the Qi of nature.

The ultimate goal and purpose of Taiji Qigong and Taijiguan is to find this peaceful and natural state. In order to reach this goal, you must first understand your body's Yin and Yang so that you can balance them by adjusting your Kan and Li. Only when your Yin and Yang are balanced will you be able to find the center balance point, the Wuji state.

Theoretically, between the two extremes of Yin and Yang are millions of paths (i.e., different Kan and Li methods) which can lead you to the neutral center. This accounts for the hundreds of different styles of Qigong which have been created over the years. You can see that the theory of Yin and Yang and the methods of Kan and Li are the root of training in all Chinese Qigong styles. Without this root, the essence of Qigong practice would be lost.