One of the most frequent chi kung questions I get asked comes in the form of:
Why don’t I practice my Chi Kung regularly?
From my personal experience there is only ONE real reason why you don’t practice Chi Kung once or twice a day every day.
In this article I’ll look in more detail at what this reason is and we’ll explore ways to address it.
Please bear in mind that I’m writing this with direct reference to the practice of Shaolin Chi Kung, but you can apply the content of this article to any area of your life where you are struggling to get something done.
The reason why you don’t practice regularly is:
Is Because You Don’t Want To
It really is that simple. Now there are a number of ways you can address this:
- QUIT – Now listen closely because you really need to hear this. Life is precious and time is invaluable. It ought to be a crime to ‘kill time’. What do you, me, Richard Branson, Brad Pitt, a drug dealer, or a homeless person – all have in common? I’ll tell you: 24 hours in a day and it’s how YOU spend this currency that will radically effect your life – for good or for bad.
If you’re going to get up 20 mins before you have to, every single day to do your practice – trust me you’re going to have to WANT to.
During and after Summer Camp 2008 in Brighton I had the privilage to witness Sifu demonstrating this principle. But the clearest and most vivid example of this I have ever seen was at the end of Summer Camp 2007′s road trip. Due to my poor spacing and timing we ended up arriving at our hotel for the night around 11:30 pm. I’d been driving for over 14 hours and was, to be honest in a bit of a mess! As we completed our check in, Sifu asked if the hotel had Internet access, the receptionist replied that they did not (I know, Sifu couldn’t believe it either). I could see the look on Sifu’s face and was waiting for him to say that we were leaving to find a hotel that did have Internet access, then he looked at me and demonstrated what a truly compassionate man he is. He could see I was in no fit state for such an undertaking, took pity on me and collected our room keys from the receptionist with a smile.
Walking to our rooms I commented on this and asked how after sitting in car all day travelling through England and Wales he would want to start working on the Internet at nearly midnight (and we had a very early start in the morning to get to Heathrow). Sifu told me that even if he wasn’t making a living from teaching the Shaolin Arts, he’d still be doing what he’s doing, because he loves it.
My studies of successful people in a wide range of disciplines confirm what Sifu said. All truly happy and successful people do what they love and love what they do.
So, whilst I believe that everyone can benefit from the practice of Shaolin Arts experience has shown me that the Shaolin Arts are not for everyone. The Buddha himself spoke of the 84 000 Dharma doors, there are many ‘Ways’ – So choose one you enjoy.
Now here is the important part: if in your hearts you dont feel that the practice of Chi Kung is for you – dont waste another single precious second of your life.
I’m serious, life is too short to waste time forcing a square peg (you) into a round hole (Chi Kung). You will quit eventually anyway, so save your invaluable time and move onto something that is better for you.
- GAIN CLARITY – You can never really get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going. That’s just (not so) common sense. If you enjoy your practice of Chi Kung and you want to practice, but you never seem able to find the time, or there are always other things that seem to get in the way – what can you do? The way to overcome this obstacle is to really get clear on:
What’s In It For Me?
Here’s a way I suggest to answer this:
- Educate Yourself – Research the type of benefits the Chi Kung you practice is reported to give and how it gives you those benefits.
- Get Super Clear – on what you want from your practice. In my book Shaolin Chi Kung (shameless plug!) I go into much more detail about the importance of having a clear vision for your practice. There is a tool I use with my Chi Kung students to help them gain this clarity. You can download a copy of it here.
Now, assumming that the Art you practice is a match for the benefits you want – you’re ready for the next step
- Get Excited – let’s say one of the things I want from my practice is to ‘overcome my asthma’ and I am now convinced from my research that the practice of Shaolin Chi Kung can do that for me. This may be reason enough to get me out of bed at 6am on a cold, wet, winter’s morning, but it’s unlikely. So what I need to do is associate enough great reasons WHY I really want this outcome, the odds of me getting out of bed increase significantly.
For example what would overcoming my asthma really mean to me? What results would I get? What could I do then that I can’t do now? Well, I’d be able to play football with my friends without having to stop after 5 minutes, I’d be able to run a marathon and raise thousands of pounds for my favourite charity, I wouldn’t worry my family any more with my alraming wheezing and gasping and hey, sex would be better too!
Do you see how by really digging down and getting as many compelling reasons why I really want the results I want will improve my ability to get my practice done? If I associate enough really cool reasons why, then doing my practice becomes a sinch! Do this for yourself and I know you’ll get out of bed, or stay up a little later, or make the time to do your practice.
One of the best things about practicing Shaolin Chi Kung is that it can bring many immediate benefits:
- Deep Relaxation
- Freedom From Stress, Worry and Anxiety
- Mental Clarity
- A Feeling That Life Is Somehow More Precious
Seeing longer, deeper improvements as a result of your practice is vital to your on going success. Because believe me, when I say that when you start to experience these types of benefit (the one’s YOU want) – your practice will easily become a habit you look forward to doing every single day. Sometimes though it can be difficult to notice these deeper changes. It’s like when I take Ollie to see his grandparents. They’re always amazed at how much he’s grown, how much more handsome he is (he takes after his father!). I don’t see these changes because I see him every day. I’m sure you understand the point I’m making. So here is a really useful little tool I give to all my students to help them measure their progress and keep track of it. This way they can notice improvements in their lives, often in areas they many never have noticed. You can get your copy here.
In this article we’ve looked at reasons why you might be having difficulty maintaining a regular practice, and if you want the benefits of Shaolin Chi Kung then you must practice regularly.
So, if you look into your heart and you honestly don’t want to practice – then do yourself a favour and don’t practice. Forcing yourself to do something for the sake of doing it is a waste of your valuable time. Find a better ‘vehicle’ for you.
If you do want to practice, but can’t seem to get the necessary enthusiasm to practice then you now know how to gain clarity on what you want and how to associate lots of cool, exciting and compelling reason to the things you want.