It’s one of the most common replies I get when I ask beginning students what their aims and objectives are for their Qigong practice. Whilst this is a noble ambition, it is a long term one and I encourage students to focus on more immediate goals.
The main two are:
- Be a good student
- Heal themselves
When I was in training to become a counsellor I was expected to receive counselling from another therapist. There were 2 important reasons for this. One was so I could experience what it felt like to be a “client” and the other was to get to know myself better.
Why is knowing yourself so important you may ask?
The answer is if you don’t know who you are then it is easy for your therapeutic relationships to become “entanglements” that are more harmful to the client than helpful.
I believe that being a student spending time learning Qigong under the guidance of a Master helps you to develop and experience this “self knowledge” which is invaluable in any healing or teaching relationship. Obviously for those foolish enough to attempt healing others after reading books or attending a few courses this self-knowledge is absent.
My own experience, discussions with other Qigong healers and Qigong instructors has lead me to conclude that most students do not have the tenacity and perseverance necessary to become teachers/healers.
Being a good student is the best way to demonstrate that you may have what it takes to heal others. I teach student’s skills and techniques they can use to heal themselves. And make it clear that my teaching does not qualify them to teach Qigong to others.
I spent over 3 years as a student, traveling many 1000’s of miles to learn from my teacher as often as I could, and practicing daily what he taught me. Before I was given permission to teach Qigong.
It was 8 years before I was skilled and qualified enough to be a Qigong healer.
Yet I know, and I hear from students, of people who claim to be “healers” after a much shorter duration of self-practice.
No matter how well intentioned their actions may be, the untrained, lacking in experience Qigong healer/teacher runs great risks, not only to themselves but to the people they attempt to heal.
If both are lucky the healing will result in nothing and the only thing lost will be time (and probably money as well). If they are unlucky the results can be very undesirable. If not properly qualified it is possible that the healer can “absorb” negative energy from the patient and harm their own health, more seriously without the proper training and experience the healer can easily make the problem worse for the patient.
You would not read a book on surgery and then attempt to operate on a friend, but this is what frequently happens when people read books on Qigong. It takes many years for a person to become a safe healer, whether a traditional Western or Eastern approach to medicine is adopted.
To believe that you can become a healer or a teacher after reading a few books and attending a few courses is incredibly short sighted and arrogant, not to mention disrespectful to all bona fide healers. All this type of behaviour does is damage the respect that the public have for “alternative” approaches to health.
Any aspiring Qigong teacher/healer should follow this tried and tested route:
- Learn your art from a Master, or at least a competent teacher
- Be a good student
- Heal yourself using your art
- When your Master tells you that you are ready, then you begin your teaching/healing career
To do otherwise is foolish and just serves to swell the ranks of bogus Qigong teachers and instructors.
To sum up: Attempting to heal others before you, yourself are fit, healthy and qualified is like sending your only blanket to aid another. However when you are fit, healthy and qualified you are able to send truckloads of blankets to aid many.