Striving for perfection and Qigong Practice

 

The change of my mindset regarding the concept of perfection was one of many transformations which happened since I’ve been practicing Qigong, Nei Gong, exploring Daoist philosophy and also other internal arts concerning mindset and consciousness.

So I’m happy to share with you this post which is not perfect from many perspectives (my English, clarity, style…) but reflects me in this moment. I enjoy writing and being able to share my thoughts with my readers the best that I can in this moment.

 

Long path

You already know that Qigong is a Chinese science, art and of course skill of working with energy. Learning Qigong is a long path which takes a lot of time and patience. You try to cultivate and constantly refine not only posture, body alignment and form, but also energetic, meditative and spiritual aspects.

It is said that to master a new skill 10.000 hours of practice are necessary. So, if in this moment you decide to master something, (maybe Qigong), all this time is between the point where you are standing now and your goal – a perfection you want to achieve.

How to persist on this way and not to be frustrated because you are not yet there, where you would like to be? How can you learn to avoid feeling or expressing distress and annoyance because of your current inability to change or achieve something that you would like? How to overcome a fear that you are not able to learn something so complex and new?

 

Become aware of useless thought pattern

I would like to explain why people are so often frustrated or impatient when they start to learn something, in our case Qigong. And why they are so obsessed with perfection and afraid of doing mistakes?

First you have to realize that emotion of frustration is caused by a particular thought pattern that you unconsciously use. This pattern has been imprinted in you during the process of education and schooling, at home and in society. The process of learning new things was always accompanied by award or punishment according to which degree you were able to fulfill the criteria of perfection imposed by your parents and teachers. Later on by your boss, media, advertisement, films…

You are constantly tested and compared with others. If you are not good enough you can expect criticism, rejection, deny of love. The only thing that counts is a result. You constantly have to prove your worthiness. You do everything to fulfill expectations of others and so you start to lose the connection with yourself.

Others don’t care how you feel. If you have fun, or not. What do you experience through the process of learning, what are the things that really interest you, what are your best potentials…, this should matter to you, because you are the only one who can value that.

You can become so afraid of making a mistake that you develop habit to procrastinate your ideas and projects to eternity. You never share things with others because you fear their disapproval or criticism.  And doing so you deprive yourself of development, experiences, you stop the flow, life energy. But LIFE is not waiting. Life is happening now, in this moment.

 

New mindset

Through the practice of Qigong you can attain a more appropriate mindset which supports cultivation of contentment and joy in the present moment which inspires you to continue the path. And paradoxically, when you start to see things that you are able to do now as perfect for this moment, there will be more and more perfection in your life.

Let’s start.

 

Your choice

Learn and practice Qigong without expecting award or praise, without fear to do mistakes or to be criticized. Try to relax your mind also and you will be able to improve your skills constantly in natural and harmonious way. Practice Qigong, because this is your choice and because deeply inside you feel that this is the right thing for you.

 

Instead of comparing with others listen to yourself

The thing that often frustrates a person when he starts to learn new things, also Qigong, is that he tries to compare himself with others. He would like to be as good as others or even better. It is again his thought pattern in game, programmed for a competition and trying to prove his worthiness. And this kind of thinking causes tensions.

So, try to relax and be concerned mostly with yourself. In Qigong class there is no place for grading, exams, bad marks, criticism… Master or teacher often encourages students to support each other and work as a group. Majority of people can somehow restrain from criticizing others (at least not loudly, ;)) but it is more difficult to not criticize yourself. However, not to be critical about yourself and rather be patient is essential for maintaining a smooth flow of Qi. Your first job is therefore to start learning how to maintain your mind and body relaxed and allow the energy to flow.

Instead of comparing yourself with others try to discover your path in harmony with your nature.

 

Start looking for the perfection which is possible to attain in this moment

Instead of looking toward the “final” goal somewhere in the future, be aware of the present moment and try to do the best you can inside your limited relaxation, staying in harmony with yourself. In this moment this is your perfection.

Experiencing pain, feeling great discomfort and starting to criticize yourself is not your state of perfection. Find a place for your current perfection by correcting your posture or movement, and calming your breathing and mind.

For someone who was injured and have been on a wheel-chair for a long time only one step can be experienced as perfection. He can spoil this moment by thinking about how long it will take to walk again normally. And with this thought he blocks also his energy which could otherwise serve to another step. But he has also a choice to simply enjoy a present moment.

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You can’t force things, so relax

In Qigong making exact plans for your practice is useless, because you can never predict when you will achieve something.  Especially when you come to the practices which are more concerned with the energy, mind and consciousness.

You can’t force yourself to achieve something only by rigidly stick to your schedule. To achieve something (for example a proper posture, relaxation, deep and long breathing, feeling Qi, state “without thoughts”…)  time is required and processes at different levels to unfold. And as each person is different, it requires different time and at times also different succession.

It is useful to make a plan for your Qigong practice, but try to avoid time boundaries. If you will try to force things your body and mind will become only tenser and your progress will stop.

Rather than making a plan that you will succeed to stand in Ma Bu for thirty minutes in one month, decide to practice it for few minutes every day until you feel comfortable with it. And then gradually increase the time and continue practice… and you will see. … And you will enjoy more in your small improvements. You will develop also your patience and persistence.

Remember, things happen when the time is right, when you are ready. And then they are perfect.

 

Embrace your limits

It is great if we desire to constantly improve ourselves, our skills, relationships… But at the same time we have to learn to accept our “imperfections” and limitations which in fact make us different from others. Daoism teaches to accept bright and also dark sides of our life as equivalent.

 

Start to enjoy the path

During the Qigong practice you can learn that the path, the process toward the goal-perfection, which you have in front of you is more important than goal-perfection itself. It is the process in which you learn, discover, perceive, improve… You are changing constantly and also your perspective of what is perfect changes. It is always possible to do something better, you continue refining posture, breathing, awareness…

In Qigong perfection in the sense of finality doesn’t exist. There is no end. So start to enjoy the path.

 

Perfection is stagnation

In the moment when you think that you have achieved the perfection you stop to learn. True Masters learn whole their lives. Every day you are a different person and each day is different. You can repeat the same Qigong movements day after day, but every day you do them differently because you are different. One day you feel good, another not so good… You develop, grasp something new, you let go of something useless. You are looking for new experiences and you are refining the old ones. You are refining your skills through days, months, years… You realize that everything unfolds perfectly, in perfect time for you.

I laugh when I remember my Qigong beginnings, when I was asking my teacher how long will it take for me to learn this thing. After all these years that passed, I’ve realized that I don’t want this path to ever end.

 

May the Qi be with You!

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Photo: Pixabay


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