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 anger, frustration or jealousy, located in the liver organ-system, into the liver's virtue of loving-kindness.
- 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 help to 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 liver: nestled beneath your lower right ribcage. Smile gently to your liver, as if saying "hello" to it.
- Take a deep, smooth, soft inhalation, and as you exhale, make the healing sound Shshsh - like a mother comforting, "hushing" and gently embracing a child who's having a temper tantrum. Direct the vibration of this sound into your liver, and feel that it is helping the "stuck" emotional energy of anger/frustration to become "unstuck," i.e. to flow again as simply energy, without a specific name or shape.
- Make the Shshsh sound, with your focus in your liver, 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 anger-energy.
- In the second part of the practice, we're going to use the vibration of light to nourish the liver's virtue of loving-kindness. Here's how: First, close your eyes gently. Then exhale completely, and with your inhalation, imagine that you're drawing into your liver a beautiful emerald-green light.
- "Breathe" this emerald-green healing light in through your nostrils, and mentally direct it to your liver. Alternatively, you can "breathe" this healing light in through every cell of your skin, directing it to your liver.
- Feel your liver opening to receive the gift of this beautiful healing light - as though it were drinking a wonderful nectar, a powerful elixir. See your liver beginning to pulse and glow - to vibrate with this beautiful emerald-green energy, as if it were actually made of emerald-green light.
- With each inhalation, draw into your liver this beautiful emerald-green light. With each exhalation, simply notice the liver's "virtue" of loving-kindness. This is a quality that already exist within you. We're simply using a particular frequency of light to nourish it, to invite it to reveal its full splendor to us.
- Draw the healing light into your liver 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 liver, 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 anger/frustration) to "feed" the virtue (in this case, loving-kindness).
- 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