Finding your seat — Freedom is found in not biting on your stories. The roller-coaster is not optional, but how the ride is for you… that’s the choice!
Another Qi Gong article below !
Trusting you’re enjoying the Qi Gong articles coming from Dar, included with the blog.
Balance on the roller-coaster of life
Meditation is all about life.
Many people think meditation is about achieving mental silence, and total peace. And then they frustrate the hell out of themselves when they sit, as the “voices in their heads” never shut up.
Here’s how I define meditation:
Sitting down on the front seat of a roller-coaster, arms up, no seat-belt. And finding your balance so you don’t fall out.
Here are things you have to get over
Get over: Sitting only when you want to (when “things” are right)
Many are the excuses for not sitting. No time, no motivation, not liking the posture, not liking the mental chatter, and my all-time favourite, “What’s the point?”
The thing to understand is that meditation is has two prongs.
First, it’s to get us to pay attention to what is going on in our body, and more importantly, what is going on in our minds.
Second, it’s the only way to learn to be fully present off the cushion.
Mostly we’re so lost in the chatter going on in our heads that we miss real living. The chatter, as we’ve mentioned (especially in the last few articles,) is our ego-voice(s)—which is/are critical, negative, and blaming.
If we start to pay attention to the voice itself, as opposed to uncritically buying into the content, we can ease ourselves back from hooking ourselves into reacting to what the voice is saying.
Paying attention is simply saying (to ourselves): “Thinking! Criticizing! Blaming!” as opposed to heading down one or all of these paths by following the story. If we follow along blindly, attempting to build evidence, we get a whole load of what we do not want.
This is a meditation technique called “naming.”
Body-wise, it’s “Cramp in left foot!,” not “I can’t do this.” In other words, it’s learning to “sit” in our discomfort without judging it or trying to run away.
To go back to the roller-coaster analogy, once the ride starts, there is no exit. You can either whine and puke, or be present for the ride. Or, I guess there is an exit, but it’s permanent: you can jump off at the top and die.
Being Present Off the Cushion
The Buddha suggested meditation as a microcosm of living. You learn all you need to know for actually living life by “just sitting.”
This is the point of sitting. A practice that only provided 20 minutes a day of presence would be quite lame. The cushion provides the disciplined exploration of what true presence, in the world, is all about.
I had a a mini-meltdown yesterday, and did all the things that are designed to make it worse. I started off by making myself sad. Then, I itemized some things I “should” be sad about. Then, I blamed them all on Dar. Then, I told her I was blaming her.
As is typical of Dar, she chose not to bite on this, while admitting the attraction she has to wanting to make me happy. Knowing she can’t make me anything, she chooses to watch me process my stuff.
By the time I got back home, I’d built up quite a head of resentment, anger, and sadness. I looked at my cushion, swore at it, and stomped off to my bed (a perk of being self-employed, working out of the house, and having the morning off.)
I climbed into bed, pulled up the covers, and let the voice run. Immediately, “he” started rhyming off all the reasons and justifications for me to run away, jump out of the roller-coaster, etc. Ego-voice, 101.
Here’s the interesting part
At that precise moment, a “calm voice” (still me, of course) offered me a choice. It did it by asking, “Why are you choosing to blame and make yourself miserable?” (Questions I ask my clients all the time!) I recognized that I had just slipped into lying-down meditation.
This is what my practice of sitting, and my practice of presence has “done for me.” I saw, clearly, a choice to stop what I was doing, and choose something else.
Because everything you feel, think, and believe is simply what you are choosing. It’s not real, true, or even very interesting. You can stop, any time, by stopping.
So, I thought about my choice to make myself miserable, and after thinking, “You are choosing to make yourself miserable,” I started to let go. By the time I picked Dar up, I was 95% done with it. I said to her, “I apologise for dumping my stuff on you, trying to blame you for my stuff.” She invited me to tell her more.
This is why I sit.
Get Over: thinking that there is a cure for obsessing, blaming, messing with yourself
No cure. The last few articles make this point. Remember the chart? The ego-voice is endlessly nattering. No choice there. If you bite on the nattering, you get caught in over-thinking, and you end up trying harder, while castigating yourself.
Or, with every breath, you can choose the “path less traveled,” and you can dive back into your Shadow side, and learn something new about yourself.
But here’s the kicker
This process goes on and on, until you die. No cure. Just awareness. This means that the fork in the road endlessly appears—will I bitch, moan, complain, and blame, or will I see the game, ease back from it, and go deeper into myself?
This is what happens on the cushion. There’s no sense of perpetual silence. There’s agitation, or pain, or emotion, and then a choice. Will I name it and let it go, or buy in and chase it? Chasing it leads to more and more misery, and therefore it’s odd we continually choose it.
Choosing to name and breathe seems to create a space, and in that space is silence (the Buddhist “emptiness,”) where whatever we were thinking about kind of deflates, or is seen to be a passing phenomenon. It just drops away.
Like the roller-coaster. At the top of a drop, it’s all, “Oh. My. God! I’m going to die!” And then you fall, and immediately are into something else, like a turn, or an “up,” and the past scare is also gone (as you busily work on the next one.)
Meditation does not change this. It allows you to stop gripping the safety bar, and to just go along for the ride, the heart pounding, up and down, scary ride.
Get over: putting other things first
“I’ll get around to it” is death on wheels. There’s always going to be something your ego-voice can make more important, and likely it will be something in the “ideal” part of the chart. In other words, your culture determines what will be thrust forward—money, job, career, kids, spouse, whatever—this is will be pushed out as needing to be “handled first.”
Nothing, absolutely nothing, however, is more important that you taking yourself seriously enough to get to know who and how you are. Nothing.
This week, think about all the excuses you are creating not to dig deeply into yourself. Think about who you are blaming, for what, and let it all go. Notice what you are doing to buy into the cultural ideal, to stay stuck in victim-stance.
So, smile, sit your ass down, shut up and look.
What you find might just be the bestest roller-coaster ever!
QiGong Secrets – Week 6 — Benefits of QiGong
Many of the approaches to QiGong in the west have placed a greater emphasis on the form of QiGong. Although I do plan to continue to spend time on my form as I practice QiGong, I am extremely grateful for the reminder in the QiGong Secrets Home Study Program that the energy and the mind are the aspects of QiGong that make it such a powerful tool. My QiGong practice has changed dramatically since starting this course—and we have only learned two simple patterns.
The learning in week 6 continues with creating a high level QiGong practice. As I wrote last week, simply standing and breathing with a quiet mind will make a difference—however, creating a high level QiGong practice will increase that benefit significantly. The form of the movement is secondary. The focus of this week’s learning is taking time at the end of a QiGong practice to allow your energy to flow and do its thing. Like water will always flow to the lowest point, your chi will naturally flow to an area of weakness or deficiency.
This week, I thought I would write about some of the benefits of starting a QiGong practice. The five main reasons for practising QiGong are health and vitality, longevity, internal force, mind expansion and spiritual cultivation.
Health, vitality, and longevity – these are the main reasons for practicing QiGong. Who doesn’t want to live a longer, healthy life with lots of energy? Benefits include lowering blood pressure, increasing immune response, increasing respiratory capacity, increasing joint flexibility, improving posture and structural problems with the back and spine, and promoting deeper relaxation. All that simply by completing a few simple movements for about 15 minutes a day.
Internal Force – this simply means having energy to keep you going all day. Stress is a big factor in our lives that regularly depletes our energy. QiGong helps to clear any emotional turmoil, relieves stress, and reduces anxiety. Taking a short break from work and performing a few simple QiGong moves and breathing will provide energy in a very short time.
Mind Expansion and Spiritual Cultivation — When you practice high-level Qigong you are also practicing Zen meditation. This helps to improve memory, creativity, intelligence, consciousness and articulate thought. In a spiritual sense, QiGong helps you to get in touch with who you really are. Who is there when all that mind chatter or ‘monkey mind’ goes away?
I encourage you to think about starting a QiGong practice. Take a look at the QiGong Secrets Home Study program. The benefits are tremendous. Anyone can do QiGong. There are very simple variations to almost all movement so they can be done while sitting. All movements are done in a relaxed and gentle manner. We recommend a 70% rule. This means you complete each of the moves to 70% of your ability. If a pattern requires you to turn to the left and then to the right, the 70% rule means that you figure out how much of the move you can do comfortably. Then when you are completing the pattern, you stop turning when you have reached 70% of your weakest side. In QiGong, you never push past a comfort level.
Finally, here is a link to a fun video. Dr. Love raps “This is why I do QiGong” It is worth a watch.
Here are a couple of lines worth noting from the rap video.
I’m strong because I do QiGong. You’re weak because you do not breathe.”
When you do your breathing, your chi starts to flow.
Cultivate your chi, and your energy grows.