Over the last year I’ve explored a number of pieces to a successful morning, and daily routine. I’ve included mediation, cold showers, rebounding, Wim Hof breathing, TM and Qi Gong to some extent and in various combinations. All can be amazing and at certain times different synthesis have worked perfectly to bring stillness, a clear mind and focused energy to start my day. I first heard of the ‘Gong’ only in September while I was taking HLC 2 at the Chek Institute and each day of class we would start with 20 minutes of Qi Gong movement.
I recently started working with a new coach, Paul Chek, and one of the first things he brought up for me was adding a Gong to my day. I’ve personally been big on ‘doing’ for most of my life, which often results in a lot of exertion, working out, over exercise and not nearly enough energy building, Qi building work. Why would I have focused on that? I had no idea what it was, and that balancing my own yin and yang was important to my wellness and longevity. But I do now.
Gong’s are traditionally 100 days long and if you miss a day, you have to start over—or I should say I have to start over. It’s said that the first 40 days are required to release the old physical and mental patterns and then the last 60 days are where you establish and integrate the new positive nourishing habits. Your practice can generally be from 20 to 60 minutes a day, which is both a lot and not much. The paradox of time is challenging to escape in our day to day lives, however Lao Tzu said, “time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’, is like saying ‘I don’t want to.’” I believe this to be true and have struggled in the initial days to find my 20 minutes, but I’ve stuck to it. To kick my ass into gear, Paul gently reminded me that 20 minutes of our day is only 1/72nd of the 24 hours we have!
The first couple weeks were certainly the toughest and since it’s become much easier and even enjoyable. In fact, the week before I even began was probably the most challenging, dealing with the resistance of starting the practice. Apparently the Ego is not a fan of spiritual practices, and often helps us come up with excuses to put off the work of a deeper growth. Within the first couple of days, during one practice specifically, I felt a lot of emotion coming up and I was able to let it flow through and out of me. I finished with a smile and certainly felt more at peace than before I started.
A nice aspect of a Gong is that the practice can be quite varied and is generally up to you or your teacher. Most of the Gong’s I’ve seen or heard about are derived from Qi Gong and Tai Chi, subtle movements, following energy through your body while not raising your heart rate. This makes it very nourishing to the body, while serving as a meditation for the busy mind. Instead of using a mantra or having to count breaths, the subtle movement seems to be just enough to keep your mind occupied without sending it in any direction. I’ve tried a handful of types of mediation to varying levels of success, but I find this subdued physical piece, and peace, allows me to sink into the practice easier. At least for now, I still have 75 days to go.