Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Unleash Your True Self: Through Energy, Breathe, Movement, Meditation, Voice

I have designed a new intensive workshop, to be held in Ashland, OR Sept. 29-Oct. 1 (Three full days including two evenings).  I will be teaching my own practice, what have been working best for me over the years, with qigong movements, meditations of different paths, breathe and voice work.  A combination of these practices have been most effective in getting more and more in touch with my own body, and through my body to my true self, my soul's journey in this realm, and my unique expression into this world.

So I welcome you to join me in these three intensive days, to deepen our practice into ourselves and expand our true selves into this world.  

Unleash Your True Self
Through Energy, Breathe, Movement, Meditation, Voice
An Energy Qigong Intensive With Claire GuYu Johnson
Sept. 29-Oct. 1 (Three full days including two evenings), Ashland, OR
For workshop registration: Taylor at or 541-512-2569Lodging and limited camping options nearby are available. $395, $325 returning students of ZY Qigong.
  • Emotional turmoils are our soul’s on-going record for a chance to grow and to expand.
  • Not facing it or trying to control it through the mind creates suffering, and inner conflict.
  • Life has given us the perfect tool to heal ourselves and our relationships: our physical body.
  • The mind may be in the past or future, may tell a story; The body is in the now, in its truth.
  • So let’s dance, sing, move, stand and sit with our body. 
  • Wake up the blind spots, release old holding patterns, feel life force rushing in the vacuum to strengthen and expand our body, our energy and our soul.
  • Feel our beings unfold, become real, and expand.  
  • Let our being ground in our truth, and solidly and firmly move closer to the universal truth.

Claire's gift as a teacher is her strong scanning ability of others, so she can feel and see where one's blind spots may be, where one's most life force is entangled and being wasted or exhausted.  She can sense in which direction a group need to move into, and lead meditative movements to untangle, untie the underlying energy and emotional knots.
Once we see it, feel it, we shed light into the dark.  And it can be healed.
When energy, breath and sense of flow is coherent in our body, it manifests in our lives as coherency of flow, ease of flow.  The practice letting our energy and breath be fully engaged in our body, and can support our physical being and our expression into the world. 
Master teacher Claire GuYu Johnson has personally come through depression and anxiety brought up by severe family and societal traumas.  She has developed this healing process and teaching path, and has been helping others to do so for 17 years.  She has incorporated Taoist, Buddhist and Zen meditations, psychology, energy and spiritual practices around the world in her own practice, and is currently teaching and healing throughout the US, Europe and China.

Psychology & Meditation, An Article & some of my thoughts

This is a very good article as it speaks for me, in the way that I first came to psychology when I was 19.  Seven years later feeling it’s limitations, I came into meditation.  After practicing meditation extensively for nine years, my need from daily life again brought me deeper into psychology, but not in the traditional sense.  
Whereas psychology is now for me no longer based in the mind, but rather firmed planted in the physical body, in our bones and organs.  And the connective tissue in psychology that is emotions, now to me, is energy carrying information, which can be tangibly felt and seen, by the hands, by the second heart and by the third eye.  Therefore emotions can be tangibly processed as our best guardrail for spiritual growth, for the individual, for an immediate family, for the family lineage, and for our community at large.

So here are some of my rather unstructured thoughts after reading this article, to share with you all.  Please read the article first, then my comments may make more sense to you.  In the intensive workshop Sept.29-Oct. 1 in Ashland, OR, we will go into detailed practice on how to gain these abilities to heal ourselves and others.
Even the Best Meditators Have Old Wounds to Heal
by Jack Kornfield
For most people meditation practice doesn’t "do it all." At best, it’s one important piece of a complex path of opening and awakening.
In spiritual life I see great importance in bringing attention to our shadow side, those aspects of ourselves and our practice where we have remained unconscious. As a teacher of the Buddhist mindfulness practice known as vipassana, I naturally have a firm belief in the value of meditation. Intensive retreats can help us dissolve our illusion of separateness and can bring about compelling insights and certain kinds of deep healing.
Yet intensive mediation practice has its limitations. In talking about these limitations, I want to speak not theoretically, but directly from my own experience, and from my heart.
Some people have come to meditation after working with traditional psychotherapy. Although they found therapy to be of value, its limitations led them to seek a spiritual practice. For me it was the opposite. While I benefited enormously from the training offered in the Thai and Burmese monasteries where I practised, I noticed two striking things. First, there were major areas of difficulty in my life, such as loneliness, intimate relationships, work, childhood wounds, and patterns of fear, that even very deep meditation didn’t touch. Second, among the several dozen Western monks (and lots of Asian meditators) I met during my time in Asia, with a few notable exceptions, most were not helped by meditation in big areas of their lives. Many were deeply wounded, neurotic, frightened, grieving, and often used spiritual practice to hide and avoid problematic parts of themselves.
When I returned to the West to study clinical psychology and then began to teach meditation, I observed a similar phenomenon. At least half the students who came to three-month retreats couldn’t do the simple "bare attention" practices because they were holding a great deal of unresolved grief, fear, woundedness, and unfinished business from the past. I also had an opportunity to observe the most successful group of meditators - including experienced students of Zen and Tibetan Buddhism - who had developed strong samadhi and deep insight into impermanence and selflessness. Even after many intensive retreats, most of the meditators continued to experience great difficulties and significant areas of attachment and unconsciousness in their lives, including fear, difficulty with work, relationships wounds, and closed hearts. They kept asking how to live the Dharma and kept returning to meditation retreats looking for help and healing. But the sitting practice itself, with its emphasis on concentration and detachment, often provided a way to hide, a way to actually separate the mind from difficult areas of heart and body.
These problems exist for most vipassana teachers as well. Many of us have led very unintegrated lives, and even after deep practice and initial "enlightenment experiences," our sitting practice has left major areas of our beings unconscious, fearful, or disconnected. Many American vipassana teachers are now, or have recently been, in psychotherapy in order to deal with these issues.
It should also be noted that a majority of the 20 or more largest centers of Zen, Tibetan, Hindu, and vipassana practice in America have witnessed major upheavals, centering on the teachers themselves (both Asian and Western), related to issues of power, sex, honesty, and intoxication. Something is asking to be noticed here. If we want to find true liberation and compassion what can we learn?
Some Helpful Conclusions for Our Practice
1. For most people, meditation practice doesn’t "do it all". At best, it’s one important piece of a complex path of opening and awakeningI used to believe that meditation led to the higher, more universal truths, and that psychology, personality, and our own "little dramas" were a separate, lower realm. I wish it worked that way, but experience and the nondual nature of reality don’t bear it out. If we are to end suffering and final freedom, we can’t keep these two levels of our lives separate.
2. The various compartments of our minds and bodies are only semi-permeable to awareness. Awareness of certain aspects does not automatically carry over to the other aspect, especially when our fear and woundedness are deep. This is true for all of us, teachers as well as students. Thus, we frequently find meditators who are deeply aware of breath or body but are almost totally unaware of feelings and others who understand the mind but have no wise relation to the body.
Mindfulness works only when we are willing to direct attention to every area of our suffering. This doesn’t mean getting caught in our personal histories, as many people fear, but learning how to address them so that we can actually free ourselves from the big and painful "blocks" of our past. Such healing work is often best done in a therapeutic relationship with another person.
3. Meditation and spiritual practice can easily be used to suppress and avoid feeling or to escape from difficult areas of our lives. Our sorrows are hard to touch. Many people resist the personal and psychological roots of their suffering; there is so much pain in truly experiencing our bodies, our personal histories, our limitationsIt can even be harder than facing the universal suffering that surfaces in sitting. We fear the personal and its sorrow because we have not learned how it can serve as our practice and open our hearts.
We need to look at our whole life and ask ourselves. "Where am I awake, and what am I avoiding ? Do I use my practice to hide ? In what areas am I conscious, and where am I fearful, caught, or unfree?"
4. There are many areas of growth (grief and other unfinished business, communication and maturing of relationships, sexuality and intimacy, career and work issues, certain fears and phobias, early wounds, and more) where good Western therapy is on the whole much quicker and more successful than meditation. These crucial aspects of our being can’t just be written off as "personality stuff." Freud said he wanted to help people to love and work. If we can’t love well and give meaningful work to the Earth, then what is our spiritual practice for ? Meditation can help in these areas. But if, after sitting for a while, you discover that you still have work to do, find a good therapist or some other way to effectively address these issues.
Of course, there are many mediocre therapists and many limited kinds of therapy. Just as in meditation, you should look for the best. Beyond the traditional psychotherapies of the ‘40s and ‘50s, many new therapists have been developed with a strong spiritual basis such as psychosynthesis. Reichian breath work, sand play, and whole array of transpersonal psychologies. The best therapy, like the best meditation practice, uses awareness to heal the heart and is concerned not so much with our stories, as with fear and attachment and their release, and with bringing mindfulness to areas of delusion, grasping and unnecessary suffering. One can, at times, find the deepest realizations of selflessness and non-attachment through some of the methods of transpersonal psychology.
5. Does this mean we should trade meditation for psychotherapy? Not at all. Therapy isn’t the solution either. Consciousness is! And consciousness grows in spirals. If you seek freedom, the most important thing I can tell you is that spiritual practice always develops in cycles. There are inner times when silence is necessary, followed by outer times for living and integrating the silent realizations, as well as times to get help from a deep and therapeutic relationship with another person. These are equally important phases of practice. It is not a question of first developing a self and then letting go of it. Both go on all the time. Any period of practice may include samadhi and stillness, followed by new levels of experiencing wounds and family history, followed by great letting go, followed by more personal problems. It is possible to work with all of these levels in the context of a spiritual practice. What is required is the courage to face the totality of what arises. Only then can we find the deep healing we seek - for ourselves and for our planet.
In short, we have to expand our notion of practice to include all of life. Like the Zen ox-herding pictures, the spiritual journey takes us deep into the forest and leads us back to the market place again and again, until we are able to find compassion and the sure heart’s release in every realm.
Claire's thoughts:
We are who we are for a reason.  We must know who we truly are, before we can know another.  I must see myself wholly and fully, will I see others.
Seeing is not grasping, is not attaching.  But rather seeing is the first must step in releasing, in expansion.
When we can gain full compassion for our own pain, will we able to gain true compassion for others in pain.
Getting caught in our story is not seeing to the depth of our pain.  It’s staying on the thin surface and refusing to dive into the bottom of it.  It’s using the mind as an outside observer of the pain, and not opening our heart to actually feeling it.  It’s a way out, an avoidance, not dealing with the true issue. Perpetuating our story is putting the blame outside of ourselves, therefore we stay a victim and do not own our power to take our life in our own hands.  
Therefore stop telling our stories and come into deep feeling, own our journey of healing, and regain our power as a human being, and walk step by step toward greater freedom.
As a human being, I am a piece of God, and I am God.  Who is to say, I am not worth the attention to be see fully? And to be healed completely?  My personality is here for a reason, a holy one at that.  So look at it, accept it, and then we can release it to a greater capacity.
Any method serves the person.  What you want, will attract the right method to you.  The same method could do totally different things for two different people.  It could complete resolve something for one, while it can not touch the other.  It depends on the person seeking it.  We are our lives creator.  We are responsible.  It’s not so much about the method, but the person.  Though there are tons of thousand of methods out there, all for good reasons.  We pick up different tools at different times of our lives.  So no need to have attachment, or judgment of different tools.
Jerigtu and I have very exciting news to share with you: our healing center in Inner Mongolia is on its way!  

We have been building our residential teaching and healing center in Inner Mongolia for the past five months.  After much intensive effort, with thirty some workers working together at times, the ground work is finally done.  And the place is feeling more and more wonderful each day!  We will continue to finish building the infrastructures next spring.  And we will build a website to share our progress and vision with you soon!    
Practice of the Day: 
Choose to be in love, in this moment.

Let our heart fall wide open, crack open if we must,
And notice.
Notice what we are doing, and let our heart open to the moment, and love with abandon.
Notice what is surroundings us, and let our heart fall open, love with all of our might.
Notice the ones with us, love them entirely.
Notice, inside, who we are, and love, love, and love some more.

Let the tears fall, tears of joy. 
Tears of gratitude.
Tears of love.
In this moment, right here, fall in love with life, with myself.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

What is Illness, What is Wellness?

A short talk by Jerigtu at the OKC Unity Church

We’ll talk about illness.  What is an ill patient and what is illness? They are completely different concepts.  What is illness and what is wellness?  Also very different concept.  When someone has passed the physical exams, we don’t say this person is healthy.  Mongolians say when someone’s mind and consciousness is healthy also, one is truly healthy.

When one is in a happy circumstance, one does not feel joyous, or when one is in a sad situation, but does not feel much grief, one is ill.  If one sees another person slip and fall, and want to laugh, this person is ill.  This person is not bad.  His or her character is not bad.  He and she is ill.

The majority of clients come to me are females.  Does it mean women have more illness?  No.  It’s because they are more tuned into their senses, and their limbic brain is more connected to the frontal lobe, so they know when something is not right, that they need to ask for help.  Whereas men have as many illnesses, but their senses were more suppressed, so when they are ill, they may also suppress the sensations or the cry for help.  Women feel sadness much more readily and respond by crying, thus allowing the body to release the energy/emotion.  This is a sign of connection.  That’s why women have longer life span than men.  

Explosive crimes are caused by these beings who systemically suppress their emotions and senses, so the illness becomes more and more severe, until it causes social disturbances.  And this is also why more men are involved in crime because their emotions and senses have been suppressed more early on.  Illness is accumulative.  

For example, if we often think, “I don’t have enough money, and only if the money in the banks would come into my account…”  If we keep on thinking these thoughts, thoughts eventually accumulate into things, or actions, such as robbing a bank on a spur of moment, or even with planning.  This is illness accumulating.  If a man looks at a woman and think of sex, enough times this man will have kidney deficiency, kidneys functioning will slowly go down.  Each time a thought activate the kidneys and drain them little by little.  A Mongolian saying goes, “Thoughts of sex shortens life.”  This person is not bad.  This person is ill and needs help.

When more females are in power, it signals that our society in large is getting more and more connected with our senses and emotions, and empathy.  And it signals there will be peace prevailing in the world.  An open heart is at the center of peace. 

15% of the population may be well.  15% may have illnesses that can be seen in examinations.  The rest 70% are ill but cannot be seen in the exam results.  Earliest Mongolian healing do not separate into parts of body, but rather in three categories: qi or energy, soul or spirit, and imbalance.

Human beings relate to different realms or systems, within our body it is a system, humans relating to our environment is a system, relating to nature is a system, relating to society is a system, relating to the universe is yet another system.  Therefore when we are ill, we must find out in which system the illness is caused.  When we find the cause, we come into healing by activating the natural healing mechanism of each organ system.

For example when we suddenly enter into an air conditioned room from the heat, our pores stand up like goose bumps.  This is because our body feels the change, and the pores are closing so the sudden cold do not enter into the skin.  But if the skin does not respond in this way, it means we have lost our natural healing mechanism.  Even if we get rid of the cold through medicine, because we don’t have this natural protective mechanism, we will catch cold again and again.  True healing is to re-activate the natural healing mechanisms of organ systems and the body.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Capacity to Perform depends on Our Capacity to Relax

Taking a lunch break from the Yi Jin Jing workshop, I stared at the TV in the restaurant for a moment and felt my mind zoned out.  Sudden the realization entered that this is why so many of us watch TV or surf the web at times, while feeling like we are wasting our life doing so.  This is because the TV and web actually alleviated our busy mind, so that we could zone out for brief moments. 

Our body needs these zoned out moments to recuperate.  Kids zone out for no apparent reason all the time.  It’s a crucial but forgotten part of life. We used to chat amongst friends and family, and in between talk, we naturally zoned out.  The villagers in Inner Mongolia where Jerigtu is from still do that, and that’s one of many reasons why I enjoy being amongst them so much. 

Now that our days are packed full of activities, of actively doing, we are lacking these moments of zoning out. Our modern city lives place too much importance in doing, and not in undoing.  Our lives tend to be too yang and not supported by yin activities, such as resting, letting go, surrendering the mind and the body, zoning out, observing and meditating inwardly.

There is a saying that the muscle is only as strong as it is flexible, which means the muscle’s ability to engage depends on its ability to relax and lengthen.  To broaden this concept into our lives, this means our actions are only as powerful as our capability to relax and regenerate.

Through years of teaching and healing, I notice that almost all of us, myself included, don’t know how tight we are until the moment we are able to release.  So we are unaware of how much our own power is restricted, and how much our life is limited until we begin to explore into our capacity to relax.

So if you feel a little more relaxed from the busy day after watching TV or surfing the web, can you imagine the capacity of relaxation would happen while your whole being is intending on that one purpose only, to relax.  The main goal of Level One ZY Qigong is relaxation.  All the exercises and meditations help us release and surrender fuller into our capacity to relax.  When our physical body and mind relax enough, energy naturally begins to flow and accumulate. 

If you feel chronically lack of energy, lack of focus, clarity or the ability to persevere, you may consider joining us for the weekend June 10-13.  If you are working on healing a chronic illness, this practice would serve you well.  If you would like an overall shift in your productivity or creative energy, this practice could be the jump start for the change.

Creativity and Energy

I like to write and to create.  For me I know that when I feel exhausted, it’s impossible for me to be creative.  This is because life uses the same energy, same life force for all conditions.  Life shares this same source of energy for all the vital organs, as it does for our sexual energy, our well power, and it does for our creative energy as well.

So when feeling exhausted, first I must revitalize myself.  And the most effective way is through qigong practice.  When I meditate and tap into the energetic state, it is much more effective than sleep, or just resting.   Sometimes five to twenty minutes would do it, and then my energy feel full and my creative juice feels vibrant again.

I found at times when I am exhausted, but I don’t go right into practice.  The reason is that somehow I feel bad about being exhausted, and I cannot accept that is my current state.  So feeling bad about being exhausted makes me putter around doing nothing much, or numb out by surfing the web.  In another word, not dealing with what’s happening now. 

In order to address the issue at hand, I first must accept my current state, that it’s okay that I am feeling exhausted.  I am not bad because I feel exhausted or not well.  It’s normal that all of us feel exhausted or not so well at times, and not have the energy I think I “should” have to deal with tasks at hand.  And this accepting means literally opening my heart to me, to me right here right now.  When my heart feels my current condition and feels compassion for it, I release the bad feelings and the need to do, to accomplish, and I take care of myself by going into practice.

Then I feel the energy flowing and I return to the natural flow of life.  I can flow more easily and effortlessly in life.  Our external flow, the flow of life reflects our internal flow.  It’s a direct extension or manifestation of how we are flowing energetically within.  So pay attention to me, to my bodily sensations, right here right now.

I invite you to two upcoming qigong workshops.  The Yi Jin Jing practice is one of the most effective movement practice I have found to date.  It activates flow in all areas of our body, brings flow into our blind spots.  The practice builds strength that not only empowers our body but our lives.

Through my own practice, the way I lead the ZY Qigong workshop changes.  This year seem to be an ending of a cycle in my self-development, and this will manifest directly into how I teach this workshop.  I hope to share this joy and grounding with all of you.