What: An ancient healing system which focuses on the restoration of holistic balance through gentle breathing techniques and slow movements
Origins: Qigong can be traced back some two thousand years in ancient China.
Benefits:Qigong can harmonise, strengthen and have a healing effect on the functioning of all the internal organs and bodily systems. It increases the supply and flow of energy throughout the body, can have a variety of rejuvenating effects and is believed to increase longevity as it induces calm mental and emotional states.
Day 1, 15/09/11: Discovering Qigong - China
As train passengers pushed and shoved I felt something damp touch the back of my hand. Looking up in bewilderment were the eyes of a tan whippet. With a nodding head and tired eyes his bony chin cautiously lowered onto my thigh. As the carriage swayed and pulled, he grew heavy; a sure sign that the sand man was beginning to take hold.
I slouched back in my seat somewhat preoccupied by a string of thoughts. Back and forth they drifted a mirror of the cloud formations that swirled overhead.
In this contained fibreglass carrier I sat reflecting, transcending time and space.
The pastel green fields, the brown soil, the ashen tarmac, each flashed by at an inconceivable rate. Upon natures' easel the colours blurred and merged, creating before me the most elaborate of abstracts.
With each place I travel so too evolves my journey. Hidden within each tentative breath I find a deeper courage, a stronger resolve. Like a butterfly breaking free from its cocoon I have now learnt to beat my wings a little longer, a little harder. From within my shell I look out, right now I am contained but the lure of discovery draws me ever near.
From within these retaining walls, this skin is my home; here I witness the passing of time. As mind and body detach each breath takes me deeper. I begin to feel; to explore the neural networks that connect within me.
In this awareness I visualise walking upon an open savannah, I am alone. In the distance rises a cyclone; it approaches me. As it draws near I feel myself swaying; back and forth, tussling over and under. The energy lures me; it's erotic, exciting; it's passionate.
Within rises a surge; seduced by an age old spell I grasp, my desire is to know more, to feel more; to 'be' more. In these moments of grasping I step once more into the futility of samsara.
Does anyone have it sorted... is anyone free from struggle; I think not. From my own experience my struggle has become something I cling to, it defines me, it gives me a purpose; to let go of that would be like stepping naked into a void, without protection or guard.
My ears ring with the words of a dear friend, 'unconditioned unconditional love' but as of yet this ringing has not entered my heart.
So what of this next step... China. Excitement, apprehension; uncertainty burn as I know I will be faced once more with the challenge to look within; to explore my own blocks and limitations.
This is where the work is for I have experienced the pain, the grief, the proliferation that manifests in the shadow, but what of the light... How would I even begin to find my light; let alone fall in love with it?
In moments of absolute chaos, desperation; crisis I discover an innate courage; a strength I didn't know I had. During these times, and only these times I stumble upon new ground, unfamiliar territories.
In such rare moments I am a trail blazer, a pioneer but of course this passes. Under the facade I am still the same person who was always filled with doubt, worry; wracked by thoughts of worthlessness, guilt, shame; remorse.
As I step off the train I glance at my fellow commuters; do they share such thoughts?
To the sound of squealing brakes and the taste of diesel I wonder upon where this journey will take me, who will I meet, what lessons await...