“A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” (Lao Tzu)
Your Qigong journey should have preconceptions. Focus on the few and miss the many of the myriad of qualities of Qi.
“He, who rushes ahead, does not go far.” (Lao Tzu)
Some of my hill walking friends like to get to the top of a mountain as quickly as they can while the rest of us meander up, chatting, observing flora and fauna as we do so. We all walked the same distance but the tortoises went far further than the hares.
This is the same within Qigong and Taiji…………… If you rush you miss so much. Even going slowly you often have to go back and cover the same ground again because you have missed, or misunderstood something.
“Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.” (Lao Tzu) When listening to your Qi, do not anticipate or expect anything in particular because that is all you will ever get. If you are truly listening you will experience far more.
“Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.” (Lao Tzu)
Some think that they can learn Qigong from a book. I’ve never been on a plane but I’ve read the flight manual. Who wants to fly with me?
“He, who stands on tiptoe, does not stand firm.” (Lao Tzu)
Wuji is the foundation that allows your body and mind (Yi) to be still. On tiptoe you are unstable and your body is so “noisy” that it drowns out the whisper of your Qi. Live your life with the qualities of Wuji and stay connected to yourself and to the universe.
“Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretches her fingers to touch the heaven.” (Lao Tzu)
Make sure you have the ability sink the Qi and the ability to keep the body/mind grounded before practicing Spiritual Qigong. It is your tether, safety net, and route back.
“Failure is an opportunity.” (Lao Tzu)
Do not expect your Qigong journey to be linear. You will often experience “setbacks” and need to go back over old ground. This is the opportunity to experience the things you missed. The things that may not have seemed relevant at the time and that you did not require on that part of your journey. But these are the things that you need now to progress.
“Watch your actions; they become habits.” (Lao Tzu)
If you are aware of good actions, proper posture, proper focus, etc you should maintain them and make them habitual. All bad actions, poor posture, poor focus, etc should be recognised and eliminated. Habits are hard to break once they become ingrained so it is best to stop bad ones before they gain strength.
“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.” (Lao Tzu)
Keep your Shen light and your Qi will be lively………….. Let it dance!
“When in stillness you should be as the mountain. When in motion you should move like the water of a river.” (Master Wu Yu-hsiang).
Although this is aimed at the art of Taiji it is equally relevant to Qigong. Stillness within the body and mind, through Wuji, produces the composure of a mountain It is in this state that you are truly aware of the flow of the Qi. Its current, like that of water, having many qualities………. From smooth and quiet to cascading like a waterfall.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” (Lao Tzu)
When you don’t let go you stay as you are because there is no room for growth, no room for the expansion of experience.
Within Qigong, if you hang on rigidly to one tangible experience of Qi your Yi will always mould the Qi in that pattern. It is only when to let go, when you use passive awareness and “listen”, that all the other patterns/essences/flavours can be experienced.
“Stop leaving and you will arrive. Stop searching and you will see. Stop running away and you will be found.” (Lao Tzu)
Be here and now, find stillness. Be passively aware of self and Qi. You will never find yourself out there, only in here.
“Intellectual knowledge exists in and of the brain.
Because the brain is part of the body, which must one day expire, this collection of facts, however large and impressive, will expire as well.
Insight, however, is a function of the spirit.
Because your spirit follows you through cycle after cycle of life, death, and rebirth, you have the opportunity of cultivating insight in an ongoing fashion.
Refined over time, insight becomes pure, constant, and unwavering.
This is the beginning of immortality.” (Lao Tzu)
We begin our Qigong and or Taiji journey using intelectual knowledge. We rely on our brain to remember the sequence and try to understand the postures. We are learning, not being.
Through practice our journey takes us to the stage where the sequence, the breathing and the postures are second nature. This is when the brain steps aside for these aspects yet it can still be engaged in the attempt to look for, reach out for, the Qi. It is here that we can become stuck, bogged down, in our exploration of Qi. At best we are doing, we are still not being.
It is only when we stop reaching out and start to “listen” to the Qi. When we “listen” our reasoning finally steps aside and we experience without the encumbrance of questions or the need for reasons. Our Yi (brain) is redundant and our Shen (spirit) is now in the driving seat. We are now being!
“The wise man looks into space and knows that there are no limited dimensions.” (Lao Tzu)
The wise man accepts and does not reach out for boundaries. To truly experience Qi do not reach out, accept it for what it is at that time. Passively aware
“A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth.” (Lao Tzu)
Liken your body with a terrace of nine levels. Stability, Wuji stance, must be constructed from the base.
From Wang Zongyue
“Quiet like a mountain. Movement like a river”. From “Kung Hsin Chieh” (Wang Zongyue)
Only when the body/mind is quiet will you really appreciate the flow of the Qi.
“The body must be upright and comfortable and able to cope with impact from any direction.” From “Kung Hsin Chieh” (Wang Zongyue)
More wisdom about he need for proper structure that is pertinent to both Taiji and Qigong. It is through proper physical structure that we can create the stillness that allows us to listen to our Qi and our Shen.
Interested in Qigong? We have a group of Qigong enthusiasts (on Facebook) that you might want to join that is used by students and teachers to exchange ideas and ask questions. It is part of the San Bao Qigong.