High above the clouds, I can see far into the distance. The blue sky above me seems limitless. This is how the retreat ends for me.
At times, the weather was different, and I found myself fogged out, in the clouds with no perspective at all. At other times, the wind howled and it felt unsafe to even go out. Then it rained or hailed. One day, all was covered under a blanket of blending white snow. On another day, I saw a rainbow, which evoked a sense of awe.
Like the weather, my experience of the Qigong retreat was varied and multi-faceted. I went through a range of experiences that provided a deep ground for personal growth. The fact that we did not talk helped my introspection and self-reflection. A vast array of different emotions were evoked, and I could witness how my thinking influenced them.
I was reminded of a life-changing experience that I had in my twenties, when I spent some time in a Buddhist monastery in Sri Lanka. It was the time that I was most confronted with myself, a great opportunity for increased awareness of my own internal processes, where I could not run away from myself, where I stayed in silence.
Yuan Tze kindly created a qi-field that would soften any qi-reactions. It worked and, as far as I know, no one got really sick. However, I welcomed my qi-reactions in a similar way as I welcomed my pain, which, as I learned, only indicated blocked energy. I stayed with it, relaxed into it, until it disappeared. “Everything is very good”, the motto of the retreat provided the ground for an overall growthful experience. “Good and bad are relative.” In choosing to focus on good, the experience can only be positive.
Maybe reality is what it is. The only thing we can influence is our perception of reality, the way we see the world. In the end, it is our perception that influences our experience, that impacts on our reality.
It seems that overall, I grew in health not only on a physical level, but also emotionally and mentally. Especially the third method, which was new to me, had a major impact. It brought up all sort of feelings on a subtle level, like fear, sadness, irritation, doubt. They were not very strong, just mildly surfacing from the background of my unconsciousness.
Consciousness is a big word in Qigong. With our consciousness, we can move energy, qi, which then in turn impacts on our physical body.
It is important to learn to manage our feelings rather than express them vehemently. This is quite different to my previous training in Gestalt therapy. Back then, it was encouraged to express feelings freely, as a proof of one’s liberation.
Overall, at this retreat, I felt like I was engaging in a process of personal therapy in a different form.
The extensive Qigong practice also provided ample opportunities to increase my mind power. The two weeks in the mountains was a pro-active health activity on all levels.
Copyright © 3/2009 by Rumijabu | Originally published in “Partners in Dialogue” March 2009