Primordial Wuji Qigong: from shifu Michael’s Qigong Certification Training Manual

One of my favorite qigong forms is Primordial Wuji Qigong.  The form I practice is technically mine in origins, but the philosophy behind it belongs to a long tradition of qigong cultivation.  I became interested in it during the early 2000’s.  At that time, I was studying the writings of a variety of qigong teachers:  Roger Jahnke, Jerry Alan Johnson, Michael Winn, Daniel Reid, Solala Towler, and Ken Cohen.  Several of them had written extensively or produced videos on the Primordial qigong.  They referred to it in a variety of names:  Hunyuan Gong, Primordial Qigong, Hundun Qigong, or “Taiji Hunyuan Nei Gong (Undifferentiated Primordial Inner Work).” I was mysteriously drawn to it, even though I did not have any direct experience of its form.  From the descriptions I read about it, I deduced that it consisted of a lot of circling and spiraling movements.  Roger Jahnke described it as a returning and moving in reverse to the natural pattern of things.  I started creating my own form, using some of my favorite rolling and spiraling qigong movements, and deepening my understanding of key principles of the Primordial philosophy.

At the 2001 National Qigong Association conference in Rhinebeck, N.Y., Omega Institute, just after the 9/11 tragedy, I spoke with Roger Jahnke.  I had previously met him at other NQA yearly conferences, and so whenever I attended one of these conferences, I usually checked in with him to see how he was doing and shared some news about myself.  I believe it was the Saturday afternoon when we ran into each other outside in-between workshops.  We talked for about fifteen minutes or longer, and spent a fair amount of time on my interests in learning more about Primordial Qigong.  He was supportive, however, in directing me to continue developing my own version of it. The essence of our conversation confirmed that it is the internal form that is essential, and not so much the external form.

Primordial Wuji Qigong:  The Philosophy

Primordial Wuji Qigong is based on reversing time and returning to the Source, or Dao.  It is based in the tradition of Inner Alchemy of cultivating the Five Elements and transmutation of the Three Treasures:  vital essence, jing; vital energy, qi; and spirit, shen.

The form combines a deep qigong meditation while moving the body gently.  The circulating of the hands is like gathering in of universal life forces.  Moving in reverse with the seasons, starting with spring (that is, your current season) , there is a turning back, energetically speaking of time, this reversal of time takes you back towards your original nature– the primordial qi state of pure health, pure spirit, and undifferentiated unity.

Furthermore, as you perform this form, you are aware that although you may have health problems on one level of your physical self, on a deeper level, the energetic or spirit level, you know you are already healed, whole, and united in harmony with nature or Original Nature.  In this heightened state of illumination, you absorb the primordial energies deep into your body and mind.  Your qi meridians and Dantian qi fields are filled.  Gradually, your focus of healing shifts from the physical to the spiritual.

The goal of Primordial Wuji Qigong is to return to the ultimate nature or source of the universe.  This may be described as emptiness, (Anterior Heaven- update July 2018) or the view that all things are not separate from other things. (update July 2018, the experience of Not Two). This ultimate state is beyond intellectual comprehension, and can only be experienced directly.  The Buddhists and Daoists describe this state as being already within us, and it is a process of clearing the illusions so we can clearly experience our Original Nature.  The ancient Daoists called this Original Nature, the Dao.  Those who achieve this level of realization are sages or immortals.

The following quote explains this dynamic of what is known as the Zuowang View and Method and the Daoist Inner Alchemy tradition.  It deals directly with the two traditions of alchemical change processes and the meditative traditions of an original perfected state of being already present within us.

Quote from The Dragon’s Mouth, Autumn 2002, British Taoist Association

“Question to Liu Ming:  What about the more ‘active’ practices like alchemical meditation?  Isn’t that based on ‘producing an elixir’?

Liu Ming:  It seems that way but, in fact, nothing is produced.  This is an excellent point for the importance of the connectedness of view and method.  The common misunderstandings of Daoism in modern times are based on poor translations and inexperienced teachers.  The basis (View) of inner alchemy (neidan) is found, not produced.  The action (Method) of inner alchemy is natural, not forced, and the result (Fruit) is the revelation, the revealing of things as they actually are.  This revealing process is based on relaxing, not producing, on letting go, not acquiring.  In that sense, there is no ‘producing the elixir’, there is only finding it.  If our view tells us it has always been there, finding it is not really very ‘spiritually exciting’ or extraordinary.”

 

The Method:  Phase One

Primordial Wuji Qigong begins by standing still.  Start the movement of Rolling the Ball, slowly turning towards your left.

As you turn towards the left, feel you are pulling in the energies of the Five Elements. Start with your current seasonal Element, and as you roll the ball and turning to the left, feel that you are moving back in the seasons, gathering in their Element energies. For example, if it is the Summer, progress backward to the Spring, then the Winter, then the Autumn, and back to the Summer, again. You are reversing time, returning to your Original Nature, as mentioned above.

Complete the turning and rolling the ball by coming back to standing still, hands on Lower Dantian.  Be mindful of all the energies you just gathered in, and allow them to sink deep inside you.

 

The Method:  Phase Two

Begin this next phase by opening and closing the hands. Imagine one hand is holding all the Yang energy of the Universe, and the other hand is holding all the Yin energy of the Universe.

Next, start moving your hands up and down in a small circle in front of your Lower Dantian.  The hands move up, close to the body, and away from you, as they descend.  Imagine your hands have now transformed into the Water energy moving up and the Fire energy moving down.

Realize that you are now blending your own Fire and Water qualities. You are mixing these two vital ingredients in the cauldron of the Lower Dantian.  The Water energy, which normally flows downward, you are now raising up, and the fire energy, which normally rises, you are sinking downward.  By blending them together, you are cultivating the Post Heaven (update July 2018) Three Treasures of Jing, Qi and Shen.

Proceeding in this alchemical transformation, you become more and more aware that there are no longer two elements, two things, you are blending; they have become one element, one undifferentiated unity.  You finally realize, that is, you wake up to the truth that it was a process of clearing, of forgetting the illusions of separateness.  You realize that there was never anything to produce, you just needed to relax, let go, be open as the universe, and accept Primordial Nature as your own Original Nature. (Update July 2018: Xing, Innate Nature-see section 1 on Jing, Qi, and Shen)

 

The Method:  Phase Three

The hands come to rest again. You hold your hands stationary as in a Holding the Ball posture. Your mind is full of clarity and stillness.  Rest in this non-thinking state for as long as you wish.

In a spontaneous burst of energy, you move into the Wuji Palms Facing Heaven  movement, but this time turning towards your right, moving towards unity, in the field of Hundun, the chaos of the universe.

Internally, you are in harmony with the universe, and externally, your chaotic, circling movements are in harmony with Chaos. There is no effort, no producing at this point, and certainly no attention to technique or detail. You are manifesting the true state of Wu Wei, naturally doing using no force.

 

The Method:  Closing Phase            

Slowly return to gathering energies from above.  Your movements ease back into opening and closing, and then gradually, just resting the hands on the Lower Dantian, again.  At this point, there is very little to say about your experience.  You have gathered all the energies of the universe. You blended them all into a unity within you.  You played in the field of Hundun.  You dissolved into the nothingness of Primordial Oneness.

I forget where I found the following description of the dragon and the pearl, but it sums up the whole process of Primordial Qigong.

Primordial Qigong is symbolic of the immortal dragon chasing after the pearl of immortality.  Once found, the dragon ingests the pearl and lives forever in the immortal realms of Primordial nature, flowing endlessly toward the Source.

Compare these notes to the Primordial Wuji Qigong movie. Return to the notes often to fully comprehend the meaning of this exercise.

 

Benefits of Primordial Wuji Qigong

Tonifies the Five Elements and associated organ systems.

Stimulates and increases healing energy in the three Dantians.

Creates awareness of and sensitivity to qi.

Improves the ability of the Dantians to pump vital energies throughout the body.

Improves qi and blood circulation in the legs and arms.

Opens the Belt meridian, which conducts energy around the waist.

Promotes alignment of heaven, earth and humanity, and strengthens our Post Heaven Jing, Qi and Shen.

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