When I was a boy at the Shaolin Temple, my master told me the natural state of our mind is open and peaceful. It’s hard to believe this when we’re in the midst of anxiety, turning a problem over and over in our mind. The more we think, the worse it gets. Chances are the texture of our breathing has changed, and our stomach is tight. It’s these small changes in the energy of our body that overtime can play a part in creating illness.
The thoughts that create tension are a type of Qi. Our energy is totally taken up by them. They are a wind, catching us and lifting us off our feet. In order to transform confusion into clarity, we need to use a different mind to the mind that is immersed in our problems. We need to access the mind of openness. An effective way to do this is by moving through a Qigong form. It’s impossible for an anxious mind to exist inside a relaxed body.
As we move through the form, our Qi shifts naturally and effortlessly, without us having to use our mind. Our body is wise. Rather than getting locked up in the tightness of our anxiety, we use our body wisdom to relax. If you are very stressed you may need to do Qigong for an hour, or you may feel relief after only a few movements.
Once you have completed the form, your lungs have expanded, your body is relaxed, and all tension has melted away. This is because you’ve stepped out of the Qi of anxiety and into the Qi of peace. Your problem is still there but it’s no longer unmanageable. From this big spacious mind, you now have clarity.
Thoughts and worries are only clouds in the sky. Shaolin Qigong blows them away and enables us to get back to an open mind, clear of confusion. You can then incorporate these peaceful feelings into your every day life by practicing walking, sitting, eating and drinking tea meditation.
Habit energy is strong, pulling us back to our untrained ways. This is why the meditation aids I brought from China are not cushions or mala beads but every day items such as key rings, lotus bags, malas, and amulets. Jade Energy stones can sit next to our computer as a reminder to bring us back to the present moment. Bringing Shaolin into day to day life is the heart of Zen practice.