We are storytellers — that’s how we make sense of our lives and give them meaning. Stories are always an overlay, an interpretation of what is. They enable us to accomplish great things, but can also get us in trouble if we mistake the stories for reality.
Reality can’t be pinned down in words, no matter how fine a story we spin — reality can only be experienced directly.
Qigong, literally translated means energy (qi) work (gong). Qigong consists of sets of exercises that couple movement with deep breathing and focused mental concentration.
Practices of Qigong play a significant role in Daoist practice, but also Chinese Buddhist practice. While Chinese Buddhism is best known for meditation and Shaolin-style Kung Fu rather than Qigong and it’s the emphasis on internal energy work, Chan Buddhism has a rich history of Qigong.
Bodhidharma is credited with initiating Chan with it’s blending of Indian (Theravadan) Buddhism with Daoism and Chinese culture. Bodhidharma is said to have introduced a number of Qigong sets into Chan, and Chan continues to emphasize these Qi-based exercises as part of it’s authentic lineage and practice.
It is only by changing the way we treat others that we can hope to change the world and make it a kinder, more peaceful, compassionate, and hopeful place. We can help others by touching them with gentleness, kindness, and forgiveness. But before we can do that, first we must touch ourselves in this way. We need to begin our own inner transformation.
Compassion arises out of our own experience of suffering. We all know what it’s like to be sick or in pain, to be lonely or have our feelings hurt, to fear the unknown or grieve the loss of a loved one. When we see or hear of others going through similar experiences, our heart opens with a feeling of empathy and the wish to help.
Desire to Be Free
Compassion is the wish for oneself and others to be free of suffering, free from all painful, unwanted, unsatisfactory experiences. Compassion acknowledges that everyone wants to be free of suffering, deserves to be free, and has the capacity to be free.