By Brian Kane,
The other day I was looking back on some journal entries I have written since starting Qigong back in October of 2009—and also entries that predate my Yi Ren Qigong Journey. Reading about my state of mind and outlook and how both have changed over the last few years was an encouraging reminder about how far I have come on my spiritual journey: I needed that reminder to give me the fortitude to forge ahead on improving my overall being.
During one’s quest for self-discovery and self-improvement, it is very easy to only recognize our faults and weaknesses and ignore our improvements and strengths. When you keep a journal,–be it daily, weekly, or even monthly—you can look back on where you were at a certain point in your life. This can be very helpful to assess your progress and just as importantly, it can remind you of lessons and revelations you might have learned quite some time ago, but in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you forgot.
For instance, some of the revelations that came to me over the years are as simple as: fear does not equal cowardice, what you might be worrying or obsessing about is just a distraction from the actual root of your problem, that what makes a woman attractive is not necessarily her physical appearance but the energy she emits, that playing music seems to tap into the same part of the brain and soul that Qigong does,, that I should moderate or abstain from certain foods and substances such as Caffeine, Marijuana and Alcohol because they can cause me to be emotionally imbalanced. (Of course, as Brendan Thorson stated in a recent Yi Ren Qigong class, everyone is different and what is good for one person, might not be good for another. You have to discover these things along your journey to becoming more self-aware and becoming a wise man or woman.)
Also, it is a good idea to keep a log about your progress with the Yi Ren Qigong exercises and any noticeable mind and/or body sensations that you are experiencing. For instance, I wrote down that when I first learned the pushing hands exercise, my hips were far too rigid and my arm was too stiff. Today, my hips move very fluidly and I am able to determine how much force to exert with my arms, depending on the actions of my pushing hands partner. Additionally, after each class, I try to write down any revelations I learned during the lesson. It seems very easy to forget what was taught in class and regress back to old, bad habits. Writing down your revelations can serve as a useful reminder about what you might need to change in your practice. I have even seen students bring a notepad to class and take notes, which is a very good idea.
Another method that I have incorporated into my daily routine is to write on paper what I call my morning defragging—much how a computer defrags itself to bring order into how its system runs. One of Brendan Thorson’s students revealed this method to me during a coffee meeting we had discussing the future of the Noble School of Tai Chi and Qigong training. What she said is that when you wake up in the morning, perhaps during your breakfast, just start jotting down the thoughts (anything that comes to mind) that you have. These thoughts do not need to be depicted in complete sentences or really even make any coherent sense. I usually write about a page of these thoughts and it seems to really help clear my mind and give me a more positive perspective about my upcoming day. After I jot down these thoughts, I usually make a list of things I would like to accomplish with my day—checking each one off when it is finished.
Keeping a journal, making to-do lists and defragging the mind might seem a bit tedious–albeit a simple idea—but from my experience, if you make these practices part of your routine, it could very well aide and even excel your progress as you practice Yi Ren Qigong. If you are like me, your imagination can get carried away and intrusive, negative thoughts might obscure your reality. Writing serves as both a therapeutic tool and a strong reminder for where you have been, where you are going and where you would like to be.