Stage Two Of Qi Cultivation: Gathering Qi

Gathering Qi is like providing ample oil for a lamp -- ensuring that our precious human bodymind has ample fuel, to function in a healthy and joyous way.

The first stage in the cultivation of our qi – our life-force energy – is to discover it, in other words, to become consciously aware of sensations of flowing or pulsing or tingling or magnetic “energy” within our body.

Gathering Qi – Keeping The Lamp-Oil Brimming

Once we’ve discovered qi, we can begin to explore the second stage of cultivation: gathering qi. Our goal for this stage of cultivation is to maintain a steady stream of qi (chi) into our bodymind system.

Qi is our body’s energetic nourishment, in a similar way to how oil is nourishment for a lamp, or gasoline is nourishment for a car. And, like oil in a lamp or gas in our car, it’s best to maintain a certain level of qi within our body, rather than letting it run all the way to empty, before filling it again. How do we do this?

In a healthy state, our bodies quite naturally gather qi from a variety of sources. As Roger Jahnke OMD writes: “The human life force system automatically gathers qi through air, food, earth magnetism and the celestial influences of stars, planets and boundless space.” The many sources of qi are then transformed into many different kinds of qi within the human body, defined primarily in terms of their varying functions.​

Supporting Our Body’s Natural Capacity To Gather Qi

Things that are supportive of our body’s natural qi-gathering proclivities include: drinking plenty of fresh clean water; eating vital foods; supplementing our diet, as needed, with herbs and/or alchemical tonics; getting plenty of rest and relaxation; exercising our imagination/creativity; spending time in nature; and practicing qigong and meditation.

In other words, by maintaining a basically healthy lifestyle, we allow our body’s natural qi-gathering mechanisms to function at their optimal levels.

What To Avoid

Things that tend to inhibit our body’s natural capacity to gather qi include: excessive tension/stress; physical injury; emotional trauma; working long hours, without balancing this with relaxation and play; toxic food or drink (e.g. excessive amounts of refined flour or sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, caffeine); and consumption of “toxic” media (television, movies, internet etc.) or “toxic” conversations or relationships.

We’ve all had the experience of feeling “drained” by someone whose hostility or negativity seems almost contagious – a kind of toxic influence that we feel the best avoiding. It’s best to surround ourselves, as much as we’re able, with people whose attitudes are uplifting and life-affirming.

Vital Food Suggestions

Ultimately, we each need to figure out for ourselves the kind of diet that’s going to work best, given our unique circumstances. That said, there are some general recommendations, which I feel are likely to be useful for a majority of people. Most generally, do your best to include in your diet as many fresh, organic vegetables, and sea vegetables (arame is a great one to start with) as you’re able to. Three or four servings daily – in the form of salads and/or steamed, sauteed or baked veggies – is ideal. Fresh, organic fruits (cherries are a fantastic "folk remedy" for gout and arthritic pain) and whole grains tend also to be excellent. If animal protein is part of your diet, do your very best to choose organic, free-range varieties. If milk and other dairy products are part of your diet, try for non-homogenized versions of them (which can be challenging to locate, but is worth the effort).

Consider chia/salba seeds and chlorella as excellent plant-based forms of protein.

Fermented/cultured products provide our bodies with important micro-organisms, so it’s great to have at least a couple of the following in your refrigerator, at all times: yogurt, kefir or sour cream (be sure to buy those with “active live cultures”), miso, tempeh, apple cider vinegar, kim chi or sourkraut (again, check the label for “active live cultures”), kombucha, sourdough or “sprouted-grain” breads. If the names of these foods sound to your ears like a foreign language, I welcome you whole-heartedly, and invite you to explore this wonderful country of super-friendly and life-affirming cultured foods!

“Good oils” – essential for keeping our cells and brains and skin wonderfully healthy – include coconut oil (important here to choose the organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin variety), olive oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil, and walnut oil.

Again, go for organic, cold-pressed, and extra-virgin varieties when possible. Coconut oil can be eaten straight out of the container, as a supplement – as well as used in baking or as a spread on toast or muffins, or included in a yummy fruit smoothy. Flaxseed oil in combination with organic low-fat cottage cheese forms the basis for the Budwig Protocol for addressing chronic illnesses.

Generally excellent “super foods” and supplements that I’d recommend having on hand regularly include: garlic, lemons, chlorella (the only super-green that can be eaten more-or-less as a food), apple cider vinegar, salmon or krill oil (in capsule form), Everett L. Storey's excellent Cellfood as a general support of cellular functioning, and Tonic Gold as a subtle-body supplement.

Qigong & Meditation

Various meditation and qigong practices amplify the body’s capacity to gather qi, and then store or circulate it in the internal organs, dantians and meridians – all of which we’ll be exploring in greater detail, in the subsequent stages of qi cultivation.