By Michael Gelb
Contemporary science is validating the profound benefits of the ancient Chinese practice of qigong. This practice can teach us how to increase our vitality and creative energy to empower every aspect of our lives.
Qigong and various other movement, meditation, and visualization practices all originated at a time when the rhythms of nature had much more influence on daily life than they do today. People rose at dawn and retired at sunset. They planted and harvested in harmony with the change of seasons and the movements of the moon and planets.
They watched a heron stalk and then catch a fish.
They observed the praying mantis capturing a fly.
Bears, snakes, monkeys, and cats were their teachers.
They studied the rising and setting of the sun, the waxing and waning of the moon, the flow of water and the patterns of the wind. They asked: How can I be like the heron and the mantis? What are the secrets of the bear, snake, monkey, and cat? What can I learn from the sun, the moon, the waves, and the wind?
They played. Explored. Danced. Breathed. They experienced qi in all its manifestations and recognized it as their most important natural resource. They experimented to discover how to access, store, and utilize it. Thus, the art of qi cultivation was born.
But these practices arose from more than just shamanic illumination. These were very practical people. They dug in the earth, stacked hay, moved stones, fought battles. They needed strength and stamina. They had to recover quickly if they were sick or wounded. So they took what they learned from their observations of the natural world and asked: How can we use this to heal? How can we use this to vanquish opponents?
Thus, the healing and martial arts came into being.
And then they contemplated the source of the power behind all creation, and they asked:
How can we use this to create and to experience the Divine?
Adapted from Creativity on Demand: How to Ignite and Sustain the Fire of Genius by Michael J. Gelb (Sounds True, 2014).
Robert Peng, founder of Elixir Light Qigong, began his qigong apprenticeship with the legendary monk Xiao Yao when he was a boy. He teaches internationally and is the author of The Master Key: Qigong Secrets for Vitality, Love, and Wisdom, and producer of The Master Key companion CD and DVD series.
Michael J. Gelb, a leading authority on the application of genius thinking to personal and organizational development, is the author of the bestseller How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci. Michael is a master teacher of the Alexander Technique and the author of BodyLearning. He is a 5th degree black belt in aikido and the originator of the Super Qi Summit.