Another workshop, another 4 hours spent concentrating on the body. Presence, was the first point on the flip-chart list. Another seven would appear during the course of the afternoon, as the teacher continually emphasised that it is not about the exercises. It’s about the work you do whilst exercising. It’s about alignment, stability and calm. And it’s about letting go. More words on the list – just a handful of many possible points of attention.
Qi Gong is a skill which, like any other, requires focused, repeated practice. And persistence – if there is resistance somewhere, don’t give up; use it to access the body, sensing what is there with an awareness which, as I shall suggest in this post and the next, can both create and heal.
The teacher, Torsten Schiz, is a relaxed, engaging man who explains his subject with effortless clarity. He left us in no doubt that although this work requires time and effort, all we have to do is make a start. Again, it’s not about the exercises. It’s about the focus you bring to the exercises. The presence and the awareness. Those two words alone made me feel at home, and everything he said made sense to me. Again. (It had been the same in the first workshop of his I attended.) Furthermore, his comments brought sense and clarity to my own observations.
For example, during one early exercise I noticed how simply paying attention to my body felt good. As if my body – just like any two-year-old – was happy to be noticed and acknowledged. As I moved through the exercise, there was a sense of teamwork. ‘We are in this together’, I thought. ‘My body and me’. Yet it felt as though it was my body that was in control – the foreman of the whole project, exuding reassurance with an innate knowledge of what to do. No longer working to attract my attention, it now felt secure and content; able to focus itself more on something more subtle, more powerful. Something deeper, perhaps?
That depth will come with practice. That’s the reason for the discipline and the focused repetition: in time everything is revealed. Even now, though, there was another layer to notice. The feeling of teamwork between my body and myself extended to the various parts of my body. As my weight shifted to the right, that leg felt supported by everything else. Held steady and poised. More in balance and with greater harmony than before.
I shared my observation, and others shared theirs. Torsten talked about the body’s natural desire to achieve health and harmony. It wants to heal itself, and with our awareness we bring forth the life force which is always available. The same happens when we look at each other, he continued. When we pay each other attention we awaken that force, activating the natural harmony and happiness in each other.
That’s the reason why I had felt my body’s contentment. Giving my body the gift of my awareness, brought it to life. Or perhaps more accurately, brought life to it. That natural force inherent in all things.
I wrote in another post about ‘the powerful way the human spirit always seems to know how to right itself given the slightest chance’. Here was evidence of that very same notion. Treat your body like a two-year-old child. Grant it your awareness, acknowledge its magnificence, and you will call forth its natural, abundant happiness – that deep contentment with itself and its world which allows it to play and to heal.