Discipline, and our resistance to it, is a recurring topic among qigong practitioners. Everyone I meet through qigong expresses a desire for a meaningful regular practice to support them in transforming their lives. Qigong leads to the unfolding of greater happiness and health. It increases our capacity to contribute to the wellbeing of our families and communities. However, many encounter resistance that can be confounding.
Some definitions of discipline include training to ensure proper behavior, make yourself do something regularly and self-mastery. The opposite of discipline is agitation, ignorance, disorder and neglect.
Resistance can be defined as opposition, refusal to give in. It implies a battle or defiance. The other side of resistance is surrender.
Few practitioners are naturally disciplined while many others wrestle with ways to keep the spark alive that will motivate them to practice regularly. You may strongly desire a regular practice but often find yourself in internal negotiations about when to practice, where to practice and even whether to practice.
Feelings of defiance may not seem congruent with who you are today. This is because there could be resistance stored as old energetic patterns in the body that you are unaware of. Fortunately, practicing qigong inherently dissolves and releases these patterns.
There are some practical tips to help maintain a regular practice. These include:
- Undertaking a short trial period to explore your relationship with discipline. You can choose an initial 7-day or 30-day trial period before you decide if you want to continue. Keep a journal to acknowledge the benefits.
- Start now, just do it! The energetic support is in your favor when you start while it is on your mind. Where the mind goes qi follows.
- Each morning review your intention; is it still your desire? If yes, make the decision and act on your choice.
- Enjoy what you are doing. Adjust your attitude as needed to experience the practice as joyful. Do not approach your practice as though it is a penance that you must check off the list. Be kind to yourself. You are the only one who knows whether you are practicing; it will be a uniquely personal journey.
- Be fully present when practicing. This activates feelings of inner freedom. The practitioners who have the courage and willingness to open up to resistance and be present experience a deeper connection with all of life. Yes, it may take grit, empathy and compassion.
Is qigong practice prescribed for the rest of our days? Maybe. Certainly, you will benefit from the support of a formal practice if you are recovering from injuries, health imbalances or unresolved relationships. Be open to the possibility of an ongoing qigong practice that will support you for a lifetime.
Discipline will eventually transmute into freedom from resistance. You will no longer be held back by old information that keeps your heart and mind closed. It will become a heartfelt gift and contribution to yourself and loved ones as well as your community.
“Until we are able to love and take care of ourselves, we cannot be of much help to others.”- Thich Nhat Hanh
As the months and years pass, your capacity for discipline grows. Your relationship with resistance and discipline will evolve and transmute, especially if you meet it with an open-hearted curiosity. Embrace resistance as an invitation to open the door without knowing what wonderful surprise is waiting for you.