Nestled on a hill top overlooking madrone forests and streams that nourish a rugged landscape of limestone cliffs, the Wild Basin visitor center was filled with participants breathing and moving as one, and discovering that mindfulness, clarity and peace is accessible to each and every one of us through the simple yet powerful art of qi gong.
So often people have this idea that being mindful or meditating requires one to empty one’s mind of all thoughts and be silent and still. While this is an ideal, it is rarely practical in a world that constantly requires us to over utilize our left brains filled with language, thoughts and a constant stream of intellectually processing our experiences.
Qi gong movement offers an opportunity for our minds to engage with focus, a conscious intent of guiding and regulating the energy in our bodies, a regulation which then impacts our thought patterns, feelings and biochemistry. Thus, qi gong allows us to achieve a state of deep mindfulness, by becoming aware of and working with the union of our body, mind and spirit in a way that is easy to learn and that provides positive results immediately.
During the Wild Basin qi gong workshop, one participant shared that the gentle qi gong movements, accompanied by the mesmerizing sounds of drummer Eric Dannebaum, allowed her to achieve what she has always imagined as the meditative state. She shared that this peaceful state has always eluded her despite trying on numerous occasions to meditate.
Many people can relate to this struggle of trying to meditate only to have the left brain create distractions that make it challenging to relax and be present in the moment.
The participant shared further, “I wasn’t even trying and yet I got there so effortlessly as I moved my body.”
How does qi gong create this effortless flow into mindfulness and meditation?
Qi Gong activates the right side of our brains while quieting the left brain. The left brain tends to create a constant stream analytical chatter which keeps us in our heads and makes it difficult to align all parts of ourselves to consistently and optimally manifest positive thoughts, feelings and actions in our lives.
A powerful example of how the chatter of the left brain creates blocks to insight and peacefulness is the experience of neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor, who experienced greater states of clarity, blissfulness and what she described as “Nirvana” when she experienced a stroke that literally shut down the functioning of her left brain.
This Harvard trained scientist, who spent her days studying the intricacies of the brain, discovered her ability to attain a more enlightened and expanded view of life when the stroke on the left side of her brain quieted the constant streams of more concrete thoughts and awakened the right brain’s more abstract flows that often resonate more with the spirit.
Yet, we do not have to physically shut down the left brain to experience deep levels of clarity, insight and peace in our lives. Those states are immediately and easily accessible to us when we incorporate qi gong into the every day flow of our lives. As little as five minutes every hour, can transform our states of being by giving our ever active left brains a mini-vacation so that our right brains can remind us of our wholeness, potential and true essence.