- CurriculumThe classes listed below are a combination of the core classes (Yi Ren Qigong Levels 1-3) and some of the other non-core classes that are offered on a regular basis and occasionally. With time the list of non-core classes will grow and expand to meet the demand and need of the student base. Tai Chi & Qigong Seattle Training Curriculum Core Classes and Current list of non-core classes -Level 1: Foundation, Chi Gong Exercise Awakening the Healing Powers Within (The prerequisite for all subsequent courses) Yi Ren® Qigong -Tai Chi Movement: Taoist Tai Chi For Internal & External Strength & A Peaceful Mind (Completion of Level 1 Required) -Moving With Qi: Chi Kung & Tai Chi Style Movements (Completion of Level 1 Required) Yi Ren® Qigong -Level Two: Development Of The Twelve Major Meridians and Organ Networks (Completion of Level 1 required) Yi Ren® Qigong -Jing & Rou: Integrating The Qi Into The Muscles & Tendons To Build Physical Strength (Completion of level 2 required) Yi Ren® Qigong -Level Three: The Extraordinary Meridians (Completion of Level 2 required & Jing/Rou suggested) Yi Ren® Qigong -Sound/Energy Center Correspondences (Prerequisite: completion of Level 2) Yi Ren® Qigong -Forms of Meditation: To Help People Enlighten Their…
- Yi Ren® Qigong Level 1: Internal Qi Activation & Cultivation
- Level 2: Activating & Developing the Internal Organ Energy Pathways
- Level 3: Development of the Extraordinary Meridians
- Moving W/ Qi: Qigong w/ Taichi style Movements
- Jing & Rou: Muscle & Tendon
- Tai Chi Movement: Taoist Tai Chi
- Sound / Energy Center Correspondence
- The Sacred Gates of Internal Cultivation
- Continuing Ed.
- Consultations & Private Lessons
- Contact Us
By Brendan Thorson 10/2011
One of the greatest benefits of Yi Ren Qigong is the Empowering and Awakening Capacity is has on integrating the body and mind, then practitioners can better connect to their inner-Wisdom and Intuition like living with Nature, Tao or the (their) Truth. Your inner Salmon Guidance!
I recall 15+ years ago when I first read The Web That Has No Weaver about Chinese Medicine, Yin and Yang, all the different organs and organ energy pathways…. How they all connect to different parts of the day, and the seasons… It was such foreign concept to me and left me curious and confused. As the next 5 or so years passed every one I spoke to including Acupuncturists, Qigong and Taichi Instructors enhanced the idea I had that Taoists philosophies were just that Philosophy and Concepts not a reality. But, after I began to study Yi Ren Qigong my body-mind connection improved, beyond what most people who have not deeply practiced or studied Yi Ren Qigong would understand, and my mind began getting clearer and clearer signals from my body that was clearly guiding me to live by the Tao, Yin and Yang, the 5-elements, appropriate food choices, thoughts, clothes, sleep…. Thus, I was getting guidance from my body to help me live my life that matched my needs. From my insides, just like Salmon know how to return to the place they were born, not information I had learned from the outside. The guidance I received changed from day to day, month to month and year to year. Nothing stayed constant, I was changing every hour, day, month and year, and I needed to be aware the stage I was at in my life and the ebbs and flows to help me obtain greater inner peace, health and happiness. As a result of the deeper connection between my body and mind I was guided to live my truth (my reality not delusional ideas or internal programs) of what I needed to improve my health and life beyond what I could have ever imagined prior to my upgraded mind and body connection. My bodies guidance system has allowed me to transform my life and connected to the Universal Energies of the Source, Sky, Earth and Humanity.
Today 10+ years after beginning Yi Ren Qigong I continue to grow and shift with every passing day, month and year. Learning how to continue to improve my life and refine myself.
Qigong and Taichi classes and seminars taught in Seattle, WA and throughout the Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest.
A blog of sorts by Brian Kane,
How would you define a demon? Is a demon really a supernatural entity that can possess your soul or a trick of the mind: what Taoists refer to as emotional blockages? Maybe they are both. At any rate, a healthy person must learn how to deal with his or her demons. Recently, Seattle Yi Ren Qigong and Taichi Instructor Brendan Thorson showed me some important passages from the Taosit text the “Tao Te Ching.” It has proven to be an essential complement to my YiRen Qigong practice. But for now, let us move on…
In light of the recent tragedies in Norway and at home, it seems unfathomable that a human being could be capable of killing other human beings for a so-called “good” cause. Since when does murder really accomplish anything? This would have to include murdering yourself either quickly with a pistol, a rope, a knife et-cetera, or slowly with bad habits including detrimental drug ingestions and poor eating habits. Sadly, one of my favorite musicians ever, Amy Winehouse—may she rest in peace—comes to mind. They say she had demons. Some even say she is now “free” of pain now: the pain that lead to her untimely demise.
One of my favorite passages from the Tao Te Ching Reads:
At birth, a person is soft and yielding,
At death stiff and hard.
All beings, the grass, the trees:
Alive, soft, and yielding;
Dead, stiff and hard.
Therefore the hard and inflexible are friends of death.
The soft and yielding are friends of life…
One of the many lessons YiRen Qigong has taught me is that strength, whether physical or inner, is not just about how hard you can push or pull, but also how well you flow or yield with both the negative and positive forces that you encounter. For instance, in the case of Amy Winehouse, it is not certain why such a talented and successful person would destroy herself. I have speculated before that one reason artists may be unbalanced is because they naturally tap into the psychic energy body without being emotionally grounded or at least able to know how to control their emotions. There is probably a myriad of reasons as to why Winehouse self-destructed, but the bottom line could be that she did not have the knowledge to know how to live with, and ultimately destroy, her demons, or energy blockages.
For instance, one question often posed to avid music fans is “Who is your favorite Beatle?” Paul and John were obviously very talented musicians and amazing songwriters. In fact, they seem to be the most popular of the Fab Four. Ringo was a solid drummer who seemed to be a perfect fit for the band. And George: Well George was the so-called quiet Beatle.
But that is certainly not because he had nothing to say. In fact, although George Harrison was not as prolific of a songwriter as John and Paul, when he did write a song, it was almost always amazing. Frank Sinatra, old blue eyes himself, called Harrison’s song “Something” the best love song of the 20th century.
But old Georgie Boy never seemed to develop an over-inflated ego or sense of self-importance as John Lennon and Paul McCartney did. After the band broke up, while Paul and John were taking swipes at each other in the news media and even in puerile and petty song lyrics, George was writing songs about love and spirituality, including the simple, yet beautiful, “My Sweet Lord.” To me, George was the Taoist Sage of the Beatles. His humbleness and effortless action , or what is referred to as Wu Wei, is what ultimately allowed him to have a very happy and productive life.
The Tao Te Ching States
The wise person acts without effort
And teaches by quiet example.
He accepts things as they come,
Creates without possessing,
Nourishes without demanding,
Accomplishes without taking credit.
Because he constantly forgets himself,
He is never forgotten.
This definitely sums up George Harrison, may he also rest in peace. It brings a smile to my face to imagine that if there is an afterlife –or what some believe is just a different life and that death is an illusion–that George Harrison is right now plucking his sitar while Amy Winehouse watches in awe with a new expression of peace on her face. I think she deserves that.
Another passage of the Tao Te Ching reads:
What does it mean that “hope and fear are phantoms of the body?”
When you regard your body as your self,
Hope and fear have real power over you.
If you abandon the notion of body as self,
Hope and fear cannot touch you…
So this brings us back, perhaps to demons and how they seem to plague just about all of us. The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, often wondered why humans have to endure so much pain. Basically, one of his most famous observations is that life is full of opposites and each element of these opposites needs each other to exist: good and evil; happiness and sadness; love and hate; peace and war and so on. I like to sort of compare this to the yin and yang in Taoism. To me, even in darkness or evil, there can be a touch of wisdom and conversely, even in light and good, there can be at touch of foolishness or ignorance.
For instance, a weightlifter surely has big muscles, but in order to improve the physical stature of his or her physique, he or she must endure pain, pain that often lingers days after an intense workout. However if one works out too much, that person might amass massive muscles but be hard and stiff. It is possible that a man half his size who is more soft and supple could over take him in a fight. So in this case, it is not a case of weak or strong, but a case of balancing physical strength and endurance and physical flexibility and suppleness. No man is just one thing or the other. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, our angels and our demons. To stay healthy we must all have a way of moving with both the positive and negative energies in life, and resist trying to resist them.
The Tao Te Ching States:
Allow yourself to yield, and
You can stay centered.
Allow yourself to bend, and
You will stay straight.
Allow yourself to be empty, and
you’ll get filled up.
Allow yourself to be exhausted, and
you’ll be renewed….
In YiRen QIGong, practice the sitting wisdom gate meditation and notice how many insightful thoughts your mind generates. But in turn, try the pushing hand exercise with a friend and notice that by working with your partner, exerting equal force to his yielding, and equal yielding to her force, that your mind becomes still and balanced. As we begin to dissolve our demons, instead of grinding our teeth and fighting them, maybe we should loosen our jaw with repose and reflection and learn to dance with them until they are no longer our demons, but maybe even our friends.
This might seem infeasible, but one man, yes another musician, who many believe actually might have, if not physically but spiritually, died and was born anew is John Frusciante, mostly known for his work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers–however his solo material and other projects are to me, much more fascinating. John, as a young man, wanted to live the cliché rock star life full of excess and ultimately self harm. However his inner demons told him to stop (or was it his angels? I am not sure). He quit the band, became a hardcore drug addict for about five years, and nearly died on several occasions. His battle was a brutal one in which he lost all his teeth and butchered his nose with cocaine use—his arms were covered in needle scars. Ultimately however, he got help and rejoined the band about six years after leaving.
You might say that the more light a person has, the more darkness seeks to destroy that person. I hate the concept of idols or anointing other human beings, but Mr. Frusciante should inspire us all. He is now one of the most spiritual musicians, and people for that matter, on the planet , having conquered addiction and subsequently his demons. Like George Harrison, all John Frusciante seems to want to do with his music is spread love and joy, and if there is a melancholy note, it is only to balance out the joyous ones.
All in all, what might have seemed to the outside observer as a horror story (that being the site of Mr. Frusciante slowly dying while verbally expressing his battle with his demons: There are several YouTube clips that depict this) to John it was a necessary phase in his life in order to become the best person he could be.
He is not embarrassed or ashamed of the time when he was a self-destructive, loathing recluse who had little love for himself. To Frusciante, and to me, his plight was a very dramatic demonstration of the inner battles that every person seeking spiritual and emotional freedom must fight. As I mentioned in earlier writings, when you meditate and seek to dissolve your blockages, you will encounter demons. You have a choice, let them live inside you or wage a war against them. A war best fought intelligently with self improvement and not destruction—although what might seem like self-destruction could be a means to an end. However, I do not condone drug abuse or any other sort of self-harm in order to be free.
Perhaps a very small analogous anecdote to the aforementioned example is what happened to me while I wrote this blog. About six months ago I spilled a bottle of Kombucha on my keyboard. I was very alarmed and dried it out with a hair dryer. However, the next day, my keyboard was very sticky and the keys stuck to the computer. I was very annoyed and thought I would for sure have to take it into a shop and have them fix it. Gradually the keys became less sticky, but occasionally they would stick a great deal again.
Then tonight, in another brilliant move, I spilled a glass of water on my computer keyboard. Just as before, feeling like a complete dork, I turned the laptop upside down and the water poured out from beneath the keys. I then disconnected the computer and ran it into the bathroom where I commenced to dry it with the hairdryer. After doing this for about a minute I panicked. I ran back to my desk and plugged it back in.
I was extremely relieved to find that my computer still worked great. In fact, guess what, the keys no longer stick at all. It was as if what was seemingly a huge disaster, was actually a positive event.
I am willing to bet that many of the trials that we face, the ones that might seem indicative of inevitable failings and our demise, are just what YiRen QIGong inventor and my teacher Brendan Thorson’s Teacher, Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun, would refer to as the bitter before the sweet. As he would say, you must taste the bitter before you get to the sweet.
And lastly, I leave you with one more passage from the Tao Te Ching to ponder:
Know the universe as your self, and
You can live absolutely anywhere in comfort.
Love the world as your self, and
you’ll be able to care for it properly.
Until next time, this is your old YiRen QiGong pal saying: over and out…
By Brian Kane 7/11/2011,
“Dude, you should turn up the guitar solo on that part,” I said to my friend while we were mixing a new song.
“Actually, I was thinking that we should turn it down if anything,” he quickly replied. “I mean it seems to kind of come in aggressive, and shouldn’t necessarily be brought up.”
As I began to listen closer, I noticed that what my friend said was true. I began to wonder why I didn’t notice that at first. Then we came to the song where he played the bass part.
“OK, that bass is fricken loud! That needs to be turned down a bit.” I said while my friend listened to his part.
“Yeah I know, I noticed that right away,” my friend replied and then made an observation. “I think it is an ego thing, because I played the bass on this song and didn’t even notice that in the first mix it was way too loud and you didn’t notice that your guitar part was just fine but wanted it louder…”
Although this might not seem like a profound conversation: one that could lead to a personal epiphany, it did in my case. I think it illustrates that in order for people to work well together, they have to consider the overall goal that the people involved are all trying to accomplish: in this case, producing music.
One thing I have observed about YiRen QiGong is that by practicing in a class setting, as opposed to by yourself, you can get more powerful results. A lovely young lady wrote to me recently that she seems to gain more time and space to practice QiGong when she does it with a group: not time in the linear sense or physical space, but the spatial patience to practice : Patience that she often cannot find when she is on her own.
From my experience, this makes perfect sense. I am able to practice on my own usually, but right now, I have so much on my plate, that it often seems hard to get into the right frame of mind to practice YiRen QiGong. However, I have noticed when I do find a moment to practice, even 30 minutes can change my outlook on the day and the tasks at hand.
As an individual, I feel that it is possible to grow with YiRen Qigong, but practicing with others, especially with a certified YiRen QiGong instructor, is even more beneficial. I am positive that my Jing & Ru Class on Monday with Brendan Thorson will be equally as fun (if not funny because lately, class seems to be as spiritually uplifting as it is humorous) as it will be soulfully rewarding. I just have to make sure to have the third eye outlook of a man that is but one of many in a collective movement of people looking to better themselves as well as humanity as a whole. My view is that YiRen QiGong has the power to create people with the clarity and compassion to do just that.
(Next on my agenda is to interview a man who studies brain activity and is certain that YiRen QiGong improves the performance of your mind. Stay tuned! Until then, let’s all try to listen harder from a Universal perspective. Good Day! Brian.)
Seattle Tai chi qigong
By Brian Kidd
This morning I was listening to some rare interviews with John Coltrane. The thing that struck me most about his voice is that he sounded so much more mature than his age. He was only about 30 in one interview, but sounded like he could have been much older. I then remembered the story about Miles Davis punching Coltrane in the stomach once because Coltrane was using heroin. Davis wanted to punch some sense into him, although Davis dabbled in that drug as well.
Despite the historic punch-to-the-gut, Davis and Coltrane, of course, remained good friends until Coltrane’s untimely death in 1967. In fact, they continued to work with and admire each other throughout the 1950s.
Being a musician myself, I have seen how demanding and thankless the music industry can be, especially on the musicians that often do not get the recognition they deserve. This can really take its toll on a person’s soul and try one’s patience. I remember asking jazz local Jazz drummer Matt Jorgensen if he ever thought about quitting music and he quickly replied, “Everyday. It takes a lot of strength and will to continue on…”
Recently I was doing a recording session with Steve at Saturna Studios. Before we even began to record, he was listening to some tracks I made and posted online. He was initially very critical. “This sounds stupid, the way you and that guy work together sounds totally lame because it’s like he just added a bunch of electronic music to it without really thinking about it.”Prior to this, we had been at a local bar and most of the time there he harangued me for my ideas about the album I am putting together, acting like he knew what was best for my music.
At first, I was a bit angry at him and kind of defensive but I did not vocalize my inner thoughts. Then the next song came on. “Now this, this is different. This is good, kind of has a Bauhaus feel to it…” Steve stated.
Thankfully I kept my mouth shut during most of his previous tirade, wrought with seemingly outlandish, harsh judgment about my music. I could have stormed out of the studio with a emphatic, “FU” but instead remained centered and calm, confident in my music and its direction; Even though at times I have absolutely no idea why I even bother making music. It will probably never pay the bills or put food on the table. I guess it’s kind of an addictive hobby. It could be worse, I could be addicted to video games. I never could understand how any person over 20 could play video games all day. Not that I dislike video games, but I just wonder where these people find the time to play them for hours on end. Then again, people could wonder the same about adult musicians like myself. Man, there just isn’t enough time.
Throughout my career as a musician, I have been in numerous ego-testing situations. I have flubbed on stage and had embarrassing moments, been lambasted by band members and criticized harshly be critics. This is nothing new to most musicians. But it can create negativity and resentment in a person’s soul, and even obscure the success a musician has.
As Steve and I sat and listening to the rest of my material, we remained dead silent. After listening to the demo tracks, he kind of looked a bit sorry for his previous comments. I ignored his eyes and just said, ”Well, man, it’s late. We have to record tomorrow. I will see you about noon.(Which in musician time is like 7 a.m.)
The next day we had an extremely productive recording session during which we laid down drum and guitar tracks. I helped him set up the drum kit and all 10 microphones to record the kit. He taught me about how to record drums, and I showed him a couple techniques I use on guitar. We had a few cold ones, laughed a lot about both our mess-ups and recording triumphs (Steve played drums on the track) and needless to say were just plain had a blast. I guess this is why I make music. Oh, yeah, it can be fun.
Steve and I recorded well into the a.m. hours. During the session, we got into a couple arguments and Steve, who is very funny, made a few snide remarks. (One of which was during a melodic guitar complement I was tracking. Sitting right next to me while I was playing, he remarked, “Woah there, Carlos Santana, settle down.” After I was done with the track I said to him, “You said play sexy, didn’t you.” We both had a laugh.)
So this brings us to my final thoughts about forgiveness. You might wonder, what does all this rubbish have to do with forgiveness anyway? It sounds like a bunch of bologna to me. Well, many of us have had to work in groups or with other people. This concept definitely does not apply solely to music (whether in a huge orchestra or just with a partner.) Most people, myself included, have to work with others at their place of employment, usually for 40 hours a week. It can be very easy to gossip and tangle with other people during these hours. My advice, try to stay neutral, do not talk about other people, do not take criticism personally (usually it is a result of the criticizer’s own frustrations) and try to smile and joke around as much as you can, keeping in mind to stay tactful.
When I was younger, I probably would have argued with Steve and maybe even insulted his own music. Heck, I probably would have taken my business elsewhere. I honestly believe that in addition to just getting older, maybe a bit wiser, YiRen QiGong has helped me control my negative emotions a great deal. One thing I like to do in situations where I feel that someone might be trying to attack me, is to start to think more in the back of the mind or the Parietal Lobe. YiRen QiGong instructor Brendan Thorson believes that a great deal of people’s emotional problems lie in the fact that they live mostly in the frontal lobe of the brain. When you connect the frontal lobe with the back of the mind, which is more intuitive, you can feel calmer and more centered. This has been my experience.
YiRen Level III QiGong has truly helped me be able to think more calmly and detach my ego when need be. When you worry too much what others think about you and what you do, it is very easy to become defensive, especially when your ego is fragile or inflated. Level III has helped me recognize the oneness of the universe that we all are part of. I guess the value the YiRen QiGong classes that I am taking now are that they have helped me forgive in the moment, if you will. That way emotional gunk doesn’t build up in my organs and Energy Centers. So in a sense, Level III is like a Soul Filter much like a fuel or oil filter on your car. The lessons prevent buildup.
So after cleaning up and getting off the junk, Coltrane put together his famous quartet that included Jim Garrison, McCoy Tyner and the amazing drummer Elvin Jones. One of my favorite stories was during a set in support of Coltrane’s famous record “A Love Supreme” avant-garde Jazz Pianist Thelonious Monk started dancing around in the aisles. Monk was happy about the success that his former band member was having. Success that the spiritual John Coltrane had earned by being both persistent and forgiving. Although he died at the age of 40, Coltrane reminds us that some of the most beautiful and useful things can be created when people work in groups. Part of being able to do so productively, is being able to forgive those we work with. The results usually end up being very rewarding.
By Brendan Thorson 6/2011,
Following the five elements we have the season of Summer on the horizon, the energies of fire and the heart reaching their peak. You may be thinking to yourself what does this mean to me. Well what this means is that this is the time the earth energies naturally rise up to the heart the strongest and we can build up our internal strength. During this time many people also struggle with feeling uncomfortably hot and can easily feel parched and exhausted. Those uncomfortable feelings are a result of an imbalance of the yin and yang internal energies.
When peoples yin and yang internal energies are in balance they can handle cooler and warmer temperatures much easier; you may recall how much less you were affected by the heat or cold when you were a child. In fact, there are the “snow birds” who travel to warmer climates in the Winter and to Cooler climates in the Summer to reduce the stress on their energy system. This is a very affective tool for many people. However, as an energy practitioner we can take advantage of the heat of the Summer and the cold of the Winter to help build up our energies and allow us to improve our internal strength and balance. Our energy system and organs can greatly benefit from the extreme changes of the seasons just like our muscle and skeletal system benefits from physical exercise and resistance training. Another analogy is the contraction (from the cold winter weather) and expansion (from the heat of the summer) that occurs on our energy bodies similar to the how steel becomes stronger and stronger from the tempering process of heating and cooling it back and forth to make it harder and stronger. We all have our limits and we need to know and respect our capacity so we do not cause ourselves any harm.
I recall before I began studying Yi Ren qigong how easily my internal temperatures would fluctuate between hot and cold and how weak and uncomfortable I often felt. After beginning to practice Yi Ren Qigong I was able to feel my internal energies gradually building up and harmonizing. As every year passes I can feel my capacity improves for both heat and cold. In fact, over the past couple of years there are times I have feelings in my body that remind me of how I felt as a child; feeling so warm in my chest, heart and surface of my body on hot summer days and how good the external cold feels on the surface of your skin on cold winter days in the winter while you can feel the kidneys, life gate and sacrum area running like internal engines creating warmth and power deep inside your body. The more you build up your internal energy system the more you realize just how powerful and amazing it is. With extended cultivation we can all begin to experience just how our internal body works and all of these amazing internal engines that we have in our energy system that just need to extra fuel and development from our internal cultivation to be found and activated.
If you have studied Chinese medicine you may have heard or read that extreme yin can make yang and extreme yang can make yin? Or read about the chaka system and that the universal center on the top of your head can connect to heaven energies and the feet can make us more rooted/grounded and strengthen our connection to the earth. The above examples are just a couple of things that I read about before I began to study Yi ren qigong and they all seemed like philosophy to me. But after I began to study yi ren qigong my body became a live chakra system and acupuncture body and I was able to clearly feel and understand that many things I had previously read about with the chakras, yin and yang energies and the five element systems are very real and not a philosophy at all! But in order for most of us to experience these feelings we have to invest time to our internal cultivation and develop our energy body. With steady practice and yi ren qigong training we can all begin to find the answers to the universe from studying the depth of our internal universe.
Occasionally I have mentioned in class about a memory I have from the time I went to massage school and sometimes the instructor would tell the class (now it is time to get grounded, everyone take a minute and ground yourself). Many years after my massage school days from my energy practice I began to actually feel a suction, magnetic, and energy shooting into the depths of the earth from the bottom of my feet. Once I began to have those feelings I know what it feels like to really be grounded and connected to the earth. Intention is very powerful, but intention with a developed energy body…
I wish you much joy, confidence, health, realization and positive transformation with your internal work and I know yi ren qigong can help you with your journey.
Qigong and Taichi classes and seminars taught in Seattle, WA and throughout the Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest.
By Brian Kane 6/4/2011
When I was in sixth grade, my teacher, Mr. Bannister, when referring to a peculiar current event that involved our government or a celebrity, often said: “All is fair in love and war.” When I was 11 or 12, that saying really never affected or left an impression on me, because besides the usual innocent grade school crush and the proverbial “love” note the read “Do you like me?” or “Will you go out with me?” I had no idea what love felt like. And war, it would be another 15 years until I had friends leave for the Middle East, and had one of those, Shane, die in combat.
Flash forward 20 years…I often think about what Mr. Bannister said.
With regards to war, well forget about it, although we like to live under the illusion that there are “rules” in war, that idea is utter bull crap. Does Abu Ghraib strike a chord with anyone? How about the Mi Lai Massacre? Yeah, I wonder if former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld (or as New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd referred to him as, “Rummy”) thinks there are rules in war. I truly doubt it.
Love is a different story. Ideally, there should be no deception in love. There should be no games, manipulation, spitefulness, et-cetera. The word ‘fair’ almost alludes to the fact that love is a game. That brings up the question: Does love really exist? Or is it merely a chemical trick of the mind: a Serotonin farce?
I believe that love is real. I know when I am in love if after the lustful feelings have subsided, I truly enjoy the company of a girl to the point that I am excited to support her and, ideally, she is excited to support me. If you are truly in love, then sex is perhaps only half of the equation. Once I went to a rock concert, and the singer of the band told the audience that he would like to thank his wife. Because without her, he did not believe he would be as successful as a musician. See, love is empowering and mutually beneficial and some would say, necessary for a healthy existence.
I would revise Mr. Bannister’s quote to say: “All is fair in war and lust.” That makes more sense. For instance, recently former Senator John Edwards has been in the news for cheating on his wife and then supposedly receiving contributions from a supporter to cover it up. I am sure that he loved his now deceased wife. However, his lust got the better of him and he had an affair, ruining their marriage. And I am sure most of you have read about Arnold Schwarzenegger having a kid with the live-in maid. This list could go on forever: Pastor Jimmy Swaggart, Hugh Grant and his affair with a prostitute, Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton and on and on.
In the aforementioned cases, only one of the women forgave her lover, Hillary Clinton. Some might use the argument that humans are not innately monogamous. I would have to say that some of us are more monogamous than others. It is true that some people should just not get married or should agree to polyamorous relationships which involve multiple partners. Men seem to be more apt to want multiple partners, but this does not mean they are not capable of love. Love involves sacrifices, so it seems to me that even if you have lustful feelings, you should be able to subdue them if you are truly in love with a person.
One of the biggest issues in relationships seems to be cheating. I myself have never cheated on a woman but that is not to say that I have never had the urge or thoughts of doing it. Moreover, if I was a man of power and prestige like say, Bill Clinton, I cannot honestly say that I would have remained completely faithful to my wife. Like my uncle Marvin often says about celebrity affairs: “Hey, how would you act if you were constantly around eye-candy and having women throw themselves at you on a regular basis?” I’d like to think that I would remain faithful to my girlfriend or wife. But one can never be completely sure.
So even if love is a game, nobody likes to play with a cheater. Being in love is not easy because although true love does exist, so does the incredibly strong urge of sex and lustfulness, which are often completely different emotions than love.
Man, where in the world am I going with this? OK, so like with friends, we all have different values and levels of tolerance when it comes to lovers. Some of us view love as a very Shakespearean tragedy or comedy: “The Merchant of Venice” depicts the often ridiculousness of love. Some believe it does not exist and is a way to control our natural tendencies to desire to copulate with anyone that is willing. Some believe that love exists, but is not for them. Some believe that they have found love, even though in the past they thought they were in love. You know… love is a really complicated phenomenon. Maybe we make it that way. It is certainly hard to describe love with words so I will stop this nonsense now and get to the issue at hand: Lovers and Forgiveness.
The year was 1998, November to be exact. I had just broken up with my first serious girlfriend. I will spare you the details of how and why this love affair ended but I can tell you that some pretty mean things were said by both of us during the breakup. One of the things she said that has haunted me over the years is “You are gonna end up old and alone.” Although I do not believe this to be prophetic, I think we are all scared of that happening to us. None of us want to be the crazy cat lady (or man).
She felt really bad about saying that among other things and in a beautiful letter (which most of her letters were) she asked for forgiveness for her words and actions.
“…I said some things out of anger and rage that I didn’t mean to say,” she wrote. “You are a wonderful person and I wish the best for you because that is what you deserve…” She went on…”Forgive me for my harsh words please, you know that I don’t meant them…”
Of course I was kind of a bugger at times during that relationship, but hey, I was a kid. We both were. That was a very long time ago and honestly I have completely forgiven her and she has forgiven me.
A recent ex of mine one time randomly emailed me some pretty vitriolic words. I was kind of taken back since it had been about two years since we had broken up and she had since then married. Some of what she said, I think I kind of deserved and I wrote her back saying I was sorry. She did not respond—right away.
About six months ago, she wrote me a beautiful email that explained that she was getting help for some of her personal issues. Part of that help entails asking people that you might have hurt over the years for forgiveness. I cannot tell you how happy this made me. She explained why she believes she made our relationship hard and then I wrote to her explaining what I believe I did wrong. After I wrote her back, it was like part of what was weighing down my soul to love had been lifted and I was breathing easier, if that makes sense.
I could go on with other examples, but the point is, forgiveness is very empowering. It is not a sign of weakness or conceding. It is good for both parties involved. Love is also empowering. It is not a sign of weakness or conceding. It is also good for both parties involved. Perhaps the trick is to realize and be at peace with the fact that relationships run their course: Some last a very short time, some last until death. Throughout it all, both very kind and, unfortunately, often very mean words will be said: very kind and in some cases mean actions will be taken. The trick is to not act out of what my first serious lover also mentioned in her letter “…passion and rage…” but out of intelligent understanding and maybe even patience.
Dr Guan-Cheng Sun has written three books that are available to YiRen QiGong students. In Volume Two he wrote “One of the major problems in Western medicine is its lack of the knowledge and understanding about the functions of the internal organs at the energetic level. For example, shoulder pain can be caused in an individual by chronic grief. In such a case, the shoulder pain is not the problem, it is the signal of an accumulation of grief. Many people don’t understand this could be caused by holding the grief for a long period of time and they do not allow themselves to cry to release the grief. Instead, they may take painkillers to repress the feeling of the shoulder pain. Without the knowledge and understanding about the functions of the body at the energetic level, the body’s intelligence and energetic communications can be easily mistaken as illnesses or problems requiring medical treatment with drugs and surgery…”*
He then goes on to write how our thoughts, state of mind, emotional habits and behavior have a direct connection to our health and quality of life.
After reading through the exercises, I came upon two Level Two YiRen QiGong exercises that I believe can help us learn to forgive past lovers (and others) and also empower us to seek new lovers and relationships. Those exercises are the Lung/Large Intestine exercise (as mentioned in my previous two writings) and the Stomach/Pancreas exercise. From my understanding these two exercises are Heaven (Du) related to Yang Energy, and Earth (Ren) related to Yin Energy, partners.
For example, the lungs are affiliated with the emotions of sadness, grief, depression, sorrow, momentum and enthusiasm. The large intestines at the conscious level are related to abomination, detachment, forgiveness and purity and at the emotional level: coolness, purity, longing, despair and hopelessness.
The Stomach, at the emotional level, is related to curiosity, anxiety, obsession and stress. At the conscious level: thoughts, decision making, imaginations, delusions, logic and reasoning. The pancreas, at the emotional level, is related to impatience, worry, shame and guilt.
This is not an exhaustive list, but my intentions are for the reader to see how the health of these two organ pairs is very important not only in relation to forgiveness, but also the strength and courage to carry on in your quest for both self love and the love of another person. The more I study Yi Ren QiGong, the more I have become aware that there is a definite mind/body connection. If that connection is not fluid and unimpeded, oftentimes blockages or hang-ups are created.
Love and war, to me, are two separate and very different things. War is destructive, and love is mending. War is foolish, and, contrary to some popular belief, love is very wise. It might be a misconception of love that created that quote that my elementary school teacher taught us. No matter whether you agree with the adage or not (All is fair in love and war) it is unarguable that forgiveness of lovers (whether it be romantic, ideal love or a fleeting, lustful tryst) is imperative to living a healthy life.
With all that said, I leave you with the lyrics to a Daniel Johnston song. Johnston found true love with his muse, Laurie, and she inspired him to write beautiful lyrics such as these. Enjoy.
True love will find you in the end
You’ll find out just who was your friend
Don’t be sad, I know you will,
But don’t give up until
True love finds you in the end.
This is a promise with a catch
Only if you’re looking will it find you
‘Cause true love is searching too
But how can it recognize you
Unless you step out into the light?
But don’t give up until
True love finds you in the end.
*Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun , PHD & Jill Gonet, M.F.A.(2011). “Qigong: Energizing the Zang-Fu—YiRen QiGong Therapy Manual Volume II” page 1.
By Brian Kane,
What is a friend? According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, a friend is: one attached to another by affection or esteem. It seems to me that friends are something we need in life in order to get by. Friends can give us advice, help us in difficult situations, and just be there to comfort us through both good and bad times. Hopefully they make us laugh a lot too.
But not all of us desire to make new friends or even have close ones. Why? I remember when I was a kid, I heard Rusty Willoughby of Flop croon in the song “Regrets” “…I haven’t got no friends, shit is a better companion…” It always baffled me when I heard those words at age 16. I loved my friends and had a lot of them, relatively speaking.
But then I got older. Many of my closest childhood friends do not even speak to me anymore. Stuff went down, sometimes on numerous occasions, which tested my friendships and in some cases ultimately dissolved them.
I suppose an anecdote is prudent at this point. For instance, one of my closest childhood friends, we’ll call him “Mike,” used to constantly talk bad about me behind my back. This didn’t really surprise me since he used to talk to me about other people all the time as well. One day, at a friend’s house I was looking for the remote control. I found it in a table drawer along with a piece of paper that had quotes on it. I dismissed it at first, but upon further inspection I noticed that the quotes were things that I used to say quite often. Brian Kane verbal idiosyncrasies if you will. Stuff like “Whatever man, I don’t even care anymore,” “Can you Drive?” and mannerisms like, “Poor a perfectly good beer down the drain and say it was mostly backwash,” “Always cancelling plans to hang out with friends and instead always be with his current girlfriend” et-cetera. Basically, the list was sort of poking in fun of some of my quirks or things that “Mike” found irksome.
The list was mostly composed by my supposed best friend, “Mike.” Now this really hurt me and I called “Mike” up to chastise him. His excuse was basically, “Well you know when you hang out with someone a lot and some of the stuff they do bugs you? I just had to get that off my chest.” But you had to make a list about me with another one of my friends? That seems very deranged.
In retrospect, I believe this was a lame excuse and just one of the many reasons that I am no longer friends with “Mike.” At the time, I forgave Mike and we remained friends. And if that was the worst of what he was capable of doing to his supposed, “friends” then I would most likely still be friends with him today, even though he can be a extremely insensitive and abusive. However, some of his later actions are simply unmentionable, and I just simply got exhausted trying to remain friends with him.
Coincidentally, this character now lives right behind me in a cozy condominium with his new wife. I have had recent conversations with him and he has not changed much: He still talks smack about people we know or knew and acts like a complete buffoon in public, usually embarrassing everyone around him. The sad thing is, he is not inherently a buffoon, but his insecurities make him act stupid in social situations, with absolutely no decorum. I look at it like this, Mike’s good side is great (he can be smart, caring and funny). His bad side is horrible and outweighs any part of his good side (he is vindictive, spiteful, jealous, selfish, condescending and rude.)
There is an old saying: Small minds talk about other people, large minds talk about issues, and even larger minds talk about ideas. When I saw “Mike” recently, he was still using only half of his brain–gossiping and bashing others. Needless to say, it only validated my choice to not want to ever be his friend again.
So this brings us to friends and forgiveness. It is inevitable that your friends are going to hurt you. I think that the question is not whether you should forgive them (you always should) but whether you should remain friends with them. I consider myself an extremely open minded person and try to get along with everyone
For instance, in my senior year high school yearbook, someone wrote: “I think I’ve known you since Jr. High! Northshore…the prison school, right? Anyway, you’ve always seemed like a really cool guy to me who is just nice to everyone. Good luck in the future. Have a good summer.”
It probably seems hypocritical of me to me talking about one of my old friends, but I do it to create an example of how we should forgive our friends no matter what. And I am not trying to be self-righteous, but that is one of my favorite yearbook inscriptions that I have ever received. I guess I look at it as self-confirmation that I am a decent person and always have been. I am far from perfect, as most of us are. But one thing I have always tried to do is be kind to people. I always felt that I had a part of me that was like everyone else, even the jerks that we all must encounter.
By studying Yi Ren QiGong and tai chi, most notably Level III, I have gradually begun to see more of the universality of human existence. One thing I have noticed more and more is that when I hang out with a person long enough, even for just one evening, my inner voice and even decision making process takes on the characteristics of the person I hung out with. I can even close my eyes and imagine how one of my friends might look and what he or she might say and act like being in the same situation that I am in at any given moment.
For the most part, for me, this is a good thing since I consider most of my friends super intelligent and wise. However, for instance, when I hung out with “Mike” I said and did some really ignorant and hurtful things to people. “Mike” was having a detrimental influence on me. The reason I still hung out with “Mike” is that I am very loyal. However, I now know that you must forgive those who have done you wrong. This releases any bad, draining energy created by holding an infantile grudge. However, one should never feel obligated to remain friends with someone. People change: sometimes for the worse.
As I mentioned in the last blog, practicing the Level III Extraordinary Meridian Exercise along with the level II Lung/Large intestine exercise is an amazing way to let grudging feelings go and forgive yourself and others.
One lady in the last Level III class I attended said that by attending Dr. Sun’s recent Level III seminar on May 21st and 22nd she has begun to realize more and more how we are all connected to each other and to the universe. She was very excited and said that since that seminar, she has been much more at ease and clearheaded. YiRen QiGong teacher Brendan Thorson, lead us through some of the same exercises that Dr. Sun had lead at the seminar, and after class, I felt very calm an introspective. I thought about my life and my friends in it. I thought about something a friend did recently that hurt me. But I did not get upset. I just smiled and forgave that person. The burden on my back felt much lighter after that. Hopefully one day that burden will seem weightless. Forgiving friends is definitely a start.
By Brian Kane 5/19/2011,
(This is the first in four small installations that I will write: Yourself and Forgiveness; Friends and Forgiveness; Lovers and Forgiveness; and finally, Group Dynamics and Forgiveness. I think forgiveness is a very important thing and holding grudges creates harmful blockages. This is what prompted me to write these pieces. Enjoy)
I have a confession. Please forgive me, but I hardly know anything about QiGong other than it is helping me. Yes I have been taking classes for about one year and a half, but in QiGong time, it seems like that is like one minute and a half. All I know is that when I do these exercises, they help me.
Will you forgive me if I seem like a fraud? You know, I am probably not even the best student. I just recently started compiling all the lessons into a binder and a folder on my computer. I always was a little slow. Heck, I didn’t even practice QiGong hardly at all last week. I worked overtime last weekend during Dr. Sun’s seminar about the lungs and large intestines. It was a seminar about letting go of sorrow. Maybe it was even a seminar about forgiveness. I would not know, because I am such a bad student and an ungrateful person. I didn’t even write a blog last week either, geez, or this week for that matter. I don’t even know if I have anything else to write about.
Man, things just seem to be falling apart lately. I mean, I have so few friends, no lovers, and I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I thought QiGong was supposed to help me but everything seems so blah lately.
This week I began really reflecting on past friendships and intimate relationships. When in the past, these reflections made me smile and even laugh, recently they have just left me with a bunch of regret and depression. Man, I should have held on to that friend, he was a cool dude. Man, I should have stayed with that girl, she was so beautiful and funny. Man, I should have studied something different in school. Man. I really messed up my life.
Now all I do is sit around, practice QiGong, read books, play guitars and synthesizers, meet amazing people, abstain from drugs, drink only in moderation, workout and am more fit now than I was 10+ years ago as a kid, learn programming languages, write an album, play live shows with friends…wait, my life does not suck at all. I might feel very lonely at times, but I am comfortable being in this place. A place that I believe is what I referred to, two blogs ago as the Dark Night of the Soul.
Yes, I have said some stupid things to people, but people have also said stupid things to me. I forgive them. I forgive myself for what I said to my old best friend. We do not talk anymore, but I hope he forgives me like I have forgiven myself. I think that is where forgiveness begins: with yourself.
In one of my first pieces, I mentioned that my late Grandfather used to say “You are your own worst enemy/” One of the ways we are our own worst enemy is by not letting go of regret and forgiving ourselves for past errors. I believe that sometimes, forgiving yourself is not even warranted. I think that many of us are way too hard on ourselves. But who could blame us? I mean oftentimes society sets very high standards for us, and we in turn might feel frustrated when trying to live up to those standards. I myself often feel like a marionette on a string, being pulled and contorted into what are oftentimes uncomfortable positions and find myself in unfamiliar places.
And we have to realize that all of us are deep and complex beings. It was Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey of all people who noticed the hypocrisy of men when he would play the Calliope at Saturday night parties. Before he founded his church, he was a paid musician. At some parties, he would see men engage in what might be considered ungodly behavior. These same men would be at church with their wives the next day, begging God for forgiveness for the debauchery they engaged in the night before. LaVey believed that men were going against their natural instincts, which is part of what prompted him to form his Church.
Now, I do not agree with most of what LaVey taught and wrote about, but his observations were quite telling. What I believe is that we all have a visceral, primitive side, or a wild side if you will, and there is no reason to be ashamed of that. If we oppress our natural instincts, which include sex, then I believe that these urges might manifest themselves in abusive behavior: self abuse and abuse of others. They key, perhaps, is to be forthright with all those you encounter and seek to balance your animalistic side with your more cerebral spiritual side. And who is to say that animalistic experiences cannot be spiritual? The ultimate goal is to gain a higher sense of awareness of yourself and how you fit into the universe. Along your journey, you may feel like you have done things that are unlike you. (A sort of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde experience) But this is all necessary to obtain peace in your mind and spirit.
In essence I view the likes of Anton LaVey—a man who thought humans should try to quell every so-called natural desire, no matter how immoral(possibly short of murder)—and say a person like the Dalai Lama, as sort of two ends of the moral spectrum. The Dalai Lama, who lives by mostly Buddhist teachings, was quoted in a 2008 news article as saying, “Sexual pressure, sexual desire, actually I think is short period satisfaction and often, that leads to more complication. He went on to say. “Naturally as a human being … some kind of desire for sex comes, but then you use human intelligence to make comprehension, you find that those couples always are full of trouble. And in some cases there is suicide, murder cases.”
My opinion is that sex is a healthy thing if it is not used solely as a form of escapism, but as a way to balance your being. It is obviously an act that is necessary to ensure our species survives and progresses. I suppose the only reason I bring sex into this piece is because so much of our guilt, perhaps, lies in our carnal desires. Hence, it should not be surprising that LaVey witnessed well-to-do men engage in what might be considered lewd and lascivious behavior one night and then see them pray to God for forgiveness the next day. To me, if innate desires are not relieved in moderation and with respect to both yourself and others involved, as mentioned earlier, the results can be much worse than having a responsible, respectful sex life. Ergo, it is unnecessary to have to forgive yourself for merely being human.
So I suppose my point is that life is full of choices and every one of us is bound to make mistakes. I find that most of the time there is no right or wrong course of action, but a myriad of options. I definitely forgive myself for choosing options that have had undesirable consequences.
While I reflect on my past errors, I have noticed that the Level II Lung/Large Intestine exercise helps me feel more at peace. This coupled with the Level III Extraordinary Meridian Exercise that brings my mind to a calmer oneness with the universe and helps me step outside of myself. This exercise, as YiRen instructor Brendan Thorson pointed out to me, can generate a great deal of Yin energy, which feels cool and calming and is more feminine. To me the best combination of exercises for self forgiveness cleanse negative energies and also open the third eye.
In essence, I believe that just about any of the YiRen QiGong exercises that I have learned so far have helped me deal with guilt and have given me the fortitude to forgive myself for my past follies. It was Dr. Sun who at one recent seminar stated that there is no right or wrong necessarily, but only experiences. If we learn from our experiences, then we are on the right path.
So I hope you can all forgive yourselves easier now and forge ahead into what might seem even more challenging: forgiving others. I might be in the minority, because it is easy for me to forgive others before I forgive myself. At any rate, playing the blame game is not a way to advance your progress towards happiness and well-being. So until next time, make it a point this week to try to forgive yourself for something that has been weighing you down for some time. Speaking of time, oh man, I haven’t even practiced QiGong this evening. I am SUCH a bad student. Oh wait, I guess I did write this blog entry. I guess I will forgive myself.
By Brian Kane 4/25/2011,
“Hey, Superstar: What’s With Your Ego? All of Us are Rock Stars in the Universe’s Eyes!”
Preface: From Yi Ren QiGong teacher Brendan Thorson:
In Yi Ren® Qigong Level I, we activated and developed the central energy circulating system, and in Level 2 we continued to open the internal energy pathways in order to energize the internal organs, and to bridge the mind and the inner self. In Level 3 we build upon these foundations of internal cultivation, and learn how to integrate this internal energy with the larger energy field surrounding us. Today, we focus on developing the extraordinary universe, in order to harmonize and balance the internal organs, and also to help our internal energy harmonize with “the outside,” thereby integrating our personal mind with Nature more closely, and allowing us to experience a greater state of oneness.
On Monday, April 25 I took my first ever YiRen QiGong Level Three class and my awareness of the universality of our existence as human beings was heightened. During class I began to look out from myself and become less egocentric. Then a realization came to me: Many of our personal issues stem from over-inflated levels of self-importance–or as we might say in the West: an out-of-control ego. It lead me to think about my own personal issues and how I might let go of the need for validation from others as to my own worth as a contributor to the universe. I began to feel that no matter who we are, all of our contributions to the universe are equally important, and that the lust for power without maturity can lead to a person’s misfortune or even demise.
Almost a year ago, I got into a heated online argument with a fellow QiGong practitioner about the universe and how we fit in it. The argument was not the most productive because we did not attempt to understand each other’s points of view: We both just wanted to be right—no matter what. The argument ended not only in a disagreement (perhaps after the debate we both held even more strongly to our respective opinions) but also in the end of a friendship. The person’s last swipe at me was simply: “Wow Brian, you really do have an Ego problem!” Initially I scoffed at the person’s accusation and inwardly accused this individual of the same offense. However, today I think the person was right. I do have an Ego problem, many of us do.
In class, we started with the Small Universe Developing Exercise and meditation. We then moved on to the Extraordinary Meridian Exercise. My Yi Ren QiGong teacher, Brendan Thorson describes the purpose of the exercise as such:
…to increase our awareness of internal energy flow around the extraordinary meridians; to harmonize and balance the internal organs; to integrate our internal energy flows with the energy flows outside of the body.
After about ten minutes of doing this exercise, I began to reflect about some issues that are troubling me. Many of these problems stem from caring far too much about what other people think about me, especially those who I admire and respect. It then occurred to me that if I base my value off of other’s accolades, then I will never be happy. Instead my value as a person should be based solely on how hard I try (not necessarily succeed) to become a person that is one with the universe and at peace with myself.
Today, Saturday April 30th, I woke up and began thinking more and more about my Ego problem. I then was even able to laugh about the argument I had with the fellow practitioner, realizing I should have handled the situation completely differently. Today, I would have simply stated that your point of view is very interesting and I will mull it over a bit. I might even say (not being patronizing), wow, you might actually know more about this subject than I do, thank you. Instead of trying to impress this person with my knowledge and attempt to remove this person from this individual’s own gaudy, gold-plated Ego Throne, the newer version of Brian Kidd, would not waste his energy on arguing in circles, but rather bow out in order for both of us to reorganize our thoughts, removing poisonous amounts of pride.
I then remembered a passage from a book I read about Taoist meditation and QiGong.
In it the author writes:
*…If you lack maturity before you start moving into the world of spirit, you can become power mad and hooked on power. In order to become free, you must throw away whatever power and its benefits you have previously accumulated.
The ego of people who acquire psychic power before they are mature enough to handle it often inflates beyond belief. An immature person who accumulates large amounts of spiritual energy quickly and a youth who suddenly becomes a fabulously rich rock star can experience similar negative ego tendencies. Such people frequently abuse their good fortune because they do not know how to productively channel the newly acquired energy, be it spiritual power or money. The rock star frivolously spends millions on drugs and childish whims; the spiritualist squanders psychic energy on simple-minded gratification or domination games. The youth could, but does not, invest cash; the spiritualist could, but does not, heighten spiritual awareness to compassionately help fellow beings. Both have the capacity to temporarily get what they want, without considering the effort that has brought them to this moment. They forget that they can fall just as far as they have risen…
When the author writes of psychic energy he is addressing the fifth of the eight energy bodies that Taoists believe humans are composed of. These energy bodies are:1. The Physical Body,2. The Qi(Chi) Body,3. The Emotional Body,4. The Mental Body,5. The Psychic Energy Body,6. The Causal Body,7. The Body of Individuality,8. The Body of the Tao. In order for a person to move through these distinct levels of energy vibrations, he or she first must become fairly stable in the previous energy level. The process is somewhat sequential. For example, if one’s emotional body is unstable, then—as many of us have experienced—one’s mental body is negatively affected.
From my own experience with working with my third eye and Level III exercises dealing with the extraordinary meridians, I have definitely noticed not only the vividness of my dreams increasing, but also a newly found intuition about people and life events. However, I am not intensely pursuing the enhancement of this ability, until I feel that my previous four energy bodies are more stable.
Addressing the example the author uses of a rock star, I believe that music, especially the practice of creating music, can surely open up one’s psychic energy levels. Whereas the author uses the example of a young person acquiring fame and money often leading to self-destructive behavior, I also believe that creating music is actually a way to convey and cultivate one’s spirit and in turn psychic energy levels. Either way, the same holds true whether the case be the acquisition of money or spiritual power: If a person is not emotionally mature enough to use new found spiritual or monetary fortune altruistically and/or for self preservation, then the results can lead to self destruction.
An anecdote that I find both alarming yet somewhat humorous was when an old friend of mine, a musician, was admitted into a hospital’s psychiatric ward after a suicide attempt. A doctor there asked her a battery of questions like are you having sleep disturbances, have you experienced a lowly mood for more than one week, have you generally lost interest in your hobbies et-cetera. One of his questions was: Are you a musician? To this she said yes, and then upon realizing the oddness of the question asked “Wait, What?” with what must have been a very confused look on her face. The doctor replied, “Oh it’s just that we get a lot of musicians admitted here.”
It might seem like a cliché or gross overgeneralization to say that musicians and artists in general are completely nuts, but sometimes this is the case. I believe this is not because having the genetic code for madness automatically makes one creative, or vice-versa, but that, in my humble opinion, when you tap into the creative recesses of your mind, you can also stir up psychic energy. If you are not spiritually mature enough to know how to deal with this ability– if the lower Toaist energy bodies like The Emotional and Mental Bodies are not balanced or at least somewhat stable—you could suffer from destructive self-delusions. I am sure we can all think of many examples of artists who might have gained psychic insight too soon, before they were emotionally stable enough to process the ability healthily. And creative talent, plus fame, plus monetary affluence without emotional and mental balance seems to me like a recipe for disaster.
So all in all, the Extraordinary Meridian Exercise really took me out of myself and my mind wandered up to the heavens and all around the vastness of the universe. The next day at work, I was definitely picking up people’s vibrations even more than I usually do. Brendan Thorson suggested that if you feel that you are overwhelmed with picking up too many energies due to Level III exercises, that you should slow down the intensity of your Level III practice. Also, he suggests practicing “the Integrating the Power of the Hands and Arms and the Feet and Legs with Dantien” exercise. This exercise will protect you from unwanted energy disturbances. For me, the Level II Kidney/Urinary Tract exercise is also an excellent way to ground myself and prevent my mind from getting lost.
I am very excited to continue with the YiRen QiGong Level III course. This is all new to me, but I feel that I am ready to at least dabble in my Psychic Energy Body and see what happens. Truth be told, I was a little bit frightened of taking this course, because it seems as though I am having some troubling delusions caused by trying to balance my first four energy bodies. However, I experienced a greater sense of balance after practicing the Extraordinary Meridian Exercise because I realize that I am but a small piece of the universe; albeit I am a very important piece of the universe, just as everyone is, but not important enough to feel either inferior or superior to any other human being. In that emptiness of Ego, I am finding solace.
*From Relaxing Into You Being by Bruce Frantzsis (page 72)
By: Brian Kane 4/19/2011,
The more I struggle with improving myself and destroying my internal demons, the more I realize that I will need three main components to complete my journey, which now seems stuck in the doldrums, or the Dark Night of the Soul. These components are strength, patience, and faith. This week during my QiGong practice both in and out of class, I came to many realizations about myself including why it is so often hard to be the real you, the façade of online social networking and why good things come to those who wait.
About a year ago, I had an amazing breakthrough during a vivid dream. I was sitting on a bright sunlit mountain plateau when a man in an old Chinese robe came into view on a distant mound. I sat in awe as he approached me with a smirk on his wise, weathered face. He jumped in the air, controlling the rate of his decent. He spoke not words, but communicated to me with his mind. He told me that it is possible to do many things with QiGong, as long as you keep your mind open and in harmony with nature. All this he spoke of while jumping up high in the air, descending to the ground rapidly, then as he approached the misty grass covered with a slight haze of fog, he slightly slowed his decent. As my eyes bugged out of my head with bewilderment, he laughed heartily. He laughed even louder when I tried to accomplish the same physical feat and was able to uncoordinatedly control my movements against gravity as well—awkwardly moving like a newborn fawn.
Then as soon as he showed me this, I was transported to a room where I found myself sitting with a guitar in my hands. My left hand was covered with a loose fitting shawl and the man told me not to play just with my eyes, but with the feelings of my fingers and the visions in my mind. I felt like he was trying to say that the naked eye can easily be deceived, but the sense of touch ( and in turn energy) and the third eye can be far more useful and informative. He also was trying to convey that we can incorporate QiGong into many facets of our lives.
Since that day, I have often practiced both guitar and QiGong with my eyes closed (one day I will get even more serious and blindfold myself) and in many ways my prowess as a guitar player has improved as many of my movements are more fluid, natural and less dependent on sight. Interestingly, in a later meditation, I feel that the same man told me that to find real beauty, I must also learn to be less dependent solely on the naked eye, but to use all senses– including using the third eye–to feel the vibrations that say a piece of art or even a woman elicits and emits.
YiRen QiGong teacher Brendan Thorson believes the man might have been Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun’s granduncle, Master Zhang,(who taught Dr. Sun QiGong) but he could have been any man from the same lineage. Heck, he could have just of been a very wise figment of my imagination. This might seem a bit far out to some, but I am being completely truthful when I write that this was one of the most insightful dreams I have ever had. Whoever this man was, his words have definitely stuck with me. It reminds me of the time that I was about 13 and my family and I traveled to Canada. While staying near Grouse Mountain, I had a dream in which God came to me and explained that even though I pray to him, he is not going to just magically make things happen for me. He explained that I have to do the actions and he will be there for support. Interestingly, whom I deemed as God, spoke to me too not with words but to my mind, and although his words seemed complex or even too difficult for a 13-year-old boy to understand, I woke up feeling very enlightened. I would say that was the first time in my life I spoke with a benevolent, spiritual entity.
Many people feel that we have sprit guides or even guardian angels. In moments of spiritual unrest, I definitely receive helpful information including how to improve my life. I was thinking in the shower, as many of us do, when the following ideas came into my mind about what I will need to fulfill my life goals.
First of all, I will need strength. Sure that might seem a bit vague, but I will need complete physical, mental and emotional strength in order to become a productive adult. Previously I have noted that my goal is to be as happy as a child. However, could you imagine what we would be like if we only had the strength of a child as adults? We would stammer and whine and maybe even cry all day long.
Most of us have built up defenses that prevent us from behaving like children in stressful and trying situations. But not all of us have learned how to release negative emotions so that they do not weigh on our shoulders. The Level I YiRen QiGong Small Universe Cultivating Exercise is excellent for getting rid of this emotional baggage.
Part of our stress is created by the quest to become who we believe we really are. As I have noted in earlier writings, who we are is defined by many different things but ultimately we define ourselves. Some of the ways that we are viewed by ourselves and others is by our family, friends, hobbies and career choice. But even these aspects of people’s lives do not completely define a person. To me, who and what we love really lets people know who we are.
One popular way for people to let others know who they are is by social networking platforms on the Internet. To me, these are actually quite laughable, since you are only using your eyes to get to know someone who could be very well deceiving you with false presentations and messages. Perhaps Master Zhang would find them funny as well, or even troubling. This is not to say that these social networks do not have positive aspects. For instance, they are amazing at helping you reconnect with old friends that you yearn to get to know again.
To be the real you and to get to really know a person you must have courage. The first thing I usually wonder about when a person wants to get to know me better is: What do you want from me? But I think that you can build healthy, symbiotic relationships as long as you realize that you do not have to cater to every wish a friend has and they are not obligated to always be there for you. To me, there are three types of people in life: Those you hold close and dear; those you keep at arms’ length, and those you completely avoid. All of these types of people help define who you are and what your values are.
Through all of this remember, that friends and lovers can often hurt you the most. I am reminded of Angelina Jolie’s famous tattoo that reads:”That which nourishes me, also destroys me.” Or even Pretenders lead singer Chrissie Hyndes’ lyrics “There’s a thin line between love and hate…”
Although a bit hyperbolic and dramatic, I believe the tattoo means partially that those who we love the most, can also hurt us the most. But the hurt is less if we develop the strength of a thick skin and the ability to not always take the negative actions of those close to us so seriously. Oftentimes those actions are merely manifestation of the inflictor’s own problems and issues. I believe that if you develop a strong self love, then you can deal with friend’s and lover’s transgressions in a more useful way and communicate with them better.
However, the true test of strength could be when you yourself are feeding your mind with abusive and negative thoughts. When the incessant, broken record effect starts, that is when it is time to mediate. When you meditate, concentrate on changing the negative thought patterns to positive ones. For example, if you keep dwelling on a negative thing a boss or co-worker said about you, think of instances in your life that contradict what they said.
I also find that humor can actually build a lot of strength too. Laughing has been proven to improve people’s health. Even in seemingly dire situations, I try to find humor. Oftentimes, comedians and humorists can convey how absurd most of our trials and worries are. It is by no accident that many comedians are self-deprecating. It is not that they have low self-esteem so much as they have learned to laugh at themselves. The audience can often identify with the comic, and therefore learn to laugh at themselves too.
With regards to YiRen QiGong, I find that when I am low on energy and stress is getting the better of me, both the Level I Energy Grounding Exercise and the Level II Kidney/Urinary Tract exercise really build up my Kidney energies and give me more stamina to forge ahead. Dr. Sun often refers to the Kidneys as helping us develop “The strength of a bear.”
The next virtue I will need in my life is patience. Most of all I will have to be patient with myself. Lately I have been asking myself, why am I acting so unlike me? Why am I acting like such a joker, a clown? I believe that in order to develop autonomy, a strong sense of self and freedom to be who you really are, you have to go through many awkward phases. These are necessary to build individuality and character.
Of course you must also have patience with others. Many times in the past I have gotten frustrated with others and have spoken to them with acerbic words full of vitriol. Not only would this make the situation worse, it also has lead to broken romances and friendships—even broken musical endeavors, which are often very sad to me. However, now when I feel angry and frustrated, I usually meditate and think more clearly about how to approach people who are trying my patience. Since studying YiRen QiGong the amount of people I have pissed off has decreased dramatically. In fact, off the top of my head, I cannot think of the last time I left a person livid. This makes me very happy.
Recently, there has been a barrage of unfortunate events that have negatively affected a music project I am involved in. These sorts of setbacks used to greatly discourage me, but like mentioned a couple blogs ago, now I seek the solution more tactfully, and try to avoid dwelling on the problem. By doing this I have come up with not only one, but many solutions very quickly. When you have a project you are working on, just because things do not go as you envisioned, does not mean the outcome will be less good and that you should quit.
In my intro blog, I mentioned that we live in a sort of point-and-click society fraught with instant gratification. I believe that with the advent of new technology, information can travel much faster but also that people often think less about what they write. There has been many times when I reflected on something I wrote on a social network site and was like: What in the world was I thinking? The truth is, is that not only do these networks sort of give us a way to instantly communicate with many people at once, but that also, they allow us to hide behind our computer screens, creating a false sense of anonymity. Ironically, even though an online representation of a person is often misleading, some people use them as if they are a substitute for actual social interaction. This to me is highly detrimental to developing not only a realistic view of reality, but also the cultivating of a person’s patience.
Oftentimes in our spiritual journey, we encounter the Dark Night of the Soul. To me, this is a time when it feels as if nothing is happening and you are stuck. I feel that I have definitely entered this phase of my life. It has taken a great deal of patience for me to deal with this phase. YiRen QiGong and meditation has definitely helped me get through this time and deal with it healthily. I believe that when many people enter this phase, they often turn to substance abuse or other unhealthy habits to deal with the unknowingness that is faced. Some might even feel that life is passing them by. This is simply not true as we all find a comfortable place in the Universe at different times in our lives.
For example, my Uncle, Marvin, a good man he is, did not finally find out what he wanted to do with his life until he was about 37. Marv (a former Navy man) is a marvelously smart man and decided to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). It took him a few times to finally pass the CPA exam, as it is not easy, but now he is a top CPA at a large real estate company. He loves his job (even though the often charmingly cantankerous man will usually just say, “Eh, it’s a job,”) and also the rest of his life that he shares with my dad’s sister, Aunty Marge. Prior to being an accountant he worked in many dead end positions at the old Tradewell Supermarket in Seattle. Marvin was definitely patient, and definitely went through dark times in his life, but today he is actually a fairly affable man, content with his vocation.
One of Webster’s Dictionary definitions of faith is: Firm belief in something for which there is no proof: complete trust. Some would say that blind faith is foolish, but I think that faith can be a wise and good thing. Some people put their faith in a loved one, in God or most importantly— to me anyway—-themselves. Especially in a time of the Dark Night of the Soul, it is really easy to lose sight of who we are and things might seem a little chaotic. Faith can be the thing that carries us through the darkness and keeps us from slipping into detrimental patterns. I still highly advocate the YiRen QiGong Level II Stomach/Pancreas exercise if you feel sort of in a phase that I like to call “The Twilight Zone” where things seem illogical, imaginary, surreal and just plain backwards. This feeling is not unusual, so don’t fret if and when you find yourself in this place.
Strength, patience and faith: These are the ideas that I hope to employ more and more in my life. Thus far they have certainly helped me get through some tough times. In fact, I now consider myself a Dark Knight of the Soul, as I chivalrously battle all sorts of internal and external spiritual enemies. So I leave you not necessarily with a coherent summation of what might seem to some like an incoherent transcript (hahaha), but with a video that explains a bit about patience with regards to the Dark Night of the Soul, from University Of Metaphysical Sciences, Christine Breese. I hope you enjoy it.