There are a number of unpleasant side effects that can accompany energy work. Remember that energy, such as stress knots releasing from muscles and organs and emotional issues being released, must go somewhere. Sometimes this energy can manifest as heat, anger, anxiety or depression. These energies can also manifest as happiness, uncontrollable laughter, uncontrollable crying and so on.

It's important to remember to give yourself space for some of this energy to manifest and be released. I'll always go for a drive and just start crying for no apparent reason, which can be disturbing if you do not understand that it's just an energy outlet. I also make it a point to laugh a lot, work out a lot and sometimes even go for a drive and curse at everyone I know (on a mountain back road in the privacy of the vehicle).

We tend to connect emotional reactions to the people in our lives, or events that happen, and this is just not always the case!

Sometimes it's the reverse, the event happens because we need a release and subconsciously we were creating a catalyst (an argument with a spouse for instance) to allow that release.

Taking more control of how you release these energies can have a very positive effect on your relationships as well as the harmony of your life.

Warnings and Troubleshooting

Some things to remember;

• Energy follows thought, which means it goes where you send it, as opposed to where you want it to go. You must work with a high level of awareness and intention.

• Cool Your Energy – As you begin drawing energy up your spine in some of the more advanced exercises you'll need to be sure to cool it off. An excess of hot Yang energy will cause headaches and a hot forehead and crown.

Troubleshooting excessive Yang;

1. The simplest way to fix this is to just relax and let the excess heat just flow out through the top of your head.

2. If that does not work then do the Microcosmic Orbit exercise (from Mantak Chia's Awaken Healing Energy Through the Tao, also presented in Part 2 of this manual) but run the orbit backwards, bringing the hot energy back down the spine.

3. Ground and Center – The Grounding Exercise can also help draw down excess heat. You can also draw all of your energy into your Center (the point 2 inches below your navel) by simply placing your hands there and breathing into the point right behind your hands. Just inhale and draw your breath into that point, it's easy.

4. Left Nostril Breathing – Close off the right nostril with a finger and inhale through the left. This will increase the flow of Yin and help balance the heat.

5. A cold compress on the forehead. For years I had problems with Yang headaches and had no clue what was causing it. As a last resort a cold compress will make the headache go away almost instantly.

• Using Intention – Be sure to be aware of your intentions while running energy with another person. A feeling of dislike or disapproval for the other person can cause you to send harmful or incompetent energy into them.

• Energy does not flow through tight muscles. Use the Secret Smile and Mantak Chia's Inner Smile and 6 Healing Sounds to ensure that you are running relaxed, happy, loving energy as much as possible.

• Do the Secret Smile as often as possible! If I could only do one exercise this would be it. Whenever you seem to be having energy problems and issues in your life take 15 or 20 minutes and run through this exercise. After a while you'll find that simply remembering to smile will help activate that energy.

I do not put these warnings here to discourage anyone, but simply to help you be aware of some of the more common problems. Many Qi Qong teachers insist that students be closely guided by a competent teacher and I do not disagree. On the other hand, it's not always feasible to try to find a 'competent teacher' as many of us are constrained by time, finances or geography.

Be careful, be aware and pay attention to your intentions. Do not be in a hurry and do not let your expectations get your ass into something that your mind can not get you out of. There are a LOT of resources on the web these days as well as discussion groups. Sort through all of this with an open mind and remember that in some cases it's like the blind men trying to describe the elephant. We all have different pieces of the puzzle, in other words.