ZEN+ : Helping you Stay Young and Age Well

Simple steps to mastering your Monkey Mind…

By Marcus Santer


Here’s an email I got from one of my treasured Inner Circle members…

…My answers will follow.

Dear Marcus,

How are you? I have a few questions.

I’m having a hard time turning my mind off when I’m doing Qigong lately. Thoughts keep running through my mind. I try to stop, but they come back. I’m seeing improvements, but I keep thinking i might see even more if I control my mind. Any tips on how I can do better?

When I get to the consolidate part sometimes I have a hard time standing perfectly still. Occasionally, It still feels like I’m flowing a little bit. Is this a problem?

When I’m doing the energy flow, I stop when I feel like I’ve done enough. Is it okay to stop if I’m still flowing a lot? Should I go for what I think is 5 minutes regardless of if I’m flowing a lot or a little?

When I’m doing the form sometimes I still have thoughts. That’s not good, right? Sometimes it’s good thoughts such as this feels great and other times it’s a bunch of different thoughts.

I guess my biggest problem is my overactive mind.

Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

Let’s look at your questions.

So you’re having a hard time turning your mind off huh?

Welcome to the world of internal arts practice.

I’m not being flippant or brushing off your experience.

It’s just that once you start to deliberately work on the mind, you notice just how chaotic and restless it is.

Everyone experiences this.

It’s very common.

And a lot of people give up.

It’s something I still struggle with sometimes even after 16 years of ‘real’ Qigong practice.

Mind training is possibly the hardest practice you will ever do.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this…

You can’t stop your thoughts, even trying to stop a thought has to have a thought behind it =)

The key is simply to let them flow through you.

To not grab hold of them and explore them further.

A simple way to do this is to use a technique called ‘rujing’ you can read about it here:

Mind Wandering During Qigong Practice? Do This.

In fact, if you really wanted to dive deep into this subject, I’d recommend putting the following expression into your web browser of choice:

mind mastery site:qigong15.com

It will bring up all my posts on the subject of mind mastery.

It’s one aspect of Qigong you can’t rush and reminds me of a Zen story:

Time To Learn

A young but earnest Zen student approached his teacher, and asked the Zen Master:“If I work very hard and diligent how long will it take for me to find Zen.”

The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years.”

The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast — How long then ?”

Replied the Master, “Well, twenty years.”

“But, if I really, really work at it. How long then ?” asked the student.

“Thirty years,” replied the Master.

“But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed student. “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?”

Replied the Master,“When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.”

I think this story really applies to the practice of mind control in your Qigong practice.

With regards to Cosmic Balance, Standing Zen, Consolidation… If you’re not feeling it, simply bring your attention to your dan tien for a few breaths that should keep you still.

It’s okay to be flowingly still, but you don’t want to be moving around.

With regards to how long you practice Energy Flow, it depends on where you are in your practice.

You’re not a new student any more, so you’ll be spending less time in the P,E,R parts of your practice.

Which means you can spend longer in Energy Flow.

Recall the PERFECT Qigong Practice Guide? – page 64 of the PERFECT Qigong book.

You decide if you’re a beginner or an intermediate.

The times I give for each step of PERFECT are not carved in stone, but they clearly demonstrate the evolution of your Qigong practice and show that as your skills develop you want to be spending more time in Energy Flow and Cosmic Balance and less time in the other steps.


Your practice still takes 15 minutes =)

With regards to your thoughts during the Form part of your practice, simply use the ‘rujing’ technique I mentioned above.

And always remember to enjoy your practice.

Bye for now


PS The search term I mentioned above is really useful if you want to research a particular subject (anything really), in case you’re not familiar with it, it works like this:

search term site:website address minus the http://

So you might have:

exercise site:zenplusproject.com


rujing site:qigong365.com

You get it.

Using this tool you’ll be able to quickly find the right answers to your questions.

You’re welcome =)

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