Tao: No Recovery

Certain words are meant to signify some positive goal or event but often accomplish the opposite. Take the word “empowerment”. If I empower you it means your power is derived from me and therefore not “empowering” at all. I accept that an experience might help someone to see a new appreciation for her own power but even a such a special event does not em—power the person. She already had the power and the event in question simply puts a frame around it. Now, if I hand you a gun  or a check for a million dollars I actually do empower you, but of course the power I am transferring to you is independent from anything intrinsically you and therefore actually negates your importance as a person being empowered.

This isn’t nearly as bad as the “Recovery” idea. Recovering in which way? From a disease? Recovering lost treasure? The first can place us in the realm of the forever-ill people always trying to run backwards through the tunnel to a previous state that probably never existed. But if we are not ill, and simply trying to recover something like the insouciance of youth, then we have another set of problems. We are moving through the region known as nostalgia, a perfectly fine human emotion but a sad solution for life’s problems and no recovery at all.

The ancient idea which works much better is known as “Return”. In it, we take the magic train back to our hometown but we return with eyes bright with experience, shining with a new vision.  In Qigong we are not “recovering” (though that may be a side benefit of our practice). We are not reliving the past, either. Instead we return because, ultimately, there is only return each time richer than before. Richer indeed.