Thursday, June 7, 2012

What is Chi?

Qi or Chi (pronounced Chee) is considered to be the force of life itself. We can think of this in western terms as energy. When we speak of energy related to the body in the western world we are typically speaking about the workings of metabolism, the breakdown of food and drink into carbohydrates, proteins and fats and the energy these substances will give us. We may also think of things like energy drinks and coffee and tea, we may even have a little bit of understanding of herbal teas and energy boosting teas like Ginseng tea. In eastern thinking though Chi is the raw essence of life itself. If you think of a plant that is green, lush and vibrant this plant would be considered healthy. It could also be said that it has strong Chi. A plant that is wilted and dying,even though you are watering and caring for it, has little Chi. The essence of life is leaving this wilting plant. Is it possible to gather more of this life force called Chi to our bodies, to ourselves? While we are embodied and functioning in the world is it possible to have more of this vital life force? It is possible and the practice of gathering this Chi is called Qigong.(Chi Kung) Qigong means the skilled practice of gathering Chi (universal life force or energy). What is the difference in the experience of a plant with abundant Chi versus the plant that is wilting and dying? I do not actually know but the plant with the healthy Chi, the abundant Chi, to me looks a lot happier. When I was about eight years old my Chi was strong. Even at eleven years old my Chi was strong. Around twelve years old my Chi, my vital energy was bleeding out. I was stressed, scared, confused, wrestling with negative emotions and outlooks on life. By the time I was fifteen I had developed a severe spinal disease, the doctors said it was so bad that I would be crippled by the time I was thirty. After developing scoliosis, a degenerative spinal disease and being told by my doctors that my spine looked like I was eighty five years old I decided I needed to somehow change my life and heal myself, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally too. I tried some different western approaches and found some relief but not enough to stop there. I began practicing Qigong and Martial Arts. I began working with a Doctor of Oriental Medicine as well as a Martial Art Master. I began receiving Medical Qigong healing treatments and I began learning how to use Chi to protect my body in my Martial Arts practice. I spent the first few years out of high school training in Martial Art and Qigong many hours a day. I also spent many hours practicing in the middle of the night. After a few years of this kind of training my hands began to feel super charged. I learned to break boards and bricks without injury. (most of the time) I also began to use Chi to facilitate healing for others. I began to learn how Chi flows through the body and how good it feels when there is a good Chi flow. I also learned how depressed and frustrated and lethargic I would feel when the Chi flow would slow way down. In Chinese Medicine/ Medical Qigong Theory when the Chi flow is blocked dis-ease begins. This dis-ease may begin as a feeling of stress or anxiety or depression, or anger even. In times it may cause a feeling of lethargy or apathy. Overtime though physical pain and disease will often result. If we can catch this cycle soon enough we can prevent disease and even heal disease in some cases after it has begun. Such was the case with me. My spine was full of arthritis and the doctors said I would mostly crippled by the time I was thirty. I healed myself completely! And that was just the beginning! It is not just about dis-ease on a physical level though. I k ow some of you do ot have health issues but are drawn to Qigong for the uplift it gives you in terms of mood and attitude. So I am also talking about mood and attitude! Our moods can really bring us down, so can our attitudes, I know mine did, sometimes still does but I have learned that physical exercise, breathing and so forth can really change your whole experience of life and living. Increasing Chi flow, to me is a great thing to master. To me you cannot be rich unless you have abundant Chi, abundant energy. I see so called wealthy people who made a lot of money and they are now retired. They spend a lot of their money on hospital visits and so forth and their vitality is going. This life to me is worthless,in such cases who cares how much money or prestige or anything else you have. Life is about feeling good, I think. I like the way I feel after practicing Qigong. Yes I did heal my spine through Qigong practices and yes I have used it as a meditation. I have extended healing Chi to others and facilitated some pretty powerful healing experiences for people. All of it is great! best part of all is I really like how it makes me feel!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Healing Yourself With:Qigong and Medical Qigong

Healing Yourself With: Qigong and Medical Qigong

You are the center of your personal universe. You are. Your body-mind is. Whatever your state of mind- body is today, so will it be tomorrow. Tomorrow is an extension of today. It is only an extension of today's attitude, today's mood, today's state of energy, today's particular outlook. If today is a day of fear, then tomorrow is fearful. If today is a depressing day, then tomorrow will be depressing too. If today your energy is low then tomorrow it will be even less, unless you do something about it today.
If you want to experience joy, happiness, peace, inner freedom then you must
master your mind- body- emotions. To me, this is what the practice of Qigong is. Traditionally, Qigong means the skilled practice of gathering universal life force or what is called Chi. Chi is energy. Energy is everywhere. Physicists say that energy cannot be created or destroyed but it can be transformed from one form to another. The chemist does this in the laboratory turns liquid and chemicals into plastic. The Qigong master's laboratory is her life and at the center of her life is her mind-body. In her laboratory she turns pain into pleasure she turns hardness and anger into liquid love, forgiveness.
 To me, Qigong is the conscious practice of exercising mind in order to organize the energy in you, around you. On the most subtle levels we are taking about the Chi that runs in, around and through your body. On the more physical level it is about using your mind to master your breath and body so as to purge negative emotions, stress, anxiety, fear, etc. and calm the mind-body, creating greater clarity.
Forget about a future freedom. Forget about hope. I am not saying do not ever hope I am just saying that hope alone does not get you very far, it keeps you wanting rather than having. In order to have freedom ever, you have to create it today. In order to have peace or compassion, or loving-kindness you have to actually create it today. This is a practice. The great philosopher Aristotle once said, "You are what you repeatedly do...therefore excellence is not an act but a habit."
Every day we are practicing something and we are either, practicing consciously and organizing our life consciously, or we are at the whims of other people and other influences. In other words we are shaken every time the wind blows. We cannot control everything around us, it is a common mistake to try, but we can control, with practice, our attitude towards it, our reactions to it and in doing so we come to realize that we do have the power to influence it. That is right, influence it. No, we cannot control it through force but by changing ourselves we begin to influence others and therefore the situations around us.
If through your practices you become more centered and more clear, then you bring that clarity to all of your relationships and all of your business meetings and love affairs and to each of your children. In fact there is no situation that you do not influence. This is why the planet at large is in such a pickle because most people are trying to change everybody else rather than actively changing their own self.
If you want healing, if you want greater love, or peace, or purpose then you have to create it within. If you want greater wealth it must be created within. Life is a mirror that is what it is. If what you are seeing in the mirror makes you happy then keep doing whatever you are doing. If you are not happy with what you are seeing in the mirror then observe your mind, observe your thoughts, the words you speak, the feelings you regularly feel. If they are on the "negative" side of things and you want health, wealth and happiness then you have to change them.
So many people think that they are at the whims of their thoughts, bodies, their lives, their relationships, their emotions. They do not live as if they are the master of their own life and yet this is an illusion. You do have the power to master yourself, your mind, your body. As you master yourself you begin to influence the world around you. Just like a bad mood is contagious, so is a good mood. As masters we cannot afford to sit around and wait for the others to be in a good mood, we have to create it ourselves. First we create it for our self and then we share it with others. This is why it is said that this path is the most selfish and simultaneously selfless path.
Once you have a clue into how it is that you organize the energy around you. How your thoughts, words, breath, intentions influence your energy system, your hormone flow, your cells, tissues, brain and other organs, once you get this you know how to bring healing to others. The same practices you do for you, can be done for others who desire your assistance. By moving energy around them, through the use of intention, prayer, sound, speech, etc. you begin to influence the cellular energy of their entire being.
The better a practitioner you are for yourself, the greater you will be at facilitating healing for others. Many people call themselves doctors or healers but do not care for themselves, their minds, their bodies, their energy systems. This is called the blind trying to lead the blind. Talking about spirit or spirituality or healing or love is empty, that is to say there is nothing of value there unless the speaker or healer is feeling spirit or feeling love.
So if ever you desire to bring healing to another do not try so much to heal them. Instead be loving, be kind, hold the intention for healing energy to move through you and then feel the healing energy yourself, become a conduit for it. This is the true meaning of "what you give so shall you receive" for you receive it in the moment you give it. And what you give today, what you create today, you will also receive tomorrow for tomorrow is an extension of right now.
To me a true" healer" brings healing to others by embodying a frequency, be it love, or compassion, or peace, or forgiveness, or light. You feel it, you become intimate with it, all the while you are holding someone's head or you are meditating for them and praying for them so to speak while they are 3000 miles away suffering with an illness. Or you are pointing your hands toward them and holding the intention that the Chi or love or peace, that the energy flows through you to them. It has to flow through you to them! If it does not come through you and it does not come through them, from whom is it going to come?

To me, Qigong is the core practice. Be it for you, or for other people. Medical Qigong masters may have a wide body of knowledge about healing, about the mind, the body, energy pathways, herbs, etc. but the greatest power is in the unspoken Chi! From a Chinese Medicine standpoint all dis-ease in the mind-body comes from a lack of Chi flow in, around and through the mind-body. It is also understood that states of health and vitality are directly associated with states of both consciousness and energy. It is understood that the two are intertwined and that they cannot be separated. This is why healing cannot be merely intellectual for the intellect cannot ever move, the Chi, enough to bring healing. Healing must involve a change in both consciousness (higher mind) and energy (Chi).

A Medical Qigong Master can use what can be called higher mind to gather and transmit large currents of energy. This energy has most recently been measured scientifically and it has been shown that Medical Qigong masters transmit a current of energy that is 100 times greater than the current of electricity of an average person and 1000 times the current of someone who is severely ill or elderly. There have been no negative side effects of this work reported that I am aware of and this Medical Qigong has a profound healing affect on people. It literally energizes the immune system and other natural aspects of the mind- body system. For people who are too ill or weak to practice Qigong for themselves Medical Qigong is quite a wonderful gift. For students who desire to feel greater levels of both Chi and the higher levels of consciousness and increased clarity that come with it, a Medical Qigong treatment from a master healer, gives a profound boost to our own practice.