Tag Archives: Qigong

Sleeping, Praying, and Dancing with Qigong

We celebrated the New Year with Qigong infusing other areas of our lives.

January 10, participants from all over the Bay Area joined in joyous dancing for body and soul. We began with Pili doing a Hawaiian chant invoking ancestors and guides (http://www.okupu.com). Then we, Kaleo and Elise, led everyone in Qigong – sensing Qi, cleansing stagnant Qi, then harvesting the flowing Qi of the music into our bodies. This is spontaneous Qigong – letting go, surrendering to the music within. Our hearts and bodies pulsed with the rhythms of Kotoja, Oliver N’Goma, Koffi Olomide, and Babatunde Olatunji (African), Jaleo and Gypsy Kings (flamenco), Johnny Lee Hooker (blues), Glenn Miller (swing), Hubert von Goisern (Austria), Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu (Hawaii), Mari Boine (Sami, Norway), Tinariwen (Mali), Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn and Sheetal (Pakistan/India), Cheb I Sabbah (Algeria), Marcus Miller and Jaco Pastoius (jazz), Abdy (Morocco), Huun Huur Tu (Mongolian), Carlinhos Brown (Brazil), et al.

We’re planning future world music dances (Spontaneous Qigong) in June and September at Peace Lutheran Church (http://www.peacejourney.org) If you’re interested and not already on our email list please email us at lotus@kaleoching.com.

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January 18, during Sunday’s worship service, we led the congregation at Mount Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church (http://www.mduuc.org) in harvesting Cosmic Qi with the intention of bringing healing change for self and others. From this sanctuary overlooking a fog-cloaked valley with the sun squeezing through to light the green hills in the distance and the sacred space within, Qi rippled outward for the benefit of the world beyond.

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January 24, we taught a Sleeping & Dreaming Qigong workshop, held at Peace Lutheran Church. This ancient Daoist practice cultivates deep, restful, dream-rich sleep. Mahalo to our Daoist brother and Chi Nei Tsang master Gilles Marin for sharing this wisdom with us (http://www.chineitsang.com).  Lying on pews or mats in the sanctuary, participants – embraced by the prayers in the walls, the lovely shared Qi of the group, and Kaleo’s hypnotic voice – experienced a new portal into the passageways of the subconscious.

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Thanks to all you who enrich our lives in shared journeys with Qi and the Creative Spirit.

More on Death & Microcosmic Orbit Meditation

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As the Microcosmic Orbit opens and flows, I recall when I first experienced what, at the time, felt like its magic almost twenty years ago. My mother was on her deathbed, her body overcome by metastatic breast cancer. I was deep into her death vigil. The following is from our book: Chi and Creativity: Vital Energy and Your Inner Artist (Blue Snake Books, © 2007, p. 223):

“The third night seems very long. I stand beside her many hours, holding her hand. I wonder how long my stamina can last.

“I shift to stand in meditation. I feel my body centering, grounding. My feet open to the support of earth, my crown open to the support of the heavens. The earth’s Chi [Qi] flows up through the soles of my feet, up my legs, up my spine, and out through the crown of my head to an apex a few inches above. The energy crests, mingling with heavenly Chi, then travels back down through my crown, down the front of my head and torso, down my legs, out through the soles of my feet, and back into the earth a few feet below. The circuit of energy between heaven and earth through my body along the pathway of the Macrocosmic Orbit restores my strength. I feel my breathing relaxing and deepening as it fills and empties from my pelvic Tan Tien [Dan Tian]. I feel my mind alert but calm. I feel my heart open, as the energy travels through my arms, connecting me through my hands to my mother.”

In the middle of loss comes awareness – of gratitude, for the gifts of what was, for the strength and beauty of what is, for trust in the continuity of what is to come.

Returning to the present and the more recent death of our neighbor, Yoshi, I wonder, did he know it was coming? Or did it creep up on him in the night and usher him quietly from the unconscious state of sleep into the deeper realms of death? And this leads to another question, one I carry with me: How do I live life now so that I’m aware of and ready for death when it comes?

To One Dying in Autumn

Air churns pungent like cracked herbs
green turns amber, rust red, dark as humus
leaves are clenched fists against long, cold night
acorns pop and dive from oaks into a womb of soil

Alone in deep night
breath in and out,
roughening, then slowing,
no one to witness how the pause
lengthens to infinity

What ample hands caught
as you dropped into this world,
what luminous ones midwife you beyond?

The scalpel that slices the life-bond
the sword that magnifies the samurai
the spirit-knife that severs flesh from soul
point as one to bring you home

Earth Element: Long Summer’s Harvest

Today dawned breezy as earth warmed and pushed back against fog from the sea. Kaleo and I took in the sweet fragrance and even a few tastes of the ripe fruits and vegetables at the Danville Farmers’ Market. Even the colors seemed plump. Long summer, according to Chinese Medicine, is the time of harvest, abundance, shared bounty, when people gather and prepare the harvest against long, dormant winter.

“When we do Qigong, we are aware of the Five Elements [Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth] within us, pulsing through our bodies’ organ-meridians, sense organs, tissues, fluids, diurnal rhythms, and emotions…. Earth grounds, supports, and nourishes us, takes our old Qi and recycles it, is the home we all share.”*

When we do Qigong in nature, Earth’s huge firm belly beneath our feet feels so alive. She subtly, deeply, breathes, slowly goes through the moons of her seasons, her deep metabolic cycles. How trustingly we expect her to support us. The 6.0 earthquake in Napa last month reminded us of her capacity to change quickly, without warning, unsettling all we know.

“Excessive worry, the emotional challenge of Earth, can be a sign that your Earth Element is out of balance. In addressing worry, it is important to be conscious of your dietary habits—not only what you eat, but also how and when. It helps to be quiet and relaxed while eating, which activates the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for digestion and helps you to savor and taste the food.”*

Last month during a week-long retreat at Redwoods Monastery, we shared in meditation, ritual, and simple but luscious organic vegetarian meals eaten in silence with the rest of the community—all very restorative for the Earth Element.

*Quotes from The Creative Art of Living, Dying & Renewal by Elise and Kaleo Ching (©2014, North    Atlantic Books)

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Long Summer's Harvest at Danville Farmers' Market

Long Summer’s Harvest at Danville Farmers’ Market