My garden musings
I often spend time gazing into my garden pond and, when I do, my garden musings occur as my brainwave pattern drops into Alpha. These garden musings provide me with insights into myself and my direction as my brain gets sidelined and my higher self (consciousness) takes centre stage.
Hedgehogs are amazing!
Gardening is like any other skill and there are many levels from the gardener who cuts the grass and does the occasional weeding to the topiary expert who can give you the Latin names for every plant in their garden. I’m somewhere in the middle. I enjoy working in the garden even though it is often reasonably hard work. I enjoy looking at the garden and knowing that I had a hand in how it has developed and matured. There was no grand plan, just a general direction that often changed and changed again. I grew as the garden grew.
Plants get moved around, cuttings are taken, plants are given and accepted as gifts, and nothing tends to be thrown away. Today it was a cover that I had made to hide the water filter for one of my ponds. It never really worked well in that role and drew your attention for all the wrong reasons….. It was not pretty. With a better disguise on the filter, the old cover was destined to be dismantled and the wood used as fuel. It lay, upside down, for weeks and it was only as I turned it over that I realised I had built the perfect hedgehog refuge.
With a smile on my face and a newly positioned hedgehog hotel, I thought about the many cul de sacs that my Qigong (and Taiji) journey had visited. Like the filter cover, each of them seemed to have proved to be of no further use…………… at that time. Every time this happened I left these “wrong” concepts behind me and moved on to find the correct path. It was quite some time before I was led to the realisation that I had been on MY path, the correct path for me, all along. The cul de sacs were such only because of my lack of understanding and experience at the time.
It was an afternoon spent with Master Bell that brought about that realisation. He wanted to instil in me the understanding that attainment of Qigong was not a linear journey and he could always get the message over, no matter what that message was, by making me think for myself. That afternoon I was given this to ponder.
We are walking down a country lane with hedges either side of the lane. Use your imagination as we walk and we will see what you observe. How dense is the hedge? What plants are on the verges?
As we walked it became easier for me to describe what I was seeing and the strides became more confident. Then he stopped me.
What did you think about the wee hedgehog? (It’s easy to figure out what triggered this musing.)
The one we passed about 100 yards ago. You had better go back and have a look.
On the way back I noticed a gate that I had missed. Had it been there before? We walked past the gate to the hedgehog. After spending a bit of time watching it rummaging we turned to continue the walk…….. but the lane had changed. It was greener and full of birdsong. I stopped at the gate. Should I go through it? Master Bell invited me to go and have a look. From this vantage point I could see rolling hills and then mountains in the far distance.
Back in the lane, this process was repeated a few times.
What about the big tree? What about the bramble bushes? Etc.
Each time I turned and walked back I saw more, understood more. Then, on recommencing the journey this was enhanced.
Every cul de sac on your Qigong journey has something to offer………….. you just don’t understand it at the time. Later on, when you achieve the level when they are needed for progress, what was learned in these lessons will be understood.
It can feel frustrating (I know because I went through that frustration early in my journey) taking two steps forward and then on step back……… Then three steps forward and two back. Embrace the “backward” steps and they will enhance your Qigong.
Getting back to the gardening, it has parallels with me teaching Qigong. Sometimes it can be hard work but it is always a pleasure. There is also an immense pleasure in knowing that I had a hand in how someone’s Qigong has developed and matured.
My own Qigong journey continues and I’m still heading towards those mountains.
In Qigong, be yourself
After teaching the class this morning my mind drifted in the direction of a coffee and a gaze into the giant nature television……. also known as my garden pond. I have had many insights while letting my mind wander, unfocused, as I watch the goings on of the frogs, newts, etc. Today, an ancient Chinese saying crept into my mind’s ear. It is attributed to Lao Tzu……..
“If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be truly fulfilled.”
I am pretty sure that I know what triggered this as I had been talking to students about Qigong not being a group activity. The exercises may be learned in a group but Qigong is Internal and very personal. It can only be practiced alone, with focus and with a body/mind that is quiet enough for you to listen to your Qi.
In groups there is a tendency for people to judge themselves against the, apparent, “expertise” of others. How elegant they look. How low they can “sink”, how peaceful they look, etc. That is what is going on with the observed but what is happening Internally with the observer? Not a lot! They are too engrossed with others to be Qigong.
In a class you need to listen to what your teacher is telling you. You need to follow the guidance given. You need to pay close attention to all the subtleties and nuances that are brought to your attention and explained……………….. Then practice and practice more. Move through the stages of learning the exercise, doing the exercise then having Qigong. When you achieve Qigong you can move the Qi with the body following rather than leading.
Can you learn Qigong exercises in a class? Of course you can. Can you do Qigong exercises in a class? Yes, if you ignore what everyone else is doing and do your own exercise. Can you have Qigong in a class? When you have Qigong you will be so immersed in the flow of Qi that you will be alone, a single point in time and space, totally here and now, in a state of Wuji.
Remember, “If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be truly fulfilled.” Lao Tzu knew it………………. Now so do you.