The Results of Practice, Part I

The subject has come up recently regarding “What results can I expect from consistent practice?”.  This is a popular question, and there are many answers to the question.

I would be doing you a disservice if I simply listed some of the benefits of practicing Qigong.  This would make you goal-oriented, you then automatically be focused on the end result instead of the process of getting there, and you’d be unable to attain that goal.  The Daoist Master Zhuangzi addressed this in his poem “The Need to Win”:

When an archer is shooting for nothing
He has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle
He is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold
He goes blind
Or sees two targets-
He is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed. But the prize
Divides him. He cares.
He thinks more of winning
Than of shooting
And the need to win
Drains him of power.

Therefore, we should not practice with any particular goal in mind, rather practice with the understanding that many beneficial things will come when we let go and allow our body to return to it’s natural balance.  There is no forcing or attaining this natural balance, it comes from letting go of all the extra baggage we have.

So, you might be thinking “Well, why would I practice Qigong then if I’m not interested in results?”.  This question shows the limitations of the Western model of thought.  Let’s ask this…when one dances, is ithe point just to hurry and get to the end of the song, or is the best part the actual dance throughout the song?  Your spiritual path and personal healing is the same way, it’s not about getting to the end, but rather enjoying the process of getting there.

Absorb this teaching and think about it whenever you can.  If you can do this, you are on way way to understanding the true meaning of the practice, and all the benefits of the practice (ones you never even imagined) will start to become available to you.  As this happens, you will understand what I’m saying.  But your intellectual mind will not be able to grasp all this, you have to simply begin practice and experience what I’m talking about.

A personal story, this morning I woke up and for some reason was automatically in what we call the “Qigong state of mind”.  For me, this is something that’s been a great byproduct of my practice.  As you practice, you are training your body and nervous system to relax and calm down.  Over time, you are able to reach deeper states of relaxation and expand your body’s ability to relax on many levels.  Over time, your body begins to use this relaxed state as it’s normal state of functioning, so you are able to achieve the peace of mind that you feel after practice throughout different parts of your day, without trying.

However, my theory was tested this morning, as I was presented with an emotional and stressful situation in the middle of this nice calm.  Instead of holding my center, the situation scattered me a little bit as I became emotionally involved.  Likewise, I was irritated that it disturbed my inner peace (which, is actually my own fault, as I LET the situation disturb my inner peace).  However, realizing all this on the spot, I used my intention to let go and bring my body back into the Qigong state of mind, just like that.  So, the added bonus of the practice is that you learn how to control your mind and nervous system, and you can bring yourself into the Qigong state of mind whenever you want.  Of course, it’s easy to get wrapped up in emotional situations and get disturbed, so it takes inner spiritual strength to control yourself in those times.  But that’s what the practice is all about – learning to control your mind at will.

I’ll leave you with this to ponder – in tough situations, you can do one of two things – you can remove yourself from the situation, or you can remove your “self” from the situation.  Do you understand?

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