This is the first of a series of videos I’ll be posting to support teaching at Calm Chicago. Each short clip features one posture from the 18-form qigong which are terrific mind/body exercises. They are great for preparing the body and mind for further study in tai chi if you wish but are also good on their own for general health of the body and to help support single pointed focus of the mind required for deepening meditation practice.
I present these videos of tai chi and so forth as part of my own practice, with all humility. I hope they help support your practice. Please let me know. I look forward to your feedback.
The cold returned to Chicago today …felt very March-like … in like a lion, you know? So, maybe that’s what made it double-nice to go train hard this evening.
The full album is on the Facebook page but here are a few of the pictures. We’re definitely getting ready for World Tai Chi Day so come on in and join us for the fun and peace of body and mind.
Since it came up via Working Well Resources excellent blog, and since it’s clearly still the icky cold freezey season in Chicago as well as many other places – I thought it a good time to put together a little video about a blindingly simple but deeply profound qigong exercise that can with practice and determination lead us collectively into a life of virtually no more falls on ice. I make no promises on instant results but slowly, over time you will evolve into a more balanced person, physically, mentally and emotionally. And that, is what can make all the difference because of mind/body exercises.
So, stay tuned, because it’s sliding your way soon from Calm Chicago! We’ll post it on our You Tube Channel. Come join us to learn for yourself. This is one of the great exercises we’ll be doing as part of World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, Saturday April 30th.
Till then, wishing everyone balance and peace,
I think the Buddha had a very special understanding of what life is. He made it very simple: just bring your mind back to this moment. Don’t let the mind go any further than this. Then your mind will be very clear. When the mind is always in meditation, you can handle hardship, more than you know.
See what you see now. Do not try to see the future. In order to see clearly what you see now, you must clear the mind of distractions. In this country, we are taught how to think, but not how to stop relying on thinking. When you stop relying on thinking, there is no worry or fear, and there are no problems. The mind is the object, and the object is very clear when the mind stops depending on thinking. Learn to abide in conditions, not to abide in your wishes.~ Master Ji Ru (Shifu)
Mind too busy to sit or stand?
Then do some tai chi or qigong. It’s helps to settle the mind down. To train the mind to observe … only observe. Not offer analysis. Not engage in conversation. No useless chit chat.
Just allow the mind to begin to find its natural state … quiet, empty, blissful no matter what. Not sticking to moments, opinions, carving the world up into bits we like and bits we dislike.
What ever life kicks up. Stress. Anger. Jealousy. Greed. Defensiveness. and so on … we can let it all go with more meditation.
Will it go away all at once? I don’t know. Not for me so far…but I can tell you this. The more I practice, the more life gets simpler and more peaceful, not only for me but those around me too.
Wishing peace and happiness to all beings.
(xian huang) hillary johnson
Dharma name given by my teacher, Master Ji Ru
The First Noble Truth says everything is impermanent, everything is suffering. Suffering is one of those words that is so often misunderstood.
Suffering is caused by our ignorance. We don’t understand reality. Everything is just passing by. It’s born, exists for a time, then passes away. In our misunderstanding, we think everything, ourselves included has some kind of permanent place, or grip on this world.
And so we cling and crave to pretty much everything. And when things keep changing, we think this really stinks! I don’t like this.
And then, quite curiously, we keep do ing the same thing over and over again. (Cue definition of insanity)
And then we get the Big Blizzard. Think of all that snow. Two feet deep at minimum. Drifts 5-6 feet deep. And in all that snow, millions upon millions of flakes…not one is the same. Not one will last.
Not one breath.
Each lifetime starts over in each moment. Over and over.
So, in each moment, we get to start over too. Let go, let go let go.
Enjoy what is.
Be prepared for it to change.
Because it will. That much we know to be true.
I don’t say it will be easy. But that’s why we call it Practice.
Peace everyone, and Happy Chinese New Year.
Dharma teaches us that craving creates a lot of suffering. When we work at eliminating or reducing our cravings, the amount we suffer is reduced too. This isn’t easy to do of course. A head cold gave him a little lesson.
So, recently Sifu Matt had a wicked head cold and couldn’t smell a thing. It was lunch time and he went to his favorite Chinatown restaurant, the Chi Cafe.
Normally, the minute he walks in, he smells so many delicious aromas it can be hard to choose what to eat because the mind is led around the cravings created by the nose making contact with all that great food. This day, however, nada. He couldn’t smell anything.
The waiter came and gave him the menu and he looked at every page. In his head thinking, “what do I want?” over and over again. After quite a few minutes, he gave up. “Just bring me some Chinese Broccoli and Garlic Sauce please.” This is one of his all time favorite dishes.
The food comes and he eats but not very much. The waiter asks him if something is wrong. “You don’t eat very much. Everything okay?”
“Everything is fine. Just not very hungry today.”
The rest of the meal is boxed up to come home.
And it suddenly dawned on him what had happened.
“Normally, I’d eat the whole plate of food. I realized that because I couldn’t smell and couldn’t taste, I wasn’t very hungry. I ate enough to fill my belly and that was that. We eat more most of the time because of how good things smell. And how good things taste. So we eat too much, too often. When I couldn’t smell or taste, those sense doors were closed on the nose and on the mouth’s ability to taste, and so suddenly my craving went completely away!”
If only we could do that with everything we make contact with and not have to wait for a head cold to show us the way. It takes a lot of determination to see things just as they are without getting attached and letting cravings run our minds so hard, that we make decisions and take actions without considering, do I really need to eat all this, buy this car, worry about my manicure, over-work, run after that man/woman, spend too much money/energy and so on.
Thankfully, we have meditation to help get us there. And a head cold now and then doesn’t hurt either when we need a bit of a Zen stick to help wake us up.