What Is Qi Gong?
Qi Gong is 1 of the 5 branches of Chinese Medicine. The others are Acupuncture, Pharmacopoeia, Dietetics, Massages. Practicing Qi Gong (QG) helps maintaining and improving the health of the “body-mind” as a whole. With time, practicing even only some few simple basics, will bring positive effects on your global condition, provided that you ensure to be regular, moderate and persistent.
The Chinese ideogram is made of 2 elements.
Gong: both the actual technical training and the goal we aim at when practicing
Qi: energy, “breath of life”
The quotation marks suggest the difficulty to translate with accuracy into just one single Western word the Eastern concept of «Qi» which includes several notions whose the two most obvious, vitality and breathing, give only an incomplete idea.
Hiria Ottino, TCM pratician, anthropologist and sinologist, writes for the Larousse Dictionary of Chinese Medicine:
«Qi is the fundamental material substance, or simply, the essence that, by the impulse of its energy, allows animated or inanimate «things» and all living organisms in the world to exist and develop in the forms in which they occur».
Overall, QG therefore consists of technical work to develop the level of mastery of the energy.
It includes mainly 3 types of exercises:
dynamic movements sequences
visualisations and meditation
Most exercises have a very colorful or poetic name that helps us to visualize and develop the perception of the Qi movements during- and beyond- the practice. The flow of Qi has never been measured nor quantified by official science but it is nevertheless concretely perceived and experienced when our QG practice allows body/Jing, breathing/Qi and mind focus/Yi to converge in such a way that it creates a very natural state felt as being harmonius and peaceful. We thus feel more at one within and with the world around us.
The slow undulating and flowing movements of QG helps the body-mind to relax, thus increasing both our strength and our focus. Regular, moderate and persistent QG practice progressively permeates our daily life improving our resistance to stress, our sense of balance, our level of activity, our creativity and our inner joy.
Qi Gong is a way of creating good health in its broadest sense: integration of body and mind, relief and expansion of the spirit, Shen, the most subtle element of human life that gives depth, brightness, intensity and awareness to the body.
Gentler than Tai Ji, Qi Gong, is often used as warm-up and/or relaxation, before and/or after the Tai Ji practice.
But Qi Gong by itself is mostly valued for its holistic healing virtues: beyond the mere teaching offered all over the world, there are medical Qi Gong therapists and clinics. It also supports one’s inner growth: body-mind balance, self-knowledge, meditation, spiritual awakening.
Article Source: http://soniabruce.com/en/qi-gong/
|What is a Guru?|
First, a guru is not a state of consciousness, it is a job. There are all kinds of gurus from musicians and storytellers to those who never speak a word. What they have in common is the appointed authority to do their job: helping the ego-mind-personality merge with the divinity within. The soul, self, jiva, atma – whatever you want to call it – is immortal. There was never a time it did not exist. There will never be a time it will not be. The ego-mind-personality is not immortal. It ceases to be at the time of death, while an essence of what it has learned and accumulated of spiritual value goes forward into the next life, even if that life does not take place for five hundred or a thousand years.
But the ego-mind-personality can become immortal if it so chooses. Of course, this choice involves a clear decision, commitment, discipline, and Grace. Once the decision is made, a succession of teachers begin to appear, helping, teaching and leading the aspirant. The only ongoing quality that matters is sincerity. One can make mistakes, take wrong turns, and make short-term inefficient choices, but if all are done within the framework of sincerity, the aspirant continues to get help. In the process of preparing the ego-mind-personality to merge with the soul within, negative qualities are sanded away at the rate the aspirant can stand. Rescue, within the bounds of karma, often is afforded to struggling individuals. Eventually, one will meet a true guru.
Shake any bush, today, and out tumble gurus of all sorts. They are mostly “wanna-bes,” “think-they-ares,” “wish-they-weres,” “never-will-bes,” and would-be spiritual leaders who have decided that this is their calling. Some of them are sincere. Some are not. A true guru is not self-appointed. They are selected and trained for the job by those who are true gurus, sadgurus, jagadgurus and genuine celestial enlightened ones who come here from time to time. There are very few true gurus.
A genuine guru has spiritual authority. They can consciously take on the karma of anyone they meet. Although they have this ability, they use it selectively. If the taking on of karma serves the greater dharma, or spiritual advancement of the species, country or other group deemed important, the guru will take the karma of that individual. Sometimes the karma can be worked off without harming the guru and sometimes not. But the guru always knows both the reason and the outcome for taking another’s karma.
A true guru has spiritual gifts to give, and they give them – sometimes lavishly – to students, disciples and complete strangers. A true guru will know the appropriateness of the gift and can “see” how it will be applied. That’s not to say that all possible outcomes from application of the gift are known. Although a sadguru has this ability to know all possible outcomes, the true guru does not. Still, a clear direction is apparent to the guru which points strongly to how the gift will be employed. This is how the appropriateness of the gift is determined. Sometimes a new color, signifying a new gift, is added to the aura. Orange, for instance, might be given, and with it a definite body of knowledge. Suddenly, many things become clear for no apparent reason. This new knowledge ends up changing everything about the life of the person who receives it. Old relationships may end and new ones begin. New goals and ways of reaching them appear in the mind. All this from one new color/gift. All the while, increasing the ability of the ego-mind-personality to eventually merge with the soul or self is the overriding objective.
A true guru can change the direction of the life paths of those he/she meets with relative ease. A word, a glance, a thought can change the course of a life as easily as one switches the path of a train from one track to another by pulling a lever. The self of the individual is accessed and a new set of instructions, or a new instruction, is issued that changes the conditions one will meet in life. Or the true guru may make a tiny change in the set of foundation assumptions (or knowledge) the ego-mind personality uses to make decisions. Often only one tiny change can completely alter the nature of the decision making process. If one has a near-death experience and survives, for instance, the fear of death is usually completely eradicated. The elimination of fear from the ongoing decision-making process affects everything. A true guru is compassionate. He/she has usually “been there.” The experiences of many lives have been integrated so that probable choices and decisions resulting from certain circumstances are clearly seen.
Understanding not only mentally but almost viscerally what a particular aspirant is going through, the true guru may search intensely for an acceptable way to help deserving ones whose karma may militate strongly against such help. Compassion is active, not passive.
A true guru knows his/her limits – the limits of how they can help or how they can speed things along. The boundaries are always in sight and usually observed. True gurus are humble. They are not impressed with themselves. They know too much for that. But they also know that all knowledge is approximate, that everything is temporary, even time itself. They know that Truth or God is vast and that no one has an exclusive corner on “the truth.” They know that great forces and beings have made it possible for them to evolve to where they are. They know that perceiving the Great Illusion of this reality does not diminish the pain felt by people living in this world. So they help, with gratitude for what they have received and what they are empowered to do in service of others.
Such a true guru is aware of the conscious, active, hugely advanced forces and beings operating in our reality. Sometimes those forces and beings come to the aid of the true guru and sometimes not. But at all times there are very, very advanced beings on the planet who monitor things. They sometimes hide in plain sight as a jagadguru, and sometimes they keep well below the spiritual radar for their own purposes. But they are here, and the true guru knows his or her limitations in the grand scheme of things.
A spiritual teacher, even one who has reached the place of an advanced adept, is not a guru until and unless the appointment for the job arrives. For many advanced adepts, the appointment to become a true guru never arrives. Yet they teach – tirelessly, endlessly, selflessly, joyfully. They have lessons to teach about spirituality; about life; about separation of the real from the unreal; about the rhythms of existence, both individual and cosmic; about the subtle habits of the lower mind that seeks to evade the light where it must surrender its bad habits; about the misuse of charming personalities that merely seek gratification however it might be obtained. The genuine spiritual teacher is a treasure beyond compare, for each has put their shoulder to the wheel of humanity’s progress, each within his or her specific area of special interest or attainment. And the Grace of The Supreme flows through each in wonderful and different ways.
But they are not gurus. They cannot change the course of your life in an instant. They cannot take a terrible condition away from you and assume the burden themselves by a mere thought. They cannot determine your appropriateness to receive a spiritual gift, see how it will be applied, and then give it to you. It is a commonly accepted truth in mystic and spiritual pursuits that what we all seek is within. Scriptures from many religions say it. Enlightened ones say it. True gurus, sadgurus, jagadgurus and maha siddhas all say it. But appointment to the job of being a guru comes usually from an external source. It can be a being in the flesh who, determining that one’s nature is appropriate to the job, appoints a person through some transfer of authority. It can be a great being who comes in a dream and empowers an adept or spiritual teacher. On rare occasions, a force of some kind will seize an individual and so alter their energy, spiritual ability and perceptions, that the condition of the job is conveyed by cosmic initiation. But in all cases, the abilities and responsibilities of the true guru remain.
Finally, a true guru has been embraced by love and realizes with every facet of his or her being that love is both the method and the destination. It is means and end. There is no way to achieve a state of love other than by loving. For God or Truth speaks to the heart. The mind cannot contain or apprehend Truth or God in its entirety. Truth is the ocean while the mind is like a teacup. And you cannot hold the ocean in a teacup. It is true that you can pour the contents of the teacup into the ocean and it becomes one with the ocean. But then the meditation ends and the ego-mind-personality – even the divine ones – are back in the body. Automatically, limitations of understanding take place because of the confines of the teacup.
It is astonishing that some of the towering great minds of the East including such persons as Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Madvacharya, The Buddha, and others do not agree on the finer points of what is Truth, what is Reality, what is the nature of the Self, and so on. They see different shafts of the same light, but none have the capacity to see it all. The first Sadguru, Dattatreya, was once asked to comment on the differences between Dwaita (dualism) and Advaita (Non-dualism), between Saguna Realization with a form involved (as in Rama or Krishna, etc.), or Nirguna Realization without any form involved. He looked kindly at the questioner and said, “If you are still concerned with such things, you still have a ways to go.” Most teachers and gurus agree that love will take you all the way to the goal of human existence. True gurus have a unique set of skills and tools to help the finite part of us merge in the infinite part of us. They have been specially sent on assignment to help us, in our identification with our ego-mind-personality, to move as expeditiously as possible into a state of being where we understand immortality because we have achieved it.
My Reiki Story
by William Lee Rand
It’s been 24 years since I first learned of Reiki and began experiencing it’s miraculous power. Since that time many changes have taken place in my life that were brought about by my association with this wonderful energy. In fact, in looking back to that time, I can clearly see the role it played in placing me firmly on my spiritual path and leading me on a journey into greater levels of peace, happiness, and fulfillment. It has guided me in so many ways, helping me progressively strengthen my connection to the spiritual world as well as develop my ability as a writer, teacher, and healer. It has also taken me on adventures literally to the ends of the earth and saved my life in a dramatic way that is certainly a tribute to the healing power of Reiki and the way it unites so many people to help others.
I became interested in metaphysics in high school and decided I wanted to learn as much as possible. Over a period of 20 years or so, I studied and became a practitioner of hypnotherapy, astrology, past life regression therapy, rebirthing, and Neuro Linguistic Programming. While living in Hawaii, I worked with a Kahuna as his astrologer and did readings for his clients.
It was in a rebirthing class held on the Big Island of Hawaii that I first heard of Reiki. In the class a woman asked to talk to the group during one of our extended breaks. Her name was Bethel Phaigh and she was a Reiki teacher. I was fascinated by the idea that the ability to do Reiki is transferred to the student rather than being something the student develops. Yet I was skeptical. I wondered if the attunement actually did anything energetic or if it was an empty ritual that simply gave people permission to use the healing ability they already had.
During the attunement I was aware of an energy entering my crown and going down to the root chakra. Then I felt energy push out the heart chakra, and I could actually see small glowing chunks of something being blown out and felt that the heart chakra was being opened and a block was being released. When this happened, I knew Reiki was real and that I had discovered something very special.
The results that came from giving sessions to others and myself further validated Reiki, and a year later I received Reiki II training. I considered the teacher training (also called Master training), but the fee was too high and so didn’t consider it to be part of my spiritual path.
Reiki has a way of connecting us more strongly to the Source and in so doing providing a much clearer form of guidance. Realizing this I began taking my life more seriously and decided that with the help of Reiki I’d focus on pursuing my spiritual purpose. I began saying a prayer with conviction each day, “Guide me and heal me so that I might be of greater service to others.”
Things began to change. I loved Hawaii and planned to remain there the rest of my life. But when we make a commitment to follow our spiritual path, we must sometimes do things that don’t go along with what we think we want.
I ended up leaving Hawaii, living in California awhile, and moving in with my parents in Detroit for a short time. I had a dream of being a workshop leader and traveling around giving workshops. I planned to develop my own style of personal development, and never thought I’d be a Reiki teacher. However, when we’ve made a commitment to our spiritual path, sometimes we end up doing things we hadn’t planned. In March 1989, I took the Reiki teacher training and taught my first class in June of that year.
My teaching practice developed quickly and while teaching my first class in another town, I suddenly realized that I was living my dream; I was a workshop leader, and I was traveling and teaching! I was overwhelmed with joy!
I was also able to look back to the moment I had been initiated into Reiki and see that I had been guided step by step to be a Reiki teacher, even though I had thought it wasn’t part of my spiritual path!
After I became a Reiki teacher, and accepted the fact that as far as my spiritual path was concerned, I belonged in the Detroit area, my life began getting better and better. As my career continued to develop, I ended up traveling all over the world teaching Reiki classes, wrote several Reiki books, and published a Reiki magazine. I also traveled to both the North and South Poles as well as to Jerusalem to place World Peace Crystal Grids. (See World Peace Project).
Then at the end of 2003, while dancing at a New Years Eve party I was hosting at my home, I felt a pain behind my heart. At first I thought it must be a rib that had come out of place, as I had been having problems with my upper back. I kept dancing, but the pain worsened and I began to feel a physical weakness that made me think it could be something more serious. I went to get some water and lie down for a few moments. The pain quickly spread around to the front of the heart and I also felt a pain in my jaw and down my left arm. My whole body was in trauma. I went back to the dance floor bent over with pain and asked a couple of friends to take me to the hospital.
I entered the New Year having a heart attack in the hospital emergency room. I had a blood clot in the heart, and it took them a long time to find the right thrombolytic agent to dissolve it. I was also told that the pain I was feeling was the pain of the heart muscle dying.
The two people who took me to the hospital had been giving me Reiki on the way. On learning of my situation, my friends at the party began sending Reiki, praying, and drumming for me. I gave myself Reiki as well and from the very beginning maintained a positive, upbeat attitude–even inviting the ER people to go back to my party when they got off work. I knew that regardless of the severity of the problem, Reiki would heal me and that this would turn into a positive experience.
I was transferred to another hospital to have a heart catheterization the next day. In the mean time, a cardiologist came in with a surprised look on his face. He told me my troponin level was off the chart and that indicated I had had a massive heart attack. He was surprised that I was sitting up in bed, smiling and in a good mood. Troponin is an enzyme that’s released when muscle cells die and is used as an indicator of the extent of heart damage. While the heart catheterization indicated that my arteries were not blocked and I didn’t need a stent or angioplasty, my heart function had been seriously diminished. Afterwards when visiting my cardiologist, he too indicated the seriousness of my heart attack, but apparently not wanting to scare me too much termed it as a “mildly” massive heart attack.
The seriousness of my situation was made real for me when I got home. My vitality was very low and I felt close to death. I could hardly walk and had to spend most of the time lying on the couch. It was difficult to speak and even thinking was at times too much. If I even thought about exercise, a life threatening feeling of danger would come over me and I’d have to stop. When I wasn’t sleeping, I found it best to simply focus on peace.
My heart was emotionally sensitive and very fragile. To feel any kind of feelings was very draining. Conversations with others or even their presence in the room drained me.
The amount of energy my friends who came to visit me had amazed me. How easily they spoke and expressed themselves. I wanted to reach out to them and explain how fortunate they were to be alive and to have so much energy and to be able to freely express themselves so easily, but I was unable to do so. I was too weak.
Another experience I had was during the catheterization. During the procedure, they were taking motion picture x-rays, and I could see my heart beating in real time. This moved me deeply. My heart was there, beating away, keeping me alive even after being so injured. A tremendous feeling of gratitude swept through me.
And there was something even more meaningful than this. I felt how grateful the heart is for the gift of life. And that it was this gratefulness that was actually keeping the heart alive. It’s gratefulness that keeps the door of life open.
While in the hospital I had a friend bring my laptop computer and was able to go online. I sent a simple request to my Reiki email list: “I’ve just had a heart attack, please send Reiki.”
Although we didn’t ask for it, 3,500 people replied to the request saying they would send Reiki. Many of these placed me on their healing request lists and we estimated that there were likely 5,000 to10,000 people sending Reiki to my heart. In addition, after I got home, I began receiving many hands-on Reiki treatments each week with several practitioners each session.
When I looked psychically, I could see that I was at the center of a giant ball of light at least 20 feet or so in diameter. While I remained weak at first, my spirits were always high, and I knew I would fully recover The only question was how long would it take?
I got a little stronger each day. Over time it added up and soon I was able to venture outside. I began walking very slowly around the driveway. At first I could walk just one lap before feeling tired, but then gradually I could walk further until I was walking three or four times around the driveway. Eventually I was able to walk a quarter mile and dreamed of being able to walk a whole mile.
On February 3, I went for a treadmill stress test and echocardiogram to determine the extent of the heart damage. I was hesitant, not wanting to over stress my heart during the test, but the tests seemed to go well. I received the results the following week and they looked amazing. There was no detectable heart damage!
I went from having a massive heart attack to no detectable damage in less than five weeks! I was overjoyed. I can only attribute this to the love, prayers, and Reiki sent by so many people.
While my heart had healed, I was still weak, but gradually got stronger. Soon I was back walking the four miles a day I had been walking before the heart attack. I was also able to teach most of my scheduled classes. When I went to Norway, that summer I was able to climb the mountains I had dreamed of being able to climb when I was so weak. I had fully recovered!
I’m ever so grateful for the gift of life and the gift of Reiki.
This is an excerpt from The Reiki Touch workbook.
Article Source: http://www.reiki.org/reikinews/MyReikiStory.htm