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On Managing Expectations

mountains and lakes with water and a tent
Advancing in our Qigong practice is a series of peaks and valleys.

Real, meaningful change takes time and effort. There’s not a pill you can take, not a performance-enhancing outfit you can buy, not a bouncer you can tip to skip the line to a deep and fulfilling life. While the decision to change and grow can be made in an instant, the work of getting there requires constant and diligent attention- even after you’ve arrived.

In my Qigong classes, I talk to my students a lot about managing expectations both as a way of assessing progress and staying encouraged when our practice shifts from dramatic leaps and bounds to slow but steady progress. It’s good to manage your expectations. It’s even better to continue to show up and do the work even when it doesn’t conclude for the day with the shiny carrot of an experience of Satori.

You see, while life is punctuated with sexy exclamation points, it’s made up of the rather unsexy words between them. The true value of life is honoring the mundane spaces between the supramundane experiences.

While this is an important thing to hear for beginning students, particularly those with mental or physical health challenges, it’s even more important for more advanced students who are seeking to go deeper into their spiritual development. Physical ailments have easy metrics that can be used to track on the road to recovery. But what about tracking spiritual development?

I found myself in this stage and attending courses taught by Grandmaster Wong. I listened to other students describe powerful breakthroughs and experiences following a Qigong practice session. I wanted so badly to touch the other side and feel those breakthroughs for myself. I chased it. But no, just slow, boring, steady improvement out of the depths of depression for me. Hilariously, I wanted my enlightenment experience so badly that I ignored the monumental progress all around me that I had already made.

Finally, I gave up. No, not my practice- I knew that was helping, but I gave up chasing the dragon of transcendence. I stopped looking. I stopped expecting.

Then things got interesting.

Why? Because I got out of my own way. If physical tension keeps our Qi from flowing smoothly, mental tension does too. This is equally if not more important because Cosmos Qigong presupposes a deep Qigong state to maximize the amount of energy we take in during a training session. It’s a simple skill, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

It does however, mean it’s worth it.

Start from this place, with the only expectation that if you follow the directions and train with an open heart, your Qigong practice will take you to places that you could never dream of. I’m offering two classes this fall with early enrollment discounts that can either get you started on your road to meaningful change, or take you to even more profound depths.

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