As a race we are hard-wired to move towards comfort.
We have moved steadily from dark unsafe caves, into warm, safe, well-lit houses.
From sitting on a rock or a log, we’ve progressed to ergonomic designer chairs.
Finding a handful of berries, or eating a three day old elk’s buttock seems desperate; if we can’t have a smashed avocado on sourdough there’s likely to be a hissy fit!
There’s been a constant movement toward Society, and away from outsider. We are pack animals, happier in company than when isolated.
Be it drinking in a stream, pulling a bucket from a well, to turning on a tap or twisting off a top, life gets better and safer.
Plagues arrive once every few generations, and claim a tiny percentage of our population.
In the recent Covid pandemic there was a mortality rate of about 3%.
In the Bubonic plague times estimates vary from 40–50% of the European population died.
Things are getting safer..
There is however quite a downside to our behaviour.
These days, the drive for a comfortable life has taken us to extremes.
(How unusual to us to go to extremes.. see “Smoking tobacco in a Peace Pipe once a month versus 20 cigs a day as an example!!!)
As with everything we distort the good things by wanting more, more and MORE!
One of the problems comes up, when we look at our physical make-up.
(Don’t forget that our genetics haven’t changed since we were sitting I those dark, dank caves.. We’ve shot through an Industrial Revolution, and evolved into a Digital age, all with cave-man genes!!)
Take the term Stress — only really applied to us as humans from the First World War onwards.
Before that, it described the amount of force put on something before it broke…
Stress these days essentially equates to the hunt for Money.
Money — Stress
If you had a guarantee of all the money you ever needed, would you be stressed?
(Yes, I know “Money can’t buy you love, happiness etc…!)
Put a roof over your head, put food in your and your children’s mouths, the occasional holiday, 90% of your worries would disappear. With Maslow’s Hierarchy met, we would have time to be happy and creative, not stressed and dying!
The cells in your body need sleep!
If you are happy, well-fed and relaxed, you’ll probably get a regular good night’s sleep.
If your job is stressful, your boss is on your back, the bills are mounting up.. your sleep will probably be bad.
Our cells only have two modes “Work” or “Fix” — In work mode, they are doing all the cell things you’d expect. In Fix mode, all the “junk” and bi-products of a Cell’s daily work are broken down and cleaned up.
Yes, you guessed it, the clean-up process occurs whilst we sleep (or do our Qigong!)
The garbage in our cells essentially represents aging.
The more rubbish, the less time we have to process, the more toxic the environment, the quicker a cell will die, the quicker you’ll become ill or die too.
Our bodies are NOT programmed for “Comfort 100%”
Our brains desire “Comfort 100%”
It’s a tricky conundrum
What happens if you get everything you want?
Obesity, Heart Disease, Diabetes to name but a few.
What happens if we get nothing you want?
Starvation, Mal-nutrition and death to name but a few.
We need the middle ground (As always — balance!)
The same story is true in our Qigong practice.
If you do an exercise that you always like, do you think it’s doing you real benefit?
(I don’t like to do the “BodyMind” set, it’s too difficult for me!)
Sometimes, we need to find discomfort, to find real benefit.
My classes have to travel a very thin line, between comfort and challenge.
My Teacher Gao always impressed me, he claims he starts his classes by making people stand for 20 minutes with their arms stretched out to the sides. (I think this is officially NOT allowed under the terms of the Geneva Convention!!)
I said to him, “My students would all leave!” — He said “That’s what I want! I want the one’s who don’t show commitment to go away!”
(He’s obviously lucky to have hundreds of students beating a path to his door, so he can pick and choose..!)
He has a point though.
It’s noted that the people who really apply themselves to Qigong and self-healing have a much better and faster rate of improvement.
The idea comes from a Bruce Lee quote — Practice casually, and expect “casual” results..
We are disabled here in the UK, by our National Health System.
From an early age, we give our power to Doctors “You’re the expert — please heal me!”
This disempowerment, combined with our astonishingly advanced comfort systems means that when we finally stress ourselves into illness (because of the pursuit of money) we are TOTALLY unprepared for the task of healing ourselves.
If we DO manage to heal ourselves, then how many clients have I seen go straight back to working in the same company, same job etc, that made them ill in the first place!!
So, when the going gets tough, what will you do?
Fold, hand over to somebody else, or get too it with focus and avengeance!?
We often hear the idea that desire is a bad thing, but in actuality, desire is the force that moves our world forward. The desire to make things better, helps our world. The desire to dominate another race, or the desire for more money, is what creates our problems. Balance, balance, balance as always.
We were built in caves, we respond well to times of hardship, we respond well to starvation.
(In 1947 the British public was still under heavy rationing of food, but the population was demonstrated as being at its healthiest on record.)
We all see how popular Fasting has become. This is essentially simulating hard times without food, to trick the body into cleaning up, recycling and fixing everything.
Generally, our Mind hates fasting — until you get used to it.. our body loves it..
Same with our exercise. If you never challenge yourself, your body will never improve.
As an example from my world — Standing Qigong is tough! Stand for an hour AND try to keep a quiet mind?? You must be kidding!?
The more you persevere, the easier it becomes, the more your body heals, and so the cycle progresses.
Give yourself a challenge, trust your body to respond.
The more we try, the stronger our will-power grows. The more will-power we have, the more easily we can surmount a challenge in our lives, when it arrives.
Trust your body, calm your mind, let your Qigong support you!