About Meditators Wind Imbalance (Lung)

Lung is a Tibetan word that literally means "wind". In this case, lung is referring to a condition in which the subtle wind energies within the body become unbalanced, producing symptoms such as dizziness, heat, cold, sensations of pressure, and so on. Lung is generally not recognized by Western medicine as a disease.  I once consulted a Chinese doctor in Barcelona to find out exactly what lung is. After examining me, the doctor said that i was suffering from "stagnant chi," meaning that some of the subtle energies of my body were stagnant or not flowing well. 


Why do energies become unbalanced? From a Buddhist point of view, the main cause of the unbalance, as with any type of problem, is negative karma. More specially, however it is due to an excess of tension. This tension is usually produced by pushing too much, often in one's meditation practice. Most people who contract lung do so by doing retreat, meditating, or studying Dharma intensively. It comes from rushing and pushing, trying to do more than one can handle, instead of practicing with the correct motivation and attitude, with a relaxed and calm mind. Meditating in such a tense and rushed way can lead to an imbalance in the winds. For the non-meditator, the winds generally become unbalanced due to strong negative emotions.


Lung is mainly fear, generated through one's attitude toward meditation and Dharma practice, or due to emotional blockages in the subtle channels of the body. Through meditation these blockages are purified, becoming manifest in the process. Symptoms of lung include pressure in the heart (energy center) or the chakras, dizziness, heat, cold, nervousness, continuous unpleasant sensations in one area of the body, and so forth. These can have different causes, and different winds may become unbalanced. If the problem is the Life Wind (the main wind), this is the most serious form of lung-tsok lung, which is also the most difficult to heal. 


The good news is that it is possible to heal any type of lung;the bad news is that it usually takes a long time. You cannot heal lung in one or two days-it usually takes several weeks, months, or even years to heal it, depending mainly on the type and heaviness of the lung and on the person's mental attitude. Some people are healed without difficulty in a few weeks, others may suffer for many years. This is similar to the fact that some people, after many years of practicing Dharma, can only decrease one delusion in their minds deeply in a short time-it all depends on your mental attitude, and everything depends on following the advice of the master. It is also important to know that lung can become chronic, making it more difficult to heal. Even if one is able to remove the symptoms, one should continue to be careful, since the lung could simply be in latent state. The lung will manifest again if the conditions for its arising come together again. From a Buddhist perspective, it is important to understand that a contributing factor to lung is negative karma, or actions, from the past. As this karma is purified, it arises in the form of lung rather than a heavier form of suffering.


by Ven. Thubten Shakya

(excerpt from Balanced Mind, Balanced Body)