Whenever you're feeling disconnected, isolated, or driftless, you can cultivate a feeling of being at home in your family, your community, and the universe at large by practicing a simple qigong exercise called “Awaken Awareness."
The more you sharpen your awareness, the more you enjoy this moment—and the more you feel connected to the people around you and the entire universe. When you do this practice regularly, it becomes easier to integrate into your daily activities, until eventually it becomes as natural as walking or breathing. Here are the instructions from my book, The Master Key:
1. Sit upright comfortably in a chair with your hands resting on your lap. Open your eyes and become aware of the outer world. This is the world that flows into awareness through the physical senses. Concentrate on the sights, sounds, smells, and the sense of space around you. Continue doing this for a few seconds.
2. Now close your eyes and become aware of your inner world. This is the world that flows into awareness through the inner senses. Concentrate on the feelings and images floating through your mind, and even on the sense of time flowing by. Continue doing this for a few seconds.
3. Now with your eyes still closed, focus your attention outward once again to the qualities of the outer world. This state of consciousness feels like being in a dark forest on a dark night while your senses extend like antennas. Continue doing this for a few seconds.
4. Next, open your eyes and focus your attention on the qualities of your inner world. This state of consciousness feels like being in a daydream in which your eyes are open but your senses are introverted. Continue doing this for a few seconds.
5. With your eyes still open, now become aware simultaneously of both your inner world and the outer world. Become aware of both objective and subjective experiences arising in awareness. Concentrate on the spacious quality of awareness for a few seconds.
6. Then close your eyes while maintaining an awareness of awareness of both your inner world and the outer world. Realize that all experiences arise in the light of awareness. Concentrate on the formless quality of awareness for a few seconds.
7. Now let go of all experience. Allow your inner world and the outer world to dissolve into nothingness. Become “aware” of awareness itself. Awaken your awareness. Realize that "Awakened Awareness" is your true nature.
Adapted from The Master Key: Qigong Secrets for Vitality, Love, and Wisdom by Robert Peng. Copyright © 2013 Robert Peng. Used with permission by Sounds True.