Accessing “the Noetic” through a Qigong Water Meditation

October 13, 2021
Experience & Engagement Team

In this blog series, we are highlighting the practices that our IONS staff members use to connect to information and energy beyond space and time. The various ways that we individually connect with this type of information make up our unique Noetic Signature™.

This month, Dr. Garret Yount, IONS Scientist and Chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB), leads us through a Qigong meditation called “Dumping Buckets” which involves the water element in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Qigong, a practice that Garret learned over 30 years ago when he first began studying Qigong in Beijing, is roughly translated as “mastering one’s energy.”

What is Qigong?

Let’s start with what Qigong (pronounced “chee-gong”) actually is. Qigong is an ancient Chinese healing practice that combines controlled breathing, gentle movement, and meditation to promote mental, physical, and spiritual health.

Qigong combines two important concepts of traditional Chinese medicine. Qi roughly translates to “vital life force,” while gong means mastery or cultivation. Qigong is meant to cultivate the energy and strength of nature into one’s body to support mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, poor health and well-being are believed to be the result of blocked energy that flows through the twelve meridians — or energetic channels/pathways — of the body. Qigong is believed to promote health and well-being by allowing the energy, or qi, to flow freely through your body.

One important philosophy of Qigong, which is at the heart of this meditation, is:
Yi Dao Qi Dao – 意到气到
Roughly translated as, “Where the mind goes, the qi goes.”

In the Dumping Buckets meditation that Garret leads below, he demonstrates how to use your mind to draw attention to your body — the mind uses images and symbols of water to stimulate the flow of qi in your body. So, before we get to the meditation, let’s talk about what the element of water represents in traditional Chinese medicine so that you have that context as you move through the meditative experience.

Qigong and the Water Element

The Water element is one the of five elements of traditional Chinese medicine. Five Elements Theory is a Chinese philosophy used to describe interactions and relationships between things. The five elements — wood, fire, earth, metal, and water — are believed to be the fundamental elements of everything in the universe between which interactions occur.

A balanced water element brings cleansing energy to purify the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels of the body and is an invitation for transformation. The water element represents being in the flow and moving towards the changes you may desire. In experiencing a balanced water element, you may feel a sense of calm, determination, and creativity around your endeavors while also having a gentle, soft approach to life.

Experiential Practice — Dumping Buckets

In this meditation, Dr. Yount demonstrates a version of the Qigong Dumping Buckets meditation for beginners, in which you are seated with your eyes closed. As you get more used to the practice, you can do it while walking or during other activities. You can also modify the meditation to focus on what feels most resonant or powerful to you (there is more information on how to modify this practice below the audio meditation).

It’s best to do this meditation while sitting in a chair, where you can place your feet flat on the floor. When you are comfortably seated and ready, press play:

Qigong Dumping Buckets Meditation (5 min)

Make this Practice Your Own

Aspects of the Dumping Buckets meditation practice can be modified in multiple ways to best fit what works for you each time you do it. For example, you might enjoy imagining the water flowing just on the surface of your skin until you get to your knees, and then you feel your knees wanting the water to sink in more deeply there, or linger longer there. Or, you could start by following the path of a single drop of water down your body, and eventually, you can let the drop spread out like a sheet of water moving down the surface of your skin. Or you may want to feel the cleansing water soak more deeply into your body, flowing over your muscles and any parts of your body that feel like they need a little attention or energy.

And, as you become more comfortable with the Dumping Buckets meditation, you can also expand it so that you don’t need to be sitting in a chair, but you can do it during day-to-day activities like taking a walk, washing the dishes, or any moment when you wish to connect with the element of water for cleansing or calmness — safely, of course! You don’t necessarily want to do this meditation while driving, for example.

We hope you have enjoyed this experiential practice and would love to hear how it went for you! You can share your experiences or ask Dr. Yount questions in the discussion section below.

16 responses to “Accessing “the Noetic” through a Qigong Water Meditation

  1. Isabel

    Lovely, gentle, simlpy and what I needed this morning.

    1. Nina Fry - IONS

      So glad to hear that, Isabel! Thank you for sharing your experience.

  2. Terri

    Wonderful. Very peace provoking.

    1. Nina Fry

      I’m so glad to hear it brought you peace, Terri! Thank you for sharing that.

  3. Sharon

    Found this exercise deeply relaxing….want to incorporate into my daily life….thank you Sharon

    1. Nina Fry

      Wonderful, we are so glad you found it so relaxing Sharon!

  4. Mercy

    What an emotional experience for me. I was able to
    envision the water as you described, then felt emotion
    throughout my body and tears of joy . What does
    that mean?

    1. Nina Fry

      Hi Mercy, thank you so much for sharing your experience! It is not uncommon for these “Experiential Noetic Practices” to create space for emotions and other thoughts or sensations to arise. Sometimes we are so focused on what is going on in our rational minds that when we slow down and connect to ourselves in a different way, it allows for us to experience more of ourselves, so to speak.

  5. Verena Voigt

    Many thanks for a beautiful meditation. So relaxing and grounding.
    Would it be ok to pass on to my Tai Chi teacher acknowledging that it comes from you?
    I think the local group would love it.

    1. Nina Fry

      Absolutely, Verena! We are so glad that you enjoyed it and feel free to pass it along to anyone who you think might be interested in it!

  6. Rita Harrod

    Loved this experience, thank you so much for sharing, will add this to my qi gong routine

    1. Nina Fry

      Thank you so much for the feedback, Rita! We are so glad you enjoyed it.

  7. Belen

    Really nice meditation. Thank you
    Would love to know more about qigong and energy flow.

    1. Nina Fry

      Thanks, Belen. I am so glad you enjoyed the meditation! There is some more information about Qi Gong and other energetic practices that work with Qi in this blog An Overview of Energy Healing Techniques

  8. Judith Connor

    Lovely practice! I enjoy learning these meditations that can be changed and styled for different effects depending on needs.

    1. Nina Fry

      Yes! Exactly, Judith. We love practices and meditations that can be customized to what works best for each person at whatever time they are using it. So glad you enjoyed it!

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