Lee Visits Dubai's Minister of Happiness - Holden QiGong

As an internationally respected Qi Gong teacher, Lee’s skills and wisdom are often sought after by curious individuals as well as leading members of society. In an age of increasingly higher levels of stress and anxiety, it has become harder and harder to ignore the importance of positive habits and self-care. As such, Lee has received significant attention from those who wish to promote the ideals of health and happiness within their communities. Although now isn’t the time for travel, we thought we’d share Lee’s visit to Dubai from earlier this year.

An Invitation to Teach Abroad

As many of you know, Lee routinely teaches workshops, immersion programs, and at various conferences and events. Sometimes, his students are long-time Qi Gong practitioners who have been learning from him for many years or even decades. At other times, Lee finds himself in front of complete beginners who would just as quickly assume that “Qi” is a mispronounced dairy product.

Recently, Lee was teaching at the 1440 Multiversity in Scotts Valley when he connected with a few friendly men who were fascinated by his lessons. These students happened to be delegates from the government of Dubai who were interested in learning more about mindfulness and wellness. After a few more engaging conversations, Lee received an official invitation from Dubai’s Minister of Happiness! 

Lee’s Experience in Dubai

Knowing the importance of spiritual leadership, Lee saw his invitation as an opportunity to help not just a few individuals, but also the citizens that they lead. He was also eager to learn whatever he could from a new place and culture.

During his time in Dubai, Lee taught Qi Gong classes to members of the national government. Sometimes, his lessons took place at the main government facilities, and at other times he visited compounds where various officials conducted business. He taught both men and women in group settings, as well as private lessons for high-ranking members of the government. Some of his students were even personal advisors to the president.

One of Lee’s students had the distinguished title of Minister of Happiness. As such, this government official had the tremendous responsibility to find the best practices to increase the well being and happiness of the nation’s citizens. Apparently, Dubai’s government dedicates significant resources to conduct detailed scientific studies about what contributes to a happy and healthy society. 

So, what does science say about the necessary ingredients for happiness?

Not surprisingly, Dubai’s Minister of Happiness recognizes that mindfulness and movement offer effective tools to elevate emotions and clear the mind. As a practice that combines both of those qualities, Qi Gong is seen as a fun and powerful way to increase happiness and reduce anxiety.

How was Lee Received in Dubai?

Just like Lee’s classes in California, his students in Dubai loved his simple yet profound way of teaching. Although Dubai is home to a vastly different culture than that of the U.S., its citizens still encounter the same challenges of modern life: stress, anxiety, busyness, and fatigue, to name a few. 

One of the things that makes Qi Gong so powerful is its ability to cut through separations of religion, politics, or culture. It speaks to us at the core of our beings and enables people to connect to the deeper energies and awareness that lies within. By doing so, individuals of all backgrounds can enjoy and celebrate themselves through the ancient Chinese practice. 

It’s worth noting that 90% of Dubai’s population is immigrants. That means that there’s already a vast variety of cultural paradigms mixing together to offer opportunity for creativity and inspiration. There’s an openness to new ideas and ways of living that allows Qi Gong to be received with curiosity and intrigue. This may be one of the reasons that the government is forward-thinking enough to have an official position called “Minister of Happiness.”

In addition to the positivity Lee experienced in the classroom, he found people to be pleasant and friendly wherever he went. Whether in government buildings or on the street, Lee always felt warmly welcomed by everyone he met. He also appreciated the curiosity he encountered from his students and other residents.

Growth and Development

Today, Dubai is recognized as a well developed hub for international business and culture, but that certainly wasn’t always the case. Fifty years ago, public infrastructure was minimal and the society was far less vibrant and diverse. However, with a consistent influx of immigrants and broadening of perspectives, Dubai has risen in both its global economic positioning as well as its openness to spirituality. 

Compared to most of its neighbors, Dubai offers a much higher level of gender equality and personal acceptance. The amalgamation of beliefs and opinions that have arrived with society’s newest members have brought many topics to the surface in public dialog in a variety of social groups. Of course, spiritual exploration and growth always invites people to think about truth, equality, and expression.

So, what was the most significant reflection of Lee’s experiences in Dubai?

People are people. Sharing meaningful experiences with members of different nationalities, cultures, and upbringings reinforces the awareness that everyone can harness the energy and wisdom that lies within. All of us are susceptible to the internal challenges and pain points associated with being a human, and we each can benefit from the resources that Qi Gong provides. Wherever we may happen to be, the practice is there for us to rely on and grow with.

Written by Ian Drogin