Body as a Living Inter-Being

In the Dancing Tao qigong practice I have created, the intention is to experience the body as a living Inter-Being.

An ecological system is a living Inter-Being. It is an ongoing symphony of the birth, death and transformation of many life forms within itself. The life cycles of different living beings coordinate and attune with one another to create harmony. In this harmony, one species may have the privilege of extracting resources from another for consumption, such as lions from deer. However, in nature, these extractions are kept in strict equilibrium, and all species are provided with ample resources to thrive. It is in human civilization the act of extraction becomes exorbitant and cancerous.

To restore the equilibrium of human consciousness, the most ethical and effective action is to start with our own conscious awareness, embodying the principle of ecological balance within our own being. 

The most prevalent modern archetype is a person whose “left-brain centered, analytical, logical mental faculty” is fixated at extracting resources from other intelligence centers, incapable of receiving and listening what his gut’s and heart’s, or even toe’s intelligence has to say. In doing so, he reduces his body to a “thing”.

Our body is not a “thing”. It is also a symphony of many different types of cellular structures, organs, and physiological systems. A healthy body is like a music director, coordinating different “instruments” (physiological organs and systems, and their complex needs), composing harmony, solos and chorus over a dazzling array of functionality, including self-restoration and self-regeneration.

When disease occurs, Chinese medicine examines the relationship between vital organs rather than fixing on the site of the symptoms. For example, when someone coughs, the doctor will not only treat the lung, but also examine how the lung relates with other organs, inquiring whether this cough is due to kidney deficiency, liver overacting, spleen deficiency, or gall bladder fire.

Our modern culture tends to condition us to relate our body as a “thing”, or a mechanical device. A car cannot fix itself.  A body can. Allopathic medicine treats the body more like a broken car that needs replacement parts. It excels at surgical technology, which is very appreciated and needed in a modern context. However, many of its treatments gravely harm and suppress our body’s natural healing ability.

Holistic medicine focuses on evoking and supporting the intelligence of the body so it can restore its own health. As regenerative health practitioners, the more we can relate with our own body as an organic system with its own intelligence, the more we can evoke that intelligence from our patient’s body.  We need to decolonize ourselves from the cultural conditions that train us to relate our body as a “thing”.

In modern life, our lifestyle tends to be sedentary, with limited exposure to nature and playful and creative activities that involve the body. As a result, our posture and movements often rigidify to the patterns of mechanical things. We tend to fixate our awareness of the body in certain patterns, creating rigidity and tension, constraints, and weakness in our body. Our body parts become isolated in their own rigid patterns, not able to coordinate with one another.

In Dancing Tao, we free our awareness from the rigid patterns. We re-condition our body to move in playful and creative ways. We move in ways that are “outside the box”. When we do that, we can restore Qi, the natural flow of energy in our body, which will lead us to be more effective healers.

In Dancing Tao, we practice leading the movement of our bodies with our hands, head, core, tailbone and feet. When one part of the body is the leader, the rest of the body follows.

As you practice Dancing Tao, you may discover that you may be more comfortable leading with certain parts of your body than others, for example maybe hands more than feet, head more than tail. Notice these patterns, enjoy them! And also, be curious: what’s it like to lead with my feet or my tailbone? Start with baby steps first. No need to push or force your body.

You may also discover that following a movement initiated by a body part is not that easy. For example, can you initiate a movement with your tailbone and your head following it? In our most natural and enlivened state, each part of the body will have maximal flexibility to either lead or follow.

In Chinese, the character body consists of two parts. The left is a radical that means a human. The right part means “original”. Together, this means our body is a sacred vehicle of our origin, our ancestral legacy, and who we always are. It is the basecamp and home that welcome us to return as we go on our journey to explore and realize our potentials. 

May you reunite with the Inter-Being that lives in your body. May you reunite with the origin of yourself. The more we are in tuned with Origin, the home base, the further we can travel in our journey afar, while having a blast!

1 thought on “Body as a Living Inter-Being”

  1. Very beautiful post, Spring. I am most taken with the idea that original takes us back to the characteristics of those from whom we originate rather than into the individual uniqueness.

    What you write is always so thought provoking and original in the true sense

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