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Today is the first day of spring in the Chinese Calendar – Li Chun 立春 – and it’s the day when the next animal sign begins. This year it’s Jia Wu 甲午 – “The Heavenly Stem Jia 甲 represents Yang Wood and the Earthly Branch Wu 午 represents Fire and carries the Horse as its spiritual animal.” (from Master Wu’s blog post on the subject here: http://bluewillow88.wordpress.com)

So, I’m pretty excited about this year as I was born in the year of the horse, and my little guy will be due this year as well! My due date is 2 months away – April 4th 2014.

I’m not sure what to expect, in terms of being a new mom and how that will impact my cultivation. I already had to significantly “loosen up” on my discipline over the last few months and allow myself to not feel guilty for doing less QiGong than I wanted because it wasn’t what my body (or energy level) seemed to want to do. I’ve been doing a lot of swimming instead, and after speaking with Master Wu, he recommended that I only do “Skin breathing” throughout the pregnancy rather than the normal DanTian breathing that I’ve done for many years now, so that’s taken some getting used to, but I have been enjoying the feeling of doing that.

I am looking forward to doing my familiar old QiGong again! But that’s still 2 months away so until then I will continue with the modifications.

I will say, that the pregnancy has given me an interesting perspective on cultivation. I used to want to know everything I could “NOW”, and was very committed – one might say obsessed –  but the realities of being a mother mean I have to consider that I won’t be able to do everything I could do when it was just me. It once again makes me remember that cultivation is a lifelong journey, and I have so many years ahead of me to continue on this path, so there’s no need to get stressed out if I don’t do everything perfectly or if I miss a day when things get hairy. I feel much more at ease than I used to about that sort of thing.

Anyhow, What a gorgeous day it is here! Clear, but cold. A perfect day to begin a whole new year – a year that will be filled with something completely new for me. I look forward to being a mother and all the adventures that will come with that. Life will never be the same again🙂

ACK!

So.. I managed to make it almost 10 months straight without missing a day. Sunday was a ridiculous day and it wasn’t until the next morning that I realized in all the craziness I completely forgot to do my QiGong😦 I can’t believe it! I guess that’s life, but I’m bummed to have messed up my streak.

Once again we’re in a transitional earth month – the month of the Dog, which started around the 8th of October. I’ve been doing a lot of the meditations from Master Wu’s 12 Chinese Animals book. I think I did the Rooster month meditation almost every day. I was just diggin it! (I should add for those doing TuGuNaXing that this means we’re starting the form again with the Earth mudra instead of the Metal mudra we’ve been using for the last 2 “metal” months)

I’ve been taking a pre-natal yoga class once per week for the last month or so and am finding it is impacting my practice. We are encouraged to move in whatever ways feel right, stay still for as long as feels right and move when we want to. A lot is in preparation for labour – the teacher is also a Doula and she wants us to be comfortable making any sounds we want and really listening to our bodies and doing what we need and what feels best for us in each moment. We also do a lot of breath awareness. She also has us do something she calls “horse lips” which is the same as vibrating the lips like we do in shaking. I’m one of the only people in the class who actually does it with any conviction, everyone else seems too shy. I guess I’m used to making all these crazy sounds. Luckily, I have enough practice with doing QiGong in the park that I don’t care anymore if people think I look/sound strange.

So I’m finding that the information I am learning in the prenatal yoga class is helping me be a little more flexible with my practice for now. I used to sit for ages in half lotus in my meditation and my legs would fall asleep. Now what I often do is my leg stretches, then sit for 10 minutes or so in meditation, then unfold my legs, take my time doing a few more stretches, and re-cross them the other way then sit for 10 more minutes – usually using the mudra for the month – for instance this month the thumb rests on the pinky proximal interphalangeal joint, and the hands are resting around the lower dantian.

Some days I feel much more energetic and will do the shaking and fire dragon. I especially do this when my shoulders are stiff, which I find has been more common during pregnancy so far. Not sure why – might just be that I’m generally a little more tired so I’m a little less active which could be the culprit. I am now going for a brisk walk every day to get my blood flowing and get out in nature, enjoying the seasonal changes. I plan to keep that up but it also tires me out a little more so then my QiGong practice is sometimes more chill. I very often do a bit of shaking throughout the day when I’m just standing around tho – maybe in the kitchen or at work between patients. Overall I’m just listening to my body and taking it day by day.

I’ve been back to my studies, after a brief hiatus during the first trimester. I am currently listening to some lectures on alchemical acupuncture by my friend Peter Firebrace, who I think is absolutely brilliant. This has me back studying the classics again, which at the end of the day, you always go back to. Today I was studying chapter 8 of the Ling Shu, which is on “Ben Shen” – The root of the spirit. A fascinating subject. Lots of inquiry about the Hun and Po – the corporeal and non-corporeal souls, and I learned about the Ma Wang Dui banner and what some of the symbolism means.

Good lesson for me

Man, I figured out what was missing: why I was feeling like I was being lazy a few days ago. I had stopped doing the closing exercises. I’m not sure why, probably just because I was tired and being lazy, and after doing as long a sit as I could do, I just would want to get up and have my practice done with. I’ve always done the closing exercises and I guess I didn’t realize how important and what a difference it was making to my practice up until I stopped. The last 2 days I’ve been doing them again at the end of my practice and I feel satisfied again, and also I haven’t been having trouble focusing! I had a fantastic practice today doing Cosmic Orbit. I feel like I had a huge realization about one part of the form which, despite going thru the 49 days twice now for Cosmic orbit, I had never realized before. That was supremely cool. And I felt, by the end, like my body was just nothingness, only energy – if that makes sense. It was a great practice today. 

Being lazy

Well, I can perhaps blame this a bit on being pregnant, but I’ve been really slacking lately. I am doing the bare minimum for my QiGong practice *but I’m still doing it!*. I think I’ve just been so tired that to do QiGong for hours is just not happening. Mostly I just want to sit and meditate, but I either do shaking or the leg stretches that Master Wu taught us at the lifelong training before I start. And I’m still doing TuGuNaXing or Cosmic Orbit or 5 Elements depending on what I want to do. I just try to do whatever is going to be the most engaging or make me feel the best that day.

Doing the leg stretches has been interesting. Although I don’t look any bigger yet, when I do the stretches, something (the placenta) in my abdomen gets in the way a bit and I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to comfortably do them. Also I’m doing my shaking a little less vigorously than usual. I’ve also found I’ve been much more distracted in my meditations which is unusual (and annoying) for me. Usually my focus is quite good and I don’t generally have a lot of mental clutter.

Anyhow, still haven’t missed a day, and I feel good that I probably never will – it’s so much a part of life now – however I do feel a little guilty about being such a slacker.

9 month QiGong gestation period

Here we are, the last day of August, which means I will have officially been practicing every day for 9 months solid. It’s like I’ve grown a Qi baby! Perhaps it’s not surprising with the harmony and balance I’ve achieved this year through my dedicated practice, that I am *actually* pregnant as well! 

I’ve been putting off writing a post because generally people wait a while to tell everyone these things, but it’s a couple weeks until the end of my first trimester so I figure I can spill the beans.

What I’ve found very interesting is how my QiGong practice has changed. For the past month or so, I’ve been very attracted to doing the Shamanic Cosmic Orbit form. Something about it just feels like it’s the perfect thing for me to do, which is funny because – although I love the form – I hadn’t practiced it in quite some time in favour of Fire Dragon and the several forms I had to do my 49 days of from the Lifelong training. Now, my practice generally consists of Shaking, and then Cosmic Orbit. They are the two things that feel the most “right” for me to do.

I have been having an excellent pregnancy so far. No morning sickness. Perhaps I can attribute that to QiGong, but also I’m lucky in that, as an acupuncturist, I have a ton of tricks at my disposal for things like that, so the moment I found out I was pregnant I put some press tacks on myself at KD 6 “ZhaoHai” and KD 27 “ShuFu” – my most trusted point pair for morning sickness. And it hasn’t been a problem yet!

I have been a little more tired and have been napping a fair bit, however I haven’t missed a day yet of QiGong despite having to drag myself to do it some days. I always feel way better when I’ve finished (tho after the more vigorous sessions like teaching my 1.5 hour QiGong class I’d have to return home and have a nap right away!)

One thing I have been really enjoying as well is TuGuNaXing. I find it fascinating to see how the form feels as you progress through the seasons. I find it’s the form that makes me feel most in touch with the seasonal changes. I have been doing it almost every day, but some days I do Shamanic Cosmic Orbit instead. One problem with being pregnant is that you have to be careful about the circulation to your legs, and so I’m being cautious to not sit for too long in meditation, so I do 1 sitting form per day rather than both. I love the quiet, reflective nature of Autumn tho. That’s what’s coming thru to me the most in TuGuNaXing since Autumn began. It’s so interesting how you can feel the energy of the season permeate the form. I was telling one of my students how I never noticed it when I first learned the form. It was the tail end of Spring so we were in an Earth month, which is so balanced, but the day summer hit and I began the form with the Heart Mudra instead of the Spleen mudra. BAM! It felt like Fire permeated the entire form. It was surprising and amazing. I look forward to practicing the form through each season just to see what energetics come thru most strongly.

Hope you are all well and enjoying your Internal observation and cultivation as much as I am

Much love,
Kristy

Great find :D

Just stumbled upon a great website I’d like to share. http://5elements4directions.com/3rd-month-of-summer-2/ . Here’s what she has to say about this month:

3rd Month of Summer

  1. In the third month of summer, the tail of the Great Bear points to the south.
  2. In this month, the fullness of power is in Earth.[i] The will of life of Earth is compassion. Its power is decrease and its virtue is sincerity.
  3. The correspondences of this month are the days wu and ji, the Yellow Emperor, Huang Di, his assisting spirit Houtu, the creatures that are naked, the musical notegong, the pitch-pipe known as Hundred Bell, the number five, the taste of sweet, the smell of fragrant, and the sound of singing. The domestic animal is the ox; the weapon is the sword.
  4. Sacrifices are made to the spirits of the inner court[ii]; in sacrifice, the heart is offered first.
  5. The trigram of Earth is K’un, the Receptive. “The Receptive means the earth. It takes care that all creatures are nourished. Therefore it is said, “He causes them to serve one another in the sign of the Receptive.”[iii]
  6. In the period of Lesser Heat, sultry winds arrive, crickets again reside in walls and the young swallows learn how to fly.[iv]
  7. In the period of Great Heat, decaying grass transforms into fireflies, the earth steams in the sweltering heat and heavy rains fall from time to time.
  8. The Son of Heaven is the Bison[v]. He wears yellow robes and yellow jade pendants. He rides in a chariot pulled by black-maned yellow horses and flies a yellow banner. He resides in the chambers of the center. He drinks waters gathered from the eight winds and cooks with fires kindled with cedar branches. His dishes are round and covered; from them, he eats panicled millet and beef.
  9.  His consorts also wear yellow garments yet they play no instruments at this time, having only their voices as music.[vi]
  10. In this month, the Son of Heaven orders the Master of Fisheries to harvest the white sturgeon and the alligator gar, muskie and perch.[vii] The Master of Marshes is ordered to collect timber and cattails.
  11. The Son of Heaven commands the officers of each district to render the grasses and grains collected for the feeding of the sacrificial beasts. He himself offers millet to the Great Spirit, the ancient mountains, the great rivers and the spirits of the four directions. He prays for the prosperity of all his people.
  12. The hexagram of the sixth month is Tun, Retreat. “The power of the dark is ascending. The light retreats…This retreat is a matter not of man’s will but of natural law…it is the correct way to behave in order not to exhaust one’s forces.”[viii]
  13. The Son of Heaven sends his blessings and aid to the weakest of his subjects. He orders that the dead be mourned, the sick and elderly given nourishing food and soft bedding so that the ten thousand beings are assisted as the year wanes.
  14. In this month trees flourish. The foresters are sent to inspect the woodlands to insure that no trees are harvested or cut.
  15. Nor at this time may there be any undertakings which jeopardize the work of the fields. Neither the raising of armies nor the drafting of labor for earthworks should occur. “Do not initiate the great undertaking, disturbing the nurturing ethers. Do not issue any order that anticipates the proper season, interfering with the affairs of the Divine Farmer.”[ix]
  16. In this month, the earth is wet and steaming, blessed by the great rains. One smells decay as the green above returns to the soil, nourishing and renewing it.
  17. If in this third month of summer, the rituals of spring were enacted, the grain would scatter and fall and the people wander away. If in this month, the rituals of autumn were enacted, lands high and low would flood, the grain not ripen and there would be many miscarriages. If in this month, the rituals of winter were enacted, wind and cold would arrive early; there would be attacks and unrest along the borders, causing the people to retreat inland.
  18. The tree of the sixth month is the shagbark hickory.[x]
  19. The medicinal plant of the sixth month is sweet leaf.[xi]
  20. The messenger of heaven is the goldfinch.[xii]
  21. The sixth month is governed by the Lesser Ingathering.

[i] The sixth month is complicated by the fact that a system based on four (4 seasons) must also accommodate the five elements. While this may appear slightly awkward, we must remember that five is the number of manifestation. Anything that manifests in form must have five aspects, rather than just four. Traditionally, the sixth month is attributed to earth. This echoes the placing of the spleen and stomach in the 6th position, thus providing the pivot. See The Secret Treatise of the Spiritual Orchid to read more about the 12 officials in the eleven positions.

[ii] The Yueling cites the ‘god of the drain’. I substituted the inner court as another appropriate correspondence. I believe I found this reference in Needham’s Science and Civilization in China.

[iii] I Ching, p.269. While references to the hexagrams relating to each month were not included in the original almanacs, I believe they bring another layer of understanding to the movement and manifestations of qi in the relevant month.

[iv] The original texts speak of either young geese or hawks learning to fly at this time. I have more opportunities to observe barn swallows than the aforementioned, thus the reference to swallows.

[v] Given that the original texts describe the thearch’s steed as a dragon, I have continued this “aura of ritual magic” (Major, p.226). The emperor in each season is represented by a resonant North American species. The creatures of earth are the naked class or bovines. The bison, while hardly naked, is the best representative in North America and is held sacred in indigenous culture. However, this does lead to the awkward fact that he ends up eating beef…

[vi] No instruments are mentioned in the YuelingLi chi or Lüshi chunqiu. The conjecture that they sing (singing being the sound of earth) is just that.

[vii] The original texts refer to alligators and gavials- I have substituted the largest fish found in the Great Lakes and North America.

[viii] I Ching, p.129

[ix] Lüshi chunqiu, p.155

[x] The original tree cited is the hazel. Hickory also has sweet nuts- “Native Americans prized hickory nuts for their sweet fatty oil, and they dried and ground the remainder for use as flour.” See http://www.field-notebook.com/?p=214

[xi] The addition of medicinal plants is purely my own- it is based on the actions of the plants and their resonance with the season. Sweet leaf is the Native American name for Wild Bergamot, monarda fistulosa. “In half a dozen Indian tongues the word “sweet” indicates something fragrant, tasty or beautiful, somewhat like the English word “fair”. There is also an added inference in the word, as if there is an offering of bounteous richness from Mother Nature.” P.363 of The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plant as Medicines by Matthew Wood.

[xii] The ‘messenger of Heaven’ is another addition based on personal observation of Nature. Birds are chosen by their arrival times, characteristics and resonance with the season.

Here’s another great article I found at Yang Sheng. (Original is here: http://yang-sheng.com/?p=35 )
I’d like to try the meditation at the end of the article for strengthening the Kidney Qi:

Zhi ( Memory) – The Spirit of the Kidneys

By Master Zhongxian Wu

Ancient Wu 巫 (Chinese shamans) taught us that every part of the body has its own spirit residing within. In the traditional Chinese shamanic or Daoist spiritual cultivation, one of the key elements of practice is to call the spiritual body back to the physical body. In Chinese, we call the physical body Xing 形 and the spiritual body Shen 神. Through our Qigong practice or inner cultivation practice, we endeavor to reach the state of Xing Shen He Yi 形神合一 — the union of the physical body and spiritual body. You will maintain health, peace, and longevity if your can keep your spirit residing within your body.  If the spiritual body remains in connection with its corresponding physical body, that part of the body will function well. When the spiritual body begins to separate from the physical body, we see dysfunction develop within that part of your body. If your spirit continually disconnects with your body, you becomes increasingly ill and uneasy.  Death occurs when the physical body and spiritual body completely separate.

Within our five physical organ systems, each system has its own particular kind of spiritual body. The spiritual body, or energy, of the kidney system is Zhi 志. The Chinese character Zhi means thought, mind, intensive will, feeling, purpose, record, or memory. The Zhi energy is also related with the heart — we can interpret the image of the Chinese character Zhi as “footprint in the heart.” Zhi, the spiritual energy of kidney, is the memory or footprint of your past life and the ancestral energy of human beings, which records who we are and where we come from. It is the reservoir of life energy. The spiritual name of kidney, Yuying 育嬰, literally means rear a baby, emphasizes that the kidney organ system is related to the root of our life.

According to Five Elements philosophy, the kidney belongs to the Water element and is associated with the northern direction. Through their direct observation of nature, ancient shamans understood that most of the surface of the Earth is composed of water.
They understood that water has the special function of carrying the universal energy from the primordial cosmos. They also knew that life originated in water. Ancient Chinese shamans lived in the northern hemisphere, where the northern regions were covered with ice, and understood that the qualities of the frozen water parallels those of the prenatal stage of life.  The ancient shamans saw that the spiritual energy of Water is equivalent to the spiritual energy of the Kidney system in the body.

When a person’s Zhi energy decreases, a person will be quick to feel fear or shock; the function of the kidney will be affected and the person may have lower back pain, leg pain, tinitus, and/or poor memory. If the Zhi separates from the kidneys entirely, the personal will be in a critical condition, at risk of dying. People with strong Zhi energy fully integrated into their kidney systems will have good memories and with their strong life energy, will be able to accomplish many things.

To strengthen your kidney Qi 氣 and your Zhi, you can practice this Chinese shamanic Kidney Qigong Form:

At 11pm every night, facing north and seated in meditation, light a candle in front of you.  Briefly take in the candle light with your eyes, then close your eyes and imagine the candle light shining within your lower Dantian 丹田. Adjust your breathing to be slow, smooth, deep and even. Feel and see the light becoming brighter in your Dantian with each breath.
Next, with each inhale, visualize you are taking in universal Qi 炁 from the north through all the pores of your skin.  Envision the Qi merging into your kidneys and chant the kidney’s spiritual name, Yuying, with each exhale. Repeat this 36 times.

________________________
Master Zhongxian Wu is the recognized master of multiple lineages of Yijing, Qigong, Taiji, and martial arts. He synthesizes wisdom and experience for beginning and advanced practitioners, as well as for patients seeking healing, in his unique and professionally designed courses and workshops. He is the author of Seeking the Spirit of The Book Change, The Vital Breath of the Dao, and The 12 Chinese Animals — Create Harmony in Your Daily Life through Ancient Chinese Wisdom. Please visit www.masterwu.net for further details about his teachings.

I found a stash of articles written by my teacher, Master Wu, on the Yang Sheng website🙂
Here’s one from a project he’s working on about the Dao De Jing. You can find the original here: http://yang-sheng.com/?p=8680

LaoZi – The Hidden Dragon

Master Zhongxian Wu

1. Introduction

The first time I picked up LaoZi’s DaoDeJing 道德經, I could not truly understand one single sentence.  I found this interesting, as I already had a solid foundation in classical Chinese literature. The very first sentence, 道可道非常道DaoKeDaoFeiChangDao, which literally translates as “The Dao that can be the Dao is not the constant Dao” initially felt like a maze to me. I used my knowledge of classical Chinese to interpret the meaning as “The Dao that can be spoken is not the eternal Dao.”  Still, I felt slightly puzzled.

After some years of a dedicated inner cultivation practice, I picked up the book again and I found that could understand it a little bit more than before. When reading the first sentence again, I decoded a different interpretation: “The Dao, discussed in any language, loses its original meaning.”   In other words, we cannot truly understand the Dao simply through words alone.  The way to access the Dao is through direct bodily experience.  In order to gain experiential knowledge, you must be seriously committed to your inner cultivation practice.

I have had a concentrated focus on Qigong, Neigong, marital arts and other internal cultivation practices since the 1970s.  I continue to come back to the DaoDeJing again and again.   Each time, I gain insights based on the layers of meaning that reveal themselves to me. Now, the very same opening sentence tells me that the entire book is not a text that passes philosophical truths to us.  Behind the words is a powerful teaching encouraging us to use our cultivation practice to connect with the Dao and Xian 仙 – immortality.

Over the last twenty years, I have been preparing to write a commentary on DaoDeJing from a Qigong/internal cultivation perspective. In this article, I will share a small piece of my project with you.

2. ZhiQiDongLai 紫氣東來

ZhiQiDongLai is a popular Chinese phrase often used as a prayer or charm. It is very common for Chinese families to post this above the entryway of their home as a blessing. ZhiQiDongLai literally translates as “purple colored Qi comes from the East”.  The phrase originates from the birth story of the DaoDeJing:

In the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (circa 770-256 BCE), there was a famous astronomer named YinXi 尹喜. One evening while he was reading the sky, he noted a mass of purple colored Qi accumulating in the East.  He was astonished by this natural phenomenon, and recognized it as an omen indicating that a great sage or truly enlightened master was traveling from the eastern direction. He made a predication about the master’s travel route – passing through HanGuGuan 函谷關and arriving in LouGuan 樓關. YinXi subsequently traveled to LouGuan and built himself a hut to wait for the master’s arrival.  After several days, an old man with long gray eyebrows and beard rode towards his hut.  He was riding on a green colored ox. YinXi immediately understood that this was the person he had been waiting for. He invited the old man to be his guest in his hut, hoping that he could study with the old master. The old master, LaoZi, saw that YinXi was seriously committed to his own inner cultivation and agreed to spend some time teaching him.

After three months had passed, LaoZi decided he was ready to keep traveling onwards. YinXi humbly requested that LaoZi write down some teachings for him before he left, so that YinXi would be able to continue his studies even if they would not have a chance to see each other again.  LaoZi consented, extending his stay to write what we now know as the DaoDeJing for his student, YinXin. YinXi continued to live a hermit’s life in LouGuan, continuing his cultivation practice with the guidance of LaoZi’s DaoDeJing. Years later, after YinXi achieved true enlightenment, he wrote the renowned Daoist classic WenShiJing 文始經.

From this creation story, we see that the original purpose of the DaoDeJing is to provide guidance for our spiritual cultivation. It is a great blessing to create opportunities that allow you to focus on our spiritual selves. Through our Qigong practice we can continuously refine our study and understanding of the DaoDeJing. 

3. The Wordless Teaching

In general, the first chapter of each of the Chinese classics reveals the purpose of the rest of the book. Consequently, it is always worth spending extra time on the first chapter so that you can get a real sense of the spirit of the book.

Please allow me to make a set of GongFu 功夫 tea so that we can savor the first chapter of theDaDeJing together slowly (please read my book, Vital Breath of the Dao, if you are interested in learning more about the GongFu tea ceremony).

Let us sip our tea and discuss the first line of DaoDeJing together.

 

Dao
Ke
Dao
Fei
Chang
Dao

The Dao that can be spoken is not the eternal Dao.

Tea Commentary: The original meaning of Chinese character 道 (Dao) is simply a trail, road, or path on which to walk.   Later on, the meaning expanded to include rule, law, way, method, and the spoken word. In traditional Chinese philosophy, the Dao also refers to the way of nature or the universal law. In the first sentence of the DaoDeJing there are three Dao characters.  The first and the third instances use Dao to mean the way or the method, while the second occurrence is used to mean speak or express.

The hidden meaning of this line is as follows:

The ways that are expressed in our daily lives, such as those pertaining to politics, business, and knowledge do not provide the pathway to the Eternal Dao – immortality or true enlightenment.

The way to attain the Eternal Dao is wordless.  The path to the Eternal Dao involves gaining a deep understanding of your physical body, your Qi body, and your spiritual body.  That is because the path to the Eternal Dao is not mental or verbal.  Rather, it is experiential.

We reach the Eternal Dao through the same method as we enjoy our tea.  We savor the tea, experiencing it directly through our senses – by tasting, smelling and seeing it, and by being in touch its affects on our bodies – that we accurately understand the rich and subtle complexities of the tea.  If I tried to describe the flavor, fragrance, and color of the tea to you and never offered you the opportunity to savor the tea yourself, you would gain some superficial knowledge about the tea but you would never grow to truly understand it.

We learn about the Eternal Dao not only through the Dao of tea, but also through the Dao of Qi.  Traditional Qigong forms serve as another pathway to the Eternal Dao.  By cultivating our Qi, we learn to experience the Eternal Dao through our bodies, our breath, and our spirits.

4. Conclusion

Guan觀, which means observe or observation, is one of the traditional names for Qigong. Guan is also the name used to refer to all traditional Daoist temples in China.   For thousands of years, Daoist temples have been much more than regional sites for ceremony or religion.  Traditional Daoist temples have been and continue to be havens where Daoist masters, following LaoZi’s teaching, diligently practice various methods of Guan, or inner observation.  Guan is both the secret and not-so-secret method of LaoZi’s own Qigong and inner cultivation practice.

The lineage of LaoZi’s teachings is known as the Hidden Immortal Lineage or Dragon Like Lineage.  This name came about through Confucius.  One day, Confucius returned from studying with LaoZi.  His students, curious about the mysterious master, asked Confucius what he thought about LaoZi.  Confucius replied: “LaoZi is just like a dragon.”

In China, the dragon is the most common icon, replicated on businesses and temples, in homes, on paintings, ceramics, clothes, etc.  However ubiquitous in Chinese culture, the dragon itself is still a mystery – both seen and unseen, ever present but little understood.

Similarly, although the DaoDeJing is arguably China’s famous book, most people don’t realize that the DaoDeJing is actually LaoZi’s cultivation handbook. The secret to understanding theDaoDeJing is not a secret at all.  Through a committed inner cultivation practice and guidance of an illumined master, you can decode the enigmas within these five thousand words and find the path to the Eternal Dao.

Acknowledgment: I’d like to express my gratitude and appreciation for my wife, Dr. Karin Taylor Wu, for her helpful suggestions and her editorial assistance.

Master Zhongxian Wu is the lineage holder of four different schools of Qigong, Taiji and martial arts. Since 1988, he has instructed thousands of students, both Eastern and Western in ancient Chinese wisdom traditions. Master Wu is the author of Vital Breath of the Dao, Seeking the Spirit of the Book of Change, The 12 Chinese Animals, Chinese Shamanic Cosmic Orbit Qigong and of Fire Dragon Meridian Qigong. He synthesizes wisdom and experience for beginning and advanced practitioners, as well as for patients seeking healing, in his unique and professionally designed courses and workshops. For detailed information, please visithttp://www.masterwu.net.

 

There’s a few other articles here: http://yang-sheng.com/?author=31

enjoy!

Day 186

Just realizing I’ve done QiGong every day for over half a year now. Time really has flown, and I’m so happy and proud of myself that I’ve made it this far with my cultivation. My life feels different – in general I’ve felt more centered, grounded, I rarely get upset about anything, my circulation has hugely improved – I used to have freezing hands and feet all the time, now they’re warm almost all the time, my back continues to be pain free, even with all the work I’ve been doing in the garden! I’ve been more in tune with nature, the seasons and my surroundings. All in all, I’m feeling fantastic🙂

Bring on the rest of the year!

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