By: Brian Kidd
Recently I watched a movie titled Ip Man (originally titled Yip Man), which is loosely based on the life of Yip Man, the founder of the Wing Chun school of Kung Fu in the city of Foshan in mainland China during the 1930s. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and its depiction of Yip Man’s struggles during the World War II Japanese invasion of China. This flick has amazing martial arts choreography and touches lightly on Wing Chun’s philosophies, which remind me that martial arts should teach inner peace, balance and love first and fighting is only necessary as a last resort. It reminded me that Qigong (including Yi Ren Qigong) and Tai Chi are part of the Chinese Tradition of martial arts such as Kung Fu.
However, upon doing some research about the actual Yip Man, I discovered that he was most likely an opium addict at some time during his life. Like most human beings, he was not perfect and flawed. However, Yip Man, who at one time mentored famed martial artist Bruce Lee, should not be discredited in the least because of what some might deem a character flaw or weakness—addiction. Despite his issues, he was one of the most sought after martial arts masters in China and I am certain Bruce Lee, who was surely no slouch, respected him greatly.
The reason I bring up this discussion is because recently some friends of mine have asked me for advice pertaining to Qigong and spiritual development. However lately, mediation and Yi Ren Qigong has made me more aware of my imperfections, which I try to work on in a healthy manner and not hide from by self-destructive means. This began to make me feel that I have no right to give anyone advice, being as imperfect as I am. I mean I have all these illogical fears and worries, who would want to listen to me?
However, then I remembered something about the natural process of cleaning old programs and spiritual blockages out of one’s system. When you truly meditate intensely and intently, a great deal of old personal mental, psychological and even physical symptoms can reemerge. The ancient Chinese Taoists called this jumping into the dragon’s mouth. You might even feel a bit out of touch with this physical or material world. Almost like you have one foot in the spirit world and one foot in the material world. Initially this alarmed me, but I have learned to rejoice about this process as I know that if I persevere, that when I emerge out of this stage in my development. I will be a happier, more grounded person.
Moreover, I have found that giving advice to other people who seek your counsel can actually help you think more logically about your own issues. For instance, I like to think about an issue that is bothering me and imagine that I have a friend who has the same problem. Instead of obsessing about the problem, I think of what advice I would give that friend. Usually this calms me down and I am able to think less with the Emotional Body and more with the Mental Energy Body. (for a discussion about the Taoist Energy Bodies please see: <a href=http://www.indiadivine.org/showthread.php/1025076-The-8-energy-bodies-of-Taoist-meditation”>Eight Energy Bodies</a> . It is important to try to stabilize the Emotional Body, because the more unbalanced the Emotional Body is, the less one will be able to function to one’s fullest mental potential.
In a sense, the recent issues I am experiencing pertaining to fears and illogical emotional obsessions, are not only an indication of my own progress, but also an indication that most of our fears stem from blocked energy in our systems. Yi Ren Qigong is an excellent way to clear this blocked energy, however the path to freedom may not always be a clear-cut path.
During a recent Yi Ren Qigong class, instructor Brendan Thorson likened practicing Qigong to lifting weights: A student will definitely get stronger with practice and increase his or her Qi circulation, however, experiencing pain along the way is an inevitable and necessary aspect of the practice. In a recent interview, Master Bruce Kumar Frantzis stated that many of us are aware of our problems, and Qigong can make us more aware of these problems. As I mentioned in an earlier entry, many people seek advice from mental health practitioners or even get on psychiatric drugs because of their issues. I am not condoning or condemning these practices, as they can aide a person in overcoming obstacles. However, as attested to by Brendan Thorson and what he has seen in many of his students. Yi Ren Qigong is an excellent tool to not only become aware of what is keeping you from fulfilling your potential, but also defeating that inner enemy.
All in all, none of us are perfect, probably not even Immortal Taoist Masters, and some of the best advice you receive could come from someone who has deep-seeded personal issues. I try to remind myself that those issues do not necessarily reflect a person’s wisdom, and my own issues may not affect my potential to give sound advice. I think Yip Man would have agreed.