The "Healing Sounds" practice is one of the most well-known of the thousands of forms of Taoist qigong. We use this qigong practice to transform "stuck" emotional energy into nourishment for the "virtues" of the five organ-systems described by Chinese Medicine. In this simplified version of the practice, we transform the stuck energy of fear, located in the kidneys, into the kidney's virtues of wisdom and child-like wonder.
- Find a quiet place to practice. Sit upright on the front edge of a straight-backed chair, with your feet flat on the floor, directly beneath your knees. It's also fine to sit in a cross-legged position on a cushion of the floor, if this is comfortable for you.
- Take a couple of deep, slow breaths. As you exhale, smile gently, which will release any unnecessary tension in your face, jaw, neck or shoulders. Feel your energy settling into your lower abdomen - the lower dantian.
- Bring your focus - your conscious attention - to your kidneys: one on either side of your spine, in the middle of your back, near the lower border of your ribcage. Smile gently to your kidneys, as if saying "hello" to them.
- Take a deep, smooth, soft inhalation, and as you exhale, make the healing sound Hooo. The "o" in this sound is a soft, aspirant "o" - as though you were whispering. Direct the vibration of this sound into your kidneys, and feel that it is helping the "stuck" emotional energy of fear to become "unstuck," i.e. to flow again as simply energy, without a specific shape.
- Make the Hooo sound, with your focus in your kidneys, at least three times - though it's fine to repeat as many times as you'd like. This is the first part of the practice: using sound to release fear-energy.
- In the second part of the practice, we're going to use the vibration of light to nourish the virtues of wisdom and wonder. Here's how: First, close your eyes gently. Then exhale completely, and with your inhalation, imagine that you're drawing into your kidneys a beautiful deep-blue or purple light. You can use either color, whichever feels best to you.
- "Breathe" this healing light (deep-blue or purple) in through your nostrils, and mentally direct it down to your kidneys. Alternatively, you can "breathe" this healing light in through every cell of your skin, directing it to your kidneys.
- Feel your kidneys opening to receive the gift of this beautiful healing light - as though they were drinking a wonderful nectar, a powerful elixir.
- With each inhalation, draw into the kidneys this beautiful deep-blue or purple light. With each exhalation, simply notice the kidney's "virtues" of wisdom and a child-like wonder. These are qualities that already exist within you. We're simply using a particular frequency of light to nourish them, to invite them to "show themselves" more completely.
- Draw the healing light into your kidneys for five or six breaths, at least - though you can continue for as long as you like.
- To end the practice, smile once again down to your kidneys, and notice how you feel.
- Remember that in Taoist qigong practice the emotions are understood as simply forms of stuck energy: kind of like legos, that have been "shaped" in a particular way. We use the healing sounds to break up a particular emotion/shape, so that the energy bound in that shape can once again flow freely.
- We're not "getting rid of" an emotion. Instead, it's more like composting: using the energy of the emotion (in this case fear) to "feed" the virtue (in this case, wisdom and awe).
- If your mind wanders during this practice, no problem. Simply notice that this has happened, and bring yourself back to the practice.
- There are numerous variations of this practice, some using different sounds. Find one that works best for you!
What You Need
- a precious human bodymind
- a straight-backed chair or cushion