Archive for the ‘Taoist Meditation’ Tag

Taiji on Maui’s Taoist Taiji Kung Fu Day Camp 2014   2 comments

Take your body where your spirit wants to go!

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Come and join us at the edge of the forest, upon a sacred mountain, for an amazing week of meditation, qigong, Taijiquan, and Kung Fu.
Taiji on Maui is offering a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in the Taiji way of life with someone that loves you. Join us and reconnect to your true self, learn and practice Taoist methods to better yourself and your life. Relax at a deep level, rejuvenate your spirit. Take time for reflection, gain clarity on your life path, find meaning beyond material concerns, connect with nature, heal, contemplate, grow.

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We will be at Giggle Hill (map) in Haiku from 7:30 AM until 5:30 PM for eight days, this is a beautiful park with lots of trees and wonderful grass. We take a relaxed pace with frequent breaks and enjoy ourselves. There is ample shade, tables and water available and there are great restaurants 5 minutes away in Haiku or Makawao.

Come for any or all of the camp. Anyone and everyone is welcome!
From Saturday March 29 through Saturday April 5, we will be going through my current curriculum. Many of you know some or all of these forms and especially if you do not (you need to start somewhere and beginners are welcome here!), we invite you to join us for eight days of practice and training. We know this is late notice, but change has a way of “changing” things… who knew. For whatever reason, at this time, Taiji on Maui decided to open up the inner workings of this lifestyle for all.

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Born out of the many workshops and camps I have attended, sponsored, loved, and always yearn for still; I have created a lifestyle that is like a perpetual Taiji camp. The lesson I have learned here is, there is nothing like total immersion and focused practice for maximum results. Additionally, for eight days every year, I dedicate myself to practicing in this totally immersed way. The difference now is, instead of attending a camp, or doing my usual sequestered practice, I am inviting anyone that wishes to learn to join me.

And so, if you have a few days between these dates, and want to know what it’s like to live like a like Taoist monk…

Come and join us for:

Sixty four hours of practice and training,
Eight days,
Eight hours each day
Eight different standing qigong forms
Six different Taiji & Kung Fu forms
Two meditations each day
One awesome week
Zero requirement to pay.

Taiji & Kung Fu forms:

Qigong Forms:

Sitting Qigong:

  • From Dong Zeng Chen and Tung Hu Ling
  • Sheng Zhen “Kwan Yin” 
  • Wudang San Feng

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Schedule:
All sessions will be at Giggle Hill (Fourth Marine Div. Park) in Haiku on Maui. I know it rains sometimes, but that will not stop me. There are shelters and there is always practice to do. The following schedule is a rough outline of the curriculum, for example, all the qigong forms will be rotated as appropriate. There is aways randomness in Tao! Where there is a specific focus to a session, I have listed such below but there will be a continuos opportunity to explore anything we wish to at any time … So it is all very Taoist.

Meditations are the first and last thing each day; the time may vary or include other activities. Practice and training sessions start at 8:30 AM and 1:30 PM with a two hour break. Each session starts with related qigong, then we progress to Taiji and Kung Fu. There will be exploration and explanation of applications and plenty of time for “push hands” practice. Saturday night, April 5th we are having a pot luck dinner at the park. We hope to see you there!
The times for all sessions are:

  • 7:30 to 8:30 Meditation
  • 8:30 to 11:30 Practice and Training
  • 11:30 to 1:30 Break for lunch
  • 1:30 to 4:30 Practice and Training
  • 4:30 to 5:30 Meditation

Starting March 29

  • Saturday: Wudang Long Form Taiji \\\ Wudang Tai Yi Kung Fu
  • Sunday: Hao Style \\\ Dong (Yang) Style Long Form
  • Monday: Yang Style Sword \\\ Dong Family (fast) Set
  • Tuesday: Dong Long Form \\\ Dong Family Set
  • Wednesday: Wudang Long Form \\\ Wudang Tai Yi
  • Thursday: Sword \\\ Hao Style
  • Friday: Qigong only \\\ Dong Long Form
  • Saturday: All forms \\\ All forms \\\ Ending Dinner

Copyright Cory Williams 2014

Understanding Qigong Class   3 comments

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Learn the fundamentals of Qigong

I will unlock the secrets of qigong for you; so you can see how (and why) you can move energy to any part of your body that you wish. With a full understanding of the basics of your internal energy system, you will have a solid foundation to understand Traditional Chinese Medicine, Taiji, Qigong, and Taoist meditation.

This class explains all about the art and science of Qigong. Once you know how your energy system works it all makes sense. For instance, we eat food and we breathe and we turn it into electricity that moves our muscles and our bones. This same system feeds energy to our brains, internal organs, bone marrow, skin and everything else, including our thoughts and our emotions. When the energy gets stuck or becomes stagnant, our health suffers, in Chinese medicine this is considered the cause of most health issues. In the western world, 75% of all doctors visits are for preventable illnesses. By combining scientific knowledge along with exercises and meditation, students can learn Taoist methods for ultimate health and longevity.

I will explain everything!… starting from the moment of conception…
how your qi system was formed in your body, and how you make qi, where and how you store it, and how to cultivate and conserve it.

I will show you many different Qigong techniques, for medical reasons, and spiritual practices as well as for strengthening your bodies. These exercises will bring your awareness to the sensations of actually feeling the qi move inside of you. Learning how to unlock stuck qi is an enlightening experience!

Some of the topics explored:

 

History
Wuji, skeletal alignment
Yiquan standing exercises
The three dantians
The eight extraordinary vessels
The twelve meridians
Tuning your breath
Five element theory
Microcosmic orbit
Embryonic breathing
Meditation methods
Nei gong internal qigong
Various breathing methods

There are many different types and styles of qigong exercises, both standing and sitting. I will explain the methods and applications, and be your coach.

I have never seen a class like this before on Maui and I thought it would be nice to pull away the veil that obscures some, if not all of the mysteries that lie “beyond the mysterious beyond.” With this knowledge students can train with anyone and know what is going on. Bring your knowledge up to the instructors level!

This class is on Thursdays at Kaunoa at 11:00 until 12:00
Call and sign up today 270-7308

This is Tao…   10 comments

The Lotus Flower is a symbol of compassion opening in the heart like the bloom of the flower from the swamp in which it grows

The desireless one sees the essence; (the soul)
While the desiring one sees only its manifestation. (the superficial)

Desirelessness is a matter of respectfulness.

Contemplate these statements, ponder them, meditate on them, and if you could have only one desire, make this be your goal:

Overcome your desires and show love to others.

What gift would you offer God? What does the creator of all things need with desires? Tao creates endlessly, it gives away everything it creates and wants for nothing. Is this not love? Wants, desires, expectations, wishful thinking, willfulness, these are all contrivances of ego. True love comes from a place of no desire.

Have you ever heard the expression he or she is “in love with love”? Ah yes, here is a nugget of truth for me. True love is not desire for a person or thing; it is given in the spirit of the thing itself. Wanting nothing for self, only the best for others is love. When two people are “in love with love” there is no desire per se’, there is a spirit of letting nature take its course.  When you feel “in love” the love is in you! If that involves another person or thing, then it is desireless towards that thing. When two spirits find each other, that love is beyond desire, that is a Taoist’s view of divine love.

Only when you feel no desire for something, can you truly love it. When the love for all things fills you, it is like a flower blooming inside your heart. As your energy rises up from the earth it opens your heart, it expands outward, filling the whole universe. Your compassion for all things will grow, your love will know no limits; you’ll prosper in all your ways.

The desireless one can discern the true, (soul) essence of things, not limited to only seeing and desiring that which essence has made manifest (superficially) in the material world.

You will learn the true meaning of love, you will gain respect for all things, you will move forward into an understanding of how everything is connected. This is love and fulfillment, this is infinite compassion, this is true understanding…
This is Tao

Copyright Cory Williams 2012

Taoist Breathing Lesson #1 Tuning the Breath   Leave a comment

Taoists use a skill called “Tu na” to tune their breath before doing qigong and meditation.  Natural Breathing  (Shun Hu Xi) is the best place to start.

Effective meditation and qigong both require good breathing skills; this lesson will give you a method that you can use every time you start your practice. This exercise takes about 5 or 6 minutes to learn, and after a few times you can tune up in about 2 minutes.

I should begin by saying to just breathe naturally, beware of complicated methods; they are not necessary and can even be harmful. In addition, know that generally Taoist breathing is subtle and you should not even hear yourself breathe. In this method make each inhalation and exhalation of equal duration and breathe in and out from your nose.

Like a fine musical instrument, no mater how well it is played, if you want to make beautiful music you need to tune it up first, until it is harmonious within itself it will not give quality results.

Begin by standing in Wuji Stance, now bring your arms just slightly around in front of you and allow them to hang with the hands in front of your thighs.  The first step in tuning the breath is to pay attention to each one of the points along the journey of the breath. Just like a guitar with six strings, a musician tunes one string and then the next in sequence tuning the instrument to a playable condition; I have identified six locations along the path of the breath to assist you in tuning your breath.

Once each location is dialed in we can follow the breath through each one sequentially as we breathe;  just like strumming the six strings of a guitar chord. Then we will feel the body resonate; the whole body vibrates just like the body of a guitar. This vibration will float the arms and pull the legs straight as we feel the energy rising with each inhalation.

First we start with the nose, and then continue down to the back of the throat just behind the tongue and then moving further down we come to the trachea. The next step down from there are the actual lungs and then the diaphragm and finally the dantian.

All I want you to do initially is to stand still and breathe in and out your nose. Pay attention to the air going in and out of the nose and you may notice the nostrils flaring and the hairs inside the nose moving back and forth and even whatever scents are in the air coming in. Just take a few breaths to get comfortable noticing that part of your breath path, just breathe in and out…

Next, bring your awareness to the back of the mouth where the tongue starts its descent into the throat. Feel the air cascading over the back of the tongue and epiglottis, it may feel just a little raspy as the air goes over this area. Another sensation you might feel is saliva welling up in the heavenly pool beneath the tongue. Just like before, take a few breaths with your awareness on this location until you can feel the breath there.

The next location on the journey from the nose to the dantian is the trachea. With each breath you will feel the windpipe expanding and you may even notice slight pressures on the thyroid gland as the trachea expands. Feel the air moving through the larynx and the windpipe expanding slightly as the air reaches the lungs.  Again, take a few breaths at this location until you are comfortably aware of these sensations.

Now you should feel the air entering the lungs and the top of the lungs expanding slightly.  As the air enters your lungs feel the sternum rise and the rib cage expand slightly, keep your awareness here for a few breaths and pay attention to these sensations.

As the lungs fill with air, bring your awareness down slightly lower to the diaphragm muscle at the solar plexus. If you pay attention here you can feel the diaphragm muscle descending upon each breath just as the air starts to enter the lungs. Keep your awareness at this location until you are sure you can feel the diaphragm muscle moving down and up with each breath.

Beneath the diaphragm, bring your awareness to the dantian, now you are in the abdominal cavity. Notice the pressure the descending diaphragm puts on the internal organs. This gentle massaging motion causes your abdomen to move out slightly. Just keep awareness at this location until you can feel the diaphragm pushing on the internal organs and notice that your belly rises and falls with each breath.

Your awareness of each part of the breath is in now enhanced and you are almost all tuned.  Like the individual strings of a guitar; one by one each area is in tune with the one next to it.  Now bring your awareness back to the nose, this time, follow each breath as it goes through the nose, past the tongue at the back of the throat and moves down the throat and trachea into the lungs. Notice how the diaphragm moves down and up and the dantian moves out and in with each breath.  Continue to follow the breath with your awareness as you do all of your various practices that follow.

Now that you have tuned each area and you have followed the path of the breath from top to bottom and from bottom to top you should notice a resonant frequency in your body.  Remember your hands lying just in front of your thighs, with the upper arms slightly against the side of your chest? With each breath and subsequent expansion of your abdomen your arms will rise approximately 1 inch away from the dantian.  Follow this rising feeling of each inhalation as you inhale and the chest expands, feel the chest rising and the hands floating upwards slightly. Simply let this rising feeling pull the legs slightly straight; remember you were standing in wuji stance with bent knees but now the expanding nature of the breath lifts the whole body up and the legs straighten slightly. When you exhale bend the legs slightly, just allow the hands and arms to float down from their elevated position as the air leaves your lungs and the rib cage returns back to its contracted position.

Each time you breathe you will feel the air come in the nose, past the throat, through the windpipe into the lungs the diaphragm moving downwards and the belly moving out and the hands and legs slowly rising as you fill with air.  Each time you exhale as the abdomen contracts and the arms descend, bend your knees slowly back to the beginning position.

Congratulations, you have tuned your breath and you are now doing basic qigong. All you need to do now is continue to pay attention to the tuning of the breath and let the body move in a rhythmic fashion.

I suggest you tune your breath while standing before doing seated qigong and meditation as well. It is much easier to feel the expanding contracting nature of the breath and body while standing. Once the system is tuned and playing along harmoniously with the body moving rhythmically you may commence doing any qigong form that you wish. Simply breathe slower or move the arms and legs faster to keep the timing consistent and with a little practice to be able to do all the qigong you want while keeping the breath tuned continuously.

Whether moving or still, all qigong and meditation practices are more effective by tuning the breath before you proceed; remember, just keep breathing steadily.

Copyright Cory Williams 2011

Next, try here: Qigong Lesson #1

Longevity Science   6 comments

The picture above shows the 100 Chinese characters for longevity. They are all the same character for longevity, but each one is written differently. A person in Beijing has spent over 40 years to collect the writing of the Chinese character for longevity. So far he has found over 15,000 ways to write the character for longevity. It is amazing that a Chinese character can be written in so many different ways artistically.

I was watching TV yesterday and there was a fascinating show on Discovery’s “Curiosity” about “could we live forever?” Now we all know that this has always been the holy grail of everything about life. Interestingly, this show was right after a documentary about Apple’s creator, Steve Jobs. In just the last few years of his life he came up with the I-phone, I-tunes and the I-pad, these inventions have touched hundreds of millions of people!  Mr.Jobs was undeniably one of the greatest geniuses of human history and yet for all his knowledge and vision he died at fifty-six years of age. Maybe there is a lesson here: what if he had been focused on longevity instead of computers and entertainment?  Perhaps a poignant observation that!

But I digress…. In the show about longevity, hosted by Mythbusters star Adam Savage, he undergoes a series of transformations as he ages and technology emerges at the same time: a very real possibility in this day and age.  One of the first things that happens is he gets connected to a machine that filters all of his blood and removes all the “old cells”. The premise being that as cells replicate they mutate and acquire changes and toxins. This yet to be invented machine takes out all the mutated and contaminated cells.

Years later his brain starts to shrink as is known to happen as we age.  Part of the problem is that his memory becomes full. In the show he gets an external memory device installed. But why do all that if he could just “delete” the old unneeded and harmful old junk that was clogging his brain? I could go on about all the things in this show but I’m just making a point here.

Everything about longevity science in this show has already been addressed by Taoists. All this “new technology” has roots in Taoist practice. The disappointing and truly sad thing about this show was its focus on “mechanical technology” and no mention of “human technology”.  It was all about “what if” and “someday” instead telling people the truth about what is known and available NOW.

Today, after a neighbor showed some curiosity in my qigong practice, I was showing her how I can flow blood to my hands using my mind, and explaining how qigong leads to a longer happier life, she just sort of nodded and walked away. “Funny”, I thought that some people can be shown the elixir and walk away.  As I was walking to my home I thought…What would someone give for one more second when they are at the end of their lives…? I understand some people are suffering and death seems welcome to them, but what if they were not in pain?

Pardon my incredulity for pondering these things, yet we can filter our blood and we can regenerate youthful cells in our body, and we can delete old files in our brain and learn new skills. It is possible to age gracefully and maybe even painlessly.  What then, what would you give for one more hour on this earth?  Or one more day, month, year or decade? We all know it could be over in an instant or life could go on for many years. The technology (qigong and meditation) exists today to improve the quality of our lives and isn’t that alone like living longer? That same technology helps to extend the length of our lives; Taoists know that human life should be at least one hundred years long.

When will the world at large see the light and learn qigong and meditation? Rebuild your life from the raw materials of Heaven and Earth. It is never too late to start, and the sooner you do the sooner you will be adding time to your life. What might Steve Jobs have produced if he had lived for another forty-four years? Maybe it’s a good thing some people don’t go on living too long, like killers, but surely we all would want enlightened people to live longer… oh that’s right, enlightened people do live longer!

Start now and never stop, practice everyday. Don’t be limited by a false belief that you cannot feel and look younger or live better and longer. Have a positive attitude and follow the Way.  Study the Way, there is a wealth of life-sustaining knowledge there. Walk the Way always and forever.  Recreate yourself!

The Ultimate   6 comments

Would you go?

What if you searched your whole life for something; what if you invested everyday and night, thousands of days, tens of thousands of hours, year after year in a quest towards a goal and when you finally did everything you were told and after years of waiting, and then, you found out, there was nothing?

What if someone suggested to you to dedicate your whole life, practice diligently and someday you would find nothing, and you knew that going into the journey; would you be interested in going then; doing all the practices, training endlessly and even though it was a blissful journey, only to find out that there was no end goal, would you still go?

What if you could grasp the concept that everything and nothing are made from the same thing…would you go then?

Tao unravels all the mysteries to truth, peace, contentedness and salvation and yet, in essence, there is nothing there. Everything is possible from nothing; nothing and everything define each other. The journey is all there is, the path to non-doing starts at doing.

Practice long and diligently, then you will find your qi….
Continued practice and dedication will guide you to your spirit…
Practice, practice and practice some more and eventually you will find nothing.

Jing, Qi, Shen is the Way to return to the source…Tao

The spirit dissolves into Tao, just as your practice dissolved your body into qi and then continued practice dissolved your qi into spirit…

A place where all things merge into nothing is waiting for you. After years of practice you will find the truth; eventually bringing you back to the source of all things.

 

Copyright 2011 Cory Williams

Taoist Meditation Lesson #8 Heavenly Sojourn   Leave a comment

Connecting the planets

Completing the Small Circle

In the previous lesson, I outlined the basic idea of the Small Circle or Microcosmic Orbit meditation.  Learning to connect your internal solar system will give you much insight into your internal energy. The last lesson leads you through a series of points in your energy system. The point was to bring qi down from the minds eye to the perineum at the bottom of the torso. This involves bringing your awareness to each point along the way for a sufficient length of time that you can feel it at each point before moving to the next one, Basically you were learning the “Yin path“, the downward, relaxing, nurturing and frankly the easy path of energy flow.

If you have become adept at this skill, you are ready to learn the other half of the process, bringing energy up the “Yang path”.  I hope that you noticed how the energy “wants” to flow down the yin path almost as if gravity were pulling it there and in a way, it is. Just to be real about it, there is a mechanical reason for this. By sequentially relaxing downward, your body is allowing blood and lymph as well as the flesh to sag and drain downward towards the earth. Keeping your back straight while this is happening aids the flow by assuring that all the necessary passageways remain open to that flow; slouching or having any misalignment or muscle tension will interfere with this process.

The yin path starts at the tip of the tongue and descends through the tongue, past the thyroid, thymus, heart, solar plexus, dantian, sperm (ovarian) palace, and ends at the perineum. Purists might know that the “Ren” channel ends, and the “Tu” channel starts at the ovarian palace, but the Tu channel “emerges” at the perineum and that is why I start there. These eight places are one-half of the microcosmic orbit, the other seven points are the topic of this article, the “Yang Path“.

In my method, the “Yang Path”  starts just under the skin at the perineum but it is at the coccyx or tailbone where it moves up to the “Ming Men”, gate of life  located just below where the thoracic spine joins with the lumbar spine. It then goes up along the tendons covering the spine, past the kidneys and adrenal glands. From there the path goes between the shoulders at the “Shen Dao”, the path to the spirit, opposite the heart center on the spine i.e.. the third thoracic vertebra near to the thoracic/cervical junction. The next place of wonderment is called “Da Zhui”, the great hammer. Da Zhui is about the C-7, the thoracic/cervical junction, on the spine opposite the throat. From this point, the qi moves upward, goes past the “Jade Pillow” at the top of the spine joining the skull and moves over the skull, up to the Crown Point, and then terminates at the palate just under the minds eye.

When you have completed the yin path and are completely relaxed and all the energy has drained into your hips and pelvis it will coalesce near the premium. You are now ready to bring qi up the spine and recycle the energy via the “Yang path”.

This is a new skill and it can be confusing depending on how you interpret what you are doing in the moment. Just to clarify that statement, some teachers will tell you to “pull the qi to the tail bone using your anus and collect it there“. I would say this too, but invariably pulling and pushing qi up the back channel is not the most effective way to do it, in my opinion. It does work, and you can get started doing it this way and yet if there was an easier way, you might want to try it.

Just tuning the breath and “listening” you may be able to sense the energy moving thought the small circle, that would be very nice indeed. Just sitting quietly and observing the energy flow is fantastic. I would say that is a high achievement. “Moving” qi through the circulation is controlling it. Both are valid and have different applications, for example I like to move qi through the body with my mind so that I can learn how to feel it moving when I’m not moving it!

Before any practice I recommend Tuning the Breath

I recommend that you start to access the back channel (yang path) by first starting at the Crown Point. Just lift up on the Crown Point and feel the head lifting off the shoulders and the spine lengthening and this will pull the tailbone into a vertical alignment, which also opens the pathway at the rear of the anus towards the back. Ah, see now the whole channel is open and now you can pull the energy to the anus and it will be sucked up the spine all the way to the top!  In the beginning, you may still need to coax it up by using your breath and muscle contractions, but as you get better at it, you can reduce the effort and concentration that you apply and spend more time enjoying the results. Each time the qi is at the bottom (Hui yin), open the crown, and allow the qi free access to the top.

From the bottom of the torso, pull up the PC Muscle (this muscle runs from the pubic bone to the tailbone) and you will feel a rush of energy there; this is a simple way of developing perineum power.  This is when you want to pull up around the anus and feel the energy go around the anal sphincter muscle to the rear of the anus. The energy is now at the tip of the tailbone. Learn to feel your internal musculature here and you can contract the muscles there and actually create a wave of qi that will move up the sacrum to the lumbar spine and it will collect at the top of the lumbar region at a place known as the “Gate of Life”.

Bring qi up the Du Meridian

It may take a few tries to do this but keep at it and soon you will feel qi gathering at the Ming Men. You may need to rock your hips slightly to open the lower gate, this will help avoid stuck energy there.  Some say it is like “sipping through a straw” each time you take a breath the energy descends some being pulled back up on the next breath. By using a combination of first pulling the spine up from the top, and then going through a series of muscular contractions and breaths you can apply mental energy to move the qi up, up, and up…

Over time, you will feel the energy moving up through the kidneys, and the Shen Dao,  Da Zhui, through the jade pillow and up to the crown.  When you get used to bringing the energy to the Ming Men you will find it has enough inertia to just rather shoot up through the other points.  The yang path may flow fast as the qi rushes up to the top or, hopefully in a more controlled way. This can be a beautiful and rewarding release of energy that can thrill you when you feel it. Remain calm, and enjoy this energy release as you might enjoy a sexual energy release as it its related to that same feeling.  This is also do to the Chong Mai or thrusting vessel (that is another story) that runs deeper directly through the center of your spine.  Once you get used to these types of experiences you may never be the same again, you are gaining control over your energy.

I would not try to analyze this or focus on each individual point on the back channel at this point in your training. These skills can take awhile to acquire, and unless you have been doing this for some length of time, it may be meaningless for you to get too esoteric about it. It is not how much you know, or think you know about “meridians” and all that, what really matters is that you practice often and you keep it simple.

Many of these spine points can be blocked by accumulated postural  stress and may require qigong movements to open them, particularly prone to being blocked are the Shen Dao and Da Zhui. Come to class, or find a good teacher in your area for help with these two places. You do not want a blockage in “the path to the spirit”!

Even though you can now complete the circle, you are still just at the beginning of a new journey. Do not be in a rush, just work on these new skills for a while and get good at “circulating the microcosmic orbit”. You will find that as you get to know this skill you will be able to use this all the time, like when you are doing sitting or standing meditation or while doing moving soft qigong, or Taiji or even use this skill during sex. This is a start of a new level of qigong training, truly “going internal”.  While all forms of qigong training effect you internally, learning the small circle is the beginning of what we call “nei gong”. You are now moving into a higher level of mediation, where meditation and qigong come together and move your mind and body into the realm of pure energy, yet another step on the path of “Spiritual Alchemy”.

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