Today was my first class of the ancient Chinese practice of Qigong. This system focuses on meditation, physical postures and stances, and absorbing and adorning yourself with vital energy and nature’s life force by striking the body and visualizing a glowing ball of energy in your lower abdomen. This is but the tip of the iceberg of what this practice entails and I have only started.
When I first entered the classroom I was warmly welcomed by smiling faces including my sister Alia’s. Speaking of a glowing ball of light, that woman emits her own beams of sunlight and I love basking in her luminous glow. She has been practicing Qigong for about a year I believe and I have seen drastic changes in her persona. We lived together for some time and I consider her to be one of the closest and most influential people in my life. I have without a doubt, seen a transformation in my sister and this was one of the first lessons of Qigong.
We all sat in a circle and prepared for meditation. Fortunately I have been using the Headspace app and was therefore not too perturbed by this part. The instructor gently walked us through visualizations of nature and told us to call upon its vitality by imagining ourselves walking through a pine forest. And so I did just that, I projected myself away from this world of fear and anxiety that I live in to a place where nature is alive and well. Where trees stand tall and the air is clean and fresh and where nothing I am afraid of can follow or hunt me. A haven of greenery. An oasis of love.
After ten minutes of mediation and strolling through the woods, my mother and I, being neophytes to this world of Qigong, were instructed in the ways of casting a net to capture the universe’s energy. Like a fisherman of cosmic energy I imagined my net being thrown into the ocean of life and catching balls of light and reeling them in to be consumed in order to empower me. We did this nine times and then proceeded to rub an oil on our stomach 36 times clockwise and then counter clockwise.
Then came the bizarre part the practice. People began striking themselves in certain parts of their abdomen and I could not help but watch in curious amazement. Their skin began to redden and flush as they struck themselves with either their hands or tools such as sticks. Some had bruises adorned on their arms and back from what I can only guess was from former Qigong classes. This is what it is all about apparently, putting the body under the correct and healthy type of stress in order for it to grow and prosper. Just like muscle tissue tears and regenerates from lifting dumbbells and weights, striking yourself allows the body to adapt and grow, I get it. I have always been a fan of the unorthodox and I did not find it challenging to keep an open mind. I wish to open the trapped pools of Chi that seem to be blocked within my body and plan to therefore continue this practice and invite it to lift me up out of this dark fog of sadness I am trapped in.