This article on the benefits on Qigong was written by our web developer, Tim Aten, and originally appeared on his website, Hogpath.com. We thought it would be of interest to ASK’s readers.
I was bugging out.
Pretty typical in this world, in this era with credit and media and marriage and kids. The usual things and how to deal.
What is it to be a male in America? Male, in the biological sense. The instincts, the urges, the duties, the impulses, the confusion, the norms we’ve been raised with and taught to do.
I was lost.
Anxious drinking coffee pot after pot, not caring if the coffee grounds found their way into the mug. Grace had been lost, perhaps not on the exterior and in countenance, but my insides were sloppy and dirty with wine and isolation. I wasn’t cool to live with. At least I had sense to search. I look at the Acupuncturist I was going to, Cheryl Turner, as the one who helped me to keep coming back to that sense, to know and feel the sense.
Did you ever hear the hip hop song “You’re buggin out”?
Zulu Nation, brothers that’s creation
Minds get flooded, ejaculation
right on the two inch tape
The Abstract poet incognito, runsss the cape
Not the best not the worst and occasionally I curse to get my
point across, so bust, the floss
As I go in betweeen, the grit and the dirt
I knew the bugging out was spiritual and psychological at its root and a bit fearful it was manifesting physically. I looked at those around me and saw stressed eyes and cancers (real and metaphorical), so prevalent today, as the massive sum of everyone’s anxious thoughts. There’s comfort in knowing it’s prevalent, a sort of symptom of The Post Modern Man but we were born to be greater. It’s easy to think we can evolve as individuals but maybe we can evolve as a species.
By chance there were old books on my shelf archived from many years before, dusty. When I placed them there maybe I intuitively knew I’d need them someday. That day was dawning. I had nowhere else to go. Eros, Consciousness, and Kundalini by Stuart Sovatsky. On some levels this book was WAY over my head. It reminded me of reading Kierkegaard. I knew what I was reading was profound, but was reading it quite slowly and the words and themes were just beyond my reach. What I took away was the elegance and grace of submission, to use the Kundera title, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. All those anxieties,urges, made-up duties, and thoughts were merely effects of something greater and constantly graceful experienced in breath, in meditation, in yoga, with a lover, or in prayer. I realized my problem was clinging and lack of submission. Sovatsky gave me a base into this what some describe as the Kundalini experience.
Kundalini is described as a sleeping, dormant potential force in the human organism.Â It is one of the components of an esoteric description of man’s ‘subtle body’, which consists ofÂ nadisÂ (energy channels),Â chakrasÂ (psychic centres),Â pranaÂ (subtle energy), andÂ binduÂ (drops of essence).
Kundalini is described as being coiled up at the base of the spine, usually withinÂ muladharaÂ chakra. The image given is that of a serpent coiled 3 and a half times around a smokey grey lingam. Each coil is said to represent one of the 3Â gunas, with the half coil signifying transcendence.
Through meditation, and various esoteric practices, such asÂ laya-yoga,Â and kriya yoga, the kundalini is awakened, and can rise up through the centralÂ nadi, calledÂ sushumna, that rises up inside or alongside the spine. The progress of kundalini through the differentÂ chakrasÂ leads to different levels of awakening and mystical experience, until the kundalini finally reaches the top of the head,Â SahasraraÂ chakra, producing an extremely profound mystical experience.
I began to think independently my energy, at that time believed to be a simple sexual energy, was stuck in my lower chakras and needed to travel up my spine and out the third eye. Sounds simple enough. I began to research and meditate on it. In retrospect my attitude was not much different than an adolescent looking for a new chemical high to trip out on along with some ego involved. “Hey look what happened to me, I’m the sage who reached these sensations.”
Another person I read up on was Gopti Krishna. (Just name dropping to put in a link) I also recalled another book on my shelf, one I had read 10 years earlier, suggested byÂ my father called Path Notes of an American Ninja Master by Glenn Morris. When I read it in college I remember thinking the guy was hardcore and onto something. I recalled how he was a meditative warrior, strong in his beliefs and understanding of what I can only call the “other reality” right here in front of our noses. Basically he was someone who stood up and was a “man” in the spiritual warrior type of way.
So I googled Glenn Morris and quickly found out he passed away in 2006 and his students, most notably Santiago Dobles and Tao Semko, in the spirit of true disciples were carrying on the work of Glenn Morris with their Kundalini Awakening Process (KAP) website. I began to look online at their websites and see and sense a seriousness, authenticity, and what I can only describe as that simple Buddha grin……these guys were happy. I contemplated taking one of their weekend KAP courses but my mind was still not ready to fork over the money and lock myself up in my room for a weekend while I talked to them via internet.
I’ve come to realize a lot of good, gracious, and well-intentioned people are on the internet who are trying to make a go of making a living by sharing their experience and knowledge and who are obviously worthy of our currency. However, there are quacks and frauds, probably more than the jedi, but as the Desiderata states -
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Santiago and Tao are the men The Post Modern era needs. They get technology and the internet and understand how to use it as a valuable tool to share and open people up. However, they were in Florida and here I was in Michigan. On one of their pages they had links to others they knew or have worked with throughout the country. It is amazing how posting one link was the link I needed in this crisis. There was a link to Sifu Dan Ferrera’s Qigong class in Livonia, not too far from where I lived.
His website wasn’t focused on Kundalini like Santiago and Tao’s websites but I was intrigued in their link to him. I had heard of Qigong, I think I had a book on it not far on the shelf from Sovatsky’s, and associated it with Tai Chi and in stereotypical fashion thought “isn’t that what all those Falun Gong people do?”. After reading up onÂ Qigong and Dan’s websites I sensed he had a similar caring attitude as the KAP guys. (By the way- Qigong seems to be the root of all energy work especially tai chi and yoga. They complement one another. I’m also Buddhist and chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and now when I chant I run “the Microcosmic Orbit”. I know of Christians and Muslims that also practice Qigong. Falun Gong is its own animal and has absolutely nothing to do with Qigong and this experience. Cross that one off.)
I went to a class. I had no idea what to expect.
It was at a pretty typical Karate Dojo on the West Side of Detroit in a side auxiliary rooms. The students were not young male martial artist types nor were they the new-agey hippie types I expected but most were normal people, middle-aged, and even senior citizens who seemed focused on being healthy. I sensed by focusing on their health they intuitively knew they’d become happy. Dan gave me a real quick rundown of how the breathing goes throughout the class and pretty much said just hop on for the ride, dive right in, you’ll figure it out. (I began writing the phrase, “you’ll figure it out and catch up” but truthfully there is nothing to “catch up” to. It’s already all right here.) Dan’s class and instruction at times feels like the center of the universe and cosmos, literally. At this point I don’t feel comfortable on an academic level to explain Sifu Dan’s class. He does have a class available on DVD and the links in this post should give a good resource for further research. What I can explain is what I’ve felt and what I’ve seen.
There is a reason Qigong has been around for 1,000s of years. Part of it has been lost in our era and modern times but as more people wake up and see they’re bugging out, as more people become sick and unhealthy, as the stress of our era with its high-tech wars, economic collapse, and political malaise. We will begin to reexamine what it means to be healthy and even the healthcare system. By examining healthcare I don’t necessarily mean in the political, social aspect but at its root. Western Medicine has proven and beneficial aspects that helps people live healthier and longer lives, yet when one looks at Chi as the basic Force in Qigong (yes like Star Wars)Â one sees the body filled, guided, channeling, emitting, and absorbing this Force. It controls the whole show and is the basis of health and happiness.
In Sifu Dan’s class I have emitted crackling bolts of light, absorbed the heavens, the planets and stars, and brought up the core and mantle of the earth through my feet. You hear stories of how people in Biblical and Ancient times could fly and, if they did, this how it was done. There have literally been times when I felt I was going to fly off the mat. There have also been experiences where 30 minutes of class literally felt like two years of psychological therapy. Realization and understanding is so hard to express, at once so abstract, but once felt individually is so concrete and potentially life changing. Each time I practice Qigong I realize and understand something to some degree.
So back to bugging out and the initial search for the Kundalini experience.
Have I had a Kundalini experience? Maybe. Does it matter? Not really.
Every now and then my head tingles and there are times when there is an electrical charge traveling from my perineum up to my brain. Overall I would say I’m calmer and at peace but what I found is truly profound and realize this is me, some may be like me, others slightly and others completely the opposite. We all have our unique tendencies and strengths and weakness. Qigong will help you find those and adapt and adjust if need be. I was bugging out — my head was in the heavens, thinking about it, grasping for it and my quest for kundalini in some ways accentuated and even aggravated it. It made me bug out even more at times. I was constantly aiming this flow of energy up my spine and thru the heavens. What Sifu Dan and Qigong have pointed out is “chill out. Ground yourself. Get connected to the earth. Things will happen when they need to and when you’re ready.” This has best been felt when practicing the Shaolin Nei Jing Yi Zhi Chan Stance. When I do this I am grounded. Home. At peace.
Sifu Dan Ferrera and one of his students, Kyle Batiste, have a website, Develop Your Energy, where they provide valuable content on Chi and Qigong as well as have numerous courses for download. Full disclosure – I am fortunate enough to assist these teachers in the website.
Â© 2011 Copyright Â Allison Stuart Kaplan Â www.Askinyourface.com LLC