Monthly Archives: January 2014

Into Silence…. Or Not….

silence-2It was 1966 and I was 24 years old when the small daily newspaper I was working for sent me to cover the “second coming” of the Beatles to the Seattle Center Coliseum.

I have a vague memory of the press conference that preceded the concert and an even vaguer memory of the concert itself—but I remember very distinctly, with my entire body, the moment after I had walked away from the Coliseum and realized that it was now quiet—and that I was absolutely exhausted.

I have been anti-loud-noise ever since.

I have read that listening to rock music helps teenage boys focus on their homework, but I think most science aligns with my experience: The numbers all show that loud noise of any sort, whether organized as music or not, causes not only hearing loss but also stress and, over time, the physiological damage that other forms of stress produce.

I have been thinking about noise because lately I have found myself increasingly drawn to its opposite, quiet, probably because of my qigong practice.

I know that external absence of noise is not necessary to attain inner absence of noise, or inner stillness. I have heard western Buddhist teachers talk about going off to Asia to train in monasteries there and being dismayed to find that the monasteries were not the serene enclaves they’d envisioned but noisy, bustling, mini-cities, and that they had to learn to shut all that noise out.

Some were probably better at this than others—and if the others couldn’t do it, it probably wasn’t because they didn’t try hard enough. Continue reading

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Happy Anniversary, Dear Blog…

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary!

Tomorrow, January 25, is the one-year anniversary of my first post on this blog. I’ve posted every Friday and, 52 posts down the road, still seem to be finding things I want to write about.

It goes by fits and starts.

I’ll think on a Monday that, oh, no, I have absolutely nothing to write about—and then somehow in a day or three, I’m at least mentally working on several different new posts.

I barely recall what I expected when I began this blog.

I started it because I needed a place to publish the 20,000-word “book” I’d written when my Yi Ren Qigong teacher, Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun, asked me and my fellow Yi Ren teacher trainees to write about our experiences practicing qigong—and not just write, but also publish.

That “book,” “A Doubter’s Journey,” is still up on “Qi Frontier,” along with an account of my trip to China titled “China Pilgrimage,” but my long string of posts probably out-words them both.

I committed to posting weekly when I began, and I’ve kept posting weekly even more faithfully than I’ve brushed and flossed.

I’m not entirely sure why, and I don’t know how long I will continue.

Some of the time I feel like I’m writing to communicate with others on this path, although I don’t pay much attention to website traffic statistics and don’t really know how many people read what I write. Every so often, someone I know or have just met will say they have read something I wrote and will thank me for writing it. Wow! There’s a high! And I’ve corresponded a few times with a wonderful reader in Hawaii who turned me on to Damo Mitchell’s books, for which I am enormously grateful.

But there are also times when I should probably start my post with “Dear Diary” because mostly I’m figuring out what I think and telling it to myself. Continue reading


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Little Faith and a Long Scar

The Scar after 5 weeks

The Scar after 5 weeks

In October I realized that the red spot on my forehead was “a sore that won’t heal.”

It turned out to be a basal cell carcinoma, which the dermatologist said was the best kind of skin cancer to get because it wouldn’t metastasize; it would just grow.

But the little booklet he gave me said that basal cell carcinomas can send their roots into surrounding tissues—and the surrounding tissue that came immediately to mind was MY BRAIN!

So I was more than happy to have him cut it out.

I was also just a bit embarrassed, as in “oh, me of little faith.”

What kind of qigong practitioner was I if I didn’t first try doing a bazillion reps of appropriate qigong exercises to see if my body could clear this small, relatively tame cancer? Continue reading

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