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  • Writer's pictureJohn Blue

Return to Your Body

Hello friends!

Are you struggling to feel connected to your own body? It's common for people to find it very difficult to feel their own physicality when it's not delivering intense sensations or constant feedback. Most people genuinely cannot feel if they are clenching their shoulders, holding their breath, or gripping their minds. They are simply too disconnected from their bodies and the present moment to make meaningful progress. If that's the case, how can we expect to develop subtle physical skills if we cannot even feel our bodies? We cannot release tension that we cannot sense. Obviously, it's only possible to connect with our system if our awareness can sink below the surface of the skin. Famously, Feldenkrais said, "You can't do what you want until you know what you're doing." I'll share some methods for establishing and deepening those lines of connection. Let's dive in!

Initially, when we are disassociated from our physical existence, it feels like the mind wanders anywhere but to here and now. Giving our attention something interesting and easy to center on is helpful. We benefit from using visualization methods to help guide our minds back to the body. Imagining something to follow, like healing rain falling through your tissues, makes it easier to return to your body. After a while, you become increasingly familiar with locating yourself in space. It's profoundly grounding and brings surprising healing potential!

Let me pause here to remind you to watch the other videos in this qigong series. I've created them carefully in a specific order, and each lesson builds upon the last. And when we talk about learning to use your mind during qigong training, it's essential that you don't skip steps. When you practice the visualizations correctly, you'll improve your ability to relax your mind. By giving your awareness something easy to center upon, you can stay present long enough to learn to soften the intensity of your focus. As I described in earlier lessons, we must learn to stop squeezing our minds during training. Softening your intent will make your thoughts less chaotic and more easily anchored to your body. It also allows you to practice letting go of distractions rather than fighting with them. This gentleness will slowly bring more peace to your emotional life as you wrestle with your thoughts less often. We use the imagination to practice softening the mind's intent and to help reconnect with the body—a little bit at a time. 

However, after you have used visualization tools for a while, you should move past needing them. They are only there to help you find and connect to the real. Once you develop the ability to feel your body clearly and soften the intensity of your concentration, let go of anything that isn't actually happening. Cultivate the skill of resting in reality without daydreaming. Occasionally, we will return to using visualization and imagination to help uncover subtle relationships and mechanisms. But we will always drop them when we find the reality of our experience.

Some years ago, I treated an anxious woman who was well along in her pregnancy. She looked forward to getting a sonogram photo to feel more connected with her baby. This admission shocked me because the child is literally part of her. Closer than close. How much more connected could they be? Because of a disconnection from her body, she had no sense of her child. So, having the externalized image of the child felt more real than her own physicality. To be disembodied in this way is a widespread problem! I recommended a body-scanning meditation, but she found it too difficult for her busy mind and dropped her practice. If I had the chance to try again, I would recommend a more accessible practice for her to follow, like visualization meditations or a mindful self-massage sequence, which studies prove can reduce the anxiety and stress of the birthing process.

Many of us have become disconnected from our bodies, decreasing our awareness of our emotions. Understanding that our feelings are not separate from our physical lives is crucial. When we experience trauma, we often disassociate from that part of our lives. For instance, those who are frequently angry tend to live in angry bodies, and emotional pain can usually be more intense than physical discomfort. Our bodies, minds, and feelings are all part of a single, interconnected experience. This understanding is the key to healing all aspects of our lives. 

However, please be aware that you will suddenly feel those aspects of your life you have ignored. Been neglecting that injured shoulder from back in school? Well, you will suddenly notice how much it aches. Did you learn to numb your feelings of loss or insecurity? Well, those repressed emotions will suddenly be calling for your attention. Do you constantly distract yourself with media to avoid confronting your negative self-talk? Luckily, now there's a chance to hear precisely how uptight your mind has become. 

Remember, this is a healing journey, and it's natural to encounter some challenges along the way. But you're not alone. Share your most significant blockages with the community in the comment section. I'm here to respond to everything you write, and everyone else in the community will see that we're all on this journey together. Using the methods within the system, you'll learn to smooth chaotic emotions by nurturing peace, unlock healing potential for your body through soft and holistic movement, and soothe wild thoughts by cultivating stillness. You're not alone in this. We're all here to support each other.

What's next?

Soon, we will begin softening and opening specific areas of the body. But I cannot overstate the importance of developing a deep and abiding awareness of our bodies before that training. Even the Buddha said that by diligently practicing mindfulness of the body, we embark on the path that leads to wisdom, liberation, and the cessation of suffering.

This potential is why I am sharing an entire training series dedicated to helping you develop the ability to remain grounded within your body while learning to release patterns of tension. About 200 hours for free! It is a qigong self-massage sequence compiled by Daoist Master Zhicheng, and people who find it difficult to focus or relax will find it wonderfully healing. When your mind wanders away and begins to daydream, your own hands tap you on the shoulder and remind you to return to the present moment—to develop the habit of being embodied. 

Continue developing the ability to feel your body more clearly, to relax tense areas, and to stay present during practice. Once you have cultivated those skills, please move forward with the lessons. Keep track of your progress and feelings in your journal, and set up some time to practice with your training buddy. Future classes will teach you to free your joints and disentangle your movements. Soon, you will experience how wonderful it feels to be relaxed, grounded, and at peace. 


Spend some time with the Qigong Self-Massage series. You may also like to check out the hundreds of extra lessons on Patreon to help you improve. 

Don't be in a hurry to move forward because developing the necessary skills each day can take a little time. Imagine planting a tree in a garden. First, you prepare the ground and then bury the seed. After some research, you realize the tree will require 10,000 liters of water to reach full height. So, you immediately run out and get a big water truck to dump 10,000 liters onto the seed. Right? 

It sounds like a joke, but people treat their training that way. You need the proper context for the tree to grow. The right amount of light and dark. The right amount of moisture and dryness. Sufficient space and support. Even a community of mycelium and other plants & animals to thrive. Only then do the roots grow strong, and when the foundation develops, the tree can grow tall. People always want the top of the tree and forget that most of the tree is actually under the ground. They demand quick results and don't understand how growth actually occurs. 

Grow slowly, taking extra care to develop your roots. Note the fruits of your training and enjoy your practice. 

Remember that this is only a tiny part of a more extensive system and sequence of teaching videos.   Subscribe to my channel to learn more! 

Make sure that you begin your practice at the beginning of the sequence

Thank you for visiting my site! Feel free to connect: 

Visit Zhicheng Shifu & Shoko Sensei at:  

Endless gratitude to my supporters on Patreon for making this possible!  

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