Monthly Archives: March 2014

Coyote and Me

coyoteThis morning I met a coyote.

I was walking a trail in one of the wooded areas in my community when I saw him perhaps 35-40 feet ahead of me.

I figured he’d disappear into the woods as soon as soon as he saw me, but he did not. He just stood there in the middle of the trail looking at me.

I stopped walking, drew myself up, pointed at him and said, rather authoritatively, I thought, “You go home.” (OK, maybe that wasn’t bright, but what else might I have said? Scat? Shoo?)

He walked a bit farther up the trail, then turned and stood looking at me again.

I again pointed and told him to go home.

He turned and walked on out of sight.

At that point on the trail, there were homes atop a bit of a bank to the left, and a gulley to the right. I could have turned back, but somehow that didn’t seem necessary, so I continued walking slowly up the trail around a curve—and then saw him again, looking at me, but still about the same distance away. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I’ve Got Soul!

My first draft of this post started with my saying that I knew how to spell the word “soul” and knew how to use it in a sentence—but that “soul” was an empty word as far as I was concerned, a word without a concept.

I wrote of feeling put off when people used the word with the same certainty as, say, “leg” or “boulder,” as had happened at a Yi Ren Qigong seminar I had recently attended based on “The Secret of the Golden Flower,” a classic Daoist/Chinese-Buddhist guide to meditation.

But the post was never quite right, although I’d worked and reworked it nigh unto death.

And then this morning, as I was watering my houseplants and rewriting the post yet again in my head, it occurred to me that actually, I did have a concept of soul, or at least I could have one. Continue reading


Filed under Progress, Spirituality


Qigong zombie?

Qigong zombie?

At a recent half-hour demonstration talk about Shibashi Taiji Qigong, a woman asked me if it could put you in a trance.

She caught me totally off-guard.

I’m teaching a lovely, gentle set of movements to help people relax and experience flow. Am I trying to induce trances?

That sounds like zombies or the circus.

But, well….

I said yes, I think I’m in a trance sometimes—depending, of course, on what you mean by the word “trance.” If you mean an altered state of consciousness, then, yes, I do go into a trance when I do qigong, but I don’t fall over or begin to drool or otherwise lose control of my body or mind.

I didn’t do a very good job of explaining what I meant and now am worried that I may have frightened some people. I may also have oversold what I can offer as a teacher because the woman said, “Oh, good, I want trances.”

But when I do qigong, I experience my body in a different manner, as moving smoothly and effortlessly through a somewhat dense medium, and I feel an expansiveness, an all-is-OK open-heartedness that I wish I could feel more of when I’m living the rest of my life. My brain relaxes along with my body; my thinking becomes less analytical and more creative.

By some definitions of trance, this would qualify. It is an altered state of consciousness—as are many other states that we all find ourselves in from time to time.

I’m in an altered state when I become lost in thought, watch an episode of “Sherlock” or drink a glass of wine.

People who are meditating or praying or playing a video game or crazy in love are also in altered states.

Some altered states are clearly better than others: They feel better and they have better consequences.

I enjoy my qigong states, and I’ve yet to find a negative consequence….

Well, that’s not entirely true. I sometimes lose track of how many times we’ve done a particular movement when I’m leading Shibashi Taiji Qigong, and if the qigong I’m doing is taiji and I lose my place in the linear sequence of moves, I sometimes have difficulty figuring out how to get back on track.


Am I a zombie?

You be the judge….

1 Comment

Filed under Practicing