“You want to change the world? Change yourself.” My Chinese martial arts teacher, George Xu, told me that once. Of course, I already knew that, but it’s always good to be reminded. You can’t get enough reminding, especially in the midst of living under the barrage that is this world in this time. Not that I think I can change the world, but I am interested in changing myself.
I’ve read also in a wellness course I’m taking that “all change is self-change.” For me, tai chi and qigong certainly are tools for self-change. I began my practice for that reason, although it wasn’t foremost in my mind. I was taking a chance that it would help to solve a health problem. It was a desperate act of hope to alter an illness. It’s that way for many practitioners—deciding on tai chi to correct an affliction or to prevent problems in the future without really knowing if it will work.
You have to trust in your intuition, more or less. It’s not always clear how to change or what to change at first. We can know such new and unfamiliar modalities, that really are only hearsay at first, only by doing them. We might fear that they won’t work and we will have lost time and money, but we have to trust something, so we engage them, uncertain of the outcomes.
Isn’t that true all the time anyway? You can either trust others or yourself. Doctors, healers, priests, ministers, shamans, tai chi teachers, all come and go, and in the end you still have yourself. All these have value if placed correctly, but tai chi and qigong give you the wheel and allow you to do something about your health for yourself. We have in the end, and in the beginning as well, only our own best judgment to go on and act on the hope for fruitful outcomes and solved problems.
Know where your central equilibrium is. Move around it, up and down its length. Forward and back. Straight, strong, alive. Flexible, always regenerating.