Here’s a wonderful ~ simple & powerful ~ Taoist meditation practice, which can be done either outside (in a beautiful natural setting is best!), or indoors. It’s similar in many ways to Buddhist Shamata sitting meditation practice, but ~ and hence the name! ~ you’re standing. (So, for one, it’s less likely that you’ll fall asleep … J)

Begin by standing with your feet parallel and about shoulder-width apart. Take a couple of deep long breaths, saying “aaah” (either out loud or to yourself) with the exhales. Let go of any tension you find in your shoulders, neck or face ~ simply let it “melt” away, with the exhale … as though that tension were a frozen river, being touched now by a warm sun, and flowing downward, like the gentle cascade of a waterfall, forming pools at your feet. Feel your energy, your awareness, settling into your feet & legs & hips & belly, connecting you strongly to the earth. Bend your knees just slightly ~ just enough to feel a softness at the backs of your knees.

Let your arms hang down next to your sides, so that your thumbs are gently touching your outer thighs (which means the backs of your hands will be facing forward). Separate and extend your fingers downward, so that they’re straight without being rigid, and so there’s space between each pair of fingers (as though you had webbed fingers). Now, float your hands directly forward, three or four inches, so they’re hovering now just in front of (but still to the sides) of your thighs. This should create a feeling of hollowness in your armpits. Let your elbows be bent just enough to create a feeling of softness in them.

Now choose a gazing point, eight or ten feet in front of you. Rest your eyes very softly on that point (or area). (The meditation Masters of the past have discovered that there’s a connection between the movement of our eyes, and the movement of thoughts in our mind … So making the eyes still is a wonderful way to calm the mind.) Try to let that spot you’re looking at come into your eyes, instead of reaching out (with the energy of your eyes) to “grab” it. In other words, let your eyes become receptive, instead of active … Relax your jaw, so that there’s space between your upper & lower teeth, even though your lips are gently closed.

So now that you’re in the Qigong Standing Meditation position, stay here, for awhile. Once you’ve arranged yourself in this way, there’s nothing much to “do.” Simply notice what’s it’s like being here, in this position.

If you’re new to the practice, hold the position for a couple of minutes. You can make small adjustments to it, as this feels necessary for your comfort, but the idea is to do as little moving around as possible. Once you’ve got the correct alignment of the pose, holding it in a fairly “motionless” way will support internal movements of qi/life-force which will be very pleasant, and healing. As you continue this practice ~ over weeks or months or years ~ you’ll be able to hold the position for longer periods of time (30 minutes, a hour). But in the beginning, a couple minutes is wonderful!

Leave a Reply