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“As Supple as a Child”
A Beginner’s Guide to Chinese Qigong
David Cowan, RN
Acknowledgments This book comes directly from my experience with Zhening Qigong—a modern form of medical qigong created by living Grandmaster He-Ming Pang and taught to me by Master Hao-Hee Chan. Any errors you find in this material are my own, not those of my teachers. I also wish to express my gratitude to The Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration and St. Anthony Memorial Health Centers for supporting my training and providing me with such a loving environment to practice holistic healing! I am grateful for my wife Patti Shaffner for her support as I suffered through the many self-healing struggles that accompany a work like this. (Thank you for believing in me!) Special thanks go to Tom Serynek for photography and editing assistance and also to my many friends who read draft after draft of this work and offered creative feedback. (I am in your debt!) Last but not at all least I wish to thank my many patients and coworkers for asking me: “When are you going to write your own book?” I guess someday finally arrived. I hope you are able to recognize my voice in these pages.
Relax your low back! Drop your shoulders!
As more and more Baby-boomers search for alternative methods to manage pain and chronic stress and live healthier life-styles—Tai Chi, Yoga, and Qigong are growing in popularity as never before. In my experience, Qigong is far and away the easiest to learn and its health benefits are realized much faster. Unlike Yoga and Tai Chi, many Qigong exercises are so simple they can be taught in a single lesson. According to my teacher—Master Hao-Hee Chan, Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches the true medicine is already inside you. That is why the word ‘Medicine’ begins with ‘Me.’ Sometimes in life we can get sick or injured and then we may need help from another to get well. That is ‘Alternative Medicine.’ Whenever we need help from another that is ‘Alternative.’ The word ‘Alternative’ begins with ‘A’ and ‘A’ always stands for another. But Qigong is ‘Integrative ‘Integrative
Medicine.’ The word ‘Integrative’ begins with ‘I.’
Medicine’ always means ‘I’ has to do it! True ‘Integrative Medicine’ is when ‘I’ and ‘Me’ have to work together in order to get the Qi. Qigong is traditional—at least 5000 years old! Western Medicine is barely 200 years old! I would say Western Medicine should be ‘alternative.’ It is not always good for you. It has so many harmful side-effects… Western Medicine has very few answers for those suffering from chronic pain and stress-related disease. In our culture, pain is routinely neglected, marginalized and medicated. Surgery is often the first non-drug intervention offered those seeking relief. Chronic pain is the number one cause of adult disability in the US with an estimated cost to society of over 100 billion dollars per year. Pain is a nation-wide epidemic affecting the lives of millions of Americans. Therapies that treat neuromuscular pain represent a commercial growth industry of more than 5 billion dollars a year. In other words,
Neuromuscular pain is big business!
DVDs. uncared for and neglected. Qigong is traditional Self-healing. There is no there to get to! You are already here! Self-healing is a courageous act of Self-Discovery that leads inevitably towards Self-acceptance. and emotional pain. tendons and soft-tissues—is left untouched. but where we actually hurt—in our muscles. Self-Awareness and Self-Realization.’ All serious students should gather as much information as they can from as many resources as possible to achieve a comprehensive overview. You will find this material is widely available. As recipients of allopathic medicine we may be tested. equipment. Allopathic Western medicine is the very best in the world at treating trauma and acute illnesses. middle-aged people—all suffering from chronic disabling physical. The real ancient Chinese secret is: Relax! The starting line is the finish line! Begin to practice a little each day. poked. prodded. Indiana June 2006 3 . joints. Self-Forgiveness. I manually treat people in pain. advice and assistance for would-be ‘Qigongists. inspiration.” It is that simple! That is the promise of Qi (‘Life-Energy’) and the gift of Gong (‘DailyPractice. Self-healing is our natural life-long process—The Journey of a Thousand Miles—it is not a destination. tapes. medicated and injected.The fact is: Western Medicine is woefully inadequate when it comes to treating chronic pain and illness of any kind. “If you do your Gong you will get the Qi. This is where I come in. old people. mental. A casual search of the Internet will immediately connect you with thousands of websites offering books. When pain-breakthrough is finally achieved. I hear myself giving the exact same answer: Now it is time for you to learn Qigong. most of my patients ask me the same question: “Are there any exercises I can do at home to help keep the pain from coming back?” Each time I am asked this.’) Miller Beach. There are many experts writing on the subject of Qigong-Healing. clothing. As my teacher says. In my alternative pain clinic I see people in pain everyday—young people.
Medical Qigong is traditionally practiced under the watchful eye of an experienced teacher. the Pin-Yin version of Qigong is sometimes rendered—Chi Gong. spoken Chinese can be in Mandarin or Cantonese and the meanings of each word can change depending on pronunciation. With the advent of the Chinese Pin-Yin system we learned that Beijing is phonetically correct. The Chinese have always said Beijing. (Good luck!) Medical Disclaimer A COMMONSENSE WARNING: As with any exercise program you should consult with your physician to determine if the methods involved are suitable for you. To complicate matters. Always remember the first rule of medicine: Do No Harm! But as my teacher likes to say: Yes. it is very important that you do no harm. Neither the author. according to the Chinese themselves. The Chinese Language uses a pictographic system of writing. But to Colonial British ears it sounded more like Peking. But while you are busy doing no harm. what they are actually saying is Qigong. Similarly.Author’s Note ABOUT CHINESE SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION: There is no single system for transcribing Chinese into Romanized letters. inflection. This is how Peking became Beijing. As ‘every picture is worth a thousand words. If you encounter unusual pain or discomfort while performing any exercise—STOP IMMEDIATELY—and take care. Chi Kung. or even Chi Gung. It is not always true that no pain means no gain. At least try to do some good! 4 . These variations are based on Western phonetic systems. or accent. nor publisher of this material can be held responsible for pain or injury that may occur with unsupervised practice.’ so too with the written Chinese—every character conveys multiple meanings. However.
The Art of Self-Healing Can you coax your mind away from its wandering and keep to the original Oneness? Can you let your body become as supple as a newborn child’s? Can you cleanse your inner vision until you see nothing but light? Can you love people and lead them without imposing your will? Can you deal with the most vital matters by letting events take their course? Can you step back from your own mind and thus understand all things? —Dao te Ching 5 .
Over time our bodies harden. “It is never too late to have a Happy Childhood…” —Tom Robbins The thing that changes is us. as we lose our childlike innocence we begin to lose our childlike suppleness. We literally “grow up. Naturally we toughen up! We even pride ourselves on our ability to ‘get tough.” Ask them how that feels and they will tell you that Life feels “Good. But is that all Life is for? Coping? Ask any four-year old what Life is for and they will happily tell you Life is for having “Fun.As Supple as a Child LIVE LONG ENOUGH AND SOMETHING CHANGES. We change.’ Unfortunately.’ 6 . We transform.” Now ask any adult these same three questions: What is Life for? How does Life feel? What do you do in your spare time? Most adult answers will be more complicated and won’t include the words—Fun or Play! How did we lose sight of these simple childish truths? Where did we go wrong? From my observations as a clinician. so close in fact that they have become Full-Time Caregivers (Grown Ups!) with too many problems and responsibilities and too much to worry about! For grown-ups.” Ask them what they like to do in their ‘spare-time’ and they will tell you without a moment’s hesitation: “Play. most of the adults I see are suffering from a serious-problem: Their lives have become way too serious! At some point in their lives they embraced the motto—It is better to give than to receive—too close to their hearts. Too late we learn that being “grown-up” really means learning how to cope. We become stiff and tight under the load of grow-up responsibility. feeling frazzled 24/7/365 is considered ‘normal’ and the many stress-related illnesses that result are simply accepted as ‘the aging process.” Life soon sends us our share of “hard knocks” and then suddenly the same burdens that stressed our parents begins to weigh down on us.
not rigid…” The word Re-lax just means: “lax again. painful consequences. As infants. As tight and hard as most adults are. They are simply not thinking back far enough. We begin waking up sore and achy. Overtime this results in negative. Sadly.) not tense. looking back at the care-free days of childhood—most grown-ups agree—we didn’t understand how easy we had it nor did we care… Why Grown-ups Can’t Relax! Grown-ups can’t relax because in the process of growing up we completely forgot where laxed is! Lax means: 1. many of my chronic pain patients tell they have no memory of ever being relaxed. If you find this difficult. Some stubbornly insist that they have been inflexible their entire lives and that even as children they were unable to bend down and touch their toes. Unfortunately. By middle age we no longer bounce back like we used to. still stiff from the day before. but they were once able to suck on them too! Self-Healing Tip #1: Reconnect! Reconnect with your inner-sense of childish fun. to Endure means: to harden.In hindsight. and joint injuries. spine.” The trouble is the average grown-up can’t remember what that feels like! We have become so hard that most of us can’t physically remember how to do it. 2.) “to loosen or slacken. I reassure them that this is not the case. try these simple activities: • • • • • • Play with a balloon… Blow soap-bubbles… Bounce a ball… Ride a bike… Take a bubble-bath… Fly a box-kite… 7 . many adults actually pride themselves on how much they can endure. The truth is grown-ups endure too much! In fact. not firm. that is as relaxed as they can be! In becoming bigger and stronger we also become fragile. not only could every one of my patients reach their toes. prone to muscle.
Lupus.’ It is interesting to consider the word origins of Caring and Carrying. Acid Reflux.” Carrying leftover stress is a form of Self-sacrifice.. Chronic Fatigue. TMJ Disorder. Alcoholism. Multiple Sclerosis. Crones. There is no good reason to save leftovers.Stress—the American Way Stress is a serious health problem affecting the lives of millions of Americans. We equate Self-sacrifice with Ultimate Caring. Parkinson’s. As stated. Migraines. 8 . Better to throw them out and save ourselves the trouble of becoming some sort of science project at the back of the fridge. I call these the ‘Care-givers Diseases. Arthritis. This is ‘The American Way. We are a nation that honors Sacrifice. This is why I believe so many of us fail to see the connection between Self-sacrifice and Stress—we consider Self-sacrifice ‘heroic’ and even ‘noble. Cancer. Sadly. We Care. unrelenting stress is considered ‘normal. All that sacrificing and takes a toll on our health! All Work & No Play doesn’t just make us ‘dull’ it makes us old and tired before our time. But as I often tell my patients and students: “There is really no need to save up stress from one day to the next. our ‘one-hundred-and-ten-percent’ to get the job done. Because we care care-givers carry stress from day to day. Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. most Americans don’t see it that way.” We very easily wind up vicious cycle of chronic stress. This is the burden we Carry. Diabetes. neglecting and forgetting about their own personal health needs. Hypertension. Chemical Dependency.’ By Self-sacrificing we believe we are giving our best. Degenerative Disc Disease. Heart Disease. chronic tension and chronic pain. Renal Disease. Fibromyalgia.’ These illnesses often befall those who chronically sacrifice their health for the sake of those they love.’ Myofacsial Pain Syndrome. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. We believe by Self-sacrificing we are doing everything we can to meet our “adult responsibilities.. Depression. We can always get fresh stress tomorrow.
No surprise so many Care-givers end up giving and giving and giving until there is nothing left to give. until they are completely burned-out and spent. Lao Tse. Resting makes them restless. Of course. or the kids are finally grown. Taking time-out for themselves just makes them feel guilty. caffeinated into hyper-drive. We routinely ignore our own needs whenever there’s not enough time. So let us consider the following question carefully: How can we truly hope to ever heal if we are unwilling to make time for ourselves? If you are a Self-sacrificing Care-giver. Maybe someday when we catch up on our work. Until that day—to put it in a nutshell—we postpone. And yet even though we know this. or else we win the lottery— maybe then we can relax.Who is Caring for the Care-giver? Care-givers secretly confess that receiving makes them uncomfortable. And there is always ‘not enough time. 2500 years ago. being too busy to stop for Self-care is like being too busy to stop for gas—running only on fumes. most of us haven’t gotten around to it. Why do we postpone? Perhaps the real reason is what most of us think of as ‘Self-Care’ is just plain ‘Not Fun. We know we need Rest & Relaxation everyday if we are going to avoid the natural consequences of chronic stress and strain. the founder of Daoism elucidates this problem by asking the question: “Can you make your body as supple as a newborn child?” 9 .’ The Ancient Chinese Secret Losing one’s flexibility to stress and age is nothing new. working overtime—they zoom through each day caring for everyone and everything but themselves.’ But to put it in terms we can all agree on. Not yet. Can you let your body become as supple as a newborn child? —Lao Tse Sleep deprived. ‘taking-better-care-of-ourselves’ is something we all intend to do—someday. but a necessity! Regrettably. Self-care is not a luxury. chances are we will fail to reach our destination. not many Americans see it that way.
and the universal Chinese health practice: Tea Drinking.’ Daoist Sages retired to China’s sacred mountains and bamboo forests in search of the Secret of Immortality: Dan—the ‘Elixir of Life. This period in Chinese History is recorded as The Warring Years. These sages are often referred to as Immortals and identifiable in Traditional Chinese Paintings by their flowing white hair and drooping mustaches. 10 . early Daoists returned to the wilderness in pursuit of a more natural and harmonious way to live. Notice all the places you are holding inner-tension. Don’t squeeze! This state is called: Wuji. Feel the interior of your body. From these longevity practices came such Cosmic Principles as Yin and Yang. Like the Majarishis of India.Lao Tse (literally: “Old Boy”) points us directly toward the key to Self-healing. Daoists practiced a subtle system of breathing techniques and yogic exercises known as Dao Yin. the famous Tai Chi Circle. Daoism is a fascinating philosophy with a rich history. Self-Healing tip #2: Feel the Qi! At least once each day perform a fullbody scan. and the stringent social rituals of Confucian Society. How do I feel on the inside? Begin at your toes and slowly move up to your head.’ Over time this process became known as ‘Alchemy’ and is the root source of much Chinese science and philosophy. and the Daoist principals of Tai Chi as ‘The Way of Supreme Ultimate Relaxation. Dao Yin. Daoist masters sought refuge from endless warfare.’ Relaxation of the body and breath are the essential prerequisites for all longevity practices. imperial intrigues. Relax with each exhalation taking a sigh of relief: Ahhhh! Relax the body. but for our purposes simply think of Dao. Dao Yin (the ancient name for Qigong) is commonly translated as “Gentle Way” but more accurately means “Energy Practice. Their meditative insights form the foundation for a unique philosophy known simply as Dao: ‘The Natural Way.” By performing certain stress-relieving rejuvenation rituals sages were able to extend their lives to remarkable ages. by indicating ancient yogic methods for rejuvenating the body—restoring physical and emotional suppleness—and cultivating a long and healthy life.
The body begins to break down. Nobody stretches enough! And what many middle-aged marathoners have learned is all that pounding is just too hard on their joints. $1000 treadmills. Now centuries later we have thousands of Iron Men & Iron Women addicted to pushing their bodies to the extreme. As a consequence. Ultra-marathoners who train to run 100 miles a day! But endurance training can be physically disastrous in the long haul. he also fell down dead. But. Nike’s: Just Do It! ads and similar sales slogans were intended to motivate us to buy expensive shoes and home fitness equipment. what many elite athletes ultimately gain for all that pain and suffering is to become a prime candidate for joint replacement! 11 . They played more tennis and racquetball. and drinking bottled water. The fitness industry. Unfortunately. joined aerobics classes.Fitness Training vs. Wellness ‘No Pain / No Gain’ is a fitness-training maxim that entered the American lexicon during the ‘hard-body’ craze of the 1980s. with its army of certified personal trainers places far too much emphasis on cardio-vascular conditioning and weight training. But I don’t know anyone who enjoys having a Fit! —Dave Soon Americans were buying $100 running shoes. Americans became fitness conscious as never before. Thigh Masters. Women joined health clubs by the thousands and started ‘Sweating to the Oldies’ so they could firm up and develop: ‘Buns of Steel. Thanks to his ability to endure the miles and deliver his message he is credited with saving Western civilization. For many people Marathons symbolize the peak of physical conditioning. what most Americans do in the name of ‘fitness’ only compounds their problems. Ab-rollers and Jane Fonda workout tapes. Bow Flex weight machines. participating in a Marathon is now seen by many as an entry level feat to aspire to. and started Tanning all in an effort to look like models and movie stars in their form revealing swim suits… Thus today’s fitness industry was created! However. People suddenly took up jogging. I know many people who enjoy having a Well. cycling.’ Men began working out and pumping up to look more like Arnold Schwartzenegger. Few recall that the first man to run twenty-six miles non-stop all the way to Marathon did so to warn Greek generals of a impending Persian invasion.
soften our joints. we need loosercises. develop muscles of iron wrapped in silk. not more endurance. Resting in front of our High Definition Television is not relaxing! Lao Tse would not have considered watching TV.” —Frank Chan 12 . Relaxation means: “the act of relaxing. What we are truly aching for is Relaxation.. going to the movies. Being chronically uptight causes us to feel chronically stressed! It works something like this: The more we endure the harder we get. surfing the internet.. Instead of exercises. Enduring stress does not cause us to be chronically uptight. What most of us consider “relaxation” isn’t very relaxing at all! Relaxing has everything to do with our muscles. Not the other way around. the more we endure! No wonder our health begins to suffer. lax our muscles. In order to truly relax we must quiet our minds and loosen our bodies and breath deeply. quiet our minds and release all emotional tension.” This is the fundamental goal of Qigong—systematically loosening or slackening our muscles to allow Qi and blood to circulate naturally. To truly relax. These leisure activities hyper-stimulate the mind and do absolutely nothing to loosen the joints of the body. or playing videogames relaxing at all. Many Americans think relaxation is some sort of trick you learn to do with your mind—like self-hypnosis or meditation—or is something you do on weekends or while on vacation. not more punishment. Unfortunately most Americans confuse resting with relaxing. What we really need is relaxation training. We already work too hard.Pain = No Gain “In Qigong we What we have needed all along is Wellness-training not more fitness training. we must ease our posture. Tricky! Especially if you are the type of care-giving grown-up whose mind is constantly racing a mile a minute trying to manage everyone’s affairs and solve everyone’s problems. Let me say this again: The reason we hurt is because we can’t relax. the harder we get the more we hurt—the more we hurt. We are too quick to blame all our problems on Stress.
The Way to be More Natural. play and have fun? Sounds too good to be true? Too simple? 13 . Tantra.’ Something you set some time aside for a little bit each day. Only they call it: Qigong. —Jesus Qigong as Play What if Qigong really just means remembering how to play? What if the key to regaining our child-like suppleness is as simple as getting down on the floor to play? What if very real health benefits are available to anyone willing to sit like a child? Breathe like a child? Move like a child? Imagine like a child? Play like a child? Playing—this is really what all those gurus are talking about. you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Yoga. It is not complicated. It is a familiar enough concept when it comes to caring for our cars and extending the life of our engines. The point is: Qigong is not rocket science. imagine.Qigong: Exercises in Tranquility Unless you become Qigong—‘Daily Qi-Cultivation’—at first sounds strange and foreign to most Americans. but mostly we work too hard and then watch TV. however. The Way to Relax. Tai Chi. as little children. The Way to Good Health. The Way to be Wise. few of us realize it is also an excellent strategy for maintaining our health. Sadly. We all know we are supposed to eat right and exercise regularly. Most Americans would never dream of setting off on a cross-country car trip without first filling up the tank and yet routinely run their bodies on empty all day long! Qigong is really nothing more than ‘Regular Scheduled Maintenance. the Way to be Child-like… What if all that is really missing in our stressed-out grown-up lives is some free time to be creative. Meditation… Lao Tse simply calls it: Dao—The Way… What the Old Boy meant by that was: The Way to be Happy. many Americans take far better care of their cars then they do themselves. It is very simple and practical.
Qigong is Simple
Qigong is performed in a quiet meditative state I call Open Play. One does qigong playfully as meditation, not in addition to meditation. When practicing or performing Qigong one is centered, poised, and relaxed—like a child at play. Not all serious and puckered up like an adult. This relaxed playfulness cultivates and inner quietude that promotes subtle body-awareness so we can feel the Qi. Feeling Qi flow is fun and exhilarating. Practicing Qigong correctly gathers Healing Qi directly from the Universe and makes energy immediately available for healing of the body, mind and spirit. Daily Qigong practice becomes a simple and effective strategy for helping ourselves remember to make time each day for play. Qigong brings more fun into our adult lives. By practicing daily, qigongists get their warm-ups, stretching, strength training, balance work, core work, and meditation all at the same time! It is a very practical method for managing stress. It is very simple…
Qigong is like your toothbrush—it only works for you if you use it. Playing could well be the missing ingredient you have been searching for, the key to Health and Happiness. Qigong is the active ingredient in feeling younger, more flexible, vital, and alive...
Self-Healing Tip #3: Child’s Breathing. Children naturally breathe from the abdomen. The abdomen distends on inhaling so the diaphragm can drop and contracts again upon exhaling so the diaphragm can rise. This fully oxygenates the blood and gently massages the internal organs. Children belly breathe while sleeping. Try this: Lie down. Inhale 5 seconds allowing the belly to round. Exhale 5 seconds allowing the belly to become flat. Continue 5 minutes. Enjoy!
What is Qigong?
The word Qigong is formed by combining two Chinese characters—Qi and Gong. Qi is vital energy or breath. Gong— short for Gongfu (or the more familiar: Kungfu)—means: spare-time, skill cultivated through daily practice, an art mastered through long-term disciplined effort. Feeling one’s Qi flowing and circulating is invigorating. It feels good! Those who regularly practice qigong report feeling more alive, energetic, less stressed, more carefree. Qigong is an ancient practice for cultivating one’s internal energy to achieve inner-balance and integration. It is a powerful tool anyone can learn to use to soften chronic pain, calm the mind, heal emotions, and restore suppleness. Qigong is by far the most popular form of exercise in the world. It is a spiritual practice as well as a medical intervention. The vast majority of qigongists are not athletes. Qigongists are more like children swinging on swings than like sweaty health-club members pedaling stationary bikes while listening to their I-Pod.
The Five Origins of Traditional Qigong
Qigong is Simple. The most ancient qigong forms have their roots in the shamanic practices of prehistoric hunter-gatherer cultures and are based on the movements of sacred birds and animals. The animal-forms of bears, tigers, deer, snakes, monkeys, cranes, dragons, and even turtles were imitated to bring the shaman into accord with the special powers of these totem animals. This ancient source originates in the shapeshifting dances of tribal holy men. As such, these nature forms predate written records. This lends credence to the claim that qigong is over 5000 years old! Traditionally, all qigongs come to us from five distinct schools of philosophy—these are the Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist, Martial and Medical schools of qigong. Each qigong school shares similarities in form and principals of practice but emphasizes a distinctly different goal. But, Simple does not mean Easy. —Luke Chan
Confucian Qigong—as practiced by the ruling elite—the goal was to train oneself to remain emotionally detached and centered no matter what the situation.
Daoist Qigong focused primarily on increasing longevity which led to the pursuit of alchemy—the turning of base metals into gold—and an attempt to discover: Dan, the ‘Elixir of Life.’ The goal of Daoist qigong is Immortality.
Buddhist Qigong focuses on the attainment of Enlightenment. The goal of all Buddhist practices is to become a Buddha sustained by undisturbed inner-peace gained through the practice of meditation.
Martial Qigong’s goal is to become invincible in any fight—a supreme martial artist. Kung fu masters train themselves to become impervious to injury and perform amazing feats of skill and agility due to their years of intensive physical, mental discipline, and their heightened body awareness.
Medical Qigong’s goal is the alleviation of illness, freedom from sickness, good health and long life.
Many Medical Qigongs are Daoist in origin, but Indian and Buddhist qigong is also strongly influential. Interestingly, the fateful blending of native Chinese Daoism and imported Indian Buddhism created a powerful new branch of Buddhism known as Chan Buddhism—or as it is more commonly known here in the West—Zen.
Self-Healing Tip #4: Dancing Trees: Take an opportunity to go outside on a windy day and observe the trees. Standing quietly with your feet firmly planted, observe the swaying movements of the branches as they “dance” in the wind. Raise your arms and imitate the movements of the trees. For 10 minutes give up the stresses of being human. Sway. Try to be more tree-like.
Master Guo Lin’s courageous story includes the details of her triumph over cancer and the compassion of her grandfather—a classically trained Daoist Priest.The Rise of Popular Qigong The term: Qigong is actually a very modern word first coined sometime in the 1930’s by Chinese medical researchers who were studying the health benefits of ancient practices like Dao Yin. When her health improved she began teaching her walking method to anyone who wanted to learn. and Bagua. When her cancer metastasized and returned—this time in her bladder—she remembered the exercises she had learned from her grandfather in her youth and turned to those lessons for treatment. News of her successes spread all over China and was reported to the West and eventually the Chinese government began an exhaustive scientific study of what were seen as ‘folk-remedies. By and large. Guo Lin’s grandfather had broken with tradition not only by teaching Qigong to his favorite grand-daughter and then upon his death leaving Guo Lin valuable Daoist texts on ancient self-healing practices. the term Qigong didn’t really come into popular usage in China until the 1970s in the wake of Nixon’s historic meeting with Chairman Mao and the World’s sudden fascination with Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture. Can Medical Qigong still produce positive results if stripped of its traditional beliefs? 17 .’ Their goal was to distill the healing essence from traditional qigong and share its health benefits for the good of all the People. Qigong then became an umbrella term used to refer to all traditional forms of self-healing Qi-cultivation practices. She used these secrets to heal herself and in the process created for herself a new modern form of qigong. Her story begins with a diagnosis of uterine cancer and a hysterectomy.’ or even ‘witch-craft. Researchers approached qigong with extreme scientific skepticism.’ ‘superstitious practices. Taijiquan. However. the cancer treatment benefits of Qigong first gained the attention of the Chinese government through the grass-roots efforts of one woman named Guo Lin who began teaching her Walking Qigong lessons in the famous Purple Bamboo Park about the same time.
Her Medical Qigong has positively affected the lives of millions all over the China and the world. Master Guo Lin was the first teacher of popular qigong to be recognized by the Chinese government due to her self-less contribution to the good of the people. all of whom trained him to becoming a traditional healer and acupuncturist. The form I learned. in the power of our thoughts. Zhening Qigong’s health benefits are being realized by millions of people from different faiths.Are the successes attributed to Medical Qigong merely the result of the placebo effect? Is there a rational scientifically sound theory that accounts for Qigong’s legendary ability to heal people and cure diseases? Does it work? And if so: How? Guo Lin believed her qigong healed in part due to the physical exercise and Qi-cultivation. Guo Lin had rediscovered the ancient secret to the healing power of Qigong: the true power to heal could be found in the power of the mind. The Qigong for Incurables Think Blue Sky. Zhening Qigong. all popular qigongs owe her their thanks. Pang found himself at the forefront of a modern qigong renaissance as Chinese officials began to look seriously at these 18 Think Space… —Dr. Grandmaster Pang’s Zhening Qigong is rated first among all traditional qigongs by the China Sports Bureau and his Huaxia Zhening Qigong Research Center was once known as ‘the world’s largest medicine-less hospital. backgrounds. Pang Ming . Dr. You do not have to be Chinese to benefit from Traditional Chinese Medicine! He-Ming Pang’s personal story starts with traditional ‘straight path’ training at an early age and subsequently put him under the tutelage of nineteen Grandmasters. According to my teacher..’ Zhening Qigong is credited with successfully healing the symptoms of over 450 disease conditions and so became known widely in China as the ‘Qigong for Incurables. By the mid 1970s. but she also strongly emphasized the benefit patients received from the positive social energy generated among the walking groups.. and cultures.’ Around the world. She recognized the healing power of unconditional love and compassion and credited it with offering optimistic attitudes to the individual walkers. was created by Grandmaster He-Ming Pang.
Dr. Lao Shi assembled a large team of dedicated physicians who set out to scientifically validate the efficacy of Zhening Qigong.traditional practices. Dr. By 1979. sometimes numbering in the thousands! Dr. acupuncture. After more than twenty years of rigorous scientific scrutiny and massive clinical trials. He is highly regarded by his peers for his self-less contribution to qigong science. First.” After receiving government approval. no heat! (They had to close the center during the winter. to achieve political correctness in the eyes of Chinese government officials. rather than God or Buddha. they had to agree that the only treatment they were to receive during their stay at the center was Zhening Qigong—no drugs. and TCM. Lao Shi’s personal healing skills are legendary. Lao Shi’s Zhening Qigong is credited with curing thousands of patients. Pang began to teach Zhening Qigong en masse to large groups of people. in fact. His test subjects—literally thousands of patients—had to meet three requirements before participating in the research program. And so using amplifiers and loud speakers and with microphone in hand.’ 19 . Pang’s group healing methods produced many documented successes in healing cancer and other ‘incurable’ diseases. No special belief system was required.) Thirdly. after qigong treatment at the center. He is the published author of many volumes of writings and has presented hundreds of hours of lectures (all in Chinese) on qigong theory. each patient was asked to submit for reexamination using Western methodology to verify and document the cessation of their symptoms. Each subject was diagnosed— according to Western medical understanding—with an illness that is considered incurable. Pang—a one time collaborator of Guo Lin—announced he had distilled the essence of all five traditional qigongs into a modern form of Medical Qigong he called Zhening (‘Intelligence’) Qigong. no special diets. As one of China’s foremost experts of qigong. Pang—called Lao Shi (Teacher) by his thousands of students—was first to coin the term Qigong Science. Pang Lao Shi is considered a ‘National Treasure. In fact. they had to be tested and examined by Western Medical practitioners to prove they were indeed sick. Secondly. Dr. practitioners are simply asked to “Think Blue Sky.
and teach these time-honored traditional techniques for the common good of all. refine. Pang’s methods with literally tens of millions of students all around the world. Observe your thoughts and emotions as if they were temporary energy sensations (because that is what they are!) Just sit and breathe! You will see—like clouds in the blue sky—thoughts and emotions in the body/mind come and go! 20 . Pang Ming also founded the China Qigong Science Correspondence Institute and and was chief lecturer for the first class of college-level qigong students at the Haidian Day University. Additionally. In 1997 he helped to compile and compose the National Teaching Program of Qigong Science and in 1998 participated in the examination and approval of student course-work authorized by the China Association of Qigong Science for fitness qigongs. practice.Lao Shi’s achievements do not end there. Dr Pang is the originator of “The Hunyuan Entirety Theory” published in nine volumes over a nine year period. Dr. To this day. Pang and his wife (a renowned healer in her own right) remain dedicated proponents of traditional healing practices and have trained thousands of Zhening Qigong teachers who in turn have shared Dr. Lao Shi and his wife continue to tirelessly explore. Dr. Self-healing tip #5: Sit on the Floor! As the Zen master said: “Don’t just do something: sit there!” 15 minutes of silently sitting and observing your external world (eyes open) or your internal world (eyes closed) can restore inner-harmony and balance. Despite current political restrictions on large group-practice as a result of official government ban on the cult movement Falun Gong. He is one of the original founders of China Qigong Association and is the acknowledged Go out in Six Directions into the Infinity… —Dr Pang Ming creator the Qi-field Technique—applying and teaching his pioneering method in 1984—and publicizing his theories and treatment methodology in 1986.
at a signal from the 21 . you will miss it…” —Luke Chan table in the middle of a conference hall presenting the Friday-night keynote address for the American Humanistic Psychologists symposium on alternative medicine. He joked about the “slight” language barrier: “If you have trouble understanding me that only proves I am ‘au-then-tic’ Chinese. This was a unique form of Laying-on-of-Hands very few Westerners had ever seen. Pang’s research center. With the Luke’s camera in position. women. All the chairs in the room had been set into a large circle with a conference table setup in the center room. and children of all ages—performing elegant slow-motion exercises. energetically chanting while waving their hands in synchrony above her lower abdomen. participating in healing circles. but his Chinese accent was very thick. or “wall squatting” (a very ancient temple exercise. I knew we were in for something out of the ordinary… Master Chan’s English was good. It took some getting accustomed to.” And so occasionally during his talk he would stop to spell out words that were trickier for him or if we seemed to be confused.) We saw teams of physicians moving through rows of seated patients directing healing energy to hundreds at a time.Luke Chan THE FIRST TIME I SAW LUKE CHAN.” h-e-a-l-t-h: as in the phrase: “hell tan happiness”) After a few words about himself and a brief introduction to the concept of Qigong. while he maintained a peripheral view of the doctors as they huddled over the patient on the table. Master Chan was using the table as a small stage and was presenting his speech in the round. Master Chan kept his camera on the ultra-sound monitor. As the doctors worked with their hands several inches above the patient’s abdomen. In another scene we saw a team of four doctors performing a clinical “Fa Qi” treatment for a patient with bladder cancer. he was standing on top of a “Spontaneous Healing happens now! If you wait. an ultra-sound technician trained her imaging wand over the walnut-sized tumor in the patients bladder. (like: “hell. he showed the group a video he shot of his first visit to Dr. holding the tumor in the center of her screen. The video showed large groups of student-patients—men. standing together in group meditation.
Master Chan announced that since we had such a large group of caring people (over 500 therapists). nearest to his makeshift stage. The only thing I had ever seen even closely resembling what we were seeing on the big screen was a charismatic televangelist—though in this case nobody swooned. how he had received Lao Shi’s permission to teach his New Qigong methods in the West. Pang’s center. there were no deacons standing at the ready to catch those overcome by Spirit. the doctors suddenly quickened their pace. In a matter of moments. And then it appeared to be dissolving. and more generally about his experiences at Dr. no pile of discarded canes and walkers as at Lourdes or Sedona..” We then saw Dr.. Master Chan told the incredulous and curious audience about his experience video-taping the healing of the bladder tumor. He then stepped lightly 22 . and demonstrate the healing method used in the videotape by actually treating a number of people at the conference who were also suffering cancer. he wanted to make use of so much loving energy. Then to our collective surprise. To our amazement. concentrating their combined energies on the bladder tumor. and his encouraging words—perhaps for only a minute each as they passed. (maybe 3-4 minutes) the tumor completely disappeared from the screen! This announcement from the Ultra-sound technician created even more excited energy among the doctors who applauded each other and celebrated as if at a sporting event with many shouts of “Hao la!” “Hao La!” To our American eyes. each receiving his touch. working more and more intensely. Master Chan lightly hopped down from the table and helped several people in need of treatment to seats at the center of the group. the tumor began to suddenly “shift” and to change shape. This turned out to be the reason the auditorium had been arranged into a circle—to concentrate the group’s energy in the middle. the only thing missing were “High Fives. He then he told us about his book: 101 Miracles of Natural Healing—in which he recorded one-hundred-andone interviews with patients who had been successfully healed at the center—and finally. Pang personally treating an assembly line of patients with people filing passed him. his smile.group’s leader. After viewing the video. on screen.
gave us his instructions for how to create the healing Qi-circle. each unit marches to their own cadence so even though they are marching together.. The second thing is: ‘Qi and blood are plentiful!’ What that means is. When we are synchronized. the Qi and blood are free to circulate. they discovered this by accident. The first thing we want to affirm is: ‘All meridians open!’ That means all your energy channels open up. through visualization and affirmation.. like the conductor to a symphony orchestra. because our meridians have opened up and relaxed. Tonight—because we want to heal cancer and other illnesses—we need for our hand movements to be together so we can gather more Qi as a group to help the persons in the middle. And the forth thing is: ‘All illnesses disappear!’ All this is what ‘Hao La’ means. I want to teach you about the ‘magic’ of a foreign language. Tonight we want everyone here to receive plenty of healing Qi. we are praying and affirming four things. But we don’t want to only heal the persons in the middle. When we say Hao La in the Qi-circle. when you say ‘Hao La’ you can think Hao La means: ‘Healed!’ Really the word doesn’t matter. When the soldiers march to the same rhythm to show off their training and then they marched like that across a bridge.’ but. During World War I. Qi healing happens because of the mind. Otherwise it is too dangerous because marching synchronized together is too powerful. He said: “First. So now they know instead of marching together. 23 . which means in Chinese: ‘mission accomplished’ or ‘job complete’ as in: ‘Did you make tea?’ Then we say: ‘Hao La. it makes the Qi much stronger. The third thing is: ’All body functions return to normal!’ This is because the Qi and blood are reaching to all the cells. for our purpose here tonight. The important thing is that we use Hao La to synchronize our hand movements together as a group. The word I want to teach you is ‘Hao La’. it made the bridge fall down. Many soldiers were lost.back onto the table as easily as if it were a single stair-step and not almost half his height! He then. each unit marches separately.
I got chills and goose-bumps. I could feel how we all wanted to relieve all the pain. the word itself is not what’s important. ‘Amen’ but you already have an idea what Amen means. You could say. So tonight. you just say: ‘Hao La’. So instead. I could feel my heart going out. ‘Voila’ or ‘Hao La’ makes no difference. An intense energy began to fill the auditorium. Later. for the first time. opening and closing our hands in synchrony with the words—opening on Hao and closing on La—he skillfully guided us through a visualization process designed to unite our group intention into a single energy-field of concentrated Love and Compassion. But more importantly. The power of so large a group was amazing! I have never experienced anything like it before or since. And you don’t have to remember the four affirmations either. She said she hoped it still worked.Not long ago I taught at another conference and we did a healing circle. as usual. So ‘Hao La’ is much better. Then as we chanted. I felt my own unconditional love returning to me—but amplified 500 times! 24 . showing us how to open and close our hands at heart level—like playing an accordion. and I know what it means. When you get home and want to practice. to everyone around me. Tears began to well up in my eyes. she said she just moved her hands—open and close—and said ‘Voila’ ‘Voila’. it began to feel like electricity was moving through me. Really. I had never experienced anything like it before. we say: ‘Hao La’ because you are with me. it’s what you’re thinking that’s important. you do not already have an idea in your head. It grew very warm. The hairs on the back of my neck prickled and stood up. Then Hot. one woman wrote me an email to say when she got home she wanted to do a Qi healing for her husband but couldn’t remember the right word to say in Chinese. the fear. you can say any word you like! Master Chan taught us how to do La Qi. and the sickness caused by Cancer. Suddenly. There is a certain magic in a foreign language because you don’t already know what the word means.
Everywhere around me, tears of compassion were streaming down faces. We were all chanting and weeping and praying in Chinese! Our hands opening and closing in perfect harmony with our “Hao La, Hao La, Hao La…” And then somehow it was over… It is hard now to remember the event clearly; maybe the whole experience lasted 20 minutes, maybe 30? I don’t know. But I do remember Master Chan telling us to nourish our own energy by placing our hands on top of our navels after the chanting ended. I remember as he finished his presentation he said something that has stayed with me ever since:
“Spontaneous Healing happens now! If you wait, you will miss!”
Later on, I introduced myself to Master Chan and told him why I was at the conference; explaining how I was a nurse in charge of creating a hands-on healing center for our hospital. He asked me only one question: “Will you also be doing the therapy?” “Yes.” I replied: He then said matter-of-factly: “Then you need to learn Fa Qi or else you will give all your Qi away.” Shortly after this—while surfing the Internet—my wife discovered that Master Chan comes to Indiana twice a year to the Oakwood Retreat Center near Muncie, offering 3-day or 6-day Qigong retreats. This seemed too good to be true! “You have to go.” She said. I attended my first 3-day Intensive that following November and began to learn Dr. Pang’s methods directly from Master Chan.
I was so excited. I wanted so much to learn and understand. Out of the group of 45 students, I soon noticed that I was the one student asking the most questions. After two days of this, Luke became so frustrated with me that he took me aside and said: “David, you do not know enough yet to ask so many questions!” I was stung! The next thing I know, I found myself separated from the larger group
with about ten other “first-timers” and placed under the tutelage of Luke’s older brother Frank. Frank was knowledgeable, Frank was funny, but more importantly—Frank was patient! That’s when I decided that Frank Chan was the true teacher—Laoshi— while Luke Chan was the Shifu—the Master. Presently, Luke lives full-time in China where he hosts month-long intensive training retreats for American and European students. While Frank still runs retreats, continuing to travel the US teaching Chilel™ Medical Qigong. Frank operates a website: www.chilel-qigong.com where you can purchase Luke’s book about Dr. Pangs Center: 101 Miracles of Natural Healing, plus DVDs and audio CDs for self-training in Dr. Pang’s main methods—“Lift Chi Up & Pour Chi Down,” “The Body-Mind Method,” “Three Centers Merged,” “La Qi,” and “WallSquatting.” If you want to learn Laoshi’s Zhening Qigong the same way I did, that’s where you have to go.
Waiting for my Horses to Die
When the Student is My Medical Qigong instructor’s name is Hao-Hee Chan. Master Chan has been teaching Zhening Qigong in the United States since 1995. In my opinion he is one of the most unassuming masters you could ever hope to meet. Master Chan says: “I am no Sifu! I am still just a student like you. I have only been practicing for 40 years. I teach qigong because it is the best way for me to learn. Really I have just learned something a little before you. That is all. That is why I consider myself a Lao-shi (‘Teacher’) not a Sifu (‘Master’).” In China, Master Chan’s students affectionately call him—Chan Lao-shi. But here in the United States he tells his American students: “Just call me Frank.” Frank tells the story that back in Hong Kong he had the same Taiji teacher as Bruce Lee. He says: “Look at Bruce Lee. He is very very famous. He is known the world over. And we had the same teacher in Hong Kong. Bruce Lee becomes famous. Does anybody know who Frank Chan is? No. But! Bruce Lee is also very 26 ready, the Teacher appears.
dead. So, maybe it is not such a bad thing to be Frank Chan…” He tells this story to prove a point: It is the efforts of the student that makes all the difference. In America, Zhening Qigong is known as Chi-lel™ Qigong. Chi-lel translates as: ‘Qi Therapy.’ I once asked Frank why he didn’t just use the name Zhening Qigong. He said, “Marketing! You’ve got to call it something. That way if someone calls me and says they have studied Chi-lel, I know they are my student. If they said: I am studying Zhening Qigong, I do not know what they think they have learned. So I would not be able to help them?” The main practice form of Zhening Qigong is a healing form called Lift Qi Up & Pour Qi Down. LQU&PQD borrows deeply from Taijiquan and White Crane Qigong. Early in my training, on retreat, I was performing LQU&PQD with a large group of students—some of whom were quite ill. Honestly I was having a very difficult time with it. After a long day of practice, both of my arms had become so heavy and tired. Just holding my arms up became impossible. At last I could not take it any more any with a wincing sigh I let my arms drop. I opened my eyes to see how well the others were doing… Now bear in mind: I was not sick. I was not there seeking a cure for anything. I was there because I wanted to learn how to help others—or so I thought. Throughout my life I have been involved in one sport activity or another. I am a decent athlete and at 6’2” 240lbs I am neither frail nor weak. Generally speaking, I am what you might call a ‘big and strong guy. So imagine my amazement and chagrin as the muscles in my arms began to scream with tension and my shoulders started to ache with so much pain that I had to drop my arms. That was embarrassing enough. But when I opened my eyes, there to my left is this extremely thin woman in her mid to late seventies wearing a chemotherapy-pump around from her bony shoulders! Not only are her emaciated arms still up in air, but she is smiling! I thought: “What is on earth is wrong with me that I can’t even hold my arms up to do the complete 16-minute version of the form?”
“You can get a horse to run and run and run for you until it falls down dead. Frank asked me a question: “Do you know the difference between a donkey and a horse?” “Probably not. “How does the Qi take over?” To help explain. But once the donkey gets tired—it will sit down! It will not move. —Frank Chan . But if the donkey is tired the donkey will not move. Your muscles will get so tired. It will try and try and try. The Qi knows what to do”. Do you know why? Because the donkey is smart! Until it feels rested the donkey will not get up.’ And then they try to do that. “Well.” “Do you see?” “Not exactly.” I asked. There is nothing you can do about it. In the beginning your muscles will try and try and try. The horse loves you. Do you know why? Because basically: the horse is stupid. “It is your mind’s intent. we know how to do that. Believe me. you know a donkey. “How do you raise your arms and relax your muscles at the same time?” He said. Don’t use the muscle. You need to relax and let the Qi take over. It will feel terrible. You can push it. It is simple. You say to yourself: ‘I am going to hold my arms out. It cannot flow through the meridians so you are using your muscles instead. “Your Qi is blocked. Oh! It will hurt. Then the Qi will do it for you not the muscle.Later during a break I asked Frank why it was so difficult for me to keep my arms up. So you have to learn how to relax. They think they know how to do everything. It wants to work for you. It will feel bad if it lets you down. You can tie a rope and try to pull it.” “But a horse…” He continued.’ And your muscles say: ‘Oh.” “And how do I do that?” I asked in frustration. You can get a donkey to work hard for you. You just keep trying. “Your muscles are like the horse.” I said sullenly. Eventually they will want to fall down 28 “You just get the Qi in there. Your muscles love you. You can hit it with a stick.” “But. Oh!” he said.” I admitted.
does that make sense?” “I guess so. His training sutras go on repeating and repeating and repeating in my head reminding me to: “Drop shoulders…” “Relax low back…” “Raise Bai Hui and tuck in chin…” “Withdraw vision inward…” “Feel as if you are sitting but not sitting…” “Relax the knees…” “Go out in six directions…” “Think Blue Sky…” One more Frank story… Frank’s wife Eva is a MD. But your arms are still floating there.” “It is a strange thing. to this day. Now. Your body learns how to follow. Your mind learns how to lead.’ Don’t worry! You just get the Qi in there.” He said at last. That’s when you know the Qi has taken over for you. Sort of…” “You just keep on trying. a neurologist. One day you will see. a 29 . Not long ago the two of them were invited to the wedding of two of her colleagues. Really your muscles have nothing to do with it. Your arms will become so tired. two internists. It is bound to happen sooner or later. but— your arms will still be up in the air. You know your horses are dead. whenever I practice Qigong I always hear Frank’s voice in my head. Just keep practicing. Frank said afterwards at the reception he was the only person at his table who was not a doctor of some kind. “But that is how you learn to let the Qi take over. His Chinese accent is contagious. ‘If you do the Gong you will get the Qi. The Qi knows what to do…” After nearly thirteen years. As he tells it: “There were MDs and PhDs and all those kinds of ‘Ds’ and then there was me. Suddenly instead of dropping them you will relax them. Then the QI will flow and it will not hurt. Keep on relaxing and relaxing.dead. You will not be able to hold them up.” And as they were going around the table making formal introductions he learned there was a cardiologist. The meridians will open up. It is the mind’s intent.
Think Blue Sky! 30 .” He replied. I teach Qigong.pediatrician. “Qigong is traditional Chinese healing. “I am Frank Chan. With a little practice. Remain centered.” “What kind of work is that?” They asked out of curiosity. Suppressing unwanted emotions creates stress! Do not try to avoid emotional energy as this will not help! Instead stay with the feeling! Relax! Do not squeeze! Breathe! Open your heart and exchange Qi with nature. and so on… Finally it was Frank’s turn to introduce himself to his table mates. “It is my job eventually to put you all out of business!” Self-Healing tip #6: Stay with it! When uncomfortable emotional states arise— try to stay with the feeling! Meditate upon the physical sensations or energy of the disturbing emotion. aware and observant. unwanted feeling states will pass through you in a single Day.
The time had come to teach qigong to the People. The Zen-Secret Practice Form. All things issue from it. In fact. Wild-Goose 31 was the Dao. just as Kung Fu movies were introducing martial arts qigong to Western movie-goers.The Spread of Popular Qigong In the beginning With the publicized success of Guo Lin’s ‘Walking Cure’ qigong clubs began to spring up all across China. —Lao Tse . medical and martial schools or the educated elite. One designed for the general population that could relieve the growing health-care crisis in the wake of China’s urban population explosion. Dozens of new forms began to appear in the parks—One Finger Zen Qigong. The challenge facing researchers were many. More and more common people began to enter the local parks to study with the masters in their community. This was accomplished with one very simple decree from the ruling council: The People’s Republic of China can no longer afford hidden secrets. Practices which just decades before could lead to internment in Maoist ‘re-education camps’ were now embraced. And the party most responsible for disseminating medical qigong research to the world is the Chinese Communist Party. throughout the 1970s and 1980s. the Chinese people themselves were also rediscovering the health benefits of medical and martial qigong with growing public awareness and pride. All things return to it. National programs were developed promoting the health benefits of Taijiquan and Medical Qigong. These were often affiliated with religious cults. Dozens of prominent masters were drafted by Communist Leaders to devise a scientific-based training system. Secrecy served as a rudimentary ‘patent system. Qigong masters once persecuted were now sought out.’ By passing certain secrets on to carefully selected students masters hoped to guarantee the purity of their Lineage. Most traditional qigongs survived the centuries by maintaining certain closely guarded secrets. their qigong forms hurriedly videotaped before their special lineages could fade away. The Spontaneous Five-Bird Game. This is the true origin of Popular Qigong.
Qigong, The Empty-Power Form—each designed by an accomplished Master. So many, in fact, that Chinese Officials created a Top-Ten list of approved medical qigongs to help give people guidance. Out of this mix arose Dr. Pang’s Zhening Qigong to the Top-Ten. The popularity of many of these newer forms is no doubt due in part to the difficulty in learning traditional Taijiquan and other Martial-style Qigongs. These martial forms, generally speaking, were either too strenuous or else realizing the health benefits required years or sometimes even decades to achieve. Communist officials and qigong researchers agreed this was too long a time table. Dr. Pang’s medical form takes many health variables into consideration to make Zhening Qigong accessible to all people. It can be adapted to almost any level of health or physical fitness. LQU&PQD can be performed standing, sitting or even lying down. It can be practiced in a wheelchair or from a hospital bed. In fact, Zhening Qigong is designed in such a way that it will benefit you even if you have no idea at all what you are doing or have yet to learn the rudimentary form. However, the true genius of Dr. Pang and perhaps his greatest contribution to Qigong Science is his Hunyuan Entirety Theory and his Qi-field Technique which masterfully raises Zhening Qigong above the field of ‘folk-remedy’ and places it squarely at the forefront of 21st Century medicine. Popular qigongs have now spread around the world and Chinese and Non Chinese masters are teaching throughout Europe, The US, Canada, The UK, South and Central America, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. Hundreds of millions of people practice this Self-healing Art everyday.
Self-Healing Tip #7: Get Enough Sleep! Sleep studies show that the average person needs at least 6 hours of recuperative sleep a night. Eight is even better. If you must miss sleep—make it up! Nap! Even a 20 minute power nap can be enough to restore mental clarity. Enjoy…
The Hunyuan Entirety Theory
Religion is the Many qigong secrets—as previously mentioned—come directly from devout schools of Daoism, Buddhism, and Chan Buddhism and were frequently referred to as: ‘Temple Exercises.’ But with an official government ban on religion government scientists took great pain to remove all references to God or else modernize all references to religious philosophy in order to establish credibility among the international scientific community. This allowed researchers to mine very deeply without interference from Communist Party officials. Anywhere secret ancient healing knowledge lay hidden its methods were carefully tested by medical researchers using standard ‘double-blind’ methodology. All over China, qigong masters were studied. Their claims to heal others were tested and verified in every conceivable way. Qigong masters were wired, scanned, recorded and photographed using various spectrums of light. The energy emitted by qigong masters hands was measured and duplicated using sound wave frequencies. Monks in deep meditation were monitored and analyzed electromagnetically. Many studies were made on the level of brain-waves, microwaves and radio-waves. More mundane studies determined the healing effect qigong master’s positive energy-fields had on tomato plants, lab rats and petri-dishes full of bacteria, enzymes, viruses and cancer cells… All traditional assumptions were put to the test. Researchers asked such questions as: What happens on a physical level during qigong practice? How does qigong practice affect the mind and emotions? Does qigong have a positive effect on stress-related illnesses such as high bloodpressure, diabetes, heart disease, and depression? Can meridians and acupoints be detected and verified electronically? How does acupuncture really work? What was needed was a single science-based theory that encompassed all qigong theories. Researchers discovered they need not look further than their own immortal classic—the Dao te Ching. opiate of the masses!
The Dao gives birth to all beings, Nourishes them, maintains them, Cares for them, comforts them, protects them, Takes them back to itself, Creating without possessing, Acting without interfering. That is why love of the Dao Is the very nature of things.
The great Dao flows everywhere. All things are born from it, Yet it doesn’t create them. It pours itself into its work, Yet it makes no claim. It nourishes infinite worlds Yet it doesn’t hold on to them. Since it is merged with all things And is hidden in their hearts, it can be called humble. Since all things vanish into it And it alone endures, It can be called great. It isn’t aware of its greatness; Thus it is truly great.
The Dao gives birth to One. One gives birth to Two. Two gives birth to Three. Three gives birth to all things 34
the universe is an unceasingly evolving single Hunyuan Entirety and all the celestial bodies and all the things within them and upon them evolved from the original Hunyuan Qi (Primordial Qi). All things issue from it. In essence: Qi = E = mc2 The Chinese word Hunyuan means: ‘To form a new oneness by blending and transmuting three or more substances together’ as when two hydrogen atoms combine (blend) with one oxygen atom to form a single water molecule. In Daoist theory. It is the most fundamental element in the universe. Pang’s fundamental theoretical cornerstone established the foundation for modern qigong science. Formless Space is not only conscious—it is ‘super-intelligent. effectively excising all references to ‘God’ or even ‘divine ruling principal’ or ‘universal consciousness.) is difficult to overlook.’ The formless knows how to become form. Pang’s Hunyuan Entirety Theory translates Daoist insights into modern science. Yuan Qi (Spirit) is the pure undifferentiated energy which is present everywhere equally throughout the cosmos.Daoism in its original purity is a non-theistic philosophy. This is completely in accord with the Big Bang Theory of Creation. ‘m’ represents mass and ‘c’ stands for constant—the speed of light squared. Qi is the formless—neither particle nor wave—a ‘no-thing’ that has the ability to transmute through consciousness into all forms.’ Dr. Dr. The similarities between the ancient wisdom of Lao Tse and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity: E = mc2 (where ‘E’ stands for energy. the ruling force in the universe is Nature itself. Rather than conceptualizing ‘god’ who ‘commands’ nature into existence. The universe itself is one super-conscious entity and a Hunyuan Entirety! According to Hunyuan Entirety Theory. All things return to it. This is how Yuan Qi (Primordial Qi) had the ability to transmute In the beginning was the Dao. —Lao Tse itself into the infinity of all things. Daoist theory sates that Qi is the raw energy of existence—the ‘no-thing-ness’—which makes up and sustains all material things. thus forming the Hunyuan Entirety of Water—H2O. 35 .
Man directly and indirectly absorbs the solar energy and then releases this energy back to nature through all types of human activities. The essential energy of the earth comes from the sun. 2. Man and nature are One.) The human body constitutes an organic unity. Tian—among other things—is concerned with three basic ideas: 1.) Man and Nature comprise an organic unity. Man is the resulting Hunyuan Entirety that comes from blending Tian and Earth. The basic premise of the Hunyuan Entirety Theory as concerns Man and Nature is that our understanding of the universe cannot be separated from the understanding of man himself. Because man and all other things 36 .The Dao gives birth to One. Man and all other beings arise from the same source and exchange energy in the same way. 3. Man is then viewed as a Microcosm of the Macrocosm—the natural human expression Hunyuan Qi in a physical form and the highest form of consciousness to evolve on Earth. The One gives birth to Two. The Chinese confirm the Big Bang theory of Creation which is at its essence in perfect accord with ancient Daoist cosmology which asserts that out of the Primordial Oneness (Pre-Big Bang) arose the fundamental duality known as Yin and Yang (Post-Big Bang).) Man and society comprise an organic unity. From Yin and Yang—arose the duality of Space and Time—and from there arose all material and nonmaterial things: The Three Two gives birth to Three… From the Three arose the infinity of the physical and nonphysical universe. Tian therefore also refers to the relationship between Man and Nature as well as the natural environment. The Macrocosm—sometimes referred to as Tian (Heaven).
from the source of Hunyuan Qi (Primordial Qi). All of human life then is the process by which man unceasingly absorbs Primordial Qi (Hunyuan) and then blends and transmutes it into human Hunyuan Qi. This is fundamentally a holistic view of the universe. Space. According to the Hunyuan Qi Theory space is not a vacuum but is the source of all Hunyuan Qi. Man absorbs external Hunyuan Qi to nourish his well-being. in other words. Hunyuan Qi forms the connective matrix that links man with all other things. According to TCM theory. This mysterious substance: Qi manifest by absorbing and assimilating substances that are themselves condensed from Primordial Qi Three Treasures Traditional Medicine and modern science agree that human life consists of complex multi-level processes that function in accordance with nature and manifest in the activities of human a physiology of subtle consciousness and unconscious activities.) Shen—the Spirit or consciousness. Man and nature and all things form a unified Whole or Entirety. is not what separates all things but is in fact the very thing that connects all things. the human body consists of three key substances or elements: 1.) Jing—the physical body. Qi then is regarded as the basic building blocks of all things and have evolved from the original Hunyuan Qi into individualized fields of Hunyuan Qi. This is what enables Man to exchange Qi with nature and also explains how Man results from the evolution of nature. 2.) Qi—the non-physical form or energy. 3. All three blend to form one new Hunyuan Entirety (Man). this is how an apple breaks down to become nourishment in the blood so it can become the body of Jane Doe. As Frank would say. 37 .
the term for ‘weather’ is tian qi which means: ‘the breath of heaven’. It is thought of traditionally as being fluid-like. the basic energy of the universe and everything in it. It forms a matrix out of which energy and matter are formed. Jing is derived from both our Yuan Qi (‘inherited energy’ or ‘ancestral qi’) and from the Qi we acquire daily from the air. 38 . food. Man receives all nourishment from universal Hunyuan Qi. all its organs and delivery systems.’ In Mandarin.’ Someone with good or strong Qi exhibits signs of vim. Jing is the substance that underlies all organic life and is the sourse of all organic growth and change.Qi According to TCM. our Blood and Qi Meridian systems all depend on Jing. In Kung Fu Jing also means: Power. Hunyuan Qi is the origin of all. and vitality and yet is calm and at peace with themselves. It also means: ‘life force’ or ‘spiritual energy. Jing Human Qi is able to solidify because of Jing—our physical body. Jing is called the greatest of the three treasures because it makes the physical form possible. vigor. water. Any strength or ability developed as the result of practice can also be Jing. It can refer not only to the skilled movement but also to the ability to perform the particular movement or posture correctly. and physical labor or exercise. It is thought to reside in the kidney region. including universal Qi (Hunyuan Qi) and individual Qi (personal Lifeforce). Qi is the energy that connects and animates everything in the universe. Qi is the circulating energy that in Chinese philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things. Qi is also seen as the breath of Life—what in Ayruveda is called Prana or Pneumena to the ancient Greeks. the Prima Mater which coalesced into the infinite multitudes of Hunyuan Entireties—traditionally called: The ten thousand things or Infinity Hunyuan Qi condenses and coalesces to form Human Qi. Hunyuan Qi is the primordial essence. Qi is most often defined as ‘air’ or ‘breath’ or ‘vital energy. Jing is supportive and nutritive and is the basis for reproduction and development.
It is both energy and substance. Fighting-spirit. Ultimate Enlightenment. or else refer to such martial qualities as Courage. Three Treasures of Daoism The Three Treasures of Daoism are three different forms of energy. and physical well-being.’ ‘vitality. development. 39 . Post-natal Qi is what grows our physical bodies.dimension: one’s ‘spirit. or Ferocity.’ ‘will-power. The body cannot survive without Jing.’ ‘soul. ‘Raising one’s Shen’ could mean: Kundalini-energy. Shen (pronounced: Sun) refers to man’s inner. Jing condenses and arrives prior to the body and is responsible for its growth. Traditionally. Shen Shen—simply stated—is consciousness or awareness.’ ‘intelligence. The degree to which one cultivates one’s Shen is the degree to which one enjoys a harmonious life.’ ‘intuition. Jing forms our physical body and determines our state of health and length of life. Pre-natal Qi refers to the Hunyuan Qi we receive from our parents—our genetics and physical characteristics. Tenacity.Jing is formed from a blend of Pre-natal Qi and Post-natal Qi. According to the Theory of Relativity—despite appearances—mass is actually energy. and disposition. the food we eat and—here is where qigong science enters—the energy generated by our physical movements. Shen generates our personal quality of Life. Post-natal Qi is the Hunyuan Qi that sustains and nourishes us. all mass in its essence is Hunyuan Qi. the water we drink. Shen is also known as the Psyche or Mind and is said to be the driving force behind all our activities and creative endeavors. It is the air we breathe.’ ‘wisdom’ as well as one’s personality. charisma. our mind. This is in part the essence that heals and mends the body. our breath. According to the Hunyuan Entirety Theory. our posture… Through our natural intelligence our bodies know how to convert Post-natal Qi into Jing.
and even crystal or stones with the naked eye or else photographed using specialy sensitive cameras or development using processes such as Kirillian photography. holds.Qi is the calories we burn in daily life—essentially our life-energy or fuel source. transforms. light. meridians were better thought of as irrigation channels and the organs they serve were thought of as reservoirs or literally “Seas of Qi. Shen is the ‘light of consciousness’ resulting from the transubstantiation and combustion between Jing and Qi. protects. the Three Treasures have been compared to a candle—where Jing is the wax and the wick. and cranium. Wei Qi. the primary usage of the meridian system is to relax and open the meridians so that Qi and Blood can flow freely. Zhen Qi. Though often referred to as ‘invisible’ energy the Qi-field can actually be seen condenced around humans. For health purposes. Meridians There are twelve major meridians or energy channels that run throughout the body. Qi comes in many forms—Hunyuan Qi. Gu Qi. it is tempting to think of meridians in terms of electrical wiring and conductivity. Zong Qi. Shen also refers to our relationship with our Heart and implies our thoughts. trees. This enhances our 40 . emotional. etc… It can be detected in its simplest form as heat. plants. and or ability to learn. Yuan Qi. and warms our body. Ying Qi. Qi moves. Li Qi. or electromagnetic energy.” In actuality there are many energy channels running throughout the body. But for ancient masters. Xie Qi. and motivational aspect of consciousness and creativity. emotions. Because of this burning aspect. Meridians channel Qi energy to and from the body externally as when we are working and they also circulate the Qi internally to the organs system and to the three Dan Tians of the abdomen. Shen is the non-material mental. Ren Qi. but for simplicity sake TCM considers the twelve meridians as being comprised of six Yin channels and six Yang channels which terminate at either the fingers or the toes and unite the whole body as one. animals. Di Qi. Qi is the flame that consumes the fuel source and Shen the heat of the candle and the radiant glow of illumination. thoracic cavity. Because they conduct Qi energy. Zheng Qi.
We are not the creators of our human nature. the muscles and soft tissues which surround the energy channels must be relaxed... The best we can do is to preserve our faith through belief and hope that our soul continues on after death. Likewise our spirits are miraculous. But even if they succeed. IN TRUTH. Ordinary Mind: Samsara. the ability to heal others. There is very little that can be said with certainty about how our human 41 . You are healing right now! Your body is constantly balancing. If blood cannot flow then blood stagnation occurs and illnesses develop within the body. Master Chan says that if we can open our meridians by just an additional 10% then tremendous health benefits are available to us and physical and emotional self-healing proceeds very quickly. in short. medical scientists are busily at work trying to map the entire human genetic sequence. Karma. selfcorrecting. A thousand years from now we will still be studying the dynamic subtle energies and innerworkings of the human body. Our physical bodies are marvels. merrily. repairing. you are already doing everything in your power to keep body and soul together all the time. merrily. However the vast majority of this healing “Merrily. As I write this. We are the inheritors. and it certainly won’t get us any closer to understanding why body’s work. righting. No one can say with certainty how bodies work. Open the meridians wider and special abilities known as Siddhis in yogic tradition can begin to develop such as enhanced intuition. In order to relax and open our meridians. Self-healing is our natural Life-long process. this will not successfully explain how our bodies work. merrily. If Qi cannot flow then blood cannot flow. Maya.metabolism and nourishes our cells. and the special ability known as Seeing Through or X-ray vision. Life is but a Dream…” —Traditional process happens on a subconscious cellular level. No one can say where our souls come from and we certainly don’t know what will become of our soul once we die. WE ARE ALL ALREADY PRACTICING SELF-HEALING ALL OF THE TIME. They just do! We do know a lot about bodies.
To state the obvious. Conscious. Creative. Sluggish. Blundering. Focused. Sympathetic. The human mind is: Thought-full. Impatient. Cruel. unease. Calculating. Strong. Crafty. False. Brilliant. Inventive. Intense. Beautiful. They just do. 42 . But. against all odds. Remorseful. Intelligent. Bored. Deceptive. it is very hard work. Forgetful. Vindictive. Clever. Sensitive. Honest. fear. what a mind?! Let’s face it. Morbid. Attentive. dread—in a word: Stress. Self-Aware.Destructive. they just know what to do. Insensitive. Somehow. Morose. We are Self-divided. Caring. This of course makes healing through the mind a very difficult and tricky business because basically adult minds are Self-Opposing. In case something “bad” happens. Concerned. Bright. Depressed. adult minds are complicated. Ashamed. Ignorant. Proud. Self-serving. Negligent. Dishonest. Prejudiced. Decisive. Hopeful. Unforgiving. My point here is this: Since we really don’t know how our bodies heal. Willful. And. Angry. Much of the time our adult minds are perfectly puzzled and perplexed. Ruthless. Unaware.bodies and souls work. Distracted. Precise. Afraid. Kind. Addicted. Like the riddle of the Sphinx—we are enigmas that cannot be explained. This defensive posture against Life’s challenges promotes emotional turmoil. Stubborn. We live in a constant state of contradiction. Spiteful.. But. Patient. if left to their devices—they obviously prefer to stay that way! Grown-ups must navigate within a complex system of “ups” and “downs” we call the Human Condition. Unconscious. They are by nature conflicted and confused.” true Self-healing is really only possible through the mind. Defensive. Loving… Get the picture? Adjectives that describe the workings of the human mind are endless! This list goes on and on. Persistent. Cunning. Quite frankly. Magnificent. Forgetful. there are many things we can say with absolute certainty about the human mind. Self. we just are! The how of it will remain forever a Mystery.. Regretful. Over many years it begins to take a terrible toll. This of course generates tension. Distraught. anxiety. Excited. Scattered. they just come that way “factory fresh. Compassionate. Dull. Fearful. Consequently most adults feel the need to stand guard 24/7/365 just in case something goes wrong. Tenacious. and since our Spirits are already Holy.
We develop into characters. Perceiving ourselves as separate individuals we are forced to stand alone against the World. through roles. how we ourselves interpret our own history.” From all this tension and friction we create our own personal story. We decide who is right and who is wrong. from their personal experiences. through the constant tension of opposing forces. The truth is our Ordinary Mind needs an endless parade of problems in order to exist. through our conflicts. This dualistic way of perceiving is the adult thinking process. through identities. As authors of our own story we decide if our Life is meaningful or not! Everything we perceive is filtered through the colored glass of our grown-up personality. By tasting the forbidden fruit of “Good” and “Evil” we generate our own unease. because we take them personally.” This flaw is so common that Zen just calls it: Ordinary Mind. We suffer in fact from the way we think! This need to Guard against ourselves is deeply embedded in the software of the thinking adult mind.” hoping to always come out on top. What makes or breaks us as a person is how we ourselves rate our own success. This is what the Chinese refer to as the Cosmic Dance of Yin and Yang. Thinking mind tries to will itself “never let-go!” This is how we identify ourselves. comparing “good” verses “evil.” This in fact is how we derive meaning in our life.” and “future tense. This is how grown-ups function—ever-busy solving problems 43 . Ancient Masters tell us this Illusion of Separation lies at the root of all suffering. Each adult you see is busily creating their own personal reality from scratch. These identities are not us. through work. playing our parts in the great play called Life. They are who we think we are. weighing. Constantly measuring. Thinking about our “problems” is what we do in order to exist as a problematic identity. This is the true cause of our fall from Grace. we go from day to day as main characters of our own Dream.” “present tense. It is like a flawed computer program that cannot be shut down.As grown-ups we live our lives in a state of constant tension: “past tense. We define ourselves by our “personal problems. This is what grown-ups do! This is why our “personal problems” always seem so real. through relationships. applying their own inner-sense of “right” and “wrong” and deciding for themselves what is “true” and what is “not true.
instead of our normal bipolar split we reintegrate again and become One. We avoid the Void by avoiding Reality. “Present and accounted for” as the saying goes. by actively ignoring its very Presence! Ancient Masters tell us that Ordinary Mind is blind. we find no comfort in that! How do we heal this narcissistic bipolar disorder? How do we mend our thinking? First and foremost. We become myopic. Ordinary Mind. not dwelling in the past. According to Buddhist 44 . This is the “more-themerrier” approach to avoiding Reality. Most faiths have this at least in common: Atonement. Samsara means the Endless Cycle of Death and Rebirth. This is the “woe-is-me” approach. Cultivating a Zen-mind means training one’s awareness to remain firmly rooted in the Now. what we wish most avoid is the Void called: “No-Mind. by believing it is possible to heal the split within. but actually living fully in the Present moment. not somewhere off into the future. mental. The daily practice of physical. and emotional atonement is what Zen-style Qigong is all about. near-sighted. this is not possible.while simultaneously ever-busy creating new problems to solve! No wonder we are so uptight! This point-of-view offers no way out. Zen means living in the present un-tense! Not thinking about Life. Or we may simply choose to isolate ourselves. The ultimate goal is to experience Life moment by moment with undivided attention. by its dualistic nature. By implanting this new desire—the desire to be whole again—religious faiths teach us it is possible to heal the divided-self and restore our childlike wonder. For when we atone. All spiritual teachers throughout the history of the World have attempted to plant the same seed—the belief that we can end our own suffering. This is what Christ meant when he said: “The Kingdom of Heaven lies all around yet men do not see it.” By surrounding ourselves with people who share similar beliefs we create and share a consensus reality. Either way. We simply refuse to see that our fragile sense of self is completely dependant on maintaining a “personal reality. is bound to The Wheel of Samsara. For Ordinary Mind.” When we insist on believing we are lowly separate creatures then even though all the wisdom traditions of the World teach us that we are all is in fact One.
45 . and our belief in who we are. then—just as when we are dreaming—we become the central character in Life’s drama. Atman. is simply playing a game of hide & seek. the tribe or nation we belong to. Samsara sets the stage for all our Life’s experiences.” When we are lost in Samsara. the ultimate God beyond all other gods is Atman. The Law of Karma determines whether or not our dream experiences are good or bad. has become so lost in the game that he has forgotten that he is God. Maya essentially means: becoming so enamored with what we are Dreaming. While Maya. the god of Illusion. pretending to be everything else in the Universe. positive or negative. As long as we choose to identify ourselves with Samsara. like the children’s song says: “Life (Samsara) is but a dream.” This is the foundation of morality. Karma. “Instant Karma’s going to get you. Samsara is an illusion. According to Hindu philosophy. Maya basically means forgetfulness. the language we speak. In other words there are inescapable consequences to all our actions. Thus. losing oneself in Samsara means that even when we are wide awake we are still Dreaming. Then. Karma is the Universal Law of Cause and Effect. Karma for the western mind is often illustrated with the Christian maxim: As ye sow. like the first law of thermodynamics—for every action there is an equal and opposite re-action—is unavoidable. When we are lost in Samsara we are the central figure for the entire Universe! Samsara informs and sustains our false identity. the times we are part of. But it is perhaps better exemplified by the popular saying: What goes around comes around.philosophy. so shall ye reap. the community we grow up in. The true source of Rabbi Hillel’s “Golden Rule”: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you… Maya is what sustains the Illusion of Separation and Individuality. Samsara is the Buddhist prototype for all vicious circles… How well we fare in our Dream of Samsara is called: Karma. A very complex illusion that is created by the family we are born into. Maya is the name of one of the most powerful Hindu gods and the Buddhists concept of Illusion. the True Self. As John Lennon said. To succeed in any system we must abide by the rules of that system. that we choose to remain asleep! In the Hindu pantheon.
one in which no one ever comes to find you! An endless round of illusions for which there is no “home-base.” These are the three conditions we live under that keep us bound to our dreams and illusions and according to Zen are the true source of human suffering.In the Buddhist myths Maya plays the same role as the Christian Devil. This is how we make ourselves miserable… In the Grand Scheme of Things. Maya tempts Siddhartha under the Bodhi tree. Karma. The prospect of seeing all our “personal problems” as only illusions is very threatening. In fact. Situations and circumstances are not “problems. therefore represents Temptation. a writer. for Ordinary Mind. if I am not my father’s son— David—if I am not my sister’s brother. a musician. one’s true nature—Atman—thus perpetuating the round of Samsara with all its subsequent Karma. these three concepts. offering him worldly power in exactly the same way the Devil tempts Jesus in the Wilderness. The word Buddha simply means: “The Awakened One. Samsara translates as our “personal reality. there are only circumstances. Samsara.” Karma translates as our “personal problems.” they are the stuff of Life.” And Maya translates as “forgetfulness. my uncle’s nephew. the single greatest 46 . if I am not a nurse.” Maya.” there really are no problems—no problems at all! There are only situations. Understanding this simple fact could lead to spontaneous Liberation— Moksha. then who am I? The more threatened our identity feels the tighter Ordinary Mind grips. in the “Big Picture. Olli. as they say in Zen is Ordinary Mind—Samsara.” and no “Olli. Samadhi—the big: Ah Ha! Unfortunately though. the temptation to forget oneself. For simplification. for most adults. like the Devil. Without my problems. who then would I be? How would I identify myself? If I am not my problems. in an attempt to prevent him from “awakening” to his true nature. Maya then is a tragic game of hide & seek. then. Ox-in-free…” Because of Lord Maya we remain asleep to our true nature and our True Self—the Atman—remains unrealized… According to Ancient Masters. and Maya. This. it has just the opposite effect. and Maya combine to create the continuing drama commonly called: The Human Race. Karma. a healer.
The vast majority of our true emotions are suppressed in the service of our fragile selfimage. of course not. In order to meet our own self-imposed agendas. adults become more and more rigid. Life then either seems hard and intense. And since we cannot 47 . or else. merrily. if you ask: Well then why don’t you do that more often? Ordinary Mind takes over and says: “Not enough time…” This self-defense tactic. but our poor Soul— constantly trying to express itself by feeling—finds its deepest needs sacrificed. this illusion feels normal. Life is but a Dream. This is just how it is. As we age we not only lose the physical suppleness of a child. In this way we unwittingly trap ourselves in a “personal reality” filled with nothing but “personal problems. Ordinary Mind. merrily.threat we can ever face is the loss of our “personal problems. By constantly suppressing. The more troubles we face. constantly ignoring our authentic feelings.” Once trapped there. suppressing all unwanted or “negative” emotions. We pretend to be ourselves. But then. more inflexible.” For with it we suffer the loss of our precious self-identity. the more problems we perceive. constantly stressing-out. dull and meaningless. For Ordinary Mind. It turns out Ordinary Mind needs problems in order to survive. This is how we row our boat: Merrily. Our misguided “woe-is-me” digs in its heels and refuses to relax! Damn the consequences! Not only does this habitual way of thinking cause our Body to suffer needlessly. we lose the emotional suppleness as well. the more “real” our personality feels to ourselves. merrily. forces adults to forget all about Spirit. logically: No. our true human nature gets neglected… If you ask any adult: Would it kill you to stop every once in a while and take better care of yourself? They will answer. adult minds unconsciously suffer from the way they think! Since our mind’s basic instincts tell it to avoid pain at all costs and seek pleasure instead—we armor ourselves against Pain. And so the cycle continues… Zen tells us that Ordinary Mind is the obstacle. “Personal problems feel very real! Therefore we must be real!” No where is this more obvious than our emotions. literally hangs on to its “personal problems” for dear life.
He asks us: Can you coax your mind away from its wandering and keep to the original Oneness? By “wandering” Lao-tsu means: squandering our precious Life energy by living in a 48 . by distracting..” “Everybody has stress. it becomes an Illusion. by self-medicating. We numb-out.” “Stress is part of Life. more and more adult.” “Stress is normal. If we somehow come to truly believe it. “Grown-ups” learn how to control pain by denying. So naturally. Our deepest feelings.” For our mind then the problem seems to be solved. This is a sure recipe for disaster. and steel ourselves against further pain.” Our poor mind sets out to “endure stress. if amnesia doesn’t work. by drinking. and ignorance. more and more controlling.” But! Enduring stress creates an even bigger problem! Enduring means: “to harden”. These things Ordinary Mind labels: “Stress. We tell ourselves: “The Pain is not there! I can’t feel a thing!” But this is more than just a lie. by essentially “sweeping it under the rug” and forgetting about it. “The Way of Changes. This hardened mind requires a life approach of constantly managing stress instead of relieving it.successfully avoid painful situations and circumstances we try instead to avoid painful emotions. Unless we somehow learn somehow to break this vicious cycle then with each passing year we become more and more rigid.” the author Lao-tsu (literally: “Old Boy”) points out how we can change this wayward recipe.. The mind reasons: “I can handle stress. emotional suppression.” We purposefully harden ourselves. Ignoring emotional pain in order to hold-it-all-together is an even tougher job! Not feeling “feelings” takes tremendous strength. our painful memories are then swept under the rug. This fosters a life strategy of will-power. by any number of simple avoidance techniques. most adults try to settle for anesthesia instead.” “There is nothing you can do about stress. That is Lord Maya again! The real tragedy of all this emotional suppression and ignorance is even if we succeed in avoiding our most painful memories and unwanted feelings we also unknowingly manage to avoid the very things that make us human: our emotions. Then. In the Tao te Ching. you just suck it up. most adults “get tough. defend ourselves. our secret desires.
you must also embody it! And that all depends on who you think you are… Our Beginner’s Mind MOST OF OUR SUFFERING IS DUE TO A SIMPLE CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY. we Ego…” —Dave ego. As Human Beings we are born into the process of human communication and human interaction known as the “Human Condition. separate even from the Universe—we suffer. Viewed from this perspective of ego..state of constant mental and emotional turmoil. When we believe we are an ego—singular. As Allan Watts summed it up. This unfortunate mental projection of Ordinary Mind leaves us to feeling lonely. our skin becomes a barrier that separates our inside from the outside. Lao-tsu asks if we can quiet our inner-turmoil. is difficult enough. obviously. can you also relax? Can you live undefended? Can you live your Life without controlling? Can you live without manipulating your emotional experiences? Can you allow life-energy to flow through you unrestrained? Can you be your Natural Unadulterated Self and allow Life to move through you unopposed? Through his simple questioning Lao Tse is telling us: It is not enough to simply realize the original Oneness.” We are conditioned by our basic human need to have others treat us favorably. When in reality. But then Lao-tsu raises the bar even further. He asks us: Can we become still? Can we remain Undivided? This. separate from all others. we still think and feel as if we stand alone.” Cut off. When we believe we are an individual “A-Hunting. our skin is the very thing that allows us to connect.. Separate from their body. most Westerners see themselves as “skin-encapsulated egos. Separate from nature. noun. We learn how to behave 49 . We suffer because of a fake ID. a thing—then even though we may be surrounded by thousands of others. He then asks: Can you let your body become as supple as a new born child’s? Meditation alone is not enough! In other words. a wanderer through Life. Thinking we are somehow different from everyone else and unique in the entire World is isolating. a stranger to ourselves. This mistaken identity sets us up to endure a World of Hurt.
Our egos naturally swell. Once we acquire language. My blanket may be mine.” Being is obviously no noun. Little by little.and abide by the norms of our particular social group. perceiver/perceived. The child separates. Just look at the word: “Human Being. But the World is not: mine! Nature is not: mine! The Universe will never be: mine! This is like a wave suddenly proclaiming “the Ocean is mine!” People. like waves. are verbs not nouns. a self-image is born. a big boy or big baby. crash. It is more correct to say the Ocean waves. A favored stuffed animal may be mine. We are no more singular than 50 . This is just how it is! All civilized cultures condition their children to operate through a false center.” “Me” is who we think we are! “Me” looks out upon the World and thinks: mine! Here. This is how children learn to identify themselves—through relationship— me/mother. We appear to be individual things but appearances can be deceiving. From their reflection. from the vantage point of our false identity. There are no such things as individual waves. Through her eyes. our self-image breaks down again and again and again. But if mother disapproves— big problem! Mother and child enter a contest of wills. subside. our conditioning begins in earnest! With apprehension of the word “me” we become individuals. Others mirror us. Waving is something the Ocean does. Through our social interactions we gather the raw material—information—necessary to form our self-identity. our “me” becomes a good girl or a bad girl. trying to maintain an individual sense-ofself on a planet that “peoples” is tricky. subside. depending on the subsequent outcome of our interactions. It works something like this. we make our first mistake. By becoming an object in someone else’s mind we become a subject in our own. How others perceive us greatly influences how we perceive ourselves. and swell again. Waving is the result of forces that naturally cause water to swell. and swell. In reality. . a mental self-image. If we behave appropriately we meet with mother’s approval. Mother then seems like a wonderful extension of me. we become a thing. Mother overrules. crash. Likewise. to our own mind. We learn to see ourselves as the object of someone’s affection. As a child we become self-aware by seeing ourselves through our mother’s eyes. My mother may be mine. a persona we call: “me. The child then perceives two mothers: good mom and bad mom. observer/observed.
Uni. But egos. like rainbows. we are both in the Sea and of the Sea. To be free of illusion we must learn to look beyond form. The singular ego is such an illusion. taste. touch. Another way to say it is this: Trying to become an individual ego is a bit like trying to become a single drop in the Ocean. Egos agree intellectually that the word “Universe” means: One. We are optical illusions. This concept—Universe—is grossly misunderstood by egos. and sense around us occurs within one immense thing called: the Universe. a vague feeling of loneliness. But even if you managed to separate yourself from the anonymity of Ocean to hang free as a suspended perfect individual drop. What then? You are still in your very essence: Ocean. exist only in the mind. We are the fruiting of the vine. 51 . we are each like tiny individual drops in a Sea of Humanity. But then go right ahead carrying on as if everyone and everything in it is still somehow disconnected. We think we see a rainbow arching across the sky. Everything we see. Like fish. We are all part of a Unified Field. Everything we view through the prism of ego is colored by our own perspective. In order to become a single drop you must break free. like each single rose. and thorn. When viewed with the human mind rays of sunlight shining through raindrops at just the proper angle creates a prismatic display of color.individual grapes on the vine. This is Samsara again.means one as in uni-cycle. By definition one can never be separated from the Uni-verse. who then can find you? Appearances notwithstanding. Unless you somehow separate yourself from the Ocean you remain unformed. a fundamental mistake in thinking. The appearance of “separation” is a mere trick of the eyes. We think we are egos. And once you drop back in again. branch. But let us return to our Ocean analogy. The separate ego seems very real. as “real” at least as rainbows. Yet despite all reassurances of a loving omnipresent universal “Oneness” our adult conditioning has us stubbornly insisting that Life is the Uni verses us! The concept of Separation is an illusion that results from our point-of-view. We see it with our own two eyes! The illusion of rainbow is very convincing. Human beings. Let us use rainbows for an example. are the flowering of root. smell. hear.
The writers of the Upanishads were “planting seeds” that “germinate” and correct Ordinary Mind’s “mistaken identity. Atman is a universal divine consciousness that animates all things—the supreme god beyond all the other gods—the underlying intelligence which causes all things to be. and Buddhist 52 .Twenty-five centuries ago. Language creates and divides me and other. The Vedic Upanishads. the Embodiment of Truth: Tat Tvam Asi! “Thou art That!” You are It! The Truth is non-dual. But. It is ineffable.. The word Upanishad means: seed. is never ending. No one can say what IT is. The Illusion of Separation is just That! An Illusion! Ancient Masters tell us that in order to become free of the suffering caused by the Illusion of Separation we must go beyond form and words. concept. Atman: our true Self. you can become IT! Tat Tvam Asi! “The Father and I are One. Greek.” If one reads widely enough. if you can drop the ego (enlightenment). Or as Einstein demonstrated so succinctly: Reality is Relative. Non-dual Reality refuses to be confined or defined by word. The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao..” leading to Yoga. Ultimate Enlightenment. the first written records of Hindu philosophy dating back to that same period describe a similar universal concept they called: atman. Atman was never born and never dies. From the Two arise the infinity of things. or logic. From the One arose Two. Hindu. Language creates one and the many for implied in the concept of one is two. Language—Logos—creates Time and Space. Greek philosophers theorized and deduced the existence of universal infinitesimally small building blocks of matter they called: atoms. Out of the Void arose Yin and Yang. Love tolerates the knowledge of Good and Evil. It pre-cedes and super-cedes all things. The Chinese are firm believers in the “Big Bang” Theory. This is Taoist cosmology. The Universe cannot be grasped by thinking about it! Duality cannot describe what is essentially non-dual.
Taoists.” We each have a multitude of “egos” inside ourselves. like People. dictating. as Jesus said. in Einstein’s equation—E = mc2—the E stands for Energy.” Egoing. In our misconceived egoic attempts to avoid suffering we point-in-fact guarantee future suffering.” Elements. The ego in and of itself is a myth. iron. our astronomers tell us that can only be formed in the cataclysmic explosions of gigantic stars called Supernovas. Suffering means: “to carry our fear and pain.” We suffer from ego-suppression and become less of a fully functioning 53 . molecules. Whenever we are comparing.” When we e-go we tend to see only what is ego-sanctioned and ego-approved. we live on a planet that “peoples. we are egoing. all start sounding suspiciously like Quantum Physicists.” There is no “place” to go. Speaking of egos leads one to think we each have only one ego when the truth. Or as the Ancient Chinese Philosopher would say. In the twenty-first century even the most conservative scientists agree that the fundamental building blocks of Life are actually “cosmic dust. We are vibrations. controlling. The ironic thing about all this egoing is we really have no where to go! We are already “here.” there is no where we can actually “go. Suffering is also a verb.” As social creatures we are egoing most of the time. We human beings are made from stardust. Remember. amino acids. there you are. Egoing is how get along. and breath. a personal experience. discriminating. Until we do something about “me. etcetera. complex DNA strands. we unknowingly choose to suffer. referring to someone as an ego is intrinsically misleading. manipulating. As Jon Kabot-Zin cleverly pointed out. neuropeptides. suppressing. frequencies of light. and attempt to live according to our self-image. Egoing is a mental construct. “Wherever you go. a mental activity that maintains our ego-centric identity. Whenever we to cling to our false-identity. managing. proteins. we are Qi… Therefore. when we believe that we are an ego. water. particles and waves. carbon. Zen Masters. This is why running from our personal suffering ultimately fails. they are “legion. is also a verb.philosophers. We are atoms. As any Quantum Physicists will tell you. Christian Saints and Sufi Mystics.
This inherent schizophrenia results from operating a dual mind. distraught. being Human actually requires no effort at all! You can’t become something you already are! Zen Masters have attempted to teach this amazingly simple secret for centuries. So. One moment we are rational.. and sure of ourselves. It is again like “the finger pointing at the moon. Meditate.. All we really have to do according to Zen is: STOP! Be Silent. If you are ready to hear this very simple truth it can instantly release all the suffering caused by Ordinary Mind. There is the person we pretend to be and the person we hope to become. The next we are irrational. That sounds easy enough: Just Be Human. First. I am my own answer.. You are the answer.” only now the finger is pointing directly at us. we are actually of two minds. This after all is the essence of Self-Healing: Be yourself.. What exactly are we doing? We are trying exactly NOT to be human! All our egoing is an attempt to spare our selfimage from the embarrassment of being too human.. Just be myself. When we ego. you must become the answer. simple enough. “OK” you’re probably thinking. There is the mind that accepts and the mind that rejects. analytical. Be Still.. And so first you must become undivided. That seems reasonable.human being and more like a foolish human doing. What’s the catch? The catch is simply this: You already are Human! So. There is the person who feels deserving Love and the person who is afraid they are unworthy.. and full of self doubt. We are the answer. Act naturally. If you are not ready to hear it the truth simply flows in one ear and out the other and you remain unchanged. Then you will suddenly stop egoing and “see the Moon…” “The One you are searching for is the One who is Searching…” —Dave 54 . complaining “I am only human!” Zen challenges us to embody this fact by just being Human.. We call it “human nature” but then condemn ourselves. You are already home.
. Egoing becomes our “second nature. SelfActualization means: actually being your Self. is not some far-off difficult therapeutic goal that only occurs with really well-adjusted egos. look at the pictures.” In Freud’s system. If you wish. this is not possible. You may think you are your ego. what prevents us from seeing things clearly is our ego. So egoically there is a tremendous fear. Trees do not live with an internalized self-image of themselves as a tree. and mistrust of the Undivided State for atonement supplants our dual natured ego! Without duality our self image has nothing to compare itself to. In popular culture.” Freud’s “ego” was never seen as one’s “personality” or “character” but was seen rather as an indispensable tool for socializing.” Sigmund Freud would hardly recognize the word ego as we use it today.” What do we mean by it? There are many misconceptions surrounding the term “ego. resistance. They are modes of behavior and ways of thinking. you can return to this material more at your leisure… “Ego. Egos are not real in and of them themselves! They are habitual responses to stimuli. but your ego is not your personality! “Self-Actualization. Begin. Not who you want to be. “ego” merely described the go-between one’s “id”—our “undifferentiated primitive self-will”—and one’s “super-ego”—a sort of all seeing “internalized parent. They are unconcerned with whether they are 55 . If however you find this chapter tedious. You do not have to understand Zen to benefit from these Zen Qigong practices.. ego has become synonymous with “personality. however. Just who you are! For Ordinary Mind. Turn directly to the exercises. Not who you think you are. by all means—skip it.According to the Ancient Masters. Without an other we cannot ego anywhere… Trees have personalities but no egos. This is such a central notion for the understanding of Zen Qigong™ that I ask you to bear with me as I labor this point a little longer.” to push all psychiatric jargon aside. Our true nature is undivided. Egos are divided. Not who you pretend to be.” The real you is not an ego! Egos are actors and reactors.
our egos hunger to be real. It loses faith again and again. The baby will grow to see itself through a self-image.” A new “ego” is born! It grows into the one we mentally identify ourselves with. its own distinctive character traits. every dog or cat—every newborn baby—is born with its own distinct personality. It is frightened of rejection. When you feel better than or not-as-good-as someone else—there you ego again! My ego is afraid it’s not good enough! It worries about getting things right! My ego is afraid no one will ever publish this book. me-me-me? “Ego” is a verb not a noun. Maya and Karma. never at one. The child will strive to “fit in. never at rest. masquerades.” Likewise. all that will change one day. to Samsara. Pinocchios. But trying to satisfy ourselves by gratifying our ego is exactly how we lose our way. but you can use one. The baby will learn how to ego. My ego crashes sometimes. The young ego will try to “live up” to social expectations. not who we are. Habitually coping. They are like characters. My ego hates making mistakes! It is ashamed of embarrassment. The baby ego will co-opt the child’s personality. Never satisfied. mine. Egos are not real things. Sometimes my ego despairs and I can’t believe becoming whole again is even possible! See how easy it is to slip right back into my ego. 56 . You cannot be an ego. That doesn’t mean egos don’t exist. the one who is franticly trying to maintain its own self-image. Like Pinocchio. tied by invisible strings to society. Ego is something we do.good trees or not. It will take the credit and the blame for his or her innate character. we ego… How do you know if you are egoing? Whenever you believe you have to somehow change in order to become yourself or whenever you compare yourself to others. No tree is thinking: “I must devise a way to become a better tree. never at peace. For the human baby. The baby will come to believe it is an ego. never whole no matter how hard we try. My ego doubts. It fears being misunderstood. This is why it is so confusing. they do. never at ease. its own spirit. They are imaginary. It will struggle to become a successful “personality” and not the true person it was meant to be. Its burgeoning ego will attempt to control others.
” Emotional vulnerability is not what egos want! Emotional vulnerability this feels like weakness to most Americans. Dissatisfaction always keeps the ego going. going to church. thrill seeking. family. distractions. We are conditioned to stay in command of our feelings. This is the opposite of Self-Healing. friends. Suffering makes egos seem so real… The goal of Zen is not to do away with ego! Many people labor under this misperception that Zen is opposed to ego. watching television. our politicians—or whatever—makes egos seem so real. Egos want protection from out-of-control behavior that can get them into trouble. There are many defensive strategies. So they develop defense mechanisms and elaborate coping strategies to help maintain cohesion and control. But that’s the tip of the iceberg. shopping. how about chronic dissatisfaction for starters? Constantly feeling dissatisfied with our self-image. our body. constantly craving diversions.. addictions.. Take Craving for example. going to the movies. What about nursing a broken heart? Succumbing to depression? Sinking into self-loathing? How about constantly blaming others? Carrying anger or rage? All these activities and feelings support the illusion of oneself as an ego. Failure to control our emotions commonly generates shame. job. Addicted to nonstop activity. or even writing a book.Ancient Masters discovered by becoming physically supple again (yoga) they could become emotionally vulnerable once more: “As supple as a Child. exercising. from making any error that might threaten our success or survival. the 57 . Egos conclude all we need to do is avoid being who we really are and then everything will be alright. Egos want to save us from ourselves by safeguarding us from mistakes. In fact. going on a spiritual quest. constantly keeping ourselves occupied by reading. Openly expressing our “humanness” leaves us feeling unprotected and exposed. our life situation. Make no mistake about it. meditating. What kind of coping devises help support our sense of ego? Well. Zen is not opposed to ego. children. spouse.
constantly changing. disturbing. No matter how hard we ego we will never control it. This is the Zen the turning-point. we develop a mind that is at peace with change.goal of Zen is to perfect ego. Ordinary Mind abhors change. The sunlight does not stop shining because our ego gets in the way! The ego simply evaporates in the light. Stillness is the Achilles’ heel of Ordinary Mind. “Can you be still long enough to allow your mud to settle and become clear water again?” Accepting the challenge of becoming “fully human. and they are not sure how to re-act. Life is in constant flux. It is the undoing of Ordinary Mind. It is impermanent. Zen tells us despite our egoing we are enlightened beings already but Ordinary Mind clouds this. you actually try to become fully aware of all your emotions! By far the most difficult aspect of Zen Qigong™ is to free yourself up to feel again—without discriminating—unencumbered by the desires and dictates of ego. just feeling—just human. Egos are like clouds that block the sun. just being. old habits. that sounds crazy! Why would anyone want to be open to all their unwanted feelings? How about in order to free yourself from endless egoing. an ego like the eye of a storm—calm and still. Accepting ourselves in all our egos is all that is needed. the self-wounding grown up within. This is why the Buddha asks us. Learning to live without a self-image gradually erases our false identity. It is unpredictable. The point in your Life where you realize enough is enough. With each new change Ordinary Mind egos through a period of adjustment. To the egocentric.” this is Zen. or old roles. just watching. help us realize egos’ relationship to Reality and finally put it in its proper place! Life is not perfect. Ordinary Mind craves the familiar. when things are unfamiliar. Being disturbed is what Ordinary Mind is trying to avoid! In Zen. The point when instead of suppressing your emotions. just breathing. Zen is practicing Open Presence. It can only re-act to old patterns. Since it cannot re-act to new situations change is unsettling. from endless suffering… This is the greatest 58 . an uncomfortable time when they don’t know how to behave. No ego has ever been enlightened and survived. When the clouds part we realize: the sunlight has been shining the whole time. Zen is just noticing.
” The truth is Happiness always happens by accident. Anything so we feel “back to normal. It is no more complicated than watching clouds in the blue sky form. awareness of feelings. So it should come as no surprise that “skin-encapsulated egos” choose to escape the present moment by retreating into the past or projecting themselves into the future. then anesthesia. and disappear. and squeeze out our Life energy. take shape. In Zen Qigong™ we practice awareness of egoing. the thing to pay attention to foremost is PAIN! For when we ignore pain and painful emotions we force ourselves to separate again from our true feelings. lost and alone with our negative unhappy thoughts. This is when our mind needs to become silent. when we feel lonely. In Zen practice. we stifle ourselves physically. Happiness happens by chance: Happenstance. emotionally troubled. Too much feeling! Feelings we thought we rid ourselves of a long time ago. Happily-everafter means: “Whatever is happening now. Doing so requires one to keep careful attention in the Now. On the quest of becoming oneself we encounter so much feeling.” Ordinary Mind resumes “screening-out” unhappy emotions in a misguided attempt to be: “Happyall-the-time. move on. this is when it is time to breathe and simply observe all our egoing. Happiness always happens when we lose our egocentric sense of reality. For beginners. Happiness happens when one loses oneself in the present moment. We separate from ourselves until we feel “back to normal” with our ego on top.” But this is not what “happily-ever-after” means at all. comfortably numb… 59 . When we manage to calm and still ourselves we come to realize—in this present moment— nothing “bad” is actually happening! All that is needed to accomplish this is to remain egoless. We forget ourselves… First amnesia. dissolve. Happiness happens when we accidentally forget to be dissatisfied NOW! With Zen you come to realize that whenever you feel stuck with “unhappy” feelings you are polarized by a self-image. hold our breath. One doesn’t create happiness by rejecting unhappiness or exercising one’s willpower. I am still OK. Purposely allowing ourselves to feel our unwanted feelings takes tremendous courage.obstacle. This is when the True Self gets neglected… When we are busy egoing. One must allow for it.
Why Amnesia first? Because first we have to forget Anesthesia never works. Well. Not carried away by it! Not upset when it breaks! Not losing your grip on the string! And not of necessity! Just for fun! When you realize 60 .” “We have been injured and hurt. In fact we were fighting.” “You see?!” I said. Despite our temporary numbness. I accused her of being a “bad wife” for not properly supporting my ego. we are still painfully human.” Every year. Tibetan boys make and fly beautiful hand-painted kites. our Love. we unwittingly turn our backs on our closest and dearest friend: our body. What it really boiled down to was this: I was trying to defend my ego. This is the proper way to fly your ego. “The ego is a myth. We can choose to “not feel” almost any time we want to. Your breath is the string that helps you control your windhorse while your body keeps you firmly rooted to the ground. not long ago. my wife and I were having a heated argument. one day. The ancient way to train the mind to stop egoing is by focusing your awareness of your breath. A “windhorse” is your kite. And by doing so we refuse to listen to our own inner-wisdom telling us: “Something is wrong. The saddest thing about not-feeling is we unintentionally shut-out the most honest and truest ally we will ever have: Pain. as human beings we can exercise free-will. or deny it. “There you go again! Well I’ve had enough! I’m not building box-kites anymore!” And I stopped egoing. Pain goads us to find a way out of suffering. But. despite our best efforts. It motivates us to move beyond pain and that is good! But when we “kill” our pain. What I said to her was: “You enjoy crashing my ego don’t you?! You’re like that kite-eating tree in the Charlie Brown cartoons and my poor ego is just a flimsy little box-kite I made myself.” My final words concerning: becoming and egoing. our awareness.” “Some thing needs our immediate attention. our compassion. This free-will is both a blessing and a curse. Every time I try to fly it you come along and wreck it! You cut my string! You make me crash it on the ground!” My wife looked at me patiently and said. There is a charming Tibetan phrase about “Flying your windhorse.
then you have to do it. Lastly.your ego is about as substantial as a flimsy little box-kite. I promise to show you how you can train your mind to relax your body— instead of chronically stressing it. I will share with you simple and practical methods for healing your emotions instead of chronically suppressing them. stand and fall. This is called: “The Art of Self-Healing”.” Can you become “As supple as a child?” If so. Like children first learning to balance. then crashing one becomes half the fun. We stand and fall. Read on. Instead of having to ride the same old tattered and faded windhorse next season. and again. And I will show you how you can increase your vital energy and healing abilities by cultivating Inner-Peace. it reads: “Goals: first ask yourself what you want. This obstinate courage: to stand and fall like children. then you can become free from suffering and free from pain! You can let go! All you have to do is take enough time to test it for yourself. and again —Dave 61 . at my clinic we have an inspirational poster showing a man climbing the side of a mountain alone under a full moon. Like children taking their first steps—there is no obstacle. give it some time—100 days—and discover for yourself just how simple it is to free your self from Pain. But don’t take my word for it. If you allow yourself to keep reading. You get a chance to build a newer even better ego. Is all it takes to rejuvenate and be “born again”. try the exercises yourself. and again. There is only not being afraid to fall… Again.
It is betting you will back down! Once it overwhelms you. The ego has only ideas about what’s going on—ideas and ideals that it struggles to live up to. Despite this. you will have to work through the ego—not without it.” This is called: Postponing.Zen-Mind WHEN YOU TRY THESE SELF-HEALING TECHNIQUES PLEASE BE AWARE: In order to heal yourself. It is our Soul that has the final say so… 62 . the ego is not the Boss! The ego has to get used to this idea. No. Ego is Beginners-Mind. But the Heart does it’s thinking too and the same goes for the Gut. So the ego keeps hoping and pretending that maybe no one will notice we are not really “in charge” of our lives. You have to learn to cooperate with your ego before your ego will allow change. This is where we all must start from—the beginning. Ego wants you to “thank your lucky stars” that it is there to guard you and protect you and keep you safe from “uncomfortable feelings. that’s not right. Egos are very clever. They know when they are being threatened and a defensive ego is dangerous! It says: Oh! So you think you’re ready to try and be the boss? You think you’re ready to feel your feelings? All the feelings I have been hiding from you all these years? Well alright then: Go ahead then and: FEEL THIS! And it sends all your bad feelings at once… In this strategy. It’s the part of us that is busy talking to itself.” It hopes and trusts you will retreat. like you have done so many times in the past. Ego thinks it’s the Boss because it’s the part of us doing most of our thinking. Zen Qigong is how we learn to stop postponing. try as hard as it might. But really it has no idea what is going on.” Ego forces us to change our mind and “think twice before we do that again. as some meditation teachers and traditions seem to suggest. ego believes you will “think again” before you choose to “feel again. the ego floods you with emotion. Ego arrived sometime during our “terrible twos” when we first learned to say: No! When we learned to say: Mine! When we learned that we were separate from those who love us.
The only things egos are ever master of are” Illusions.” “Whenever we argue with Reality. the goal of Qigong: to heal the errors in our thought.” —Byron Katie 63 . So it argues. Meditation reveals the field in which thought occurs. the illusion created by our ego—by our history. And not. as they claim to be: “the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz. not masters. Zen helps us see with “real-eyes” that our egos are nothing more than the frightened little “me” hiding and trembling behind the curtain.” Both sayings point us in the right direction.Even when we are completely I-dentified with Ego. When you learn how to witness the activity of your mind—your ego and all its mechanisms—you become more than just an ego. In time it can reveal the real you to yourself. by our thoughts. the world is not mine! Ego can never be “master. Meditation. In Zen they say: “To give a turning word. Meditation teaches us to go within and see the truth revealed. like the word healing means to make yourself whole. This is the goal of Meditation. Egos detest Meditation. What they call “Enlightenment” is really just seeing through the Illusion of Separation. the goal of Zen. not to Interfere. Meditation transcends ego. Egos were meant to defend us from harm.” In Qigong they say: “Withdraw vision in-wards. It shows us that we are more than what we think— much more. not become Defensive. we lose.” Some crucial “part” is always missing—our true Self. The reality is our social-ego’s real job is to protect and serve us. but only 100% of the time. to know your true Self. Zen asks us to “re-turn” to our true inner-awareness of a child. to know our original face before our ego—our beginner’s mind—was born. our feelings and experiences. We begin to get a handle on this—the root cause of most of our pain and suffering—when we realize this: Egos are meant to be servants. Why do you think egos need so many fences? Because your ego sees what it is not! Your ego feels threatened by reality.
The Birth of Zen BUDDHA ONCE GAVE A SERMON TO AN ASSEMBLY OF THOUSANDS OF HIS DISCIPLES BY HOLDING UP A SINGLE LOTUS FLOWER.” Trying to learn Zen Qigong from a book would be like trying to learn to ride a bike by going to the Library and reading about it. it occurs though something called: Transmission—an instantaneous glimpse or intuitive insight into the reality of thought. His name was Kashyapa. your hands on the handlebars. Zen has been known as “the straight path to enlightenment that is beyond scripture. you can always come back to this section later. If however you disagree or feel bored by this information—move on. The only way to learn Zen is by doing Zen. In Zen one first learns sitting-meditation by sitting Zazen. you will never truly learn how to ride. In the same way we can only learn Zen—how to balance our lives—by first losing our balance and then finding it again. When Zen teaching occurs. but until you actually put your feet on the pedals. Only one smiled. bicycle-riding. REMEMBER: You can’t learn Zen from a book. Just a wink or a nod or an all-knowing Buddha smile between master and disciple—and there it is: sudden realization. just as we originally learned how to walk by falling. and your butt on the seat. You could read all you want about bicycles. bicycle-making. Ever since that first silent exchange between Guatam Buddha and Kashyapa. Instant Enlightenment! The student suddenly sees what they have been missing all 64 . We all learned how to balance on a bicycle by first losing our balance. I believe it is important for you to know something about the history and tradition of these practices and where they originated. bicycle-maintenance. move on… If your curiosity gets the best of you. I believe there is value in talking about Zen. There is no other way! Still. the first Zen Patriarch. bicyclehistory. having no dependence on words or letters. Zen teaching is beyond thinking and beyond reasoning. Only “Meditation is not what you think…” —Jon Kabat-Zin one student got it. Seeing his smile Buddha renamed Kashyapa: Mahakashyapa—the Great Kashyapa—and declared him his Dharma successor.
Try being more like the flowers! That will surely help! After his death. and practices help me reduce my stress and heal or eliminate my pain? Where is our common ground? Well. Japanese. there’s more involved than that. but few have summarized it quite as neatly the Tibetans in what is considered their National Mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum—Hail. how about the earth for starters? That should be common ground enough? But I understand the problem of cross-cultural differences.” Religion too. the Adamantine Diamond at the Heart of the Thousand-Petaled Lotus! As an American—you might be asking yourself—what on earth do I have in common with Tibetans and Zen Buddhists.” This legendary teaching is the pure essence of Zen. philosophies. and if the student is properly prepared: “Ah! Just be like a flower! How simple? Then there are no more problems. And because 65 flower is dying.” Guatam simply holds up a single flower and—without using any words at all—says the exact same thing: You worry too much. it strikes me that this story about the Buddha is reminiscent of the story of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. be they Chinese. make the awareness their own and grow wings. it is not a problem. “Even when a It is said that Buddha “preached” this sermon toward the end of his life and the legend says in order to accommodate the huge numbers who of disciples crowding to hear him. means “to practice religiously. As a Christian. This wordless transmission of the True Dharma between Guatam and Kashyapa is commemorated in many lands. But once ready… Then. Buddha’s teaching left Nepal and spread to millions of people across the East.along. They then take the lesson to heart. it just dies…” —Eckhart Tolle . There is preparation! Discipleship means “to practice self-discipline. or otherwise? How can these outlandish ideas. instead of telling his disciples to “consider the lilies of the field. you need to relax and trust more in Life. But the case with Buddha. But. Korean.” So this “sudden occurrence” of “instant enlightenment” between any master and any disciple often only comes after years of dedicated faithful practice. The Buddha Shakyamuni “preached” his sermon from the top of Mount Gridhrakuta. just Buddha holding-up a flower and winking.
full of mountains. and despite all the varied names there is only one ocean. North or South. East. There is only one beach made up of trillions upon trillions of tiny particles of sand. sometimes he and his brothers would dig a deep hole in the backyard just for fun. And when his parents would ask them what they were up to they would say: “Digging a hole to America.” Interestingly. These are only agreed upon conventions used by travelers to describe their experiences and their travels to “foreign” lands. there is no North. my Chinese teacher told me that when he was a little boy. or West. It’s helpful when looking for commonality to keep in mind that if you travel far enough to the East or West. swamps. in China. all lands interconnected by the ocean’s floor and all are combined to create only one Holy Land. Just think for a moment of the earth spinning in space. or China. Arabia. there are no foreign lands. South. you will arrive back where you started out from. 66 . For example. Zen predates Christianity and originates west of the Himalayas. that always brings us back full circle. Africa. their first word is: mama. deserts. a sphere. even Christianity was once considered a dangerous Eastern “Mystery Cult” and its followers were seen by Jews. our tales of exotic lands usually lie somewhere in the Far East. Greeks. in what the Chinese call: “The Land of the Buddhas.of it I believe that rather then focusing on the differences between people we are far better served by examining the similarities.” Children are the same everywhere. forests. and two polar icecaps. In reality. The earth is round. For in truth. No place is this truer then when it comes to the World’s religions. Don’t forget. popular imagination and legend usually places its magical or spiritual realms—somewhere in the West. You will clearly see in your minds eye: there is only one land. People are the same everywhere. So in truth. and Romans as religious fanatics and long persecuted by authorities before finally being embraced by the Emperor Constantine and made the cornerstone of his Holy Roman Empire. or the Middle East. It is a globe. rivers. prairies. While conversely. they are fascinated yet suspicious of all things foreign. consisting of five great continents and countless islands. the Near East. in India.
But for the sake of argument. we can see that Human Beings are really one big unhappy family. let’s look at the similarities between two such “Holy Lands”—the Sacred Desert of Palestine and the Sacred Mountains of Tibet— and you will see that we have much more in common with these foreigners than you probably ever realized. Let us compare The Lord’s Prayer with the Tibetan National Mantra: OM MANI PADME HUM. Hum is the closer (Amen).” Also known as “the straight path to true enlightenment in this body in this Lifetime!” For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever.” When Tibetan monks chant Om. it is to say: “Hail! The Supreme Presence of the Divine Spirit. We begin to see we all live together on one planet: “Earth. on earth—as it is in Heaven. Mani: “Adamantine Diamond”: is the diamond-hard truth “that cannot be cut or broken” and so is called: “adamantine” or “the pure everlasting essence” in nature.” And that aside from all our apparent differences. OM: “the Sacred Sound of Primordial Oneness. and deliver us from Evil. Hum: often called “The Tibetan Om” (and pronounced: “HUNG”) is the seed syllable for all Tibetan Tantra (“techniques”)—but is primarily associated with Vajrayana Yoga—“The Diamond Path. Thy will be done. we are really one people: “Earth-people. When we begin to see the similarities between peoples and stop being distracted by the appearance of so many differences. To do that let’s begin by comparing to two pivotal prayers from our “Western” & “Eastern” traditions. This fits nicely with: Thy Kingdom come. Padme: “The Thousand-Petaled Lotus”: gets right to the “heart” of the matter! “Save us from the ‘Thousand Illusions’ of Mind.” Give us this day our daily bread.” This is equivalent to beginning of our Lord’s Prayer: Our Father. with all of us struggling 67 .” And there is only one Human Race. Hallowed Be Thy Name. who art in Heaven.
While isolated on their high Himalayan Plateau. beliefs are neither help nor hindrance. race. You can meditate to calm the mind by focusing on your breath just as easily as focusing on Jesus. To help us further see the similarities between peoples let us look a little closer at Buddhism. Japan and others received their “Dharma” teaching through Bodhidharma: the 28th Zen Patriarch in direct lineage from Mahakashyupa. they created the mythical kingdom of “Shangri-La. Happiness. the Tibetans preserved what they believe to be the “purer form” of Buddhism (Vajrayana). Freedom. both schools of discipline originally founded by Buddhist missionaries. Once firmly rooted in Chinese soil. No single tradition can rightfully claim a monopoly on what are considered by all to be Universal 68 . We have so much to learn from one another. or spiritual tradition. Muslim. Zen as it is practiced by most Americans here in the United States is pursued not so much a religion but as a method for gaining insights into the psychology of the human mind. The fact that people everywhere usually choose to remain safely within their own belief system or tradition does not change a thing. Emotions are Universal Truths. And with it. and Peace. In Meditation. While China. you can clearly see these practices are common to all peoples. Korea. Muslim. Any Christian. or Jew. nation. Tibetan Buddhism and Zen Buddhism are two branches of the same tree. From these brief insights into the religious history. Indian Buddhism blended with native Chinese Daoism and gave birth to Zen Buddhism.” Hopefully by all this you can see that any one of us “earthlings” can gain the health benefits that these traditional “religious” or “spiritual” practices have to offer. or Jew may safely practice Zen and happily ever after remain a Christian. “Bodhisattvas” traveling from India. And if you travel far enough back in time. from examples from Buddhism or our own Judeo/Christian/Islamic traditions—I hope you can see that the techniques presented in this hand-book do not belong to any one group.to find Health. Tibet—which lies much closer to Guatam Buddha’s birthplace—received their “Dzochen” teaching through Saraha: the 4th Lineage holder descended through Buddha’s son: Rahul Bhadra.
Korean. Flowers— like egos—are just: such as they are. Spirit is Spirit. 69 single rose. Whether in the high Himalayas or the Coptic caves of the Egyptian desert—singing is still just singing.” It is not a problem. a cathedral.” is essentially one and the same: Love is Love. Like the lotus flower in Buddha’s aging hand.” This is how Mind derive meaning. whether American.” In Zen. Mind just keep insisting on having “problems to solve. By now you may have noticed that the word “just” keeps finding its way into many of my sentences.Truths (though unfortunately many still do!) Universal Human Truths are Universal—the most common everywhere! Around the world. Japanese. doing. This quality. —Sufi Proverb . “just being yourself. and Qi is Qi. “The Fifth Element. chanting is still just chanting— whether singing to God in a cave or in a church.” When we work. If our egos need anything.” It’s that simple. we are to just be: “childish and petulant. Mountain hermits everywhere live on their mountains just like mountain hermits everywhere. By finding faults and comparing everything against the ideal of Perfection. no matter in what land. the faithful Gardener becomes the servant of a thousand thorns. we are to “just be!” Even like our sometimes childish and petulant ego. a mosque. of nurturing instead of criticizing and scolding can be quite daunting to the beginners’ mind. we are to “just work. Energy is Energy. or Chinese— when we eat.” When we sleep. we are to “just eat. I call such-ness. if you just look with open eyes you will see the sacred mudra we call Praying Hands in use everywhere! Down through the ages. we are to “just sleep. or forest—the quintessential truth. It is just the way it is. or chanting in a temple. Vietnamese. monks everywhere live just like monks everywhere. Allowing things to be: “just the way things are” can create tremendous relief. it is to be treated patiently and lovingly so they can “just be as they are. This is because in Zen—in the Art of Self-Healing—there is a lot of “just” being.” For the sake of a Being vs. As in. no matter what religion. Doing This concept of being vs.
To say it more poetically. Thinking traps us in a world full of “meaningful problems.. but that practicing makes us “accident prone.. in meditating. minds can’t help themselves. that still. It helps if we practice observing our minds..For beginner’s mind—thinking is always a mean thing to do. (4) A saint with enlightenment. 70 . not the birds in flight. Do you remember the skies after September 11. not the passing clouds. It can happen in so many ways and at different times in your life.) It doesn’t really matter how you become aware. That’s just what they do…) So. as still as the World plunged suddenly into Shock and Mourning. Zen says that there are really only four types of people in this world. Just becoming aware is the point! The “How” doesn’t really matter at all. not the occasional jet plane. They say in Zen that true awareness never happens “on purpose. As they also say in Zen. it helps a lot in the beginning of Practice to be aware of the shortcomings of our minds.” (so the more one practices the better your chances for success. that clear. Zen is practicing to be that quiet. With more and more practice you become more and more aware of yourself—being aware! They say in Zen that enlightenment is like a happy accident. One realization gets you ready for the next realization and so forth. it helps to pay attention to the Blue Sky. (1) An ordinary person without enlightenment. there are 52 stages enlightenment that one must go through after enlightenment in order to achieve full spiritual attainment.” (But. Hey! It’s not our mind’s fault. 2001? How quiet they were? How empty? No contrails crisscrossing the sky.. It helps to become aware of the back-ground—of our Mind’s Consciousness—and not pay such close attention to Mind’s content. (3) A saint without enlightenment. (2) An ordinary person with enlightenment. you simply are aware.” There is no purpose in being aware.
The truth is. When at last he began teaching the monks his yogic healing. Guatam Buddha taught his disciples: sitting meditation and following the breath. Da Mo replied: “None. you cannot accomplish one without the other. legend says that he was invited to teach the emperor himself. Even Methodists have their method… Zen teaches us how to watch our thoughts. (And in that day. we then learn next how to relax our bodies. Shakers shake. Catholics pray their Rosary. Joshu.” How they chose to serve by teaching and living in accordance with their own standards. and the washing of feet. anointing the sick with oil.As Zen practitioners. When combined with Qigong.” The emperor was upset. the famous Chinese Zen Master taught his student with his great shout: “Mu!” 71 . Under his decrees thousands of temples with tens of thousands of monks and nuns were established across China. as people we are to strive to be the fourth kind of person—the true flowering of our own human potential. When Bodhidharma (Da Mo in Chinese) first arrived in China. It is only language that makes it seem so… Jesus taught his disciples: Holy Prayer. When the emperor asked Bodhidharma what his reward in Heaven would be for his benevolence. in 527 AD. Buddhists chant counting their Mala-beads. There is nor separation between our mind’s and our bodies. he found the monks so sick from improper meditation practices and other austerities that legend says—He sat and meditated by facing a wall for 9 years!—before finally consenting to teach the monks. The emperor at that time was a great promoter of Buddhism. When he arrived there. he founded the first school of Zen in China and they became the first Chinese Buddhists Monks to study Kung fu. that was very very bad!) So Da Mo sought refuge from the emperor’s anger at the famous Shaolin Temple. He then wrote two books on yoga and physical development which have become foundations for the New Qigong: The Muscle/Tendon Changing Classic and The Bone Marrow/Brain Cleansing Classic. as Caregivers. All any teacher ever has to share is how they attained self-awareness and how they learned to remain spiritually “Awakened.
” —Jellaladin Rumi In the Gospel of Thomas.” not just as an example of a diagnosis. Body.Rumi. By that I mean all forms of pain—physical. a Light! And I see that I have been knocking from the inside. and Soul. pleading to be let in. all combined to create One Whole Human Being—Whole-ism. I view each one of my patients as a complex personality made up of Mind. Seek and you shall find. Poverty. believe is not the right word here. But it is not what we expected… “For years I knocked and knocked at the door of the Beloved. (Not: The diabetic in room 305. The Truth is ever before us. and the Work of the Hands. So when I say that I work in the Presence of Pain I am speaking Holistically. No. Jesus says: “Knock and it shall be opened to you. psychosocial. physical injury or mental illness. Suddenly. (thus becoming the first Whirling Dervish. pouring out his grief in spontaneous ecstatic spiritual poetry. emotional. 72 . I KNOW THAT SPIRIT EXISTS. our wellbeing. mental. As a holistic nurse I believe it is my duty to treat each and every one of my patients as a “whole person. That means I have satisfied the requirements of the national certification board of the American Holistic Nurses Association by proving my understanding and proficiency in the applied knowledge of certain accepted holistic concepts. the fractured hip in 319…) As a holistic nurse. and existential pain. and our happiness. you shall be Troubled…” In the Presence of Pain “…For it is in giving that we receive…” —St Francis of Assisi I AM A NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFIED HOLISTIC NURSE. a disease. I believe in the existence of Spirit and the crucial role it plays in determining our health. I have been trained to meet the holistic needs of my patients. believing doesn’t accurately describe what I understand about Spirit.) St. When you find. What all that means is like holistic nurses everywhere. Francis of Assisi taught his followers through his example of Christian Charity. the Sufi Master and Mystic Poet attained his liberation while twirling dizzily around a column in the mosque.
about Dying. I have learned that Spirit is real. I spent five years as a home-care hospice nurse for the Sisters of St. a relationship that makes Life feel more precious—if that is truly possible? Most of my readers I am sure have never have the opportunity to witness death. Working with the dying brings nurses into a world of such deep suffering. Home Hospice nursing is a totally different relationship with Death. everything is going to be alright. From my experience I have learned that Invisible doesn’t mean: “not 73 . Others in my care somehow managed to fade quickly. Not so for hospice nurses.” believe them! I have learned whether or not you think the Spirit is—“Divine” “Human” or “Invisible”—it is still there. Or if you have been fortunate enough to be there for a loved when Death comes to call. Working in hospice was totally different from working in the hospital. I have seen so many things that nursing school never prepared me for.Before specializing in neuromuscular therapy and traditional healing. dread. or toe-tagging the newly deceased. responding to a Code Blue. far beyond what seemed to be humanly possible. Working with the homebound and their families—the terminally ill. passing away quietly over night as if they had simply decided it was time to go and then surrendered their will to live. anxiety. Hospice nursing is not a job. It is a spiritual path that forces those who walk it to reexamine their core beliefs and disbeliefs about Death. pain and despair. and if someone at Death’s door ever tells you: “Uncle Bud is here. that if we stay open—it awakens our Compassion. and denial of Death that is so prevalent in our American culture. the dying. things only Divine Intervention or the Soul’s own Inspiration could explain how my patient managed to avoid Expiration. let alone hold someone’s hand as they die. and those who cared for them—really opened my eyes about a lot of things. chances are it is a once in a life-time experience. Hospice brings nurses face to face with not only their own fear. but the collective fear. Francis of Perpetual Adoration. about the Afterlife and the possibility of the survival of Consciousness … I have seen patients literally defy death and personally cared for many patients who managed to survive long after all hope was gone—beyond all realistic medical expectations.
74 .” It was there that I learned the hard way about “burn-out. Working as a hospice nurse and witnessing Death from the inside is directly why I am a holistic nurse today. At the risk of being discounted as “New Age” I am telling you that I can actually see auras. disperse it.visible. The fact is: we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. Stars shine all of the time. and other manifestations of Energy.” (But I know it does. The fact is: we are all already living inside the Kingdom of Heaven. halos. but I can: touch it. Just look up at the stars! They don’t really disappear during the day and return again at night. hospice nursing is how I became convinced of the Presence of Spirit. move it. It should not make me sound like I am claiming to be “extra special.” Where I learned ultimately that the techniques I had been trained in to ease pain and bring comfort and solace the dying—work even better on the Living! And it is directly why the Sisters of St. Francis asked me to create a hands-on healing center for easing pain. and I can share that ability—to see and manipulate Qi—to others. This should not sound boastful. The sun has never set. Look at the blue sky. Not only that. I am saying I can see what they call in Traditional Chinese Medicine: Qi.” In-visible really means something is truly visible—if you only look at it from the In-side. gather it. store it.” So when I say: “In my line of work I see spirit-in-action everyday. during the day the illusion of “blue” sky completely shuts out our awareness of all the stars.” it doesn’t mean: “can’t be seen.) Facts are un-deniable—not un-ignorable. Look at the sun. And yet. and it never rises. The blue sky is not really “blue”—it only appears that way when seen with the naked eye. It was in hospice that I learned the healing arts of “the laying-on-hands” and “anointing-with-oil.” It should not make me seem strange or even “out-ofthe-ordinary. In short. where I learned the importance of “Caring for the Caregiver. But the truth is we can happily ignore any fact we choose.” I don’t mean I figuratively see “spirit-in-action”—I am saying because of my experience and training—I can literally see the subtle energy-fields that surround and emanate from all living things. thought-forms. and emit Qi to others.
we hardly even notice them anymore. No political borders anywhere—except for the Great Wall of China! Even though as adults we may intellectually agree that the sky is not really “blue” or that rainbows do not really hang in the sky.) Illusions shut-out true perception and true awareness of Reality.” “bills. The sad thing is most Americans you meet are operating on 75 . we are just that good at ignoring.Have you ever seen pictures of earth taken from “outer-space?” When viewed from the space-shuttle you can clearly see—there is no blue sky anywhere— only clouds. and besides: who on earth has the time—except Astronomers? That’s perhaps the biggest reason it’s so easy in our culture to remain “blind” to the facts—not enough time… In our adult world of “reality. green and brown earth. you tend to overheat… Unfortunately for many unsuspecting adults. refusing. Really. the optical illusion of blue sky and rainbows is so convincing. closing-out. and “problems””—in our chaotic world of adult responsibilities. We don’t just overlook universal truths. When is the last time you just lay back and gazed at the night sky? When is the last time you made a wish on a shooting star? We have already seen them. this is the major problem with Illusions (optical or otherwise. or in some other way—suppressing our own vital Life-energy. increased Qi-flow can feel bio-electrically uncomfortable—like suddenly running 220volt current down a 110-rated wire. Why am I going on about stars and rainbows? Because of this: from our adult point-of-view we rarely remember to look up at the stars anymore. Initially. shining like a jewel against the back-drop of black empty space. denying. the never-ending kaleidoscope of adult diversions and adult entertainments. we can so easily become lost in our own “individual world” of illusion.” “jobs. water and snow. Suddenly feeling the “Qi flowing though you” is an unusual sensation for most of us. we “underlook” the entire universe! No wonder so many adults feel unsteady and unsure with the vital sensations of aliveness that come with even minimal practice of Qigong.” “deadlines.
tingly. It makes us dizzy and nauseous. car crashes. Tai Chi. these ancient healing methods are my specialty… 76 . shootings.” Our “natural lives” were meant to be mostly fun and rewarding. Prayer. once we learn to see them… What I have to share with you in these pages has been around for a long long time. light-headed. and explosions have you witnessed as “entertainment” in your lifetime? Think about that! It is not at all unusual for Americans to be more than a little “out of touch” with reality and more than a just a little “out of touch” with themselves. Many of us have forgotten that Life was meant to be lived outside in the real world. As a holistic nurse. buzzy. That’s when you need to sit down and just breathe.”) Simple truths are always obvious. Meditation. or just generally “feel weird. murder and mayhem in the “real world” are not entertaining! As a nation of television-viewers and movie-goers. Death. not a struggle for ego-survival through distraction and diversion! Life. faint. (This is called: “grounding.only a tiny fraction of their potential Life-energy. like suddenly discovering you have become weightless. as nature intended it. was meant to be “seriously played”—not played so seriously and it was meant to be played outside! Reality TV is NOT Reality! Too many of us are completely out of touch with reality. Qigong. in the latest GameCube. how many murders. all point us in the same direction. Salvation. or in another “scotch-on-therocks. It is “age-old” wisdom—Yoga. So. it should come as no surprise that the physical sensations Qi-beginners encounter often causes them to feel Ill-at-ease—literally off balance—slightly strange.” We are just not used to that much blood and O2 circulating in our systems. rapes. not inside on the HighDefinition Super-Plasma TV. kind of floaty. like gravity has just lost its hold on you.
or Sorrow: that is when God is most Present. It will be alright. Presence is there.” And that instead of saying: Jesus Christ.Most Americans have no idea that Shakyamuni. “Rest assured. these philosophies and practices have been around. 77 . the first Buddha’s real name was Guatam Siddhartha and that he was born as a prince to the Shakya tribe over 25centuries ago in what is now Nepal.” I tell them. And I tell them.” When we are suffering and in deep need of solace. that “Buddha” is a Sanskrit word that means simply: “Awakened One”.’ Because I work with so many people in constant chronic pain. Spirit is the ‘Breath of Life. or even “Jesus the Christ” would put us closer to the truth. We forget these things. just waiting for us to pay attention and put these ancient teachings to use. Even fewer know that after Guatam’s enlightenment he continued to teach for over 40 years—simple meditation devices designed to put an end to the seemingly endless Wheel of Suffering. whenever it feels like there are “holes” in our Life. Sadly. we would be more correct to say Christ Jesus. “Wherever one of us is in Pain. that’s when God is working hardest on us—trying to fill in those holes and make us Whole again. many Christians today think that “Christ. or—as happens so often—we were misinformed.” meaning: “Anointed by the Holy Ghost. Despair. whenever one of us is lost in Depression. saying: Yes! Breathe in more Life.” Americans fail to realize that “Buddha” was not Guatam’s name or that Buddha never claimed to be a god. Hopelessness. The fact is there is nothing new about the ‘New Age’. It is very easy to work in the presence of pain. Don’t worry. And we also tend to forget just how long these ideas. Like “Christ. I’m right here. my patients sometimes ask me: “How can you stand to be with people in pain all the time?” When that happens I tell them the truth. Or else we were never informed.” was Jesus’ surname—not a Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah.
You still have PAIN! Often more than you bargained for… They unknowingly refuse to relieve their pain because they unconsciously refuse to relax. and resistant.” An ego-defense where nothing gets in and nothing gets out! Body Armored patients accurately fit the descriptions: “wound-up. and Wonder… No. is credited with first describing this phenomenon.” “uptight. and eat right—then they don’t do it. tight. denying pain doesn’t work. Their muscles are stiff.To know this in our head as well as our heart and then trust in the Presence— the Presence of our Body and the Presence of our Spirit—that they are right here with us day-in and day-out—faithfully working to make us whole and well and good… Learning to “rest” in that certainty is the only place to we can truly “rest our head. to be with people in pain is not difficult at all—it is an honor. most of the patients I see in my office have been in pain for a very long time. of Grace. a student of Freud. a State of Innocence. cut down on their drinking.” and “screwed-up. neglecting pain doesn’t work. Wilhelm Reich.” This Presence is the foundation of Faith and the fountain Hope. quit smoking. cut back on caffeine. even having surgery to fix pain doesn’t work. They have a “good reason” for why they can’t change—too much Stress! And so they tell me: “You don’t understand…” Those patients have decided that all pain is: “BAD!” They are determined to fight their pain and win—they are going to beat it and defeat it. But it is their very resistance to Pain that forces them to stay tense and remain stressed-out all the time—“in order” to suppress their life-energy and keep themselves “under control.” Ignoring pain doesn’t work. For some reason those patients always want to argue. As a result. They ask me: “What can I do to be rid of my pain?” I tell them they need to exercise. He called it “Body Armoring. They always have a good excuse for why they can’t do that. 78 .” “Head-bound” patients are also invariably muscle-bound. Trusting in that is the natural State of a Child.” They are “bound and determined” to learn “the hard way. It is the people trying not to be in pain that try my patience and challenge the depth of my compassion.
They want their pain to disappear and never return.” they want to be: “Out-of-Pain” permanently. or around it—but through it. I enjoy pointing out: “You already get your pain for free!” Working in the presence of pain is working in the Presence. What I have learned is that whenever a healer remains fully Present in the present moment. Compassion. they just want to: “Get-Better. Now I know that faith-healing works because the healer has faith. much more than I ever intended to. Over the years. They have yet to learn.” and how to stay “in the moment. the goal of therapy is to be completely: “Pain-Free. the patient naturally gets better. those patients have no interest at all in learning how to relax. I used to think old-time Christian “faith-healing” and “laying-on-of-hands” worked because of the placebo-effect—because the patient has faith in the healer. and Humility. working with hundreds of people. They will tell me emphatically. Working in the presence of pain has taught me how to be “present and accounted for. over it. but it takes courage (French for Heart) to be with someone in pain. remembering the reality of Spirit—Life-energy just naturally flows. as tight as they are—that is as relaxed as they can be! These patients don’t want to change. it has taught me Patience. Eventually you learn that even when you have no idea what you are doing—Spirit knows what to do. and compassion enough to really be there in the presence of suffering.At first. more than enough for both! The faith-healer’s faith “jumps starts” the person who is lost in the pain of separation and suffering. and know that just your presence there is often enough to make all the difference in the world. They have yet to discover the only real way to defeat Pain is by going through it—not under it. and much more about my Self. 79 .” I know it sounds simplistic. They have no idea the real reason they can’t Re-Lax is because their body can’t remember where Lax is. They want me to make their pain go away for them.” Whenever I hear that. Working as a holistic nurse has caused me to learn so much about human nature. whenever they touch someone in pain with compassionate and prayerful hands.
there will I be in the midst of them. our spiritual needs. and meaning are “left out. nothing fantastic or supernatural about the idea of Spiritual Energy. Big holes where we feel unwanted.” as food and air and water. with “soft eyes” and a neutral colored back-ground— like a beige wall.” allow me to quote from the book of Ecclesiastes: “There is nothing new under the Sun. intimacy. Even scientists fall in Love. determined if any one of our human needs for purpose. though they cannot measure it in the lab. and unlovable. Presence and Love.” And so it is. as contemporary mystic.” That’s how it works! It is that simple. Abraham Maslow’s: “Hierarchy of Needs” is not disputed. unloved. many unanswered and unanswerable questions scientific theory can never explain and scientific enquiry will never discover. reminds us: “The ‘Winds of Grace’ blow through these holes. To those who would call this “New Age. for our “health and happiness.In the right lighting. the author of The Power of Now. Small holes where our vital energy leaks out. love. are just as necessary for Life. Deep holes that only Love can fill… But don’t despair.” we suffer. only neglected! Whenever we fail to meet even one of our higher needs it leaves “holes” in our lives. or the blue sky—you can actually see a field of Qi gathering around the two and enveloping them as One. understanding. There is nothing new. open water. It is literally as Jesus says in Mark: 3:18: “Wherever two or more of you are gathered in my name.” 80 . Our emotional needs. Eckhart Tolle. (Where do you think “little scientists” come from?) Can anyone measure the love and faith and trust in the eyes of an innocent Child? There are—in truth— many holes in scientific knowledge. Abraham Maslow’s famous study of fully functioning healthy and happy people. relationship.
outside—and unseen. For most of my students—although seeing Qi takes a little more effort as opposed to simply touching it—they usually get the knack of “seeing bio-energy fields” in the first few lessons. Or of course—if you choose to—you can simply continue to ignore it. our natural environment. Either way. can be a difficult concept to grasp at first. We overlook it. This can be a difficult concept for many of us to fully grasp: Never Not in the Sea of Qi. shape it. Your own two eyes will do. all around the fish—inside.” Some even say: I always thought that was just a trick of my eyes. yet men do not see it”. and even “swim” in it if you like. how all this time they just “missed it. Unlike a fish. and always drinking earth’s water (Qi). it feels just as difficult trying to convince people of the existence of Qi—even when the Qi is always: Right-Here Right-Now… In reality. a Sea of Energy. move it. an Ocean of Air. This very fact turns out to be the greatest mental barrier to developing the awareness of Qi. We humans have never lived outside of the safety-net of the earth’s atmosphere (unless of course: you’re an astronaut). we will never know what it’s like to suddenly be pulled out of the earth’s atmosphere. At times. It is just too “up-close” and personal. the “problem of water” is that the water is everywhere. always eating earth’s food (Qi). Trying to convince people of the existence of Qi is like to trying to convince fish of the existence of water. touch it. A fish may be pulled from the Sea or Ocean but we can never be pulled from the invisible Realm of Spirit. the fact is: The Sea of Qi is already touching you! I believe this is what Jesus meant when he said: “the Kingdom of Heaven lies all around. Seeing Qi with your own eyes is as easy as breathing 81 . no special skills needed. We are all always living in this in-visible Sea of Qi. Safely shielded from the vacuum of space.The Sea of Qi FOR MANY AMERICAN STUDENTS—realizing that we factually live in a Sea of Qi. But once I show my students exactly how they can feel Qi it is so obviously there that they wonder how they ever managed to over-look it before. Once you become aware of it—you can feel it. we live out our lives: always breathing in earth’s oxygen (Qi). there is no trick to seeing energy-fields. For the fish.
This is why the Buddha taught his followers to meditate by focusing on the breath. and Chinese already knew—the entire Universe. In Einstein’s equation: E=mc2. conscious. Since the day you were born have you ever been without breath? Breath is with you all the time. Qi. why the Torah tells us: Be still and know that I Am God. the E stands for Energy. you just look. Prana. or Eyes made of Wonder. Spirit—the very fact of its Presence is unmistakable once you become aware of it. The fact that it is—that you are already breathing in the Breath of Life—is undeniable. all of Life. unconscious. or: this is stupid? How many readers refused to even attempt this simple exercise in Awareness? Just counting the Breath? What’s so hard about that? In Zen Qigong. The Theory of Relativity tells us what the ancient Greeks. why Buddha taught his bikkhus: Meditation. Count each breath—inhale & exhale—short breath or long breath—for just 5-minutes and watch what happens. It is not as though with years of dedicated practice you suddenly develop Eyes that See. is comprised of Energy. We don’t magically “recapture” the Eyes of a Child. Vital Energy. and all the mental states in between—Breath is available to each of us all the time. What we have been searching for all this time has been right under our noses the entire time! This is why Jesus taught his disciples: Prayer. This energy the Chinese call: Qi—the Breath of Life. If you lose count. day or night. start over again at one. 82 . why Mohammed taught his followers: Islam—Surrender to Allah. How well did you do? How many breaths did you count? How far did you get? How many times did you have to start again at one because of your wandering mind? How many times in 5-minutes did your Mind tell you: this was boring. everywhere.air with your lungs—to see energy. This is the genius of Zen: You already have the tools (your lungs) now use them wisely… Try this: Just sit there with your hands in your lap. awake or asleep. Hindus. Life-Force. your spine straight but not rigid—and Breathe for 5-minutes.
THEN WHO WILL? That’s plain enough. when you lend yourself a helping hand. not only your thoughts. just standing. memories. fantasies. dreams. passions.breath is so very important. fears… Be Your Own Mind Reader in just 6 easy lessons! It’s fun and sensational… All kidding aside. and learn how to “pull yourself up” by your own boot straps. isn’t it? Who knows you better than You do? Who knows at any given moment: How you feel? What you’re thinking? What you need? What you want? What you crave or desire? Who knows You better than you do Yourself? Who knows what would be best for you right NOW? Think about it. you learn a lot about “people” when you learn a lot about You. desires. just walking. just sitting. motivations. intensions. emotions. Put 83 . Has anyone ever said to you: “I’m not a mind-reader you know!” “How was I supposed to know?” “Why didn’t you say something?” “You never said anything!” “Why didn’t you speak up?” Now think about this: The Art of Self-Healing is learning how to read your own mind. make time each day to replenish and nurture yourself—how on earth do you expect to be able to keep on Caring? If you are the type of caregiver who is constantly “burning your candle at both ends” how long can you reasonably expect to last? How long before exhaustion or illness takes its toll? Not stopping to take care of yourself is like being in too big a rush to stop for gas—chances are you’ll run out of gas long before you reach your destination. just breathing. If You don’t take the time to care for yourself—and by that I mean: take time out or better yet. It is the most fundamental common denominator for all human being. but also your feelings. So Why Should I Care? IF YOU DON’T CARE. hopes. caring enough to be your own mind-reader. You become a better Caregiver when you practice being your own Good Samaritan. just Zen.
(and you know who you are). keep it fueled at all times. Like when your tire blows out while driving—it doesn’t matter if you don’t have time today for a flat tire today. your poor discs. let’s say that you do make time for yourself on a daily basis. or at least illogical. are far more faithful about caring for our cars than we are about caring for ourselves.?” And how many times (be honest) have you failed to follow your own advice? But let’s be generous. We may chronically neglect our own health. check the brakes. So. you just have to do it.. your poor organs. your poor muscles. How exactly are you doing that? Are you doing it by: Watching television? Mixing a cocktail? Taking a smoke-break? Eating more chocolate? Worrying all night? Making fresh coffee? Finishing the wine? Popping Anti-inflammatories? Ordering a pizza? Shopping? Procrastinating? Postponing your vacation? Sometimes the things we do in order to “take care of ourselves” just add to our problems. charge the battery…) How many times have you heard yourself say to someone when parting: “Take Care…” or “Take good care of yourself…” or “You take care now. your poor bones. like somehow the car is one of those things that somehow seems to be more important to us than ourselves. Some of us. You may think your work-out is “good for you” when in fact you may be physically injuring yourself—your poor joints. replenish the fluids. and let’s say you think you are pretty good at “stopping” and “relaxing” and “taking care”. We need to change the oil regularly. 84 . Although we may believe we are “relaxing” and “being good” to ourselves we may in fact be avoiding and neglecting our needs and actually making things worse. (Try this idea: Caring for our Self is like caring for our car. right? That’s why it seems funny! We recognize the behavior. you still have to stop and change the tire. rotate the tires. logically.that way it sounds silly doesn’t it. NOT caring for your Self isn’t really an option is it? Like NOT stopping for gas—you don’t really have a choice. but we still manage to get regular scheduled maintenance for our car. your poor ligaments and tendons—by excessive exercise.
” Nowadays I see yellow plastic wrist-bands being worn all around the country that read: LIVESTRONG. Armstrong’s achievement. when I think of all the abuse his body has had to endure in order for him to achieve his amazing World Record. he beat the odds.” Sometimes our mind writes a check our bodies can’t cash. “Tennis. no longer winning? How will he suffer then? 85 . When he can no longer suffer the way he is used to? What will happen when he’s too old to compete? When his body can no longer suffer the grueling pace his mind sets for himself? What will happen to his self esteem when he is no longer racing. Or the father of the ballet dancer: “Do you know what is causing her back pain?” “Yes. Seven time winner of the grueling Tour de France. where was asked: “How are you able to go on? What drives Lance Armstrong? What makes you do what you do and be the best?” Can you guess what his answer was? He said: “I love to suffer.” I say. Sometimes swimmers ask me: “Do you know what is causing my shoulder pain?” “Yes.” Or the mother of the tennis star: “Can you tell me what causes tennis-elbow?” “Yes. But.” I say.” I answer. Lance began riding and riding and riding until he was the best in the World! Along the way he developed cancer. His story is an inspiration to millions of people around the world. it makes me wonder: What will become of Lance Armstrong when he retires. And yet as a culture we seem to celebrate those who overcome pain and triumph through sheer endurance and will-power. “Swimming”. I’m not trying to discount Mr. As in: “Be like Lance Armstrong” “Live strong” “Live hard” “Push your self harder” “Just do it” “Just fight and win!” Don’t get me wrong.Take a lesson from some of my chronic pain patients. We admire and celebrate athletes for their ability to suffer and endure. but—it’s exactly the opposite of truly taking care of your self! All of that hardness is very UN-HEALTHY. the doctors fixed his problem for him. Lance Armstrong may be a Cycling Legend and a National Hero for overcoming cancer and—against all odds—returning to competition and continuing to win! But as a body therapist. Take Lance Armstrong for example. I heard Lance in a radio interview. and then continued riding and riding and riding… Recently. “Ballet. he got cured.
because of their job. suffering from the results of repetitive strain and repetitive injury. more sensible.” They seem oblivious to the fact that Passion means: “to suffer”. abs of steel.” Self-nurturing. and more pain.Sometimes in my clinic. Around and around and around we go in a vicious circle of pain. Let’s get this fact straight once and for all. wear and tear. Hard bodies. When we harden our bodies like that. They completely miss the connection between their passion and their pain. joggers. For years now I have shared this observation with my students to illustrate the difference between “physical fitness” and “wellness. because of what they love to do or have to do. we invite pain and injury. It goes like this: The harder we get. tennis players. horseback riders. The harder we get. swimmers. the more we endure.. buns of steel. and they don’t ever want to stop. They are there because they have endured too much. accepting and respecting 86 . addicted to their passion. a vicious cycle of tightness. baseball players. spinners.. The more we endure. dancers. over training and degeneration.Care. Becoming better grounded. race walkers. re-injury. rugby players. but over time we also become very very fragile. the more it hurts. and they “just can’t wait” to “get back out there. soccer players. cyclists. The more we hurt. weightlifters. This is not what I would call: “physically fit”. weekend warriors. pumped-up bodies. There they are in my clinic and on my treatment table. volleyball players—they all say the same thing: they love their sports. staying healthy. tri-athletes. marathoners. Endurance means: “to harden”. and remaining healthy takes daily Self. better balanced. golfers. thighs of steel are not healthy. injury. It’s true we may be very very strong. And they have heard by word-of-mouth that I can fix them up and keep them going—so that they never have to stop. the more we endure. half of the patients I see are there because of their work-out. or even because of what they are doing to relax—martial artists. the more we hurt. iron men and women. They tell me how they are addicted to their particular sport. on any given day. tight bodies. they love their work-outs. basketball players. the harder we get. The more it hurts.
finding a way to finally stop Suffering—that is the meaning of Wellness.” Or as the joke about “health-food junkies” puts it: “What are all these health nuts going to do when they find themselves in the hospital one day—dying from nothing?” Why should we care? Because we have already suffered enough! Because it is high time that we started taking better care of ourselves. Somehow we have been convinced that we are to try not to grow old. stay in shape. not passion—but Compassion for ourselves… When someone asks me if I can cure them.” If they ask me if I can fix them. I tell them “curing is what they do to hams to keep the meat from rotting. Because it’s about time we learned how to quit hurting ourselves and stop making things worse. if you have read this far. to stay the same. Unfortunately.. Life doesn’t work that way! We cannot indefinitely avoid aging and illness. avoid change. avoid illness.. If you are reading this.” I know it sounds funny. but I say it to point out something very serious.our physical limitations and our human frailty. As my teacher says: “How are you going to die if you never get sick? You’ve got to have it! That’s how it is. To many American’s the word impossible means: “extra-difficult” and “try harder” instead of the true definition: Not Possible. we hope be the first person in the world to never age and to never get sick. That way is called: Qigong Keep reading… 87 . somehow. that means you want to learn a better way. stay young. avoid ageing. I say “You don’t really want me to do that do you? Fixing is what they do to the dog. These ideas of Curing and Fixing indicate and point to the same desire—the desire to stay healthy. avoid suffering.
Through the practice of Zen we learn how to live in this space. there is a moment in time before the next thought begins to take shape. there are then—gaps between and around each thought. stressing. and embrace the Empty-ness that surrounds us all. Anger is not there all the time. we retreat to neutral corners. We may think our emotions are there all the time. Without this space there is little chance that you will understand what I have to say. 88 . it reappears. in the Stillness. but in fact. surrounding me. Emptiness is there between each th ought. As I write this and as you read this. before each thought. Lulls between our emotional states. worrying. it disappears. Zen happens when we focus on this Space. As one thought is drifting away. but if Space is there surrounding you. In reality. then Space also there surrounding your pain. holding each word separate from the others. in the Silence. and surrounding the entire planet. after each thought. empty-ness surrounds every single word. When we experience being in the gaps. We hint at this when we describe someone as having a “bout of depression” or succumbing to a “bout of Anger”—as if somehow. as you can see.ZEN Meditation THERE IS A GAP BETWEEN EACH AND EVERY WORD—an empty space between all the words on this page. and learning how not to fill-in each and every gap with thinking. they rise and fall in this same field of Emptiness… Now think about this and believe it or not—but there are even gaps surrounding your pain. It comes and goes. In fact.between rounds. each and every thought. meditation is nothing more than learning how to observe these Spaces. life was a prize-fight and in. There are also gaps between each and every emotion. just as surely as empty space is surrounding you right now! You may not always be AWARE of it yet. no matter how fast you think we can string these thoughts together—empty space still surrounds each and every word. It appears. Depression is not always there. No matter how fast we are able to read these words.
beyond the mind—our painful thoughts. not the fish that swim in the deep pools. clouded.” Zen is a tool for going beyond the limitations of our ego.The first goal of Zen is to help us realize our awareness is “the field of thought” (Consciousness). allows us to taste the cool clear water of our own Pure Awareness—freed from pain and problems generated by ego. and forget the very blessings we are already receiving. Zen practice helps us learn how to quiet the incessant thinking. not the individual thoughts and feelings that arise from within this field of awareness. want what we do not want. And by so doing. This is why the Tao te Ching poses the famous question: Can you be still long enough to allow your mud to settle. by our ego.” feelings that keep us disturbed. the mental “noise” created by our disturbed feeling-states. Thoughts that make us crave what we do not have. forcing. We are the clear blue sky. Koans (unsolvable intellectual puzzles). the Master (someone who has practiced far longer than you and gained intuitive in-sight). and muddied. We are the stream. and the Master’s Stick (used to dispel sleep and dissuade us from intellectualizing). not the clouds and storms that pass through it. not the leaves that float by on the surface. or shocking (Whack!) the beginner’s mind into a state of Open Quietude—where we get a glimpse of the mind’s activity and recognize the ego’s fundamental error: We are already whole but we think that we are not! Zen claims nothing less than to cause us to achieve utter freedom from this error in our thinking by bringing us into a mental state that is sometimes called NoMind and sometimes called Mind-Fullness—as opposed to our usual ego-driven “mindlessness” and our painful condition of “mistaken identity. Zen Meditation is famous for its methodology of boring. Zen puts things into perspective. 89 . by “the little me. become ‘clear water’ once again?” Zen’s tools for achieving the state called “enlightenment” are Zazen (seated meditation).
The most famous of which is the Zen Koan. most of the problems we are afraid of and cause us such worry never actually materialize! The practice of Zen gives us freedom from the Problem-Making Mind and disengages us from past and future pain. This first enlightenment—the fact that we can pause our mind—quiet the incessant internal dialog and yet remain totally aware of yourself and our surroundings. we remain vigilantly present in the eternal NOW. In this second stage of Zen there is only open acceptance and deep gratitude for the opportunity to be Human and experience Life in all its expressions. Not only do pain and trauma and Death mysteriously evaporate. In this state of Presence and Stillness. Zen accomplishes this by helping us learn to become rooted in the present moment. Zen has been called: “The Diamond Path”” The Lightening Path” “The Gateless Gate” “The Pathless Path” Zen is very simple.” Learning how to shut. Sitting in this Zen-state.feelings. Even Death. as still and quiet as a Buddha Statue. with all of its feelings… What I am sharing with you makes use of a number of Zen techniques.down the mental-noise and quiet the “monkey-mind” is the beginning. our muscles relax. No need to create suffering and pain through our stubborn refusal to accept what IS. conundrums. no beginning and also no ending. The second enlightenment unfolds after we then see our mental obsession for what it truly is—90% fiction. Its methods emphasize: following the breath. which to the ego is the biggest problem of all. They are there to help you think. suddenly there is no need to fight with Life at all! No prize to win by resisting. and achieving Inner Stillness. 90 . and aliveness in the NOW. inner-peace. In reality. You will encounter many formal and informal Koans while reading this material. There is only an immense Oneness and a tremendous feeling of joy. In the state of Zen. or riddles that when meditated upon. quieting the mind. Because of this. and desires. Koans are intellectual puzzles. is what is meant by “instant enlightenment. and our problems seem to magically resolve themselves. our pain dissolves. but when we practice surrendering into the NOW. there is no Death. disappears.
I’m Meditating!” When you achieve “The Straight Path to Enlightenment. allowing it no way out by thinking—only by experiencing directly. It traps the ego by exploiting its basic flaw—ego wants to get the right answer. yet the 300 trillion cells that combine to make up one body are inhabited by only brain and one Spirit. you can only realize it afterwards—when your ego comes back on-line. But any answer you arrive at intellectually will be wrong! So eventually the ego-mind is forced to surrender and when it surrenders it temporarily shuts down. The Koan forces us to recognize our mind’s limitations. When this happens you will not immediately know it. Now. During the dreaded state of emptiness. Zen Meditation. no inner-voice present enough to say: “Hey. the first Koan I was introduced to and possibly—at least here in the West—the most famous one of all is: You know the sound of two hands clapping. If you don’t? Keep practicing! Koans are devices that push us into a state of Mental Surrender. ego needs to be praised by the teacher for a job well done. The Koan traps the beginner’s mind. When your mind stops. No-Mind. that’s all!) Bodies. But we are also mind/body/spirits and spirit/body/minds. Human Beings “I sing the body electric…” —Walt Whitman are body/mind/spirits. there is no running dialog to tell you what is happening.point us in the right direction. Traditionally they are used to test the depth of a student’s spiritual understanding and level of enlightenment. 91 . Bodies. you will only realize it—after the fact. Bodies SOME THINGS IT HELPS TO GET STRAIGHT. We are bodies-within-bodies-within-bodies and minds-within-minds-within-minds. If you get it? Some enlightenment. As far as appropriate Koans for beginner’s goes. Tell me: What is the sound of one hand clapping?” (Good luck finding the answer! It took me 20 years to get this one.
All of them will try to help us fix the part that is broken—according to the dictates of their specialty. we may call a doctor or nurse practitioner. Spirit above the Instincts. As a result. The truth is all the parts that are created by the naming of parts Interdigitate. If it is an emotional issue. Only through language—in the naming of our individual parts—can a person be fragmented. feeling body/minds. as some philosophers would have it. the gross. we may seek out a minister. the etheric. That makes sense doesn’t it? It sounds logical. or rabbi. since the very word: Healing means “to make whole”. This concept is known as Holism. All our parts— emotional. To heal. If it’s a physical problem. Not Mind over the Body.We are spiritual body/minds. physical body/minds. Like our hands—the backs of our hands. This specialization creates a mind-set of Dis-Integration. our mind. But it is not easy! 92 . our heart. creating the illusion of many different Selves—Selves we think of as separate. It seems simple enough. So if we imagine Humans are like jig-saw puzzles—then all the pieces must somehow fit together or else we remain incomplete. Not like Russian nesting dolls. For far too long in our Western approach to medicine has disregarded our spiritual health and separated it from the practice of medicine. not hierarchical either—one greater than the other. mental body/minds. For example. physical—interlock. and our Soul. the concrete. All of these body/minds working together to create one singular Human Being. imam. Humans cannot be separated so. dreaming body/minds. we must become aware of all our bodies—the subtle. we are referred to a psychologist. But for true healing to occur what we require is Integration. and thumbs. If it’s a psychological problem. hopefully we will be guided to the right therapist. fingers. mental. Nothing can be left out if we are to be Whole. priest. if it’s a spiritual matter. unite to create something greater than the sum of its parts. our palms. our True Self has been separated into fields of specialty. not one-within-another-within-another. the electric—in order to heal we must “embody ourselves”. thinking body/minds. emotional body/minds.
you get ready to “blow up” about something—or worse. It takes patience. When you are angry your body assumes a certain attitude. when you are angry. But more often than not. we begin to discover our many bodies and gradually bring them into awareness where we learn to recognize them.Healing takes awareness. by accepting our human emotions. you learn to suppress your anger. we can’t really love anybody”. your teeth clench. Your shoulders rise. or make the person we are angry at the butt of crude jokes. and make light of them. When you are angry. and de-press your anger. “go off” on somebody. and your hands tremble. You exhale more forcefully. Your diaphragm stiffens and your musculature tenses. appreciate them. It takes time! “Instant Enlightenment” may not happen instantly but it does happen all in an instant. makes all the difference in the world. Re-Integration is a process that necessitates a very honest. when not trivialized. you can’t afford to do either one of these things so. Often the best thing we can do to help ourselves is to lighten up for GOD’s sake… Through meditation and with a proper sense of humor. You sup-press. Healing is far too serious a matter for us to approach it seriously. you deny it. the right amount of celebration. Your breath takes on a different quality. This is how we come to rest in who we are. Pop-psychology. This is precisely why we need to laugh! We are never so serious as when we use humor and laughter to heal ourselves. It seeks an outlet. a very serious. still offers some valuable insights. Take the Anger-body for instance. It takes compassion. This only compounds the emotion. Self-Healing requires our best intensions and our strictest attention in order to pull ourselves back together again. the right amount of fun. re-press. Anger becomes oppressive. your jaw sets. The energy that is anger finds another out-let. Your eyes carry a certain look. and a very sober self-examination. even though may be perfectly justified. Thus we use sarcasm (literally: to tear the flesh). It is still true: “If we can’t love ourselves. we ridicule ourselves or our situation. Just the right amount of joy and playfulness. Even Oprah 93 .
We disguise it. Why? An angry woman is too strong and a grieving man is perceived as weak. the energy that is Anger is disallowed. etcetera. Nice girls don’t hit. We say: “I don’t feel angry” or “I don’t think I’m angry”. But when we hear something over and over again it becomes cliché. But anger is there. “it’s not nice to yell at mommy”. “it’s not nice to pull mommy’s hair”. and every man is grieving but he has turned his grief into Anger”. anger still needs to be expressed. so it takes an even greater amount of energy not to be angry when we are angry.” And who doesn’t want to be good. Suppressing it robs us of vitality and prevents us from healing our “anger-body. So we turn our anger into grief. Anger is like a thunderstorm.” they did us a terrible disservice. The Self-help industry thrives on clichés. Both are unacceptable in our society. “it’s not nice to bite mommy”. 94 . Cliché (another French word) means: trite and easily dismissed. “it’s not nice to kick mommy”. We deny it. “it’s not nice to throw things at mommy”. For me. We are not “allowed” (we do not allow ourselves) to express our true feelings. Grief is OK.” When our mothers taught us: “it’s not nice to be angry. It can be seen in the angry body. it is still true that “anger unexpressed leads to depression”. And yet it remains! If it goes unexpressed we redirect anger onto ourselves. We find fault with ourselves. Why? Because anger is a very powerful emotion! It unleashes a tremendous amount of energy. this has become a truism: “Every woman is angry but she has turned her anger into Grief. especially when we have to be nice-allthe-time or else people won’t like us? So.knows that. She unknowingly taught us it’s OK for Mommy to be angry or for Daddy to be angry but WE are not allowed to be angry—ever! We are always supposed to be “good. They are unacceptable. (They were probably angry when they said it). What they really meant to say was: “it’s not nice to hit mommy”. Somehow. We change anger into sadness. We talk to ourselves: “It’s not nice to be angry”. Ah! But then we refuse to cry… In working with hundreds of men and women I have detected certain patterns. Nonetheless. We get depressed because we are depleting our energy. it needs to rage for a while before balance is restored. we transform it into tears.
We definitely don’t need to hurt anyone. no good reason I can think of. and often. As long as Anger (or any emotion) remains unacceptable. self-acceptance. Our emotions are sacrifices we make in order to “get along” “keep the peace” and hopefully—gain acceptance. and undiscovered. and maybe for the first time. and Pretense. are good for us. they make us feel more alive.and big boys don’t cry. we don’t even need to hurt ourselves. and inner-peace. For Unconscious Reasons WHY AM I HOLDING MY LEFT SHOULER UP? No reason. Denying anger is not the answer. your feelings are meaningful. look again. very often—your feelings are correct! So don’t be afraid to look at old feelings—look again. then—big pieces of our puzzle are missing. Anger is not necessarily a negative emotion. So what to do about Anger? (I have been asked this question hundreds of times!) We don’t have to DO anything about anger. These messages are ingrained. and Frustration. And what have we learned: Dishonesty. unexamined. Stress. We have lost connection with our wholeness and our holiness. Deceit. Does this mean there might be a positive attribute to anger? You bet! How about Self-respect? Do you know what “re-spect” means? “Look again. They create a positive attraction. it doesn’t work. it turns out. But denial can make it so. And what have we lost: The ability to be honest with ourselves. All we need to do about Anger is be angry when we are angry. Then afterwards the blue sky returns and the air is refreshed and clear. besides. or maybe it’s due to past sports injuries? 95 . We remain unfinished and incomplete. But what have we really gained: Tension. Self-Respect means your feelings matter. look again… That is selfrespect. Then let it pass. At least.” Whenever you are angry—look again—that is self respect. your feelings are important. Maybe it is just a habit. No one can deny thunderstorms. Scientists tell us that thunderstorms charge the atmosphere with negative ions. your feelings count. We have lost spontaneity. They come when they come and go when they go. Negative ions.
S.Maybe holding my left shoulder up helps me concentrate? Perhaps raising my left shoulder helps me focus? In the same way as little kids. We also tend forget Hillary was not alone on his climb. To recognize Hillary and honor him for his accomplishment—planting a British flag at the top of the World’s tallest mountain “for Queen and for Country”—the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth knighted Hillary. Hillary reached the summit—29. Everest. stress. As you may already know. holding-out. 1953. a 96 . Every day. Just throw them out! You know you’re not going to eat that. and relax! Shrug off your burdens. grinding our teeth. holding-back? Why all this tension? What good can we possibly get out of it? Just what do we stand to gain? The obvious answer is Stress! Stress.. We neglect that part of the story—the return home never seems thrilling. As remarkable and heroic as Sir Edmond’s feat was—climbing to the top— we tend to forget: it was equally as challenging to turn-around and make the treacherous climb back down! Popular imagination overlooks that fact. why are we doing any of the holdings? Why are we holding-on. A local Sherpa named Tenzing Norgay. the history books record that Edmond Hillary of New Zealand was the first man to “conquer” the peak of Mt.. take a breath. clenching our tailbones. as many times as possible: Stop. we learned how to color and stay within the lines—by sticking our tongues out? Maybe my mind and my left shoulder are connected in the same way? I wonder… Not only do we need to ask ourselves why we are holding our shoulders up— but. His world record was achieved on May 29. On that day at 11:30am. We don’t need to store it.028 feet above sea level. clutching our throat—and why oh why are we so often holding our breath? Come to think of it. The New Zealander is now known all over the world as Sir Edmond Hillary. stretch and rest! Tomorrow you can get all the fresh stress you want. In fact we need to stop saving our emotional leftovers. why are we squeezing our hips. Throw it out before it turns into a science project.O. holdingup. and more stress! The point I want to make is we don’t need to (S.) Save Our Stress.
the unfortunate beast was already so stressed by the burden it was carrying. did some stretching. had a bite to eat. how am I ever going to make my way back down from this “mountain” of responsibilities? There are two related sayings: “The straw that broke the camel’s back” and “The last straw”. They made tea. that all it took was the weight of one more single straw to collapse its back. Or.. Even if holding it up does help me to concentrate and “shoulder my burdens” I still need to stop every once in awhile and put my burdens down. I know I need to put it down. Likewise in “The last straw”. Then they would walk for a while. Watch the weather. if the merchant’s greed had not caused him to over-load the poor beast back so much that it broke—he might still have a perfectly good camel. Otherwise how long can I reasonably expect to keep on carrying it? Otherwise. some traditional bone-setting for their aching backs. Rest and Relax. Then they would stop. Consciously though. each carrying their own burden. They would put their burdens down! Then here is the crucial detail—they would rest and relax. Then they would put their burdens down! They would rest and relax.mountain porter. that in order for Hillary to achieve his place in history. several things are implied.. it was necessary for him to employ a great team of Sherpas to carry his tons of supplies and equipment up the side of Everest for him—on their backs—many of them in bare feet! Do you know how they did that? Simple! The Sherpas would walk for a while. Usually we mean: “That’s it! I’ve had enough!” “I’m fed up!” “I have lost all of my patience” “I am so 97 . was standing there with him at the peak having assisted Sir Edmond in his climb every inch of the way? Did you know in fact. Then they would stop. They would chat with their friends as they sipped their tea. Then after they had rested and relaxed for a while—they would pick up their burdens again. In “the straw that broke the camel’s back” a few things are implied: Either you got the one camel with a slipped-disc! Or. make more tea… Why is my left shoulder up in the air? I don’t know? For unconscious reasons I guess. some self-massage.
Like Sherpas. or for no apparent reason at all.S). Good reason.. That’s when you know you have been saving stress (S. much of the time. it worked fine just the other night didn’t it? It’s only when we are already way too stressed that pillows become dangerous. Yet in spite of our best efforts—we manage to lose it anyway. Why am I holding my left shoulder up? Ultimately it doesn’t really matter.” etcetera. I don’t know how many times an overstressed and anxious caregiver has come into my office and said to me—in all seriousness: My neck is killing me! I must have slept wrong. This is the fundamental problem about having pain in the behind—in our buttocks. But there is another way. If we can honestly be injured by a pillow. another way beside neglecting and ignoring. attend to them and care about them. bad reason. We learn to “live with it. something unconscious. in our hips. Otherwise. deny them. neglect them. Do you think I need to get a new pillow? Let’s all admit something together. We can learn to nurture and respect our very real human limitations. they can’t really hurt us.O. back. until we reach “The Last Straw” and everything falls down..angry. OK. we need to learn how to put it down. So we ignore them. But it also means—like the poor camel—we are already overburdened with much too much! But we can’t say no and we can’t put it down! Maybe that’s why sometimes we just can’t handle one more “slight” but extra problem without snapping under the pressure—even the pressure of a single straw. We can learn to become more aware of our pains. all of us. And we are way too stressed. There is something “going on behind our backs”. something way deep down. I can still choose to 98 . We can engage or aches and pains. Besides. sometimes a little stress is good. and standing on the edge (edgy). trying to keep it all together. We need to act now before we hurt ourselves even more. and forget them. instead of denying them. But distress is always bad. that’s a sure sign—somewhere deep inside—there is a much bigger problem in your Life than our pillow! Pillows are soft and nice. unlike Hillary. not only do we risk failing to reach our goal. but even more we may fail to make our way safely back down. right here and now. or neck—we can’t see them and we can’t reach them.” That is.
our own stress and tension. Instead of “exercises. It must be for unconscious reasons. but “all work and no play” doesn’t just make us dull. loosen and let go. I understand—the last thing you need is more work. it causes stress. only half there? Why do so many Americans chronically face each and every day with their neck muscles “trying their hardest” to impersonate rope? I don’t know. I can “decide” to stop-killing myself by being so uptight. You are already working too hard! What you need instead is old fashioned R & R. This is the essence of Qigong: training your muscles to relax. If all this is true—if we can retrain ourselves through Zen Qigong to destress instead of distress—why do so many of us then go through our day like zombies. by simply checking-in with my self and seeing how I’m doing.” and avoid using the e-word all together! Qigong like all yoga is supposed to feel good while you do it… If you are already stressed to your limit. like the walking wounded. Isn’t it time we stopped doing the rope trick and learned to unwind instead? Aren’t you already literally aching to feel better? Why knot? Stop! Take a breather! Re-Lax! Make some tea before you find yourself stuck at the end of your rope with no hope of ever getting down again… 99 . maybe then we could consciously alter this recipe for disaster—by bringing what is unconsciousness into consciousness. I can choose to let go. anytime I remember to. If I am stressed I can choose to stop. distress. slacken. Because we are somehow not aware of our own aches and pains.” it would be better to think of Qigong exercises as: “looser-cises.consciously pull my shoulder back down anytime I want to. and allow myself to relax. Maybe if we could stop stuffing our true feelings and continually slapping on a brave face. That is. No good reason that I can think of. and disease. breathe. illness. It must be because unconsciously we are ignoring or neglecting our personal needs and feelings. That old saying is still true.
By doing this. so shall ye reap. And why the person we aspire to be somehow seems to runaway from us. and still others have named it: the Devil. This seems only fair and right to me. Our Dark Side. It shields us against: hopelessness.” and “By their fruit. the Guardian shields us from: disillusionment. not to become egoless. Through this “division” of ourselves into—good/bad.” In spite of certain Eastern philosophies which advocate annihilation of the ego. ego-collapse.. to this very day they still manage to elude us. even the simplest of truths manages to escape our grasp. In other words our Guardians protect us by helping us hide from ourselves anything that does not fit into our ego’s self-image. This “Shadow Self” as Jung called it—our negative self-image—is what the Guardian protects us from: Our Shadow. acceptable/unacceptable. In other traditions it is simply called: Karma. our Persona—from any and all harm. it is our egos that must interface with society. Once again we postpone… Due to our Guardian. depression and despair. I believe God wants us to have happy and healthy egos. Others have named it our Sub-Conscious or our Un-Conscious. The Guardian tricks us. and even our Mortal Soul. The Guardian’s job is to protect us—our Ego. After all. somehow.. Jesus spoke of it: “As ye sow. lovable / unlovable. our Self-Image. so shall they be known.” It is due to our Guardian’s uncanny ability to shield us from uncomfortable Truth that the greatest spiritual revelations have long been revealed to the World and yet still—except in a few rare exceptions—they remain largely unfulfilled. by preventing us from learning any truth about ourselves we are not ready to face. Daemon or Demon. Unlike monks and nuns and Zen masters 100 .The Guardian at the Gate THE GAURDIAN IS AN AUTOMATIC DEFENCE-MECHANISM OF THE EGO. worthy / unworthy—each one of us inevitably develops a negative self-image made up of all the unacceptable and rejected parts of our Self. and medieval Christian practices of self-mortification. why we backslide and our true self continues to remain a: “closely guarded secret.” Our Guardian helps us misunderstand “for our own good. it is through our personas that we interact with the world.
that we are safe from the possibility of self-destruction. stubborn. negative beliefs. For that we need viable egos and authentic self-esteem. and despair… Please understand. but at times can be quite terrifying! Anytime our ego is circumvented it feels like failure and loss. spiritual teacher Richard Moss calls: “First Miracle Consciousness. it’s not exactly Fun. willful.” according to Dr. our self-imposed limitations. and blind. Let’s face it.of old.” First Miracle Consciousness defends us against the loss of our sense of being a separate individual. The Guardian “Lords over us. Open-ness and Defenselessness.” It does this for our own good. So let’s not bad-mouth our Egos. It is a state of “Surrendering to What IS” rather than a constant ego-rejection and projection of what is not. They always have to know right from wrong. It knows that without our ego we cannot participate with society. It is true that sometimes they can be pesky. “Second Miracle Consciousness. It is constantly vigilant and painfully aware of all our emotional states. It creates a “boundary-ed” and protected sense of self. It is through our self-image that we must maintain our sense of Self. 101 . This is precisely what the Guardian seeks to protect us from. But it is this unfortunate aspect of the ego that I call “the Guardian”. This function of our ego. an open state of Surrender. Instead let us try to sympathize with them! Our egos are doing a tough job. self-annihilation. even then. It is a courageous state of Vulnerability. Moss is seeing beyond the world of egos. and ego hang-ups. It is only when we have succeeded in convincing our Guardian that we are ready for dis-illusionment. all this will feel like Vulnerability to your ego. problematic. In my own experience this willingness to be open only comes after years of patient practice. The Guardian believes it knows exactly what we can and cannot handle. and add meaning and purpose to our lives. and it is! But it is not weakness! In reality it takes tremendous strength. without our ego-structures we truly are nothing special—just another ordinary and unique individual—exactly like everyone else. our goal is not to withdraw from society but to succeed in it. They have to make all of our decisions.
I have no doubt that I wrote it while suffering from yet another episode of the trial-by-fire indoctrination all nursing students are subjected to—though I’m not sure because I didn’t date it! (19901991?) All I need to say about the poem is I must have convinced my Guardian that I was ready for another round! Though I doubt I was feeling very happy about my decision to become a nurse when I must have sat on the floor to write this. But let’s look at the alternative… Remaining in an ego-centric life means living a life of pain. freed from the Pain of Separation… Which one sounds better to you? If you are a selfsacrificing caregiver. hide! But this is how we go beyond the limitations of our ego. and fears—as Dr.) 102 . When egos are truly healthy it is because they have realized they are only “agents” “actors” or “masks” that we wear—not who we truly are! They are the personality not the Person. your ego won’t like it.” “This is not expansive work. Not at all! Egos recoil from these experiences. lost in a world of either “poor little me” or “I the most precious one!” Whereas living a heart-centered life means living a life of Love. I surely was wishing there was an easier way. Seeing it again. and Service. It is a poem I must have written while still in nursing school. Humility.” he says.” To put it bluntly. suffering. Egos cry out: Suppress. they feel embarrassment and shame and self-loathing. If it wasn’t for our Guardians—and its two most valuable allies: Amnesia and Anesthesia—we would already know this! The Truth is not some “deep dark secret!” It’s just very very hard for our egos to swallow. you already know the answer… By the strangest of ‘coincidences’ my wife was going through her files today and happened to stumble upon the following poem. I had completely forgotten ever writing it. hide. Repress. (Until I saw it. “It is going back to fill in all the holes. trapped in the Illusion of Separation. Depress! Someone may see us! Cover-up! Hide. It is shadow work. thoughts.Allowing our self to be aware of all our true feelings. and isolation. Moss succinctly puts it—is psychologically unflattering work.
Naked. Like so many useless rags. I lie there. while still I remain The same poor deluded fool! When will I learn? This frightened trembling child inside me— This is my Self! And yet again. The masks I thought were my Self. At the painful shedding of the masks I have worn. Crying because I believed I was through with masks.I have nothing left to cling to—for two days now. Believed I had achieved some degree of Enlightenment. Why should anyone want to love—This… What do I possibly have to offer anyone? Where is there worth in being me. Trembling at the loss of my Illusions. Just another Illusion. I have cried for my vulnerability—completely exposed! What I once believed of myself lies crumpled on the floor. I wonder. When all I really have to give is This? Who can I possibly help? Who can I save? Who will ever say that they are richer because I exist? 103 . Humbled to discover yet again that my confidence— My Pride—is just another lie to believe in.
But that’s the method of “The Gateless Gate. and the exciting sport of sitting. how hard your inner-energies can struggle to move through your body—all these extremely intense experiences—by just sitting there… It is truly an amazing phenomenon. especially in the beginning. you will want to use two cushions. I can now kneel on any surface—wood. But for beginners. your sits-bones and heels. tile—for hours at a time. Your Qi can be so blocked! Until you experience it for yourself you just won’t believe how much you just sitting can hurt. shins.) 104 . (A third option is to kneel on a carpeted floor while sitting on a 10 or 12 inch vinyl ball. With Zazen it is possible to make yourself instantly whole in the present moment—just sitting and waiting for your body to relax and your mind to settle down—waiting for your breath to become soft and even. in how many places you can ache. Give me three hours of kung fu any day over just 60 minutes of Zen sitting.Zazen I KNOW IT SEEMS COUNTER-INTUITIVE: Exactly the opposite of what you would expect. concrete. but sitting exercises are by far the most difficult and most strenuous exercises ever imagined! Just sitting there and doing nothing. But there it is! That is Zazen. The second smaller pillow creates a comfortable space between your hamstrings and calves. The first cushion protects your knees and especially your ankles and feet from direct bone pressure against the floor. the other. After 20 years of Zazen training. carpet.” Zen—the Straight Path to Enlightenment—Zazen. the Seated Path to Self-encounter… Just sitting and meditating on your Pain can be terrible. One. Even 30 minutes of “just sitting” can be so difficult and no fun at all. big and square and flat (a Zafu) and large enough for your knees. ankles and feet to fit on the cushion. Just allowing yourself to settle and really feel what is going on inside your skin. small and round and firm (a Zabuton) or—small and soft and square (a standard couch pillow). and all your body-aches and pains to gently dissolve.
So much for the sitting… Now as for the breathing… In Qigong there are so many ways to breathe. (6) Zazen looks cool! Especially if you smile and act serene. (5) With Zazen there is less of a tendency to restrict the diaphragm by collapsing in on your rib cage. (2) Zazen is less strenuous on the muscles of the torso.Zazen is “Japanese-style” sitting. (1) Although Zazen it is tougher on the legs. and hips. I even recommend it over simple cross-legged Indian-style sitting for several reasons. and the breath. Full Lotus.”) Bellows Breathing is also called Natural Breathing or Child’s Breathing because this is how all children naturally breathe—especially during sleep—from the diaphragm. while Lotus-poses often require weeks or even months of concerted effort to stretch-out the tendons of the hips. neck. you will find it much easier to keep your spine in proper alignment. (3) Zazen begins stretching and lengthening the tendons and ligaments of the feet and ankles. But for our purposes here: “bellows breathing” or “diaphragmic breathing” will do. I highly recommend Zazen for beginners over other types of seated yoga postures—like the familiar Half-Lotus. knees. You can use your abdominal muscles to “draw your breath in” and “force your breath out”—just like a blacksmith’s bellows. and keep your thinking focused there—below the head. (“Hara” in Japanese: “dwelling place of Spirit. and concentration is only just one step away from Meditation. so many ways to use your breath that it borders on both the ridiculous and the sublime. a must for restoring the natural “suppleness of a child. This takes concentration. For most beginners Bellows Breathing feels anything but natural! Many adults for one reason or another have learned to breathe incorrectly. ankles.” (4) Most beginners can do Zazen correctly on their very first attempt. (just not for very long!). below the heart—in the area we call the Solar Plexus. and feet. the diaphragm.” or “Lower Dan Tian” as it is called in TCM: “The Field of the Elixir of Life. 105 . The key is developing the ability to raise the diaphragm with conscious intent—turning what is usually an involuntary movement into a voluntary movement. or lesser known Double Lotus. Your belly is like a bellows—thus the similarity in the words. so there are many benefits. You concentrate on the abdomen. spine.
This is called Chest-Breathing. the belly rounds outward when you inhale. or trying to blow out all the birthday candles in one big breath. In Bellows Breathing the shoulders do not raise. and seeing that we cannot force ourselves to become Enlightened. but then releasing the abdominal muscles and allowing the abdomen to expand and fill smoothly can prove very difficult. and raise their shoulders. similar to belly laughing—the abdominal muscles expel the air—ha-ha-ha. or singing can be helpful. In this step your diaphragm drops! Then repeat: squeeze-out your exhale and then stop squeezing. This is also where the use of humming. Then stop squeezing! Allow your lungs to fill naturally. puff out their chest. chanting. (after kneeling or sitting upright in a chair). When exhaling: the abdomen should contract. Many beginners find they have more success initially ignoring the inhale phase all together and focusing instead on exhaling alone. Now. The key to belly breathing is: your abdomen needs to be relaxed! This is where many students have a problem—most Americans believe that belly breathing makes them look fat—too much like a Buddha statue. But Buddha was not fat! Buddha was actually an Ascetic and before his enlightenment and had practiced many extreme forms of fasting and self-denial before finally resting under a Bodhi Tree— relaxing.If you ask the average American to take a deep breath they will no doubt: greatly expand their ribcage. The fact is: every round-bellied Buddha statue you have ever seen is meant as a teaching tool.” When inhaling: the abdomen should expand. Expelling air by squeezing is usually pretty easy for most of my students. The round-belly depicts Buddha during the expansive inhale phase of “Buddha Breathing. Notice how your diaphragm drops inside. slow everything down and repeat the whole process: Making each breath through your nose: smooth and quiet and even— 106 . and the back does not arch. when you exhale use all of your abdominal muscles to squeeze-out all the air from your lungs—as though your navel can touch your spine. (as long as you are making a sound at least you know you are exhaling!) The Exercise: to begin with. toning. the chest does not expand. Notice how your lungs fill-up automatically just by: Stop Squeezing.
then each breath-cycle makes one complete Tai Chi circle. When Yin and Yang are joined together seamlessly. “Just-Sitting” implies a 107 . think about opera singers. (There are no short cuts—you must do the Kung fu. in which case—start over again at one!) This breathing technique—moving the diaphragm up-and-down internally and the abdomen in-and-out externally—generates a lot of Qi power while gently massaging your internal organs and quieting and stilling your mind. inhaling is considered: Yin. how they can sustain such long notes and project their voices so powerfully that can fills an entire Opera-house. This type of singing requires a very well-trained diaphragm. since you are using muscle force while exhaling. your exhale is considered: Yang. (unless of course you lose count. Although sometimes in Japanese it is called Shikantaza—Just Sitting. Your diaphragm acts as the piston of a two stroke engine. It is the same with Zazen—in order to develop a well-trained diaphragm for proper Bellows Breathing and then use it to generate powerful internal Qi—we must be classically trained. For beginner’s I recommend no more than 20-30 Tai Chi Circles. and because your inhale is relaxed and easy. If you’re still not sure if you are using your diaphragm properly. The whole exercise—from kneeling to counting—should take no more than five minutes. To acquire such a skilled diaphragm opera singers must be classically trained—to breathe. producing power on both the up-stroke and down-stroke. In this exercise. When your inhale and exhale have become slow and steady and even begin counting each complete breath-cycle as one Tai Chi Circle.”) Once you have mastered this basic 2-stroke breathing try to set the pace for each stroke of breath by measuring out a count of 7-10 heartbeats (or more!) per stroke. If you have trouble feeling your heart beating inside your chest.) This classical training is called Zazen—Seated Meditation. (This type of “Bellows Breathing”—without pausing in-between—is also called “Circular Breathing.each inhale matching each exhale in length—allowing no pauses between inhaling and exhaling. then monitor your pulse at the left wrist-point by lightly pressing with fingertips of your right hand.
“Just-Working” is meditation. “Just-Standing” is meditation. even “Just-Sleeping” is meditation. then “Just-Walking” is meditation. Then Shikantaza becomes meditation. This is when you have at last entered the natural state of a Child—when each breath becomes supple and relaxed and natural. Then you know you have reached a very high level of practice indeed! Then you have become at last: “As Supple as a Child!” 108 .stage of development where “just sitting and just breathing” have become your natural state! Concentration is no longer needed. “JustEating” is meditation.
(Photo: Tom Serynek) Shikantaza 109 .
not falling—a thousand mistakes. These are the true miracles. kill him. cry. the blue sky—He speaks of a dream within a dream. Wash the dishes to wash the dishes. The great Way has no gate. If you meet the Buddha on the road. Walk. one loses Reality. The broad daylight. Even Masters fail! 110 . ten thousand mistakes. Sit. rest! When sad. When hungry.Zen Words • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Don’t Believe Everything You Think! Where is this Mind you keep talking about? Bring it to me. All are intrinsically Buddha. After Enlightenment. Stand. Chop wood. It cannot be pictured! Stop trying to grasp it with your head. there you are. Attached to words. Show me your face before you were born. The Way that can be spoken is not the true Way. Not obscuring. The Sign of God is that we may be lead where we did not plan to go. laundry. Carry water. eat! When tired. Breathe. Wherever you go.
Qigong Methods: Do not underestimate good… Dripping water can fill a pitcher. Little by little. —Buddha 111 . Even if one accumulates it. Drop by drop. One who is wise is filled with good.
if you have been initiated into the method then just a small phrase is enough to remind you of the entire teaching. Sutras means “thread. This is how Guatam Buddha’s teaching eventually came to be known as the Four Noble Truths. scholars believe the first complete collections of these sayings to be the gospel of Thomas. and The Ten Precepts. The Eightfold Path.” the root of "Yoga is the process of becoming free from limited definitions about the field of consciousness.The Sutras BUDDHISM WAS ORIGINALLY PASSED DOWN IN AN ORAL TRADITION." —Patanjali our English word “suture. but perhaps you can steal my art. “I want you to perform: “Snake Creeps Down. One of my favorite Qigong teaching stories goes like this: 112 .” The Chinese people share is a wealth of teaching stories. But. Aside from the mysterious Q-source (?) of Jesus’ original sayings. if I tell you. This is the only way ancient masters could maintain a “patent” on their best training secrets. Jesus’ sayings were also originally passed down in this way. This is how in Tai Chi we get such poetic names for movements as “Grasp the Swallows Tail” and “Parting the Wild Mare’s Mane” which describe precisely how the movement is performed.” Sutras are pneumonic aids for memorization.” but have never shown you how to do “Snake Creeps Down. in sutras. these are lists of sutras—small tight easy to remember phrases that were passed down from master to student in lines of descent for generations (500 years) before finally being written down—first in the Pali language—but then later translated into any language where Buddhism traveled and prospered.” you will be left completely in the dark. Because of this oral tradition. “I cannot teach you. When they are strung together they complete the original teaching. they then point to the book of Mark as the earliest extant collection of Christ’s teachings (65? AD). But since Thomas’s gospel failed to be accepted into the official Church cannon.
” The Student bowed deeply and returned home. He had trained diligently in the form each day and was confident he could perform it exactly as he had been taught. He had no hopes of winning his master’s approval—he had completely forgotten the master’s form.” Nine years later the student returned. “Then show me what you can remember. For three years the master trained the student until at last the student could perform the master’s technique flawlessly.There once was a young student who desired to learn Kung fu from a perfect master so he left his family and walked one hundred miles from his village to search throughout the sacred mountains. he awaited his master’s reply.” He performed the movements he could remember. He performed the movements flawlessly and awaited his teacher’s reply. But the master shook his head and said: “No good! Go home and return to me in three years. When he returned three years later. his master said: “Then show me what you remember. After proving his sincerity.” He performed the movements the master had taught him flawlessly and awaited his teacher’s reply. When he told the master so. hoping to win his master’s approval. the master said. but the master had to correct him three times. When he told his master this. But you must return to me in three years so I may test you. hoping to find such a master and learn his secrets. for the master too had long been seeking the perfect student to become his successor. The master then told the student. When he returned three years later he was very concerned. He was very sad. Completely discouraged. he had forgotten half of the master’s movements.” Disheartened and now depressed the student returned home. But the master shook his head and said: “No good! Go home and return to me in three years. He had forgotten three of the master’s movements and so for his own practice had substituted three of his own. Three years later he returned to the mountain to be tested. 113 . After many adventures he at last found such a master. Again the master shook his head: “Still no good! Go home and return to me in nine years. the master agreed to teach the student his secret Kung fu training form.” Disheartened the student returned home. “Now it is time for you to return to your village.
the master bowed deeply to the student and said. 6. 5.” The student then performed his own form flawlessly. Qi and blood and able to nourish every cell of the body. 1. and with the horizon in every direction. 4. All Meridians Open: This sutra describes the basic purpose of the Zhening Qigong form. admiring the beauty and mastery of his favorite student’s new form. To use the mind’s intent and the body movements to relax the entire body. Go out in Six Directions: This sutra instructs the student to imagine their personal Qi blending with the Earth. the bodies energy-channels—the meridians—open up and the Qi is able to flow unobstructed. 3. his master said. 2. When the musculature is relaxed. Qi and Blood are Plentiful: Because the meridians are now open. Withdraw Vision Inward: Ordinarily with eyes closed a student’s vision remains oriented outward through the eye-lids. “At last! I have found my successor!” I will share with twelve training sutras used by Grandmaster Pang to help guide his students through his Qigong training form. But also. The master looked on in amazement. These are direct English translations of sutras that come directly from Laoshi. With tears of pride. Body Functions Normal: This sutra reminds the student to relax and visualize the internal flow of Qi restoring the proper internal balance of 114 . One’s Qi is still going out through the eyes and a silvery quality of light is seen. down the optic nerves—creates a deep velvety-black light that greatly conserves the student’s personal Qi. “Then show me what you have been practicing instead these nine years. with Heaven. I learned these from Luke and Frank.When he told his master so. Feet touch the Earth / Head touches Sky: This sutra reminds the student of the fundamental truth—we stand on Earth with our heads extending out into in Space. Withdrawing vision inward—down the eye-stalks. we stand in the Earth’s Qi-field while we receive Heaven-Qi from above.
11. The lumbar curve is then flattened as if supported by the backrest of a chair. and all body functions are normal. 8. spine straight. low back relaxed.” Placing the tip of the tongue against the point where the hard and soft palate meet energetically connects these two vessels and allows for the internal circulation of Qi that is called: “The MicroCosmic Orbit.the body’s organ systems—what Western medicine calls: Physiological Homeostasis. All Illnesses Disappear: This sutra adds affirmation to the visualization process. “All Illness Disappears” stimulates the psycho-neuroimmunologic system. Raise Bai Hui and Tuck in Chin: This sutra reminds the student to hold proper spinal alignment. The Bai Hui point is an acupuncture point on the Du Mai or “Governor Vessel” located at the precise center of the crown of the head. When the student raises the Bai Hui point and slightly tucks in the chin it automatically aligns the cervical spine to the proper relaxed position. Qi and blood are plentiful. Think Blue Sky: This sutra deepens the meditation process by making use of a Zen technique called “thought of one thought. Tongue Touches Upper Palate: The two central energy channels of the body are called Ren Mai and Du Mai or the “Conception Vessel” and “Governor Vessel.” 12.” where the difficulty of thinking no thoughts is circumvented by focusing exclusively on one thought or one visualization—the empty blue sky. affirming that meridians are open. 9.” It also relaxes the jaw and prevents thirst—saliva collects in the deep cavity under the tongue in what is called: “Heavens Cup. Sitting yet not Sitting: Accurately describes the sensation of standing in proper Tai Chi posture—knees unlocked. tailbone angled towards the ground. 7. When the student “Thinks Space” the student is to visualize going out in six directions into the infinity of 115 . 10. therefore the conditions for illness no longer exist. Think Space: This sutra is similar to “Think Blue Sky” but it specifies a more expansive visualization process.
Space—far beyond the limits of the Blue Sky—where we are to exchange our personal Qi with Yuan Qi—the primordial Qi that existed before the “Big Bang.” or as I tell my students: “before all the trouble began.” 116 .
Instead of holding your self erect with muscle control.The Exercises (Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 1: Standing Like a Post Feet are together. One should feel very tall and straight yet completely relaxed. little fingers. When performed correctly. 117 . the goal is to balance the entire body allowing all the muscles to relax. Knees are unlocked but not bent. In this pose I am also performing a mudra known as “flower hands”—the thumbs. Standing like a post is also called Wuji— Emptiness—and is the basic starting position for all Tai Chi forms. Standing like a post is a balancing act. In this position the goal is to balance the body with proper skeletal alignment—ears over shoulders. shoulders over hips. hips over ankles. and edge of palms are sealed but the center of the palm and the rest of the fingers are open like the petals of a flower. the body feels free floating as if defying gravity.
Shoulders and neck are relaxed. Muscles of the torso pull shoulders down. Palms are erect. Breathing is natural and relaxed from the diaphragm.) 118 . Relax while allowing your shoulders to fatigue.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 2: Holding Arms Out to the Sides Arms are held relaxed to both sides. Feet are together. Hold for three to ten minutes while concentrating on relaxing the deltoids. Think Space. (Note the abdominal inhale. Remember: The muscles that raise the arms are not the same muscles the hold the arms.
Think: the three Qi centers of the body. Breathing is natural and easy. Imagine your personal Qi shooting upwards from your fingertips to connect with the Cosmos. 119 . the abdominal cavity (lower dan tien). Feet are together. shoulders. the thoracic cavity (middle dan tien). and low back are relaxed. and the cranium (upper dan tien) are aligned.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 3: Praying Hands Above Head Praying hands are extended above the Head directly over the Bai Hui point. Neck. The Muscles of the torso pull the shoulders down.
The Muscles of the torso pull the shoulders down. Neck and low back are relaxed. Collect fresh Qi from the horizon so that the mind is calming and clear. Abdomen and chest expand. Hold for three to fifteen minutes and let go. 120 . Think: Heart Qi dissolves into the horizon. Breathing is natural and easy.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 3: Embracing the Horizon Arms are out stretched to the sides at shoulder level. Feel all agitated thoughts or emotions leaving your body with each exhale. Palms are to the front. Allow your shoulders to relax and fatigue. Surrender all worries or concerns.
Think: Your hands are pouring Qi into the Bai Hui point at the crown of the head. Allow the shoulders to fatigue and relax. Neck and low back are relaxed. The chest and abdomen expand. Breathing is natural and easy. 121 .(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 4: Holding a Large Qi-Ball Above the Head Arms and elbows are rounded as if embracing a large beach-ball. Completely relax the entire body. The Muscles of the torso pull the shoulders down. Feel the ball resting on the top of your head. Hips are loose and relaxed. Imagine your arms are collecting Qi in the same way a satellite dish collects a signal. Hold and pour Qi in for five to ten minutes.
The palms are erect. Feel the palms absorbing healing Qi into the arms and then pour down into the abdominal cavity (lower dan tien). The muscles of the torso pull the shoulders down. Imagine that you are pressing out your personal Qi during the exhale and pulling in fresh Qi from the horizon on the inhale. The feet are together. neck and low back are relaxed. The muscles of the under arms and chest hold the position while the biceps and deltoids are allowed to rest.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 5a: Holding Arms Out to the Front Arms are slightly elevated at shoulder level and shoulder width apart. The spine is straight. 122 .
Imagine you are deeply rooted to the Earth and the Qi from the horizon is pouring through your meridians and grounding all stagnant Qi. This closes the chest and opens and stretches the upper back and ribs. 123 .(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 5b: Pressing the Horizon The arms now press forward towards the horizon. At the same time press the heels firmly down.
” For beginners. This generates a lot of internal pressure in the arms.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 6: Temple Hands Behind the Back This exercise stretches the biceps tendons and forearms. Allow the muscles to fatigue and relax. The low back does not arch. 124 . five minutes is more than enough to begin the tendon stretching process. But as I tell my students: “Any exercise that reveals pain and illness also heals pain and illness. which squeezes out stagnant Qi and blood from the arms. If you are heavily muscled in the arms you will find this exercise uncomfortable in the beginning. Breathe naturally and easy.
Hold position for three to five minutes and relax into the stretch. keeping to right foot flat. Bending the left leg. Ideally the left foot should also be flat. continue down into your lowest possible squat. (Good Luck!) 125 . Extend right leg to the side. Raise the torso and open the chest.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 7a: Deep Squat with Right Adductor Stretch Begin with feet wide apart.
Extend left leg to the side and maintain a flat left foot.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 7b: Deep Squat with Left Adductor Stretch After returning to an upright position with feet wide. 126 . bend the right leg and sink as low as you can go. Raise the torso and open the chest. ideally the right foot should also be flat. Again.
This creates a Qi feedback loop that cycles and recycles Heart Qi (Ren Qi) which closes and nourishes the entire body and all its meridians. Knees unlocked but not bent.” “Qi and blood are plentiful. Think: “All meridians open. The fingers of both hands point directly to each other.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 8: Standing Like a Post to Nourish Qi Feet are together. The spine is straight and the low back relaxed. The crucial point to this posture as in all the other poses is that the body be relaxed. The arms and elbows are rounded as if embracing a beach ball.” “Body functions are normal” and “All illnesses disappear!” 127 .
inch your hands toward the center.Tai Chi Staff Stretches (Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 1a: Staff Stretching / Back to Front Begin with the staff behind the back with palms facing forward. 128 .” Use a staff at least five feet in length or longer. For less tendon resistance place hands towards the end of the staff. Feet are together. Use the muscles of the torso to pull the shoulders down. Hold the staff with a firm “hammer grip. Low back is relaxed. for more.
(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 1b: Staff Stretching / Back to Front Bring the staff directly and evenly over the head. Use the muscles of the torso to pull the shoulders down. wringing stagnant blood and lymph from the arms. 129 . tendons. and joints. This pressurized the muscles. Keep your grip firm for the maximum stretch. Hold for five to ten minutes before returning to starting position.
(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 2a: Staff Stretching / Front to Back Begin with staff in front at waist level palms facing the back. This stretch focuses on the tendons of the chest. and upper arms. Maintain a firm “hammer grip. shoulders. Feet together.” Use the muscles of the torso pull the shoulders down. Low back is relaxed. 130 .
inch your hands closer together and repeat the stretch. This stretch focuses on the chest. If you find the stretch too easy. Pull the staff tight against your low back and arch your spine. 131 . and wrists. biceps tendons.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 2b: Staff Stretching / Front to Back Bring the staff directly and evenly over your head. Maintain a firm grip for maximum stretch.
Both feet are flat.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 3a: Staff Block—Right Feet are wide apart. Hold the pose for five minutes and allow the left leg to fatigue and relax without sinking lower. Open the chest and raise the torso. 132 . The staff should be at approximately the same angle and line as the right leg. Bend left knee and sink weight into left hip until right knee is straight. Extend the right arm and raise left arm above the head.
Extend Left arm and raise right arm above the head. Hold for five minutes.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 3b: Staff Block—Left After returning to center position. bend right knee and sink weight into the right hip. Both feet remain flat. 133 . Staff should be at approximately the same angle and line as the staff. Allow right leg to fatigue and relax without sinking lower. Straighten the left knee.
(In these pictures I am using a 7 pound red oak staff purchased from Wing Lam Enterprises: www. The closer to the tip of the staff you place your grip the greater the weight exerted on the soft tissues. and triceps. Staff is held toward one end and the weight of the staff pressurizes the tendons of the hand.wle. wrist.com) 134 .(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 4a: Right Wrist and Triceps Stretch Palm is up and to the back. The staff creates a wringing action through the muscles of the arm and shoulder. elbow.
(Photo: Tom Serynek) Exercise 4b: Left Wrist and Triceps Stretch Feet are together. The weight of the staff wrings out the soft-tissues of the left arm. The staff is now in the left hand. “Standing Like a Post.” Muscles of the torso pull the shoulders down. Hold three to five minutes. 135 . Palm is up and turned toward the back.
(Photo: Tom Serynek)
Exercise 5: Low Defensive Staff Pose Low defensive poses from a martial arts stand-point force your opponent to come down to you. Because the feet remain flat this allows you to spring quickly to you feet for optimum mobility. This is a variation of the Tai Chi Position: “Snake Creeps Down.” Tai Chi training prepares you for both empty hands and weapons combat. Once again, hold the pose and allow the muscles of the legs to fatigue and relax.
More Stretches and Mudras
(Photo: Tom Serynek)
Half Lotus Begin with legs wide apart. Bend right knee and place the sole of the foot against the left inner-thigh. The right thigh and calf will create a crease. Using your hands, lift the left lower leg and place the edge of the foot into the crease of the right leg. The left foot should feel trapped into position. This is yoga—“yoking” the body together. Maintain the position and allow the legs to fatigue and relax. Open the chest and use the muscles of the torso to pull the shoulders down. Lengthen the spine. Raise Bai Hui and tuck in the chin.
(Photo: Tom Serynek)
Full Lotus Beginning in the half-lotus position, use your hands to lift the right lower leg and place the edge of the right foot into the crease created by the left thigh and calf. Open the chest and use the muscles of the torso to pull the shoulders down. Lengthen the spine. Raise Bai Hui and tuck in the chin. Hold position and allow the legs to fatigue and relax. This position stretches out the tendons of the knees, ankles, and feet. (Good Luck!)
(Photo: Tom Serynek) Deep Squatting Begin in “Standing like a Post” position. Lengthen spine. Hold posture and press palms out towards the horizon. Kneel slowly down to the limit as low as you can go while maintaining flat heals. Raise Bai Hui and tuck in chin. Use the muscles of the torso to pull the shoulders down. 139 . Keeping the feet flat is more important than going to your lowest point.
Press the heals of the palms together as in “Flower Hands” but do not seal the thumbs and little fingers. Use the muscles of the torso to pull the shoulders down. Raise Bai Hui and tuck in the chin. This mudra stretches the muscles and tendon of the forearms. Lengthen spine. Imagine the Lotus absorbing Qi from the Blue Sky.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Standing Like a Post with Lotus Palms Feet are together. Low back is relaxed. Instead open the palms and fingers as wide as possible to form a “Lotus Flower” while keeping the elbows apart. Hold pressure. Knees are unlocked but not bent. 140 .
Front foot is flat. Bend front knee and sink weight forward while sinking slowly down onto the back knee.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Deep Warrior’s Pose Step and lunge far forward. Maintain pressure on the ball and toes of the rear foot. The spine arches naturally. Repeat to the other side. Slowly raise both arms above the head and form praying hands directly above the Bai Hui point. Breathe naturally and easy from the diaphragm. Hold pose and allow legs to fatigue and relax. 141 .
Repeat to other side and exchange staff to right hand. Raise Bai Hui and tuck in chin. 142 . Spine is straight. Weight is distributed 50/50 on both legs. “Hammer grip” holds staff at the center at the ready. preparing to swing staff forward into defensive position. Use muscles of the torso to pull shoulders down. Right arm is extended to the rear.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Forward Lunge with Staff Lunge with left foot forward. Right foot is at ninety degree angle. Left arm is extended to full reach.
The spine is lengthened and 143 . For the Qi-ball to form inside the hands the finger-tips must be oriented directly towards each other. Raise the Bai Hui point and tuck in the chin.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Half Lotus: Holding Small and Large Qi-Ball La Qi as I described in my first encounter with Luke Chan is all about forming a concentrated Qi-Ball. not only does a small ball of Qi form inside the hands but a large Qi-ball forms within the rounded arms. When the Qi is sufficient. Use the muscles of the torso to pull the shoulders down. This is a closed pose used for circulating and storing Qi within the middle and lower dan tiens.
In the yoga tradition this pose is called the Oriental pose. Both sits-bones are down evenly. Hold for fifteen to thirty minutes or more and visualize the Blue Sky. 144 .relaxed. Breathe from the abdomen and relax. (Photo: Tom Serynek) Reverse Half Lotus The right leg is folded behind with the ankle tucked firmly against the hip. Left leg is folded in front in standard half lotus position.
The heels connect to the hips. The thumbs press firmly into the balls of the feet at acupuncture point Kidney-1: the Bubbling Well. The sits-bones are down between the feet.(Photo: Tom Serynek) Sitting Like a Child Young children sit like this all the time. Like the Full Lotus pose you will need to spend time working up to this position by stretching out the tendons 145 . This is another closed position for circulating and cultivating Qi. the legs are spread apart with feet turned out to the sides. This is similar to Japanese-style sitting but instead of sitting on the lower legs.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Try to love the questions themselves. (Good Luck) Questions & Answers The important thing is to never stop questioning. —Albert Einstein ----------------------------<>--------------------------- Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. find yourself experiencing the answer.of the feet. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity. knees. without even noticing it. “How am I supposed to know?” “How are you to know? Aren’t you a Zen Master!” exclaimed the Samurai. ankles. like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Perhaps you will gradually. Hold pose and allow the legs to fatigue and relax. “But not yet a dead one!” —Zen mondo 146 . They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. “Yes. and hips. some distant day. of life. Do not now look for the answers. It is a question of experiencing everything. —Rilke -----------------------------<>---------------------------- A Samurai once asked Zen Master Hakuin: “Where will I go after I die?” Master Hakuin answered.” Master Hakuin replied. of the marvelous structure of reality. At present you need to live the question.
But you can always do it better. fever. In the beginning you will be learning. nausea. They appear in no particular order. there are certain signs that you are doing Qigong “correctly. flatulence. This could be concentration but it cannot be meditation. In order for Qigong to be truly Qigong the movements and poses must be performed in a meditative state. In my Qigong classes. only the advanced students who can forget that they are in a class and slip into meditation are doing it correctly. Qigong. How do I know if I am doing Qigong correctly? REALLY YOU CAN’T DO QIGONG WRONG. hot flashes. acne breakouts—especially on the scalp—uncontrollable yawning.” hives and rashes. itching. that said. Meditation happens when the student at last forgets all about the ego—doing it right or doing it wrong—and focuses on feeling their way through the postures. increased bodily aches and pains. or a sudden cold or productive cough. sneezing. sweating. This is tricky. It is not as much a question of correct and incorrect. Beginning students are too busy following me and trying to understand what I am telling them. These include Flu-like symptoms. If it happens at all. vomiting. Now. and relatively harmless but inconvenient physical reactions. tearing.What follows are answers to commonly asked questions about Zen. It takes lots of practice and experience.” These are called Qi-reactions. belching. These are phenomenon that occur as a result of gathering healing Qi and usually take the form of uncomfortable detoxification reactions after practicing. it most often happens during individual home practice when there is no one around to compare your self to. It almost never happens in class. The most common Qi reaction is diarrhea caused by the body’s attempt to quickly eliminate toxins from the system. They are too aware of their egos—trying to do it “right” and trying to do it “good” and constantly comparing there performance to those around them. “crawling skin. 147 . This is not possible in the beginning. 1. it is more a question of acquiring skill and practicing skill. dizziness. or the Self-Healing process. Other common signs of Qi-reaction are hiccups.
Any signs of illness in the body should cause you to consult with your family physician 2. So. That’s it. not at all surprisingly. The thinking mind much prefers to try anything and everything that is difficult first. But remaining in the present moment is too simple so the mind ignores the present and stays involved with its own thoughts. All of these reactions should be considered positive signs and symptoms of the body-mind’s natural attempt to heal itself from internalized toxins or toxic emotions. right?). The thinking mind craves something more complex and meditation is too simple. Counting the breath or chanting sutras is too repetitive and boring. and complicated mechanism which feeds on its own complexity in order to exist. That’s the basic obstacle to meditation. However. just breathing? Where are all the problems? Just chanting sacred words? Why can’t we do something more important? More important than breathing? I should say—the thinking mind has another think coming if it thinks breathing is unimportant. Why is meditation so difficult? THE REAL REASON IS VERY SIMPLE: Because meditation is too simple. the thinking mind is a very very complex. Other reactions occur when a former illness or trauma that seemed to be completely healed yet hidden inside the body suddenly makes a recurrence as it is brought to the surface for healing. Secondly. 148 . But there it is. (and the real reason) because every time the thinking mind does try to do something simple like—observe the coming and going of the breath—it shuts off! Just breathing is not stimulating enough for the thinking mind. not all signs of illness are due to Qi-reactions. Like what for example? Like re-living the past or predicting the future.But Qi-reactions are not only limited to physical reactions. the thinking mind thrives on Thinking! (No brainer. This is for two main reasons: First. These things the mind finds easy. delicate. There can also be strong emotional “detoxing” in the form of surprising emotional outbursts with no apparent cause. or over-reactions to what is seen later as a rather mild stimulus. hypersensitivity.
You are doomed to chronically repeat the mistakes of your past. This is why in Zen it is referred as the “Monkey Mind”—always chattering and fidgeting away in the tree tops. What should you do? 149 . It gets restless. Do you know why that is? Answer: Because there are more geese on that side! Or. It traps the thinking mind into letting go by forcing it to see into the minds own limitations.But in reality. but too tight for the Monkey’s clenched hand to take it’s hand and the fruit out of the jar. You are completely surrounded. Then you just come along the next day. before you know what’s hit you. It simply will not let go of the fruit. pick up the Monkey and the jar—and throw it in a sack. its machinations. every spring when the wild geese return flying in their V-formations—usually—one side of the V of geese is longer than the other. trapped. you are surrounded by a thousand ravenous tigers. just selfhealing… For example. just digesting your food. The Koan is a trap. caught. completely trapped. always getting into things. foolish and incapable.. you may have noticed. Do you know the story of how to catch a Monkey? Put a piece of delicious fruit inside a narrow-mouthed jar. just breathing turns out to be a VERY difficult thing to do. just big enough for the fruit and the Monkey’s hand to fit into. The Zen Koan works in a similar fashion. And you end up in the master’s sack! As they say in the Upanishads: “Your head falls off!” And you get a glimpse of mindless reality where no thinking is required—just breathing. There is no hope of escape! What’s the very first thing you should do? Answer: Stop imagining! Now try this one: Imagine you are stupid. The reason for that is the thinking mind does not like to be so still.. It needs to move. you find yourself cornered. just maintaining the bodily systems. But because of the thinking mind’s own greed for solving puzzles. Your life is going no where. No one can help you! You are all alone. just beating your heart. imagine for a moment. At any moment the tigers are going to pounce and eat you. Simple! The trap exploits the simplicity of the Monkey and the Monkey’s greed for fresh fruit.
You are an alcoholic. The correct answer to the Koan about the “stone in the garden” is: Hit the master for trying to trap you in his Koan—thus proving that you are not so easily trapped. That surrender is meditation. You see how the mind is forced to surrender. This is why Koans and Mondos—teaching stories—are so effective.Answer: Same as the last one—stop imagining! See? The mind looks for complexity first. Wrong! Then how is it that you can be aware of it? If you answer: In my mind. Up till then though… Really what they call reincarnation is just self-healing—making yourself whole each day of your life in the body. simplicity is. but cleverness is not the answer to Life’s problems. Or else simply laugh and walk away—thus telling the master you realize there is no way to answer his Koan. Each day you re-member yourself and forsake the illusions of the ego and remind yourself that you are more than just ego. That mind just doesn’t do Simple… There is a very famous Koan that goes like this: Tell me. When you finally die there is no longer any need for healing. It wants to be clever. The most effective Koan I have ever been trapped by is this one.” or a “Recovering Alcoholic. Wrong again.” a “Dry Drunk.” (Try that one on for size!) 3. For the rest of your life you will either be a “Wet Drunk. With the shedding of the body you become pure energy again. This is what is meant by Qigong. It brings the mind into the moment—into the moment where it realizes it cannot answer without being wrong! The Mondos about successfully answered Koans go something like this. Is the large stone in the garden in the garden? Or is it in your mind? If you answer the: In the garden. Are you ever done healing or are you finally healed when you die? DEATH IS THE END OF HEALING. This is meditation—to make yourself 150 . They reveal the activity of the thinking mind. Do you still beat your wife? Any answer will be wrong. Then how is it that you are able to walk around with such a large stone inside your small mind? This type of Koan is very similar to the old joke: Answer yes or no.
Really. It is true that when end when you finally die. but yourself as well. and again. a chance to live life more fully. Why do I have all this pain? WHY NOT ASK HOW NOT TO HAVE PAIN? The leading cause of pain is Life. and ignorance—only by accepting what it is you wish to reject can you truly be whole.whole in mind and body—the spirit is not in need of healing. Only by embracing the past—along with all it’s pain. This is called: “Shadow-work. no one truly wishes for to be through with healing. Accepting this is how we begin to soften. This I call: The Art of Self-Healing. 4. This takes time. If you could learn how to relax to 151 . and again until you learn to keep it open. But Shakyamuni taught that there is another way to end the suffering. the hidden question is: Will I ever heal my past? Yes. because of resisting what is—the cold. Loving means: to nurture—not only those you love. by acknowledging it in the present and releasing the painful memories that come up. What if you cut your finger with a kitchen knife? Can you imagine how tragic it would be if your wish to stop healing were granted? Don’t you want your finger to heal each time you cut it? Is not the same thing true for your heart? In the Sufi tradition of Islam there is a beautiful saying I have heard from Pir Inyat Khan: God breaks your heart again. but only if you embrace it and nurture it. I believe this is the answer anyone who has ever asked me this question is truly seeking. Wishing for an end to healing is another way of saying you wish for an end to pain and suffering. and shame.” This is precisely what the ego seeks to avoid. Pain naturally comes right along with life. It is the human condition. The reason you have “all this pain” is because you are resisting pain in the same way that you shiver when you are cold—because of resistance. Your past is what has made you what you are—a personality with a personal history. only expression. namely: Meditation—to go beyond the cravings and the desires of ego. Not an end to suffering. but a chance for a new beginning. Yes you can heal the past. This spiritual expression is simply called: Love. Usually when I am asked this question.
No apologies will suffice—you have become insulted. if you could remember your Qigong. if you could remain present and grounded. In Eckhart’s words. but something that needs to flow. This is how an innocent remark spoken at the wrong moment becomes a tool for hurting yourself. it enjoys its pain. Resisting past pain only reinforces the memory of pain. this reminds you of all your past experiences of pain. force is the wrong word.” Once satisfied. The Pain-body is satisfied by this. “The Pain-body has had a feeding. It would become pure energy that’s all. it only when we no longer reinforce our past pain that at last we can let go and forgive the past. If you could learn to Meditate and remain in the NOW. 152 . your feelings are hurt. you would heal your past pain. like your physical body.the cold the shivering would immediately cease. Resistance blocks the flow and so you have pain. You are also haunted by the memory of pain. the Pain-body would miss its feeding. This memory you also resist. You must learn how to stop forcing and resisting and learn to soften and gentle your pain instead by relaxing your body and your ego. The best antidote for pain is to enjoy your self and have fun. That is how you finally come to heal the past. In fact. Then gradually—the Pain-body would be forced to starve. then little by little. This creates and perpetuates what Eckhart Tolle calls: “The Pain-body. So whenever possible it actively seeks out more pain to nourish itself. the Pain-body would be forced to subside. Until the next “insult. If you could learn to relax into the pain the pain would immediately cease to be pain. Of course.” the next fight. But it is not just the present pain that you are resisting.” The Pain-body. No. it slips back into hibernation until the next opportunity to feed. also seeks to survive. the next outburst of pain. Not something to resist. Have you ever built a snowman? It was cold but you were not resisting you were having fun… The same thing goes for pain. It is feeding on it.
” Most Americans are familiar with what we call the Yin-Yang symbol. but also is the secret behind its devastating effectiveness as a martial art. True Tai Chi Chuan requires that you visualize your attackers. They learn Tai Chi as a slow moving and graceful form of physical exercise and approach the individual movements as choreography instead of what it truly is: The supreme martial art. However—at least here in the US—most people who are attracted to Tai Chi because of its legendary health benefits. In Tai Chi Chuan each defensive and offensive move makes use of this circular principal and the two forces: Yin and Yang. Really. “Supreme Ultimate Fist.5. But it is helpful to remember that martial arts are not called martial arts in China. Qigong on the other hand is a healing art not a martial art. Tai Chi is slow-motion shadow-boxing. Tai Chi Chuan is how you prevent someone from hurting you or hurting others and when it is approached from a stand-point of Chivalry also how you disarm or disable an opponent so that they also do not come to too much harm.” What this really means is Tai Chi is more correctly Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan in Pin-Yin) is the “Supreme Ultimate Fighting Style. then— according to benefits.” meaning the fighter is superior because he or she fights from a state of total relaxation and is in complete control of their Qi and their opponent’s Qi—Tai Chi alone can be better translated as “Perfect Balance. This is unfortunate because if you are unaware that Tai Chi Chuan as a martial art. They are called instead: Wu Shu—which means literally: Stop the fight. Tai Chi simply means the “Supreme Ultimate.” Or more literally. In China this easily recognized emblem is called a Tai Chi Circle. But in fact many people who take Tai Chi lessons and never realize that each movement has a martial application! That they are in fact learning a deadly martial art. You are practicing and preparing for an attack 153 Master Wong Kiew Kit—you are missing out on 90% of the . What is the difference between Qigong and Tai Chi? TAI CHI IS A MARTIAL FORM OF QIGONG. Qigong science came first and Tai Chi—the martial application of Qigong principals—came second. This not only gives Tai Chi its characteristic style and appearance.
The health value of Tai Chi practice is secondary to it’s primary goals: superior martial skills. Why so long? Most American students—because of the pioneering work of William C. It distills the health benefits from Tai Chi and other Martial forms and makes them immediately accessible to anyone willing to learn. I always ask these students if they would be willing to demonstrate their form for the benefit of the rest of the class. What Chinese Qigong researchers realized was that older Tai Chi masters seem more youthful because they maintain their flexibility. The Health benefits that accessible. they are more graceful. they are immediately available and gradually increase with time. That takes a like-time! New Qigong can be very quickly learned. “Oh I can only remember the first four movements of the form. only if you do your Gong! So many times I have had the experience of welcoming a new student into my Qigong class who announces they have already learned Tai Chi elsewhere and now are interested in learning Qigong. This is when the truth comes out.” 154 . Authentic Tai Chi Chuan can have 108 and even 148 individual movements to learn.by multiple attackers from any direction. But since the goal of modern practice primarily the health benefits.C. New Qigong was created to improve health without having to wait twenty or even forty years. Most forms can often be learned and memorized in less than three months. The reason it has such legendary health benefits is because of the slow-motion relaxed way it is practiced and the mental training needed to allow you to move with supreme control and concentration so that” “mind and body are together. But the real draw back to trying to get your health benefits from Tai Chi is not only does it take years just to memorize and properly learn each of the individual movements of the Tai Chi form. memorize and master. Some modern forms can be learned in a single weekend! This is the genius of New Qigong. energetic and healthy than their contemporaries who do not practice Tai Chi. but it can take about ten or twenty years of dedicated practice before you accrue and truly realize the health payback.” Then—just like Frank said—you learn how to move using your Qi not your muscles. But. Chen study the Yang Short Form of twenty-four simplified moves.
study their form until it is your own. each class always focuses on the basics.” Some students who come to class are really just dilatants. then if you want to—learn another form. This is why in the traditional wisdom they say: “Better one hundred steps on a single path than ten steps on ten paths. The postures and forms are simple. Nothing teaches Qigong like teaching! When you are the teacher you can see immediately when your students understand you or not. Burn the movements into your neuromuscular system through repetition until there is no possible way for you to forget them. “steal” your first teacher’s art and then create your own form. Then start teaching your family and your neighbors what you understand. Every class I teach is a beginner’s class. have I met a student who could remember the entire short form and even then—due to the poetic names for each movement—they failed to realize they had learned a martial art! New Qigong circumvents this problem. Even though some of my students have continued with me for five years or more. memorized by your brain and your muscles—muscles memory. 6. I never know what I am going to say or teach until I say it or teach it. Or better yet. They go from teacher to teacher to teacher and sadly end up learning little or nothing at all. after sharing Qigong with hundreds of students. just a lot of individual exercises that they can’t really remember or never faithfully practice. You will find yourself inventing and creating on the spot until you see their little halos light up.” Pick a teacher. I tell each new student: “You don’t need to come back to class once you learn the movements. How often should I practice Qigong to get the maximum benefit? 155 . but you may wish to continue coming to class to help deepen your understanding and participate in the healing group-energy that each class generates. Others come for years before they feel comfortable enough to “free-style” at home. Volunteer at the local “Y” or teach a summer session at a local park. so no two classes are ever the same.Only once in seven years. Any one of any age can learn them quickly and begin immediately to practice them.
” But ideally. But this mind-set treats the exercise process like a chore or an obligation. (But I have already talked about them else where. if you don’t make it to the pool then you don’t get to do what you like to do.disciplined people out there. each treat you give yourself is absolutely free.THEY SAY: “EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. With Qigong there is no need for special clothing. then do five minutes of Qigong. And no special facility needed. People don’t have the free time or the luxury of boredom to make it to the gym. you should practice a little bit each day. In the fitness industry and in the field of cardiac rehab the saying is: 20 minutes a day three times a week should be the minimum. And there is no equipment required. Who doesn’t deserve a treat? With Qigong. Then they resolve to start again next January.” They also know once spring arrives the people stop coming. It is so easy. Qigong is enjoyable.” That’s fine. This makes exercising something you have got to do or else. Life picks up in the spring. If you do you will be tempted to skip out on feeling good. Once that is accomplished then they stop coming. no yoga mats. Don’t think of Qigong as an “exercise. then you will feel guilty for not doing it. no sexy spandex thong and matching tights. Or they were just coming to look better in their swim suit. It feels good while you do it. (Rats!) As far as minimum or maximum goes? How about five minutes a day? Too long? How about 30 seconds a day? Too long? How about eight seconds a day? 156 . Even if you can only find five minutes of spare time. more alive. “I like to swim.) What I like to say when people ask me what method of Qigong I teach I like to say: I teach the guilt method! Once I show you how easy and simple it is to make yourself feel better. Sure there are plenty of selfdriven and self. more energetic. In the fitness industry they know the number one time of the year that sees the most increase in membership is January because of people’s “New Year’s Resolution. But.” Don’t use the dreaded “e” word at all. The fitness mind-set is: I have to do my exercises or else I will get fat or fall into poor health. You can do Qigong any where and every where so there are no convenient excuses for not doing it. “No time!” People tell me. Think of Qigong as a treat you give yourself for being good.
not so you feel good when you stop! Qigong is a form of exercising that feels good while you are doing it. let us just say that Qigong is what you do to feel good. Qigong is in the mind-body as well as the body-mind. Eight to ten hours a day is average for me. This is the point of visualization and affirmation. If even that is impossible. You can do Qigong while laying down. Remember: Qigong is a moving form of meditation. should you skip a day of practice? I guess if you want to spend a whole day feeling bad. What if someone is disabled and they can’t do the whole form? LAO SHI TEACHES IF YOU CANNOT PERFORM A PARTICULAR MOVEMENT THEN MODIFY IT. You can mentally perform Qigong flawlessly even when the body is flawed. Seems like a long time until you remember that you can do Qigong while sitting down.Eight seconds? That doesn’t seem very long at all until I remind my students: That’s how long a professional Rodeo Bull-ride is supposed to last! Eight seconds can be a very long time in deed. You could even do Qigong in a train or on a plane—even in a box or with a fox for that matter.. For the sake of simplicity. 8. I do Qigong while I do bodywork for my patients. It should not cramp your style or prevent you from relaxing. This is Nei Gong—internal training. then visual yourself performing the pose or movement perfectly. Even a quadriplegic can exchange Qi with the universe.. I do Qigong when I teach. You can do Qigong while soaking in the bath. Students then often ask me how long I practice each day? My true answer is about ten hours a day. Not like fitness exercises or aerobics. Qigong should not intrude on your day. sure—knock yourself out. So. 7. I do Qigong every day when I make it home at night to unwind and relax. Remember: relaxing does not mean collapsing. Relaxing means to make your muscles long and loose and return them to their proper resting length. It is the Supreme Ultimate form of relaxation. Can Qigong help me lose weight? 157 . Qigong is relaxing. If you cannot move physically you can still move mentally.
They usually just stare at me in disbelief. Two: get divorced. No more “Chubby-Hubby” ice cream. It can lead to Cancer.I ALWAYS TELL MY PATIENTS IF YOU ARE REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT THEN PLAN ON LOSING ONE POUND A YEAR FOR THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS. Smoking is BAD for you. I mean. But that’s no fun at all. it makes your chest hurt. That one always works. But one pound a year for twenty years is a lot easier. you endanger your family and friends with second hand 158 . What about smoking? IF IT IS NOT GOOD FOR THE BABY IT IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU! We have all by now heard about the health hazards of smoking. Method #1 is healthy and natural. ashes in your eyes. you cough. your car reeks as you drive down the street. I also know two other sure-fire methods for losing unwanted weight. That kind of stress with the insane amount of intense adrenalin and cortisol will surely cause you to lose weight. it makes you stink. Just one hundred wall squats a day for one hundred days—One Gong. chronic bronchitis. Qigong will help you lose weight. COPD (Chronic Pulmonary Obstruction Disease). it even says so on the package: Causes Cancer. you annoy other people. That will do it too. yes. Emphysema. in your furniture. Believe me! Or you could also do fifteen years of yoga with a proper macrobiotic diet. especially if you learn how to do wall-squatting. cigarette butts are everywhere. Be happy now and accept yourself the way you are right now. Otherwise. but I am serious. Lose one pound a year for twenty years and you will only lose those twenty pounds one time instead of what usually happens—the Yo-Yo effect—losing the same twenty pounds again and again. Smoking is a highly addictive habit that costs us all billions and billions of dollars each year to treat those who suffer from the illnesses associated with Smoking. get upper respiratory infections. 9. It will make you sick. Smoking is just stupid—it burns holes in your clothes. and many more illnesses. Method #2 is unhealthy but also natural. you get tobacco stuck between your teeth. One: go ahead and start being happy right now.
and still we just “keep on smoking’. menthols.” I know. it was my turn. it helped to keep us on our toes. Smoking (and caffeine) kept us hyped up and ready for action (we thought). that’s what we said to each other as we sipped from our coffee cups or half-frozen can of Coke. and still. and to keep my stress down. and we didn’t give a damn about the dangers. First my wife stopped. We would all hang out together on our smoke-breaks. We all agreed: “We smoked because we were stressed. Each year. certainly many of my classmates. nursing students. like psychiatric patients—between pots of coffee. it also helped me to fret and worry. all of us.smoke. we started smoking outside. And when smoking was finally banned in the Hospital. and smoked some more. huddled together like inmates around a big industrial-sized free-standing hospital ashtray. nurses aides. hundreds of wild fires are started by careless smokers throwing cigarettes from moving cars and trucks. Those were the days when nurses still smoked in the hospital—in the nursing conference room!—a thick pall of smoke hovering over the table at each shift change. every month of the year and in every kind of weather. We all had a good time on our smoke breaks. But then suddenly. I know it sounds ridiculous but even the respiratory therapists smoked! We were. In fact. battle weary healthcare veterans. It seemed then that everybody smoked—all my friends. I used to smoke. then my friends were stopping. it became just as fashionable to quit smoking. I never really hit my stride as a smoker until I entered nursing school. we were 13 and 159 . everywhere I looked someone was smoking. Boy how we smoked! Nurses. working in the trenches. strange as it sounds.” It was a very stressful job and we “needed to smoke”. fighting on the front line. professionals. we smoked and hacked and coughed. and inevitably. I started to smoke in earnest out of Self-defense. (and my divorce-related anger too)—smoking helped me concentrate. We smoked like gamblers. that good old smoke break. That was 12 years ago now… Remember your first cigarette? I do! My next-door neighbor stole a pack of KOOLS from his mom (who later died of lung cancer). like a club.
how nasty wet the end of that cigar looked to me after a while. like a cowboy. sick and dizzy. It’s still my mental-health break though it is no longer my “respiratory treatment. I “needed” my cigarette to calm me down and help me concentrate. and the next one. so nauseas. I didn’t even use “the patch” or “the gum. It wasn’t easy to quit. But I stuck it out.” Smoking makes you stink! And to be honest. “Why would any body want to do this?” It took real courage to do it again. sort of “out of it”. little Clint Eastwood-type German cigars. and with my morning coffee. just chewed on it a while. helps you come back alive. Soldiers need to smoke. most smokers look kind of “shell-shocked”. My anger would pop-out when I didn’t want it to. 160 . I would pop one into the corner of my mouth and let it hang there. keeps you on your toes. But what really did it for me was how gross my mouth would feel and taste and afterward. Terrible! It took real courage to smoke the next one. especially in the car. they don’t want to smoke (you do). Think about it: all those poor bodies. craving a cigarette. I suppose got a little nicotine from chewing on the thing. Stop smoking. I thought. “Why would any body want to do this?” I felt awful. so—we were going to smoke! Now be honest. If you need a new pass-time try Qigong. Try to Become a smoking cessation enthusiast. That’s one addition that is actually good for you. and a bit “unconscious”. Ever! Although sometimes I still need to take a smoke break. And I finally quit my tobacco addiction for good! I don’t even miss them now. and after dinner. When our GIs hit the beaches they brought rations of cigarettes and chocolate—fast energy. and we needed to smoke.we thought we were cool.” Do you want to know how I did it? I bought little cigars instead. and when I would crave a smoke in the car. I sure hope they don’t get sick in the mean time. because we were kool. I thought to myself. But I stuck with it. Does anybody actually enjoy their first Smoke? I think not! I felt so sick. I’d be irritable and edgy. but I never lit one. so I go outside for five minutes or so and “air-smoke” instead.
Craggy. make it a sort of meditation. don’t some mindlessly in the car. they already helped me. most probably you will feel the results first. But I can safely say you should be able to feel the results of practice the very first day in that you should feel more energized after your practice than when you started. slow down and take your time. Do see results you have to keep looking for them. how big of a hurry are you in to realize the completion of your project? As far as feeling and seeing result go. “The Duke” was quoted as saying something like: “If I had known these little things were gonna to kill me. Qigong exercise energizes the body systems immediately. I’d a quit a long time ago. Coffee and Cigarettes… Or at a restaurant or in a saloon. wraps us a little harder. the size of the spoon will determine how much dirt you can move in a single day. make each one last. Toward the end of his life. Toughened. stay focused on your cigarette. their skin always has a distinctive quality— Leathery. Don’t smoke in a hurry. If you are already thinking about giving it up: That’s Good! It means you are already thinking about taking better care of yourself. How soon should I expect to feel or see results from practicing Qigong? THAT ALL DEPENDS ON YOU. here! 10. John Wayne-like (who also died of lung cancer). Get the most pleasure you possibly can out of it. how much time do you spend digging each day? And.) Nicotine causes vasoconstriction—it squeezes us. Make them the 5 most important moments of your day. One way to notice is the breath.If you must smoke.” Hear. make the most out of smoking. How big is your “spoon?” Since you can dig a swimming pool with a spoon. try to cut back to just 5 cigarettes a day. I’m sure we have all seen a few long-timers smoking at the coffee shop. “the Marlboro Man” (rugged individualist with fibromyalgia) cigarettes make us tough. The relaxation techniques in this book can help (I know. If you smoke: Take a Break! You probably need it. Like that infamous American Icon. Also. actually enjoy yourself. Cowboy-like. If you 161 . Arizona-like: Dry and Parched. Rugged.
This seems like such a little thing but really this is the goal of Zen Qigong—to see through the illusions of ego. or peace of mind. This too you may not immediately recognize as positive. These can happen suddenly all in a flash. A simple internet search will give you many sites for learning about acupuncture meridians. In Zen this is known as Satori—the lightening flash. Visualization and affirmation contribute greatly to Qigong success. or soreness the next day due to the challenge and strain on your tight muscles and tendons. For this it is helpful to do a little research. The next day you may feel sore or tired if your meridians have opened at all. The emotional benefits may not immediately feel beneficial to your ego. it may take you several years before meditation begins to occur. let alone itself. there is your sign. But they are. These have also been called: “Aha” reactions. After twenty minutes. even more so if you have relaxed at all. These kinds of changes you may not recognize as being due to your practice. or maintaining your calm in a situation where you would ordinarily lose your temper. Yang. But you can just approach it as a physical exercise as well. However. If you are looking for something more in depth. stress reduction. Aha! I am aware of myself being aware. Such as crying for no reason over a TV commercial. It is easier to see and feel the physical benefits. But in asking this question you probably mean positive results. it is difficult to find a more comprehensive resource than the book: The Root of Chinese Qigong by Dr. But this is meditation. Jwing-Ming. In all honesty.find yourself breathing bigger and more freely after five minutes practice. 162 . I admit. the ego so hates to forget anything. this will make it more difficult to feel and see results outside of a few Qi-reactions such as tiredness an hour or two after practice. Often meditation is embarrassing for the ego. The point is to visualize your energy channels opening. Even if you only manage to open your meridians an additional 2 or 3% you should realize an increase in your intuitive powers or an increase in your dream activity. Intense momentary losses of ego awareness. This may require several weeks of concerted effort to realize something more positive like improved flexibility.
you will only notice afterwards… In the meantime try to concentrate on Mindfulness instead. This is very difficult as well but when you get it it feels very rewarding. You want me to feel my feet touch the eart. Just be aware of everything around you and everything within you and on each of the postures and movements all at the same time. Just keep practicing everyday. He said. That is good. You will get it… So if you can’t meditate. and perform each movement correctly without using my muscles? Yes that’s right. think Blue Sky. keep the feeling of sitting but not sitting with my head as if suspended from above. unlock my knees. He said with a happy grin on his face. On my fifth retreat with Frank I got very frustrated and snapped back at him for what he was telling me. that’s OK. But remember.There is a Zen Mondo about Satori that goes like this: Master and student are sitting in Zazen. This is where the training sutras come in. maintain my spinal alignment. Master. Yes that’s right. Eventually it will happen. Just don’t try so hard. breath from my lower dan tien. Now you got it. That’s why we keep practicing. Suddenly the student enters Satori and exclaims: “Master. No-Mind is difficult because you can’t do it it just happens! Try instead to think Blue Sky. This is “thought of one thought” and it takes great concentration. Another method is Mindfulness training. What if I can’t meditate? IF YOU CAN’T MEDITATE DON’T FEEL BAD. Try not to follow your mind. Even masters fail to meditate and achieve No-Mind. point my tailbone towards the ground. raise Bai Hui and tuck in my chin. withdraw vision inward. or as I tell my students: Close your eyes and see the night sky without stars. But I can’t do that Frank! I said exasperatedly. it is happening!” The Master replies calmly: “Yes. my head touch the sky. try instead to direct your mind 163 . Let me get this straight. open Mingmen (an acupuncture point on the governor vessel located around the third lumbar). remember what movement I am doing now and where I’m moving to next. Try not to make such a big deal out of it!” 11.
according to Frank draws heavily on Confucian Qigong and White Crane Qigong. Dr. It offers tremendous health benefits. Train your mind not to run away from you and focus it instead on you actions. The emotional mind is unruly. White Crane-Qigong is the foundation of Karate. So. 12. The training secret of White Crane-style Kung fu is imitating the wingmovements the crane by training the torso. Usually we are using our emotional mind that is why it is so difficult to control it. White cranes—like other migratory birds—mate for life. You may not remember: Well done. Wax off. and hands to move like “wings” in order to generate maximum martial power. It flit about from feeling to feeling and thought to thought. From there it spread across Southern China. Grasshopper! But you have probably familiar with: Wax on. This Confucian Qigong is what has lead Westerners to the stereotype of the “Inscrutable Chinese Master”—one whose feelings and emotions cannot be scrutinized. Concentration is just one step away. Pang’s name: He-Ming means Crying or Screaming Crane. The White crane component is no big surprise when you realize that Dr. In Confucian Qigong. and ultimately to the West through American Pop-culture Icons as Bruce Lee and the Karate Kid. The White Crane is revered in China for its longevity and familial piety. Many of the shoulder and arm movements of Zhening Qigong imitate the movements of the White Crane’s wings. Pang’s Qigong. Put your beginner’s mind there instead. shoulder. Yi is your wisdom-mind. White Cranes fight fiercely to protect their nests. White crane style is said to have originated at the famous Shaolin Temple where Bodhidarma first trained his monks. eventually to Okinawa. They are unafraid of much larger opponents and can strike with lightening speed. arm. This is called: Using your Yi to lead your Qi.and concentrate on what you are doing. Japan. How does one become Qigong Teacher and when do you know you are ready to teach? 164 . don’t worry so much about meditation. training yourself to center and control the emotions at all times is the pinnacle of practice. to Korea.
But actually from my standpoint now.THIS REALLY DEPENDS ON A PERSON’S INDIVIDUAL TALENTS. The Qigong teacher must be relaxed! Apart from that. So. But by the time we went on to state competition. I played the main character—Michael. the only real qualification is that the teacher must know more than the student. I have no qualms about public-speaking. In the beginning. This would definitely be a draw back for anyone considering teaching Qigong. So any second year student can freely teach first year students. that’s your ego then. much of the excitement had already gone. I am no longer uncomfortable in front of a group. I was very nervous opening night—in fact I hardly slept the night before worrying about my performance. I asked one of the veteran actors back stage: Why do I feel so let down because there aren’t as many people? She said with her proper Irish accent: Well now. losing a job. The next performance. But. I once was in a production of the Tony Award winning Irish play: Dancing at Lunasa. Our production went on to win a regional competition. new teachers often imitate their own teacher. And this is not to say that I no longer get nervous. be it ten people or a thousand people. I no longer suffer from stage fright. This was not always the case. because I have been performing in front of audiences as a musician since I was about 16 and because I have experience on stage as an actor and other public speaking opportunities as a nurse for the past fifteen years or so. the bigger the group the more satisfying it is to me personally. I can do a perfect Chinese-American accent from all the exposure I have had with Frank’s style of teaching and I often yuck-it-up with my fellow students at retreat by 165 . as I peeked through the curtains to gage the size of the audience I felt terribly disappointed to realize there were so many fewer people in attendance compared with opening night. But after opening night I was incredibly energized and once again could hardly sleep. public speaking for many people ranks right up there with losing a spouse. or requiring a surgery! Many people are terrified to speak in public. they know more and have more experience with their own teacher. For example. in the psychological index of major life stressors. That was thrilling.
They learned the most about Qigong from their students and from not being afraid to try. As soon as you returned home. Then you would be a novice Qigong teacher. If they can’t remember the form then they haven’t learned it yet—keep teaching what you know. your own teaching style will develop and you will no longer feel the need to imitate your teacher. After enough experiences like that you would gain more confidence. Any Qigong teacher will tell you. until what they were showing you in return looked more like what you had shared with them. Just Share what you personally are practicing. So really. you would reach inside yourself and try to say it or show it or communicate it differently until they understood. Then you would attempt to correct their mistakes.” Sometimes Frank’s voice will come out of me during my own classes. If someone has any reservations about attempting to become a teacher then I tell them: Then try not to teach. Next you would attempt to show them by demonstrating what you had learned. especially the first time someone comes to class and claims that they have already learned Tai Chi. You would have to rephrase things in your own voice. By never claiming to know it all and by humbly recognizing someone else’s greater skill and talent. So. if in that moment you attempt to show them what you learned. the moment someone asked you what you learned. In that moment you become a teacher. Eventually with enough experience. when you have something to teach and self-confidence in the way you know how to teach it. If they still did not understand.impersonating Frank’s voice and repeating his many “Frank-isms. that is when you are ready. If they can remember their form ask them to teach you! This is how we grow and learn to be good teachers. This is only natural because I can so clearly hear his voice in my head as I repeat so many things he has said over and over again. say you were also with me at the 2001 National Qigong Conference and also took the workshop with Shifu Jiang Jianye. That way you will share what you know from your own experience. Don’t Panic! Politely ask them to demonstrate their form for the class. Even then you will get nervous. 166 .
was that oncology nurses having worked so intimately with cancer and 167 . But for some reason that researchers have yet to discover. faith helps in every situation. The assumption. This restoring of balance. In this study the researchers asked the nurses that if they could choose the way they would prefer to die what would that be. I assume. Cancer is not trying to kill you. that Death finds you healed. Dwelling on the negative rods any of us of vital energy. My hope for everyone that at the time Death finds you for whatever reason. Qigong helps restore the proper balance. Relaxing allow that energy to reach to every part of the body through the unrestricted flow of blood. Cancer just wants to grow. Even if Qigong helps because of the placebo effect—it still helps! One way in which Qigong helps those with cancer to heal is it puts the mind in alignment with the positive possibilities instead of the negative. So even if Qigong cannot eliminate cancer. whole. I believe is the primary way in which Qigong helps those suffering from cancer. body. It must defend its beliefs or else face change. This is the basic principal of growth—to grow.13. Unfortunately in our culture cancer is seen as an enemy. Qigong restores vital energy. it permits the person with cancer to achieve a better balance of mind. So for the most skeptical readers let me just say this—whether you believe in the existence of Qi or in the reality of meridians or not—relaxing helps in every situation. bringing nourishment and vitality to all the cells and helping all the cells to eliminate waste. It must be kept in mind that cancer represents growth. cancer is growth that is out of balance. and spirit. and holy. How can Qigong help someone with cancer? THERE ARE ALWAYS THOSE THAT ARE SKEPTICAL AND THERE ALWAYS WILL BE. People’s egos determine that they are going to fight cancer and win—LIVESTRONG! But those who die of cancer have not lived weak! There was recently an interesting study performed among a large group of oncology nurses. That is simply the nature of a defended ego. hope helps in every situation.
Qigong offers a sense of vitality that is so often missing in the adversarial alliopathic approach to cancer where if you die from cancer you have somehow failed to defeat nature. Even surgery does not kill cancer. Nature cures cancer. they would logically choose some other way of ending their life. Cells that have improperly formed or else mutated. But that I believe is mistaken. Right now every one of us has cancerous cells in our body. These oncology nurses—knowing everybody has to die sometime—saw cancer as a more beautiful means of death. Qigong can help because it allows for a tremendous in-pouring of Love and Compassion. Qigong supports the natural Tai Chi balance that is nature’s intention for us all. Others believe that some Qigong’s like Zhening Qigong cure’s cancer. Two: because of advances in detection you get advanced warning. Why? Their reasons were several by for me the most compelling are these. If you do not have cancer now it is because your immunological system. that cancer brings families together and tremendous healings occur within an entire family because a loved one contracts cancer.witnessing the ravages that cancer AND CANCER TREATMENTS have on the body. agent orange. But no! The majority of oncology nurses studied said if given a choice they would prefer to die from cancer. your macrophages and antibodies. Most often it is what is un-natural—cigarette smoking. not so in such deaths as heart attack or embolisms of catastrophic accidents. One: because with all the inroads to pain management through medications they felt that it was a fairly painless way to die. Until that is Death comes to take us. 168 . But then. alcoholism. Any kind of surgery you care to mention forces the body to heal itself. Cells that are seeking for a chance to grow. One they would prefer for themselves or their loved ones. And three: and most importantly to them. that is natural too. your white blood cells and your lymphatic system are cleansing and eliminating those cancer cells before they have a chance to colonize and grow. Qigong helps because it eliminates stress and fear by teaching the patient how to center and keep the big picture in focus. asbestos. you have time to say good-bye. Cancer is natural.
“work-aholism. I thought if I emitted Qi to it it might be alright. It was too taxing on their home environment and she craved more privacy. He had already had several surgeries to remove tumors. He would return to his doctors. But finally his wife asked that they stop coming. Last year one of my students died of cancer of the brain—for over a year he had been coming to class. Qigong restores balance. His doctors would be amazed that his tumors had shrunk. a bird happened to fly into my office window and injured itself. One day my students asked me: Why don’t you go Dave? So I told them this story. and Compassion. Self-loving. Mike was doing fine. My students would ask me: How is Mike? Have you heard from Mike? How is Mike doing? Have you seen him? But my intuition told me how Mike was doing. So 169 . We would use the group energy La Qi method of Dr. but each time they would return more aggressively. But each time. Pang’s to heal him just as I had learned it from Luke and Frank. I knew that Mike was ready to die and he did not need me. of Patience. Or as a Christian might say. Then after many months Mike stopped coming to class. Once during a bodywork session. They were unable to explain why. tired but more upbeat. He was finally at peace with his situation and he was too weak to leave home anymore. Self-caring. It was because in the Qi-circle we would bathe him with unconditional love! Mike would go home after each class. To that I say Amen. He had heard that Qigong could help him. One of Self-nurturing. Qigong teaches how to get out of the way egoically and allow nature to work it’s miracles for us. Qigong trains us to trust and ultimately helps us learn how to let go and let GOD. eventually they would re-grow. Positivism. more positive. Its practice stimulates and supports a healthy life style. Hao La! Let me share one more thing about this issue of cancer.” “rage-aholism”—these are the souses of imbalance that jeopardize the system and put us all at risk. Several of the students took to going to his home to see him and share Qi with Mike. but my Qigong class knew. or even a recovering alcoholic.
Weeks later I got a thank you note from his widow which I read to the class. I am sure it was beautiful. And why Christians are 170 . And we didn’t really have a clue about what we were doing—only the intention of master Chan’s to somehow help those people in need of healing. So. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Mike never called for me. This is precisely why Mike was able to benefit so much from attending class and actually shrink his tumors.” My family and I are grateful for all the love you showed him in his last days. and Dr. He was ready. Is Qigong in a group more beneficial than doing Qigong all by your self? THIS QUESTION GETS RIGHT TO THE HEART OF LAO SHI’S CHI-FIELD THEORY. As a member of the group your personal energy is amplified. Thank you all for everything you did for Mike. Mingtong Gu. He did not need me. emphatically: Yes! Group practice greatly enhances the available Qi. He died with his wife holding his hand and his children by his side. It was his time. Richard Moss are specialists in group energetics and lead healing retreats that maximize the group energy potential.through the window I emitted Qi to the poor little house sparrow as it lay twitching there in pain and the moment I did that the sparrow died. When I first encountered Luke Chan at the AHP Conference. He did great on his own. unless he is ready to go. it was precisely because of being in such a large group that the healing energy was so strong. They come for the group energy. This is also what at a NQA conference you see the same faces again and again each year because of the power of being involved as a group. I will not go to see Mike unless he asks for me. this is why so many students continue to come to class even though they have already learned everything I have to teach. Some teachers like Luke and Frank. 14. The answer is yes. You certainly helped him “center.
This is also why Luke and Frank ask their students to Practice at 9 PM each full moon to share in the combined group energy. Even a large shared non-qigong experience like a going to a sports arena or lining the road side for a parade or attending a rock concert has such a powerful effect on the individuals who are drawn to such events—the power of group energy directed towards a single purpose is exciting. Laoshi even teaches that if you are practicing alone. Arrange to meet at the same place at the same time for weekly of monthly gatherings to support one another’s practice. Group energy is healing me! Hao La! That will help too. 15. Put some houseplants in there so they can also benefit and help you hold the healing Qi in the room. If you can not find a group in your area—like Master Guo Lin—create one. If the purpose is the health of your muscles and joints then by all means combine Qigong exercises with your fitness workout. stimulating. If I do Qigong can I continue my fitness routine or will it undo my workout? IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE PURPOSE BEHIND YOUR WORKOUT. precisely because of the power that such group energy affords to each individual. I can’t this enough. Keep affirming the power of the group. The combined concentration of energy is uplifting. call on the Qi-field of all the Zhening Qigong Practitioners everywhere—some 10 million people or more world wide—and invite their loving compassion and healing Qi to come to you wherever you are. and fun. This is why in China and in fact all over the world Qigong enthusiasts gather together in local parks like Purple Bamboo Park or People’s Park in San Francisco to practice together. There is power in a group. Overtime you will find that your Qi-effort accumulates in that room.commanded to join a church or prayer group. If you do not have such a group to participate with then at least do this: designate one room of your home for Qigong practice and faithfully practice each day. But if I the goal of your work out is to pump up your 171 .
and swim suit models are not really representative of the norm. or if somehow don’t measure up to the height/weight ratios on insurance actuary charts. and swim suit ads. But I guess if you can make millions of dollars for a starring in a single picture I guess it is worth the kind of self-torment they endure to attempt to realize an iconic figure. Qigong exercises make the muscles healthy. But eventually time “takes it’s toll” and they step aside for the young bloods who are hungry enough and young enough to get the part. Because of the fitness industry. swimming and gymnastics shaking and stretching their muscles before each event. A muscle that begins a contraction phase from a state of relaxation has a far greater action-potential than a muscle that is rigid and hard. then they are not healthy and can no longer hope to be healthy. sexy.“show muscles” and “chisel your abs” then Qigong is probably not a good choice. or look as if you have ever had children. In a word. Consider the current Governor of California—Arnold Swartzenegger for example. or attractive! Not only is this a load of Bull but this is certainly nothing new. These are idealizations and monuments to youth. I suspect we will no longer be seeing him disrobed and displayed as he was in his youth and early middle age—unless of course he is caught unawares and 172 . and soft. most of us are chasing after an idealized body image—one that over emphasizes youthfulness and hardened bodies. I once saw a wonderful magazine add somewhere showing a zaftig Barbi reclined on a fainting couch looking beautiful and plump. the American public—especially women—has been flimflammed into believing if they look your age. Very few Greek men past the age of eighteen have ever looked like Greek Statues. The caption read: There are 3 billion women in the world and only twelve of them look like supermodels. loose. As I said before those hardened bodies are not necessarily healthy but then movie stars. Perhaps you have watched the Olympics and seen the athletes in track and field events. Movie stars with their personal trainers have to look like the way they do in order to get work for movie stars are also idealizations. This is because of the athletic science being employed by the athletes and their trainers for maximum performance potential. Just think of the famous Chippendale Dancers and you will see what I mean. health club commercials. professional strippers.
the cosmetics industry moguls and their employees. As far as I can tell the only people truly benefiting from this “tyranny of slenderness” are the fitness industry moguls. their employees. But I do understand it. Or maybe you have seen the tabloid covers showing candid shots of female movie stars with their cellulite clearly visible in all its glory. Qigong is sometimes referred to as “temple exercises” because the original Kung fu Masters were also monks. Personally I find it shameful the way the American public snatches up these rags in order to gloat over how the “mighty have fallen. Millions of Chinese starved and the country was plunged into depression.exploited by some unscrupulous paparazzi—and then displayed for purposes of public humiliation on the cover of some supermarket tabloid. The fact about modern Qigong is this: Qigong Masters were ordered by the CCP to reveal their secrets to the people for the common good of modern communist china. So. personally I would not be overly concerned with undoing your work out. That even they cannot live up to the impossible expectation placed upon all of us to look like idealizations instead of like real ordinary middle aged human beings.” There seems to be something tragically demeaning for all involved in exploited the stars this way. the Chinese invented weight training. quite handy.” The original tools for weight training were bells that had had their clappers removed and thus they were “dumb” bells. It strokes our egos to see for ourselves that movie stars are “flawed” too. and the proliferation of cosmetic surgery centers. In order to meet the countries healthcare care crisis. From Chinese weight training we get our word “Dumb-bell. I would be much more concerned about the problem of being an honest to goodness and contentedly happy well-adjusted human being… 16. but extravagantly expensive. Bells were readily available. Pang were faced with the 173 . All this all occurred on the tail of the Cultural Revolution when after a period of great hardship due to failed agricultural policies. Qigong masters like Dr. Should Qigong make you sore like weight training? QIGONG IS WEIGHT TRAINING! In fact.
During the space race. Isometric training. But this is mostly to accommodate such large numbers of people. jugs of water or bricks. New Qigong requires not equipment.problem of creating a comprehensive and inexpensive approach to fitness to meet the country’s needs. going deeper or holding positions longer. no progressive resistant weight machines. no weights for weight training. and protect the joints. Is it better to do Qigong inside or outside? IN CHINA MOST LARGE QIGONG GROUPS PRACTICE OUTSIDE IN ALL KINDS OF WEATHER. restore balance. Instead of being “low impact. But don’t think for a minute that it is only for the frail and elderly. astronauts were trained in something called isometric exercises. Or make shift weights are made from concrete blocks. Usually you will see them gathered among trees to exchange Qi with the trees and the environment but mostly to take advantage of the shade. 17. Because of all this it is very common to be sore as if training with weights yet weights are necessary.” most Qigong exercises are “no impact. Your arms are the weights. maybe you are old enough to remember. This is the purpose of holding the arms out to the sides or above the head—to weight train the arms. 174 . When Shakyamuni attained enlightenment under his Bodhi. just your own body. because of the tight quarters. This is the purpose of the deep poses—to weight train the legs. This is Qigong.” but new and improved Chinese secrets. should you experience that familiar weight training type of soreness. just your own body weight. Overtime however. New Qigong is above practical and expedient.” This makes Qigong especially appropriate to the frail and elderly for rebuilding strength. your arms. just the weight of your own body. he was their to rest in the shade and lean against the tree. the soreness goes away and it is only if you increase your work load by say. your legs. your torso. Hold any of the deep poses for 15 minutes and see for yourself. Not the same old “ancient Chinese secrets. No Bally’s Health Club.
Another concern for Americans is the idea of looking strange or out of the ordinary to their neighbors. Then stand back five or ten 175 . Even though you may feel balanced and even a mirror will almost always prove otherwise. But there is a special way of looking. My neighbors are quite used to seeing Tai Chi sparring. position your subject in front of a muted colored wall—maybe three feet or more away from the wall. You must look with soft eyes and you must look at the three dimensional space around the person. That is similar to seeing the Qi field. At the Duneland Health & Wellness Institute classes are held in the aerobics hall which is lined with mirrors. Also practicing indoors has the added advantage of allowing the Qi to build up in your practice room and that is also beneficial. This soft eyes technique of looking uses the full scope of the visual field. it takes that kind of looking. 18.So Qigong outside is always best weather permitting. How do you learn to see the Qi? I DON’T INTEND TO BE SARCASTIC BUT THE ANSWER IS: BY LOOKING. you need to look more like a search-light. It’s not an issue at my house. Since complete balance is the goal then indoor practice. and club juggling by now. especially in the beginning has many advantages. staff practice. I highly recommend practicing in front of a large mirror so you can visually check your physical balance in the poses. but this may be a concern for you. or object you are looking at. but then suddenly you either sink into the field or the field seems to leap out at you and you see the dolphin or the wolf or whatever the hidden image is. To increase your chances. The quality of looking needed is similar to gazing at those 3-D computer generated images. in as wide a field as possible. If it is too hot or too cold for comfort then inside is best. plum post walking. animal. I teach probably 95% of my classes indoors. Instead of focusing like a laser beam like you do when you are reading or threading a needle for example. At first you see a flat image of random multicolored pattering. The Qi field you are looking for is like a bubble of blue or silver sky. plant.
These people are rare and their ability is always questionable. It is but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Frankly. If you have ever viewed an old black and white television that produces unfocused ghost images of the people on screen. Groups of trees produce a combined Qi field that seems to leap up above the canopy and then dissipate. Pine trees have a distinctive shape that against the background of the blue sky seems to create a much more uniform and predictably shaped aura. once upon a time I was also very excited to learn how to blow bubbles with my bubblegum. But I understand the fascination with trying to see auras. And if you are doing it while you are in conversation with them it will make you look like a “space case” and the person will decide you are not paying any attention to them. hey. I was once very excited to develop this ability. What most of my students report seeing is a silvery color similar to the heat shimmers you see raising from hot roadways in the summertime? This seems logical to me because of the radiant body-heat each human produces. I just see silvery-blue. But perhaps even easier is to gaze at pine trees. In my experience they tend to be accomplished “New Agers” and are usually quite ungrounded.feet and begin to gaze around them with soft eyes. Often when my students first see it they say—I thought that was just a trick of my eyes. where there brains interprate the energy they see as different frequencies or colors. They are unaware that the “colors” they are seeing are inside their head behind their eyes and not necessarily hanging in space around the person they are viewing. This is because the Qi field pulsates. staring at someone in order to see their Qi is kind of rude. usually around eight to twelve times a minute. look at may bubble everyone. That is very similar. But then it will reappear again. Now I rarely ever 176 . But hey. it was—Hey. An easier way to begin to see Qi fields is to observe trees. Many students ask me: I thought the aura was supposed to be full of colors. Those who claim to see a variety of colors are either bragging or else have an ability called clairvoyance. You will begin to see a ghostly image or field form around their head and shoulders—then just as you think you are seeing it it will disappear. Whenever I managed to blow a very big bubble.
20. or as Tuina Doctors do in China is another matter. Really. They are just so obviously there.blow bubbles with my gum. Hide it under a bushel? 19. Doing it for a living as I do. I can’t help it. In Qigong tradition a teacher’s qualifications are measured by who their teacher is and who their teacher’s teacher was. When you emit Qi to others you are giving them your personal Qi. You can always go to www. takes a different technique. A true Qigong master will brag about their Grandmaster.org or some other umbrella organization of Qigong practitioners. This is how people know that you love them—because you send them your loving Qi. But often in Qigong class. but will humbly take very little credit for their own accomplishments. let it shine. But to do this for 80 people a week in multiple intense treatments or for 105 people in a single day as I have. And I just as rarely try to see auras. you can ask them to demonstrate for you or you can ask them about any certifications they have or any organizations they belong to like the National Qigong Association. Let it shine. How do you emit Qi to others? IF YOU HAVE EVER ROCKED A BABY OR HELD SOMEONE’S HAND OR VISITED SOMEONE IN THE HOSPITAL YOU HAVE EMITTED QI. This little light of mine. 177 . let it shine. This is what Luke meant by Fa Qi—channeling universal Qi in order to avoid depleting my personal Qi—is something else. When in doubt. How can I find a qualified Qigong Teacher? INTERNET.nqa. Qigong class is a place to realize what that old Sunday school song seemed to promote. I’m going to let it shine. This is how the lineage system works. Emitting Qi is very natural and extremely easy.
Indiana at the southernmost tip of Lake Michigan. is a nurse specialist in alternative pain management and a Certified Chi-Lel™ Medical Qigong Instructor. as well as a father. singersongwriter. CNMT. RN. and grandfather of 9! He lives and practices Qigong in Miller Beach. David is also a jazz musician. poet.(Photo: Josh Shaffner) The author at home on small plum posts David Cowan. HN-BC. 178 . and juggler. step-father. NCTMB. He is also a National Board Certified Holistic Nurse. Klose Certified Lymphedema Therapist. St. artist. and is Nationally Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. CLT. In addition to being a Nurse-Healer. John Certified Neuromuscular Therapist.