Monthly Archives: November 2016

The Melting Face of Love

It was during a seated meditation that I looked into the eyes of the melting face of love.

I was just back from Estes Park, Colorado, where I’d gone with 10 family members to scatter the ashes of six people who had loved that place—my parents; an aunt who died this year at 101; and a second aunt, her husband, and their daughter, who had died long before they did in her 30s.

I had never been to Estes Park before, but I could see why they had so often spoken of it. It was so beautiful, and so different from Chicago and Maryland and California and Seattle, the places where they and I had lived.

A few days after returning home, during my seated-meditation-with-cat, I found myself chanting the words “mountains, rocks, trees, earth” in my head, with each word bringing a remembered image from Estes Park to mind.

I may have been slipping towards sleep because I have no sense of leaving those images and arriving elsewhere, but suddenly I was seeing a face, looking into eyes, and as I looked into them, the eyes softened, becoming warm, totally loving, totally accepting. Actually, I don’t know if the eyes and the face melted, or if I melted into them—but then they were gone and I felt a wave of almost palpable energy, white, like water vapor, leaving the face and settling onto my shoulders and upper chest. It was warm and lovely. I felt a smile and it may be that I actually did smile. And I felt good all day.

But the face was gone. It had been a woman’s face, clearly. I cannot now bring it to mind’s eye, but it wasn’t the face of anyone I have known—not my mother’s, not mine, not a Chinese face, as might befit my qigong practice, not a brown Native American face, as might befit Colorado.

But so nice, so warm.

I of course wanted more.

I tried going back to chanting “mountains, rocks, trees, earth,” adding “sky, clouds and moon”—and I’m not sure why I didn’t have the moon in there from the beginning, because when I was in Estes Park there was a full moon, and it was everywhere in the night sky, unlike in the Seattle area, where you have to find a place where there are no trees to see it.

I knew that trying to experience the face again wouldn’t work. All of my powerful energy experiences have been one-offs, things that came completely out of the blue and never returned. But I did so want to feel the love of the face again that I tried anyway. Continue reading

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Which Way Does It Go, Anyway?

You would think, or anyway I would think, that internal energy cultivators would agree on something as fundamental as which direction energy travels in the circuit involving the du and ren meridians, a circuit often referred to as the small universe circulation or small water wheel or microcosmic orbit.

When I first began to study qigong, I learned, and indeed most books teach, that energy travels up the back in the du meridian and down through the third eye on the forehead to the end of the du meridian just above the upper lip. Then it enters the ren meridian just below the lower lip and travels down the ren to the bottom of the torso where the du meridian begins.

I have done exercises to cultivate this energy flow, and I can feel it.

But later I began hearing that maybe women need to send more energy to their hearts. Dr. Sun—Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun, my longtime qigong teacher, creator of Yi Ren Qigong and founder of the Institute of Qigong and Integrative Medicine—created a female version of the small universe exercise we’d all been doing, which had started with a “reverse” refreshing cycle up the front and down the back and then had three cycles of up the back, down the front. The new exercise had three cycles of up the front and down the back, ending with one of up the back and down the front.

Dr. Sun offered it to women (and men, for that matter) as something they could do if they liked it, if it felt right to them. I didn’t like it and ended up devising my own exercise, which involved bringing energy up the back to the kidneys and then sending it to the heart. I don’t think other women much liked it either—or maybe we were all just used to doing it the “male” way. At any rate, this female version of the small universe exercise seemed to get lost.

In their book “Daoist Nei Gong for Women,” British teacher Damo Mitchell and his partner Roni Edlund say that the “reverse small water wheel” begins to take place of its own accord during training for both sexes and that it becomes very important for women, but not for men.

And now the acupuncturist recommended to me by Damo after I attended his recent seminar in Toronto has told me that in children, qi travels up the front and down the back. Around the ages of 5 to 7, as children begin to settle into the realities of life, the qi reverses direction, and they become less intuitive and imaginative. For men, it continues to travel up the back and down the front. But in women, he says, qi reverses again at menopause to travel up the front and down the back, and they can enter into a period of intuitive awareness and spiritual growth. Continue reading


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From an Odd Incident in My Past To Eyeglasses in My Future….

Two and a half years ago something happened that I recorded in my qigong journal but did not write about here—probably because I didn’t fully understand it and didn’t want to deal with it.

On a day late in May 2014, I did my qigong practice, with heavy emphasis on an exercise designed to send energy up the chong meridians in the body’s core, then did an hour of taiji practice, then drove to an appointment with my eye doctor. I was talking on the phone to a friend as I got out of the car to go up to the doctor’s office. I will quote now from what I wrote in my journal that evening:

“When I got out of the car, I felt myself enormously pulled to earth, sunk down through the sacrum area. I felt a bit drunken as I walked through the waiting area to check in. Then I stood instead of sitting while waiting for my appointment and felt enormous energy moving up from my earth center (at the bottom of the torso). It was more focused and columnar than when I do the small universe, and I thought it was probably actually my chong meridian or meridians.

“Sitting and waiting in the eye chair, I was still doing it, although less so, but I put my hand on the back of my neck and almost thought I could feel it. I say I was doing it, but I can only “do” that sort of thing when it appears and can be done.

“Sitting here now I am feeling hot and a bit spacey, with a bit of pressure either in my third-eye area or my sinuses. Do I have a heart condition? But the sensation earlier today was so strong up from the earth center to what I guess is the third ventricle (in the brain). I do think it was my chong meridian, which would be really the first time I’ve felt it, at least so clearly that I was pretty sure it was chong and not du. Hmmm….. That was one of the things I told Dr. Sun I couldn’t do—tell the chong from the du—and then he gave me the exercises I am now doing.

“I’m going to get up now and see if I fall over…. I stood up and didn’t fall over, but walking seems challenging, and I feel pressure at the top of my head. Maybe I’ll go sit on the cushion…. Well, instead of sitting on the cushion, I did some chong meridian exercise. I feel a bit better, but still too much energy in my head. But I think it will pass.”

As I recall, after writing the above, I did some other work on the computer, and then I got up to get ready for bed—and could barely walk because my head felt like it was making wide circles.

I felt much better in the morning, although within the next several weeks I saw my doctor and ultimately a physical therapist for the residual vertigo, which I felt whenever I turned my head as I walked. The physical therapist gave me two exercises to do, and eventually the tendency to vertigo passed.

I believe that I asked Dr. Sun about this, and that he was not alarmed.

At about the same time—and I have no notes about this—I developed a ringing in my left ear which only occurred when I lay down to go to bed. That persisted for quite awhile but now is also gone. Continue reading

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