Unity of mind and body


  • Health
  • Sunday, 15 Jul 2007

The unity of mind and body allows qi to accumulate to healthy levels, and flow in its channels unimpeded. 

MY previous article was about the power of meditation. In it, I explained the progression from yoga (meditation in postures), to tai chi (meditation in motion) to qigong (meditation in action). This week I shall write about uniting the mind and body, and uniting the spirit and the universe. 

You will not be a good qigong practitioner if you cannot calm your mind enough so thatit can focus and be in unison with your breath and your body (posture or movements).

My interest in the subject stems from my involvement in both the energy-healing arts and the Sufi spiritual path. 

As mentioned before, the philosophy behind yoga is the union of man and his universe. Through the practice of meditation, we attempt to be aware of our physical and non-physical existence at the same time.  

The yoga asanas (postures) are done while in meditative mode, while in spiritual yoga, it is carried out in both meditative and contemplative modes. In doing so, the mind and the body are in connection, and in unison.  

In this condition, the prana, qi or life-force, flows. The benefit attained is not only from the physical stretching, but from the energy flow and the hormones and chemicals that are released. 

Since the scientific community does not yet recognise the existence of the spirit, we are limited to talking about the mind, the body, and energy. 

For those who believe in the existence of the spirit and spiritual beings, the subject is much more interesting, as we can delve into the unseen world and parallel universes. Anyway, the common factor is energy, something which secular science talks about a lot, and is also the common denominator in the science of spirituality. More about this later. 

The unity of calmness and action 

In my discourses on the origin and structure of the universe and its contents, I reminded readers that everything in existence spins. The fundamental and elementary particles that form the atoms spin, so do the galaxies and all the billions of stars, planets, moons and comets in them.  

The difference is that the smallest particles spin so fast that their tracks and positions cannot be ascertained (only their orbital planes or shells can be identified) while the celestial bodies orbit along precise predetermined paths (please see www.superqigong.com for previous articles). 

Spinning or orbiting around a central point or axis is a universal energy phenomenon. It provides for stability in motion. While the universe started with a Big Bang, there is much stability in all the chaos. There is so much stability that the orbital distance between the earth and moon is now used as the standard specification for the atomic clock. 

It is also in the spiritual teaching behind the Whirling Dervishes’ Sufi dance: all of creation revolve, and they all revolve in submission to the laws set upon them by their Creator, in unity with the purpose of their creation. Here are some wise quotes from Master Koichi Tohei, founder of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido: “Just as a top spinning very rapidly becomes steady, the most rapid movement results in calm. 

“Like the eye of the typhoon which is always peaceful, inner calm results in great strength of action. Calm and action are exactly one. “Only when we keep one point and unify our mind and body, can we find spare time even when busy. Keep a calm mind and you will be able to perform to the best of your ability, even in an emergency or when facing important tasks.” 

Unity of mind and body in qigong 

You will not be a good qigong practitioner if you cannot calm your mind enough so that it can focus and be in unison with your breath and your body (posture or movements). The unity of mind and body allows qi to accumulate to healthy levels, and flow in its channels unimpeded. 

Even in hard or martial arts qigong and kung fu, the exponent’s mind is calm and focused, while the arms and legs may be kicking and spinning. It is the mind that directs and controls the body, so the mind must be stable at all times. 

Meditation therefore is a good practice for anyone intending to excel in qigong, as he then can extend the meditation even while doing the qigong exercises and the qigong walk. 

Ki breathing and bell meditation 

The basic premise of qigong and other qi/ki-enhancing exercises is that the mind, the breath, and the body must be unified. To breathe properly is to breathe with mind, breath and body unified. Once that happens, qi flows. 

Here is the method of Ki breathing as taught by Koichi Tohei Sensei: “Breathe out so that your breath travels infinitely to the ends of the Universe, breathe in so that your breath reaches your one point and continues infinitely there. Ki breathing is an important way of unifying mind and body. 

“At night when all is quiet and calm, do this alone, and you will feel that you are the Universe and that the Universe is you. It will lead you to the supreme ecstasy of being one with the Universe. At this moment the life power that is rightfully yours is fully activated.” 

Koichi Tohei Sensei also teaches Sokushin no Gyo (also called bell meditation), a form of meditation that involves an active body. There are continuous movements that can be tiring and often test the endurance of both the mind and body. Without a unified mind and body, Sokushin no Gyo is difficult and even impossible to sustain. But when oneness of mind and body is achieved by relaxing completely, the Ki of the Universe naturally fills us up. 

Science and spirituality 

I was rcently in Antwerp (Belgium) for the Global Council meeting of (URI) United Religions Initiative. There we mourned the loss of one of our founder members, His Holiness Maharaj Dr TD Singh, a world leader of the Hare Krishna organisation (ISKCON), who was a brilliant scientist, and was personally chosen by the movement’s late founder (A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada). 

He was the person who was responsible for encouraging INSAF (Interfaith Spiritual Fellowship) to join URI, and as chairman of INSAF, I represent its members of all faiths at URI. He was also responsible for rekindling my interest in confronting secular science with religion and spirituality. 

Under the leadership of one of Maharaj’s disciples, we have formed a global multi-faith “TD Singh Science & Spirituality” discussion and fellowship group which is open to all who are interested in the subject, to network with others, and to promote the URI purpose, which is to promote enduring daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.  

Those who are interested can contact me. 

Not only should our bodies and our minds be united, and our spirits united with the universe; we should also be united as one family of human beings. Only then can peace prevail on earth. 

 

  • Dr Amir Farid Isahak is a medical specialist who practises holistic, aesthetic and anti-ageing medicine. He is a qigong master and founder of SuperQigong. 

    The views expressed are those of the writer and readers are advised to always consult expert advice before undertaking any changes to their lifestyles. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information. 

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