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One of the Chi Kung movements we do most frequently in my classes is called “Move the Mountain.” This movement is powerful in building physical strength, and it is also a powerful symbol for moving any kind of huge obstacles in life, whether they be in relationships, illness, emotions, or even in community, national or world problems.
When we move the mountain in class, each individual has the opportunity to imagine an obstacle, something personal or in the life of someone else, that seems impossible or immovable. It could even be a national or global issue, whatever is on a person’s heart. Most people have these challenges in their lives and are struggling with how to handle them.
“Move the Mountain” provides a means to channel one’s energy in a physical way that is also archetypal and that stirs deep fountains of faith and perseverance. There are mountain images in all religious faiths, and there are many stories of mountains being moved. As soon as we talk or think about moving a mountain, those stories and images undergird our own personal resolution. We re-tell the stories and apply them to our current problem. We feel the power come up inside of us to join forces with the heroes and mountain movers of the past.
Deciding to move the mountain in a physical and yet also a symbolic sense allows us to be realistic in naming the hugeness of the problem. And yet it also inherently announces that it is possible to overcome it.
As we approach the mountain, it is important to envision the challenge clearly and focus all of our energy toward accomplishing the goal. Thus, all distractions must be laid aside. We slow down our thoughts and movement to match the task. We know that the mountain will not jump—it will move slowly. Slowing things down helps us see deeply into all aspects the situation and prepare ourselves to address them.
Physically, we take a strong stance, position our hands as though they are up against a huge obstacle, and shift the weight forward slowly, pushing with the hands. The key is to keep the mind focused and the intention clear. The rear leg roots deep into the ground and drives forward, moving the whole body. The weight shifts forward to push the mountain. We exhale deeply and slowly, extending the energy out through the palms and forward against the obstacle and yet also, somehow, into and beyond the mountain, into the realm of possibilities. We visualize the mountain moving.
Moving mountains is not magic. Various great stories describe the effective components. The Lord says through the prophet Zechariah that it is not by might nor by power but by God’s spirit that the mountain shall be moved. Jesus says that if one has faith the size of a mustard seed, it will move a mountain and cast it into the sea. In Tibet, a story of a Buddhist master describes a man moving a mountain through perseverance and long-term discipline. We must conclude that moving mountains is spiritual work but that there is a physical component that tests us to the core. And there are both spiritual and physical outcomes. The physical mountain is moved, but we are changed and transformed in the process. We become mountain movers.
When I was doing the big move to a new home recently, I employed all of the above aspects of moving mountains. It seemed an impossible task, but I did “Move the Mountain” with Tai Chi-Qigong—and also with vision, concentration, intention, power, might, perseverance and faith. All aspects of my being came to focus, and the job was done.