When practicing Qi Gong any exercise on one side of the body is also performed on the opposite side to achieve balance. The yin/yang of complimentary balance is one of the basic principles of Qi Gong exercises. Balance is one of the most important ways to achieve good health, longevity, happiness and creative productivity.
We need balance between:
Right brain/Left brain
If we go to an extreme on one side of the scale in any of these areas, we as individuals, groups and society become imbalanced, and - at worst - create war with ourselves and others.
The Yin/Yang symbol also shows us that we can’t have one side without the other, that we are whole beings, that our mind/body/spirit is really one. We “inter-are” with ourselves and other living beings. Thinking dualistically about balance, as if one “side” is better than the other, can exist without the other, is illusion. There is no yin without yang, no inside without outside, no me without you. Seeing the two as one is important to being human, being here in the now, being alive, functioning as a mind/body in a world full of energy.
Our meditation teacher gives the example of our right hand accidentally hitting our left hand with a hammer. The hands don’t start accusing and fighting with one another. The right hand drops the hammer and soothes the injured left hand. Our hands are not separate from us, from our whole body. We are one, not separate parts.
Sometimes when I am fearful, anxious or upset about a mistake I’ve made, I beat up on myself, thus sending a “second arrow” of pain into my heart. Instead of having compassion for that little girl in me who said something unskillful or interrupted someone, I make her feel worse about herself with added blame and guilt. I need to remember the example of the right hand dropping the hammer, holding the wounded left hand, comforting myself for the error and doing what I can to make amends quickly, then to let it go. I’m human. I will make more mistakes. But beating up on myself doesn’t help. It merely adds to my pain and dysfunction.
When we are hurting, let us use the energy of mind, breath, our whole body, to soothe and heal the injured or stressed area of ourselves. Moving our bodies brings calm to our minds. Calming emotions with Qi Gong and meditation allows the body to rest. True balance comes when body/mind/spirit operate as one.
Photo by Ray MacLean