Qigong - Piercing the Invisible Target

With one end of his bow
The archer pierces heaven

With the other, he penetrates the earth

Stretched between the two
The bowstring hurls the arrow

Into the heart of both the visible and invisible target

Chan Archer's Maxim

Who am I?

When I was a child I felt that God, or the universe, or life, held a great secret. I felt that if I could only break down the barrier behind which that secret was hidden, if I could have that secret whispered into my ear, then everything would be all right - I would know the truth.

Over the years, as I grew into adulthood, I had glimpses of the shadow of the truth - moments, mere split seconds of being fully, completely awake before slipping back down into semi-wakefulness - semi-life.

In the 1970's I started studying Chinese Kung Fu and for many years now have earned my living as a teacher of Shaolinquan, Taijiquan (Tai Chi) and Yungchunquan (Wing Chun), and the Shaolin system of Qigong.

Through my training the secret I had struggled to uncover became known to me.

I was the secret - I was the truth I sought.

Who am I?

I am life's witness - I am life's yearning made manifest - I am the eyes, the ears, the voice of life.

I live life, and am lived by life.

I am an ordinary man.

Qigong (literally 'energy [or life] mastery') is often viewed as the skill of internal energy management, but since it is in fact a 'process of becoming' there are a number of skills (Gong or Kung) one is required to master. Here I will discuss only the first skill.

Xin Gong - The Skill of the Heart

Xin translates as heart - the heart's expression is Shen (spirit).

Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine) says the following:

The heart is the sovereign of all organs and represents the consciousness of one's being.
It is responsible for intelligence, wisdom, and spiritual transformation.

From the above we can see that the heart, viewed in western terms as a somatic entity functioning as a blood pump, is viewed in Qigong and Traditional Chinese Medicine terms as an energetic or vibrational function, manifesting as consciousness, thought, vitality, spirit and soul.

This does not deny the somatic 'pump action' of the heart, it simply recognises that in the heart there exist both the somatic and vibrational realities - both are important - both impact on health. Nor does it deny the relevance of the brain in thought processes.

One may view the vibrational function of the heart as the complete mind, or 'universal mind' in that when one 'thinks' from the heart one employs not just the logical/rational mind, or the intuitive/instinctive mind, but rather the logical/rational/intuitive/instinctive mind.

The development of the Qigong 'skill of the heart' is to begin to align oneself with the mind of the creative principle (that which we call life, or God, or the source) so that we begin to recognise more and more fully our authentic selves, the 'co-creators' of our world.

A thought in the Xin (heart) mind is the genesis of a mighty process of creation. Indeed, it is a moment of supreme potential, of creation not yet realised in the material world but nonetheless already perfectly formed in spirit - already beginning to imprint on the larger universal mind - already in the state of becoming.

The indestructible fidelity of life's relationship with us is an absolute upon which we may rely, and the natural consequence of such a relationship should be characterised by abundance in all facets of our lives.

That our personal experience of life may not reflect the above speaks of our failure, not the failure of life.

I can tell you from personal experience that failure is a wonderful and powerful point from which to begin our Qigong 'process of becoming'. We can say "I have failed - but this is not my definitive condition, it is merely the logical, rational consequence of my past state of mind. This state of mind may be changed by me in an instant - it is a matter of choice".

Such a statement reflects an acknowledgement of the truth of the origin of one's present life situation, and reflects too that a simple yet committed 'change of heart' is all that is necessary to begin the Qigong process of re-establishing our relationship with life.

Let's pause here to explore the vibrational consequences of a 'change of heart'.

The following truths have been known to practitioners of Qigong for thousands of years and are becoming known to the west primarily through the research of Quantum Physics, they are:

  • Everything is vibrational - energy
  • Life (Qi), the intelligent energy that flows through the universe, responsible for the creation of all that ever was, all that is, and all that ever shall be, is vibrational
  • Our thoughts and beliefs are vibrational

Therefore, what we think becomes our reality.

When I use the word 'think' in the above statement I mean not anaemic wishes, or scattered thoughts - I mean deeply held and sustained 'heart' thoughts and beliefs.

So, the development of Xingong (The Skill of the Heart) is the development of our capacity to 'think' with power, with commitment, with passion, with enthusiasm, and with the recognition that within our thoughts lies the link to our larger selves, the universe (life) itself and, by extension, the power and means of all creation.

I, the inner 'I', the vibrational reality behind the physical projection, I am the secret I withheld from myself for so much of my life - I am the eyes through which the power, the love-of-life, and the supreme loyalty of the universe (life) shines.

I am the 'invisible target' spoken of in the Chan Archer's maxim at the beginning of this article, for I am also that which must first be overcome before the supreme character of the universe, that of abundance, may be made manifest.

Qigong and Kung Fu (be it Taijiquan or Shaolin or any other of the hundreds of Chinese martial systems) are so fundamentally connected that any attempt at separation undermines the integrity of both.

It is in the Kung Fu systems that one finds the greatest scope for the development of Xingong, the skill of the heart. Indeed, the Kung Fu 'first arrival' process, known as Sam Tou (The Arrival of the Heart), allows us to experience the reality of being led by truth.
In the Sam Tou state of mind and heart, one discerns the truth, and may respond with truth. And truth (not my truth, or your truth, but the truth) is reality most powerfully expressed.

To live in a state of unknowing (untruth) is to stumble blindly from one distortion to the next.
To live in a state of unknowing is to give away our power to choose and to act upon those choices.
To live in a state of unknowing is to move from birth to death in a state of fear.

To live in the state of knowing, of truth, is to embrace freedom, power - life.

About the author:

Article written by Leslie James Reed of the International Taijiquan and Shaolin Wushu Association of South Africa

Website: http://www.qigong.co.za

Author: Leslie James Reed
Copyright © 2023 Leslie James Reed. All rights reserved

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