January 2011 issue


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Mastery Journal is the international ezine dedicated to mastery in Qigong, Internal Arts and life.

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January 2011 issue

  1. 1. VOLUME 1 • ISSUE 1 January 2011Mastery JournalThe International Ezine on Mastery in Qigong, Internal Arts, and LifeWhat is Mastery? By Lama TantrapaGiving 110% May Be Trying Too Hard By John MunroAn Eye Opening Synchronicity By Paul LevyFeel with the Mind By Jon WestonBeware of Phony Gurus By Phillip ScottExercises Most Ancient By Mark BrophyThe Unity of Opposites in Life By Gary Giamboi
  2. 2. January 2011 Bringing anVolume 1 Issue 1 Emphasis to* Introduction to Mastery Journal Mastery F* This Month’s Articles and Mastery Seekers or about ten years, • What is Mastery? Page 3 we have been pub- By Lama Tantrapa lishing Qi Dao news- • Giving 110% May Be letter, which has over Trying Too Hard Page 6 5,000 readers now. As our little publication By John Munro grew through the years, • An Eye Opening Synchronicity we have received numer- Page 9 ous requests to make it By Paul Levy available online as an • Feel with the Mind Page 13 ezine – an online magazine. Some readers were interested in being able to access the archived issues, others would By Jon Weston like to see more substantive articles or even multimedia. • Exercises Most Ancient Page 15 The most persistent type of requests has always been By Mark Brophy to make our newsletter more regular, since it used to be • Beware of Phony Gurus Page 18 emailed sometimes bi-monthly, sometimes quarterly, but By Phillip Scott never very consistently. • The Unity of Opposites in Life M y resolution to create an ezine got boosted by the Page 20 By Gary Giamboi massive amount of audio and video materials that I have accumulated by interviewing dozens of experts in * Brought to you by: Qigong and related disciplines for my Radio talk show The Secrets of Qigong Masters over the last two years. Many guests of the show are well-known authors, who gra- ciously volunteered to contribute articles or write regular* The Many Streams on Mastery columns for this publication. Naturally, I am delighted to make the most recent episodes of my show available to the * Academy of Qi Dao Website readers of this ezine, too. As we continue developing the * The Secrets of Qigong Masters Mastery Journal, it will also include short video clips from Online Audio Broadcast our forthcoming Internet TV program The Flow Show. * Qigong Network Social A Networking Interface lthough most of our articles will allow comments, we * Twitter, Facebook, Meetup, LinkedIn also created an online community portal QigongNet- work providing opportunities for posting your own blog * The Flow Show entries, discussion board posts, photos and even videos. Please become a member of QigongNetwork and feel free On the cover: “Steps to Mastery”, Thomas Pamelia, 2011 to share about your experiences with the Energy Arts or Publisher: Lama Tantrapa any related disciplines. Additionally, you are welcome to Production Designer: Thomas Pamelia Editor: Kali Tara join the sister Qigong Networks on FaceBook and Linke- Information is correct at press time. din. Join the social networking revolution catching up Mastery Journal is published monthly by the Academy of Qi Dao in with the ancient arts of energy mastery! Portland, Oregon. Signed articles do not necessarily reflect the official company policy © 2011. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without permission is prohibited.
  3. 3. What Is Mastery? tently defeated when challenged, you have ways to go. Lama Tantrapa It takes years or perseverance and diligent training to reach such a level of mastery, which is beyondServing as the producer and host of the talk show the comfort zone of the vast majority of aspiringThe Secrets of Qigong Masters, I have interviewed martial artists. Most enthusiasts also tend to dabblemany wonderful guests, many of whom are re- attempting to learn one style after another, qualify-garded as Qigong masters (hence the name of the ing only to be called proverbial Jack of all trades,show). One would think that everyone appearingon my show must be a bona-fide master of Qigong, Tai Chi, or some other related discipline; however,this may not always be the case. It really dependson the definition of Qigong Master and whom you are talking to about it. I noticed that some of theguests, despite being internationally recognized asQigong masters, do not feel comfortable wearingthis label and prefer to be called teacher or coach.Others opt for the Chinese term Sifu, which is anhonorific way to address a teacher, which is some-what similar to Sensei in Japanese. A few of them,however, got so used to the title that they actuallyprefer to be addressed Master such-and-such.So, given all these discrepancies, who should wecall a Qigong master? To start with, let’s establishthat Master in this context means a person with ahigh level of skill and knowledge. To quote one ofmy guests named Jeff Smoley, a Master is a per-son able to do something very difficult, that even well trained people strain to do, and make it looktoo easy; someone capable of teaching even themost complex and difficult aspects of one’s art in a master of none. Throughout my career as a profes-clear and concise manner. The reference to one’s sional martial artist, I also saw many of those, whoart form is not incidental here, since we are trying to claimed that they could defeat anyone, but in orderclarify the meaning of mastery in Qigong, which can to prove the point performed demonstrations of ka-be translated into English as Energy Art. Observing tas or choreographed forms. In my humble opinion,some masters in related disciplines may help us on doing forms may be a fine exercise, but it can never our quest. make anyone a real master. But what can then?There are several disciplines and art forms histori- In addition to perseverance, another crucial elementcally related to Qigong, including, but not limited of mastery seems to be proper training, preferably,to Taiji, Bagua, Xing Yi, and other Internal Martial by a real master. As it were, having a role modelArts. Perhaps, examining the ways people achieve of a master is essential for developing a student’sa similar status of a master in those disciplines may mastery. Of course, mindlessly following the stepshelp us determine who should be called a Qigong of even the best master would not lead you to anymaster. Unlike most fields of studies, Martial Arts kind of authentic mastery. The way I explain this isprovide an excellent method for testing and distin- very simple: you become a master by learning to beguishing those with high levels of mastery from all in the flow; and you can neither be in your flow nor other practitioners. If you prevail over all or most of in your master’s flow, as long as you merely copy your opponents, you qualify to be called a master in his steps, moves or mannerisms. Therefore, whenwhatever style you specialize in. If you get consis- a true master is in the flow, he also serves as a role
  4. 4. model of authenticity at the same time.I noticed that beginning students often view mas-tery as a destination, while I view it as a continuousprocess of becoming more and more masterful.This journey has no final destination, because there is always more to learn; however, as we prog-ress along the path, we gain more experience. Asit were, the more experiences we have, the moreexperienced we become. Generally speaking, beingexperienced, which may mean being more knowl-edgeable or skilled in our arts, is what sets mastersapart from the laymen, even though this division isnever clearly defined, always dependent on each person’s point of view. What appears to be anadvanced skill to one practitioner may seem ratherbasic to another.So, how can you tell apart those, who achieved areasonable degree of mastery, from all others in-volved in the same field of study? In my humble opinion, the combination of creativity, audacity tothink outside the box, ability to integrate differentelements and areas of knowledge, as well as teach-ing capability, sets apart an authentic master. Unlikemost musicians or fine artists, for instance, most masters of Energy Arts are likely to apply their skillsto their daily lives, so the fine line between the art and lifestyle disappears completely. In final analysis, the more you embody and live your art, the greateris your level of Qigong mastery.Mastery eventually leads to transcending the de-sire to compare oneself to others, which may bedeemed helpful or necessary on the initial stagesof this journey. Without any competition, it wouldbe virtually difficult to distinguish progress or find motivation to persevere along the path. Without anyappealing goal, it would be difficult to maintain the course. Yet, with practice, competition and goalsfade away, and the enjoyment of the process ofself-realization becomes the predominant drivingforce of the true masters. This also distinguishesauthentic masters from those who seek recognitionfrom others, without which they would not believe intheir own mastery. This authenticity leads to self-re-alization that, by definition, can only be experienced internally. Of course, this also leads to realizing thatthere is no such thing as self; but that would have tobe the topic for another article.
  5. 5. Master of the MonthLama Somananda Tantrapa is the 27th lin-eage holder of Qi Dao, also known as TibetanShamanic Qigong. He has been practicingQigong, Dream Yoga, Meditation, and InternalMartial Arts for over thirty five years, primar-ily trained by his Grandfather who was theparagon of the Russian Martial Arts and QiDao Grand Master. His background is complexenough to include serving in the Soviet Army’sSpecial Forces, being kidnapped in the Ukraineand surviving several near-death experiences.Lama Tantrapa was ordained as a Buddhistmonk in three different orders and initiatedinto Subud spiritual brotherhood. In addition tobeing a Tibetan Bon Lama, he studied with anumber of Qigong and kung-fu masters, greatteachers of Yoga and meditation, as well asNative American, Hawaiian and Siberian Sha-mans. He is also trained in Cultural Anthropol-ogy, Meta-coaching, Hypnosis and NLP. Whenliving for two years on a small tropical island inthe Pacific, 7000 miles away from the major-ity of his students and clients, he pioneered anovel method of conducting Qi Dao sessionsover the Internet called Qigong Coaching. In thelast decade, he has provided wellness, peakperformance and life coaching to thousands ofpeople of all ages and from various walks oflife. He is also a bestselling author of severalQi Dao books, executive producer of the film Qi Dao – Tibetan Shamanic Qigong, creator of CDalbums Qi Dao Initiation and The Art of Being inthe Flow, publisher of the Basic Qi Dao HomeStudy Course and other multimedia learningmaterials available at www.qidao.org.In addition to being the publisher of MasteryJournal, Lama Tantrapa is also the host of theInternet Radio talk show The Secrets of QigongMasters that you can enjoy atwww.blogtalkradio.com/qigongmasters.
  6. 6. Giving 110% our ligaments are not strong enough to support our limbs in an extended position, the muscles will tighten up to restrict the range of motion and prevent dislocation of the joint. IfMay Be we attempt to lift a load which our body thinks is too heavy and may tear the muscles involved, the nerves activatingTrying Too Hard the muscles will actually just switch off, causing us to drop the load.These are a couple of physical examples of safety mechanisms. We also develop these safety mechanisms in other areas of our lives. If we are making ourselves too John Munro busy we will often get a cold or other minor illness so that we HAVE to take some timeHow often do you hear the phrase, “Give it 100%” or out.“110%?” Our culture places a lot of emphasis on effort.We often go about our lives trying very hard to achieve allmanner of goals and objectives. We put great expectations Whenever we begin toon ourselves to succeed and achieve and yet for many of exert ourselves too hardus all this effort adds up to very little actual progress. Is it we start to run into these safety mechanisms. If wepossible that all this effort is actually holding us back? do not pay attention to the message the safety mechanisms are sendingLet’s look a little closer at the statement “give 100%.” us, we will keep on runningGiving 100% is a good thing isn’t it? It means we have into them, and eventuallygiven our all to something, held nothing back, achieved the the mechanisms will start kicking in earlier and earlier.best possible results or does it? Our muscles will get tighter and tighter, we will get sick more often and easily. In the end it may seem like we are getting nowhere, or worse, going backwards.When an executive gives Ô100% to his job, workinglong hours, not taking breaks, what happens? They maysucceed in their career in the short term, but their personal So is it not good to exert ourselves; to put effort intoand family relationships will deteriorate. If they keep this up accomplishing the things we want in life? Of course it isthey will have a much shorter career than they otherwise good, but the idea of giving 100% all the time is simplymight have as their health will also suffer. Have they really counterproductive.succeeded? A Better WayWhen an athlete gives 100% at all their training sessions,what happens? They may initially make some impressivegains in performance and then often they will have injuries The Taoists (Taoism is an ancient branch of Chineseor suffer recurring illness due to overtraining. They find that philosophy) have a maxim which states that we should onlytheir progress is hampered and rather than succeeding at ever exert ourselves 60%. Our modern understanding oftheir sport they may eventually be forced to give it up. human physiology has some striking parallels. Muscles put out the most force at about 60% of their maximum speed of contraction. Muscles are also strongest at about 60% of maximum length.Physically whenever we exert ourselves to 100% of ourcapacity we actually put ourselves in real danger. At 100%of our capacity it only takes the slightest unexpected Have you ever watched an elite athlete at the top of theiroccurrence to throw things completely out of kilter. A rubber game? Their movements seem almost effortless, evenband stretched to 100% of its possible length will snap with while they are doing things no-one else on the planet can do. They have mastered relaxed exertion whereby puttingthe slightest bump. The same goes for muscles at 100% out just the right amount of effort, they actually accomplishof load and nerves at 100% stimulation. Unconsciously the most. They make it look effortless, and in a sense it is,we know this and so we develop safety mechanisms to mentally and physically they are relaxed and focused onprotect ourselves from being damaged by overexertion. If their goal, they call this being in The Zone. But they have
  7. 7. not got to this point without effort. They have normally put one or two, and so on. It will surprise you how quickly youin many years of effort, slowly and steadily developing their remember them if you take it in small chunks.skills and abilities, keeping their exertion levels such thatthey can progress without running into too many internalsafety mechanisms or receiving too many injuries. In thisway their overall capacity is gradually developed until they Perform the exercises in a way that is comfortable butcan achieve relaxation, far more than they previously challenging to you. Make your stance high enough that thecould when giving 100%. exercises are comfortable, but low enough that your legs gradually strengthen and your posture improves. Extend your movements so that you feel a slight stretch atJust like the story of the tortoise and the hare, to succeed the end of each movement.in life we generally find that we get further in the long run by putting in a sustained maintainable effort than by shortfits and starts of extreme exertion. We need to consider our overall goals and how they fit together in the bigger picture of our life. In this way we can make sure that our steadyefforts take us where we want to go rather than rushingaround expending a lot of energy on things that actuallyslow down our progress. Our slow and steady efforts willyield great success when they are pointed in the rightdirection and sustained over a period of time.So should we never give 100%?There are times when we need to give 100%. We’veall heard of mothers who have lifted cars that were trappingtheir children underneath and other stories of humancapabilities under extreme circumstances. At times likethis our bodies naturally turn off all the safety mechanismsbecause the importance of the outcome outweighs thedangers of 100% exertion. These situations should berare though, the rest of the time we will achieve the most byexerting ourselves in a relaxed way.So how does this apply to our Qigong practice?Qigong is something that has the potential to greatlyenhance your health and wellbeing throughout your entirelife. In terms of life goals, it is well worthwhile to beginputting effort in now for the rewards you will reap in years to Perform the exercises at a pace that suits YOUR breathing.come. Abilities in qigong take time to develop, forcing and In a class setting you will usually go at the same pace as thepushing yourself will not help you to get their faster. rest of the class most of the time. Hopefully it is a pace youSteady sustained effort will be rewarded with surprising are comfortable with. When you are practicing by yourselfbenefits over years of practice. you can suit the pace to your own breathing capacity. Never get to the stage that you feel like you should be gasping for breath. Keep it comfortable and gradually your breathing will naturally slow down and deepen.Practicing qigong is a great example of slow andsteady wins the race. In developing your awareness of energy, do not try to force it. Accept that you feel what you feel, or don’t feel what youIf you are learning a set of exercises, don’t worry about don’t feel. When you do feel something, accept this andlearning them all at once, learn one or two, then another work with it, in time it will grow.
  8. 8. Don’t compare yourself to others, except to learn from them.Accept that you are at the level you are at, work from theretowards improving.Have realistic expectations about your qigong practice.Progress tends to come little by little, with the occasionalbreakthrough now and then.Be consistent and regularly schedule time in your dayto practice qigong. It may only be 10 minutes at a time, buta little done regularly will yield great results over time. John Munro is a Qigong and kung fu teacher based in Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of ‘Qigong: Foundation Practices – Twelve Health Exercises From The Wah Family Style’ and ‘The Tiger Within: Practical Self Defense In A Modern World – How To Bring Out Your Inner Tiger When You Need It Most’. Along with his busy teaching schedule, John is also a qualified personal trainer, traditional Chinese medicine practitioner and an accomplished artist (sculpture). You can contact him through his websites at: www.developyourqi.com www.longwhitecloudkungfu.com www.johnmunrosculptor.com
  9. 9. An life. After the fever subsided, I was never even remotely the same, never to return to the seemingly normal life I had beenEye-opening living. It created enormous suffering for me, and yet, at the same time, it’s what inspired me to find my calling.Synchronicity The only refuge that I had found that made me feel any bet- ter from the overwhelming trauma was to step out of trying to figure my way out of the suffering with my mind, and instead, to simply watch what was happening inside of me, which is what Paul Levy meditation is. For about a year and a half I began doing very serious meditation practice called “vipassana,” known as “insight meditation,” or the practice of mindfulness, as a way of dealingWhen I was first introduced to the world of psychiatry in May of with my troubles. One day I was sitting in meditation and all of a1981 at 24 years of age, I experienced a particularly unique syn- sudden, out of the blue, in one nano-second, a bolt of lightningchronistic event that rocked my world and changed my life for- ignited in my brain. The lightning bolt didn’t come from outsideever. I burst onto the scene of psychiatry in a dramatic way, as of myself, but originated from within the inner sky of my owna life-transforming event happened within the very first minute mind-body. At the time I had no idea that being struck by a boltof my being admitted to my very first psychiatric hospital. I have of lightning, as with Zeus and his thunderbolts, symbolizes ina very real edge around sharing this synchronicity with others, mythologies the world over the initiation of a spiritual process.however, as it brigs up my fear of being pathologized, of beingtold I that I am just hallucinating or imagining, or worse yet, that Within hours of being struck by that flash of lightning, I be-I am crazy. This would just be a re-creation of the trauma earlier gan merging with the spontaneity of the present moment, andin my life when I did share this experience with my parents, entered into an ec-static (beyond stasis) state. The next day Ifriends and psychiatrists, and they did think I was crazy. This is began acting so unlike my ordinary, conditioned and repressedwhy I’m more than a little gun-shy about sharing my story now. self that a close friend thought I was going crazy and had meIn the past I got really beat up for it, it seemed to upset just brought, by ambulance, to Highland Hospital in Oakland, Cali-about everybody, and it got me in a lot of trouble. To get around fornia (please see my article, “We are all Shamans-in-Training”).my fear, I’ve even imagined telling the story as if it was “just a I had so “let go” that I was just following the process and goingdream,” and didn’t actually happen in the so called waking state. along for the ride. I was stepping out of myself in such a wayBut it did happen, at least in my experience. that every moment was synchronistically and effortlessly cre- ative and full in a way I had hardly even imagined was possibleIt feels like the right time to share this, as it feels like it’s not just previously. I had become unself-conscious, at one with myself,my story. On the one hand, this synchronistic experience was as if I had stepped out of all restraints. It was as if I was re-tailor-made just for me, while on the other hand, it wasn’t just my leased from any social conditioning, in that my actions were noexperience, a circumstance meant solely for my personal con- longer a reaction to what I thought others thought. As if snappingsumption. It feels like it is a revelatory experience that contains out of a double-bind, I wasn’t limiting myself anymore. I wasn’tgifts for all of us. It feels more right to share it now because it contracting against myself but simply getting out of my own wayhas taken me this many years to digest it, and to integrate the to let my light shine, as if I went from being a 75 watt light-bulbmeaning of what was being shown to me so that I’d be able to to being a million watt bulb. This was a dangerous situation,share the story without identifying with the role. It also feels like however, as at the time I certainly hadn’t yet developed thethe time is right to share this miraculous-seeming event because container within myself to channel this energy in a way that wasI’ve developed the psychological fluency so that I can now socially acceptable. I had so surrendered to what was happen-describe what my experience was in a way that I imagine will be ing, which was the only thing that made sense to do, and thereceived and taken in, instead of judged. Being archetypal, my only thing that I could do, that I had stopped trying to control thesynchronistic encounter is a self-reflection for all of us, revealing situation. Little did I realize that upon entering the hallowed hallsa process that exists deep within each one of us. of psychiatry, my life would be changed forever.THE STORY In the very first room I was brought to in that hospital, some sort of lounge for psychiatric patients, I saw among the group ofTo place this event in context, a couple of years before this patients a blind woman, whom I immediately approached. Herexperience, I had suffered terrible abuse from the psychic hands eyes were a blind person’s eyes, opaque, with no color or radi-of my father. The specific content is unimportant to the story I ance at all. Without any thought on my part, I went right up towant to tell here. The salient feature is that I felt psychologically her and found myself staring at her eyes, saying over and overviolated to my very core. The emotional abuse was so toxic that the following words: “All you have to do to see is open your eyesI literally woke up the day after one particularly bad incident and look.” These words were literally coming through me, havingwith a fever, which from that day onwards lasted on and off, for fallen into my head, as if I was channeling them. I kept on get-a year. I went to doctors and hospitals, and no one could find ting closer and closer to her as I repeated these words, lookinganything physically wrong with me. Over the years I’ve realized into her eyes all the while. What happened next, over the coursethat the fever was my mind-body’s way of attempting to integrate of less than a minute, I will never forget. In front of my very eyes,the overwhelming and shattering nature of the emotional trauma her eyes began regaining their color and luminosity, going fromI had endured. This abuse changed the trajectory of my whole the dead, diseased eyes of a blind person to normal, healthy,
  10. 10. seeing eyes. She had regained her sight. before I somehow “saw” this, as if a clairvoyant part of myself had announced itself in a most eye-opening way. In addition, IAt that moment, as if divinely choreographed, a beautiful somehow knew just what to say and do, as if I had become awoman doctor came into the room, gave me some pills to conduit for some deeper, healing force to play itself out in form.swallow, and brought me into another room. The attendants It was also clear to me that it was no accident that she and Ithen strapped me on to a bed, where I was bound hand and had come together. It was clearly a synchronistic meeting, onefoot. And there I spent the night. I remember lying there know- in which we were both playing roles in a deeper drama. As if weing I was going through a profound spiritual experience. It was were telepathically connected, within a few moments she sayshard not to realize this, after just having had the exchange with to me “Aren’t you going to answer the phone call from Roy?”the now ex-blind woman. My encounter with her helped me to (my father’s name). These were, literally, the first words she inwardly know that I wasn’t going crazy, but rather, was evi- spoke to me. Moments later the nurse came into the room anddently going through some sort of spiritual awakening process. said my father was on the phone. Word had evidently reachedThere is a correlation between abuse and spiritual awakening: my parents that their only child had been hospitalized with aThe seeming miraculousness of what had happened with the nervous breakdown.blind woman feels inversely proportional to the horror of abusethat I was passing through via my relationship with my father, STEPPING THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASSas if they were inverted mirror images of each other. While tiedup, I remember feeling that whomever I would think of I was in While in the hospital I found myself in an absurd situation: I’m insome way connecting to and “bringing along” on my awakening, the midst of a full-blown, life-changing spiritual awakening (seeso I kept on expanding my imagination of whom I could bring my article “Spiritual Emergence”) and the doctors are interview-along until I began thinking of everyone I had ever known and ing me about my grasp on reality to see if I am crazy. In mythen some. Needless to say, I didn’t exactly get a normal night’s “enthusiastic” (en-theos means to be filled with spirit) sharing sleep that evening. with them about the revelatory experience I was having, I can only imagine how this certified in their minds that I was crazy. When this event happened with the blind woman, I couldn’t pos-The next morning, after I was unstrapped, I was brought to a sibly have been prepared for the energies that this synchronicityroom and the only other person in the room, sitting across a helped to unleash, both within myself and in the field around table from me, was, coincidentally, that same ex-blind woman. me. Not having had time to integrate the overwhelming mysticalShe’s looking at me and lovingly smiling from ear to ear, not experience that I was having, I was “crazy” not to realize that Ihaving said one word to me as of yet. All of a sudden, it was as shouldn’t be talking about my religious experience with peopleif a closed fist in my heart completely opened. It was perfectly who were still entrained in consensus reality.clear to me that this was my heart chakra blossoming. This isdescribed in spiritual literature as the opening of a thousand- I was let out of the hospital after three days, however, once Ipetaled lotus, and though I had never had this happen to me realized that if I simply appeared normal and talked about mybefore, it was an experience that I immediately recognized. I problems, I could leave. When I got released from the hospital,then had the spontaneous realization of what had happened whereas all of my friends and family thought I had suffered abetween us the day before. I intuitively understood that her eyes psychotic break from reality, I knew something very importanthad been physically fine, it was just that she was not letting had happened. I intuitively sensed I needed to find someone to herself open her (inner) eyes and look, which was “causing” talk to who would understand what had occurred. I found outher blindness. It was like she was keeping her inner, psycho- that there was a Burmese Buddhist monk named U Silananda,logical eyes closed, was choosing not to look, and this was who was living across the bay in San Francisco. I went to seereflected through her apparent physical blindness. And the day him and told him what had happened. He said that I was in luck,
  11. 11. that one of the most spiritually developed practitioners of the Who was I in her dream, but a visionary part of herself that shetwentieth century in his tradition had just arrived in the Bay Area,was split-off from, and hence projected out and dreamed up intoand that I should go and get his blessings. Within the week I and as an in-sight-ful (dream) figure in her (waking) dream. As was sitting at the feet of and being blessed by The Most Vener- if waiting for me to arrive, it was as if I had become drawn inable Taungpulu Sayadaw, at 85 years old considered to be the and drafted into her dreaming process. It was as if I was sent bygreatest living Buddhist master of all of Burma. When I told him central casting because I was open and sensitive enough at thatwhat had happened with the blind woman, he didn’t think I was moment to simply pick up a role that was being dreamed up incrazy, but recognized that I was in the midst of a spiritual unfold-the field, waiting for someone to give it full-embodied, incarnate ment. form. Just like I was the living re-present-ative of a part of her- self, at the same time, she was an embodied reflection of a blind Over the next 16 months, I continued to have a series of over- part of myself. She symbolized the part of me that was refusingthe-top “non-consensus reality” experiences. Some of the expe- to look at something within myself. In healing her own blindness,riences so defied the conventional laws of third dimensional time she also stood for the part of myself that was now stepping intoand space that they seemed physically impossible, as if they and embodying a new level of seeing, as if the blind part of my-could only happen in a dream. Because I was still in the process self was regaining its sight.of metabolizing what was happening to me, I was still learninghow to express my experiences in a way that didn’t upset the It was as if the blind woman was ready to heal her blindness,applecart of consensus reality. As a result I was hospitalized and just needed a little reminder of what to do. Upon enteringat least three other times, as I tried to contain, understand and the scene I said my lines perfectly, with genuine aplomb, as if Iassimilate the deeper process that was happening both within knew the script, as if I had practiced for lifetimes. We steppedme and in my outer life circumstances. Concretized by the psy- into each other’s waking dreams in such a way that our interac-chiatric system as being mentally ill, the psychiatrists “hoped to tion was a re-presentation of what was going on inside of bothone day make me a functioning member of society” (please see of our psyches. At the same time that I was being dreamed upmy article “Psychiatry Almost Drove Me Crazy”). The event with by her to help her heal, she was being dreamed up to pick upthe blind woman was also a demarcation point in my relation- a (third) eye-opening role in my unconscious. We were collab-ship with my family, who bought in hook, line and sinker to my oratively dreaming each other up, reciprocally co-arising relativepsychiatric diagnosis. From that moment on it was as if we were to each other, as if we were both contained within and expres-living in two very different universes. Over the course of time my sions of a higher-dimensional process. This experience betweenrelationship with my family deteriorated, became more and more us was an epiphany in materialized form, a revelation in timefractured, dis-connected, and estranged, until now, where I have encoded with catalytic information.no “blood” family left. But I have a huge spiritual family, whichonly continues to grow. The two of us were engaged in a mutual synchronicity that we were sharing, not just as passive witnesses sitting in the audi-My whole life changed from this synchronistic experience, as if I ence, but rather, we ourselves were the act-ive participants inhad given birth to a new part of myself. I was no longer living in our own living revelation. Though this experience seemed likethe same universe that I was in the moment before this experi- a miracle, with Biblical associations, it was actually a synchro-ence. From that moment on, I was inhabiting a world of ex- nistic, auspicious co-incidence of factors, a synergistic con-panded possibilities, where even the seemingly impossible now vergence of two beings coming together in a moment of time, re-seemed possible. It was as if I had fallen through a rabbit hole, vealing a deeper, more fundamental creative process at play. Atstepped through the looking glass, or passed through a portal, that moment my relationship with that blind woman was the me-and found myself playing a role in a cosmic, visionary drama dium through which a more grace-filled order of reality emerged that certainly had my highest attention. and incarnated into the third dimension. She and I were just the actors through which the deeper process clothed, in-formed,DREAMWORK and revealed itself. Not being able to heal by ourselves, the two of us were collaboratively helping each other to dream up ourEven though the situation with that blind woman actually hap- own healing. The archetype of the wounded healer had beenpened in waking life, it is quite profound to contemplate what constellated in the field between us. The relationship between happened symbolically, as if it were a dream. To see our life in the two of us is a prototype, a microcosmic iteration of a fractal,this way is to view the events in our life as if they are a dream of what is available to us en masse, as a species. Just like thethat a deeper part of us, what I call the “deeper, dreaming blind woman and I, we can come together and co-operativelySelf” is dreaming into materialized form in and as our life itself. help each other to heal and awaken.Just like doing dreamwork on a night dream, we can then askourselves, what is the meaning of this dream (i.e., our daily life Through this experience, a deeper order of reality was revealingexperience)? How would I interpret it? What parts of myself are itself while at the same time I was being used by it as one of itsembodied in the different dream characters that I meet as my life instruments of revelation. In other words, this deeper dimensionunfolds? wasn’t something separate from myself that I could objectively contemplate, but rather, I was participating in its revelation ofThe encounter with the blind woman was a waking dream that itself. I was enlisted in the service of being an instrument forthe two of us were collaboratively dreaming up together. Being something deeper to happen in the field. I am very clear that I a mutually shared dream, we can look at what got dreamed up didn’t do anything special, but rather, that a miraculous-seemingbetween us from either of our point’s of view (what dream char- event made itself apparent through a synchronistic encounter Iacter was I in her dream, and what part of myself was she?). had with another human being. “I” didn’t do anything, other than
  12. 12. to just be myself. There was no “I” healing anyone other thanjust being spontaneously present to what arose in front of me. A long-time practitioner of TibetanThere was no “I” in that in that moment, “I” was empty, an open- Buddhism, Paul Levy has intimate-ing, simply allowing the universe to move through me so that ly studied with some of the greatesthealing could happen in the field. masters from Tibet and Burma and serves as the coordinator of a Bud-Over the years I’ve come to realize that what happened be- dhist center in Portland, Oregon.tween the two of us, when contemplated symbolically, as if Deeply steeped in and inspired byit were a dream, was revealing what is happening all of the the work of C. G. Jung, he is antime, with everyone. With the majority of people, however, this innovator in the field of dreaming dreaming process between us – in which people are simultane- (both night dreams as well as wak-ously dreaming each other up while being dreamed up by each ing dreams). He has had innumerable articles publishedother – is happening unconsciously in a way which usually just on consciousness, dreaming and spirituality, and hascontinually reinforces each other’s limited, wounded identities. lectured about his work at various universities.We are all co-dreaming with each other all the time, as we areinterconnected and interdependent in such a way that we only Paul is also the founder of the “Awakening in the Dreamultimately exist in relation to each other, which is to say there is Community,” a group of people who mutually help eachno separation. In a nonlinear, acausal process that happens out- other to wake up to the dreamlike nature of the uni-side of time, we are all dreaming each other up to play roles in verse. His work is the inspiration for the “Awakening ineach other’s waking lives. We can help each other to recognize the Dream Center,” a psycho-spiritual healing center inthis in a way which helps everyone. We are all dreaming up the Mexico. As visionary artist, he helps create an “Art-Hap-deeper field as well as, concurrently, being dreamed up by it, a pening Called Global Awakening,” a work of living art inprocess that Buddhism calls interdependent co-origination. which we, as a species, collaboratively help each other to become lucid in the dream of life.Every part of the universe is evoking, while simultaneously be-ing evoked by, every other part. The event with the blind woman Paul has developed a unique and creative vehicle towas a materialized crystallization in form revealing, literally introduce people to the dream-like nature of reality thatand symbolically, how we dream up our world, what I call “the he calls “The Dreaming Up Process,” which is based ondreaming up process.” Encoded in what happened between the realization that the same dreaming mind that dreamsthe blind woman and me is a revelation of the dreamlike nature our dreams at night is dreaming our life. He teachesof our universe. Contemplating the experience with the blind this dreaming up process in “Awakening in the Dreamwoman symbolically, as if it were a dream, was the key which Groups” where people who are awakening to the dream-helped me to extract the blessing of what this situation was re- like nature of reality come together and collaborativelyvealing, becoming the seeds which later helped me to articulate help each other to wake up in the dream together.and develop my life’s work. Paul is also a visionary artist and a spiritually-informed“All we have to do to see is open our eyes and look.” This is in political activist. He is the author of The Madness ofessence what I always find myself coming back to in one way George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis. or another in all of my writings. I notice that when I am working Feel free to pass this article along to a friend if you feelwith people, this is exactly what I am trying to get across – for so inspired. Please visit Paul’s websiteus to simply open our eyes, so to speak, and see, i.e., to recog- www.awakeninthedream.com.nize the dreamlike, and hence, creative nature of both ourselves You can contact him at paul@awakeninthedream.comand our situation. It brings to mind the saying of Jesus from theGospel of Thomas, “The Father’s kingdom is spread out uponthe earth and people don’t see it.” All we have to do to see isopen our eyes and look. We teach what we need to learn. I amin essence talking to myself. In finding the words I am helping myself heal my own blindness.
  13. 13. Feel with The Taoists call the mind the Monkey Mind. The reason why they call it the monkey mind is it always gets into a lot of mis- chief, because the monkey mind has to always do something.the Mind So, how do we slow this monkey mind down? The Taoists can learn to observe, using the upper mind to slow down the ‘monkey mind’ by tricking the monkey mind. The monkey mind Jon Weston says, “I can do anything”, but basically it is actually our own ego saying it. We really cannot destroy the monkey mind because it is us. So what do we do? The Taoists say, “Ah, I have to figure When we look within, we begin to see what really is; and this is a way to trick the monkey mind.” The monkey mind likes to dothe beginning of your understanding of the Tao. That is the key something all the time; because it needs to be active; the mon-factor and this takes the Mystery out of Mysticism. key mind needs something to do. So, in the meditation in the Taoist system, what the Taoists actually do is ask the monkeyWe look at the world in a way that we do not see what really is, mind to trace the thirty-two energy channels of the body.because our entire thinking process is reversed from thinkingin the Tao. In other words, to live in the Tao we need to learn Of course the monkey mind says, “I can do that, no problem,”to think in the Tao. In the West we learn to think with our minds because it is our ego, so the monkey mind reacts to stay active;and feel with our hearts. In the Tao, we learn to think with our it is reacting to our request to do something because it is beinghearts and feel with our minds. challenged with its ego. It never wants not to do something,In the West, what we are doing is training the mind to think or because that would show that it is inferior; it always wants tomake decisions. But what we should do is to let the mind do its show that it is superior; that it can do whatever it is that younatural function which is to feel or observe. In the Tao we are requested. I can do this, I can do that. This is the process oftraining the mind how to feel and observe. To use an allegory, reacting, instead of thinking, “Do I really want to do this or dothe mind is an observatory tower. How is it an observatory I not want to do this?” That is called conscious choice. But, astower? It observes what is, and that is what the Tao is all about. you go through life, you always think with the monkey mind and you always react; we do things but we never ask ourselves whyWe all know what it is to think with our mind; in the West we are we should do them, and do we really want to do them.trained to think things out logically. In reality, that is not really But the Taoists understand this, and say to the monkey mind,what the mind is really about. What the mind was made for was can you trace the thirty-two energy channels of the body? Ofto observe. It is like driving a car; who is driving the car, you or course the monkey mind says yes, because the monkey mindthe car? The car is the mind. The car is an instrument, so the wants the challenge, wants to be superior, using the ego. Somind is an instrument. It is a tool; it does not have a mind of its the monkey mind says, OK great, what do I do? And the Tao-own. So it has to know where to go. It is a function; it is a re- ists say, oh, no problem, just sit still and focus internally. Smiletrieving machine or station. In other words, messages are sent down, look down within yourself, and start to feel the first chan-to the body or from the body, to go to the mind and then to an- nel of the body, the Functioning Channel by moving the energyother part of the body. What the mind does is observe. Another down your body and then feel the energy coming up your spine,word for observe is to feel or sense. This is the real purpose to the Governing Channel. So the monkey mind says, no prob-feel or to observe. How it observes is through the five senses. lem, I can do this. Let’s go. So, you close your eyes and so theThis is the feeling process. monkey mind closes the eyes of the body and starts to focusIn the West, what we are doing is training the mind to think or within. As you start to focus within, you feel the energy movingmake decisions. But what we should do is to let the mind do its down the front of the body and up the spine. This is the Micro-natural function which is to feel or observe. In the Tao we are cosmic Orbit, the two channels of the body. The energy movestraining the mind how to feel and observe. To use an allegory, in the belt channels and the thrusting channels, the bridge andthe mind is an observatory tower. How is it an observatory regulatory channels. The body starts to open up and you starttower? It observes what is, and that is what the Tao is all about. to focus, using the upper mind, this monkey mind to observe in- stead of think; this time to sense and feel what you are actuallyWe do not make a judgment on something, we witness it. We moving in the body.see it for what it really is and the direction on what to do comesfrom the heart. In other words, in order to do this we must learn And of course there is nothing there, because it is just energy.to think with the heart. To feel with the heart or to think with the So, what happens when you give the monkey mind an oppor-heart we have to slow down the mind. The way to slow the mind tunity or anything to try to do something active, what happensdown is through meditation. When you slow down the mind, you as the Taoists know, is that within the Yang or active energystart to separate molecularly the two charges in the universe, there always will come Yin or non-activity. So within the yangthe positive and the negative, the electron and the proton; and, there is yin, and as the monkey mind is doing this activity, all ofas you slow down these two opposite forces separate, and a sudden it becomes blank, no mind. It loses consciousness.as they separate there is a void. Consciously, the observatory In reality, what happens is, as the monkey mind starts to slowtower (mind) enters this void inside. down it starts to enter the separation into the void and when it enters into the void there is nothing and everything goes blank.It is like driving a car at 90 miles an hour. When you look out the So for the first time, the active mind, this monkey mind gets rest window, what do you see? Not a whole lot. But if you stop the and peace as it enters the void into nothingness.car and start walking, now what do you see? A lot more, right! This is how you start to connect with the vision within, or the
  14. 14. feeling or sense within yourself, this oneness. And so how do have any free choice. They do not have consciousness of whatyou actually get connected with this? Well, what takes place is they are doing, and if you did not have a reaction, you would notthat the monkey mind says, yes, I can do this; I can do that and have the opportunity to make that conscious action.starts to focus on these channels in the body. Then after aboutten minutes or so, the monkey mind says, Hey, wait a minute, Ithink we have done enough of this, because the monkey mindgets bored quickly. So you say, no problem. You open your eyesand look around and half an hour has passed. So where didthe other twenty minutes go? What took place was the monkeymind entered this activity trying to trace this nothingness in thebody, the molecular structure slowed down, there was a separa-tion of the positive and negative charges in the molecular struc-ture, and your consciousness or your observation went into thisvoid, the nothingness, the Wu Chi (as the Taoists call it), infinity, God, or whatever you want to term it. It is as if you collected thisenergy and entered nothingness. As it starts to connect with thisenergy, it enters nothingness so everything goes blank.For twenty minutes, everything just went blank; there was norecord of anything. You always know when you entered this voidbecause there was stillness within your body. You feel the con-nection with the oneness of the universe, the connection withthe oneness of our infinite being. Now, the monkey mind says, I do not know what happened, let us do it again sometime. So,you do it again, and as you slowly start to work with this youstart to still this upper mind, and as you make stillness with theupper mind, you start to connect with your true consciousness,which is in the heart center. This energy will speak to you, notverbally, but it will express itself in a feeling, and this is how youlearn to think with the heart. That gives you the direction in yourlife.Now, you are probably asking yourself. Why do we have this Jon Weston is the true “international man of mystery,”monkey mind if it just gets in the way? Well, the reason we have who contributed to the massive success of masterit is we have ego, and that is why we are here on the planet. In Mantak Chia and his organization. In addition to W. U.other words we thought we had a better way, swimming against Wei, Jon Weston wrote under the pen name Wei Tzu andthe river. We think we are going to develop our own ability, with co-authored Living in the Tao, the twelve Taoist poetrya different approach to the universe. So, the Taoists say, you books of over 1,200 poems Emerald River expressingcan learn to flow with the river or you swim against the river. the feeling, essence and stillness of the Tao. He alsoWhen you flow with the river, you actually learn how the river co-created with Mantak Chia the Universal Tao formulaflows and then you can connect with the energy. A Taoist learns cards, “Chi Cards” (6 sets of over 240 formulas) underto flow with the river. You can swim against the river, which will the pen namecause you pain and suffering and ultimately death, which is the The Professor – Master of Nothingness.monkey mind, and that is most of the egos in the world. Theyhave an idea that they do not have to go down the river in thatdirection. They are reacting, thinking they can do a better job.However in reality, no matter what you do, going with the river oragainst that river, you have still got to go down that river, be-cause that is how the natural flow of the universe is. No matter who you are, no matter what you do, you have got to go on thatriver. That is the universal truth. So when you defy the river, youare defying the whole aspect of our whole existence. That is ourego, that is the separation. So, why do we have this ego? Well,we have it to learn what to do and what not to do. When wemake that conscious choice and once we discover how to flow with the river, we no longer react against the river. So, when youmake that positive realization you start to connect with yourselfon a conscious level. Without the difference you would not makea conscious recognition of what is really taking place. That istrue with animals, they have a consciousness, but they flow with the river, they do not react against the river and they do not
  15. 15. Exercises Most hunger; sexual drive and insulin production are further reduced allowing the body’s many functions to return to normal. KeepingAncient the muscles and ligaments supple and strong also allow us maintain good mobility and physical abilities well into old age. Use it or loose it is ever so true when dealing with the muscles Mark Brophy and sinews.With the New Year approaching, the thoughts of New Year’sresolutions are a dance in many people’s mind. Without a doubt Since ancient Chinese scholars didn’t have knowledge of ourmany will be entertaining the idea of starting a new exercise endocrine system as we know it today, they came up withregimen either to address a specific health concern or for general another theory for homeostasis or a body’s healthy balance.overall well-being. It might surprise some people that some of The theory is based on a central yet simple idea is that thethe best and easiest exercises to learn that address specific whole universe, and thus the body, is full of a vital energy qualityhealth concerns or general wellness are some of the oldest ever call “qi” (pronounced “chee”). It’s the qi in qigong. Many otherrecorded by man. healing modalities from all around the world all make reference to this energy quality so the idea of qi is not unique to China. In fact, on every continent in the world, you can find a reference to In December 1973, near the town of Changsha in the Hunan this vital energy with every indigenous tribe of people. What’sProvidence of China, archeologists working on the third tomb of a interesting is some of these tribes have never interacted withfeudal family at Mawangdui uncovered a lacquer box containing anyone outside of their own for hundreds of years, and yet thesescrolls of bamboo and silk that had been buried with a son of independent groups all share the same core concept of thethe King Ma. The son’s recorded death and burial was 168 B.C. existence ofAmongst the scrolls were a copy of Laozi’s Daode Jing and 15 vital energy indifferent written manuscripts regarding ancient health longevity the human bodytechniques. The most important finding in the group was a scroll for health andentitled Daoyin Tu. This scroll contained 44 colored illustrations vitality.of human figures performing curative exercises together with a brief description of the health benefits of each exercise. It is these earliest recorded exercises that are the foundation that When you arewe in the modern age call Qigong. For those familiar with such healthy, thewell known Qigong routines such as Ba Dua Jin (Eight Piece energy (qi) isSilk Brocade) or Yi Jin Jing (Bone Marrow Cleansing) one in constantcan immediately identify many of the postures and poses on movement andthe Daoyin Tu scroll. balance like a gentle river. Not to violent toBefore we get into the Chinese perspective of the benefits of cause damage,these exercises, it’s easy to see how any exercises that gently but not tooexert and stretch the body can benefit overall health. Gentle weak to causestretching combined with relaxation of the breath can further drought. Illnesses and physical maladies occur when this energyengage the body’s parasympathetic system, the system that is out of balance. Energy moves through the body in variousactually turns off negative affects of the body’s natural stress patterns including the well defined acupuncture medians. Qi is response. During this reversal process, the body’s natural stress to these meridians as water is to the garden hose. When therehormones called gluccortoids, which when active, suppress are energy blockages in the body, just like water running through
  16. 16. the hose, one side of the blockage is in an unhealthy excess obtain two health benefits at the same time. It should be noted state and the other side is in an unhealthy deficient state. Gently that these Daoyin exercises are not solely found in Qigong.moving and stretching the body in various ways allows us to Many of the same postures can be found in the three sisters ofsmooth out the daily kinks and blockages that occur as a result the Chinese fighting arts, Xing Yi Quan, Bagua Zhang and oneof our lifestyle. the most famous Chinese arts of them all, Tai Chi Ch’uan.This ancient idea of needing regular Ancient Chinese Scholar and Physician Hua Tuo (A.D. 110-207)physical movement in our life is is often referred to as the “Father of Chinese Medicine”. Huaextremely applicable today in our once said “The body should be exercised, but not to excess.more modern and more static lifestyle. Exercise improves digestions and keeps the meridians clear ofLong commutes to work, sitting at a obstructions. In this way, the body will remain free of illness.Adesk or home pc for hours at a time door hinge does not rust if it is frequently used. Thereforeor any other overall inactivity can be ancient sages practiced dao-yin.” Daoyin, a.k.a. Qigong, canmore harmful to our health than we be a very easy way for people of all ages and health levelsrealize. How many people do you to introduce mild and beneficial exercises into their life with know that were relatively healthy before their retirement but very little effort. Most exercises can be done in the smallest ofover time subsequently developed more physical or nuisance spaces so dedicated workout facilities or additional accessorieshealth maladies due to a static retired lifestyle? Hypertension in aren’t necessary.the elderly is often lowered by the introduction of simple dailyconstitutional walks. Many exercises take only a few minutes to complete and yet when practiced a few times a day, reward the body withThe goals of Daoyin exercises are to not only keep the muscles cumulative results. Qigong is very easy to learn and that fact isand sinew healthy by keeping them moving, but to stimulate the verified with the many DVD’s and books on the market. Although parts of the body where qi flows in relation to the inner organs DVD’s and books are a great start, like any other activity, toand viscera. Stretching the arms not only aides the muscles in really get the most benefit and information, one should seek out the arms and shoulders but aides the energy flow in the Heart, a qualified and experienced instructor. Classes and workshops Lung and Intestines as that is where the acupuncture meridians are starting all over with the New Year and now is a great timefor those organs reside. Therefore the reason for these very to begin an age old exercise regime for good health.specific and unique Qigong postures is so the practitioner can
  17. 17. For over 20 years Mark Brophy has studied andtaught Marital & Healing Arts including Qigongand Taiji. He’s a Certified Qigong Therapist with The Chinese Healing Arts Center in Danbury, CTand Certified Instructor with the Health Preserva-tion Association in Albany, NY. Mark continues hislifetime of learning and practicing these arts withrenowned author and teacher Ken Cohen at TheQigong Research & Practice Center in Colorado.Mark and his family live and work in Columbia,South Carolina where they enjoy watching Avatar,The Last Airbender cartoon series together. Markoffers regular classes and workshops on Qigongand Taiji. For more information check outwww.scqigong.com.
  18. 18. Beware of Phony Medicine Ways of other cultures – the same proscriptions do not apply. By analogy, if I were invited to attend and witness cir- cumcision ceremonies in the Jewish faith or open-heart surger- ies in a hospital (or obtained information from merely reading aGurus book or surfing the internet), it would be presumptuous to think such exposure would qualify me to conduct the ceremony or perform the operation. Yet this perception of entitlement is the Philip Scott prevailing attitude encountered in the colonial world regarding Indigenous ceremonial practices, which leads to misappropria-As a consequence of the recent indictment of a new-age guru tion and negligence, often with unseen and dire consequences.on charges of manslaughter in the deaths of three participantsin a so called “sweat lodge” experience at a retreat facility in To serve as a spiritual leader is a sacred trust. One is respon-Arizona last year and its subsequent resurgence in the media, sible for the lives and welfare of the people – to protect andseveral people have solicited my perspective on this tragedy. support. It is evident there was abuse of this trust – in addition to misleading those in attendance through misrepresentation,To begin with, I extend my prayers for safe journeys to those there was a fundamental lack of awareness of the health con-who have passed on from this unfortunate incident and my sin- cerns of those in his care and a refusal to heed the appeals ofcere condolences to the families and friends who remain here to departure from the participants while in the structure. Were hewalk the path of grief. a qualified and sanctioned ceremonial leader, he would be far more sensitive and observant of what is transpiring, less dog-Besides the absolutely misguided notion that warriorship can matic and the ancestors with whom he would have cultivated abe taught and realized in the course of a week as well as the direct and abiding relationship would have informed him of themercenary act of charging a ridiculous sum which included an condition of the people and instructed him accordingly – therebyexperience billed as a “native ceremony” (for which there is diffusing a perilous situation.never a charge in North America), his conduct is reprehensible– it exemplifies egregious negligence, cultural misappropriation, As the late Grandmother Paula Underwood of the Haudeno-disrespect and abuse. Without equivocation, had this man been saunee People would often query: “So, what may we learn fromproperly trained and sanctioned, this calamity would have been this?” In a word: discernment. Ask questions. Not long ago,circumvented. Bear in mind this is not the first time fatalities before the commencement of a ceremony, an Ojibwe womanhave occurred in “sweat lodges” at the hands of unqualified indi- pulled me aside. She prayed I would not be offended by herviduals. questions: The duration I have walked the Red Road…The number of years I have sundanced…The Medicine men/womenNative ceremonies are Medicine Ways. As such, they require who trained and sanctioned me to pour water…The length ofyears of apprenticeship, which include rigorous training and time I have been conducting lodges…willingly answering her,initiations, under the tutelage of recognized medicine people I was not offended in the slightest. In fact, I was honored andbefore one is qualified to serve in such a capacity. Upon em- commended her for the inquiries – they indicated she had beenbarking on the path, just as in the martial arts and allopathic educated in a good way by her traditional family, elders andmedicine, there are levels of training and mastery – in the latter, mentors. As a result of my responses as well as the ease andreferred to as scope of practice. lack of resistance to answering, both she and her daughter remained to participate.The Purification Lodge (as opposed to a new age “sweat lodge”) is no exception. It is a powerful, sacred, indigenous Undoubtedly there are gurus, healers and spiritual teachers ofprayer and healing ceremony. It is not a game. Nor is it a glori- questionable authority, accountability, scruples and experiencefied sauna (as found in a spa or fitness center), a prison or an in the world. The best antidote to safeguard oneself and othersendurance test. It is an essential component of worship in the from misfortune is to be aware and pay attention – open one’sNative Way of Life. There are requirements and criteria that eyes and ears – and, at an appropriate moment, to simply askmust be satisfied well before the training to become a water questions regarding their qualifications. Based upon their reply, pourer for the people is even considered. Once achieved and your impression and feelings, make an informed determination.the blessing to begin bestowed by the mentor, the evolutionof the education is extensive and includes innumerable tests, This is your right and ultimately, it may save your life.responsibilities and thresholds to pass before final approval and sanction is granted. Virtually every culture on the planet has aform of cleansing and healing in this manner – with variationsbetween each tribe and family, observing and strictly adheringto its own specific songs, procedures and protocols. Hence the years of immersion, study and praxis to familiarize oneself withthe complexities and nuances of the ceremony.It is understood and enforced in the Western world that practic-ing contemporary medicine without a license or beyond one’sscope of training is unlawful and is subject to criminal charges.Yet there is a fundamental disrespect and disregard for the
  19. 19. Of Western Band Tsalagi (Cherokee) ancestry, PhillipScott, aka. Tsunka Wakan Sapa, has walked the Nativepath for over twenty-five years, learning from Medicine/holy people, tribal spiritual leaders, shamans and eldersfrom various cultures. A ceremonial leader in the Lakotatradition, he is devoted to sharing Indigenous wisdom andhealing practices with the contemporary world. Interviewedboth nationally and internationally on radio, televisionand in newspapers, he has been featured in journals andbooks. In addition to founding and directing the programsat Ancestral Voice – Center for Indigenous Lifeways inNorthern California, he maintains a private healing practice,performs ceremonies, lectures and conducts intensivesand pilgrimages worldwide.To obtain further information, register, schedule an appoint-ment or to arrange intensives, ceremonies and presenta-tions in your area, please contact him at(415) 897-7991 or E-mail: Phillip@AncestralVoice.org
  20. 20. The Unity of specific pair of opposites I want to discuss with you: Yin and Yang.Opposites in These are the Chinese terms for the two polar opposites of Energy (Qi) which in effect, define all the processes, energy and matter of the Universe (Dao).Life Giamboi As a quick refresher, Yin Qi/Energy is cooling, more solid, more static, feminine, etc. Yang Qi/Energy is warming, less solid, Gary more dynamic, masculine, etc.We all know about opposites: Good and Bad, Light and Dark, It is the constant ebbing and flowing of these two energies Short & Long, Male and Female, etc. One of a pair of opposites which produces all that there is. Or as the Chinese envisionedis exactly what the other one isn’t and visa verse. Since they it, the totality of the Yin/Yang or Taiji (Tai Chi) Circle/Cycle.are truly opposite, it is very easy to tell them apart and to keepeach in its proper place. One of the first things we learn about in Qigong is that the front of the human body is Yin and the back is Yang. However, let’sHowever, I believe that the true extent of how opposites are one look deeper than that. What does the front of the body do? Itand the same thing is not universally understood in regards to pushes. Our chest muscles are the prime movers (most im-how both All of Creation and the human body and mind func- portant muscle) in a push-up or pressing action. So? Pushingtions. is a Yang activity. It is expansive in general and in the relative because our back expands as the chest contracts (Yin).First of all, in most, if not all, instances there is really no suchthing as opposites. What we call opposite is really just a conve- Let’s recap this: Our Yin side causes Expansion by Contracting;nient way for our mind to grasp and make sense of what we are or, our Yin side causes Yang by being more Yin than it was.thinking about by judging it against something we already thinkwe know about. OK. What about the Yang and the back of the human body? It is exactly the same in the opposite way. Our back which is YangFor example, let’s look at the opposites of Hot and Cold. There pulls, which is absorbing or Yin, by contracting (which is Yin) itsis actually no such thing as Coldness. There is really no such muscles. Thereby expanding the chest which is now more Yangquantity as “Cold.” There is only Heat (or lack of Heat). than it was.Thermometers cannot and do not measure the amount of Cold To sum this up, Yang produces a Yin effect by being Yin, whichthere is. They only measure the amount of Heat. The concept causes the back (Yang) to contract (Yin); Therefore, Yangof Absolute Zero, where all motion ceases and even matter causes a Yin effect by being more Yin. Further more, whenchanges its fundamental nature is not the greatest amount of done within the limits of harmony, a Yin action (pulling) causesCold possible. It is simply the least amount of Heat possible, the torso to move forward (which is Yang); and, a Yang actionwhich is zero. (pushing) causes the torso to move rearwards (which is Yin).The same is true for Long and Short. Rulers do not measure Similarly, a male uses his size and weight when being aggres-the Shortness of something. They can only measure its Length, sive. A male is Yang, Aggression is Yang; but, size and weight iswhatever that length maybe. more Yin (like a mountain is Yin). So the Yang needs the Yin in order to produce its desired effect.Finally, let’s look at Young and Old. There is no such thing asYoungness. There is only Age. If something has more of it, we A female is Yin; but, giving birth is expansive and Yang. Givingcall it old. If it has less of it, we call it young. birth is Yang. Actually, Giving, itself, is Yang. In this case, the Yin (the female) must use a Yang process (giving birth) to be itsI hope that I have given you enough examples for you to under- most Yin (feminine).stand that the nature of opposites is that they are a constructof the human mind. In effect, they are nothing more than a tool In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the five Yin organs, the Heart, which helps the human mind to put things into a relative per- Liver, Kidneys, Spleen and Lungs ALL perform Yang actionsspective which makes it easier for us to judge and understand or activities. The six Yang organs, the Small Intestine, the Gallthose things in our human terms. Bladder, the Urinary Bladder, the Stomach, the Large Intestine and the Triple Heater all perform the Yin activity of storageOf course, this means we do all of this to avoid understanding (among other things).things on their own terms. Therefore, by using opposites, weare setting ourselves up to never really understand the true na- To sum this up, Yang is Yang because by its very Yang natureture of the object or concept unless we can go beyond the limits it performs Yin actions; and, Yin is Yin because by its very Yinof opposites and our human understanding. nature, it performs Yang Actions. Each of the things discussed above would be not be classified the way it is if it did not have Now, having prefaced with this concept, let’s proceed to the the exact same relationship with its “opposite.”
  21. 21. characteristics depend solely upon where and when the EnergyWhat about the Yogic view of things? It is actually the same. is manifested.Shiva is Consciousness, Yang, which cannot perform any actionwithout Power or Kundalini which is Yin; and, Kundalini can’t This means that the State of your Being can actually makeperform any action without guidance which is Yang. One could your Internal Energy more Yin or more Yang. Your Body, Mindsay that Power without the Will necessary to do anything is and Spirit can make one person’s Yin Energy more Yang thanessentially Powerless; and, Consciousness and its Will to do another’s Yang Energy and visa versa.something is totally useless without the ability to act upon itsthoughts and desires.Yin and Yang is just not a case of one giving rise to the otherand the existence of a never ending cycle of waxing and wan-ing, one into the other. It is truly a case of an intertwining socomplex that it cannot be unraveled without destroying thewhole; because it is the whole.The whole is the whole and is not divisible. Yin and Yang arerelative terms used to form an understanding of a whole wecannot understand without the aid of our relative constructs.What most belief systems consider their Absolute is alwayssomething Unchanging. If It is unchanging, where does a cyclefit in? Where do Yin and Yang, Shiva and Kundalini fit in?Only in our human minds. Gary Giamboi founded The Institute of Asian Arts in 1994 inThe Dao De Ching speaks of Wuji in the beginning. It wasn’t order to continue the tradition of discovering, nurturing anduntil the separation of opposites occurred or Taiji occurred that passing on the wisdom of the ancients. He began his Easternthe Ten Thousand Things (a metaphor for all of Creation) came journey in 1969 and has had the unbelievable good fortuneinto being. to have become a disciple and personal student of four World Class MastersYoga speaks of all of Creation being illusion and only The Oneis Real. Maya or Illusion is the cause of separation from our He has achieved the Rank of Master Level Instructor inrealizing non-separation. Qigong, Taijiquan, Ninpo, Jujutsu, Asayama Ichiden Ryu, Kenjutsu and Yoga in world recognized organizations. He isTaiji is Yin and Yang or the concept of opposites which is an illu- also certified as a Personal Trainer, as a Pilates instructor, in sion. Without Taiji there is The One. Without Maya there is The Ohashiatsu, in Thai Yoga and has several other lower rankOne. Black Belts in various martial arts. He specializes in finding the common thread of Truth in All of these Arts, because atThe core tenets of Yoga and Daoism are actually very similar. the end of the day “Things Can Only Work One Way.” EvenOf course, the way they express their beliefs is very different; though they use different systems of Internal Energy, Yogaand, thus their rituals are very different. But their core is essen- works in China and Acupuncture works in India. Each con-tially the same. tains a piece of The Truth or The Way Things Are. It is up to each of us to find as much of That Truth, That Way and live Perhaps you are asking yourself, even if this is correct, what by it as closely as possible.does it have to do with me and my life and practice? Gary has taught and demonstrated Martial Arts, Qigong, YogaWell, if this somehow strikes a chord with you, everything. If it and Fitness Training in the USA, Japan, China, Canada, UK,sounds like nonsense, then it has nothing to do with you {at this Belgium, Germany, and Ireland. He has several articles pub-time}. lished a total of over 64 times on various web sites and blogs, produced 2 DVDs on Qigong, 1 on Taijiquan, 2 on Yoga, 1OK. I can see you want me to “give” you an example you can on Balance and a Point by Point Relaxation CD. He also hasuse. two books nearing publication and several new DVDs com- ing soon. His web sites are www.Genbukan.biz and the newWhen you practice your Qigong or Pranayama, and you get www.Secrets-of-Yoga-Qigong.comyour Internal Energy flowing throughout your body, did you ever wonder how the Yang energy flowing out from your center gets changed into the Yin energy that returns back to your center?It doesn’t. There is no such thing as Yang Energy or Yin Energy.There is only Energy with Yin or Yang characteristics. These