Besides my passions for skies and photography I am also very interested in health-related issues. On my quest of finding a healthy lifestyle, I stumbled upon Qigong—the ancient Chinese method to health—a while ago. Since then I not only practice Qigong, but I also learned a lot about its theoretical background and also about the Chinese culture. I traveled to Beijing and found it, despite all the issues people are facing there, an absolutely fascinating and inspiring place. For me, everything that has to do with Qigong was and is a journey of discovery. I have already shared some of my photographs from my travels to Beijing here in this blog. And somewhere along the way, a little book with some of my photographs and also a lot of information about the world of Qigong emerged. You can take a look here.
“Nothing in the world is softer or weaker than water
Yet nothing is better at overcoming the hard and strong
This is because nothing can replace it.”
Laozi, Daodejing, chapter 78
“Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby”
Edgar Yipsel “Yip” Harburg, Over the Rainbow, 1939,
sung by Judy Garland in the movie “The Wizard of Oz”
In Beijing again. It is still really hot here, but most of the time the air is clear and the skies are blue. I love Beijing’s temples, I feel transported into a world long gone by. Staying away from major tourist hot spots or visiting them at less crowded times, I can still feel a hint of old Beijing. I find myself a quiet spot, inhale the atmosphere, take a look at all the beautiful buildings, trees, flowers, and places of worship. And of course I take my camera and try to capture these moments.
Yesterday, I visited the Temple of Confucius (北京孔廟, Běijīng Kǒngmiào), which is more of a museum than a temple these days and also a wonderful place not only for people who want to learn more about Confucianism. We had walked there along the river, enjoying another wonderful summer day, and were in the middle of the compound when all of the sudden the sky turned grey with clouds, a wind got up, and the birds fluttered about nervously. Then there was thunder, some rain, and after a little while, the clouds began to disappear again. And when the sun broke through, we saw a wonderful double rainbow and the light casted a spell over everyone and everything.
“A journey of a thousand miles
starts under one’s feet.”
Laozi, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 64
I just returned from a short but very busy trip to Beijing. Spring had already arrived there and cherry trees, magnolia, and lilac were in full bloom. It was still cold at night but nice and warm during the day. Unfortunately, we just barely had the chance to either enjoy much of Beijing’s parks and life there or inhale the special atmosphere in its wonderful temples, but we had days full of sunshine and without smog. Of course air quality could have been better and traffic less, and I could have done with a little less noise too, but what can you expect of a megacity of more than 20 million people?!
However, what still always surprises me is the friendliness of the people and the respect and warm welcome they give us. In all of Beijing’s hustle and bustle, I’ve never felt lost or unsafe. We have met old friends and also made new ones, and I hope I will call them so many years to come. New doors opened and I believe exciting projects will follow upon this short visit. It is too early to tell more, but I will be back in Beijing later this year. And wherever I will be until then, a little bit of Beijing and its people will always be with me.