Remember this scene from The Hunchback of Notre Dame? Quasimodo rescues Esmerelda from execution and escapes into the cathedral.
I was watching the news the other day and was struck by the parade of horrors, one after the other. Wars, social unrest, political turmoil, disasters, shootings, etc. continually dominate our screens and give us a view of the world that is horrible to behold.
Our personal lives can be affected by this if we allow ourselves to get caught up in the scenes we witness day after day. I have to think that a constant diet of the uglier side of life can leave one with a cynical attitude about it all and some of us may start to view much of life through this dark filter.
Then we come to our Baguazhang class. While we come to learn something interesting and healthy with some fun thrown in, I think there is something more fundamental at work here. Gathering with others to explore the inner life of the mind, emotions, martial skills etc. is a unique activity. It is unlike almost anything else in that it involves the whole of who one is.
It involves the physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of our being. Each of these are emphasized to a greater or lesser extent which changes as one continues along the path. But there is one element that is always there yet is rarely is mentioned. It is the idea of the class being a haven from the turmoil of living, a respite from one’s daily concerns, a break from having to worry about the day to day responsibilities and problems with which one is usually concerned. In other words, the Bagua class as a sanctuary.
This notion of sanctuary is ages old, and refers of course to a church as a place of safety. This sense of being safe and sheltered from persecution is a time honoured tradition. While it has faded into history as a physical place of refuge, the idea can be made alive and powerful for those who adapt it to their inner life. Most importantly, your Bagua class can be that place of sanctuary from the challenges of daily life if you so treat it.
Start to think of your class as a place of safety and release from the daily grind. Think of it not only as your martial arts class, but rather your chance to focus on your skills, health and peaceful friendship with fellow sudents. A place to let go and allow the inner tightness to settle and dissipate. A quiet, peaceful place where you can be with those of like minds and an interest in this inner path.
Your personal sanctuary.