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
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
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
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
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 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!
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!
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.