(by Robert Peng)[dropcap]P[/dropcap]icture an aged and browbeaten man trudging through the hardship of another dreary day, when unexpectedly, he stumbles upon a magnificent fountain on his path. His mouth is parched and he wearily brings his lips to the gushing liquid. As the water flows into his mouth and down into his body, he undergoes a profound transformation. His weary legs fill with vigor and his arms swell with strength. As he drinks more, a great and powerful light spreads throughout his internal organs and the dark emotions lurking behind his ribcage are chased away and the spirit of love arises in that space.
He drinks and drinks and the energy rises to his head and fills his cranium with bright ideas, visions, and intuitions. The energy continues to rise, and as it flows from the crown of his head and out into the universe, he feels a deep and reverent connection to the cosmos. As the sanctity of the present moment is revealed, a deep blessing pours from the heart of the universe back into him. The aged man no longer feels old, he has become timeless. He is no longer thirsty, he has become a happy fountain of life, and now, as he moves through the world, he quenches the thirst of others by sharing the inexhaustible supply of life force arising through every cell of his radiant being.[span3] Qi means life force and gong means skill or practice. Qigong is an ancient healing art that harks back to the mists of Chinese prehistory. [/span3]We have all heard about the mythical Fountain of Youth whose rejuvenating waters bring strength, vitality, and youthful wellbeing. Some traveled thousands of miles in search of this treasure. But the wise masters of ancient China realized that this fountain actually exists within each one of us, and they created a path that can lead us straight to it. By walking this path, you too can discover your own Fountain of Youth, drink its nourishing water, and make peace and happiness a way of life.
Wherever you are on the journey of life, no matter how parched and weary you may feel right now, you can awaken your Fountain of Youth through Qigong practice. What is Qigong? Qi means life force and gong means skill or practice. Qigong is an ancient healing art that harks back to the mists of Chinese prehistory. Ancient shamans of the neolithic age practiced this art, as did the enlightened masters of the various dynasties that link the modern world to the Iron Age. Many generations of trial and error eventually gave rise to an efficient and scientific method designed to improve health and increase vitality in a relatively short period of time.
The theory of Qigong is based on the notion that there exist inside the body three power centers known as Dantians, or Elixir Fields. The Lower Dantian is located in the area of the lower abdomen. When Qi flow in this area is weak and obstructed, we feel devitalized and life feels like driving a car with a flat tire. When Qi flow in this area is strong and healthy, we are filled with dynamic vitality and passion for life.
The Middle Dantian is located behind the center of the sternum. When Qi flow in this area is weak and obstructed, we become prone to feelings of depression, anger, worry, and worse of all, we feel disconnected from the environment and unloved. When Qi flow in this area feels strong and healthy, we are filled with an endless source of benevolent love and compassion.
The Upper Dantian is located in the center of the head. When Qi flow in this area is weak and obstructed, our thinking is muddy and we lack a sense of clear direction. When Qi flow in this area is strong and healthy, we become wise and tend to make right choices for reasons that transcend logic and reason.
These three reservoirs of Vitality, Love, and Wisdom Qi are joined together by a fourth energy center known as the Central Meridian which extends along the axis of the body from the perineum to the top of the head and beyond, high into the sky, and deep into the earth. The Central meridian intersects the three Dantians and integrates their energy. When Qi flow along the Central Meridian is weak or obstructed, we feel fragmented and inwardly conflicted. And when Qi flow in this area is strong and healthy, we feel happy to be alive and come into a deeper sense of alignment with the flow of life.
The promise of Qigong is this: Through daily practice you too can expand your Central Meridian, imbibe the joy of your own being, awaken authentic happiness and enjoy the blessings of a long and blessed life.
Meet the Author: Robert Peng was born and raised in Hunan province, China, where he met Qigong and martial arts master Xiao Yao and trained with him intensively in the Qigong tradition. Master Peng currently lives in New York City and teaches worldwide. robertpeng.com