Finding Endless Happiness in Practicing Qigong

            Since I was little, my parents were very strict about my education. They had rules for everything, including small things like how to clean, how to hold a broom, and how to sweep the floor and other things like how to interact with people, how to buy things from a general store, how to reply, sit, and stand when I was around elders. I was taught to always follow their rules and be on the lookout for things happening around me. I was always expected to have an appropriate response at the right time. I remember once I participated in a trip sponsored by my dad’s company for its employees and their families, and on the trip I kept on talking to one of my dad’s colleagues who sat next to me. After arriving home, I was immediately reminded, “Why did you say everything regardlessly?” Because of these many restrictions, I gradually started to not like talking. I didn’t know how to “correctly” express myself, so I would keep everything in my heart even when obstacles stand in my way. Once a friend asked me, “You obviously are a warm person, why do you always let others feel that there is a distance between you and them?”

            However, there was a 180-degree change in my life after I joined Tai Ji Men and started to follow my Shifu (master) to practice qigong and improve myself. I remember once when I went up to share my thoughts about my experience, my Shifu encouraged me by saying, “When you think that everyone is your good friend, you will naturally start feeling at ease when talking!” After listening to his advice, I started to practice talking to others by using this method again and again. Later on, a brother at Tai Ji Men asked me, “How can you so easily talk to everyone?” Yes, I found out that I had broken through the self-doubt that had held me back. I could finally talk to others naturally! This breakthrough made me very happy!

However, later on, I found out that I had another problem--although I could naturally talk to everyone, I couldn’t communicate with depth. I carefully observed myself and found that deep down in my heart I still cared about how others view me. Therefore, I would rather refrain from sharing my thoughts than talk freely. In addition, since childhood I had had a cautious personality, and I used to be a poor communicator. Additionally, because of my small skinny figure, I thought I had no right or power to mind others’ business. Gradually I became a person that only cared about my own affairs.

The kungfu that my Shifu has taught has numerous applications. He taught me to learn to be relaxed, calm, natural, and cheerful, allowing me to learn to be myself, look at my own strengths, encourage myself, and help myself become relaxed and open up. He also said, “It is not enough when only you are improved. You also need to inspire others to become better. That is actual goodness.” I slowly came to understand what he really meant by that. It’s like German pastor Martin Niemoller’s message about the cowardice of German intellectuals toward the Nazis’ crimes: When facing unfair events in society, I have to stand up; otherwise, when I am subject to injustice, no one will stand up for me!

Through practicing qigong, I can calm my heart down and find what I’m missing deep down. I can talk with my own heart, listen to my inner voice, and follow my heart! I am grateful to my Shifu for inspiring my heart and letting me learn how to be myself. This is the happiest and the most important thing in my life!

By Alan Shih/Engineer