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(3 pages total)

Page 2 - Meditation: Fanning the Fire


What is it that is missing within preachers, patients, body-workers, and martial artists which keeps them from moving to a deeper, more healing level? Why is there little or no fire?

My reverie then took me a level deeper. It has long been my observation that many people who come to me for professional services, in this case bodywork (a generic term for specialized forms of massage therapy), are often very out-of-touch with their level of Qi (Chi, Ki) or life force, and even more so about how it is flowing or blocked within them. This is surprisingly true very often in the case of people well-trained, including instructors, in one or another form of the martial arts. Even those with black belts or similar distinctions often have little training in or appreciation of Qi and its relationship to meditation, in my observation. While working with their painful or constricted physical areas, I try to teach patients something about the life force and the need to cultivate it and allow it to move throughout the body and beyond through the process of meditation, and personally work at actually removing blocks in the meridians, cultivating Qi, and circulating it during the bodywork itself. One can call the process " Qigong bodywork." There are times when an individual will come for bodywork complaining that his or her last bodywork therapist or two didn't "do it" for this client. The description given is typically that the bodyworker was "mechanical" or "anatomical" in their treatments. Once again, there seems to be no fire in the process.

What is it that is missing within preachers, patients, bodyworkers, and martial artists which keeps them from moving to a deeper, more healing level? Why is there little or no fire? What is missing in our practice at times? These thoughts tumbled through my mind and eventually moved from right brain musings to left brain words--a sometimes painful process--in the from of this article. After twenty-five years of clinical practice, my sense is that the Eastern spiritual and healing practices, which gained greater acceptance in the United States in the late 60s and 70s and beyond, have been taught largely as calisthenics or physical exercises. Yoga and Taiji seem to be especially vulnerable to this superficial kind of training. Qigong is to some extent less vulnerable to this since the very nature of Qigong emphasizes the cultivation of Qi and therefore militates against the superficial imparting of this form of self-healing and healing for others. The question arises, how can one impart or fan the fire of Qi?

After more than thirty-five years of meditation practice and a little less so of healing practice, I am convinced of the intimate relationship between meditation and healing. "The bridge" between meditation and healing appears to be Qi. It is clear to me that I am significantly more intuitive in terms of diagnosis and treatment, as well as in terms of personal interaction, when I am faithful to meditation. Contemporary society is blessed with an abundance of books, audio and video tapes and the like on the topic of meditation. It is, therefore, easy enough to find material on ways to meditate. My caveat is simple. Our tendency (especially Westerners) is to stay in our heads. Rather than quietly spend a little time on a regular basis meditating, we much prefer to read a book about it. Also, one can easily remain in his or her faith tradition, and even deepen it, through the practice of meditation. Meditation is not about conversion to another faith tradition.



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