Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Worm of Doubt

Doubt is difficult, no doubt about it. We speak of being plagued by it, or gnawed upon by it—and that’s exactly how it often feels.

I myself am very good at doubt.

I know people who are not, or at least don’t seem to be, either in general or at least with respect to a particular area of their life. They sail along in apparent certainty, and sometimes I envy them, because I think they’re happier than I am.

Unless, of course, they get blindsided by something they should have questioned and are abandoned by a spouse or asked to drink cyanide-laced Flavor Aid, like hundreds of followers of Jim Jones did in 1978. (Although, on the other hand, which is preferable: 10 years of happiness followed by a year of total anguish, or perhaps even death, or 11 years of being gnawed upon by the worm of doubt?)

I doubt most everything, except, perhaps, my love for my children and my grandchildren and certain staples like gravity and tooth decay—and one of the things I regularly doubt is qigong. I ask myself questions like “what if this is all really nonsense?” and “what makes me think I’m worthy of being a teacher?” Continue reading

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A Day To Observe


Saturday, April 27, will be World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, a worthy event that, one way or another, I will observe—and I hope that you will, too.

At 10 a.m., wherever I am, whatever else I may be doing, I will be wearing an official World Tai Chi and Qigong Day T-shirt. I hope that I will be doing taiji or qigong, along with tens of thousands of people at one of the hundreds of organized events in more than 70 nations, although so far I know of only one in the Seattle area, at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill. But if I’m not doing taiji, at least my shirt will remind folks that taiji and qigong are alive and well and present in their midst.

World Tai Chi and Qigong Day was founded in 1999 by Bill Douglas, a tawny-haired Kansan who writes about, teaches and preaches taiji and qigong (sorry, Bill—it’s “tai chi” when it’s your proper noun but taiji everywhere else on my blog). He is a man with a passion and a mission. Continue reading

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Crutches I Love

I once told a couple of fellow students at a taiji workshop that I like to play music when I practice qigong.

“That’s a crutch!” one of them barked.

He said more, although I’ve forgotten exactly what, because, really, what more is there to say once you’ve said “crutch!” I don’t remember what I said in response, either, but it was probably lame.

So I’d like to agree now that, yes, playing music while practicing qigong is a crutch—and I love crutches.

Crutches are everywhere. Civilization is all about crutches—about finding ways to make life easier, more pleasant, more meaningful and motivating ourselves to do what needs to be done.

I could sit on the floor eating raw ingredients, but instead, I mix them up and cook them and serve them on attractive plates at a comfortable table (and maybe play some music-to-dine-by). Cooking is a crutch! Tables and chairs and attractive plates are a crutch! My computer is a crutch! My to-do list is a crutch! Crutches following knee surgery are a crutch! The list goes on… and I challenge you readers to find examples from your own lives. Continue reading

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Filed under Commercial Qi, Practicing

Tao/Dao, Heavy and Lite

In the Comments section below, my friend Karl takes me to task for last week’s post on The TAO of Journalism, where I wrote about having taken the TAO Pledge to be Transparent, Accountable and Open in this blog.

Describing himself as “a sometime journalist and a self-styled Taoist,” Karl says journalistic transparency, accountability and openness have nothing to do with the concept of “tao.” He doesn’t charge me or the Washington News Council with word abuse, but I think that’s the gist.

(Karl does like that the Wade-Giles spelling “tao” is being used instead of the official pinyin spelling “dao,” and he makes a thoughtful argument for use of Wade-Giles spellings for all Chinese spiritual terms—but that’s another subject.)

I have concluded that tao/dao is simply a word with more than one meaning, in Chinese and in English. There’s tao/dao “lite” and tao/dao “heavy.” Continue reading

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Filed under Daoism (Taoism), Ethics

The TAO of Journalism

PrintLast week I took the TAO Pledge—a pledge to follow The TAO of Journalism: Transparent, Accountable and Open.

Wow! I had no idea there’d be something so perfect for a blog on the subject of qigong, which is deeply connected to the concept of Tao (or Dao in pinyin), and for a blogger who believes transparency, accountability and openness are essential.

But indeed there is, thanks to the Washington News Council, a small but active statewide organization.

The logo you see here caught my eye as I was standing at my kitchen counter reading the Seattle Times. Its core was the two-fishes-in-a-circle Chinese yin-yang symbol, which depicts the interdependency of seemingly opposite forces such as yin (female) and yang (male). Continue reading


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