Archive for December 16th, 2010

Ten Life Secrets I Learned in T’ai Chi & Qigong #8

8. Define your personal space.

T’ai Chi and Qigong are based in the ancient Daoist philosophy which views all of life as nested fields of energy within one unified energetic field. Each of us is an energy system within larger energy systems within the One Field. This is corroborated not only by 3000 years of Daoist exploration and practice, but also by the experiments of contemporary physics and energy medicine.

The space that your energy field inhabits can be called your personal space. It is more or less an arm’s length around you in all directions. Imagine your personal energy field as a sphere extending 2-3 feet around your whole body. This defines the space that you call “yours” versus what is “other.”

Your personal energy field has importance energetically and psychologically. It is the energy that is most strongly “who you are” and the way that you differentiate yourself from the world around you. When you “own” your personal space you feel more psychologically empowered. When someone comes into your personal space you sense it. Depending on the state of your own energy and the state of the energy interacting with you, this can create intimacy, resistance, or complex entanglement.

The point of this brief post is not to debate this idea or to back it up with scientific or psychological evidence, of which there is a great deal. Instead, your personal space is an important “felt experience.” In the previous posts in
this series, we’ve talked about the importance of feeling your body from the inside, of having a felt sense of conscious presence within your own skin. As you awaken your inner sensing ability, it’s important to extend your energetic
senses beyond your skin.

“Own” the space around you by feeling your energy filling your personal space. With your personal energy sphere in place, you’ll be able to sense the energy of others as they come into contact with you. You’ll be able to feel what they are bringing to the interaction at that moment. You’ll be able to more clearly sense “what is yours” and “what is theirs” so you can have clear and conscious communication. This is invaluable because so much of our interpersonal
conflict comes from projecting our own “stuff” onto others and/or “taking on their stuff.”

So here’s the practice cue: Extend your arms and “draw” an arm’s length sphere around your entire body in all directions. Imagine this sphere defined by a border of bright light. Allow your internal energy to extend outward to fill this space evenly and completely. Observe how your experience of your whole personal space shifts the way you relate to yourself and others.

Enjoy your practice,


Kevin Schoeninger

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