Recently a friend of mine posted an op-ed piece from the Guardian on Facebook (follow this link to the article) which expressed disdain for the growing movement of mindfulness meditation. The thrust of the piece was that the mindfulness movement, not being based in a religious or moral tradition, simply props up the culture of overwork and capitalism so prevalent today by teaching people skills to better cope with 12-hour work days and shrinking weekends for the aim of benefitting companies which encourage this sort of work culture rather than encouraging people to turn their noses up at the entire system.
To be fair, I’m looking at this through the lens of Shaolin Cosmos Qigong, which is Buddhist in origin and does promote kindness, morality, and unity. But while the author does make some interesting points, I can’t help but wonder if packaging meditation up into a "smash the evil capitalist pigs” box wouldn’t deter people from seeking it out to begin with.
I’m not particularly jazzed about the work more, spend more, buy more mentality that exists today. I also believe that everyone is entitled to a sound balance of work and life. But I have a feeling that if I encouraged people to abandon their possessions and live in a hut (something that I’m also not interested in), I wouldn’t have any students at all and probably wouldn’t have very many people reading this blog. As such, I meet every student where they are right now, whether that’s healthy, sick, overworked, or well-rounded. Whether that's the top rung of the C-Team ladder or the prep cook at the bottom. Everybody benefits regardless of their starting point. That’s the great thing about your Qi, it does what it needs to do for you right now while preparing heart, mind, and body for the next step. However low or high that next step doesn’t matter, because you’re still moving upwards to your best life.
I am a practicing Buddhist, obnoxious recycler, and the type of person who will hang onto a found dollar bill until I’m sure it’s not going to be claimed. That wasn’t my starting point, and if I had been told I had to be that way when I started my training in the Shaolin Arts, I probably would’ve walked away. But we don’t have to be like that when we train Cosmos Qigong (or really any type of meditation), we simply have to show up, be willing to follow the instructions with an open heart, and the Qi flow does the rest. The beauty of an agate doesn’t reveal itself by hard chiseling, but rather with smoothing, polishing, and time. This is why Grandmaster Wong repeatedly discusses why these arts are so helpful, irrespective of religion or status in life.
Wherever your starting point is, if you show up, follow instructions, and practice, the Shaolin Arts can be life changing. You don’t have to give up your pontoon to benefit from them. Follow this link to be notified about our next beginning qigong session.