Peaceful Warrior

  • Yin1+Yang1 = E3 Combining Yi Ren Qigong with Physical Exercise

    I remember it clearly. I was about 15, playing select basketball, and I felt unusually winded. I thought my heart was doing strange things. However, in retrospect, what I believe is that my body’s energy system, its Qi, was not balanced, particularly in my kidneys.Movie Get Out (2017)

    I have always been an intense person. This intensity can lead to huge surges of adrenaline, which once activated, often do not turn off past the event that created the surge. For instance, before lifting weights, I often pump myself up and the adrenaline starts flowing. This was a good thing for when I am lifting weights, but what if once the nozzle is turned on, it cannot be turned off?

    I used to go through spurts where I would work out hard for about six months to a year and then take about three months off, because my body went into what I believe was adrenal fatigue. The Adrenal Glands are located on top of the kidneys, which in view of Yi Ren Qigong are the body’s internal powerhouse which generates electricity for supporting the work of the internal body.1 The kidneys also affect one’s self confidence and will.

    Over the past month, I have been going through many transitions in my life. This has caused some stress and for about two weeks I lessened my workout routine. However, I did not stop like I would have in the past. Whereas even as a young, 15-year-old, my kidney imbalances made me quit playing competitive basketball, today, 20 years later, thanks to Yi Ren Qigong, when I feel my body slipping into adrenal fatigue, I lessen my physical workouts and increase my Yi Ren Qigong practice, especially the Energy Grounding Exercise and the Kidney/Urinary Tract exercise. I also practice the Peaceful Mind Meditation.

    This week, during the Level III class, we learned a mediation that strengthens the Du and Ren Meridians, which relate to the Yin energies that flow up the Ren Meridian on the front of the body and the Yang energies of the Du Meridian that flow up the back of the body. This really helped balance the overall Yin and Yang energies in my system. During the mediation I could feel my entire body warm up and get energized and my dry mouth started to gush with nourishing saliva.

    The next day, I was able to work out with nearly equal to the intensity I have worked out with during some of my most involved workouts. However, I noticed that although my energy level was up, I did not feel really amped up. I could tell that my Adrenal Glands were releasing adrenaline in a more gradual manner. It was like I had reprogrammed my body’s response to physical stress and was being supported by the Qi,

    In the view of Yi Ren Qigong, Yin1 + Yang2 = E3 where E3 is the energy (Qi support) necessary for developing the body’s Energy Operating System or EOS. One of the functions of this system is to create a healthy connection between the mind and body, including its organs. From my experiences, I believe that the connection between the brain and the organs is a two-way street. For instance, if something frightens you like nearly getting hit by a car, your nervous system will kick in the adrenaline. However, if there is an imbalance in the kidneys this can make a person feel lots of real or even imagined fears which are then processed by the brain. This in turn can turn on the adrenaline nozzle and dry up the kidneys of vital Qi, which can ultimately decrease a person’s vital life energies.

    This realization has helped me recognize just how important kidney health is and how powerful Yi Ren Qigong is at balancing kidney qi energies leading to a higher quality of life.

    1. Qigong: Energizing the Zang-Fu—Yi Ren Qigong Therapy Manual Volume II. Guan-Cheng Sun, Ph.D., Jill Gonet, M.F.A. 2010. Self-Published. Seattle, Washington.
  • As you think, so shall you be. If you want to be happy, just be.

    9/19/2013
    When I was young, my mom told me “Don’t let what others think about you dictate how you feel about yourself.” I must admit, I am guilty of caring too much about what people think at times. I often depend on people to tell me that I am doing well, that I am an intelligent, creative, ambitious, caring—add other good human qualities—human being. However, I have found that the less I care about what people think and the more I just think about doing the best I can and what is healthy for me, the happier I actually tend to become.

    It is inevitable that the opinions of others can have an effect on our lives. For instance, I am sure most of the readers have applied for a job that they were qualified for but the reason they were not awarded the job because the interviewer simply did not like something about them. That is part of life. Not everyone is going to like you. In fact, I find that the more I am myself, the more quality friends I make, but also, the more people who do not care for me increases. Oftentimes insecure people are put off by those who are uniquely true to themselves.

    An excerpt of the The Tao Te Ching, Chapter 13 states
    Favor and disgrace are equally problematic.
    Hope and fear are phantoms of the body.

    What does it mean that “favor and disgrace
    are equally problematic”?

    Favor lifts you up; disgrace knocks you down.
    Either one depends on the opinions of others and
    causes you to depart from your center…

    This week I was called many things by other people. I was called compassionate, passionate, intelligent and humorous. On the other hand, I was called and idiot, a monkey—which I find humorous—a worrier and a schmuck. Of course all of these things are true at times, for most of us are not always brilliant or always foolish

    However, in the past, where I would feel very prideful after being told I had favorable attributes, or being really upset when I was told I had unfavorable attributes, this week I sort of just appreciated both opinions and succeeded at not letting them affect my energy levels.

    When I feel and inflated ego or sad about what other people have said about me, I usually practice the Yi Ren Qigong exercise Balancing the Kidney and Heart Centers. This has helped given me the fortitude to love myself and keep a positive level of self-esteem. Onwards and upwards, Peaceful Warriors!

  • Practice Leads to Progress

    There have been many days when I believe that I simply do not have the time to practice Yi Ren Qigong. I get up and my head is racing about what I need to accomplish with my day. Many times, like today, I have felt that if I do even 10 minutes worth of Qigong, then I will be neglecting my responsibilities and/or favorite pastimes such as going to work, cleaning, working out, reading, cooking, playing guitar, the list goes on.

    This weekend, this very common dilemma was mentioned. The group came to the consensus that Yi Ren Qigong can enrich your daily experiences and make them more productive. For instance, we talked about sleep quality. From my experience, if I practice Yi Ren Qigong and mediation before going to bed, my sleep is much deeper and I wake up feeling more refreshed. I can get six hours of sleep after practicing Yi Ren Qigong and feel more awake the next day than if I got 9 hours of sleep without practicing Yi Ren Qigong.

    This summer, I have been doing landscaping for a friend’s business. If I wake up 20 minutes to an hour earlier than usual, and practice Yi Ren Qigong exercises such as the Energy Grounding Exercise, Small Universe Cultivating Exercise and the Internal Energy Centers Exercise, I find that I am much more grounded and have more energy to perform the often labor-intensive tasks of landscaping. In fact, there are times I am out in the field, working on someone’s yard that I can feel the chi support my movements and my joints feel less strained, my muscles very energized.

    One last thing, the seminar also drew to my attention how important it is to exercise the sacrum. The sacrum is the house of one’s will and according to Yi Ren Instructor Brendan Thorson, it affects ones vitality and ability of the body to remain youthful. Once the Sacrum becomes rigid and/or stiff, people tend to age rapidly. The Marrow Gate, which is located on the Sacrum, energized the parasympathetic nervous system, improves immunity, strengthens the reproductive system and enhances vitality.

    OK then, this is your Peaceful Warrior signing off. I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember, try to practice daily and do not fret if you do not develop this habit immediately. I have found that the benefits of practicing every-so-often during the week very naturally lead the practitioner to want to practice daily, as it can lead to a higher quality of life production and experience.

  • Be a Peaceful Warrior and Don’t Let Your Emotions Cloud Your Rational Thinking.

    09/12/2013

    The Tao Te Ching, Chapter 21

    The greatest virtue is to follow Tao,

    And only Tao.

    You might say “But Tao is illusive!

    Evasive! Mysterious! Dark!

    How can one follow that?”

     

    By Following this:

    Out of silent subtle mystery emerge images.

    These images coalesce into forms.

    Within each form is contained the seed

    And essence of life.

    Thus do all things emerge and expand out

    of darkness and emptiness.

     

    The Taoists believe that there are eight energy bodies. These include, in order of succession: The Physical Body, The Chi Body, The Emotional Body, The Mental Body, The Psychic Energy Body, The Causal Body, The Body of Individuality and The Body of the Tao.

    According to American Qigong Master Bruce Frantzis’s book Relaxing Into Your Being. 1.“The refinement of the fourth or mental body enhances the mind’s ability to discriminate between what the Taoists call “the real and the false.”

    Frantzis goes on to write that if your emotional body is not fully developed, that the mental body will be negatively affected and it could override even the most basic functions of the mental body. In other words, bad emotions can cloud your thinking.

    In his book Qigong: Energizing the Zang Fu—Yi Ren Qigong Therapy Manual II, Dr. Guan Cheng-Sun stated with regards to practicing the Zang Fu, which relates to Qigong exercises that develop the 12 organ meridian such as the kindey/urinary tract exercise and the liver/gall bladder exercise: 2.“Sometimes practitioners might experience this process of self-discovery as joyful and exciting, at other times as emotionally challenging and painful, during the process of cultivating the different organs/meridians.” Sun goes on to write: ”In many cases, it may take a lot of courage, emotional strength, intelligence, knowledge and time to overcome the difficulties and challenges. However, this can be a great opportunity for self-healing…”

    I was struck by the fact that practicing the Zang-Fu system of Yi Ren Qigong could be so emotionally trying. I have experienced this phenomenon myself over the past year, and when I came upon the aforementioned passages, I felt reassured that the emotional pain I have experienced is normal and actually a good thing. It is sort of analogous to the body ridding itself of food-waste: Your body needs to embrace and absorb good energy and get rid of bad energy. If bad energy remains in one’s system it can cause emotional blockages, which can hamper a person’s ability to think with a clear mind, and optimize one’s mental capacities.

    What works for me and what Dr. Sun has suggested is to remain detached from the bad emotions that arise from Qigong practice. Instead of concentrating or obsessing about these bad emotions, use the information they provide to create more healthy patterns of living. For instance, I used to obsess over mistakes I made when I was younger in high school and college. Some of these emotions can get attached to certain organs. Due to bad experiences when I was younger, I have a fear of intimacy which relates to the heart/small intestine Zang-Fu meridian. Bad emotions associated with the heart are jealousy and envy. The Taoists believe that if you fall prey to these emotions, you will leak energy, which harms your well-being. However, a way to counteract bad emotions is with good virtues. In my case, when I feel hurt by another person, I try to think of the virtues of high self love, self-respect and kindness. This actually brings more energy into the body and is a good way to counteract bad, detrimental emotions.

    Yi Ren Instructor, Brendan Thorson, founder of The Noble School of Tai Chi and Qigong Training, once told me that I was a warrior for continuing my Qigong practice and spiritual work. At the time, it was pretty early in my practice, and I did not think much of his words. But recently, I now understand what he means. However, whereas as recently as three months ago, I would try to fight off these emotions or push them back into my sub-conscious, now I just let them rise to the surface and work them out by repeating virtues such a Courage, Confidence, Strength and Faith, which is my personal, favorite mantra.

    This week I made a pact with myself not to let my emotions override my system and sabotage my short-term or long-term goals. This has helped me keep a clear mind, which helps develop my mental body. We all know smart and able people that do not live productive, happy lives. Let us learn from them that bad emotions can be debilitating and profoundly, negatively affect our mental abilities and therefore our abilities to reach our full potentials.

    1. Relaxing Into Your Being: Breathing, Chi, and Dissolving the Ego, B.K. Frantzis, 1998, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley California in Association with Energy Arts Inc. Publications.
    2. Qigong: Energizing the Zang-Fu—Yi Ren Qigong Therapy Manual Volume II. Guan-Cheng Sun, Ph.D., Jill Gonet, M.F.A. 2010. Self-Published. Seattle, Washington.
  • Confucius stated: “Instead of indulging in empty talk”

    9/10/2010

    As I mentioned in my previous entry, Confucius stated: “Instead of indulging in empty talk, I consider it more meaningful and enlightening to express myself in definite actions.”

    In a recent class a student who works in counseling mentioned that she has had patients grapple with an issue for years—going to psychotherapy to help resolve the issue. However, she has noticed that although psychotherapy can be helpful to the patient, it is often the the case that practicing meditation and/or Qigong can help the patient accelerate dramatically the healing process.

    This week I have experienced the same phenomenon. I once had a doctor tell me that I ruminate about things that I do not need to. Translation: I can be a complete worry wart. But what I have found is that when I start to slip into what I have called the “Twilight Zone”—which all of us slip into now and again—I try to practice Yi Ren Qigong as soon as possible, especially the Level II Stomach/Pancreas Exercise. The stomach organ is associated with thoughts, decision making, imaginations, delusions, logic and reasoning. I also have been practicing the Level I Brain Gate Exercise and mediation to quiet my mind and reach a state of Xuan. The state of Xuan to me is when your mind is completely empty of noise, a state of Wu, and then you integrate the intellectual and intuitive mind (the Frontal Lobe and Parietal Lobe of the brain), the state of You. Then you can observe the thoughts and visions that come into your mind. I emphasize “observe” so that the practitioner does not interrupt the flow of what could be important/vital information coming from her or his unconscious mind. From my experience, this is not always a pleasant experience, but then again, either is working out at the gym in order to get into good physical shape. I have had very fun times participating in physical exercise and I have had very painful times. The same rings true with Yi Ren Qigong.

    Getting back to Xuan: this state of mind, Xuan, has been described as being between 0 and 1 in the mind—an almost waking dream state. The information I receive in this state has been more valuable to me than any sort of pep talk I have ever gotten, and I have been on the receiving end of some pretty epic pep talks.

    So all in all taking action, by practicing Yi Ren Qigong, rather than letting a broken record of repeating thoughts ruin my day, is a new and rewarding practice for me. Although it might seem like you are taking valuable time out of your day to practice Qigong as soon as you start slipping into worry and delusional thoughts, from my recent experience, after practicing Yi Ren Qigong and then concentrating on my goals and tasks for the day, my day is far more productive.

  • 8/11/2013 Seminar reflections by The Peaceful Warrior

    It was the week of the 4th of July and I ventured down to Seaside Oregon. I took the usual stroll down the promenade to downtown proper, where as usual, I encountered the store with no sign that sells Chinese goods. The store with the semi-cantankerous Asian women sitting behind the counter with an old television on, talking to someone on the phone in Chinese, while occasionally telling a customer, “Be careful, do not touch the swords. Please read the signs.” A young, teenage kid then giggles and smirks at the rest of her fresh, smart-mouthed friends as one remarks, “She can be so mean.”

    Perhaps this lady’s mean demeanor is because she feels that some of the more precious items on display are not appreciated by the younger and/or more naïve patrons. I was one of them apparently.

    “That item is for display only, you cannot take it off the wall.” She scolded me as I then read the sign and a description by the item, a sort of Devil-dispelling mirror depicting the yin yang symbol with the ancient 8 trigrams surrounding it. I had seen this symbol on the cover of a book I bought, “The I Ching Workbook.” by R.L. Wing.  I tried to impress the woman.

    “Ah, I am very sorry. I just recognized this symbol as being part of the I Ching (or Yi Jing), and was very intrigued.” (I would later learn that the proper name of this symbol is the I Ching Oracle.)

    I thought she would give me a big and approving smile but she did not understand. Maybe it was that she did not understand English very well, and my question got lost in translation. Unfortunately, I do not speak Chinese, which I hope to one day be able to do.

    “I do not know. That is for Feng Shui. You put it over the door of a room.”

    “Oh, so this is not related to the I Ching?” I asked, thinking she was holding back what she knew. She then looked at me this time, not quizzically, with pursed lips, but rather with a slight smile and impish gleam in her eye. I just dropped the subject. I left the store-with-no-sign feeling, as was routine ritual, both excited and a bit bemused.

    Part of a note contained in the box of the devil-dispelling mirror reads: “Since ancient times, ordinary mirrors and wooden Eight Trigrams have been used to dispel the aura of death. These have a certain effect but cannot dispel it thoroughly. Now in order to bring benefit to mankind, the Taoist priest of the eight generation from Mount Wudang has designed meticulously a convex, devil-dispelling mirror after many years of studying with great concentration. There is power of Buddha and magical incarnations inside the designs, which can dispel the aura of death, and keep away from unlucky positions, ward off calamities thoroughly, and turn ill luck into good.”

    So what is the point of this lengthy preface to what should be a succinct journal entry? Well I guess my past experiences with inquiring about and attempting to study the I Ching or Yi Jing have always been stymied somewhat by the arcane nature of the I Ching itself and being overwhelmed by the aesthetics of the 64 hexagrams. What do they really mean? I know that there must be some vast wisdom contained in a book that is probably the oldest text known to man, at 5,000 years old, and has been revised and expanded and expounded upon by such great Chinese personages as King Wen—founder of the Chou Dynasty (1150-249 BC)—and the highly revered Chinese Philosopher, Confucius (551 – 479 BC). Confucius stated, “Whoever knows the Tao of changes and transformations, knows the ways of the gods.”

    However, my fears and frustrations were quelled when I learned from Yi Ren Qigong instructor Brendan Thorson that even Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun, a molecular geneticists and the inventor of Yi Ren Qigong, was intimidated by the I Ching at first. Dr. Sun discovered that one of the best ways to best understand the I Ching is to practice the 8 mediations affiliated with the 8 trigrams. And at a one-day seminar on August 11, 2013, Brendan Thorson taught us how to do just that: practice the meditations associated with the eight natural figures represented by the trigrams. Those figures are: heaven, earth, mountain, lake, thunder, lightning (fire), wind, rain(water).

    Before I get into what I experienced and realizations I got during the seminar, let me start by stating that I will not get into an academic examination or even summation of the I Ching, because anyone can find that sort of information online or even by reading the actual I Ching. This is similar to the Tao Te Ching: You can read the words of wisdom from that Taoist book, but, from my own experience, and from what other Qigong practitioners have testified to me, to really feel and fully understand the deep meaning of the text, you must also practice the internal martial arts associated with the text.

    During Brendan Thorson’s Yi Ren Qigong seminar, I learned how the different trigrams and their natural figures also relate to different parts and organs of the body. For instance, lightning(fire) corresponds to the eyes and  rain(water) corresponds to the ears.

    During the seminar, when we practiced the Water Trigram mediation, (Pure Water and Pure Fire Energy Meditation)  I noticed that I felt more grounded. Even more interestingly, I suffer from eye floaters and heart palpitations (even shortness of breath) when I am stressed. I even visited a doctor once who told me that oftentimes when he sees patients that suffer from chronic stress, or especially patients that have anxiety disorders, they often tell him that they suffer from eye floaters and heart issues (these are not related to having a bad heart in my case, as I have gotten EKG—electrocardiogram—scans and my heart is very healthy.) Also, Brendan Thorson once told me that the reason some people may have heart palpitations is not necessarily because there is something wrong with the heart, but an imbalance between the heart/fire and kidneys/water energies. Deficient water energies of the kidneys unable to balance the fire energies of the heart. As a result, the heart becomes overactive and begins to display signs of overactive imbalances like– Pulmonary Hypertension/high blood pressure, Enlarged Heart, Chest Pain and Irregular/Rapid Heart Beat. Commonly the kidneys/water energies can become depleted from their yang partner the Adrenal Glands (that are located on top of the kidneys) –Thus, excess stimulation of the adrenals can burn out the water energies of the kidneys beginning a domino affect of all the five elements including the heart energies.  The kidneys are associated with the element of water, and the heart is associated with the element of fire. In relation to the I Ching Oracle that contains all the eight trigrams that surround the yin and yang symbol, the kidneys and heart are polar opposites—the kidneys are yin and the heart is yang—and therefore their relationship is very important. My eye floaters mystified me for years. I knew I got them during periods of excessive depression, worry and anxiety, but was not certain as to why. Well, I have concluded that my eye floaters could very well be attributed to a large imbalance between the heart and kidneys. If there is not enough water from the kidneys, then the fire of the heart is too great and could cause both heart palpitations and those pesky eye floaters. This was a very important realization to me. My eye floaters subsided slightly during the Pure Water and Pure Fire Energy Meditation.

    One last major personal realization I had during the one-day seminar was during the Pure Wind Energy and Pure Thunder Energy Mediation I could not get beautiful melodies out of my head. I was not sure why this was at first. However, being a musician and my affinity for music made me appreciate this very much. The worksheet Brendan handed out to us states that the Thunder Trigram corresponds to music, trees, dragon, horse, eldest son. I really enjoyed this mediation and plan to practice both of the previous mentioned exercises frequently in my personal practice.

    The I Ching can be used for many things: a Devil-dispelling mirror (which is not a common use), to make personal predications relating to finance, relationships, political decisions et-cetera. Although I have not yet consulted the I Ching to guide me at a mathematical/scientific level, Yi Ren Qigong mediations associated with the I Ching(Yi Jing) have helped me gain a more intuitive understanding about the I Ching.  I hope to one day soon supplement these mediations with consultations of the I Ching and the eight Trigrams of the Oracle that create the 64 Hexagrams used for making predictions and decisions in one’s life.

    Confucius once stated. “Instead of indulging in empty talk, I consider it more meaningful and enlightening to express myself in definite actions.”  These mediations are part of the actions I will take to keep me in line with my own Tao.

    1. Between Heaven and Earth, Harriet Beinfield L.Ac. and Efrem Korngold L.Ac.. 1991, Ballantine Books, New York.

  • Personal Practice: Entry Thursday, August 1, 2013

     

    The following is an outline of my everyday personal practice. I recommend trying to practice one hour every day, but to be realistic, some days you will probably practice as little as five minutes and some days five hours. When I first started practicing Yi Ren Qigong, I would practice for one half hour about five days a week. Now I try to do the following, about 10 minutes each exercise. That is about 1.5 hours a day, but spaced out in three different times. Keep in mind that you might not know all of these exercises as they span from Level1 exercises in the morning, Level 2 exercises in the afternoon and Level 3 exercises at night. But again, when you first start practicing, even one half hour per day is pretty effective, even if you are only doing one exercise from Level 1.

    *I have also begun taking Chinese Herbs to support the Liver, Pancreas, and Kidneys. After only two days, I have noticed an increase in my Chi flow.

     

    In the morning: Level 1

    Alternate Cycles every day.

    Warm Up

    Cycle A

    1.Energy Grounding Exercise

    2.Small Universe Enhancing Exercise

    3.Small Universe Cultivating Exercise

    Cycle B:

    1.Energy Grounding Exercise

    2.Energy Center Enhancement Exercise

    3.BrainGate Exercise

     

    Afternoon: Level 2

    Warm Up/Large Universe

    Cycle:A

    1.Lung/Large Intestine Exercise

    2.Kidney/Urinary Tract Exercise

    3.Liver/Gall Bladder Exercise
    Cycle B

    Warm up Large Universe

    1.Heart/Small Intestine Exercise

    2.Lymphatic/Spleen Exercise

    3.Balancing Energy Meditation for Heart and Kidneys
    Before Bed: Level 3

    1.Extraordinary Meridian Exercise

    2.Protection exercise 1

    3.Protection Exercise 2

     

    I also do the closing exercises after each series of three exercises. 

  • Intro Peaceful Warrior Journal

     

    Hello there, fellow Yi Ren Qigong practitioners and to all of those on a spiritual quest to find peace and harmony with one’s self and the Universe. I have been studying various forms of martial arts and spiritual enhancement for several years now, including taking classes from Brendan Thorson for nearly four years. My journey thus far has not always been a smooth one, fraught with many trials and tribulations, but recently I discovered the power of composing a journal. This power allows me to document my progress, which, as a useful tool of encouragement during those trying times, read previous entries to discover how far I have come on my journey, refusing to give up. I hope you enjoy my blog entries and that they are useful musings for your own spiritual, and ultimately, life journey.

     

Page 2 of 2«12