One of the great things about being a qigong teacher is that you get to see how many different people respond to qigong, respond to their questions and deal with their individual issues. You benefit not only from your own experience, but also vicariously to some extent from the experience of your students. Through this process your understanding is deepened and sometimes surprising insights emerge.
I had one such experience at a recent ‘Qigong Foundation Practices’ workshop I was teaching. We were discussing different emotions and how these manifest in the body and how the qigong exercises remedy stuck or blocked emotions. Part of our conversation was about how none of the emotions are ‘bad’ emotions, they are all healthy and useful to us but become a problem when they are out of balance or become blocked.
The conversation turned to the emotion of ‘Anger’ with one student expressing that she just doesn’t get angry. We then talked about how anger is a useful emotion to motivate us to action and also to let others know that we really mean what we say and are prepared to act on it. This student then had what I think was quite a brilliant idea, she said ‘I still don’t think I can get angry, but I can be passionate. The body language and feeling is almost the same.’
I think this is a very useful insight. The body language and feeling IS very similar, but the connotation and social conditioning around this is very different. We tend to view ANGER as bad and PASSION as good – both motivate us to act with vigour and strength. When we need to act with such vigour our liver is activated to release energy (stored glycogen) into the bloodstream to provide fuel for our activity. If we do not act and the emotion remains, the liver becomes strained and this creates tension and stiffness throughout the body. The liver becomes ‘burnt out’.
Many of us for social reasons will try to restrain ourselves from acting out of ANGER, sometimes leading to health problems – and as I think about it, also a lack of passion. But if we are able to reframe these emotions as PASSION I think that more of us will feel free to act positively on those emotions leading to healthier balanced emotions and a healthier liver as well.
Thanks Fran for this brilliant insight!