Greetings Qi Friends,
I am writing to you from my peaceful backyard oasis where I am in awe of the abundance of fruits the peach tree is bearing. Nature is so generous. The harvest season reminds us that we are all being called to share our unique gifts with each other and the world. To be generous.
At first sight, the practice of generosity may seem simple. But to truly reach the heart of what is generosity, we need to look at the motivations behind the act of giving. When we give spontaneously, not out of fear, and freely without any expectation of receiving anything or a favor in return, then we are in presence of true generosity. True generosity is more than giving our excess and comes from a deeper place than feeling good about ourselves, the place where we think it is the right thing to do. Generosity is more than a simple act of kindness, more than an empathetic gesture from the heart. Generosity arises from the practice of deep letting go.
The first time I heard this expression of letting go, I froze. I felt like I was asked to give up things or people I cared about deeply, renounce my life or even sacrifice my own identity. I couldn’t see that the only thing I was actually asked was to trust that I would be OK without what seemed to provide a semblance of relief to my sometimes overwhelming life: things, people, thoughts, opinions, beliefs, habits… But we don’t need to deny or let go of our reality. We need to learn to release our attachments and our self-clinging.
Part of the practice is to recognize life just for what it is. To recognize that every situation that is happening to us is just a situation, a neutral situation. Not good or bad. We need to turn away from our judgments, beliefs, and perceptions. We need to put aside the stories we add to what it just is. When we are able to stay close to the bare reality and sense truly what is happening to us, then our only job is to allow it to be. It doesn’t require us to do anything but honor the sensations arising at this unique moment. In a way, it asks us to re-direct the energy that we usually use to resist any situation to go with the flow and surf the wave. Letting go is letting be!
When we practice Qigong we cultivate this state of mind. Through slow movements, deep breathing, and intention we induce calm mental and emotional states. We increase our ability to be aware of the sensations of the body, our emotions, and our thoughts in the present moment without reactivity.
Of course, it is not easy to do. And we will sometimes find ourselves stuck around an idea or a belief like our life depends on it. But the invitation is to practice. And the more we practice, the more we loosen up and free ourselves from attachment. Instead of feeling that something is being taken away from us, we experience openness and spaciousness. Letting go is a powerful liberating practice.
One of the benefits of the practice of letting go is to create room for something new, something different to emerge. Letting go is a movement of expansion. If we give away material things or let go of old habits, we abandon the past and give opportunities for kindness, goodness, and love to rise. If we let go of anger and frustration, then forgiveness can blossom. If we let go of shame or guilt, we allow ourselves to move on.
And in a virtuous cycle, our hearts open into loving-kindness and compassion for ourselves and others, and we are brought into a larger and more inspired sense of the world. We start to look outside ourselves and experience less self-absorption and more interconnection. And we are feeling the impulse to extend our hand to others and to give with generosity like the fruit trees at the end of Summer.