Best Resolution for 2021

The Intention of Qigong
HERE IS THE BEST RESOLUTION FOR 2021

We are entering the 21st year of the 21st century and it feels significant. What a time we’ve had. After suffering through the worse pandemic we have personally known, and with no quick end in sight, most of us are weary, worried and just about wiped-out. What do we do now?

At the beginning of every new year we have a tradition of making resolutions, those often idealistic statements of intention: “I intend to eat less, get healthier, spend more time with my family, etc.”. But this new year of the pandemic is different; it has many of us reassessing our place and purpose in life. This is a good time to reconsider the meaning of intention. Let’s look at three different types of intention that influence our health and lifestyle.

The common meaning of intention is to make a plan of action based on thoughts, emotions and expectations. You form clear and specific thoughts about how to take action to reach the goal of your Intention. That plan is usually based on desire and sentiment, even passion, for a certain outcome. Then expectations are the reality check for intentions; once the grand intention is conceived you rethink it in light of possibilities. This standard form of intention is the basis of new year’s resolutions, business plans, physical training routines, retirement goals, and innumerable aspects of daily living. A thoughtful intention of this type can be very helpful in orienting your lifestyle toward better health. I often set intentions like this, after morning meditation, for the day ahead.

The body has intention that governs growth, function and repair. There is a standard medical meaning of intention, called primary or secondary, that describes how a wound heals: bleeding has to stop, inflammation removes pathogens, new cells are formed, and the wound closes to restore function of the tissue. In this meaning of intention, the wounded person or lab animal does not consciously participate in the healing process. It’s all about the body having the intention to close a wound; here intention does not involve active mental processing. A well done surgical incision will heal by “primary intention”. This is the wisdom of the body in action. The body is designed to heal itself and in most cases it does a good job. I know this from too many broken bones I've had over the years.

Mental intention is a distinctive aspect of human consciousness that literally has the power to heal. We can increase blood flow in the hands with visualization; promote faster healing of damaged tissue by imagining more energy to that area; increase the effectiveness of antibiotics by picturing mental targets for the drug. There are hundreds of studies showing that when we use mental imagery most healing therapeutics are more successful. (search “mental imagery in healing” at pubmed.gov). For example:

• Research at Ohio University on loss of strength after wearing a cast showed that “the mind is critical in maintaining muscle strength following a prolonged period of immobilization and that mental imagery may be key in reducing the associated muscle loss” (American Physiological Society, January 5, 2015).
• Matthew Nagle who is paralyzed in all four limbs used mental intention to transform his life. He had a silicone chip implanted in his brain. After just four days of focused mental practice, Matthew could move a computer cursor on a screen, open email, play a computer game, and control a robotic arm!
• Carl and Stephanie Simonton’s seminal book, Getting Well Again, outlines the astonishing benefits of visualization, intention and a positive attitude on the outcome of cancer patients. They were pioneers in studying how the immune system is influenced by the healing power of mental imagery.

A convincing collection of scientific research on the merits of mental intention and visualization is found in Healing Words by Larry Dossey. The author cites dozens of laboratory experiments showing that when a person or group of people project focused intention to a person in another room or at a distance it can have positive effects on high blood pressure, asthma, heart attacks, headaches, and anxiety. It may even alter enzyme activity, blood cell growth, and the germination of seeds. This amazing research shows that the power of prayer, intention, and meditation can have a beneficial effect on various life forms. This type of evidence has motivated me to practice qigong for many years.

Qigong practice has three aspects:
body movement, intention/visualization, and regulated breathing.

Your hands are incredibly powerful tools for healing because they have innumerable nerve endings and acupuncture points with an abundant flow of energy. The healing power of “laying on of hands” is not a miracle, it is a normal ability of all human beings. The laogQigong hands ong point in the center of the palm is the major entry and exit point for qi healing. Just by placing this point over areas of the body there will be a transfer of energy. Add the power of intention and you have generated a strong current of energy flow. The movement of your hands generates even more energy than a static position. This is used extensively in exercises from the Winter Qigong practice like Bone Marrow Cleansing and Filling the Lower Dan Tian.

Most qigong exercises combine mental intention and hand movement with the third part of qigong: regulated breathing. When we use these three aspects of qigong practice we can direct pure healing energy with the creative intention of the mind, increase circulation of energy with body movement, and enhance energy flow with the breath. In acknowledging the importance of intention, Ken Cohen – qigong master and scholar - writes in The Way Of Qigong,

“All qigong tecintentionhniques are designed to strengthen and refine intent, so that eventually you can direct the healing energy just through concentration.”

Visualization – the use of intentional imagery – can have wonderful benefits for improving the quality of your life because the cultivation of intention can increase the emotional virtues of compassion and happiness. It has been shown that if we engage in a meditation practice in which we mentally send out kindness and compassion to the world there is a change in our brains. The left prefrontal cortex, the part that is related to happiness, becomes more active as a result of visualizing compassion for others. This raises the base line for happiness in the brain and results in a pervasive and enduring sense of well being for us. It also literally increases the size of that region in the brain (see https://news.wisc.edu/study-shows-compassion-meditation-changes-the-brain/).

 This research makes me very optimistic about the potential
we all have for creating a higher level of wellbeing through the practice of qigong!

So...here we are. As we head into 2021 most of us are experiencing pandemic fatigue. Our tanks are almost empty and our patience is running thin. We are holding onto the hope that Covid 19 will be vanquished with the new vaccines. But we can’t just sit back and wish things will get better. We have to be proactive in protecting our health by establishing solid intentions for the new year – in addition to wearing masks and washing our hands.

As you’ve seen, there are several types of intentions.
While they all have their merits, I will say that
the BEST INTENTION for 2021 is to be a more KIND and COMPASSIONATE person.
A genuine feeling of compassion for others, a simple but heartfelt act of kindness -
these intentions are nourishment for your spirit.
They will take you through the year with grace, good health and more happiness!

 

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Horse Dog kindness