Photo: Full Moon in Blowing Rock, by Ivy Glennon
During the June, 2016 Taiji Camp in Blowing Rock, Yang, Laoshi presented a twist on a familiar concept. Discussing the old adage of the master pointing to the moon and the followers mistaking his finger for the moon, Laoshi proposed that, perhaps, sometimes the master is pointing to something beyond the moon. I am intrigued with this idea and have been thinking further on how it applies to Taiji/Qigong in general and our unique practice in particular.
Not long after I began this practice I started to notice benefits beyond the practice itself. Many of us have found Taiji/Qigong to be a great low-impact exercise, with further benefits of increased balance, a reduction in symptoms associated with arthritis or other autoimmune disorders, fewer colds, increased energy levels, and overall well-being. These are well-documented, primarily by Dr. Yang and others, with new studies happening all the time. I am grateful for these results and the associated published trials and studies. I personally think that the medical community, Taiji community, and everyone concerned with engaged living owes Dr. Yang and others doing this work much gratitude. However, I wonder if these now-obvious results and side effects of practice are the proverbial moon. If so, what is it that is beyond?