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Qigong Tales
By D. M. (MPH, Jingang Qigong practitioner for 11 month)

For me, Qigong is a discipline I am learning, and means of coping with everyday stress. Most of the time I practice at the end of a busy day, when I first get home, and find it a centering, balancing, re-energizing activity for my body, mind and spirit. During a day, I have numerous experiences, perceptions and feelings. Some of these I am barely conscious of at the time, tucking them away somewhere because there is not the time or the safety to fully experience or bring them to consciousness.

Sometimes, as I go through the qi gong practice, I come upon memories of thoughts or feelings that I experienced during the day, but had hidden somewhere in my body and psyche. When I come upon one of these during qi gong, I may briefly re-experience it, realize something about it, or see it in a new light, before letting it go and moving on. I think perhaps qi gong may help me ¡°process¡± these memories, and may prevent their unwelcome re-emergence at a time (like bedtime) when they cause mainly worry and anxiety.

There have been a few times, however, when I have practiced Qigong in the midst of a very stressful situation, when I am filled with fear. And my experience invariably at these times has been that qi gong takes away the fear, ¡°like taking a Tylenol for a headache¡± (this is truly a West meets East metaphor!).

Sometimes the ¡°relief¡± is short lived, and the fear returns, but at such stressful times such respite is invaluable and empowering.
I have faced 3 situations during this past year that were very difficult, and evoked in me fears that were large and deep: one concerning my mother, another concerning a co-worker, and the third regarding my son. In all these cases, Qigong helped me to cope with this fear, and allowed me, at least some of the time, to approach the situations with love and good judgment.

An example: On a wall in my bedroom is a newspaper article my husband recently found while cleaning the desk, and posted there. It is an old advertisement for First Hawaiian Bank with its motto: ¡°Yes, You Can!¡± This ad featured Rell Sunn, the women¡¯s surfing champion, who lived vibrantly for 12 years after being diagnosed with Stage 4 (advanced) breast cancer. She and I worked together on a wonderful and challenging cancer research project in Waianae in the early 90¡¯s. The headline says ¡°Can You Face One of Life¡¯s Toughest Challenges Unafraid?¡± and shows Rell and her surfboard next to the words ¡°YES!¡± When I do my Qigong practice, it happens that I always face the window, and the wall with this article posted upon it.

One day recently, I was feeling heart-broken over a situation (as I perceived it) with my son. As I began the Qigong practice, that article caught my eye, with the words ¡°Can You Face One of Life¡¯s Toughest Challenges Unafraid?¡± and I broke down crying, saying, ¡°No¡­ no, I can¡¯t, I can¡¯t¡±. After a few minutes of tears, I began again, closing my eyes and proceeding through the practice. When I opened my eyes again after a couple cycles, the first thing I saw was those words again: ¡°Can You Face One of Life¡¯s Toughest Challenges Unafraid?¡± This time, I found myself feeling and saying: ¡°Yes, yes, I can.¡±

A Letter from a Student

Dear Limin,
I decided after class today that I should come home and write this up. It is hard to know where to begin. So I'll just begin at the beginning.

Many years ago I watched a PBS special about the philosophy and spiritual roots of Chinese traditional medicine
The documentary followed some patients undergoing treatment over a period of time. That was where I learned of Qi Gong for the first time. All of it made beautiful sense to me, and I felt as if a light had turned on in a dark room. I thought, I must learn more about this.

It has taken twenty years.

For the past fifteen years, I have been living on the mainland, teaching at Oberlin College in Ohio for one term and commuting to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where my husband lives and teaches. Then, I split the rest of the year between Grand Rapids and Honolulu, where my elderly father lives. This lifestyle has gotten more difficult as the years pass, and my husband and I have recently decided that we have to find a way to bring all the pieces of our lives together. Our parents are also growing older,and in the last year, my father, who is 84 years old and alone, has begun to need more help. He has tried to live in a retirement community, but his health declined after just six months there, and my husband and I knew that we would have to bring him back to his own house and to find some way of coming back to Hawaii to take care of him. Among other things, this has meant packing up and moving all of our household(s), getting jobs here in Honolulu, making major repairs and improvements to my father's house, which was in a horrible state of disrepair, and taking care of his other, health needs.

My husband and I are both on leave from our universities this year, so we have been able to work together to get some of this done. This has meant some pretty intense physical work, a lot of heavy lifting and carrying and hauling--both in the house and around the yard since last summer.

I had constant pain in my knees and elbows. In July, my left knee became very inflamed and developed a large sac of fluid at the back of the joint. I went to an orthopedist, who diagnosed this fluid as an inflammatory response, called a ganglian cyst. He said he wouldn't even try to drain it because the fluid inside was too thick and couldn't be sucked up into a syringe. The only thing to do was surgery. I said forget that, and left the cyst alone and kept on doing what I was doing. Over the next several months, the cyst grew and grew until it was about the size of a lemon. The longer I had it, the harder it became as well. It began pressing on a nerve. I went to a second doctor who said, okay, we'll try draining it - with no luck.

Trying to arrange everything that needed to be arranged plus taking care of my father just started to seem like a lot. I knew if this life change was going to work, I needed help. That's when I saw the announcement for your Qi Gong classes in Midweek. There were ads for many classes, but this is the one that just felt right to me. That was this February. At first practice was very hard--I was all caught up in my physical aches, and I just wanted to get through the sets quickly so it wouldn't hurt so much. In the meantime, I'd been to a third doctor, who took an MRI and diagnosed early arthritis developing in the knee. He said we could try aspirating the cyst again, but I said not to bother as it hadn't worked. Then, at our regular Sunday Qi Gong practice, about two weeks before Master Yang came, something happened. The energy was very powerful that day, and I experienced for the first time a little bit of what you call "the energy world."

I began practice, thinking I might need to sit, but I was able to stand all the way through. There was also something really different in that knee. The hardened mass was softer, flatter, and more pliable. Then I began to itch and itch. I itched for days all over my body. I called the doctor the next day and made an appointment for later in the week to drain the cyst. When he did, the fluid came out very easily. He said he couldn't get it all, but now whatever remained seems to be reabsorbing into the surrounding tissue. Best of all,the aches are gone.

I have much more energy, possibilities for work here for both my husband and me have opened up, work on the house progresses. Strangely, too, time seems different--as if it were possible to do more things, less hurriedly, in less time!

Thank you, Limin!

What I Experienced With Qigong Practice

Having practiced Jingang Qigong for only two months, I have been fortunate to receive many experiences and benefits. Actually it is impossible to describe certain experiences or realization due to the limitations of language and intellect. Only experiences of the inner and outer phenomenal world can be described. I would say, experiences can roughly be framed in a range of what I would call external, internal, hidden or profound, and ultimate levels.

You see, in my practice I have seen the universe as a multi-dimensional manifesting reflection of higher interactions of truth, realities, mind, energy, and both subtle and motional appearances. It¡¯s like man lives in on Infinite Ocean of lights and energy but somehow suffers under the illusion of struggling to drink water in a desert using a leaking cup.

I see that this need not be so, we can gradually learn to reconnect with the individual and cognize Qi, correct our erroneous views, and form our internal vehicle or bridge to more profound realities, thus living in deeper harmony and fulfillment of our innate potential. But even the Buddha and other enlightened sages had to complete the work of preparation.

Of course we are all individuals with different perspectives, and conditions, abilities, desires, and standard of goals. Isn¡¯t even on the external level, Jingang Qigong practice can reap enormous benefits, as I have found from practice such as better alignment and relaxation of the muscular/skeletal structure resulting in more natural and poised movements, greater capacity to handle daily stress, stronger immune system, healing or improvement of health conditions, improved bodily functions such as metabolism, elimination, circulation, endurance, and recuperative powers, better awareness and coordination of bodily movements and posture, better sleep, overall physical and emotional well-being and brighter attitudes, etc..

Internally, I have experienced numerous processes, such as generation of internal heat, accumulation and circulation of Chi, purification and washing away certain blocks in energy circuits and wheels, brain/spinal/skin respiration, absorption and emission of cosmic Chi which I have applied to my own body as in palm healing or drawing out stagnant energy. Many times Chi courses through very powerfully, lifting me into great physical and internal bliss. Spiritual realizations, visions and appearances or communication takes place too. Often, poems and words of wisdom are heard and the world appears as if a great emptiness yet is not!

It is not painful anymore!
Barbara Miyamoto

Somehow I twisted my upper left arm muscle doing an exercise. The pain in the arm went on for several weeks. If I lifted the arm, pain was present. So it was hard for me to try and reach for things. I applied ointments but it was a temporary relief. Through Qigong practice, the pain is not there anymore!

Sleep Differently
Gina Alberto

Dear Limin, I am Gina Alberto, the one who audit the Qigong class last Sunday, May 5. I decided to continue attending the class the next morning after I audit because I experience a very deep and pleasant sleep on that night that I feel I did not want to go to work the next morning and just enjoy and continue sleeping.

Of course I went to work (since I had to), but found myself with increased sense of humor and more relaxed. I do not really have a sleeping problem, but Qigong just make sleeping feels pleasant and want to keep on doing it and feel great when you wake up. Thank you Limin for making Qigong classes available. You are a great teacher, of course. Mahalo,Gina.


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