In friendship with ourselves, we honor and make room for every feeling, even the painful ones we like to avoid. Along with this spaciousness - in a spirit of loving-kindness with ourselves - we can cultivate emotional states that energize and uplift us: happiness, joy, peace, contentment and gratitude.
Spring Forest QiGong teaches that each of these feelings connects with an organ system in a way that integrates physical, psychological and spiritual health. Here are five steps in a practice I enjoy.
1. Breathe happiness into the liver (located above the right side of the stomach) and exhale fear.
2. Breathe joy into the heart; exhale bitterness.
3. Breathe peace into the stomach; exhale worry.
4. Breathe contentment into the lungs; exhale depression.
5. Breathe gratitude into the kidneys; exhale fear.
More often, lately, I’ve focused primarily on the positive emotional states - inhaling each positive energy and moving ever more deeply into the emotion, as I exhale.
I suggest doing this practice first thing in the morning and last thing at night, with several (or more) breaths at each step. Some days, rather than doing all five steps, you might want to concentrate on one or two.
Please note: this practice is not designed to totally control our emotional lives or rid ourselves of uncomfortable feelings. The attitude we take with ourselves is gently inviting, not forceful or coercive.
We’re like organic gardeners of the spirit – cultivating nutritious food for body and soul.