Mastering the ZY qigong system involves a training process that is substantially different from other common approaches to learning (one major difference is that it utilizes direct knowledge transfer).
Training in the Zhong Yuan Qigong system
The process consists of four levels:
First – The Teacher shows the steps of each exercise, and students repeat them until they can do them automatically. Usually, this is how most people learn sports, dances, and other skills. Similarly, in class or during lectures, students copy new material from the board or under dictation and then memorize it at home.
Second – The Teacher helps the student and supplies energy to improve and speed up the process of learning, memorizing, and practicing.
Third – The Teacher increases directly the abilities of the student, who immediately gains more energy and finds it easier to learn the material.
Fourth (the highest) – The Teacher confers new abilities to the student without formal instruction. The student acquires them instantly, in some cases without even knowing in advance that such abilities could exist. For example, the Teacher may ask a student to do something that requires skills the student does not know. A moment later, the student knows exactly what to do and how to do it. The Teacher has transferred knowledge to the student. This only takes place in unusual cases and if it is really necessary.
In our everyday lives, we deal only with the basic levels of training. The reason behind this is that most people process information from the environment through the five familiar senses – sight, taste, sound, touch, and smell. Thus, perception is limited to the abilities of their sensory organs. People process most information through sight, which captures the form, the color, and the size of an object. However, our eyes cannot see the object’s electromagnetic radiation unless there is special lighting. Our auditory organs, which perceive sound waves, are also limited; so are our tactile senses that assess objects we touch and the temperature around us. Our sense of smell is also limited. Many animals have tremendous advantages in ranges of perception that are outside the scope of normal human senses.
Our knowledge of the surrounding world is limited, as our inherently limited sensory organs are our primary tools for processing external information. Consequently, our incomplete knowledge produces a distorted understanding of reality. Of course, there are technologies that widen the range of our natural perceptions and enable us to study the micro- and macro-worlds (e.g., X-rays, magnetometers, EKG machines, and radio telescopes). While advances in technology have helped us to comprehend our environment and ourselves better, there are still unanswered questions: What can we do to improve ourselves and to expand our natural abilities? How do we acquire knowledge?
In schools and universities, we listen to the teacher and record the new material so that we can study it at home later; we read books, watch TV, and listen to the radio; we use calculators and computers, but one thing remains the same – we process information through the five familiar sensory organs. Qigong practice develops three (and potentially up to five) additional channels of perception. The sixth, seventh, and eight senses are called the Third Eye, the Third Ear, and the Second Heart. Today we know that the Third Eye opens when the Thyroid gland in the hypothalamus is active. When sufficient energy comes to this part of the brain, the Thyroid gland is activated and then people can “see” with closed eyes. In addition, they can see ranges of electromagnetic radiation that are undetected by normal senses (e.g. x-rays and infrared light). As a result, they acquire the ability to see beyond the limits of familiar perceptions: other worlds and dimensions, the future, distant locations, and telepathic thoughts and images.
Level Three includes exercises that open the Third Eye and enable the practitioner to see one’s inner energy. The Teacher can use energy to open the student’s Third Eye, but only for a short period of time. One needs to practice in order to accumulate sufficient energy and to open the Third Eye permanently. In Level Two, we will practice Yuan-Qi and prepare ourselves for Level Three.
Level One exercises train practitioners to increase their sensitivity and to acquire abilities that will eventually allow them to develop the Third Eye, the Third Ear, and the Second Heart. The Third Ear corresponds to heightened activity in brain regions with higher inner energy. As a result, the range of auditory perception expands. After special practice, one develops sufficient sensitivity to activate the Second Heart. This is not a physical heart, but a union of the heart, the soul, and the spirit. Intuition is one of its parameters. These abilities continue to develop and the practitioner begins to understand that they are all interdependent.
On many occasions I wanted but was unable to call my students in different cities in the former USSR. Instead, they called me and told me that they felt the need to call me without knowing why. You probably have experienced similar phenomena as well. Humans are linked through many channels that remain invisible to most of them. If we develop these abilities, we can use them to solve many problems. One of the goals of ZY qigong is to develop these additional special abilities. The system’s methods enable the acquisition of fuller and truer information from the environment as well as means for communicating this information to others.
People communicate mostly through speech, gestures, mimics, writing, pictures, and so forth. Familiar modes of communication involve seeing and hearing. We can use the sixth, seventh, and eighth communication channels to receive or deliver information as well. This allows us to communicate on a fundamentally different, higher level. However, a person needs to be prepared for this kind of perception because the Third Eye, the Third Ear, and the Second Heart involve a completely different way of information transfer – not through sound or light but with the help of qi.
Modern tools have detected that human bodies radiate electric, magnetic, ultrasound, infrared, and other types of emissions. Energy is characterized by light, which bodies radiate constantly. A person in a relaxed, calm state can see that light. Through special training methods, the teacher can intensify information and send it to the students. In the process, he or she radiates energy. At its lowest level, energy looks like light mist or fog. In the second level, energy is light of different colors. Qigong training depends only in part on the five familiar sensory organs; in addition, information and knowledge enter the trainee directly. Thus, the training material cannot be described simply in terms of information or plain knowledge.
Learning qigong can be compared roughly to learning how to drive or to swim. You cannot do either by reading books. What one needs is real experience so that the body learns how to execute the movements automatically. In ZY qigong, knowledge is acquired through physical experiences which promote understanding . This means that you acquire not only information, but also abilities and skills.
Usually, we learn by processing information and then we use the acquired knowledge as needed. The science of qigong is a basis that enables the practitioner to augment one’s abilities. If we use the swimming analogy, qigong training methods teach students not only how to swim, but they also augment their strength and stamina. If we use the analogy of sciences, such as math and physics, qigong training not only gives knowledge, but it also boosts students’ intellectual, cognitive and learning capacity. It takes time for people to learn, and usually by the time they acquire enough knowledge to be considered wise, they are at an advanced age. In order to preserve their wisdom, they have to pass their knowledge and experience to younger generations quickly. But how can we teach people, in a short period of time, what took us a lifetime to learn?
We use knowledge in order to accomplish many things. On the other hand, knowledge can prevent us from accomplishing many other things. ZY qigong practice increases our potential so that besides knowledge, we also acquire abilities, skills, and thoughts. This develops the inner world or the self. Then we can go to other worlds at higher levels. People ask, “Do such worlds exist? How do we get there? How can we see them?” I have visited them and I know they are there. You need to develop yourself, so that you can ascend to another world in your next life. As you approach that goal and advance through the levels of the ZY qigong system, you will develop new skills and comprehend things incrementally, including the Cosmos and your own self. In addition, your health and intellect will improve, you will become happier, your goals will go to a higher level, and you will find out where you need to go.
Sometimes it is difficult to understand what it means “to go from one world to another.” This is one way to explain it: If you have spent your life in a small village, your knowledge and perspective of the world is very limited. If you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a big city and look at the skyscrapers, your reality would undergo tremendous change. Seeing a different world can be compared to this. It is also similar to seeing the sea or the northern lights for the first time. The soul’s journey to another world creates a strong impression and a sense of amazement. Visiting other countries pales by comparison. We often like to sleep when we travel – we fall asleep in the train and wake up in another city. It makes the trip go faster. But in the U.S., for example, there are very few railroads. There are practically no railroads in China either. It turns out that cars are much faster than trains. You do not need trains, cars, or airplanes to go to other worlds. When the standard of life increases, the speed of travel increases and the worldview widens.
We practice qigong in order to change our perspective of the world and of our environment. But the problem with such high goals is that they are hard to understand and accomplish instantaneously. Therefore, we need to start from the bottom, to introduce ourselves to the system, and to develop gradually to the top. In China, qigong is taught at universities. For those who do not attend institutions of higher education, there are courses, seminars, and special schools. But as a general rule, before learning qigong people engage in other systems – Wushu or something else that improves their health. It may be hard to spend years learning another system just in order to prepare for learning qigong.
Our training methodology makes the need to undergo years of preparation obsolete. The teacher gives you qi so that you can practice without having to accumulate it in advance through other systems. Every level involves different techniques of instruction and perception. Level One requires listening with the hands. The body should be in a comfortable position and as relaxed as possible. You listen with your hands without hearing. You need to be alert as you reach a state that’s similar to that of sleep. In this in-between “maybe yes, maybe no” state, knowledge of the qigong system can enter you directly.
In Level One, the teacher helps you do exercises that will be used in Level Two. In Level Two, the teacher increases your energy to the third level. In Level Three, the teacher will directly transplant abilities in some students. In Level Four, the student and the teacher unite, which enables the acquisition of more abilities. Training in Level Five takes place through individual telepathic contact between the student and teacher, regardless of their physical locations. After Level Five, the teacher changes and loses his or her familiar appearance and meaning. He or she becomes an entity without a physical body; possibly, he or she could become a representative of another world or reality, but all of this is in the future. Now let’s begin Level One.