Come to the Dance

Qigong is like a community dance. If only three people show up from the area, it is still a community dance. But as the music plays, revs up, more locals stroll in and join the fun. Eventually, every member of the community is involved, all joining the celebration and acting as a happy crowd.

art_bdj3 As in this scene, you may find yourself starting with only a few participants. Standing, you think about your breathing, structure and intent; tinkering really. It might already seem overwhelming but, as you will experience with time, once you get those first three items working together, the dance will naturally and effortlessly entice more involvement.

One of the core concepts of Qigong is this slow roping in of all pertinent concerns of the exercise. In many types of physical practice the technical is first learned, then sequentially perfected. But the internal is generally treated as an indefinable mystical-plus symbol which some people possess while others don’t. However, this extra-factor, if we are alert to changes in people’s attitudes, is evidently of great import; otherwise, we would not be seeing all these “Inner Game” books, or  “Zen of…” features. People are beginning to see that balancing the inner and the outer is a key factor in real health.

art_bdj1I am convinced that while the modern world is far in the front on many scientific and similar achievements, it is still in infancy regarding the types of subjects which constitute what I call the “science of the East.” Centuries and centuries of intra-personal verification have at least shown that there is a field here to investigate.

Qigong never bores because it returns lost information, showing us more and more about ourselves. But it does this only at a very basic level, even farther down than those traumas, appetites and avoidances we think of as the building blocks of our human reality. It does not propose that things like the fear of death, sorrow, or joy do not exist, but that they are not the sole fundamentals of our lives. In many ways, the modern psychologically-dominated view portrays each person as a floating ego bumping against other ego balloons in a closet. We try to free ourselves from ourselves while contending that there is nothing there but what we are trying to eliminate. In the East, concepts like the Original Selart_bdj2f, or questions like “Who were you before you were born?” are simply means to demonstrate that we have an entire human world operating in us every day. This other world is probably only held to those things we think of as our private, personal hell and heaven by the thinnest twine, the cheapest magnet, a sliver of attraction.

In Qigong, you dance while you wait. Your practice improves balance, strength, stretch and general health. But—to speak honestly—these improvements are merely distractions to convince the personality-self that you are not wasting your time; that you are doing something “real.” All this will lead you—can only lead you—to something higher and finer. The first dancers to arrive need not stand around while they wait. All they need do is listen to the music and start to move.

This is an excerpt from Ted Mancuso’s upcoming book on Ba Duan Jin Qigong.





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