By Brian Kane 3/22/2011,
During this third week of the Seattle Tai Chi class the energy has begun to move deeper into my body. In fact whereas before, it felt like I was in the midst of a Qi(Chi) mist during each lesson, this week I felt like I was getting a Qi shower. I cannot even completely remember the warm up exercises, as my mind was hearing the instructor’s voice from a distant place and surreal scenes flashed into my mind as I moved with my eyes closed, and my Third Eye open.
Once while helping Brendan Thorson at the U District Street Fair last summer, a solemn man approached me and asked me why I practiced QiGong. I told him that my ultimate goal was to have the happiness and freedom of a child with the intelligence and thoughtfulness of an adult. He simply looked at me with a knowing look on his face and stated, “Of course, isn’t that the goal for all of us? Look at these children, they are pure,” he said while pointing to a little boy and girl walking by. “They don’t really know about the hardships of life. Of the pain it can bring.” He then turned from me, and rode off gracefully on his bike as his blonde mane flowed behind him.
I then began to think of my recently deceased grandfather. I noticed that while he was on his deathbed and barely conscious, he began to take on mannerisms like that of a child and speak with innocent child-like inflections. Although I did not witness this, my aunt told me he even recited Pat-a-Cake from Mother Goose.
The owner of the group home at which he lived explained that when people approach death, they begin to act child-like again and have vivid memories of childhood.
I wondered why this was. Oftentimes hazy childhood memories will creep into my mind—some good, some bad, mostly in my dreams. However, this week, some beautiful nostalgia revealed itself to me during the first half of class. I remembered, again, all the crazy tree forts (and insanely deep underground forts) my brother and friends built and the smell of the woods in the Queensgate neighborhood, where I lived as a kid from 1980-1989. I built many BMX tracks in those woods and often came home to my mom with fresh BMX wounds that never felt so good.
I also had memories of my late Grandmother’s kitchen in West Seattle, and the amazing meals she would make me. Of my dad and I launching those red water rocket toys and my mom and I jogging down the pipeline trail. I had memories of my brother and I making cat forts for our two cats, Monty and Mittens, and of my Grandpa Fred trying to teach me to play the banjo while Grandma Betty was sewing something in the next room at their house in what was North Seattle and now the City of Shoreline. I wondered how I could have lost sight of some of these things and how they lost their importance. These visions seem so basic and almost meaningless as I type this blog. But while I was having them during class, they meant the world to me. I was happy.
One of my favorite songs by Everything but the Girl is “The Heart Remains a Child.” I believe this is true. I am uncertain as to why adulthood seems to drive some people literally mad. This is one of life’s mysteries, it seems. I have several friends who were extremely talented and had promising futures as teenagers, but are now not quite all there. This really saddens me.
Our growing brains into adulthood seem to make us smarter, but they also seem to make some people angrier, greedier, meaner, and out of touch with how their actions affect others. I remember when I turned 13 and some of my friends changed very much over just one summer: from nice kids to complete jerks. The time of innocence was definitely behind us.
However during the class warm up, I began to look around the room, and think about the students in class and other kind souls that I know. It made me feel more at ease and realize that the negative actions of others are often done out of fear and insecurity. It might sound cliché to “tap into your inner-child,” but it makes more sense to me now. When you are a kid, you are excited and curious about everything. And when you laugh as a kid, it is seen as being cute. As an adult you might seem silly or simpleminded. People get too serious. They take themselves too seriously.
During the second part of the class, we began the YiRen Tai Chi movements, which included twisting the torso, loosening the sacrum, releasing pent up energy. When I first took the Tai Chi class about 18 months ago, I remember the instructor, Brendan Thorson, warned the students that they might feel angry the next day or two because we can hold a lot of frustration and anger in our sacrum. Sure enough, the next day I woke up and wanted to punch a hole in something. Today, 3/23/2011, I felt the same way. This feeling intensified as something unfortunate happened at work. When usually I would just grin and bear it, today I lashed out a bit in frustration and was rather hostile in an email to a co-worker. Thankfully he has a good sense of humor. However, as the day progressed, I gradually began to calm down and actually felt really at ease–more than I usually do. Interestingly, according to Thorson, a rigid sacrum can also make a person age faster, so loosening up the sacrum can make us feel and look more youthful.
This week’s lesson was definitely a breakthrough for me. I feel that the Qi is moving deeper inside my body and helping me find greater inner strength. My visions and dreams are becoming more and more lucid. I believe they have something to tell me. What it is, I am anxious to find out.
Post Script: Stay tuned for my next article (one with actual interviews) about how QiGong could help people with drug and alcohol problems. Thanks.