You’ve heard me say that Qigong is a way of life, not just a practice. We call it a practice because the only way to learn the art is to practice it. It becomes a way of life once you have internalized the principles and you realize that you can use elements of the art anytime, anywhere. I did 2 minutes of Qigong after work yesterday because I just needed a release. The two minutes of practice was magic, I felt completely different after relaxing, breathing and moving a little. So don’t feel like you have to always set aside an hour where it’s quiet – find a moment here and there, let go and relax. That’s what it’s all about.
My daughter is learning ballet, and it’s amazing to watch her learn. She goes to a class once a week for an hour, but it takes awhile to learn something when you only practice it once a week. Fortunately she has developed a thirst for the practice and practices all time, no matter where she is. She goes through the footsteps while sitting in a chair before dinner. She runs around the house, doing the steps and repeating the teacher’s instructions. The practice is not something that is limited to the dance studio. It is part of her life.
As we get older, something unfortunate happens – we begin to make distinctions – work and play, fun and not fun, practice and rest. Things have a tendancy to lose their spontaneous nature. Things become more serious, and rightfully so – someone has to pay the bills and put food on the table. But this doesn’t mean we have to lose that spontaneous nature that makes us young and alive.
This is what the Daoist teachings refer to when they say “be like a child”. They don’t mean to throw tantrums and not pick up toys. They mean to return to that way of being that is spontaneous and alive – not going through the motions because life has become a routine.
The best way to return to being a child is to spend time with one – your own, your grandchildren, your friends. Just observe them, without judgement. You’ll find a world that you might have left behind but a world you can easily get back, if you can only let go of your judgements.
I think that grandparents often find this world in their grandchildren, which is why it’s so special. Grandparents are no longer attached to being a parent with rules and such, and they are often not preoccupied with work and the everyday activities of “life”. They can truly enjoy the children for who they are, and for awhile return to being like a child themselves.
So, first you let go and slowly work on returning to the child-like spontaneous nature that you once had. First you experience it for a minute, then it becomes longer the more you practice. And it’s all about letting go. When you can do this, your Qigong practice or other things you enjoy suddenly enter your life, without effort, whenever they are appropriate.
Read that last sentence one more time carefully, as it holds the secret to the art.