Qi reactions

What is a qi reaction?

The term “qi reaction” refers to a common aspect of the healing process in qigong, known in some Western medical paradigms as a healing crisis. Qi reactions are symptoms or sensations that occur when qi (energy), stuck in our bodies in certain patterns over a long period of time, begins to transform and release as part of the healing process. These changes are beneficial but can often feel uncomfortable. A qi reaction is also called a “qi purification.”

While your health can improve without necessarily experiencing any uncomfortable side-effects, most people encounter qi reactions at some point along their healing journey. Because Zhineng Qigong has very powerful healing effects, qi reactions can occur more frequently than in other forms of healing. Therefore, it is especially important for Zhineng Qigong practitioners to understand these reactions and how to handle them.

A qi reaction can express as a fever, flu-like symptoms, sweats, cough, rashes, headaches, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or discharges from any part of the body. Beyond physical symptoms, qi reactions can also be emotional or mental reactions, like depression, anger, anxiety, or sadness. In fact, qi reactions can take almost any form. They can make pre-existing symptoms and health problems seem worse. Take heart! Qi reactions differ from real illnesses. They are an effect of unhealthy qi being expelled from the body, whereas illnesses occur as unhealthy qi enters into the body or manifests within it.

Sometimes, it may seem that a previous illness is recurring. This is because that illness, or perhaps it is a past trauma, has not been completely healed, even though the symptoms are gone. You thought the problem had been alleviated, but in actuality, the unhealthy qi remained suppressed in your body. So as you practice qigong and the qi mobilizes this suppressed qi, it emerges as it transforms and releases, evoking the old symptoms. This applies to illnesses or traumas across your whole lifetime, even congenital ones.

Qi reactions can happen on all levels. A change on a deeper level is more difficult to handle. When the change involves the reference framework, you can experience qi reactions at the level of consciousness.

Qi reactions also reveal to us where we need to improve our reference framework. Wherever our reference frameworks are fixed, not flexible and free, these reactions will reveal them. This is when we can practice universal love and compassion for ourselves.

Qi reactions also occur among healthy practitioners. As their qigong level goes up, old or unhealthy qi transforms and releases as they move toward higher levels of practice and health.

At times, you may experience very strong effects from your practice and you cannot find a logical reason. You may feel alone. You may also wonder if qigong is a good method for strengthening your body or healing other aspects of your life. Know that qi reactions are a common experience. They are part of the process of deeper healing.

Three important steps when facing qi reactions:

1. Stay calm and relaxed.
2. Recognize these qi reactions as temporary phenomena.
3. Practice qigong as much as possible, to help clear the body and form a higher level balance. Two very effective exercises are (1) Wall Squats and (2) Bow Body.


Q&A with Teacher Wei on qi reactions

Q: Why do qi reactions happen? What can we do?

Teacher Wei: First, it is important to build a good understanding of Zhineng Qigong — it is not just a practice to feel better or improve your energy or strength. At its essence, Zhineng Qigong involves the transformation of the Life Entirety, or your life as a whole. This means that, when you practice Zhineng Qigong for the longer term, your consciousness changes and your life changes, too, beyond the immediate illness or emotions you want to heal.

If you only practice on the level of the physical body and qi, you may feel more energy, and your symptoms may improve, too. At this level, however, consciousness has not yet evolved to see beyond the old reference framework. So if you experience a strong change in qi, your consciousness may not like it, because it only recognizes the old balance of qi in the body. If the changes in qi are too strong or too fast, leading to many qi reactions, for example, your consciousness may not have enough power or stability to see through these phenomena.

Once you experience a few qi reactions, your consciousness will come to know these new reactions as part of the new energy state of your body. At that point, qi reactions form a new reference framework, meaning you can understand the role of qi reactions without struggling against them; you can reclaim a sense of agency in your healing process, and you can also see how qi reactions strengthen your willpower and uncover suppressed imbalances. With this new reference framework in play, qi reactions can pass more quickly, too.

Take for example a child who has a cough. His parents give him modern medicine and the symptoms of the cough disappear. He grows into an adult and starts to practice qigong. His internal qi begins to transform and purify, improving the body, at which point, the qi reaction comes in the form of a cough. This is because the information and blocked qi are still in his body. So this qi reaction happens to clean and open up the blocked energy.

At first, his consciousness may feel the coughing is uncomfortable, and he may worry that it’s a bad sign that something old is recurring. This is when the practice guides us in keeping the mind stable and the heart open, and in accepting all reactions. In fact, the practices guides us to love the reactions and send good information to guide the transformation process.

This is how a good consciousness state can support your continued practice.

Q: If we are upset and depressed because of qi reactions, how can we go beyond our emotions and into a more positive mindset?

Teacher Wei: First, come to understand the laws of life and the laws of healing. Observe the reaction in a neutral state. This means to release any labels of it being a problem. You can think: “It’s no problem! The reaction is cleaning my body on the inside.” Know this and keep your mind stable. Naturally, from deep within, good information will arise.

Secondly, practice your willpower in your daily life. Approach your life as a continuous qigong practice. If your willpower, however, is not strong enough, continue to practice the qigong methods. To gather more qi, nourish the mind. Practice LaQi (Open and Close), or gather qi into your body (Push-Pull, Bow Body), or immediately observe the qi body and observe the universe. All of these can be very helpful.

I also had some strong qi reactions. Once, I had a very intense headache. When the headache started, I knew this was a qi reaction and that the qi would open the flow within my head. So my mind could accept it. Even though the feeling was difficult and didn’t feel good, I knew, “My inside is transforming.”

I kept my mind concentrated in the aware, centered, and empty mingjue state. I started to do Great Horse Stance. I knew it could mobilize qi quickly and open me inside. I kept on standing even though I felt pain in various places. I stood there for an hour, perhaps even longer, like two hours. I practiced the stability of my mind. I kept relaxing my mind. “Relax…stable…relax…stable….” I connected with the universe. I gave the following information to my head inside, gently, without force: “Open the qi head, merge with the universe.” Then I felt my head inside was empty and merged into the universe. Eventually, the intensity stopped. I knew it was a phenomenon of deeper healing.

So if you experience pain or discomfort, know that it will gradually become less and less. Continue to relax your consciousness. Relax and connect with the universe. Gradually, gradually, the pain will disappear.

If instead, you begin to think, “Oh, there is a pain and I cannot control it,” and you talk with others because you want some external answers or you seek external validation for your challenges, it is easy to lose yourself. You are not yet trusting in your own potential or the power of your own consciousness. In this state, your inner power isn’t strong enough to go into, then through and beyond the pain.

To handle changes, training the stability of your awareness is necessary. Train to simply observe, and not judge this or that. In observation, you can release attachments to feelings and thoughts, thereby moving beyond a fixed reference framework.

Q: So we must cultivate faith and confidence in our own potential?

Teacher Wei: Yes! Trust in your own powerful consciousness, because you are your own master teacher! Your consciousness has the potential to adjust your body and adjust your energy.

So many people have multiple problems these days because they do not believe in themselves. They attach too much importance to the material world, believing a lot of things from external sources. This is helpful to a certain level, but it cannot really resolve our life problems.

For most, arriving at this trust will be a process. Without qi reactions, it is difficult to improve your life because you cannot see the deeper blockages. Qi reactions, especially the more difficult ones, are like angels. These angels come to help us to understand ourselves better and to transform our blockages.

Q: If friends share with us their worries about a qi reaction, how can we best support them?

Teacher Wei: Practice universal love and compassion. From a confident and clear mind, send good information to them. “No problem, this good reaction changes and cleans your inner state.” Qi reaction? Oh, good, your life is improving.

Next, share something helpful with them. Like, “Keep your inner state stable, trust your inner potential, open your potential!” This can help guide their heart to “grow up,” and help their problems to disappear quickly.

Q: How can strong pain help us improve our lives?

Teacher Wei: Pain can help you practice your will power. It can also give you more experience, which can help your consciousness “grow up.” Intense experiences can also help train you to see through and beyond the pain itself. In this way, this translates into helping you see through the challenging events of your life, too. You will come to know, “Oh, this pain is just a phenomenon in my body!” From this, you can come to your True Self. “My True Self is here, observing the pain.” When you find your True Self, it is much easier to observe the pain, not get attached to it, and therefore not become enslaved by it. If you really understand this, then you can see how pain becomes an angel who assists you in waking up.

Also know that you are not the pain. The pain is a phenomenon, a reaction. The more you practice and experience yourself as the inner observer — this is a process — you can discover that you have previously been very attached to the body and its sensations. After practicing to concentrate and clarify your consciousness, you can arrive at a state of being that is independent from the pain or any other sensations, emotions, or thoughts.

Q: What are some deep-level changes?

Teacher Wei: At a certain level of change, all attachments are given up, whether to external triggers and events or people, or to internal thoughts, emotions, and sensations. At this level, you can keep your consciousness autonomous and stable, clarifying and cleaning all the old fixations. Your reference framework becomes free. You still use the reference framework to relate to daily life, but the attachments are gone. This is a deep-level change toward the enlightened mind. This is not an easy process, but it is possible for everyone and anyone.

Today, people are starting to wake up more and more. The consciousness field is stronger now than several decades earlier. As we continue to support each other, more people can become free and enlightened with greater efficiency.

We can all learn to stabilize our consciousness. After cultivating a good foundation, your consciousness will naturally stabilize. Focus on the present moment, on your inner observer, instead of the goal. Observe, concentrate, relax. Enjoy the mind and cultivate the purity of your consciousness. Gradually, gradually, you can arrive there.

Before enlightenment, before releasing and cleansing all your attachments, you have to start with a positive mindset. A “positive mindset” in this sense actually means a neutral mindset, one without judgment — there is no positive, no negative, that everything is equal, everything is oneness in the Hun Yuan Entirety. The simple practice of observation can help you cultivate this.

Q: Is there anything we can do to get there, or do we simply have to wait?

Teacher Wei: In mingjue practice, waiting is a kind of doing; it is not doing nothing. This is different from the social life state of waiting, which is passive. In mingjue practice, when you wait, you practice staying aware and forgetting everything else. You come to the infinite and merge with the qi universe. This is the state of being — very even, very pure, very quiet, very peaceful. Nothing can influence it.


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