The path through #life is neither smooth, nor flat, nor straight. Not for me, not for you, not for anyone. The path is covered with mist and weeds and leads around bushes and thorns. It has ups and downs, and while some climb mountains with the endurance and stamina of a lion, others stumble and buckle at the first bump in the road.
After decades of marching forwardso, mentally stuffing the weight of all those burdens and bruises inside me and convincing myself that I could go on as if it were nothing, I stopped one step short of a precipice that had suddenly appeared in the middle of my #path, as if out of nowhere.
The #depression I had ignored, dismissed, and repressed all these years had finally gripped me in spirit, in thought, and physically. It had manifested itself into a pit of hopelessness, an emptiness so deep and dark that I had almost given up on "living."
It was hard to accept that I, with a high IQ, was unable to find a way out of the overpowering soul crushing despair by my own efforts, but when I realized that I did not have it in me, that I was not capable of pulling myself out, that last drop of sanity, perhaps the instinctive protection of the subconscious that wanted me to keep on living, urged me to reach out for help.
And help came as if on cue, from the few loved ones to whom I had confessed my situation, and they arranged for an emergency psichiatric consultation, and those professionals (and the mere fact that I had told someone how I was feeling also) helped. I started some intensive therapy.
However, the emotional improvement did not happen overnight, not after the first few sessions, not after weeks, while I continued to feel lost, sad, and tearful, constantly searching for more help and more answers to change, to actually eliminate the emptiness that was still calling to me. I am not sure what logical leap led me to seek out "Tai Chi" other than my therapist recommending yoga and meditation to calm and de-stress my raging anxiety, but both methods I had tried to practice before and they left me unsatisfied and even more frustrated.
I also remembered that I had practiced martial arts, karate and taekwondo for a short year in my youth until I sprained my ankle and could not continue. Those gave me a taste of structure. An understanding of my need to learn control of my mind and body, a longing to discipline my chaos, to dispel the fog of the insecurity, of doubt, for I have always wanted to be clearminded, zen, to call it in general terms.
But after a long period of inactivity, I knew I was not ready to do those sports again. Maybe something gentler, calmer, slower? Tai Chi or Qigong came to mind, and I searched for some videos on YouTube.
While browsing, I came across this video of a very beautiful monk in a beautiful wintry setting and pressed play. After a minute I was mesmerized and I think I started crying. I do not know why, but I often cry when I see something beautiful, and besides, crying for no particular reason, was on the agenda every day at that time.
The way he moved, with such suppleness, power, assurance, but above all clarity, made me want to give it a try too. I had no idea that the Shaolin monks practiced QiGong, or what exactly it was, that there were many forms of it and a tradition going back thousands of years, but it appeared to have compelled my curiosity.
So I did some research on Sifu Shi Heng Yi and came across his Ted Talk. It was not what I expected, some cliched truisms that "spiritual" gurus drip out to milk some kind of money out of the public.
What resonated with me most was his metaphor of the hiker walking up the mountain asking for directions to the top. And Shi Heng Yi's reluctance to give specific directions - because there is no clear path unless you do it yourself, one step at a time, determined to reach the destination.