These ancient energy arts have a spiritual lineage, which makes the practice a very deep, joyful and transformative experience.
Many of you have asked, “How do I honor those lineages with deepest respect and cultivate the energy imparted to me during work with an advanced master of the arts, such as Dr. Arnold Tayam?”
Recognize and Honor the Lineage and Process of Forms Evolution
First, recognize that while qi gong is an art that is open to everyone and “belongs” to no one, certain movements that advanced instructors develop as a result of their many years of cultivation, are proprietary and should only be taught (as defined by demonstrating movements to the public in a class setting) by those who have been officially certified by that master and given permission to do so.
The energy around this protocol is not to create red tape or “ownership” of the forms, but is to create respect of the deep level of work that the master has cultivated to access the wisdom and knowledge that inspires the evolution of qi gong into new unique forms and meditations that are significantly different in content from classical forms.
For example, Dr. Tayam, has created the infinite qi gong and bagua circle walking system as a series of proprietary movements and meditations–thus, these new forms, while based on classical movements, are not the original qi gong that was shared with the public in ancient times and more “open source.”
To deepen the example, let’s say there is a piece of music that is open source and available to the public to be used for any purpose.
Imagine if a world class musician took that piece of open source music, reflected and meditated on it for many years, then as a result of that process, developed an entirely new piece of music that is substantially different in content and form than that original form of music.
Would it would be respectful and honorable to take that new music shared with you during a public or private concert with the musician, and treat it in the same way as open source music–simply use it in any fashion you see fit without getting permission from the creator of that music?
No. You would respect and honor the process that has created this new music and ask, “I would like to share the joy I feel from hearing this music with others–may I have permission to distribute this music to others and/or if there is a procedure to purchase it, may I do so?”
Since qi gong movement evolution is developed as a result of a master teacher cultivating and accessing the spiritual lineage that is embedded in forms, when new forms and systems are developed, they represent the spiritual teachings of all that has come before in that teacher’s cultivation, and also include the teacher’s own personal cultivation and new spiritual insights that are a result of that cultivation.
Sometimes master teachers will gift the evolution of forms to the public to be approached as open source.
For instance, the National Qi Gong Association asked master level shifus to evolve classical forms of qi gong to create, “The Five Treasures,” a unique and substantially different form than some of the classical systems.
This form of Five Treasures was then shared with the public as open source teachings–encouraging teachers and students to burn and share DVD of this offering. However, NQA, as an organization that supports the high standards of quality teachers, does not advocate that students who are not trained and certified to teach qi gong, teach Five Treasures to others through public demonstrations etc. They suggest that students share the DVD which has master level teachers instructing the form.
Thus, students, who try to share in classroom or workshop settings, demonstrations of their personal practices, without being certified to teach or given permission to share in this fashion, create an energy of disrespect to the spiritual lineage and all the hard work that has gone into evolving the forms, no matter how positive their intentions are to share joy or tools with others.
Essentially such individuals forfeit their spiritual connections to the lineage from which the qi gong forms come.
Usually, the result is “empty forms” teachings–people who may instruct with wonderfully technical correctness and joy, but who have no true spiritual and energetic depth–thus, their ability to facilitate deeper life-transformation for their students is limited.
Practice Diligently, Consistently and with Gratitude
Practice what you have been taught with mindfulness and consistency.
When you learn qi gong in workshops or classes, understand that this is just a seed that has been planted. Honor that seed by tending it daily with practice so that the seed may grow into a powerful and expansive tree. Make the commitment to continue to train with the forms you have learned.
Sometimes a student will say, “Kay I really appreciate the opportunity to train with you,” and yet when I ask them how their practices are going, they reply, “Oh, I really am not practicing regularly.” It is like receiving a gift but not using that gift or nourishing it.
In old school training in Asia, only the most dedicated of students are invited to advanced trainings –but here in the West, people feel entitled to access advanced teachings and the richness of lineages without putting time in to practice.
As several of my long-time students will share, when they dropped their practices, suddenly appointments for private trainings and other opportunities to learn more deeply were not available to them. They affectionately refer to this as “the time Kay fired us.”
I am so proud that they were able to get back on track and resume their studies with diligence and commitment.
If you truly acknowledge and value the gift that master teachers share for what those gifts are, you will find the time to cultivate the seed, if only five minutes every hour of each day–or through longer sets of practice.
For additional information about how to grow the seed of qi gong ethically and with honor, come to our Saturday morning class starting at 10:30 am at Westlake Well Being center, at 3355 Bee Caves Road, Bldg. 7, Suite 705, or email me for deeper guidance.