By Brian Kane,
A Week of Random Observations and Revelations
This was a bi-week for the Tai Chi class. I decided to attend the Level One class on Wednesday. Before I give any reflections about the class, I must divulge some inner revelations that I had this week. The main revelations: I believe you should try to incorporate both QiGong exercises and attitudes into your everyday life, and when you project positivity, positivity is projected back to you.
I work a desk job for a fairly large company. Honestly, I would rather be doing something more creative and/or labor intensive, but a job is a job. I work in close quarters with my co-workers. In fact, we sit right next to each other, staring at 30-inch monitors all day. I have grown fond of some of my co-workers: The people I sit by are some of my favorite people in the world (although some of them are moving on to different jobs.) However, when you sit right next to people, their foibles become fairly apparent to you and it can add to work stress. Personally, I am very tolerant of people, but we have some characters in our group, myself included. What has helped me remain calm, is to take a break every two hours or so and do a YiRen QiGong exercise or meditation outside for about five minutes. For stress, I like to do the energy grounding exercise along with the Energy Center Enhancing Exercise . However, you should experiment to see what works best for you.
During class, Brandon Thorson, recommended to a student that she do a YiRen QiGong exercise for 20 minutes every morning to quiet her mind and relax her body. From my own experience, this really helps me keep my composure at work and my production numbers have increased since practicing every morning.
One of the perks of this my job, is that we get free lunches. Unfortunately, most of us used to dread what they would serve us contractual workers, as it was often a greasy mound of mush.
However, our old chef was replaced by a woman named Chris who is amazing. She has drastically changed the quality of the food and unlike the slouch the used to prepare our meals, she takes tremendous pride in her work. She always greets us with a hello as we walk into the lunchroom and is happy to cater to our needs. One day she even walked around the lunchroom with a pan of freshly baked cookies and asked each table if they wanted one.
What is the lesson I have learned from Chris? It’s simple: When you project positivity, no matter what your situation, positivity will be returned to you. Chris has the same ingredients and facilities to use as the lunchroom louse before her, yet despite obviously being over-qualified and not having the most glamorous job at this time, she takes tremendous pride in her work and exceeds what is expected of her.
This was also a week of reflection and regret for me. The cause of my regret is not important necessarily. The root of it is fear and having too high of expectations. You know, we all sort of imagine what a person that we are interested in is like. We have a picture in our mind of a romantic interest and oftentimes our imagination can be enough to suffice the basic human longing to be intimate with someone. The ironic thing is, oftentimes the more we like someone, the more freaked out and unlike ourselves we become, at least initially. I often wish I could just come out and say what I feel about a romantic interest. But in the past, I have been accused of seeming too anxious or needy. I believe that in order to live a healthy life and even to optimize your YiRen QiGong experience, not only is it best to remain as positive as possible, but also chose friends and lovers wisely. Perhaps more importantly one has to learn to really love one’s self. By nature, I am a pleaser and used to forget to think about my own needs. In order to really connect with someone, you have to project positivity, confidence and self-esteem and respect. Otherwise, you will end up in toxic relationships.
One of my favorite people ever, author and QiGong practitioner Jane Alexander (who authored the book “Possessing Me” which can be found here http://www.amazon.com/Possessing-Me-Healing-Jane-Alexander/dp/0983070903/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1292013959&sr=8-1 ) once wrote the following to me when I sough her counsel about a few life issues I was having. About relationships, she wrote:
A healthy mature woman looks for guys that exude confidence. Not testosterone confidence or ego but settled, mature sense of self. A guy that is comfortable with himself, has inner confidence that radiates out. You could say that women can smell it like a scent. If you don’t love your own being the way I described than you are not ready or capable of offering the same to other people, especially women who are going to want and need more emotional support or understanding. Unless you like self-harming emo girls, girls with no appreciable self esteem and self love will latch on to guys in the same developmental phase in order to save the guy or themselves. But you know what? Two self hating people do not make a healthy, loving relationship….It’s an important issue. If you want healthy, mature, successful girls that do not need to be or want to be saved than you are going to have to work on developing that kind of personality. Guys with especially low self esteem, depression or lacking inner confidence entirely might fall under the pathetic but cute section. Usually it’s just a turn off.
That was written to me almost three years ago, and the more I study YiRen QiGong, the more I realize that what we project affects not only our love lives, but also every other aspect of our lives. One thing that I have begun to dissolve is what I call the pessimistic filter. Just because you have had bad experiences in the past regarding a certain issue or situation, does not mean that it will continue to happen–that, that occurrence set a trend. If you have a pessimistic filter, then you will misinterpret other’s actions and your own successes and failures.
Bottom line, my advice to all of you is, be bold. You might not get the desired response from the person you long for, or the result of an attempt at a goal you have, but your boldness will definitely leave an impression on that individual and further your progress on improving yourself. Also, don’t take rejection as always being your fault. Remember, you are not the only one that has fears or hang-ups. The other person might have reasons for not wanting to get to know you better, which have nothing to do with you. One of my favorite hip-hop artists, Canibus, wrote “A wise man see failure as progress…” I agree.
In addition to this, remember, whether we are conscious of it or not, many of us play games with other people. Most of us don’t do this because we are just plain malicious and evil, but because we are uncertain about a person and put them through certain ‘tests.’ This is quite natural, I believe. But not only do we play games with each other, we play games with ourselves. One unfortunate habit people get into is what Brendan Thorson calls the “broken record” effect. From my own experience, this involves negative thoughts that prevent us from doing what is best for us. To me, these repetitive thought patterns are like bad habits. It’s like when a person gets nervous and lights up a cigarette. Some people, myself included, get nervous and turn on the broken record, which just feeds our minds with excuses and lies. I had a friend who was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder who said that one of her symptoms was not being able to stop thinking about something. She would obsess over a dark thought. I too often suffer from this issue. From my experience, YiRen Qigong has helped me break negative thought patterns and see the issue in an objective way, controlling my Ego. Instead of dwelling on the problem, I seek the solution, which is usually much easier to find than I initially thought. I remember one time I told a counselor that I truly believed my so-called depression was actually an excuse not to go out there and fulfill my dreams. His eyes lit up, as he agreed. I think it became quite fashionable during the ‘90s and my youth to have the sort of attitude that the world is cruel, our futures are bleak and humans are beyond redemption. This trend needs to end.
I was looking through my old writings, and ten years ago I wrote the following lyrics:”So I tried to find comfort in words. But the man from Algiers says it’s all absurd—all absurd. He addresses the worse-case scenario and it buzzes in my head and it plays on my stereo. It’s the modern day trend, my friend and I’m telling you all, that it all needs to end. ‘Cause I know we’ll be fine, in time, We’ll be back again, back to when, we were all sane…”
As a new adult, I was beginning to experience for the first time a bit of post-adolescent angst/idealism. If I had been studying YiRen QiGong at the time, those thoughts would have surely still entered my mind, but I would have been able to digest them more healthily, and stopped the development of my pessimistic filter. Going “back again” is dissolving that filter and finding the same peace in one’s mind that a child has. It can be done. (Incidentally, the man From Algiers is Albert Camus. Algiers is now Algeria.)
So all these thoughts and revelations I brought into the Level One class on Wednesday. During the class we practiced the Small Universe Developing Exercise, Small Universe Enhancing Exercise, and Energy Center Enhancing Exercise. As YiRen QiGong teacher Brendan Thorson has stated many times, each time you take the same class, you will have a new experience. Needless to say, this was true for me. Not only did I feel the Qi energy around my body more strongly than when I tool the Level I class about a year ago, it also opened up many of my Energy Centers (which are analogous to the Chakras in Yoga). I arrived to this class with a heavy heart and a bad stomach. After class, I felt much better. My body was less tense, my stomach pain lessened and I felt more positive. One student arrived about one half hour late due to traffic. She commented that as soon as she entered the room we were practicing in, that her mind—which had been racing all day—began to quiet and she felt more at ease. I too have experienced this.
All in all, it was a week of ups and downs, but whereas in the past, I might be still brooding over trivial events, by incorporating YiRen QiGong into my daily routine, projecting positivity, not dwelling on the problem and stopping the broken record, I feel that the trials of the week were handled wisely and I am stronger for it.