Chi and the Mind
By Tom Olson
What resides in our minds? What truly makes up our subconscious and conscious thoughts? How do they shape our lives and health? In Bak Fu Pai we learn that we are a product of all of our being, and our health and lives are shaped by choices we make and activities we take part in. Our creative energy is focused through our hands and our minds learn from it. How much of our actions are dictated by our conscious or subconscious mind, and of that, what is the significance of either? Much of what we do and think derives from a filter we have been given, called the Ego. We apply our thoughts to our actions, therefore in that sense, we reap what we sew. Thoughts are creative energy that directly affect the outcome of a situation and those thoughts both require and utilize Chi to come to fruition, just as our actions do. Our Chi then is directed by Ego primarily. Negative thoughts will generate negative actions, and even at the subconscious level, what we think comes to fruition as an action. This is because the ego is driven by the subconscious mind, as Napoleon Hill stated. Our ego then in some instances, can be thought of as a defense mechanism, presenting us to ourselves as always being correct, or always the one who deserves praise or pity. It’s just easier that way. It’s harder for the ego to accept responsibility for negative thoughts or occurrences that derive from us, as it’s more work to try and figure out why it was done. It takes our self discipline to look at what we do, think and say as if we are looking directly into a mirror, or the proverbial pool of water with no ripples. As we allow our self-defensive, fear driven side of the ego to control thoughts and actions, we create ripples in that pool, thereby distorting the image of ourselves.
It takes even more self discipline, humility, and honesty to be proactive about our thoughts and actions. If we wish to be positive then we must do what it takes to ensure our thoughts and actions are positive. To some it just happens, for others, the gnawing of self doubt and insecurity are constantly drilling away at our psyche, only allowing thoughts to cross the brain that will bring unhappiness to the person, as it is this unhappiness that brings pity and positive attention from the ones we love. But as a side note, there is only so long that this will happen, as love can be conditional, and if we present conditions for love to not grow for us, it will diminish, especially as our negativity grows.
Much of our insecurities and negative thoughts that do drill away at our psyche are actually products of fear. Fear of being found out, or thought of as a phony, or seeing that we aren’t perfect. Fear of actually doing some work on ourselves, as it’s much easier to maintain a lifestyle of misleading ourselves and our loved ones. We appear happy until we have to take a good look at ourselves, then really, when we see the side that we don’t like, we cover it up.
All human beings face this challenge. At some point in a person’s lifetime, he or she faces a dilemma that forces them to take a good hard look at themselves. How we respond will then in turn either create a more positive learning environment for the brain and soul or it will even further the denial process and subsequent negative thoughts that spring forth.
As stated by many authors, there are ways of controlling this. Being able to positively talk to yourself in a repetitive nature cajoles the will into forcing the ego to look at the positive comments and allow them into the subconscious. So either thinking or speaking positively on a continual basis and through repetition, allows these thoughts to invade the subconscious and take it back if you will. What greatly assists the positive thoughts to be created by the brain is a definite purpose in your life. It allows us to focus chi or energy toward a common goal, bringing to bear all of our internal and external resources to further our progress toward that purpose or goal. Just as mass integration of movement in Tai Chi and Bak Fu Pai creates an unstoppable technique, so too, the energy and flow of positive reinforcement toward a goal or purpose create a powerful and unstoppable force.
The circulation of Chi, just as the circulation of oxygen, is essential to life. We need it to live, to think, and to be. Chi is the energy of creation and the energy of life preservation and sustainment. We must also see Chi as a negative, destructive energy that can cause great pain, unhappiness, or even death. It is there within us, both positive and negative, and we as humans subconsciously apply it one way or another regularly and without thought. When we “think”, we are actually applying this living energy to our brain waves. Yes we are actually applying physical energy to a perceived non-physical action. Thinking then is equal to acting, it is equal to walking, or saying something we do not want to say. Chi within the brain is the driving force that makes our thoughts reality and our goals/purposes a tangible target for physical work.
As stated before, repetition is the key to the subconscious while performing conscious actions. Therefore, by thinking positive, conscious thoughts repetitively, we are then actually performing positive actions repetitively, and as such all actions have repercussions or effects. There are many ways that allow us to remember to be positive, to practice the positive methods of action and thought, and subsequently, be honest, positive individuals.
One way to be positive is by being thankful. As humans we must always remember those items, things, and people that we are most thankful for. It is important to consistently remind yourself through both actions and thought of how thankful you are. Another way is by going the extra mile. By applying ourselves positively to a purpose, we are then helping others and ourselves to be positive and applying positive energy both mentally and physically. Working toward a goal and putting in extra time toward it, can only yield positive results and feelings. Don’t be afraid to work and stick around until the job is done. It will be tempting to drift through a day on whatever current guides you, but that would keep you from working on a very important part of this puzzle, self-discipline.
Self-discipline allows us to take control of ourselves. We control the fact that we are working harder, longer, and smarter. We control the fact that we are positively working toward a goal, and are thinking positively about it. Truly, self-discipline is at the heart of the matter. Without it, our will is weak, and when the will is weak, our ego is free to drift about and take the easy way out.
Work hard at being friendly and helpful to others. We consistently learn from other people. We learn how they react, we see them for who they are, and we see them for what we want to see them as. By being friendly and helpful, you are going the extra mile, and while doing so, you are attracting positive reinforcement from another human being. If you are truly helpful to people, you will never run out of positive energy being given to you. You will also learn subconsciously how to achieve and receive this energy from others and yourself.
All of this is truly an exercise in Chi movement and focus. By performing positive, reaffirming, actions/thoughts we are teaching ourselves to move our Chi throughout the whole body. If the flow of positive Chi makes the brain healthier, it will make the rest of the body healthier. As Chi, and our use of it, only has limitations that we put upon it, the sky is the limit as to what we can achieve once we understand how to move our positive Chi toward a goal/purpose to allow us to create positive thoughts and deeds for us and those around us.
Exercising our Chi purposely is another way to assist in the process of living positively, reaching our goals, and seeing ourselves in a truly positive way. Chi Kung itself is a tool that allows us to move Chi, and eventually focus it. Just as we do with the other methods already mentioned, Chi Kung is a very powerful tool to further our training and focus, as it expands the amount of Chi that we can use infinitely.
Kung Fu movement that is based on positive Chi flow is a way to further enhance our ability to move positive Chi throughout the body and brain. From the meditative positions that have been proven to enhance Chi flow to the overall good and positive feelings we have as we practice them, these movements have many of the same effects as going the extra mile. Being able to focus Chi into your hands, eyes, or feet, is also another side effect of proper Kung Fu practice and movement. When we are able to fully focus positive energy, there are no limits to our potential.
Once we can control energy, we then can utilize it within the brain by “aiming” it to the correct point within the brain itself. It can be said that Chi points in the skull are where you are aiming or it’s what that particular point does. Either way, there is a decisive difference in effect when you aim your thoughts/chi in different directions.
There are three main points where Chi is focused within the brain. One is at the back of the brain. While it’s easy to think that when we aim or move our thoughts to this area, it actually is making them go away, we are actually moving toward the subconscious. The back of the brain is where we are able to do things automatically or subconsciously. When practicing Kung Fu and the body is moving in a repetitive or well known exercise, it is common for thoughts or chi to aim toward this area of the brain. When we take a test in school and we just know the answers, we are utilizing that part of our brain.
The second part is the front of the brain. Often thought of as the logic center by Western science, it is much, much more. We tend to use this area when are trying to solve hard or new problems. We also use it for when we are entering into an argument, or when an emotion begins to take over the brain due to lack of self-discipline. This area is the seat of our ego, and when it is given complete control, we see the true side of ourselves. When we talk to ourselves, we do so from this portion of the brain. The true danger of this area of the brain is when we don’t have the self-discipline to will positive thoughts to this area. As we begin to argue within ourselves, we tend to do so as if we are arguing with someone else. With the previous statements of how thought is action, we can then see the danger in allowing ourselves to continually think negatively or argue with someone, even if it’s within our head and not actually face to face with that person. The more apt you are at controlling Chi, the more careful you have to be. As if we channel or aim large amounts of Chi toward self arguments, we then begin to feed self doubt and subsequently fear. This is the area where man must truly train himself to control, and it can be the seat of power or the downfall of an individual’s physical/mental health.
The third part is the top of the head. This is the seat of positive energy that we can constantly tap into as it is the seat of heaven within ourselves. Heavenly or positive energy is a well that can never go dry, and it is up to you to seek warmth in it or not. It is there nonetheless. When allowing the energy to reside/aim there constantly, we are trusting in this positive source of energy to assist us in making decisions or give us comforting silence when we consistently live in a state of conflict within ourselves. Self discipline and willpower will force the ego to see this for what it is. It is a way of reminding us that we are safe, secure, and there is no need to fear. This energy will always be there for us to utilize, bask in, or make decisions from. The difficult part for all of us is to allow the ego to be a kind of guide for the positive energy as it transitions from this point to the front and back of the brain. It would make sense then, that if we consistently aim our Chi to the top of the head, we would be able to further our efforts to keep our thoughts and actions driven by positive energy.
There are many books written about the habits of successful, happy people. These books stress that a habit is an action that resides in the subconscious and is developed by repetitions action where eventually you no longer even think about it. In conclusion then, the greatest lesson that a person can learn is how to utilize the many gifts of positive energy reinforcement that he or she has on a continual and habitual basis. Habitually, we must derive our mental energies from the top part of the brain while practicing Kung Fu, going the extra mile, practicing Chi Kung, being self-disciplined, and being thankful for all that you have. Through these facets, we can apply ourselves to our goals and major purposes in life and truly be happy. Once we are able to be truly happy, we will have full control of ourselves, our actions, and the Chi that flows through all that we are.