Soon I will be headed to Eastover in Lenox, MA to attend the 35 day meditation retreat led by Master Li Junfeng. Many people have helped me be able to attend, and I would like to provide a way for them to follow me daily as I go through these days.
The retreat has been described on the Eastover website as a healing retreat in which Master Li will guide the participants to use the Sheng Zhen practice, and other modalities, to achieve self healing, and to learn ways to heal others.
In this blog I will take a few moments every evening to share the highlights of the day with you.
With Sheng Zhen Love,
Jill Penaloza picked me up at the Albany airport, and we drove through the beautiful Berkshires to Lenox and Eastover. The trees along the way have not come into full fall color, but they were more of a show than I normally see. After settling into our shared room, we ate a welcome dinner in the main hall. If the food of the first meal is a sign of what we can expect, I will be very satisfied. Baked salmon, braised bok choy, rice, roasted root veggies, and such. Master Li celebrates his 80th birthday today, and the owner of the retreat feted him with champagne and his favorite ice cream cake. Not only were several of the people attending the retreat present, but also another big qigong group honored him in the celebration. Quite a boisterous group which leads me to wonder.
Tomorrow we will begin day one of the 36 day retreat.
Day 1 October 14 Sunday
6:10 am – Wake up
8-9 – Breakfast
10-12:30 – Class
12:45-1:45 – Lunch
2-2:40 – Group nap
2:50-4:30 – Free time
5-6 – Class
6-7 – Dinner
7-8:30 – Free time
9-9:39 – Meditation
10 – In bed
Master Li talked to us tonight about this retreat helping us to return to the natural life. He encouraged us to not be in a hurry and to develop good habits. Especially important is to develop a quiet heart. By examining our strengths and weaknesses every day, we can learn what serves us and what doesn’t.
Day 2 October 15 Monday
Master Li said this retreat is more important than teacher trainings which can be busy; this retreat will help us change our habits and lives through relaxing and quietening hearts and minds. Another point he mentioned is that we are normal yet special. Normal because we are not above or better than others and are humble, yet special because when life is difficult or chaotic, we keep centered and collected; we experience what it is to live the Sheng Zhen life.
Yesterday we learned that the Return to Oneness title will be changed to Return to Purity. We were reminded Sheng Zhen is a practice of purification, connection, and cultivation. Today after we practiced a meditation of only being in the Sheng Zhen state, Master Li said that just this is self-healing. I bring up all of these points tying them together because I experienced self-healing today as we did the Unraveling the Heart movement from Awakening the Soul.
I began feeling teary eyed yesterday when Master Li told Liz and me a story about a couple who are having a difficult time. This feeling stayed with me, and I started crying during the movement I mentioned above. Crying purifies the heart so I was experiencing a purification and self-healing. To explain, these were not tears of sadness but of breaking into a new space that was full of something wonderful that I don’t have words for. I allowed myself permission to cry and did not try to interpret what it meant. So it begins.
Day 3 October 16 Tuesday
A self healing technique from yesterday – when going to sleep at night begin to circulate qi in the brain while having no thoughts. Feel the qi and have no thoughts because thinking blocks qi flow.
One ot the questions that comes to mind since having no thoughts is an essential is, “How can I have no thoughts?” This is a practice, and practice is the key to unlocking the universe. So just practice.
The early morning meditation again focused on the basics and understanding the essence of things. To have self healing, one has to master the basics. Doing the basics in this meditation requires training oneself to have no thoughts, opening the skin pores, and allowing qi and Love to enter the body. One must feel the qi. The attitude to take when training in the basics is not to be in a hurry.
Before we began our second meditation after breakfast, we walked around the room in an enjoyable way, followed by being trained to taiji walk-very fluidly and deliberately. So you can see how we are being trained to slow down, not to hurry.
Another habit that I am reestablishing is keeping a positive mind. So during my meditation if thoughts come, I can watch them with a curious or loving attitude or become negative or judgmental. I choose the positive. When someone wishes me well in any way or compliments me, or says anything, I can always reply in a positive way. Part of establishing this habit is to focus on how things are similar, not different. One of the qualities of the practice is purification. A pure heart helps develop this habit by connecting us with the power of the universe.
Finally, the Zhongtian movement is like a ritual. Some rituals take hours, but this movement takes a few moments.
Day 4 October 17 Wednesday
Before last night’s meditation, Master Li talked about Sheng Zhen. He said Love is the original master. Love is his master. The Sheng Zhen books say the contents are rendered by Master Li, not that he is the author. Heaven and the essence of Heaven is the origin of the material. And the idea expressed in the word Heaven as used in Sheng Zhen is not the traditional meaning that so many attach to the word. Heaven is the energy of Love. Also, if we repeat the words Sheng Zhen silently to ourselves as a mantra, Heaven is with us. Master Li is truly the model of a humble master.
Today in the early morning meditation we went through the entire form with a lot of time settling in using methods I outlined in an earlier post, then a long time moving the qi in the central meridian. At the end when we held the qi in the niwan, he used the words go beyond space and time. That was quite a lovely experience.
Read this paragraph or not. Master Li asked me to write this down. During meditation, I saw a big army of faceless people marching toward me with weapons on their shoulders. As they approached, they knelt, put down their weapons, and took off their helmets. They looked at each other and saw each other as brothers and sisters. We aren’t going to war any more.
After doing Heart Spirit as One, he explained that the last movement helps remove the ego by opening the heart. Earlier we were reminded that the biggest problem in the world is too much ego. A lot of the work we are doing seems to be a practice to reduce this problem in ourselves and in the group by building trust. We are reminded to be humble and to serve others and are being given many opportunities to practice these habits.
After spending a long time practicing Building Dan and Cultivating Xing, I went to Master Li during the break to ask him more about this. He said practicing a movement in unison and learning to watch not just a few people but the whole group to keep in sync helps build trust. Plus the energy in the room becomes stronger. We are creating a sacred space in our practice room. He told me we can do the same in our homes.
In summary, look for similarities not differences, build trust, dissolve ego, be humble, serve others.
Day 5 October 18 Thursday
Again in our morning meditation Master Li reminded us of going through the tunnel of space and time as we are expanding into the universe. Go beyond time and space. That is useful to me. And as we repeat “I am a big body of Love,” or “Sheng Zhen” to go beyond the words into the flavor of the mantra.
About 30-31 people are attending this retreat – people from Israel, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, Greenland, The Philippines, Australia, and from all over the USA. From the beginning we have been building a sacred space for our practice. At one point Master Li asked if anyone in the room had attended the workshop in France which none of us had. He remarked on how the people were always sitting in their places and were quiet even before he entered the room. He said many of them had a Buddhist background and were self disciplined through their practice.
Many of the short talks Master Li is giving us are to train us in living a Sheng Zhen life. When we respect others, when we are aware of others around us and their needs, they are happier, and so are we. Even though this may seem off topic to addressing self healing or the ability to help others heal, I believe it is spot on.
We are encouraged to think of others in the room and not bother them. Always treat others with respect and respond with love. For example, if we find our chair needs to be moved, stand up and quietly move it forward, back or to one side instead of remaining seated and scraping the chair along the floor to make the adjustments. And if someone does this still be loving and forgiving. Manage your own emotions and responses.
Along the same lines, yesterday as we practiced the movement Lotus Flower Going Through the Mountains, Master Li said he didn’t have to correct everyone of us and that we could just look at his movement and our own to see where it was like his or different and then correct ourselves by this method. Watch and follow the Master. I’m going to take this a step farther with my own observations. When we took a break, Master Li walked to the back of the room, sat with his wife and began to talk quietly. Before when he told us about the discipline and respect of the people at the workshop in France, he was making a point. We had been not so much the same. And now, we continued just talking and visiting in the area where we had been asked to be quiet and move to another area for visiting. Master Li was modeling in real life for us, not just up on the stage. The practice is to help us embody the principles of Sheng Zhen and to live this way, not just practice.
I think the more aware we become, the more we can change.
Day 6 October 19 Friday
I have been asking others here at the retreat to give me some of the insights they have or for what they remember that I may have forgotten. One person remembered Master Li saying if you listen with a clear, pure heart, you can hear the sound of the Universe and see the colors of yin and yang. The word purity keeps showing up.
Yesterday afternoon we spent time with Building Dan and Cultivating Xing. Practicing this one movement in a group with everyone in sync is self healing. Keeping the pace regular can help the central nervous system.
We have done three other movements for self healing which have been assigned as homework. One is the shaking movement. The second is a kneading movement like a washing machine. If you repeat the transition into Qi Er Gazing at the Moon on each side instead of just on the right side, you have the motion. You can vary the pace. This enlivens the cells in all the lower organs and can prevent or cure diseases. The third movement is Awakening from Origin of the Heart which does the same for the upper organs or body. All three movements wake up and revitalize the cells for healing.
This morning we spent more time practicing taiqi walking which was quite painful for me. The tendons or ligaments in my ankle kept popping and my knee hurt. However, I felt that this was leading toward healing. Slowly, slowly. We were told that this retreat is training us to develop habits that are healthy for us. This type of walking has a gentle flow and doing it with a Sheng Zhen heart helps establish a better life style. During lunch I sat with a young woman who is reading one of the classic acupuncture texts – the Yellow Emperor Classic one for those of you in the know. She said she had just read a passage that said the popping or stretching of the tendons and ligaments cures diseases of the heart. Very interesting information, I thought.
The next movement we practiced in depth was Qui Er Gazing at the Moon. We need to feel the movement of qi from the dantien, to the heart, to the extremities and then feel a connection with the pure shining energy of the Moon. When connected with this energy even cancer can be cured. We begin to shine outwardly with good emotions and begin to create better relationships in the world. When our hearts shine with this purity, the world changes.
A day or so ago Master Li talked about the process of enlightenment. Every day if we practice we gain more understanding and maybe one day we will understand much more.
Day 7 October 20 Saturday
Because there is a conference on various religions going on at Eastover today, and we have been invited to it, Master Li talked about the Sheng Zhen philosophy of respecting all religions. He said it is helpful to have beliefs in higher spiritual things. One can understand the precepts of Sheng Zhen better with this kind of background. Religions have the same root in Love, but many different religions have developed, and that has caused problems when one religion says it is better and others are not good. He said that the Sheng Zhen teachers may be different in the way they teach but what they teach is the same. The teacher trainings are to make sure all teachers keep Sheng Zhen standard. For example, a student may want simple ways to learn the practice yet another more detailed explanations. Another may like more philosophy and another more movement. One teacher may be able to do one of these better while another teacher something else better. All are teaching the same practice though. The teacher with true Sheng Zhen spirit will help the student find the best teacher in the area and not just want all students to come to her.
Listening to the Heart practice followed this discussion with emphasis on two contemplations. The first line of Moving Towards the Dantien is “You don’t know how powerful your mind is.” If we did, we could make this earth a paradise. And the second contemplation is “If you see this world as a paradise and see everyone as Allah, as God, as Christ, as Sakyamuni, as Lao Tsu and others look at you in the same way, isn’t this truly a paradise that you live in?” Studying these contemplations give us more understanding and help cultivate ourselves.
A question and answer session included a discussion on cultivation. Miles Nichols gives this blurb. Cultivation is more than just accessing a state of mind. Cultivation is growth and development. Cultivation involves becoming a better person. Cultivation has to do with implementing understandings from practice into daily life. When in the past you would have not done something but now you are acting in a loving way (such as a kind action), this is cultivation. Cultivation involves becoming more open and loving and showing that through actions. Changing habits and/or behaving in a more loving way in life is cultivation.
Bobby Orlando and Kitte Witting both came to an understanding of cultivation from practicing taiqi walking. They came up with the 4 A’s of cultivation: 1) Awareness – recognizing there is a problem; 2) Acknowledgement – taking it on; 3) Access – owning or taking charge so you can get through it; 4) Action – doing something about it.
These are just a couple of the points made about a big topic.
Day 8 Sunday October 21
Yesterday Master Li told us about research that has been done on longevity. The studies he mentioned collected data on people who live more than 100 years and what they had in common. The results showed that it had nothing to do with exercise or vitamins. Instead the markers were that they lived simple lives, not being too busy or in a hurry. They took naps. And they had strong family and community relationships. So here we are being trained to do what we do with ease, think of nothing, and to take 30 minute naps. The good life is to be happy with no worries.
This morning’s meditation continued with Master Li saying more on the topic of cultivation. One cultivates oneself by paying attention to our natural resources and respecting them. When taking a shower, turn off the water as you are soaping your body, for instance. Or when eating out and food is left over, take it home to eat later so it isn’t wasted. Many simple ways of conservation help the earth, cultivate us and raise our spirits. Cultivate good habits.
During the morning meditation we were to follow our own pace and go as far or as little through the form as we wanted remembering the most important thing is to relax and have no thoughts. The main purpose in establishing one’s position during meditation is so the body can relax. The next main point is to quieten the mind, forget everything, go into nothingness.
The body and mind can recover from the stresses of life by relaxing and having no thoughts. Practice achieving this by experiencing quietness for 5 seconds, then 30 seconds, then 5 minutes and eventually to an hour. Once you know the feeling of no thoughts, it is easier to do again. Thinking takes energy so one needs to turn off thinking to rest the brain. Be on vacation and enjoy.
My meditation: I followed through the whole form and at some point at the last stage Kuan Yin came and reached deep into my chest to a deep pain and took it away. The cutest small mouse dressed in a waistcoat standing before a mouse sized door approached me and handed me an invitation. I took it and asked what it said. Right away I was in a room full of people. For each year of the Chinese zodiac since it came into being one person was there to represent the year he or she was born and the animal of that year. I represented 1944 and the wood monkey. Then all the people in the space somehow integrated the characteristics of all the animals within themselves. Then I saw the number 108. This was the age of the oldest living members of the assembled group.
Before the afternoon meditation we were encouraged to brainstorm words that express the feeling of being in the Sheng Zhen state. Here are some: merge with the Universe, you and the Universe are one, I am a big body of love, divine, eternal, presence, feel the space between your cells, expand into the Universe, you are at ease, calm, peaceful, still, quiet, spacious, my heart and body are pure, connect to love, dissolve into air, each cell is a planet in the Universe, go through the tunnel of space and time. Many ideas can help us enter the Sheng Zhen state.
Day 9 Monday October 22
In practice always keep the essence. Don’t make the method the rule. There are many methods but only one essence.
Movement is for cultivating qi. Stillness is for quietening the heart.
A talk on the big picture:
First, we are encouraged to think of taking care of the earth. Every time we consume something think about the earth. We don’t always need to be knocking things down and building anew. When we live like this a lot is required from the earth whose resources are limited. Looking at the totality of life helps one discover and cultivate balance. Always think of others, all of the countries in the world, all of the people, and of the earth.
Don’t confuse the whole with special cases. What is a special case isn’t what everyone needs. For instance, in the Descending to Earth movement an older person or one who doesn’t have good balance should do a smaller movement, but that is only for them. The movement should be regular for everyone else and taught that way. This can apply to anything in life. Things fall out of balance if this is not considered.
Discussing the big meaning of Heaven Earth Contemplation, we are reminded if we are too attached to something small we can’t see the bigger picture. So from the first movement forget everything and go through the movements attaining understanding gradually. This allows us to cultivate our actions. Again, the process helps us learn to see the big picture.
After practicing Heaven Earth Contemplation we listened to Miles read the contemplations. This felt very powerful. And then we practiced two kidney sounds, from healing sounds “chui” and the sound from Light of Purity. We ended the session gathering qi.
Day 10 Tuesday October 23
The guidance in the early morning meditation had us relax from head to toe three times. The first time was slower and more detailed, and the next times got progressively shorter. The second meditation during the morning started with us making small movements to relax the body. First, rocking side to side, then a small back and forth undulation, then observing and practicing the sinking of the shoulders and the rising of the crown. The torso is erect, straight, but not tense or soft. To guide us Master Li used many phrases so we could get the feeling. First, he said full/not full, then force/no force, then that this is the meaning of “East is West, and West is East.” He showed the palms together in front of the chest to illustrate.
When sitting in meditation, don’t be lazy. People who have back problems can lean against a chair back, but everyone else should learn to hold themselves erect as discussed above. Develop a holistic view. Two popular concepts now are mindfulness and positive psychology. Mindfulness is a very old philosophy which Sheng Zhen has used from the beginning. The mantras “I am a big body of Love” and “My body is very healthy” are examples of positive psychology.
Mary Di Franco noticed that our group is beginning to move as one organism when we all assembles fluidly after a break.
The standing form practiced in the morning session was Heart Mind as One. Practicing this form can help you live in the Sheng Zhen state. We held Looking at Life for long periods of time allowing the qi to circulate and do its work.
Discussing the big picture at the beginning of our afternoon session, Master Li explained that Sheng Zhen follows science. Sheng Zhen is Unconditional Love. Love is energy. Love is the original energy from the universe. Unconditional Love is the source of everything.
Through meditation Master Li and Jing connected deeper and deeper with the Universe; their hearts opened as they merged with the universe, and then the movements and contemplations were inspired as a gift from the universe. This is the same inspiration a poet has to write a poem, a musician to create music, or an artist to create art. During the meditation that followed this talk, I remembered the same kind of inspiration happening to me years ago when I was applying for a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, and the words on my application seemed to be fed to me from a source outside of myself. Now I understand better how the Sheng Zhen practice came as a gift from the universe.
Sheng Zhen Meditation is more than qigong. In Sheng Zhen we talk about Unconditional Love, Heart, emotion, loving others, and protecting the earth. We are about Love energy. There are three levels of qigong: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Physical and emotional qigong concern health care. Spiritual qigong is a big qigong. It includes everything including the health care of the earth. In our practice our hearts are opened, and that is the foundation for all levels of health care.
Day 11 Wednesday October 24
Today the majority of the participants have gone with Master Li to Harvard to present a demonstration for an event sponsored by a youth group. Then Master Li is giving a talk to another group. I’ll provide details when they return.
Bobby Orlando shared some of his mother’s wisdom. She used to tell him to build a bridge and get over it. In the movement The Bridge of Heaven’s River we are cultivating this intention so we can do what Bobby’s mother was telling him to do. We need to cultivate our attitudes and act upon this cultivation to cross the bridges. Wise mother advice.
Day 12 Thursday October 25
Morning meditation was mainly in silence with only the guidance to use the power of words to help us enter the Sheng Zhen state. “I am a big body of Love.”
The morning chat used yesterday’s experience and impressions as a basis to train us to see the big picture when we go anywhere. Paying attention to one’s surroundings can give one a deeper understanding into what is really happening and into the minds of those connected with the surroundings. With an open heart and mind one can see the whole picture.
What is the relationship of Sheng Zhen to other philosophies? Sheng Zhen is Unconditional Love and covers the big picture. It is not just a small part that is taken into consideration. This is the highest energy. There is nothing small about this. When we work for Sheng Zhen, even if we make mistakes, that is ok because we can learn from them. With an open heart and a loyal attitude, plant the seeds of Sheng Zhen everywhere, let the seeds grow so we can move into the new era. This can help us move more quickly though this difficult transition time.
We practiced Heaven Earth Contemplation, and out of this came a discussion from the fifteenth movement’s meaning. To quote “After going through many years of training, we suddenly discover that everything is really simple.” The suddenly in this quote means enlightenment. Some people may never reach this while others may reach it in a short time. What keeps one from attaining the ‘suddenly’? A heart covered with greed, desire, and ego is not open to receive. The heart is the vehicle of the soul, and the soul is the vehicle of the spirit. With less greed, ego and desire, the heart opens, the soul awakens and the spirit is elevated. Positive energy expels negative energy. Know yourself well knowing your strengths and your weaknesses. Train yourself in the basics to help yourself develop good habits and a clear mind. Choose the right tools for your training. Sheng Zhen meditation offers many tools in its forms. Sheng Zhen gives the trainee access to the highest energy.
If you want to see a live streamed session of this retreat and are on FaceBook, go to Eastover’s page or my own The Sanctuary – South Austin or Austin’s Sheng Zhen page where I hope to share it.
Day 13 Friday October 26
Morning meditation: The Union of Three Heart is the mother practice. One reaches the highest state when dissolved into the Universe, feeling transparent. After meditation Master Li talked about qi flow and the Sheng Zhen state. Many of the movements we do involve circling and double circles. Blending Qi, Dragon Flying in the Clouds, and Building Dan and Cultivating Xing are examples. The true healing occurs when one does these movements in the Sheng Zhen state with correct position, path, timing, and synchronization. A natural floating feel occurs. Other ways to heal are to have no worries and to be happy. The source of health and happiness is Love, and the open heart gives us access to this. Being curious in one’s life helps one remain youthful. Negative emotions are the source of physical disease. Again, one’s mind is very powerful so train yourself to have a positive outlook.
True freedom is discipline. In the family if everyone respects each other and there are disciplined habits in the family everyone can live comfortably and happily together. The same goes as we go out into the neighborhood, then the town, then the county,state and country. We can have more freedom when we are disciplined.
For meditation quiet is better for cultivating qi, but if the place is noisy, one can use the circumstances to train oneself to keep calm and not be disturbed. Training involves mind, heart, emotions and body. Always feel as if there is no problem. The mind is powerful, so you can change how you feel when you have an open heart. Walls in the Heart block qi flow, and immunity is weak when qi is blocked. And, also thoughts block qi so that is why one practices having no thoughts. Training oneself to live with no worries and an open, pure heart is essential.
Ten minute meditation connecting to everyone in the room and feeling trust. Being in the Sheng Zhen state is healing.
Next we lay down for a healing session where we circulated qi throughout the body in an open and trusting state. We started at the top of the head and went down through the body with Master Li’s guidance. He said that his leading us was healing for him, too, As you help others, you are helping yourself. And good words, give you good energy.
Next we practiced three of the six healing sounds – those for the liver, heart and spleen. Yesterday we did the sound for the kidney.
By doing the practice many questions are answered, understanding is gained, priorities are discerned and correct choices can be made.
Day 14 Saturday October 27
Morning meditation was very quiet spending time in the Sheng Zhen state and then a few words leading us through the stages. The second meditation was shorter, too, which is good for beginners. For those with more experience little time is needed to go into the Sheng Zhen state and go through the three stages. Usually I like to spend the entire time of a short meditation in the Sheng Zhen state and not do more.
What is the power that can change the world? Those who understand the power of Unconditional Love can help others begin to understand.
We are the first generation of Sheng Zhen, and the more we can do to spread the philosophy of Sheng Zhen now, the easier life will be for the next generations. Live with an open heart seeing the big picture.
One’s actions follow one’s heart, and one’s actions reveal one’s understanding. Treating each other with love and caring for one another bring us closer together. Balance is always needed in relationships. Don’t demand too much of others when you can do something. And don’t try to do too much for someone in a way that may become negative for them.
The power of Love can be easily seen. One of our practitioner’s grandmother was very ill with a short time to live, but when she and her sister began to take good care of their grandmother making her feel needed and loved, she lived many years longer. In another specific example, a doctor told a husband to wash his ill wife’s feet every day, and just doing this in a caring, loving way cured her. Physical touch is healing. Lonely people need friends. Older people can benefit from a helping hand. But be careful not to overdo this. If a person is sick don’t remind them all the time through your conversations with them about their illness. Instead, take them to the movie, do something fun.
Some may have come to the retreat to have a healthier body and others want to have an open heart and to understand life. Our level of understanding is revealed by what we are seeking here.
Review of six healing sounds in groups. For those of you who want more details on this form, I can share individually. It is difficult enough to pronounce the sounds correctly, much less write the sounds. And it’s important to make the sound correctly, so let’s be in person for more on this. Even though this is not a Sheng Zhen form, it can be done with an open heart helping its effectiveness.
After working in groups Master Li talked about his new book. He said there is a chapter on fraud and corruption. Through our feelings which have been attuned with our Sheng Zhen practice, we should be able to sense who is trustworthy or not. This is something more about cultivation and seeing the big picture. We already know fraud is rife in our societies today. We should be able to see what is happening and understand it, not being taken in by corruption.
In the afternoon we meditated for about ten minutes to enter the Sheng Zhen state and then lay down for a 45 minute self healing meditation. We opened our skin pores and the five energy points first. We were guided three times through the body from crown to toes, smiling at our organs and sending them love. For example when sending love to the lungs we imagined every cell receiving love and qi. We had no sadness, no sorrow but we’re happy and calm, etc. The first time through was longest.
The last practice was taiqi walking with the hand movements. This is good for balance, and my knees like it, too.
Day 15 Sunday October 28
Morning meditation: Before doing the Zhongtian Movement you are already in position, very relaxed and entering the Sheng Zhen state.
Review of Heart Spirit as One
The position we practice at the beginning of meditation should be applied to life. Carry the body with the neck elongated, crown upward, chin slightly tucked and shoulders down. Relaxed, but not too soft.
An example of quietening the mind is to think of both lobes of the brain as being very busy and then slow down the thoughts. Master Li used his arms extended and fingers fluttering to demonstrate. A busy mind is quickly fluttering and as the mind slows down the fingers fluttered more slowly. This is just to Illustrate the mind quietening. Then have one half of brain quiet and the other busy, alternating sides. Then he showed how one’s movements reflected how quiet the mind is. First he stomped around, then walked in a medium noisy way, and finally catlike. You can tell easily which mind is quieter. He talked about how cats are very slow as they are stalking prey and then leap into a burst of movement.
In the morning practice we learned bagua walking. This helps balance one physically, makes one steady, and allows movements to flow. It also warms one up improving internal qi flow. I think if it balances the body, it also balances mind and emotions with the discipline of the practice. We can incorporate these practices into our lives, just by learning to walk in a way that settles our minds.
In China Sheng Zhen Meditation is called Bo Ai Yang Xin which means Unconditional Love Nourish Heart or Universal Love Nourish Heart
Master Li continues to talk to us about knowing whom to trust and understanding the big picture. He has been using his own life experiences to show what happens when untrustworthy people have done things that have impacted his life. Because he has the eminence and stature he does in the world, many people have tried to use him. He still loves the people, but not their actions. In this training we are being asked to understand life and people and to be Sheng Zhen in the way we respond to these. Be aware and smart. Don’t be fooled. Love unconditionally.
In the afternoon session we started with a longer meditation. Afterwards we did more bagua walking and learned a four count turn. The talk afterwards was about fake qigong. If a person says he is a magician and does what he does for entertainment, that is fine, but if a person tries to convince others that he is using the power with qi to do incredible things, he is lying to people and giving qigong a bad name. This topic of fraud has come up again. In my own life I encounter this kind of behavior,too. Somebody even made a comment on my blog and is trying to get me to open a link. And what about all those random phone calls we all keep getting? We have to remain alert but not let ourselves get bothered or stressed by these things.
Day 16 Monday October 29
Silent morning meditation. After meditation Master Li took a survey of who wanted more talking or less during the meditation. Instead of .07 percent talking he will talk 7 to 14 percent. This is his humorous side. Also, he talked about how he used different words to guide us, but the purpose is always the same. If one has discipline and knows the forms, one can do the practice on his own, but, I think, most people like being in the group to meditate. He talked about how Americans, Europeans and Asians have different cultures and express things differently, but with Sheng Zhen we try to address what is best for all. Finding the middle way and with no ego.
Just so you know there are a couple of toys in the room that are being used as examples. One is a cute stuffed lion with very attentive eyes and smiling. The other is a expandable sphere made of green and purple plastic. It expands like our cells do when they open. The bear was sitting inside the expanded sphere this morning.
My morning meditation, note, “Believe in your Self, yourself.”
Morning practice began with relaxing by doing various stretches, undulating, rocking, etc. Then we raised our shoulders and let them sink to relax more. The sinking should be very slow and go on beyond the reality of the motion.
My meditation, note More confidence. The mind is very powerful. Sitting inside the lotus with Master Li.
After meditation, for fun Master Li played the magician asking us to pay attention to see if we could tell when the deception was taking place. He is training us to be alert, aware.
Sheng Zhen Healing practice began covering movements one through four. He spent a long time on the first movement sharing a Chinese proverb: ” if the principles of the first step are understood, the principles of one hundred steps are learned well.” Something like that. So he explained the difference between the end of Opening the Heart in Awakening the Soul and the end of the first movement in Healing. In Awakening the Soul,the purpose is to feel full/not full and be ready to receive qi in the second movement. The parallel hands in front in Healing are more about relaxing. We practiced holding our hands in front of the heart, as in Unraveling the Heart, parallel in front of the face, and in prayer position and felt how the qi feel was different.
In the first movement of Healing it is more about the elbows relaxing and the torso moving backwards than the hands moving. In fact, the hands only move because of the other. In going through the second movement, he had all of verbalize the path and position of the movement part by part as he did the movement. Often, he did the movement incorrectly which was fun and funny. It inspired us to describe using clear language.
Day 17 Tuesday October 30
Morning Meditation: My intention was for all obstacles to be removed and all walls dissolved.
Morning Session: First meditation and then Awakening the Soul. We held the third and fourth movements for a long time using them for self healing. Then we went through Sheng Zhen Healing rather quickly since we spent a lot of time on the first six movements yesterday. Today we concentrated on the transition into the ninth movement, practicing this in pairs.
The fourth movement in SZH 1’s purpose is to establish rhythm, reduce stress and develop a life style. What is important is for the heart to be happy. Sheng Zhen is a life style. Love is always with you, serve others, and through practice and training this becomes a natural way.
Afternoon session: Before we began the meditation we just sat in a relaxed and normal state thinking thoughts line, I am alive on earth with my family, and the earth provides everything for our use — so nice! We were enjoying life in our normal state of being.
Afternoon meditation: Master Li did some talking following the middle way. My meditation was very quiet, almost to the point of sleep. During the break that followed Master Li looked out of the window and began commenting on the clouds up in the sky. We all cloud watched for awhile.
For the afternoon practice of Awakening the Soul, we sat quietly with no movement when finished. This is self healing. Then we began Sheng Zhen Healing 1. In the second movement when we send qi into the universe, it is because we love the universe. Next we receive qi from the universe. GIVING IS RECEIVING. A connection is created this way. When we act with love and serve others because we want to and not because we want something from them, we cultivate connections. A pure heart is cultivated. A pure heart creates connection.
Reminder to self: In the fourth movement leading with a bent elbow is to open the armpit.
When we pay attention we make better choices. We develop self discipline. This practice helps develop the ability to live the Sheng Zhen life style.This retreat is not just to practice and learn movements but to learn how to live life and understand it. Sheng Zhen is not for exercise, but for life.
The last talk of the day concerned respecting the teacher and how to achieve deeper understanding though correction. The correction is given because the student is cared for. And the students’ understanding can be seen by the teacher in their movements and their responses.
Day 18 Wednesday October 31
Happy 🎃 👻 Halloween
I woke up this morning hearing a woman’s voice saying the word teacher several times. I asked what more, and was told sit still, quietly. Then during the first meditation in which Master Li was silent, I struggled for quiet and silence having to start from the beginning over and over to keep myself in meditation. Then when we had the second meditation, Master Li gave lots of guidance, and I found myself going deeper and being very quiet. All I can think of in explanation is that I have to provide the guidance for myself in quieter meditations, and that is more difficult for me at times. During the second meditation we spent a long time in the Sheng Zhen state. Real healing takes place when we are in this state with no worries or negativities, just calm, quiet and empty. We were reminded that in the hand position the left hand on top is yang, representing Heaven. The thumbs and fingers together form an empty circle representing an empty world. This is not the real world, but when we rise into our niwan, we enter the real world.
Morning practice was Sheng Zhen Healing 2, movements 1-3. The first movement relaxes the organs and begins the process of cooking the qi in the human stove. This beginning movement is for more relaxing. In the first part of the second movement there is an internal kneading and friction or rubbing together. It is done for a long time to transform qi. Master Li said everyone has some cancerous cells in their body, but not all bodies develop the disease. The problem that causes some people’s bodies to develop an imbalance where cancer grows is an emotional one in which too much stress, worries, and negativities exist. All the forms help us develop lives with less stress, more happiness, and fewer worries. The second part of the second movement distributes the transformed qi throughout the body. We repeated this for a long time, first with Master Li leading us, and then in small groups.
The afternoon session included a meditation in which Master Li asked us to meditate in the Sheng Zhen state on how Sheng Zhen has affected our lives. After the meditation a camera was set up and three people told their stories about how Sheng Zhen has changed their lives. In brief, the first woman told how Sheng Zhen meditation has helped her live at peace with her PTSD. The second person who is 26 years old told about her parents’ divorce when she was 10, her brother’s suicide at 18 when she was only 14, and a severe car accident she was in at 19. Depression and physical pain plagued her. Sheng Zhen has helped her and her family recover from the trauma of the suicide, and she has recovered more of her physical health. She feels that these hardships were necessary for her to develop the deep understanding she has of the big picture. The third person had an equally compelling story of poor physical health, depression, stress, and family problems which were healed by doing this practice and opening her heart to more love. Their stories will probably be shared on the main website. Through one’s own experiences one understands life and how to help others, and through other’s experiences and stories, we understand even more.
Day 19 Thursday November 1
The morning meditation was led in silence. Before we started we chanted the word “Wu” three times. As I remember, this word means the process towards enlightenment. The energy in the room seemed to shift as we did this.
In my understanding all the things we have been doing to this point are helping us be open to healing. The idea that Master Li is going to transmit healing energy to us is not such a simple thing. We can receive only as much as we are open to receive. Really relaxing, having no thoughts, enjoying ourselves in activities that may seemingly have nothing to do with anything, really dropping our worried minds and negativities are the path to our receiving the healing. And Master Li has said his master is Unconditional Love. This is where the power and inspiration resides, and he is leading us right into a deeper connection.
Through meditation one gains understanding. Big problems are made small, and small problems dissolve. In order to avoid misunderstandings always ask questions. Divisions are created through ego, and thinking you understand, but you really don’t. Through the practice cultivate yourself and use the Sheng Zhen spirit to dissolve problems. Make your speech and purpose clear. Think of others, think of the world instead of your own self interests.
How can we become one family? Through Oneness. How can we return to Purity? ThroughLove. Feel the power of Love through your actions, and allow the power of Love to inspire you to be loving to others.
Morning Meditation: We concentrated on the Zhongtian Movement. Sensing the power of this movement in just a few seconds can help us be able to receive all that the movement means. Purity, connection, receiving . . . Cultivating the quiet, silent mind during meditation is pure self healing.
Sheng Zhen Healing 1 and 2
We went through stage 1 and stage 2 to the fifth movement. As you may know each movement has it own flavor and speciality which I’ve talked about on previous days. Master Li talks in depth as we go through each movement, and what he has to say could be written into a book. So much can be said. So instead of repeating his words about each movement, I’ll just run it all together because each movement can connect us to the whole picture.
Qi is working within us as we do the movements, but qi is not complete without the energy of Love which is working with it. We are connected to both as we practice and are purified which encourages the healing. We also receive inspiration in meditation when this process is occurring. And then we gain more understanding. He says the same thing over and over not for us to get it, in my opinion, but for us to absorb the understanding, to embody it. When we surrender to the Universe, we are showing it that we love it. If one doesn’t feel the connection but just thinks about loving the universe, that is enough to create the connection. As an example, he said if we just think about our mothers, the connection if made. At the end of the moving practice we sat in silence letting the energy continue to do its work.
Day 20 Friday November 2
We began the morning meditation with some gentle stretches to open the body. The morning session began with a long lying down meditation. First, we relaxed the body until we felt as though we were floating in the universe. We felt very pure bathed in loving energy. Then qi entered the crown of the head and began washing every cell, scrubbing, washing, showering rinsing. I imagined many little workers gently washing and rinsing all my cells system by system all over. Master Li gave many methods to use for the healing session from using the breath, to imagining oneself gathering and circulating it through the body. After going from head to toe several times, spend time in areas you know have problems. I got to the point that I just surrendered to the intelligence of the energy and watched it do its work. We went through this process many times and at the end began 9-Turns. During this meditation I felt connected to the people in the room seeing them enter my consciousness for a moment and then fading. I also connected to several people remotely and experienced them receiving the same healing as I. This is being connected.
After breakfast I volunteered to do a private filming session where I told my story of life before and after Sheng Zhen. I mainly talked about how my mind and interior life had changed from out of control to peaceful and happy. Settled down.
We started reviewing the standing forms doing Gathering Qi three times and then going into Heaven Nature Contemplation. Small groups worked on Lotus Flower Going Through the Mountains. In his discussion stemming from this movement, Master Li talked about how we are cultivating the way we move through life. We should always question ourselves and what we have done instead of finding blame in others. Also, as teachers we have the responsibility to stick with science. We never tell our students they don’t need their medicines, surgeries, etc. This practice helps us open to the healing power of Love, and if you’ve read previous entries, you know what I’m talking about.
The afternoon meditation offered me the opportunity to keep in the meditative state with Love as my neighbor snored away. We reviewed Heaven Nature Contemplation and Heart Mind as One. And at the end of the evening Master Li told us we can get plenty of exercise doing the moving forms plus getting the benefits for the spirit and emotions.
Day 21 Saturday November 3
Before the first meditation began I was seeing the double helix of my DNA and imagining the nerve in the tooth where I had a crown this year calming down and healing. Then when Master Li began the meditation he told about research on meditation that showed that certain genes can be switched off or on after six weeks of meditation. Later in the morning Dr. Diane, M. D., told more about this study that came from Joe Dispenza. It revealed that around 1500 health promoting genes were switched on and 67 genes that were related to disease and cancer were switched off. The group studied has a practice much like Sheng Zhen Meditation in which the meditator feels space between the cells and thinks positively. That which is inside directs us to healing – our spirits, souls, hearts, and purpose. When we do meditative movements with the flavor and meaning, this is much more healing than just good looking movements.
During this meditation, I saw Yan Fang clearly and she helped guide me. First time for her to be so clear in my meditations.
We have a group here with many talents and from many backgrounds. I have mentioned how we have come from all over. We have a couple of MDs, one ND, a lawyer, several acupuncturists, computer engineers, a construction worker turned biodynamic farmer, a couple or three artists, a software designer, a marketing specialist, two brothers who are clothing entrepreneurs, an art therapist, several published authors, a film director, and so forth. We are a motley crew with me as a grandmother.
After the early mornIng meditation we reviewed three statements: Sheng Zhen is cultivation;Sheng Zhen is purification; and, Sheng Zhen is connection. When cultivation is from the heart, it is the deepest truest kind. Sometimes cultivation begins with following a rule, but once the rule is internalized and one sees that not only does following the rule help oneself but that the whole group benefits from our following the rule, then one is on the way. What I do affects the whole. This may seem like a small thing but it relates to the big picture. For a small example, when I turn off my cell phone, I can become more focused and so can the whole group focus better without the distractions. So the whole group functions better. When you internalize rules, you develop self-control.
Next, the importance of training, and repetition were explained. Repetition has power. Repeating a mantra with the feeling creates energy, vitality, and happiness. Our training cultivates the opening of the heart. We can develop what Master Li called a gentlemanly style or stay with what he called small person style. Even though I am a woman, I know what he is saying. Again we can develop these qualities through training and repetition.
In Chinese the words for meditation translate to sit still. The other morning as I was waking up I heard a voice call the word teacher several times and then when I asked for more, the voice said sit still. Good advice for me. Master Li talked about how meditation started in India, China, Japan and Asia and that the practice was to sit still, look inward, and be quiet. Then he talked about sitting styles and the preferred sitting styles in Sheng Zhen. Mainly, the body positions are to show respect and to cultivate respectful attitudes.
In the second meditation of the morning, Master Li said prepare to go from the material world to the spiritual world. Then, we will do a short ritual – the Zhongtian Movement. I saw Master Li’s face during meditation and he told me to sit down next to him. Don came for Master Li.
We practiced Heaven Earth Contemplation first with Master Li leading and then in groups.
Bobby Orlando’s notes from the first lying down self-healing session: The qi, the love, the trust, the surrender is complete, is thorough. Open the body, open the skin pores. No need to limit or control at all. Open, open, open. Qi and Love enter the crown to fill the head and washes as it moves through the brain — cleaning, washing, moving. Take your time. Go to the neck, shoulders, slowly. I trust the qi and love; I surrender; I serve. I will do what I can. Wash the lungs. No need for sadness. Wash the liver. No need for anger. The heart knows no stress. All the organs are clean. Trust Heavenly Mother and Father. Trust the universe. Trust Heaven. Move through the sacrum, hips, thighs, legs. Qi moves so easily. There is so much space for it to move. Slowly, slowly. Trust. Surrender. Feel the cleansing qi with love. It is all so powerful, so safe. Let the power work freely with no limits. Be curious, interested. Watch, experience. Feel you have gone beyond where your limited mind can go. Watch it happening. Powerful. Floating. Merged.
Day 22 Sunday November 4
Early morning meditation: I was thinking during meditation. Not very quiet. But I connected with the whole group as a big body of Love. I repeated the mantra many times to keep me from thinking and to feel the meaning. Afterwards Master Li shared the Chinese words: Listen to the voice of yin and yang. Look at the colors of yin and yang. You want to hear the song of yin and yang. Your heart is merged deeply with the universe. Life may be noisy, but you are quiet. As you progress to a higher level in your meditation, you go into a deeper quiet. We learn to lead or guide society to go the right way instead of just following society. Life is colorful which makes it interesting. With Sheng Zhen Meditation we don’t play music. People have different tastes, and we are ultimately going for deep quiet and the song of the universe.
The second meditation of the day was followed by a question and answer session. The first question was about prayer and meditation. Master Li said first we need to understand the purpose of each one. Prayer is often a wish or a hope or asking for help. Prayer can be very high level or selfish. Meditation is like prayer, but more. We want the energy of the universe to help us so we connect to the energy of Heaven and earth to be able to understand the universe and the inspirations and ideas we receive from the universe. We begin to understand life and the essence of life. We understand more about what is important for true happiness. We understand more about the essence of Heaven which is Love and the essence of the earth which is life. All animals and plants on the earth are respected. We send love to the earth, to the natural environment. Meditation lets people feel as if we are one family on earth, dissolving all boundaries. It allows energy to flow on the earth and between people. Hearts become pure and are then easily connected.
Side note: The crisis of trust is a chapter in Master Li’s new book. Lack of trust blocks the flow of Love. Many movements train us to trust, such as Holding the Heavens, Grounded on Earth. One must trust oneself before one can have trust in others.
The best way to pray is to see the big picture and pray for that which helps everyone. With open, pure hearts we can help the earth.
Next Master Li talked about the heart and brain connection. If the heart and brain aren’t connected it creates worse health. This is difficult for science to measure. Many people use the brain too much and the heart too little. This creates an imbalance. When an action from the mind is done with the heart, then the action is correct. Use your heart to understand when the power of the heart is with the mind. Use your heart to see, to listen and to understand.
In life everyone meets with hardships and these are the opportunity to temper us like molten metal becomes tempered through the heat. One builds character going through hardships. How we meet life creates our character. Find balance in life. Learn how to help people. Giving and helping is good, but learn how to do this.
How to explain Unconditional Love? Some people defined it as doing for others without expecting anything in return, but I always explain it as the highest energy, and the process of purification and cultivation help develop behavior and actions that reflect Unconditional Love. Just my take on it.
Day 23 Monday November 5
Before the early morning meditation, Master Li was encouraging us to experience life through the eyes of a meditator. He described the clouds in the sky this morning being like cells that have expanded, and imagining that we are like tall grasses with the breezes blowing through, or that we are like a down jacket that can be compressed into a small space and then expand with ease.
In my meditation I thought of how I can serve. I can make pies. I can treat animals well. The main understanding is that my actions here on earth can help my spirit go to a higher level. A rather noisy meditation for me. Again, Master Li was silent throughout.
In the morning talk Master Li talked about the new levels of certification for teachers. Good questions to ask ourselves are: how many articles have I written about Sheng Zhen; how many television interviews have I given; how many of my students have gone on to become teachers? Those who receive the new levels of certification will certainly be the most outstanding Sheng Zhen practitioners and teachers.
Master Li led the second meditation with guidance, and again I experienced a much deeper, quieter meditation this way. Even after many years I am such a beginner. I need help and am glad to receive it this way.
The Sheng Zhen spirit is Unconditional Love, and Sheng Zhen follows the plan of the universe which is Unconditional Love. If you were the owner of the universe, what would you wish? If you were the President of the US, what would you wish? Always think of the meaning of zhongtian. How can I act with Unconditional Love? How can I make connections with Unconditional Love? We want to help people live lives with open hearts. Live lives with healthy bodies, happy lives, good lives. How can our own experiences with Sheng Zhen inspire others? We need to think of helping bring in the next generation for Sheng Zhen.
Heaven Earth Contemplation with Master Li leading the whole group. Then repeating the names of the movements and thinking of the meanings of the movements. Learning life philosophy from the movements. Afterwards, we practiced Heart Mind as One together.
Afternoon session begins with chat: The terms Sheng Zhen state, Sheng Zhen spirit, and Sheng Zhen life style were differentiated. We go into the Sheng Zhen state before meditation and feel elevated, merged, expanded and forget everything. This is the foundation and basis of meditation. At the end of meditation the qi is returned to the dantien so we can come back to the normal state. The Sheng Zhen state helps one become wiser. Always practice the Sheng Zhen spirit. It can be seen in a relaxed way of being with emotions at ease and the feeling of enjoying life with no worries. The Sheng Zhen spirit is like the Sheng Zhen life style. One is kind, humble, not greedy, has strong confidence and always serves others.
How can we become even better in our spirit and life style? Talking to each other creates connection and helps heart to heart, people to people development. Making these connections helps others develop. Through cultivation, one becomes enlightened.
Afternoon meditation: Master Li talked and led us throughout. It felt as if my ni wan were were getting a massage. After meditation Master Li asked us about our improvement to date with our meditations and if we wanted longer meditations. Yes, most answered. Know the ocean so that you can know the river. Being in the ocean is being in the Sheng Zhen state merged with the universe, and the rivers are when we are in our daily life. Go to the ocean so you can understand the rivers.
Day 24 Tuesday November 6
Morning meditation: Do it by yourself following your feeling. Don is coming into my meditations to help me with the dantien. (“Don” tien 😊)
Second morning meditation: This was a longer meditation, and I was able to be very quiet. But I did remember Hanuman’s words to Lord Rama: ” When I remember who I am, I am you. When I forget who I am I serve you.” The way we treat ourselves is how we treat any holy being. The loving feeling we experience inside is remembering who we are. Just my thoughts.
Master Li was talking more with people about Joe Dispenza’s meditation and gene studies. Like the Sheng Zhen meditation practice, Joe Dispenza’s meditation focuses on expansion and positive emotions. In all of the forms we practice, we expand as big as the universe and feel like a big body of love.
Master Li talked about cultivating good manners. We need to be able to see what is needed before being asked to do something. This is an attractive quality which makes people comfortable, and then hearts connect.
During Awakening the Soul practice Master Li continued to show us how each movement helps us feel very expanded and full of positive feelings. In Chinese the name of the movement Unraveling the Heart means more. Unraveling the Heart No Worries is its meaning. The counting in Suddenly Lifting the Veil expresses a bigger meaning to the word suddenly. It’s like a BIG WOW! One, twoooooooooo with rising voice. The Chinese word has more this meaning.
Next we practiced Sheng Zhen Healing Stages 1 and 2. Again, he talked about how genes can be switched on or off depending on one’s attitude doing the movements. Really feel expanded and with a good feeling.
All of Heaven’s secrets can’t be revealed. This was spoken after Master Li talked about how he used to clear the energy in the his class spaces. At one point he understood that he didn’t have to do that because of the power of the energy he was working with. The reason for talking about philosophy is for cultivation. You can give a man a fish, but it is much better to teach him to fish. Give him a fishing pole. The philosophy is the fishing pole.
We did Sheng Zhen Healing Stages 1and 2. A lot of the emphasis was on expanding and feeling yummy while practicing. The training promotes the healing. For those with cancer do the second movement of Stage 2 a long time.
Day 25 Wednesday November 7
Morning meditation: In silence. Before starting Master Li said meditation can be better than sleep. At some point he asked us if we felt out of time with things. For instance, not knowing if we were breaking for breakfast of lunch. I have noticed that for awhile. There is discussion of some type of fasting which Ying has proposed. Miles Nichols explained more in detail about what is included in such a fast. Many of us are going to try it for five days.
The rest of the morning was taken up in a filming session. The weather was beautiful during the morning so we had a chance to do it outside. Mainly we practiced Heaven Nature Contemplation with some Gathering Qi and laughing.
Afternoon session: Meditation was over an hour. When we were in the niwan Master Li encouraged us to have a beautiful environment in our brains for helping us to be healthier.
As we move more deeply into the last couple of weeks, I will be writing shorter posts because I am finding it more difficult to put this experience into words.
Day 26 Thursday November 8
Master Li began talking about expanding the energy body which we do entering the Sheng Zhen state. The shape of the physical body is still there but it feels very big. In steps 1 and 2 in the Union of Three Hearts you feel like a big expanded body, but with step 3 you forget the body. In the niwan you are with the spirit, not the physical. When told to think of nothing, one thought can replace all thoughts: I am a big body of Love. Then Master Li took a survey to see if people liked to the use the word mind, awareness or consciousness when beginning the first step of the meditation. Bring your awareness to the dantien seemed most popular in the group, but what works for the individual is ok. Relating to the second step in the meditation, he asked if we liked to use the breath to move the qi from the dantien to the niwan or to use the mind. Again, use what works for you. As one goes deeper in meditation, these habits may change.
in the second session the importance of the heart in feelings was mentioned. We did the Zhongtian Movement before the chat so the words would go more deeply into our hearts. The book Dying to Be Me and the YouTube/TED Talk video Stroke of Insight are stories that can inspire us and give us more understanding. We have our own similar story and are looking for a writer who can capture the spirit of the story to inspire others.
The master guides you through the door, but your cultivation depends upon yourself. A short meditation followed and then we practiced Listening to the Heart.
Day 27 Friday November 9
First relax the physical body. See the physical body like a lightbulb shining out very far into the universe. If you are an artist, imagine what the body would look like with the body becoming less distinct as the light shines farther and farther into the universe. Now we have connected to the energetic body. Then go through the three steps of the meditation as you wish. Forget the body when you go to the niwan. At the end of meditation, we did a few movements from Heaven Earth Contemplation.
We began the morning session with a talk. If asked, “What do you do?” Sheng Zhen Meditation “Why do you do it? ” It’s good for health. It is active healing, self healing. “How can you dissolve smallness?” Use positive psychology. For example just doing the Zhongtian Movement with its meaning can remove negative feelings and leave you feeling pure. And it just takes 10seconds once you learn to do it.
Before the meditation and leading into it, Master Li talked about the Zhongtian Movement and the Sheng Zhen state in depth. The more we understand and experience the depth of these, the more helpful they are. The Zhongtian Movement can lead us directly into the Sheng Zhen state.
This afternoon we had a short unguided meditation. Then Bobby and Mary, Patrick and Michael were filmed telling their Sheng Zhen story.
Day 28 Saturday November 10
Master Li is off to Boston with Jing this time at the Natural Living Expo. So today we are doing the group meditations together with no leading. Our small group is discussing Heart Mind as One introduction and the last movement Showing the Way to Better the Person. Other groups are discussing the other movements, and when we get together, each group will share high lights of their discussion.
An evening talk by Jing, Master Li and Doctor Wong, I think is his name, on Science and Meditation. You can find the live chat on YouTube on Eastover’s page.
Day 29 Sunday November 11
Early morning meditation with Master Li who guided using the basics to lead into the Sheng Zhen state and then go through the three steps. Some of the people from last night’s audience are visiting our class today. After the meditation we practiced Heaven Earth Contemplation.
The second meditation was straightforward and shorter like the early morning meditation. Afterwards we practiced Healing 1-3.
Jing led a chat saying her main purpose was to greet us as a Sheng Zhen team, using that word instead of family and basing her chat on that distinction. We are a community like a body. Jing and Master Li are the part of that body that takes and leads the body into the first step of Sheng Zhen. Like the foot. The analogy of using the whole body to open a box showed how she and her father are the foot used to hold down the box and take the step into the opening of it. One generation alone cannot do this work; it will take several generations. Who are the various parts of the body? Who is the eyes, the nose, the fingers, the kidneys, the liver? Who will work closely together? Who plans best, who teaches best, etc? We know by our strengths and weaknesses. We know by what we love to do the most. Do what gives you joy, what is in your heart.
Jing led the afternoon session first with a chat which was full of her wisdom. I couldn’t keep up with it in notes. Here are a few isolated statements. To be happy we have to free our hearts. A free heart is an open heart. She is calling the younger generation to connect to the source so they can change the world with Sheng Zhen. Your mind is your best friend, but also your only enemy in meditation. Meditation followed the chat in which she guided us as only she can and does. We ended with Heart Spirit as One. We finished the session in a circle. We discussed the Heart and mind. Quietening the heart is an expression we have used for over 20 years now. Usually people have thought of quietening the mind, but we say the heart. Heartfulness versus mindfulness. Heart and mind concepts are changing. Many words include the character for the heart in Chinese. Contemplation is field of the heart in Chinese. Joy is open the heart. Curiosity is the heart that is in all. Thank you, Jing for spending time with us.
PS People are dropping like flies with the flu🙁 I’m taking my elderberry syrup three times daily.
Day 30 Monday November 12
Early morning meditation: Silent. Afterwards we practiced the 6 Healing Sounds
Morning session: Open the heart to see the big picture. Little things we do that disturb the whole and which we can control is an example.
Many times we have heard, “The heart is the monarch or king of the body.”
Meditation began with humming loudly many times and then softer. Let the body vibrate with sound.
Practice Awakening the Soul twice with Master Li and then in small groups. Only one person knew the Contemplation to the first movement from memory. Master Li asked us how that could inspire us. Learning the contemplations deepens our understanding.
Afternoon session: First a chat with many areas covered. Concentrate on the big things that are not changeable instead of the details which do change to see the big picture.
Only through practice can one gain understanding of life.
Day 31 Tuesday November 13
Morning Meditation: Master Li began the meditation saying the words “return to the origin.” After meditation we practiced the cloud hands tai chi movement.
Morning Meditation: Master Li led the group with three different sounds to begin the meditation. First humming several times, then an uhhhh sound in an operatic voice, and finally with the mouth more closed the ooooo sound. The sound vibrated our bodies and had the effect of expanding as the voices sounded through the room.
Sheng Zhen Healing 3 two times with Master Li leading. Two ways Master Li talked about our taking care of ourselves — One way is to plan our time wisely so we aren’t always in a hurry. That’s not good for us or for those around us. And secondly, we were reminded of how our stomachs like warm water, not iced water. Love your body. Love your stomach.
Afternoon meditation: We were encouraged to meditate on our own from getting into position, doing the Zhongtian Movement and going into the Sheng Zhen state where all flowed simultaneously.
Several people told their stories and were filmed. Then we did 9-Turns.
Day 32 Wednesday November 14
Morning meditation: Love and qi go into the cells, more than just between the cells. They go into the infinitesimally small spaces, deeper than the smallest known thing in the universe which science has yet to discover. In meditation go deeper and deeper into the spiritual world. During the meditation Master Li led us into a deep state with his words, and then while we were in this state led us through a self healing, starting with the brain, spine and nervous system.
During breakfast I had a discussion with Dr. Jake, an M.D. And acupuncturist, wanting to understand more about the heart being the emperor of the body because this has been repeated many times during this retreat. The pericardium is the protector of the heart, the prime minister for the emperor who rests deeply within. The pericardium actually does all the work for the emperor. The lungs, skin, and colon or large intestine are the ministers of defense for the body. The spleen and stomach are the ministers of the granary or agriculture I would think. The liver is the general and the kidneys are the ministers of the waterways. What I concluded is that I am in charge of all of this territory, not the ego but my higher self. Furthermore, through Sheng Zhen I cultivate my emotions so that I can be wise about caring for this kingdom.
Morning Session: Master Li began by asking questions to check our understanding. What is the practice called? Sheng Zhen Meditation What is our society called? International Sheng Zhen Society What is our website? shengzhen.org Them we reviewed the names of all the forms.
The Sheng Zhen state used qi and Love to clean the body. Never see illness as your enemy. Always look into yourself to see how you have a problem and decide how to change to cure the problem. Change your emotions. Use the power of Love. Remember the mind is powerful.
We are calling healing ourselves with Sheng Zhen Meditation Sheng Zhen Healing. Being in the Sheng Zhen state is healing. Train people how to be in the Sheng Zhen state so they can heal themselves with qi and Love.
Active and passive healing – these terms were distinguished. Up until today we have been doing self healing which is active healing. Today we practiced using Sheng Zhen energy to heal others.
Sheng Zhen Active Healing
First go deeply into the Sheng Zhen state. Master Li has had us practice being in this state within minutes, so this shouldn’t take a long time. Then, get into a comfortable position either sitting in a chair or lying down. Open up and trust the universe. Allow qi and Love to flow into the body from the crown of the head to the tips of the toes, part by part or using your own method. Crown, head, face, skin, brain, nervous system, organs, etc. Do this several times.
Sheng Zhen Passive Healing
First, talk to the person to discover their need for healing. Just chat, and be like a psychologist or a life coach. Be kind and loving. Then, ask the patient what the problem is. Just because I am giving this information doesn’t mean I can go out and be a healer, but I am sharing the process. One must understand the Sheng Zhen philosophy and have purified the heart and cultivated oneself before all else. One way to do this is by reading and studying the contemplations. Really just by talking to a person, one can become better. Then through teaching and training people how to change their emotions, their attitude toward life, they can begin to heal. Know which movements or form will be best for the person. If you do hands on healing, the person must open the body to receive. Prepare yourself by doing the Zhongtian Movement and gather qi. Use the mind to send the qi. Feel love toward the person as you are opening to the universal energy and sending it to the person. You can use the palms of the hands, sword fingers, or sweeping movements. Many other techniques were shown. At the end balance the energy. Again, please don’t do this. These are just my notes.
Day 33 Thursday November 15
Morning Meditation: Master Li gave us three minutes to enter the Sheng Zhen state. After meditation we did the full form Return to Spring.
Morning Session: True Love is unconditional love. True happiness is no worries. True freedom is discipline. The gifts of Return to Spring are beauty, goodness and vitality. Sheng Zhen is cultivation, purification and connection. Our cultivation shows in our actions. With purity at the start of anything, everything is easy. How far or how deeply you go into the practice is up to you, to your cultivation.
More about 6 Healing Sounds
xu pronounced sheu, not shoe – liver – tongue curled up
ke pronounced keuh – heart – tongue on lower palate
hu – who – spleen – tongue with sides curled up
si – voiced th – lung – tongue between teeth
chui – chwee – kidney – tongue curled down
xi – she – triple burner – tongue curled up
Day 34 Friday November 16
We woke up to at least 6 inches of snow this morning. The morning meditation was silent as the falling snow. After Union of Three Hearts we practiced two rounds of Heart Mind as One.
Morning Session: Master Li said we could use the mantra during the Union of Three Hearts if we liked. After the meditation, we practiced Sheng Zhen Healing Stages 1-3. In Stage 1 #6 the breathing is on the end of 4 and 5-1-2 count is the inbreath, and on 3-4 is outbreath, and for # 7 the fluttering fingers are connected to the heart and stimulate it. In Stage 2 the laughing movement does not have the belly laugh where the body shakes. It is not to be taught like that. In Stage 3 #3 much more than the tips of the fingers are used. The whole palm and fingers rub through the hair to stimulate the nervous system.
Afternoon session: Meditation again using the mantra. Spend a short time on entering the Sheng Zhen state and parts 1 and 2 of the meditation, and spend most time on the last step.
Day 35 Saturday November 17
Morning Meditation: Master Li led us with his words. First, check your position. Feel very stable. Your shoulders sink. Your head is erect and your crown is up. Loosen your joints. Then, into the Sheng Zhen state. Forget everything except that you are a big body of Love. Expand and dissolve into the universe. You know you are very relaxed when you forget your breath. After we did the first four movements of. Return to Spring.
Morning Session: We repeated the words Sheng Zhen aloud together almost singing them with resonance. Then we repeated the words silently for awhile. Next we repeated I am a big body of Love aloud three times and then silently many times. When we were in the Sheng Zhen state Master Li led through his world a vision of the changing world. We were guided to repeat silently many times I love the earth, or the world or society, or all life on earth. When Master Li was midway through, I heard tears in his voice as he was saying how the earth would become uninhabitable if things go the wrong way. This meditation was recorded so maybe it will be available some way. We need to start changing the world by changing ourselves.
We practiced Sheng Zhen Healing 1-3 in the large group and then in smaller groups. We were being trained instead of being taught. The difference is that we move without interruption during training so the qi and Love move and we can focus on the essence. This is also why it is not a time for asking questions and interrupting. Do that during teaching time. What is the most important in all movements is the essence.
In Stage 1, movement 5 as one balances the qi the physical sensation becomes lighter and lighter. One’s spirit becomes lighter. Heaviness creates an atmosphere that may encourage the growth of tumors. In the small groups we practices the first and fourth part of the last movement in Stage 3 learning to let the arms hang by the sides and have the relaxed body turning move the arms.
Afternoon session: Meditation was much like earlier with most of the time in the third stage of the Union of Three Hearts. He told us that when beginners are led in meditation concentrate on giving oneself a break from stress in life and how it can help the nervous system, etc. But with advanced meditators one can enter a very high spiritual state and receive inspiration for life. We practiced Awakening the Soul.
Master Li said when he had us repeat the words Sheng Zhen in the earlier meditation today he had no plans to talk as he did during the meditation, but repeating the words inspired him. He then spoke about the power of saying the words. When you are always thinking of these words and their meaning, the power of Love is always with you.
Day 36 Sunday November 18
Today is my last blog. Morning meditation was similar to the last few in which we spent more time in the niwan. We relaxed part by part at the beginning. Full/not full, soft/not soft. We did Sheng Zhen Healing 1-3 afterwards.
Morning Session: To nourish your life, you first have to nourish your heart. To nourish your heart, you have to quiet your heart.
If you are teaching meditation, for beginners train them to be quiet. Quietening the heart and mind. Always guide people with love and happiness. Follow science. If a person has an illness or has had surgery, follow the doctor’s advice. People with mental problems should be seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist instead of meditation. Help people be comfortable and confident. Guide into a life with no worries, no problems. Cultivate balance in life.