“After this Qi flow, and after every Qi flow, your soul is slightly purer.”
-Grandmaster Wong Kiew- Kit
My Sifu is a very quotable person, and the above nugget is one of my favorites. While the concept of karma only exists as a belief within Buddhism, Hinduism, and a handful of other religions, we are all still familiar with it, and many of us also embrace the idea despite its not being part of our personal religions. Whether you believe in karma or not, it is deeply interwoven into Buddhism, much like Qigong, and therefore deserves some attention as there is a strong relationship between these two things.
The concept of karma is pretty simple to understand. All of your actions in this and previous lifetimes create it. Who you are, right here and right now is a result of all of your previous lifetime’s accumulations of karma- for good or for bad. While there are actually several types of karma, I will grossly generalize them for the purpose of this post. These types include the karma that is the sum total of all lifetimes, including this one, the karma we are currently creating in this lifetime, and the ancestral karma passed down to us. Understanding what we create in this lifetime is a little easier for the western mind to understand- actions create outcomes, which affect our lives. If the concept of ancestral karma or past life karma seems too weird to digest, understanding it as a function of epigenetics and learned behavior makes it a little easier to understand, albeit not quite 100% accurate.
Our karma dictates so many things, include where we are born, with what family, what opportunities we will have available to us- the list goes on. Karma is a moving target, a continuous work in progress. It is always changing. So, this begs the question, can practicing Qigong improve your karma?
Before I answer that question, here’s a little perspective for you to ponder, which I hope helps further open your heart and brings you some measure of joy: In many ways, even if you are currently suffering somehow, your karma is already very good. How? You have the blessing to have been born human, to have been born in a developed country (or at the very least with enough access to technology that you’re reading this post right now), to have been born in this modern age, and born with the desire to improve your life. Most important of all, your karma is so good that you have found your way to Qigong, and to Cosmos Qigong in particular. So, no matter what difficulties you face in your own life, if you look just past them, you will also see that you are extraordinarily blessed.
On to the meat of this post. Yes, you can absolutely improve your karma by practicing Qigong. The easiest way to understand how is with the concept of the karma we are creating right now. Qigong helps us to slow down, to become less reactive. As we gain more and more mental clarity, we react with more kindness and patience to the world. We seek out higher goals and more wholesome hobbies, instead of putting crap in and getting crap out, we put our best efforts forward in all things, and are rewarded in turn. All of these things are an indicator of better karma.
As for ancestral karma, while we might not be able to change what has been created for us in the past, we can certainly change future ancestral karma so that we pass on only the best of us. Through diligently practicing genuine Qigong, we can improve symptoms of genetic illnesses passed down to us, we can unlearn bad habits and behaviors associated with our upbringing, and we can cultivate the mental clarity that will ultimately help us leave whatever unhealthy environment we are born into. In many cases, it isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely possible.
You don't have to be a Buddhist to benefit from this. Students from all religions have seen the quality of their lives improve with consistent Qigong practice. Even a simple understanding of the cosmic happenstance that leads to our lives can create a heart-opening sense of awe and gratitude. I’m reminded of a line from the Planet Song in the Monty Python film ‘The Meaning of Life’:
“Remember when you’re feeling very small and insecure how amazingly unlikely is your birth”
The simple awareness of this creates mental shifts which already begin to improve your attitude and your karma. Adding Qigong into this sends you swiftly on your way.
If you don’t know where to begin with your practice, or if you feel like you’ve already waited too long, I’ll remind you of the old phrase ‘the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is now.’
Let’s get planting.