Many paths to the same destination
In the any journey there can be many paths and the route chosen depends on a number of things including: The starting point, the end point, the terrain, the mode of transport, obstacles to be overcome, etc. Navigation too! Sometimes we find ourselves going in circles, covering the same ground over and over again until we find the next section that carries us forward. Here, I want to look at two modes of transport that, on the face of it, are different but are the same.
The Tibetan Buddhist sand mandalas are extremely intricate patterns that are produced, by the monks, from calcite sand that has had dyes added to it. The goal of the process is not the beautiful mandala, it is the transformation that occurs within the monks. It is the achievement through letting go of the physical, of connecting with the consciousness……… connecting with the Qi.
The process begins with the collecting of the calcite rock that lies scattered across the mountainside, this is the start of the meditative process. It moves on to the crushing of the rock, firstly into gravel and then into sand………….. going deeper into meditation. The dyes are added and the monks, using different coloured sand, start to create the mandala grain by grain. The concentration is such that, eventually, they become the process, losing self and attaining oneness. The connection with the Qi and the universe.
Within Shen Qigong we do not have the rock, the rock to grind, the dyes to add, or the mandala to create but we use the same process. We have posture, movement, breath, focus and listening. We gradually collect the rock through learning the posture. We grind the rock by refining the posture. We add the dye by adding the breath. We go through the process of creating the mandala by adding the movement. As the process continues we continue to refine all of these until they are no longer noticed and all that is left is the listening. It is then that we are connected to the Qi and, therefore, the Tao. It is then that facets of the Tao are revealed. It is then when we can really start to explore.