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Enjoying Practice

If you spend your time feeling comfortable both in body and mind, what do you learn?

If you are in huge physical or mental discomfort, what do you learn?

In both cases the answer is probably nothing. When we are in a completely comfortable state, we have a tendency to reinforce our existing paradigm, when we are in huge discomfort, we tend to shut down.

I like the idea that learning only really occurs when we allow ourselves to be uncomfortable. This discomfort can take any number of forms, varying from accepting that we don’t have all the answers to stronger physical or mental disruption. These levels enable us to experience things that are unfamiliar, challenging and insightful and result in our learning. 

The trick when accepting discomfort is in finding the sweet spot between the two extremes that creats the space for both the body and mind to be fully engaged in the learning. 

So what has this got to do with enjoying practice?

I think it’s fair to say that nobody would practise qigong if they didn’t enjoy either the practice, or the benefits that the practice brings, but the nature of the enjoyment is the important aspect.

If your enjoyment is in using a skill that you have developed in order to remind yourself how good you are at the skill, this is simply self indulgence and it will serve no other purpose than reminding yourself how good you are at qigong.

If your enjoyment is in continuing to learn and grow through a practice that has so much potential, this will ensure that you go on to discover the myriad of benefits and insights that sit within the practice. 

In truth, the enjoyment that we get from the practice quite often sits between these two aspects. While we enjoy learning new things, it’s comforting to return to a familiar place, and this can be especially true of more experienced practitioners and teachers. The more we learn about qigong, the easier it is to fall into the comfort trap.

So my invitation to you is to keep finding ways to make your practice uncomfortable.

Don’t fall into the trap of relaxing into your comfortable qigong chair and only talking to people who are polite enough to listen to you and not question you, don’t get stuck in some kind of self-indulgent, all knowing fug, this is unproductive, dull and pointless. Be brave enough to get out of your comfortable qigong chair and use the practice as the powerful transformational tool that it is!

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