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 grief, located in the lung organ-system, into the lung's virtue of courage.
- 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 lungs: a huge organ, comprised of five lobes, which occupies the majority your mid- to upper chest (everywhere except for where your heart is). Smile gently to your lungs, as if saying "hello" to them.
- Take a deep, smooth, soft inhalation, and as you exhale, make the healing sound ssssss - like the sound of a snake hissing. Direct the vibration of this sound into your lungs, and feel that it is helping the "stuck" emotional energy of grief to become "unstuck," i.e. to flow again as simply energy, without a specific name or shape.
- Make the ssssss sound, with your focus in your lungs, 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 the energy of grief.
- In the second part of the practice, we're going to use the vibration of light to nourish the lung's virtue of courage. Here's how: First, close your eyes gently. Then exhale completely, and with your inhalation, imagine that you're drawing into your lungs a beautiful shimmering white light - the color of a full moon.
- "Breathe" this white healing light in through your nostrils, and mentally direct it to your lungs. Alternatively, you can "breathe" this healing light in through every cell of your skin, directing it to your lungs.
- Feel your lungs opening to receive the gift of this beautiful healing light - as though they were drinking a wonderful nectar, a powerful elixir. See your lungs beginning to pulse and glow - to vibrate with this beautiful white energy, as if they were actually made of white light.
- With each inhalation, draw into your lungs this beautiful moon-white light. With each exhalation, simply notice the lung's "virtue" of courage. This is a quality that already exists 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 lungs 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 lungs, 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 grief) to "feed" the virtue (in this case, courage).
- 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