The Nature of Love   4 comments

"Love"

Sensitivity, Understanding, Forgiveness, Compassion, Detachment, Liberation, Nurturance, Heaven

These are some thoughts about love from my Taoist perspective; that compassionate detachment is the highest virtue and discontentment the greatest misfortune and understanding that even “joy” is not always a good thing and that often “sadness” is. Finding a balance with our emotions keeps the qi balanced within our internal organs; indeed unchecked emotions lead to “stuck qi”, the root of most sicknesses.

Some say love is an emotion; I think not.  Emotions, largely, are calls to action, fear, anger, worry, sadness, loneliness, frustration, guilt; all these things are actually telling us what we need. To my mind, “love” is what I would call a “state of being,” the catalyst that facilitates our understanding of our emotions. My previous post about the nature of evil tries to explain how unchecked negative emotions tend to escalate, culminating into a state of being I call “evil”. I did not get this from any book or anything, these are just my personal opinions based on my observations.

Love then, would be the opposite of evil, in that when we respond to emotions in a positive way we move in that direction.  This love is not that “romantic love” that is often controlling, manipulative, and selfish and even at times leads to evil; think of the love/hate relationships many people suffer through.  No, true love is something far greater than that. True love is something many people will never know, oh, they think they know about love, but seldom follow a truly loving path. It can be a very sad thing when one mistakes a greedy, needy, clingy, self-serving definition of “love” for the truth about what is means to really love.

If you reread the post about the nature of evil, you will see I outlined several emotional steps that progressively twist normal emotional signals out of harmony with the truth. Each time we move along the chain of emotions and fail to choose the correct action we unwittingly take a turn each time towards the dark side.  Collectively choosing the “negative” options for each subsequent emotion leads us farther and farther away from ’love” and closer and closer to evil. I attempt to illustrate this with a sliding scale moving from Evil on the left to Love on the right.

Remember the steps leading to evil?
Fear… Anger… Resentment…  Hate… Prejudice…  Domination… Destruction…and Hell.  Today I will give you my corollary to that progressively sick, evolution of animal’s way of dealing with our emotions. The answers are simple really; each negative emotion has an “antidote” so to speak that will (if followed) take one away from the darkness and into the light. Consider the following comparison of each negative emotion and its opposite, one choice leads to Heaven the other leads to Hell.

Fear……………………..…Sensitivity
Anger………………………Understanding
Resentment….……………Forgiveness
Hate………………………..Compassion
Prejudice ………………….Detachment
Domination……………..….Liberty
Destruction…………….…..Nurturance
Hell………………………….Heaven

I know all this is a very common sense thing and yet is seems nothing is so rare these days as “common sense.” Before you let an emotion take you on a ride towards the dark side apply these simple solutions:

Next time you feel fearful, be sensitive to the situation and keep your awareness. If you feel anger rising up, understand that maybe your rules are too strict or maybe you need to explain them better to others or just get out! Instead of resenting others, forgive them immediately, on the spot; resentment is a major pivot point towards evil. Before you find yourself resenting, judging, and hating someone, just find your compassion for whatever may be driving your harsh judgment that leads to hate. If you feel hate it may develop into prejudice about a person or a situation. The answer to these hateful feelings is to just detach from it, no matter how loathsome you may think something is, you can at least be glad that it is not you or about you!  When judging and hating others, people often start controlling and manipulating in an attempt to dominate them, maybe because they feel out of control themselves. Liberate them instead!  Just let it go or get yourself out… Give them all the freedom you would hope for yourself. True love never gives ultimatums or forces people to comply with rules; this applies to government as well. Instead of acting out of frustration at your failed attempts to control and coerce, (and thereby destroying your relationships or your communities) instead be nurturing of the other’s right to be free. All these responses are loving ways to relate that could save your family, nation and our world, if only people would choose them.

Even if only for yourself, follow these principles. According to Chinese medical theory, uncontrolled emotions cause energy to stagnate and damage the organs, for example:

Fear can damage the kidneys and bladder
Anger can disrupt the liver and gall bladder
Passion can upset the heart and small intestines
Worry can damage your stomach and spleen
Grief may lead to fluid in the lungs and obstructions in the large intestine.

Balanced emotions actually benefit each of the organs; healthy emotions cure each other. Later I will explain how healthy anger can cure fear, and how a little passion can help you get over anger; that worry can save you from excess joy and passion, and some grief is a good way to let go of your worries. Coming full circle, some healthy fear can pull you out of grief.

And what makes this all work? What magic element, process, elixir, or “emotion” turns the “wheel of emotions”? You guessed it I am sure. By living in a “State of Love” remaining, Sensitive, Understanding, Forgiving, Compassionate, Detached, Liberating, and Nurturing in all your dealings you can stay forever in Heaven, forever contented and forever loving.

See also:  The Nature of Evil

Daoist Qigong and Taiji Seminar   Leave a comment

Zhou, Xuan Yun will be here April 17th

Zhou, Xuan Yun will teach a four-day workshop at the Filipino Community Center on Onehee Street in Kahului, April 17, 18,19th and 20th

He is also going to be at Kaunoa on April the 21st from 9-11AM for a class just for seniors. Xuan Yun will cover Taoist thought, philosophy, health, and teach some basic qigong; the cost for this one class will be $17.00

In addition he will appear at the Wo Hing Temple in Lahaina on the evening of April 21st this will open to the public, donations accepted.

Zhou, Xuan Yun grew up on Wudang Mountain in China. The Taoists from Wudang are world renowned for their martial arts and for the spiritual path that they follow. The monks at Wudang spend many years training Kung Fu, Taiji, Qigong and Taoist arts for most of everyday.  Many people train at Wudang and yet only a few are ever allowed to teach these arts. He has a fun, energetic style and his translator wife will accompany him.

For more information, read more here on my blog at taijionmaui.com
and click on the link about Xuan Yun’s bio or go to his site:  http://daoistgate.com /

While at the Workshop on Maui,  Master Zhou will spend the first day covering basic concepts about the Taoist arts and have a question and answer session. Later he will teach some Taoist Qigong to the group.

The next three days he will teach the first section of the Wudang Taiji long form, including the forms and the martial applications. The Wudang form has elements of Yang style and Chen style Taiji embedded in it and takes the Taiji player into the traditional realm of the origins of Taiji.

Students of Yang style will find this form closely matches what they have been learning with a unique feel and applications. Xuan Yun will give his unique perspective that only someone with his background can give.

The price will be $35.00 per class ($70/day) or $270 for all four days if you pay during February.

The price will be $45.00 per class ($90/day) or $350 for all four days if you pay after February.

Pay online with Pay Pal at:  http://daoistgate.com/ or:

Pay with cashiers check or money order to:

Julianne Baecker
324 Ashmont St. Boston, MA 02124

For more information on Maui, contact Cory @ 344-2532 or corygw57@yahoo.com

Posted February 13, 2011 by The Maui Taoist in News and Events

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Taiji Applications: Open Right and “Ward-off Left”   Leave a comment

“The peacock spreads its wings” is the second and third move in the Yang (Dong) Style. Here are some photos of the posture and two common applications.

First, neutralize the incoming attack by circling your arm to the right.

Next pull down to the jade table...this will pull the attacker off balance towards their "front door" forcing them to decide whether to be pulled down or to pull back.

Most people will instinctively pull back, so you step in blocking their retreat and then...

Finish by throwing them out the back door using "Left ward-off" by turning your waist and shifting your weight forward, tripping them over your leg. See how much fun Taiji is!

Alternatively, if your opponent does not pull back, you can follow up the original movement with your left hand, keeping them from closing in on you with a shoulder strike...

and apply "Brush knee and push"

Finish them off out their front door in the original direction that they were moving.

Thank you to Wanda for assisting in this project.

Wudang on Maui   3 comments

Wudang Taiji On Maui  Workshop 2011

Zhou, Xuan Yun will come to Maui in April!

Remember the movie “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” and how amazed the world was with the Wudang arts?  Now you have a chance to work with a genuine disciple of Wudang. I have been in communication with Zhou, Xuan Yun and he has agreed to come here to Maui for a workshop in April.

Xuan Yun was raised on Wudang Mountain, the spiritual center for all Taoists.  The monks from Wudang spend their lives training in the Taoist arts including meditation, qigong, taijiquan and gong fu.  The wealth of knowledge embodied within these arts and carried forward by people like Xuan Yun is beyond the imagination.

Xuan Yun and I have put together a workshop for the week of April 17th.  The schedule is for four days in April; 17, 18, 19 & 20th.

We will be at the Filipino Community Center, a large and beautiful hall located in Kahului. We will start out with some basics and by the fourth day we will be going over the details and martial art aspects of Taijiquan. This workshop will be great for any level of Taiji player.

For more info on Xuan Yun, and to book your space at the Wudang Taiji on Maui Workshop, go to:  http://daoistgate.com/

If you are interested or want more details,  just e-mail me at corygw57@yahoo.com with “Wudang On Maui”  in the subject line. You can see the whole schedule and prices at http://www.daoistgate.com you can even book and pay there too!

Xuan Yun’s Bio: http://daoistgate.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=46&Itemid=29

This is an incredible opportunity to learn directly from the source of Taoist thought. There are only a handful of people in the entire world that can even get close to doing something like this, and you may be so blessed.

Zhou, Xuan Yun will teach a four-day workshop at the Filipino Community Center on Onehee Street in Kahului, April 17, 18,19th and 20th

The Nature of Evil   4 comments

M C Escher’s Heaven and Hell

Fear, Anger, Resentment, Hatred, Prejudice, Domination, Destruction, Hell.

It starts with fear that leads to anger… not your normal healthy anger mind you but the uncontrollable anger that leads to hatred.  Most anger starts with fear, fear of the unknown, fear that someone or something will harm us. Normal anger can save our lives or pull us out of debilitating fear; healthy anger comes from the feeling that someone or something has broken one of our “rules”.  We all have rules that are a construct of our beliefs, and/or that have been programmed into us by habitual conditioning.

The reasonable person can see this for what it is and uses anger to give him an opportunity to learn. For example, maybe your “rules” are too ridged, maybe you expect too much from a person or a situation. Maybe you did not explain your rules to those around you that you feel have broken them, or maybe you are in the wrong situation and your rules do not apply.  Anger is a chance to take positive action by either, changing your rules to adapt, or explaining your rules better to someone or maybe to move on and get away from a place where your personal rules do not fit.

Failing to take proper action when angry usually leads to resentment. Now we discover the real “root of all evil”…resentment. Resentment is a failure to deal with our anger. Usually coming from an ego based sense that someone is to blame. The nature of resentment is to kill healthy relationships by being unable to forgive.  If one cannot forgive or leave a situation, is unable or unwilling to explain their rules, or cannot adapt, then often there arises the need to make others responsible for their anger. When a person blames others (or themselves) for their anger they are not taking responsibility for their own emotions, this will always lead to resentment. You might say resentment is way of moving away from our angry by projecting it onto a situation or other people.

Being resentful and blaming invariably leads to hatred. How could it not? Being fearful and getting angry about things and subsequently feeling helpless to find resolution amplifies resentment to the point that anger becomes manifest as hatred. You might say that hatred is habitual anger. This habitual anger is the root of all prejudice.

This is how propaganda works by keeping people angry with others over a length of time hatred is the result…. Governments have been using this tool forever. Keep people angry with the “rich” or “ the Jews” or “the Christians”, “Blacks”, “Whites”, “men”, “Americans”, “Muslims”  pick whoever you want it is still evil to hate.  Hate often comes from self-loathing, and more out of control emotions like guilt.
Whenever you fall victim to being angry, and resenting and hating, you are on a path to hell. Being prejudice, hating, and a continued sense of fear and helplessness often ends up becoming a need to control and to dominate others.

In a desperate need to quench anger, the ultimate expression of hatred and prejudice becomes focused by an egocentric rationalization that if we can control or dominate others our personal suffering will be alleviated. This is often sensed to be a righteous path;  “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.  We rationalize that we are “doing the right thing” and /or “fixing the injustices of the world. Seldom do the “do gooders” realize that their motivation is actually coming from their hatred. Case in point: Hitler believed that the Jews caused his suffering, resentment lead to hatred, lead to prejudice, domination, and destruction. Because a person feels out of control anger and they blame another they try to force others into submission and rationalize that they are doing the right thing.

We all need to find a sense of fearlessness that will stop anger from leading to the hate that leads to suffering. People were born free; Taoists recognize the natural laws that govern man’s existence; a spiritual commitment to human freedom. Taoist philosophy is natural law. The way of humans follows the way of nature. This is not always the way we want it to be but it is the only fair way.  Have faith that things are what they are everything will turn out OK. We may not be happy with the results but the evolution of the universe is out of our control. Taoists do not try to change the world they have faith in the understanding that with Yin and Yang everything works itself out instead, they cultivate the pathway to heaven; “adapt and overcome”.“The greatest misfortune is discontentment”.

Perhaps if everyone did more Taiji and learned to embrace the philosophy of Tao instead of arguing and about how to try to control and dominate others there would be more peace and harmony in the world.  Humans are still learning how to be, class is always in session, everywhere. The answer to all the suffering and disharmony some people feel is actually quite simple.

Do not judge others, do not let anger go beyond the impetus to adapt, never fall victim to resentment and if you do, immediately forgive others, right there on the spot. Always help your friends and neighbors, be kind and yet firm. Do not overlook evil, do not be drawn into the fray. Never give a pass to hatred, prejudice or domination onto your spirit. Taoists have a very important belief that always gives them solace…its called Faith.

See also:  The Nature of Love

Posted November 27, 2010 by The Maui Taoist in Relationships, Tao

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Taoist Meditation Lesson #7 Finding Heaven   Leave a comment

“The sage sees the universe without going out the door”

 

Small Heavenly Circle (Microcosmic Orbit) Meditation Part #1

Attaining Tao is to merge with the wonders of heaven. In the very first verse of the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu says, “The Tao that can be named is not the real Tao”. What he is saying is the greatest of all things is beyond words, and once we attempt to name it we have defined the indefinable, which obviously is not going to work.  So then, how do we merge with the undifferentiated source of all things? Simple, start by just letting go of your desire to be or do anything and focus your energy into heaven.

If you have read the six prior lessons on Taoist meditation basics and practices and if you have actually tried some of these techniques then it is time to expand your horizons. Be sure to read Tuning the Breath as well.

I hope by now you have had some success with staying “in the moment” and have learned to use some of these tools to dissolve your mind into your body. Learning to control your thoughts is the basic methodology to allow your energy to find a higher calling. In this article, I will give you a little piece of treasure, another tool for your meditation that will help you reach a higher state of consciousness.

Much has been written about the “Small Heavenly Circle” also known as the “Microcosmic Orbit” meditation; a simple Google search will give you over 5,000 results.  I will not attempt to re-invent the wheel here, (pun intended) but instead I will give you my method.  This method of meditation takes the practitioner on an inward journey along the superhighway of energy that predominates within the human body.  My method is a straightforward and simple way to start exploring the universe within.

On the inward journey, the first things we learned were to dissolve our thoughts and get in touch with our energy, something you are getting skilled at if you have been doing the lessons so far. Now I am going to explain how to circulate that energy within your body.

We start with a basic energy circuit that runs up and down the torso in a circular path just under the surface of the skin; this path is called the “Small Circle.”  The vessels and meridians in your body that carry the qi are usually along high conductivity tissue such as tendons  and sometimes muscles. The centerline of both the front and back of our torso is mostly tendons, and this is a good conductor for the qi to flow within.  Learning to follow this path is a major step to moving even deeper into your body, and will give you more insight into the universe within you. My method starts with identifying the two major pathways of energy (that connect into a circle) by defining 15 points along the way. Like planets in a galaxy, we will travel to each one, picking up provisions along the way.  As we get to know each “planet” we will gain an understanding of our inner workings, this is the “Sage seeing the universe with out going out the door”

The two main paths have many names and energy can be moved in a variety of ways. In this beginning technique, we are going to follow the natural flow of energy down the front and up the back. For now, just think of them as Yin and Yang.  The “Yang path” starts at the perineum and then the base of the spine, continues up and over the crown of the head, and ends at the pallet. The “Yin path” starts at the tip of the tongue and flows down the front of your body and ends at the perineum at the bottom of your torso. Technically the “Ren” channel ends at the ovarian palace but since the connecting “Tu” channel emerges at the perineum I start there. Again, there are many resources available online for your perusal. Here I want to give you my method of navigating this “orbit.”

First, let me name, locate, and describe each “planet” along the orbit. Since we have to start somewhere, I start from that place where you “see things” when you close your eyes, a place between the eyebrows that is sometimes called “the minds eye.”

There are many more than these 16 points (that are really bigger than “points” that is why I think of them as “planets“) but I like to keep things simple. Picking these 16 allows us to be clear about each one and later we will apply a breathing technique to help propel your “spaceship” to each “planet”.   As your awareness grows you will feel and communicate with many more places than I have put on this list.  For example, between numbers  8, 9 &10 there are 2 others, the anus for instance, which is actually 6  in itself, front, back, each side, the center and the outer muscle!

My list of 16 celestial destinations within:

Classic texts would have you start at the Dan Tian and “contemplate your navel” for “as long as it takes to feel the qi there“.  I will not refute this method but there are alternatives. While this skill is admirable, I think we get the point; moving on from there, I believe spending a few minutes at each point is a better way to learn this orbit. Of course take as long as you want to explore each world, again the “classics” say to spend as long as a couple of months on each point until you can send your awareness and feel your qi there.

Once you have “opened the channel”, you will notice the qi moves rather quickly around the orbit. I usually do not need to linger long at each place at this point in my training and because I am not writing a book here, think of this as a quick tour through the planets,

The Mind’s Eye (behind your forehead)
The Heavenly Pool (where the tongue touches the pallet)
The Throat, (thyroid gland)
Thymus gland
The Heart
The Solar Plexus
The Dan Tian (just one inch below the navel)
The Sperm (Ovarian) Palace (a hands width below the navel)
The Hui Yin (the perineum)
The Tip of the Tail Bone
The Gate of Life (on the spine opposite the Dan Tien)
The Kidneys and Adrenals (on the spine opposite the Solar Plexus)
The Shen Dao, Between the Shoulders (opposite the Heart)
The Da Zhui, at the C-7
The Jade Pillow (at the base of the skull)
The Bai Hui or Crown Point (at the top of the head)

My planetary journey starts where I already am…

Sit and tune the breath,

Bring your awareness to,

1.    The Minds Eye (behind your forehead); Starting where your mind is already is a good place to start. When you close your eyes, you will “see” or rather “observe” energy actively moving about. Then just let the awareness sink down trough the Yin Path….

2.    The Heavenly Pool (where the tongue touches the pallet); When I put my awareness here I feel saliva welling up from the bottom of my mouth and pooling around the base of my tongue encouraging me to swallow.

3.    The Throat; This spot sends the flow downward along the yin channel. Here lies the thyroid gland a tiny little gland that controls the rates of regeneration for your entire body.

4.   The Thymus gland is a very sensitive gland that is an emotional regulator, sensing the heart and breathing rates, etc.

5.     The Heart; When my mind travels here I feel my heart moving a little bit, not so much an increase in speed, but sort of a warm gentle thumping.

6.    The Solar Plexus; This is a major nerve gathering center in your chest, at this location I feel a lump that seems to radiate out in all directions.

7.    The (Lower) Dan Tian (one inch below the navel); This is the home planet for your Qi. When qi gets stuck in your head (Upper Dan tian) it can cause rampant thinking, when the qi is at your Thymus or Solar Plexus, (in the middle Dan tian), you might feel emotional, but when the qi is here it will feel at home. After my first few years of practice, I began to feel a rotational sensation here.

8.    The Sperm (Ovarian) Palace (a hands width below the navel); This space is connected to all of your glandular systems and placing my mind here, brings me a sense of being connected internally.

9.    The Hui Yin (the perineum); When here, I feel a pulsing feeling as though there is a warm current flowing through my perineum moving towards the back of my body. This is the bottom of the torso and it is full of muscles that support the pelvic floor. The Hui Yin is sort of the launching pad for the next part of the orbit, the Yang path.

To keep things simple just do this for now…

First Tune your Breath and then just work on putting your awareness on each spot until you notice it; just like when you were using your hands; remember, “listening” for the tingling sensation there? If not re-read the other lessons. The point is, if you can send the energy to your hands it is a logical step to move to these orbit spots here. Just do this a little bit and see if you can feel the flow of energy coming down from your head to your perineum.

In the next lesson, I will lead you through the rest of the orbit.

Soon you will see that Taoist meditation and internal qigong are similar. You are now starting to learn the fine art of “Nei Gong” or “internal qigong”

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Yiquan Club in Kihei   9 comments

Yiquan friends doing some Yi Jin Jing Qigong

Come and play with our Yiquan club every Thursday morning.  Since Sifu Fong Ha comes here every September, a group of six or seven dedicated practitioners has began meeting every Thursday to continue working on his (and others) teachings. Since then it has become a great free-form “Internal Arts Day”

This is not a “class” because it is at Kamaole III Beach Park and the county will not allow a formal class: so I call it a club, there is no charge we just play.

Yiquan means “Mind (intention) Boxing” and it is a simple way to train martial arts and meditation skills. One of the main practices is just standing.  There is a huge variety of postures used in standing work, also known as “Zhan Zhuang” lit. “standing like a post”.  In Yiquan, there are eight main postures, you just stand and hold a posture, it is very simple.

Every Thursday morning starting at 6:30 AM with zhan zhuang, Qigong and Taiji walking, sometimes we take a break about 7:50 or so, look for us at a table at that time, then at  8:15 AM, we continue with Taijiquan until we are done.

The pre-dawn standing part is simple; just stand (or sit) in Wuji and if you want to, hold some postures or do whatever you want to! Try doing some “spontaneous qigong” also known as “Zi Fa Gong” or do the Yiquan postures.

The qigong that we originally did here consists of two sets and some “Taiji walking”.  The first set is called “Yi Jin Jing” this is the famous “muscle and tendon changing classic” invented by Bodhidharma in about 520 AD.  The second set is another classic qigong set known as “The Eight Brocades” or “Ba Duan Jin“.   Most likely though, whatever we we do here now is pretty random, so many things we could do, it is never the same qigong at this practice session. “Taiji walking”  in the sand is a favorite!

The Taijiquan part usually consists of doing the Dong (Yang) Long Form, we often do all three sections of the form or whatever we decide!

Come and play but know this is not a class…. I don’t do any real “teaching” I want to have fun with my friends, build some push hands connections, and keep the spirit of all of our teachers training active at Kamaole III

Overview:

6:30 AM to 7:50 AM
Wuji, Zhan Zhuang, Yiquan

Zi Fa Gong

Yi Jin Jing, Ba Duan Jin, or “Whatever Qigong”

Taiji walking

7:50 to 8:15 AM Break…

8:15 AM
Taijiquan
Tui Shou

See All Classes Here:

https://taijionmaui.wordpress.com/category/schedules/

Taiji Postures Gallery #1   5 comments

Repulse Monkey Step

Golden Rooster

Kick with Sole

Holding Hands

Press

White Crane Spreads its Wing

Punch

Push

Single Whip

Lazy Tie the Coat from the Fast Form

Push Hand Through Mountain

Tranquility   3 comments

 

Tranquility

 

Tao gives and gives and yet it is never exhausted, it wants for nothing as it is always giving. All things return to the source; the more they give the more they receive.

I drink from the mother’s breast, connected with the one source. The mother’s milk nourishes me and I shall want not for things of this world. I am not my mind, or my body or my emotions…. I am spirit.

I am the eye of the hurricane, a still point within the vortex of the matrix. The world blows by as everyone scurries about, but I alone am unmoved by mundane things. I want nothing from anyone but to be left in peace.

Sometimes I’m ahead and then sometimes I’m behind, and yet it matters not. My life is not for others, I am the flame, I cannot be burnt.  I have died the little death…. The past is irrelevant, the future does not exist… my spirit lives now and that is all that matters.

Posted October 21, 2010 by The Maui Taoist in Tao, Uncategorized

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Sitting Qigong Class at Kaiser   1 comment

Maui Lani Clinic October 14th 21st and 28th  11-12 noon

I’ll be sharing some things I’ve learned from Dong Zeng Chen

Learning to do seated qigong is part exercise and part meditation and unlike almost anything you have ever done before. Tuning up your internal energies such as, breath, circulatory, nervous, chemical, hormonal, mental, emotional and spiritual systems is a key reason we take up Taiji.

Doing seated qigong effects a person differently from Taiji, focusing the mind more inwardly connecting with a different set of channels that flow qi in your body, mind and spirit. As Taiji (for a beginner) is about moving the body around, sitting qigong is more about moving energy around within the body.

Movement and stillness……Alternating between movement and stillness, learning to sublimate your energy, changing matter into energy directly, using the mind to focus the qi……Calming your mind and healing past emotional traumas, getting clear internally, feeling the growing spirit within you. All these things bring you a new level of self-awareness.

Wuji, Qigong and Taiji: all these methods work in concert to improve your life. We need to balance movement with stillness, standing with sitting, internal and external, yin and yang into yin/yang. Doing sitting qigong fills a void in my life in a way that standing and Taiji cannot.

Learning the basics of seated qigong may be the most valuable experience of your life.

Follow the link below to sign up:

https://members.kaiserpermanente.org/kpweb/classes/detailpage.do?bodyContainer=/htmlapp/feature/030classes/HAW/MauiLaniC/HAW-MauiLani-Exercise-ChairQigong.html

Taiji and Qigong at the Smokestack   1 comment

“Plantation Days” celebration in Lahaina (Last years poster) Click image to enlarge

I’m going to be demonstrating Taiji and Qigong at this celebration.  This is looking like it’s going to be a fun time for the whole family on two nights in Lahaina.  Food, music, and Taiji….. Plus lots more; something for everyone.

I do a lot with the Wo Hing Temple in Lahaina as part of the Taoist tradition. My friend Busaba Yip Douglas is always a pleasant soul to work with and this time she has me doing a Taiji and qigong demo as well as a late night meditation session at this exciting event.

The event is for two days, Friday and Saturday October 22nd and 23rd.
I will be there from 5:00 PM until 10:00 both nights.  I usually just keep doing Taiji and qigong for three or four hours just to add some ambiance to the evening. I hope to see you there….

Activities at the Chinese Cultural Festival Area
FRIDAY OCT. 22
5pm – Chef Dean: Cooking Demo by UHMC
6pm – BLACKOUT ON ALL ACTIVITIES
7pm – Chinese Contribution to Hawaiian Plantation by Fawn Shang Hug (powerpoint)
8pm- Tai Chi – Qi Gong by Cory Williams

Ongoing activities/displays:
6-8pm:  Chinese knotting by Brenda Wong
Children’s Activities:  Chinese Fan Making, Dragon and Lion Hand Puppets, Chinese Lanterns
Chinese Lion Display
Chinese Contribution to Hawaiian Plantation Display
Wo Hing Display: Annual Cultural Festivals and Celebrations in Lahaina
Chinese Food and Ingredients Display
DVD presentation on Chinese History, Traditions, and Healing Arts
SATURDAY OCT. 23
4pm – 5pm Nien Gao Demonstration (Chinese New Year Rice Cake) by Teresa Zhang
6pm – 7pm Tai Chi -Qi Gong Demonstration by Cory Williams
7pm – 9pm Cooking Demonstrations by Chef Bobby Santos

On Going activities/displays:
6-8pm: Chinese Knotting by Brenda Wong
Children’s Activities:  Chinese Fan Making, Dragon and Lion Hand Puppets, Chinese Lanterns
Chinese Lion Display
Chinese Contribution to Hawaiian Plantation Display
Wo Hing Display: Annual Cultural Festivals and Celebrations in Lahaina
DVD presentation on Chinese History, Traditions, and Healing Arts
Chinese Food and Ingredients Display

Posted September 29, 2010 by The Maui Taoist in News and Events, Uncategorized

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Sifu Fong Ha here on Maui!   3 comments

Sifu Fong Ha comes from our lineage.... Starting his Taiji training from Master Dong's grandfather in 1953

Starting September 28th through October 10th Master Fong Ha will be here giving a workshop at Kamaole #3 Beach Park in Kihei.

He will not be here on the weekend of Oct. 2nd & 3rd

There is no charge! Just show up and learn…

6:00 AM   Standing and/or Sitting Meditation facing the Ocean, along the fence just above the beach about midway in KAM III (some folks have a hard time figuring out where they are)

7:00 AM Qigong & Taiji walking (easier for beginners)
8:00 AM  to 9:00 AM   Long Form Taiji

I recently discovered that he first learned Taiji from  Tung Ying Jieh (Master Dong’s grand father)  in 1953.  I will be there on Thursdays Sept 30th and Oct. 7th and Monday Oct. 4th and some mornings before my classes start elsewhere.

There is a link to his website on the “Taiji Facts” sidebar.

This is a rare opportunity to train with a living legend; I hope to see you there.

Fong Ha (510)524-4728  email:fongha@fongha.com

Posted September 17, 2010 by The Maui Taoist in News and Events, Uncategorized

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Devotion to Spirit   3 comments

 

Zhong Xue Chao, (Bing), is a Taoist monk and grew up training on Wudang Mountain. He is the purveyor of wudangdao.com, and he exemplifies the essence of Tao

Devotion to training is its own reward.  Making love to the energy that sustains you nurtures your soul.  Embracing the feeling that moves us is simple. Why would anyone not keep training; I am not sure I could relate to that?

Master Dong was just here, and I spent 18 hours with him over a weekend, that week I also had 11 classes and spent an additional few hours training on my own….the result of over 30 hours of Taiji and Qigong training in one week?  I want more!

I just added two new weekly classes (soon to be announced) and I am doing a series of Qigong seminars with Kaiser October 14th, 21st and 28th.  I also have renewed energy for my personal training showing up one hour early to all my regular classes to train on some new and some old forms.  Therefore, I will be stepping up my training to about thirty hours every week.  My point is this, the more you feel your Qi the more it will provide for you that which you know in your heart is the best thing for you.

Once you learn the secret of the energy, that being the fact that YOU are made of energy, know that, cultivate that, and fully embrace that concept, your life will completely change.  What you thought “life” was will be redefined.  Life is Energy! It lives in you, you control this energy, and it will heal you from within if you let it.

Have you ever noticed how much energy you have when you feel inspired, like if you fall in love…? You can clean house, go to work, and never get tired? Energy comes to you from a mysterious place, we have all have had these feelings…..Would you be “depressed” if you won the lottery?  Would you be “bored” if you had a million dollars in your pocket?

The winning lottery ticket is as simple as devotion to Qigong training.

Taoist Meditation Lesson #6 (Practice Part 3)   3 comments

 

Orion Nebula, the energy of the universe

“The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.”

In this third article on this subject I suggest you re-read the other three to provide a segue into this one and so, if you have been following along with all the meditation lessons, this would be the sixth one so far.

Now if you will just close your eyes… right now just for a few seconds…

Tell me, what did you see? Try again and do it for a little longer.

Since you cannot tell me, let me guess, you see little flickers of light, sort of like when the TV is between stations, or swirling fluid like colors as in a gaseous star cloud in space. Am I right?  Well, what you are really seeing is your energy, the energy of the universe that has been embedded in you. If I were a religious man, I would say, “That’s God talking to you”.

Now try this experiment again, this time keep your eyes closed longer, say, for a minute. Now what did you see? I hope that you saw more of the same, but most likely, some image made itself manifest there in your mind’s eye, or you were caught up in a daydream. That was your mind talking to you.

In our practice up until now, we have been talking a lot about dissolving your mind into your body, so you can dissolve your body into energy and thus send the energy deeper into your center where it can strengthen your spirit. The methods I showed you in the last lesson were about moving in that direction, remember we started with the hands and I said you could also use an image of yourself, something called the “energy body” this is a tool to help you learn to stay in the “now moment”.

When you are using the mind in this way, learning to stay in the now, there is a short length of time spent moving your energy inward. Somewhere between a few seconds and ten minutes, you are switching modes of energy application.  Inevitably, thoughts will arise, this is expected and is very normal, but if you have read the prior lessons, you know that these are illusions. Just take a step back, mentally, and see that for what it is and go back to the most important thing there is …little flickers of light, sort of like when the TV is between stations, or swirling fluid like colors as in a gaseous star cloud in space…. Your energy.

Your goal, if you need one, is to just sit quietly and stay with your energy. Go back to the hands and the body if you need too, or look through the illusions as though they are like a digital image that you can zoom in on until they are pixilated and so dissolved back into the energy from which they came from.

Step back from “images” of any kind, as soon as your mind forms an “Image” you are being taken away from your energy. In time, and with discernment, you will see the truth about what your mind is trying to do to you, but you will conquer it and take control of your life. You may see some upsetting things about yourself, listen, learn, but don’t get caught up in them.  Just go back to the energy as if you found yourself watching an old movie that you decide not to watch and just change the channel back to your new favorite one…energy.

There is nothing that can compare to the blissful feeling of staying free from those thoughts and images. The energy itself is a compelling show to follow; there is no greater image or thought in the entire universe as unadulterated energy. By allowing your mind to escape from all the illusions that have been fooling you for so long, you will find the truth, the truth that You are Energy.

In time, the truth will set you free.

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Basic Taiji Principles, Overview   1 comment

Like a stepped pyramid, we lay down a foundation, taking us higher as we go.

Taoist physics, the laws of energy.

This article is about outlining some of the basic Taiji principles that I have discovered through the years, and some taught to me by Master Dong. I will explain each one in time. These are not the “Classic Taiji Principles” that other authors have written about through the ages, but a pragmatic look at the common sense of practical Taiji.

These are not the only principles that I will discuss, many esoteric principles can be inserted in between and after the ones on this basic list, yet they are most basic and important ones. Understanding the physics of the human energy system and codifying, and sharing these principles is my life’s work.

Staying on your feet is an important skill that can save your life, whether talking about martial arts, or walking down a flight of stairs. There are many obvious gains from assimilating these principles into our lives but know that these principles go far deeper than Taijiquan.

The entire human energy system uses these same principles, not just your body, but also the mind, emotions and spirit. I am taking about the laws of physics; nothing is exempt from these basic principles of the universe.

For example, energy follows the path of least resistance; therefore reducing the resistance to energy increases the flow and the apparent volume of energy. The best way to remove resistance is to remove blockages. These blockages can be from misalignment and (muscle) tension. Again these principles are not necessarily only about your body, keep in mind the “big picture”.

The way to remove obstructions is to align and relax…. Know that aligning will facilitate relaxation. It is easier to relax when we have good alignment, like in the physical attribute of structural integrity.  A strong frame requires less reinforcement; look at an “earthquake resistant” building, a proper frame, allows for a flexible, less ridged, relaxed structure.

Likewise, in relationships, having the same values and interests with another is “alignment” with this alignment a person will be more relaxed. Being aligned and relaxed leads to balance, and with a little give and take (counterbalance) we can achieve a harmonious relationship. Understanding energy is about a relationship with it and it applies to all things accordingly.

While keeping the big picture in mind and realizing that there is a hierarchy to these principles and also that Taijiquan is a method of training and understanding energy, we need to start with the most important principles first. Layering principles overtime will bring enlightenment.

To get started, to keep things simple here is a basic outline to these principles. Each principle will require further explanation, so be patient, and check back to the “Taiji Principles” category here on this blog.

To make comprehending and learning these principle easier, I have organized them into three sub-groups of three principles each. Beginners should mostly be concerned with the first three. Intermediate students focus on the first six and as students progress keep layering principles until all nine are understood.

Principles:

Align
Relax
Root
Balance
Harmonize
String of pearls
Not too much not too little
Open and close
See all things

What do you do? Diet and exercise   4 comments

Temptation is in the small things…..
Love is patient endurance……

David

natural woman

Imagine you are a Taoist… you wake up in the morning and do your Qigong while your blood sugar and adrenalin levels are high.
Then you have some fruit, later for lunch, a nice salad with some veggies.  When you are done for the day, when you can relax, you enjoy a piece of fish, some meditation and then off to a restful sleep…

I have a food/nutrition philosophy; mostly, I only eat food.  By that, I mean “food that a natural person would eat”.  For example, in nature, there are no such things as bread or cheese, or packaged foods, and most food we now eat cooked was consumed raw.  I am not against cooked food, but mostly keep to raw foods.  In the cooked food area, I think we need to cook our meat these days, and I occasionally eat cooked beans and rarely even potatoes.

For the most part, I eat as if I was a natural person living in the natural world; fruit, vegetables, and some meat make up the lion’s share of my diet. Did you know that in countries where we consider people “under nourished” there is a longer life expectancy than here in America? Most people just eat too much of the wrong foods at the wrong times…

Another principle I mostly adhere to is that of proper food combining or for me actually, not combining…   Because of the facts of the body’s digestive system, we can optimize our diets to work in harmony with our natural attributes.  For example, our digestive juices are specific for certain foods and bad combinations can cancel out the chemistry so we get poor or no digestion. Also drinking after eating dilutes the digestive acid causing incomplete digestion.  Starch like bread, rice, or potatoes, require a different chemistry then protein; this can lead to such things as un-digested meat rotting for days inside our intestines.

Meals as common as “Fish and rice” or Steak and potatoes” “Spaghetti and meat sauce” and even the “Sandwich” are all recipes for poor digestion and I avoid them.  The main idea is, never mix anything with fruit, and do not mix proteins and starches.

A typical day’s food consumption for me would be something like this…
Mornings, from 6 AM until noon I only eat fruit ….
Afternoons I limit my food intake to vegetables and possibly a small amount of either meat or a starch.
Evenings from 6 PM until nine I would eat my meat meal.
Do not eat or drink anything after the meat or after 9 PM.

Fruit can move through you in an hour, veggies take about 4 hours but meat takes 8 hours to digest. Wait that amount of time between meals to avoid stimulating conflicting digestive chemistry. This way everything gets a chance to digest well.

Do whatever you want to when you eat out or are visiting friends do not be a “Food Nazi”; I’m just suggesting some common sense guidelines for your information.  Don’t be self-righteous about it; just remember: “Temptation is in the small things and love is patient endurance”.  In time, you will see the truth and adapt to a more healthy way of living.

I have cured my acid stomach problems, quit eating empty calories, eliminated almost all sugar, dairy, gluten, starch, fat, supplements, medicines, drugs and alcohol from my diet,  and lost over fifty pounds… effortlessly.

We may never achieve the bodies depicted above, and yet we can all dream…. and do our best to be the best we can be. Somewhere inside of us is the image of the perfect self; hold to that image and take right action.

Proper assimilation of food and daily morning qigong is a perfect two-prong approach to balanced health.

Memorial Day   2 comments

We owe our way of life to our fallen heroes

Remembering those that have fallen to preserve our way of life…

What ever our desires, hopes and dreams may be, Americans are uniquely blessed with freedom to do so.  These days we are losing our freedoms little by little, it has been said, “Every day congress meets, we lose a little bit of our freedom”.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day it read, “If you can read, thank a teacher. If you read English thank a Vet”.

Holding to your values, principles, and traditions is not always easy or popular.  Even in our home lives and among friends and associates we are challenged constantly.  I say: Without temptation, there is no claim to virtue.  Warriors know these things, even if they do not “think” about them.  No one wants to die for his country and yet without a peaceful homeland we cannot raise peaceful people.

Keeping America safe is a noble honor.  Keeping babies, women and children, families and homes, towns and cities free requires a strong commitment to our country. No one is more committed to this cause than our warriors and they have my deepest respect.

Yet we are all challenged by temptation to doubt and apathy from preserving the virtue of our spirits.  Every challenge we meet is an opportunity to practice our skills. To be a scholar-warrior is a calling to protect ourselves from the assaults of life.

Stand up for who and what you are, be plain spoken and kind, speak the truth, be firm but flexible.  Forgive and overlook other people’s shortcomings on the spot.  Do not be affected by things out of your control. Do your part and be brave and strong in the face of everyday challenges. Live a free life, one of opportunity and pursue happiness and;

Remember those who gave their lives so that you can.

Posted May 31, 2010 by The Maui Taoist in Uncategorized

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Qigong & Taiji Sets for All Students   1 comment

"Tiger" from Dragon & Tiger Yiquan

“I don’t have time for Taiji!”

So many times, I have heard this, usually from “non believers”, but occasionally I myself am guilty of such thoughts.

Well now…… If you have been training with me, you have been exposed to a variety of Qigong and Taiji sets.  It is important to keep in mind that eventually, as you assimilate the principles into your life, everything will be Taiji. Yet in the beginning, we all need some ‘forms’ to direct us in the Way.

This page is just a list of some of the forms that I have shown to my classes and some for advanced students.  With so many options, it is easy to just pick one or more depending on your goals or time frame.  All of my beginner students have been doing the first four or five on this list, and I consider these a “core group” of practices. Over time, I will show everyone all of these sets.

Now, I wouldn’t want anyone to get bored, so add the others in occasionally as you want to.  There is always time to get in a quick “Soaring Crane” or some Zhan Zhuang practice anywhere any time.

Some of the Qigong and Taiji sets for beginner and advanced students

1.)    “Wuji” a standing qigong for overall health, perform for one minute to as long as you wish!
2.)    Dong Family “Warm up Qigong” strengthens the posture and opens the joints. Takes about 7 to 8 minutes to perform.
3.)   Wudang Daoist Abdominal Breathing Qigong, five simple exercises that form the foundational skills for all qigong, taiji  and meditation practice.

4.)  Dong Family “Basic Qigong Set” builds and distributes qi through the whole body. Takes about 7 to 8 minutes to perform.

5.) Taiji Walking

6.)    “Dong (Yang) Style Taijiquan” The first section of the long form of Taiji (Tai Chi). A total body and mind Qigong and martial art form. Takes about 6 minutes to perform.
7.)     The Dong Family “Hard Qigong” A zhan zhuang practice that builds structural integrity in your physique. These ten postures can be done in as little as 5 to 10 minutes or as long as you wish.
8.)    “Dong (Yang) Style Taijiquan” The second section of the long form of Taiji. Takes about 12 minutes to perform.
9.)    “Soaring Crane 1” is a medical qigong set to strengthen your overall health. Takes about 5 minutes to perform. See video here: Soaring Crane with Master Dong
10.)    “Tiger Mountain” AKA “Taiji Gong” an assemblage of some postures from Yang style Taiji set. Takes 5 to 10 minutes to perform. See video here: Tiger Mountain
11.)    “Zhan Zhuang” or “Standing like a post qigong” Strengthens your stances and internal energy; I suggest just picking any of the postures from the Taiji form and stand still as long as you can comfortably. Take at least 2 to 10 minutes or as long as you wits to perform. See photos of Yang’s Taiji postures here: Yang Cheng Fu
12.)      Yiquan Zhan Zhuang. Eight basic standing postures and a few other simple postures designed to open the hips and strengthen the legs and back and build structural integration into your physique Takes from 5 to 40 minutes to perform.
13.)    “Dong Sitting Qigong, Long Form” From Master Dong Zeng Chen. A total mind and body Qigong for meditation, thrusting vessel, small circle qi and upper body strengthening. Takes about 30 to 40+ minutes.
14.)    “Dong Sitting Qigong” From Master Dong Hu Ling. A simple sitting routine for the upper body qi, the mind and the eyes.

15.)  Five Elements Qigong, Wu Xing Qigong is a nine form set that is a medical qigong toning the internal organs and meridians. See video here: Ziranmen Five Elements Qigong.

16.)  Muscle and Tendon Changing Classics, Yi Jin Jing is one of the oldest known set of gigong, originally authored by the famous Da Mo.

17.)  The Eight Brocades, Ba Duan Jin is another old classic set.

18.)   Zi Fa Gong, spontaneous Qigong comes when you have figured out some of these basic sets  then you let your qi body lead you to move or not to move.

19.)  Wudang Daoist (Hun Yuan) Primordial Qigong, a new set I have been showing and will be writing out soon…

20.)   Wudang Five Animal Forms, another new set I will be showing in 2012

Over time I will expose everyone to parts or all of these forms, just keep coming to class and reading online and most importantly: PRACTICE

Do some Qigong everyday!  Keep it simple but……Do it!

Understanding Reality, Being a “Real Human”   1 comment

The Universe

“The sage sees the whole universe without going out the door”

If you only learned to meditate, it would be the most valuable experience of your life.  To gain understanding, a wordless gift of knowing that you’ve always had, but haven’t used is a profound thing indeed. I am paraphrasing Roy Masters work “Be still and Know” and yet there is so much more going on when we do qigong.

By combining physical exercise and meditation, we gain more than can be had by just “exercising” or “meditating”.  The synergy is further enhanced by the other attributes of qigong, like the way we exercise, opening up the joints, and skeletal system and the sequential opening and closing of the muscles and energy pathways within our bodies.  There is really no other “exercise” like qigong; in my opinion there is no better exercise, and yet it is so much more.

Dissolving your mind and body using qigong also has a calming and strengthening effect on our emotions as well.  To liberate your mind from the emotional prison that has kept the real you locked up without your knowledge is not an insignificant gain!

The understanding gained from proper practice gives insight to all things. The meaning of the quote from the “Tao Te Ching” written above is this: Within everyone, there are elements of all things; a celestial world, we are a microcosm of the universe. Every atom is like a minute solar system, all our cells are virtual galaxies, and our consciousness is like God, indeed, if you can truly know yourself, then you can understand the whole universe.

I often wonder what if we all could expand our understanding in this way.  Yet it was once the normal way for humans. Our convoluted lives have dulled our sense of reality; learning to get in touch with our true objective self is to understand a separate reality, a primordial knowledge that is the “Way” we were intended to be….. Freedom from contrivance, like an un-carved block of wood, becoming what Nature (God?) intended for us.

If you have a goal in life, make it to be a fully integrated human being by being balanced in each realm of human functioning. Don’t be a “spiritual person” or an “intellectual”, and do not be a slave to your emotions and don’t ignore or indulge them. Stop always seeking physical gratification or obsessing about your body.  To be a “Real Human” you need to be in control of all of these things.

Balancing all these separate things naturally into one universe is, for me…..The Way, Taiji the “Supreme Ultimate” and qigong is the path to the Way….. The Way to divinity, to freedom, to perfect health, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Qigong Lesson #4 Discerning Two Qis   2 comments

Yin AND Yang separated

In the first three lessons, I discussed how we align our physical bodies with the forces of Heaven and Earth. This lesson is about learning the difference between the two main aspects of our Qi using the concept of Yin and Yang.

Realize that there are two major forces acting upon us at all times, the first and most obvious is the force of gravity, we all understand what that is. There is however another, balancing force in play as well, that of centrifugal force.  As the earth spins at about 6000 miles per hour trying to throw us off it, we are at the same time held fast by gravity. (Physicists would disagree,  but I’m just illustrating a point)  In another way of viewing it (the Taoist way), we are suspended between the two forces of Heaven and Earth.

Think of “Earth” as the pull of gravity, pulling directly towards the center of the planet. Know it is Yin and, elemental, sinking and compressing downward, everything heavier than air flows towards it. The only way we know which way is up is because we know which way is down!

Think of “Heaven” as that centrifugal force that is lifting us directly away from the center of the Earth; in Qigong parlance, “the golden thread from Heaven” this force is Yang, and ethereal. Lifting and expanding upwards, everything lighter than air, including electrical energy floats weightlessly.

Beginners on the way of Qigong first learn to feel and understand these two different aspects of energy, adepts move beyond the understanding of discerning yin and yang to get to a point where they harmonize yin/yang.

To better learn how to feel Yin and Yang, consider two main types of qi, Yeng qi and Wei qi. Yeng qi is all that stuff that sinks down through our bodies as we relax and let it sink, things like blood, lymph, muscles, organs, a thick viscous downward flow of all our soft tissue.
Think of Wei qi as all that stuff that floats like our electrical signals our nervous system releasing neutral density neurotransmitters into our system like endorphins… our emptied muscles and bones and our breath.

After you understand this concept, you are ready to apply the knowledge to Qigong exercise.

When you relax your body, the blood and lymph and all the soft tissues sink lower into your body; this is the Yeng qi sinking. As this material sinks down, the blood filters through the lymph nodes, and the fascia tissues relax and a curious event occurs. The Wei qi is displaced and it rises up giving you a buoyant feeling. The more you can sink and relax downward, the more you can expand and feel buoyant going upwards.

You are learning to flow all the Earth (Yin) elements (Yeng qi) downward causing the complimentary effect of all the heavenly (Yang) elements (Wei qi) to rise and expand. These dynamics act like an energy pump, sinking down stimulating a return to an upright posture, you are learning to discern Yin and Yang: a major milestone on the qigong path.

More Here: Qigong Lesson #5