First, Make a Road

by Simon Goland, December 12, 2012

The full phrase is, “First, make a road. Only then you can drive the car.” This is the phrase my qigong teacher uses, and it is her way of telling me that, first, I need to prepare the basics. My body, that is. After many years of yoga and various styles of martial arts, among other disciplines and movement practices, I decided to start (or come back to, perhaps) the deeper energy work with my body. Something I have been drawn to for quite some time now. Hence, qigong, at the TriStar Taiji Academy. Talking about yet another lesson in humility. Apparently, even my basic standing posture needs adjustment, and I am happy to report that, after about three weeks of classes, I am slowly learning how to stand, and am even making some progress. Even got a whole new posture to practice today. WooHoo!

“It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain to its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” – Machiavelli

And, as I am learning how to stand, and how to bend my knees, I am thinking about beginnings. Specifically the times we are thrown, or perhaps choose of our own volition, to step into a beginner’s mind mode. And why there are times when it is easy, while at other times, it seems to be almost impossible.

Somehow, there is almost no resistance within me to the instructions the teacher is giving me. I am a beginner here, there is an implicit trust in the teacher, and I am opening up to the process of unlearning and relearning without any resistance. Except, of course, in my muscles and joints.

And, there are other times too. Just ask Alison. We have had our share of turbulences, and likely will have more. They are always rich, deep, loving, engaging, and pretty much always shift something within me and open me up to a whole different way of looking at myself, at her, and at the world. It is just that it doesn’t always happen that easily, as I am known to have strong resistance mechanisms. Needless to say, these moments don’t always land well with Alison.

“The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” – Charles DuBois

Right now, I am curious – and fascinated – about the differences we approach life in this area. A question crosses my thoughts, “What if whatever I think I know is actually not quite true?” Would it help with resistance? With an easier way of embracing the beginner’s mind attitude?

I wonder…