I'm reading The Hobbit to my children. It's been a fun preparation for Halloween, and an even greater way to explore an adventurous story together. At the beginning, Bilbo Baggins lives a quiet and simple life, content inside the comfort of his hole under the hill. One day, very unexpectedly, the call of adventure came by the hand of a wizard named Gandalf. Bilbo had a choice to refuse it or accept. It ultimately came down to the fact that he was the inheritor of two differing ancestral traits: the complacency of Baggins (his father's line) and the courageousness of Tooks (his mother's). Which family trait would lead out in response?
The Took in him stepped forward, and the adventure of a lifetime began.
One of my life's greatest adventures (and I'll say one of the most impactful in my 36 years on earth) began when I became acquainted with an unusual man who introduced me to something called Qigong (chee-gung). This man wasn't a wizard, but the nature of this fascinating and ancient practice was nonetheless magical. I learned that Qigong held great promises for those who cultivated it properly: greater health, increased unity of body and soul, deeper healing and enlightenment. I was intrigued and all the Took-like qualities in me stepped forward. I was ready to learn.
I learned that Qi means "vital life force" and Gung means "cultivation of or development of expert skill." I was thus becoming an expert in cultivating the vital energy that naturally exists in every thing. Amazing! I was introduced to simple concepts, and even simpler exercises of body movements, breathing techniques and mental visualizations. It was thrilling and somewhat disappointing at the same time because of how simple it was. This is it?! I just do these movements and I'm supposed to be enlightened and perform amazing things with energy? I kept an open mind and continued on.
I'd like to say that Qigong made a profound difference for me then, but it didn't. Eventually, the excitement wore off and I was back to dealing with the constant demands and expectations of life. I'd perform a few of the exercises here and there, and it was nice. I felt better. However, there wasn't anything deeply stirring around in me and my attention was drawn elsewhere.
One year later I was given the opportunity of training with an expert teacher of Qigong - a doctor of this ancient Chinese mind/body practice. It was enticing, but I put it off. The company I was working for was going under and I needed to figure out how to support my family. I didn't have the $1,500 for the 5-day training. Two days before the training started, however, I decided to enroll. My life has been different ever since.
It was the most transformational training I ever experienced. I immediately implemented a daily routine with consistency. I researched and studied the concepts and began making connections between the holistic, Eastern philosophies and the deductive, Western understandings. I became a more diligent seeker, and I gradually became richly rewarded.
Why did Qigong make such a difference for me at that time? Why did it convince me to become a professional practitioner and open a clinic? I've often wondered that. Perhaps it's because I finally attached a great sacrifice of money and time to go deeper in learning and applying it. Perhaps it was all about timing and the right circumstances which have to be present in order to receive something like Qigong. I cannot possibly put into this one blog post everything I've experienced and learned, and more of the reasons why I'm doing what I'm doing, but I will continue sharing more in the future.
Suffice it to say, I'm very blessed to be where I'm at and enjoy the skills and abilities of cultivating greater vital life force in my being and in my life. It's been a blessing to my family, and several extended family members. It's provided me the means of serving many people who've come to my clinic and received various forms of healing. It's not provided the wealth of gold and treasures that awaited Bilbo at the end of his journey, but I enjoy the richness of Qigong every day I engage with it. I am privileged to carry on its centuries-old legacy. Perhaps one day, the Took in you will hear this call of adventure and step forward. If so, I can promise you that a long anticipated journey is bound to begin.