Hello! Mario Hostios here; today I’m going to share some of my insights into qigong standing meditation (zhan zhuang), and how it led me to chose a tree for my role model! Strange? It gets weirder; let’s get to it.
After much practice, due diligence, and research I am presently at the position that the yin/yang energies referred to in traditional chinese medicine (and not only there as numerous cultures and traditions allude to them), can be usefully defined as gravity and sunlight. (Bear in mind that a useful definition is not the complete meaning.) Qigong, and the core practice of zhan zhuang is the means by which one can connect their body/mind to the environment to access these energies in a meaningful way and circulate them within one’s being to a state of optimization and balance. This results in ever increasing immunity, vitality, and sanity.
Commonly in the qigong tradition, there are references to being like a tree, being rooted, etc. As Viktor Schauberger stated, “Comprehend and copy nature.” As does the Taoist, so does the Austrian! By looking closely at the tree, through the context of yin & yang and the electric universe model, we can see how it’s cool to be like a tree!
And the importance of gravity and sunlight for our immunity, vitality, and sanity cannot be overstated. Take a look at any astronaut who spends alot of time in zero G or a prisoner kept in the “hole” for a month. (solitary confinement in the dark.) They weaken and sicken quickly. Yes we eat food to live, but isn’t food just derived from the sunlight & gravity anyway? Trees think so. In fact they make their own through photosynthesis!
Trees can commonly live for hundreds of years. This long lifespan is fostered by the tree’s strong connection to the yin/yang energies. From the earth, the gravitational field nourishes the tree. From the sun, light nourishes the tree. A tree literally spends hours each day absorbing the power of the sun and all it’s time balancing that light with the gravitational field.
The strength of the tree’s roots determine how tall it can grow; so the grounding yin is the foundation for the expansive yang. In like fashion, the ability to “root” in the qigong practitioner (that is remain stable against incoming force) is the foundation for accomplishment in the practice and the capacity to demonstrate power. Rooting is a good litmus test in seeking instruction as it cannot be faked.
As the tree grows throughout it’s life and develops stronger relationships with the yin/yang energies, it also gives off increasing amounts of life giving oxygen that others need and use. In like fashion the qigong practitioner who develops his/her connection to yin/yang not only benefits him/herself but also others around them.
Immortality is a goal often stated as the culmination of practice. It is also nebulously defined, perhaps on purpose. Immortality is a relative concept. Dogs seem immortal compared to bees, humans seem immortal compared to dogs. Trees seem immortal compared to humans. The quest to achieve one’s potential through the process of qigong need not be fixated on the goal of immortality. Rather, one can embrace an acceptance of nature and the commitment to comprehend and copy it. As a result one’s life may lengthen, considerably, but just as important is the life you can bring to others; like a tree.
Nothing last forever; and change is a constant. So it is that I chose a tree as my role model. To comprehend and copy it’s nature, to strive to develop my relationships with yin & yang, to become the best I can be, and make that available to others. It is my answer.
Here is my question:
“Will you join me?”