This morning in my Tai Chi Meditation class, a couple of students told the group how much these classes had changed their life. I floated out of class later, knowing that if I were the wealthiest person in the world and could go anywhere ... do anything ... there is no other place on earth I'd have rather been than in that class this morning sharing these arts. Those 2 students will shine through all my classes this week.
How long has it been since you told your Tai Chi, Qigong, or Mind-Body teacher how their classes have changed your life? When attending a concert or play we applaud the band or troupe. Why? Because it brings out their best performance. Everything in the universe thrives on appreciation for the beauty they hold out to us.
Remember, the group experience in a class is not on the shoulders of just the teacher...it is the creation of you, and of everyone in that class...
you are powerful...and beautiful.
"In all my years of Tai Chi, I have
seen anyone doing Tai Chi
-- David Dorian Ross, the most accomplished
Tai Chi champion
in the United States
In this issue ... articles on ...
* Research on Tai Chi treating Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain
Mystery of the Upper Dan Tien
* The Pituitary Pineal Gland
* The Akashic Record
Misconceptions about Buddhism
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day PROMO CODE DISCOUNT on enrollment in upcoming "Symposium for Integrative Health Tai Chi Retreat"!
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THIS WEEK'S FEATURE ARTICLE:
How World Tai Chi & Qigong Day weaves the world together... from Kansas City USA to Liverpool, England, "The Beatles," Australia & India
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A tribute to Liverpool, England's WTCQD organizers (and the Beatles) from WTCQD Founders.
In the "Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi" Dr. Peter Wayne
notes the Beatles'
profound impact on spreading awareness
mind-body practices throughout the planet.
When one looks back, it is amazing that 4 working class boys from Liverpool brought a generation together all over the world in a way that had never happened before in world history ...
and they used that fame well. George Harrison said, "Suddenly, 4 working class kids had everything, anything a human being could desire we had access to--and it didn't make us happy. So we went on a journey that led us to India." Ron Howard's documentary below reveals those 4 boys virtually ended segregation in mass stadium concerts when they refused to perform at the Gator Bowl in Florida because it was segregated--and the stadium conceded to them because the weight of their global popularity was too much to resist. This resulted in all major stadium concerts in the U.S. de-segregating.
In the "Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi" Dr. Peter Wayne noted the Beatles' profound impact on spreading awareness of mind-body practices across the planet.
Like tens of millions of young people in our generation, Angela and I, too, were influenced by the Beatles' travels to India and their journey into mind-body practices -- making it perhaps seem a bit more familiar to us when we started Tai Chi, Qigong, and Meditation ... because someone we "knew" and loved in our own youthful way had led the way ... I mean I think all of us who loved the Beatles felt as though we
"knew them." :-)
[WTCQD Founder Angela Wong Douglas saw the Beatles live when they performed in Hong Kong in the 1960s.]
Beatles in Hong Kong 1964
TAI CHI FACTOID:
Did you know that India's influence not only spread meditation worldwide via the Maharishi's meeting with the Beatles ... but India may have planted the seeds for what we know as Tai Chi and Qigong (which fully developed in China)?
Origin of Tai Chi: TaiChiBasics.com
Bodhidharma was an Indian monk who traveled to China in the 6th Century teaching Buddhist sutras and meditation. He stayed at the Shaolin Temple for several years and found the monks to be weak in body and mind. He encouraged physical discipline and taught a yoga-based exercise set to extend and improve their meditation thereby improving their health and practice. A group of eighteen monks (now revered as Lohan - heroes) created a system of exercises (Shao-lin Chuan) that are the basis for all qigong and martial arts forms including tai chi chuan.
NOTE: The Chen Family is considered the founder of the more formal form of Tai Chi we know today, all styles evolving out of the work of the Chen family's refinement of forms.
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day events in India
Below is a Tribute to the Beatles and to Liverpool, England's World Tai Chi & Qigong Day organizers, but immediately below is a painting we were given by a brilliant artist (and Tai Chi enthusiast) named Barbie Coates, when we visited her in Perth, Australia for World Tai Chi & Qigong Day. Barbie went to high school in Lliverpool with John, Paul, and George, and gave us this lovely gift (painting) below as a tribute to our work organizing WTCQD.
Liverpool, England's (hometown of the Beatles)
WTCQD organizers lead off with the Founder's "Opening Statement." ... "One World ... One Breath"
Sifu Bev Abela (Tai Chi @ the Beach) in Perth, Australia's
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day flash-mob plays John Lennon's "Imagine" at their event ... BEAUTIFUL ...
A BEATLES' JOURNEY LAUNCHES A PLANETARY JOURNEY ...
Paul McCartney on Meditation
Symposium for Integrative Health
Tai Chi Retreat ...
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THE MYSTERY OF THE LITTLE DISCUSSED UPPER DAN TIEN - Health AND Creativity
In Tai Chi we focus on the "lower" dan tien, the physical/creative energy center, or center of gravity. But, the "upper" dan tien gets much less attention, and it should get a great deal of attention because it has literally transformed our planet over and over again through the ages.
The upper dan tien, the 3rd eye, or the brain/mind center contains the pituitary and pineal glands. Opening to this center in the center of the brain has profound impacts, physically it stimulates production of HGH (Human Growth Hormones), and a host of other beneficial and soothing chemical reactions in the body.
The Akashic Record
|But, there is another quality to it,
it also opens or alters consciousness
in a way that can open us up to the Akashic Records--a database of all knowledge which is woven within
(See Chopra interview, on right)
What does that mean?
Perhaps an Albert Einstein quote
explains it best.
"Mozart is the greatest composer of
all. Beethoven created his music, but
the music of Mozart is of such purity
and beauty that one feels he merely
found it-that it has always existed as
part of the inner beauty of the universe waiting to be revealed."
~ Albert Einstein
The concept of Akashic Field or Record can be thought of as a database of the universe's super-computer where all possibilities exist all the time, and on occasion human being's minds access it and bring wondrous new discoveries into the world. The Maharishi, who taught the Beatles and millions worldwide how to meditate, spoke of the Unified Field of physics where all exists and through meditation we can access much larger parts of it than we can with our left brain/analytical linear thought processes, which is where the world spends most of its time -- although more and more of the world is now learning to meditate.
|Quantum Field = Tao (the mother of all things)
Above image: On the surface reality may look like emptiness or a pure vacuum, but beneath the surface is activity, and when those waves below emerge, we see atomic particles appear.
Science once believed that in a pure vacuum nothing exists. However, that all changed when they found that within a "pure vacuum" particles would appear.
The Quantum Field is a field of potential energy that permeates all existence, and all existence emerges from this field.
Taoists referred to the Tao, the energetic basis of the universe, as "the mother of all things." The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the TM Foundation,which has taught millions how to meditate, spoke of the Unified Field--a field we can access in meditation.
When we meditate, when we "open to the upper dan tien energy center" we often feel as though we "loose our sense of self" as we drift in consciousness.
This is when we merge with the field from whence all existence emerges from, and when we have access to more of the Akashic Record or Field, which is why we feel more creative when we meditate and open to the upper dan tien on a regular basis.
"My 40 years of Tai Chi practice have shown me that Tai Chi can produce this "sense of losing oneself" as well. For me, it was after many months of arduous practice, because the Tai Chi Movements must become "cellular memory" where your linear (left brain) mind is not controlling or directing your movements ... but rather the movements are
flowing you as you relax and allow them to
pass through you. As this happens, at times the mind simply "let's go" and that is when Tai Chi becomes a Qigong Meditative state."
The self help philosophies of the power of positive thinking are built upon this concept of "consciousness creating results and in this way our future," for example. But, physics takes it a step further saying that we actually alter physical reality with our consciousness. For example, in physics' particle/wave dilemma-- where an atomic particle looks like a particle when the researcher is watching it ... however, it behaves like a wave when not being observed. The researcher's observation effected physical reality.
So, how do we "access" this Akashic Record, or Field?
When we meditate we open the upper dan tien, or more accurately we "open to" the upper dan tien, because we do not "create it" when meditating, for it is always there, and always has been there ... so, again we don't "make it" by imagining it, rather we "open" to it as we "let go" in the pituitary/pineal gland area in the center of the brain.
In these moments of "letting go of our hold on the world" we often find very creative ideas coming to us, and not just while meditating, but more and more in our waking busy lives as we open to the upper dan tien more and more through meditation. My students notice this, and mention it at times in my classes, as they begin working with Nei Gong meditation, opening the upper dan tien, and surrendering into altered states of consciousness. They become more creative, noticing things of great import that seem to just appear at the right time, in ways they never had before.
If you look back in human history you find that the greatest breakthroughs came from when the mind was loosed to wander, rather than focused and concentrating. Einstein's Theory of Relativity (time is relative to speed) came from his daydream when he sat on a bus pulling away from the town's clock and saw a vision of the town clock going backwards as the bus accelerated away from it. Steve Jobs changed the world as we know it with the introduction of a user-friendly personal computer that gave the world access to the digital age ... his idea or epiphany came to him while meditating at a retreat.
HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO TAI CHI?
A GOOD QUESTION!
|The concept of "sinking" is the heart of Tai Chi and Qigong.
What is sinking?
Sinking is a physical experience, BUT, our physical body's state is a result of our state of consciousness.
When the mind and heart are tight, our bodies are tight, and
visa versa. When we "let go" mentally and emotionally, then we can "sink" into our postures.
Sinking Your Qi
A clarification: When moving through our Tai Chi or Qigong forms we physically "move from the (lower) dan tien." But, as we let the body relax around the movements so that we can "sink from leg to leg" the core of that "letting go" that is at the heart of the sinking, is a letting go of the (middle) dan tien, our heart/emotional states, and of our (upper) dan tien, our mental control.
Tai Chi helps us practice "letting go of control" which is required for effective "sinking." This is one of the biggest challenges of Tai Chi, this letting go. Nearly 40 years ago, when I began learning Qigong and Tai Chi, my teacher would extol us to "move effortlessly." I remember staying after class one night to confess to my teacher, "It is amazing how hard it is to move effortlessly."
|Our society raises us to "keep everything under control." In fact, if we get a little out of control someone may walk by and tell us to "get a grip," as if we had to walk through life GRIPPING REALITY or else it would get all out of control.
Qigong and Tai Chi help us build an efficacy that nothing bad happens when we let go of control. We have to have "faith" to do this. Some religious people will bristle when I say this, exclaiming, "What is it you want us to have faith in?" fearing that I am trying to replace their religion. I answer, "I am asking you to simply have faith that nothing bad will happen if you let go."
SO HOW DO WE "LET GO"?
My son was a high school baseball pitcher, and I remember going to watch his team practice at the batting cages, and the coach would shout to the batters, "RELAX! Relax in there!"
I could see in their faces that they were perplexed. They thought they WERE relaxed, they didn't know how to relax deeper.
When we start Tai Chi we think relaxing or sinking is a purely physical/muscular act, and it is that, but it starts deeper. The upper dan tien, the pituitary and pineal glands are where we "hold control" and also where we can "let go of control" when we let that center brain area sigh, and let go.
The more we do this in our Tai Chi and Qigong practice, the more we can let go. It is like the "trust exercise" in group therapy where you fall backwards and the group catches you. At first you are tight, because you don't trust they'll catch you, but as you do it again and again, you start to loosen and relax ... you have faith.
Sinking on the Vertical Axis as we flow from leg to leg, requires such faith, and it occurs first in the upper dan tien. It is too much to juggle trying to do this while flowing through Tai Chi forms, because our focus is on our lower dan tien.
|This is where meditation comes in. Sitting Qigong or Nei Gong sitting meditations, where we are not in motion, and we can "feel" the tightness in the center of our head, tightness we did not even know we were holding, until we let the upper dan tien begin to open and let it sigh, and let go again and again, to allow space for the lightness, the expanse, the energy to open through our upper dan tien, and our entire being.
Sitting Qigong Meditation
When a dan tien opens, it is not just the head that lets go, it is the entire field of our being that lets go as it happens. This is the fractal aspect of our being, as chaos mathematicians would put it. Which is a fundamental part of Taoist philosophy ... the concept of the macrocosm of our existence existing within the microcosm of our existence, such as in the upper dan tien ... as when we feel the upper dan tien area let go, we feel our whole being, our whole field letting go.
The original Tai Chi, or Yin Yang symbol portrays this reality in its imagery, where you notice that within the small black or white dots are yet smaller Yin Yang symbols, and within those dots are even smaller ones, and so on and on. Taoist philosophers understood what is now cutting edge chaos mathematics "self-replication theory."
Image (and article concepts) courtesy of
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Want to learn the meditative aspect of Tai Chi & Qigong, and find easy to comprehend ways to explain these ancient arts to the general public?
The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi & Qigong
(Penguin 4th edition)
from the Founder of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day
"Somehow, I stumbled upon this little gem. Folks, I
give you 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi and
QiGong' by Bill Douglas and Angela Wong Douglas".
I highly recommend giving it a read!"
-- G.T. Francis, Customer Service, Intramural-
Recreational Sports, University of Virginia
TAI CHI TREATS CHRONIC PAIN & FIBROMYALGIA ...
WorldTaiChiDay.org preface: Most people think of chronic pain as a purely physical/mechanical issue, however at its heart it is often an energetic/consciousness issue. This doesn't mean there isn't a physical component and that physical massage therapy or even corrective surgery might be called for in some cases, but that often the problem isn't the joint, etc., but the chronic mental-emotional tension which results in chronic muscle tension and constriction that puts pressure on the spine, joints, etc.
Tai Chi's ability to teach us how to "let go" and relax through daily motions, can take a huge toll off of the spine, joints, etc. FOR EXAMPLE: In one of my hospital classes, a student named Eve Ott had to have surgery on her hip, but while waiting for her other hip surgery she discovered the University Hospital Tai Chi class, and after a few weeks her hip issue "went away," and she no longer required the other hip surgery.
In the case of Fibromyalgia, often people dealing with this problem from my experience have a real problem "letting go" and "coasting" in life. This results in lactic acid build up in the skeletal muscles, etc. As we learn Tai Chi and learn how to "let go" and allow the movements to "flow through us," and allow the movements to "move us" as we relax around them ... this enables those deep skeletal muscles to get massaged, and release those anxiety producing lactic acids ... and the relaxed motions of Tai Chi and Qigong milk/cleanse the lymph system, resulting in many of the chemicals causing tension, pressure, and pain to be released over time. I expand on this core concept of Tai Chi as a "letting go" experience, in my new book
"The Tao of Tai Chi: The Making of a New Science."
-- Bill Douglas, Founder of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day
Tai Chi: Best Fibromyalgia Treatment?
Study Shows Fibromyalgia Symptoms Much Better After 12 Weeks of Tai Chi
A recent study suggests that practicing Tai Ji Quan (TJQ), a Chinese mind-body therapy (MBT) exercise, also called Tai Chi, supports the technique as positive strategy to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms.
The study,"Efficacy of Rehabilitation with Tai Ji Quan in an Italian Cohort of Patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome," published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, regards the exercise as a "multicomponent intervention, integrating physical, psychosocial, emotional, spiritual, and behavioral elements and promoting the mind-body interaction".
Drug therapies for fibromyalgia are often ineffective and may cause abuse and dependence. But lately, adapted physical activity and relaxation techniques, in combination with cognitive behavioral therapies and MBTs, are increasingly considered as positive options for non-pharmacological interventions that lessen the impact of chronic pain diseases.
-- Fibromyalgia News Today, August 12, 2016
Harvard Health Publications
Fibromyalgia. A recent randomized study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine used a protocal similar to their osteoarthritis and rheumatoid artritis studies. Tai Chi led to a large improvement in symptoms listed on a clinically validated questionnaire about fibromyalgia symptoms, as well as spearate measures related to pain, sleep quality, depression, and quality of life. These improvements were maintained for six months, more Tai Chi subjects cut back on their use of medication compared to controls, and again, there were no Tai chi-related adverse events.
Additional support for using Tai Chi to treat fibromyalgia comes from smaller noncontrolled studies and case series, as well as from studies reporting positive effects on fibromyalgia following mind-body therapies, including Qigong and mindfulness-based stress reduction ... growing evidence suggests that Tai Chi, when taught by experienced teachers, is safe and potentially an effective adjunct therapy for people who sufer with back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. By treating the whole person, Tai Chi targets not only pain but also many of the secondary factors associated with pain, and it sets up behaviors that may slow down disease progression. (Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi. Pages 148-149.)
Tai Chi Shows Relief for Arthritis Pain, Improves Well-Being and Enhances Sleep
In the largest study to date of the Arthritis Foundation's Tai Chi program, participants showed improvement in pain, fatigue, stiffness and sense of well-being. Older adults also improved their ability to reach while maintaining balance, said Leigh Callahan, PhD, the study's lead author and professor in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. "Our study shows that there are significant benefits of the Tai Chi course for individuals with all types of arthritis, including fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis," Callahan said.
In the study, 354 participants were recruited from 20 sites in North Carolina and New Jersey and randomly assigned to two groups. The intervention group received the 8-week, twice-weekly Tai Chi course immediately while the other group was a delayed control group.
-- Global Health Aging, February 27, 2015
U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) study advocates that health professionals use Tai Chi as a treatment for chronic pain conditions.
ScienceDaily (June 17, 2009) - A new study by The George Institute for International Health has found Tai Chi to have positive health benefits for musculoskeletal pain. The results of the first comprehensive analysis of Tai Chi suggest that it produces positive effects for improving pain and disability among arthritis sufferers.
The researchers are now embarking on a new trial to establish if similar benefits can be seen among people with chronic low back pain.
Harvard Health Publication
Some solid research shows that tai chi can benefit people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis,
, tension headache, and other ongoing, painful conditions. In one trial, for example, 66 people with fibromyalgia were randomized into two groups: one group took tai chi classes twice a week, the other group attended wellness education and stretching sessions twice a week. After 12 weeks, those in the tai chi group reported less pain, fewer depression symptoms, and better sleep than the control group. The results were
published in the New England Journal of Medicine
See our WorldTaiChiDay.org Medical Research Library for medical research on nearly 100 common health challenges & how Tai Chi or Qigong can help or treat.
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Alan Watts on Lao Tzu's
Tao te Ching
Alan Watts ... Awakening is "Letting Go"
THE SORELY MISUNDERSTOOD BUDDHIST WAY ...
WTCQD Founder's note: in the above video Alan Watts speaks about becoming a "Buddha." Do not confuse this to think this is an extollation to give up your religion or change religions or adopt a religion. It is not about that. The term "becoming a Buddha" is a term denoting "awakening to reality." This can happen to anyone of any religion.
Buddhism does not focus on a deity to worship, but rather on our journey of life, a spiritual quest to become more and more awake. Anyone of any religion can do this without changing religions.
I encourage you to have some intellectual fun listening to Alan Watts lectures and see what you get out of them. We never all agree with one another about everything, but Alan Watts has some fascinating insights, and he spent a life studying Eastern philosophy, and then trying to explain it as best he could to Westerners.
When I traveled to Hong Kong for the first time as a young man, at the same time I was diving into my Tai Chi, Qigong or Nei Gong journey ... that trip became a portal for me that opened my mind to a whole new way of seeing myself and my place in this universe.
One event was when I stayed with my father-in-law and mother-in-law, Bonwyn Wong and Sheung Oi Wong. As a Lutheran boy, I was perplexed to see that they had Buddhist shrines AND Christian images in their home. I saw these things as incompatible ... and this launched a journey of trying to understand this simple paradox I witnessed.
Alan Watts was part of my journey of discovery ... and what I learned is that as far as Buddhists are concerned, it was perfectly fine for me to be a Lutheran AND a Buddhist, because Buddhism is not about the worship of a deity, it is about finding a path in life that nurtures us and the world around us, which segued nicely with my take on my own religious upbringing.
-- Bill Douglas, Founder of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
-- William Shakespeare (Hamlet)
THE NATIONAL QIGONG ASSOCIATION
About The NQA
The National Qigong Association (NQA) is the premier membership organization for qigong. We are an umbrella for all groups, schools, enthusiasts. Western or Eastern. Ancient or Modern.
- We are the primary group for networking and coordinating students, teachers, supporters and professionals.
- We support scientific endeavors as the benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi are researched, documented, published.
- We are innovative with our use of the web, podcasts and our sharing of all types of qigong information.
- The NQA does not support any one person or Qigong/Tai Chi style. We are a democratic not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
- We are not just a list of people or a set of classes, we are a COMMUNITY.
Be a part of the Qi Flow and the Qi Excitement that is moving through our country.
A video testament to what the global Tai Chi & Qigong community has been able to accomplish ... when we come together ... 100s of cities in over 80 nations ...