by Karen Steinbrecher
Reflecting on this month’s theme of letting go, I am reminded of a quote by Lao Tzu who said, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” Bill Douglas, Co-Founder of World TaiChi and QiGong day, recently shared his observation that when some students discover the reality that they are “a flawed wandering human being on this earthly plane,” they think TaiChi and QiGong don’t work and wonder, “Why bother?” He remarked that being a teacher of QiGong can be difficult because students often form idealized versions of their teachers. And, as with all idealized versions of anything, disappointment inevitably follows. Students learn that the teacher is a human being walking on the same Earth with the same journey of life as they are. We are all working through life lessons. In one setting, I am the teacher. In another, you are. Much of the time, our teaching and learning happen simultaneously. As Ram Dass says, “We’re all just walking each other home.”
TaiChi and QiGong and meditation ultimately require “letting go” to be done well, fully present in the moment. Look at the great Masters doing QiGong and TaiChi; they appear to be “unhinged and liquid”, says Douglas. This is not a technical skill as much as a whole soul surrender on the deepest level mentally, emotionally, and physically. In QiGong, we call this level of deep surrender “the sinking.”
Douglas defines the sinking as “this exquisite, all encompassing love that the world and universe are made of, this energy that is the quantum field from which ALL emerges”. This beautiful, radiant energy is what awaits when we let go of our grip on things. As Douglas writes, surrender “asserts itself in subtle silken ways.” The impulse to “hold on” - to the known, the familiar, the comfortable, the idealized teacher, the old ideas of who we are and how the world should be - is so strong. But the rewards of letting go are profound. The “sinking” has a richness to it that is worth the discomfort of loosening our grip. The practice of QiGong and TaiChi may appear physical in nature, but the positive ripple is pervasive throughout all aspects of our lives. Learning to let go through QiGong helps us move - in every facet of our lives - with greater freedom and peace.