Note from Sifu Anthony: This is a guest post written by Sherrie Cronin, a Flowing Zen Qigong student since 2013 and the author of 5 science fiction novels. I was so impressed with one of her blog posts about world peace that I asked her if she would write a guest post for Flowing Zen. Here’s the beautiful result of that conversation.
If you’ve never heard of qigong before, and you have even a bit of cynicism in your personality, you will probably find yourself amused by the claims of long-time practitioners.
To hear it told, qigong will reduce your blood pressure, eliminate warts, make you smarter, and improve your breath.
Those who have been doing it for a while will say nothing as you shake your head. They know that if you do stick with it, you will be making similar claims of your own some day.
It’s been a mere few years since I was introduced to qigong and Flowing Zen at a wonderful retreat in Costa Rica, and I’ve already amassed my own short list of ways it has improved my life.
But it wasn’t until I recently compiled a book of essays about world peace that I realized how often I refer to my own journey of discovering qigong.
That’s right, add one more ridiculous claim to the list. I’m now touting qigong as a path to world peace.
Telepaths for World Peace
Let me back up. I’m the author of five science fiction novels about various superpowers, including telepathy.
The hero of my first book, Lola, develops her mind-reading abilities via her empathy and her knack for putting herself in someone else’s shoes. She eventually becomes obsessed with people learning to get along.
The promotional t-shirt for the book says “Telepaths for World Peace,” and, because of this novel, for almost five years now I have kept up a blog on the subject of resolving conflict through learning to see the world through the eyes of another.
So yes, I am sort of obsessed with world peace.
This doesn’t mean I’m a pacifist; I’m not. I’m pretty sure that I’d defend myself if attacked, and I like to think that I’d go as far as giving up my life if I had to, for the people I love.
And yes, I am grateful for my freedom and to those who have lost their lives in the service of my country.
However, on a less emotional level, I think that most armed conflicts are born of a desire to acquire power, money and land, and then are sold to the people who must fight as being necessary.
I acknowledge that many in power try to do the right thing in difficult circumstances, but I stand by my thesis that almost every armed conflict in the world could be avoided, and would be, if those making the final decisions were only able to send their own friends and families into battle.
Furthermore, I believe that part of the process of mobilizing a group into war requires de-humanizing an enemy, one who is being told pretty much the same thing.
A Force for Peace
So where does qigong fit in?
My contention is that qigong is actually a force for peace in two ways:
1. The first component is that it encourages an inner peace which can be radiated outwards.
Qigong does not simply hand you inner peace, by any means, but the ongoing discipline of mindful meditation provides real world tools to help you fill your own heart with joy, hope and love. Practice and you will feel it. Then lots of peaceful hearts can help yield a peaceful world.
2. The second component is that qigong is helpful for dealing with the malice in the world around you.
It breeds confidence, both physically and mentally, and it’s my observation that confident people are less likely to follow others without asking adequate questions. It encourages calming down, and quieting the chatter in your brain, and often in those calm moments, clarity about those around you emerges.
And, if one is lucky enough to have the right sort of teacher, it encourages forgiveness, humility and compassion in dealing with others.
It’s true that many religions also do this last bit, so please let me go on record as being all for forgiveness, humility and compassion, whatever their source. More is better.
Our Better Selves
Is it possible to study and practice qigong for years and be guided by other, less noble principles instead? Of course it is. We are all human, analog creatures, never completely this or that, and we all slide in and out our of better selves as we make our path in this world.
So do I honestly think that qigong can result in world peace? No. But I do think it can help us get there.
If you’d like to hear more, I’ve put the best of the posts from my blog “Face Painting for World Peace” into a short (121 page) volume of essays that attempt to be both humorous and thought provoking as they examine what I like to call “intra-species harmony” from a wide variety of angles.
Three of my favorites are One Person’s Tourist Destination is Another Person’s Home, My Imaginary Prison Time, and My iPod Works as a Fortune Cookie.
This new eBook is available on Amazon for the least I am allowed to charge (ninety-nine cents), and is similarly available at Barnes and Noble, on Smashwords, and at the iTunes store where it can be found as an iBook by searching on Sherrie Cronin.
You don’t need a fancy device to read it; you can download it on to your computer or your phone or even print it out as a PDF file.
This is not intended to be a money making project; I have pledged to donate half of all proceeds to “Doctors Without Borders.”
This book is my way of embracing 2017 by wishing hope, joy and peace to every human on earth, with no exceptions.
Please enjoy it, and share with others. Then please seek out the chorus being sung by those who believe that kindness should guide our words, our actions and our world, and find a way to sing along, too.
Sherrie Cronin is a retired geophysicist and the author of five science fiction novels. She has been a student of Flowing Zen Qigong since 2013, and has attended several retreats in Costa Rica and Arkansas.