It has taken close to a year before I am able to write about deep into my being 2...
I used to think that cultivation of the mind is more effective than cultivation of the body. But now I find myself placing more emphasis on xingshen zhuang as I realize that without a strong and healthy body it will be difficult to truly relax.
Cultivating our body
The first step in cultivating the body is to learn to introspect your mind to 'listen' to our body. When we listen to our body we are actually placing our 'yi' (our wisdom mind) and 'xin' (our emotional mind) within ourselves. That way we can achieve body and mind harmony and we will be fully focused in the moment of what we are doing. A deep relaxation will follow and you will find doing the forms of xingshen zhuang easy and relaxing. More so it will become a wholesome and harmonious experience of body and mind unity meaning you can execute the forms easily and without the aches and pain to distract you from what you are doing.
Cultivating our breath
With our mind and body working together harmoniously we naturally become aware of our breathing. Regulating our breathing will lead to an even deeper relaxation which will liberate our 'shen' (spirit) to express itself as a keen awareness of not only our being but also all that is around us. Regulating our breath is done by natural abdominal breathing wherein on inhalation our stomach rises and expands outwards and on exhalation our stomach contract towards our 'mingmen' (life gate - located directly behind our navel and just inside our spinal column). The breathing is done deeply and evenly without even a hint of pause in the transition from inhalation to exhalation and vice versa.
Realizing smooth flow of 'qi'
The emotional mind and wisdom are in harmony, the body is relaxed and the breath penetrates deep in our inner being... our qi flow becomes smooth and a deep and warm feeling permeates throughout our entire body.
Expression of the 'shen'
I often am confused by the interchangeable usage of the words 'mind' and 'spirit' in literature that I read. I now understand that 'shen' is a state of consciousness wherein we become deeply peaceful and aware of not only our being but also all that is around us. Shen expresses itself when we are able to achieve body, mind, breath and qi harmony.
Each little realization and understanding is an enlightenment.