Maggie H is a Global Explorer and Wellness Guru from Hong Kong. Among many spiritual endeavors, Maggie practices and leads Qigong meditation to help people around the world find their inner balance. Find out more about this and other Eastern Philosophy & Meditation practices every Monday on the ICBRKR blog.

Art by Petecia Le Fawnhawk

A few years ago, I asked someone who had just returned from attending the 14th Dalai Lama's teachings in India for two weeks, if he felt any extraordinary energy radiating from him. Dalai Lamas are believed to be the manifestations of Avalokiteshvara (觀音, Gwanyin), the bodhisattva of compassion. During the whole two-week period, he sat in the front row with monks and nuns and had the opportunity to witness the Dalai Lama walk past very closely a number of times. I almost slapped my knee when he answered, “I felt absolutely nothing special. He was just like any other grandpa next door.”

Well, the grandpa next door he was talking about was in his late 70s, and taught over 20,000 monks and nuns for 7-8 hours a day for two weeks straight. His schedule is jam-packed with back-to-back activities throughout the year, year after year.

Once, I had a rare chance to taste tea from a tea tree that was over a thousand years old with my teacher. I had this wonderful impression that the tea from a tree that had been producing tea leaves for roughly over 30 generations must taste like heaven carrying some powerful flavours.

The first sip tasted like soft warm water. Needless to say, I was a tad disappointed and swallowed it, but then the magic happened. Deep and subtle fragrances and flavours gently opened up in my nose and mouth... and then I tasted the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Particularly past two thirds of it, when the climax ends, but the full orchestra and choir start to gently build up again towards the grand finale to conclude the symphony's epic journey. The deep ringing of the harmonious fragrances and flavours delicately reached my soul. I can still recall that ethereal moment to this day.

Everything that exists goes through an identical cycle of changes covering spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Everything vigorously begins in spring, expands and splendidly flowers in summer, bears meaningful fruits in autumn, and humbly goes back to nothingness in winter, then begins again when spring returns.

Often, people come to me and say they want to practice meditation in order to become strong and powerful. Of course, they will become stronger and more powerful than ever before, but there is something more. Once you reach the strong and powerful stage, the next step is to become soft and gentle again, like Yoda from Star Wars. He possessed the highest wisdom and the most powerful force in Jedi history but he was gentle, kind and open minded most of the time. This was because he had reached the stage of completionback to nothingness.

According to the natural order, before we reach nothingness, we have to reach the strong and powerful stage through hard practices. I also meet people who believe that they should go straight to the soft and gentle stage. Unfortunately, anyone who tries to reach the final stage of softness and gentleness without going through the intermediate hardships won’t be experiencing the true essence of being. They can get there but the fruit won't be sweet at all. Only the fruit that has endured midsummer's scorching heat will taste sweet; that which hasn't has very little value as fruit.

Do not fear the scorching heat. For as long as there is a hot sun in the sky, there are beautiful flowers on the ground to enjoy. Continue practicing, one day at a time and before you know it, you will be able to harvest the sweet fruit and reach the ultimate stage of peace.

Maggie H is a Life Cartographer, Eastern philosopher, Qigong master, Buddhist and Taoist meditator, Feng Shui practitioner, and researcher of Buddhist scriptures. She lives in Hong Kong, and regularly travels to both India and South Korea to further her spiritual growth and development. Her lifelong motto is: "benefit to all humankind."


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