Michael Winn

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  1. What's the link between Un-conditional Love and Qi? I LOVED writing this essay, from my forthcoming book Primordial Tai Chi: Way of Enlightened Love. Dear Lovers of Awakening Self-Love with Sacred Movement, One of my life goals is to get Westerners to more deeply experience the amazing range of Qi flow that Taoist qigong and meditation cultivates. This is an infinite process of Self-discovery and Self-Realization. But writing ABOUT Qi (chi) is not the same as experiencing it. So why bother spending four years writing a book about a qigong form - why not JUST DO IT? Well, I've been DO-ing that. But I've found that mental and emotional expectations act as strong filters for many Westerners who contemplate or actually try out qigong. So they often don't get the depth of experience that is possible, had those filters been removed, had their vision been opened wider. I decided one worthwhile thing I could do is to help Westerners make the link between Qiand their notions of Un-conditional Love. For the Taoists, Qi is the carrier wave for all spiritual qualities, including all kinds of love. Because the Taoist map is cosmologically so deep, Qi embraces or expresses many different levels of love. That is what this excerpt from my introduction is about. My introduction is titled: Awaken Self-Love with Sacred Movement. I hope you enjoy it. Of course, DO-ing it is better than reading about it. Hope to see you in Asheville for the certification training OR meet you in the ethers at one of my home-study courses! EXCERPT: ==================================================== Self-Love Needed to Complete Human Destiny The vibration of Cosmic Self-Love is embedded into our human soul spark. At the moment we enter the sperm-egg union of our parents’ love-making, this spark, carried by Yuan Qi (Original Breath), is what ignites the cellular multiplication we call conception. It means the feeling of Self-love is now downloaded by the soul spark into a physical cell, which eventually becomes a body and personality. As our cells proliferate, the spark is reborn in the nucleus of each cell and into our DNA. This is why Taoist micro-macro cosmic theory says we humans are driven by the same cosmic forces that drive Creation. The Qi pulsing in the nucleus of each of our 80 trillion cells is linked to the Qi pulsing inside the nucleus of the trillioins of stars above. If we do not realize Human Self-love during our lifetime, we have failed to achieve our highest destiny or full creative potential. If we don’t fully participate in the core self-loving process of Creation or Nature, at death we will suffer from a feeling of incompletion. We may even have a feeling of shame from having failed to honor the impulse of Cosmic Self-Love within our human lifetime. In the Taoist view, this is a failure to achieve becoming a True Human (zhengren). Thus many people die as only “partially realized” humans – like flower buds that failed to open their wonderful fragrance. It’s human destiny to explore creative Ways to love ourselves and by extension, the Cosmos-Inside-Ourself. Doing Wu Ji Gong for nearly two decades has helped me deepen the process of loving my Self. It has opened my heart in ways previously unimaginable. I feel it has matured the True Human within me. I could die peacefully right now. But I love my Self- process so much that before dying I want to complete my new mission to share this alchemically transformational technology. I want the rest of humanity – with all seven billion souls - to learn what was originally called Wu Ji Gong ("skill at entering the Supreme Mystery"). I’m accepting my potential to live to the age of 150 years, to allow plenty of time to spread this sacred dance. I feel it will be key to the spread of a heart-centered global spiritual science that unites religion and material science. This Rumi poem touches in words the same deep truth that Wu Ji Gong, a.k.a. Primordial Tai Chi, captures in sacred movement: If you want money more than anything, You’ll be bought and sold. If you have greed for food, You’ll be a loaf of bread. This is a subtle truth: Whatever you love, you are. -Rumi I see Primordial Tai Chi for Enlightened Love as a sacred ritual dance or ceremony. If we “love it”, we'll do it passionately to celebrate our love for the Cosmic creative process arising within our own body. Then we graduallly remember and reclaim the primordial ocean of divine love as our Self. If we drink just one drop of Self-love every day, slowly the glass of our ordinary body-mind fills up with this deep pure primordial love. Eventually it overflows from our soul and saturates our everyday body-mind as a tangible feeling of Self-love. Self-love is the primary benefit. The secondary benefits will be radiant good health and feelings that spontaneously spread out to family, friends, and the world as other kinds of love. Tao ‘Cosmology of Love’ Diagram In my diagram below, I juxtapose and integrate Taoist and Western philosophy and psychology. I posit a love trinity of Conditional Love, Un-conditional Love, and Pure Love. Pure Love has two phases, Yang Creative and Yin Stillness at Source. This love trinity roughly corresponds to the Taoist trinity of Yin, Yang, and Yuan Qi that govern all levels of Creation. This also parallels the root trinity known as the Three Treasures: Human Qi, Earth Qi, and Heaven Qi. I explore these parallels more deeply in chapter 2, “What is Taoist Cosmological Qigong?”. What’s important here is that every human holds all three types of Love Qi within their body, as we are a microcosm of the universe. My diagram has four rings and a 5th center which is the Wu Ji, the Unknowable Source. What we can know are the four different dimensions of Self-process that arise from Wu Ji, which collectively embrace the process I call Self-Love. The Four Rings of Self-Loving Qi Like my diagram, Wu Ji Gong creates four rings in its ritual movement, each ring defined by a paired cycle of Earth and a cycle of Heaven movements that are performed around a 5th axis. The axis is the Primordial Tai Chi adept standing in the center of the four rings/8 cycles. Wu Ji Gong’s ritual movements in four rings match the four rings of the diagram I have created for integrating the Taoist notion of Qi with Western notions of Love. But let me be clear – this diagram is not an abstract mental exercise. It reflects my own life relationships and self-exploration using Wu Ji Gong and inner alchemy meditation over many decades and in many relationships. Let’s summarize these 4 rings of Love Qi, organized into four quadrants, whose lines of evolution form a cross within the 4 rings. Each quadrant defines a progression of Self-awareness and Self-love. To better organize all this information, I assign a direction to each quadrant, putting South at the top as per the original compass which the Chinese invented. Chinese pinyin terms are in parentheses. South. Four Kinds of Love: Conditional Love –> Un-Conditional Love –> Pure Love (yang creative) –> Pure Love (yin stillness). North. Four Phases of Self: personality/ego (xin, heart-mind) –> soul (ling) –> oversoul (da shen, great spirit) –> original self (tai yi, great oneness). East. Four Levels of Body: physical body (jing) –> energy body (qi) –> spirit body (shen) –> original body (dan), West. Four Kinds of Love Qi: post-natal Qi –> pre-natal Qi –> true Qi –> original breath (yuan Qi). Center. Wu Ji: Un-knowable Mystery When we view the diagram by rings, we can apply the Taoist naturalistic view to it as well: 4th Ring: (outer): Lunar realm, personality-body reflects light. 3rd Ring: Solar realm, soul radiates light. 2nd Ring: Stellar realm, 12 oversouls of zodiac. eternal light of collective cycles. 1st Ring: Unity realm, central sun, clear light of original cosmic being. Center: Wu Ji, unknowable realm, origin of all universes. This diagram refers only to our unique Cosmos. It’s likely other universes may exist that operate on different principles. Ceramic Torus-shaped bagua, found in Chinese flea market. The shape of the Taoist Love Cosmology diagram and the shape of the eight cycles of Wu Ji Gong both create a Torus. Many scientists consider our Universe likely to be donut-shaped, as this allows energy to flow in and out in perfect equilibrium, while the center holds stillness. The progression within each direction through the four rings is from one’s outer body-space towards one’s core inner soul back to source-space. The four rings of the Taoist Love Qi diagram thus mirrors the structure of the Wu Ji Gong form exactly. I believe this progression from outer ring to inner ring reflects the path of evolution for most humans. Wu Ji Gong’s movements are designed to form a spherical Torus shape. This shape creates an awareness within us of concentric levels of our ability to merge with different levels of consciousness without losing our center. No matter which ring of love or space we are focused on, the adept never leaves the center of the ritual space. Ultimately, it is the adept at the center of the form that integrates all four rings of Love. In Book 2, titled Primoridal Tai Chi: The Way of Inner Alchemy, an entire chapter is devoted to the importance of the Torus in grasping the essence of the form. Its title reveals much: Torus: Shape of Infinite Creativity & Love? Finding our Authentic Self in the Hole of a Spinning Donut. Four Rings of Sexual Attraction The Tao Cosmology of Love diagram mostly focuses on the different qualities of Love as Qi and Shen. It does link Conditional Love of the personality to Jing, the essence of our substance or body. But it’s important to understand that every dimension has its own subtle sense of body or jing. Taoist yin-yang theory is essentially a sexual theory, and it operates in all dimensions at increasing more subtle polar attractions. This may be why the Tao Te Ching by Lao tzu is filled with birthing metaphors and references to the Mother-of-all-things. I discuss this in detail in a Book 2 chapter titled Love and Sex in the Primordial Realm, but I feel it would be useful to mention the core idea here – that there is a form of sexual attraction and coupling present in all dimensions of this Cosmos. Taoist Internal Alchemy is the science and art of coupling these polar forces in order to shape one’s highest intent or destiny. These subtle levels of sexual attraction can be mapped onto the 4 Rings as follows: 4th Ring (outer): Conditional Love -- sexual attraction between bodies. 3rd Ring: Unconditional Love -- sexual attraction between souls. 2nd Ring: Pure Love (Yang phase) -- sexual attaction between Creator matter-Goddesses and spirit-Gods (a.k.a Oversouls), who couple parallel soul timelines (perceived by humans as past-future). 1st Ring: Pure Love (Central Sun- Stillness) -- sexual attraction between dimensions. This is what One Cloud’s inner alchemy formula The Congress of Heaven & Earth is about – the sexual coupling of the Three Pure Ones. Early (Formless) Heaven copulates with Later (Form) Heaven in order to return to and renew Primordial Heaven. Center: we cannot know if there is an innate supra-cosmic sexual impulse to birth universes, but it could be inferred from what emerges from the Wu Ji. This a sexually very fecund cosmos. Cultural Confusion Over Meaning of “Love” Most people are highly confused by love and constantly change partners because their bodily organ spirits are not in harmony and not aligned with the four rings of Self-Love mapped in my diagram. Their Love Qi is scattered in the many random directions their life has led them. This scattering of their Qi fatigues people, ages them, and slows down their spiritual evolution. Wu Ji Gong could help anyone to gather and focus their love for life, for themself and others – IF they choose to use this process. Let’s clarify common confusions about the word “love” in our culture. Love is held up as a “highest value” in many modern Western cultures, and is constantly exalted in popular song and film. This is epitomized by the Beatles pop song, “All you need is love, love, love.” But let’s look beyond the never-ending “lip service” paid to love. It’s easy to become programmed by unconsciously adopted cultural ideals and language. Overuse of the term “love” has degraded and clouded its practical meaning. Putting the word “unconditional” in front of “love” is mostly meaningless in our culture. We use the phrase “unconditional” for positive reasons, usually to inspire ourselves to be more loving toward others. But during three decades as an energy healer and spiritual teacher, I’ve observed that people rarely love their own body-mind unconditionally. Even when they consistently do their best to act lovingly towards others, or believe they are unconditionally loving “the world”, they fail to include their body. By some sleight-of-mind their own body is not actually included in the “world”. Loving one’s entire Self is just plain hard work, even when surrounded by people who love us and we love them. Why do we ignore our body, and often leave it out of the love equation? We all hold dark, mostly unconscious ancestral and collective karmic forces within our psyche. But we keep them hidden, out of sight, buried within our body. These patterns sit there like a dark cloud or miasm, confusing and weakening us and obscuring our innermost truth. They are like dark clouds blocking the sunshine of our inner heart, our soul love. Good, loving parents raise apparently decent kids who suddenly become mass murderers. It’s not enough to be loved by others or our parents. We have to learn to deeply love our own self and all that we carry buried within ourself. Or those unconscious patterns may come out in twisted and dark ways. Unconditional Love is Often Ungrounded Unfortunately, many use the idea of unconditional love as a way to judge themselves or others against some imaginary, unattainable standard of selfless behavior. We adopt these standards from our favorite saint, spiritual teacher, or some inspiring book. But unconditional love can become an empty concept or quality projected onto others, or an abstract ideal borrowed from others. In short, our un-conditional love is often DIS-embodied and UN-grounded. My conclusion: true Self-love is a special loving awareness that arises naturally and continuously within our own soul. When “we” (as the personality) love that soul force hidden within our body, it harmonizes the dark and light sides of our body-mind. We shift to a deeper, more neutral place from which to witness our personality and its light and dark side workings, expressed via our body. This neutrality or non-attachment to our patterns is very liberating. We may become aware of higher dimensions of love - from our Oversoul and from its Source. The body of the outer world and our human body become a helpful mirror for our process. They also reflect our progress – if successful Self-lovers, we feel healthy, abundant and peaceful. It’s easy to say, “I love my Self!”. One of my favorite Chinese proverbs is, “Talk does not cook the rice”. How do we most effectively achieve real Self-Love? Can a movement ritual really support achievement of Self-love, or merit my other name for it – the Way of Enlightened Love? That is the central question I hope to answer in this book. For me, the clear answer is Yes! The heart-opening moment after I first learned Wu Ji Gong revealed to me a quick snapshot of the true meaning of embodied Self-Love. Self-Love is experienced when the ordinary, struggling, everyday egoic self allows our own Soul or True Heart to fully presence its love. That soul love flows from an awakened heart into our struggling personality, into our brain and body’s pulsing physical heart. It gradually erases our resistance and suffering. It finally overflows out into our relationships, where it colors with happiness our perceptions of the world. My thesis is that there is an energetic structure ingeniously embedded within Wu Ji Gong’s movement ceremony. This allows us to better access the underlying forces of our psyche that seek love, but are still unconsciously blocked. The ceremony creates a safe space for those forces to quickly come into consciousness and be resolved. How Unconditional Love Sometime Fails Us St. Francis of Assissi shown loving the suffering body of jesus and loving the body of animals & birds. But could he unconditionally love his own body? A good example of how we unconsciously adopt culturally distorted models of unconditional love is St. Francis of Assisi. He died at age 42 from severely poor treatment of his body, which he contemptuously called “Brother Jackass”. He was a wonderful soul who unconditionally loved animals and other humans (who are also animals!). But in my definition, he did not unconditionally love himself. His shadow side came out in the way he treated his own body. Yet he is often held up as the model of unconditional love. But most ignore that it was a love applied to other souls, but not himself. In the West, people may hate themselves or their life due to their unconsciously absorbing Abrahamic religious ideas (Islam, Christian, Jewish) about humans being guilty of Original Sin or being separate from God. In the East, a similar negativity may arise as people absorb Buddhist & Hindu determinism that their suffering is due to bad karma from previous lives. Believers may get focused on resurrection, reincarnation, transcendence or emptying themselves to get rid of the stain of being human. In short, in most religious traditions you have to die to get to heaven; heaven doesn’t exist on earth. This bias often filters down into cynicism about all worldly life and promotes beliefs or values that tend to have an anti-body, anti-female or anti-environmental bias. These paternalistic cultural-religious patterns essentially value Spirit over Matter, sky gods over earth goddesses, deities over human beings, promote arrogant beliefs in dogmas of the Above controlling the Below, and greed or exploitative ideas over protecting the living environment. The widespread presence of these biases naturally makes it challenging for modern people raised with these cultural-religious ideas to truly feel Self-love in the physical world, in this NOW moment. The Way of Inner Alchemy that is embedded in Wu Ji Gong gives equal value to Spirit and Matter/Body. It has an equal number of earth and heaven cycles. It sees them cosmologically as arising from the same original essence, and equally essential to Creation evolving to its highest potential. True Self-love for the alchemist is free of guilt or perception of separation. This kind of Self-love lived in the Present Moment is the easiest and most direct solution I’ve found for healing the human condition. Self-love is a real and permanent path to dissolving the many layers of the illusion of separation. It is the ultimate test of whether you have integrated the often abstract notions of pure or unconditional love into your physical life. Self-love begins with loving your BODY. Self-Love is Not Self-ish Self-Love is not “selfish” in any negative egoic sense, but just the opposite. It is love of our deepest integrity, the personal self’s meeting point with the cosmic Self. It is the pure love we feel for our Self-as-Process of endless embodied growth. What creates incentive for egoic selfishness is the ordinary view of our finite Self-as-separate-body. A photo snapshot of this Self or its body at any one moment will not capture our true essence. That still photo is a Thing. Self-as-Process is a continuum, an endless movie. Self-love is our physical mirroring of the Life Force’s dynamic fluidity, revealed during this eternally looping Soul Movie that links our Primordial, Collective, and Personal Selves. Human Self-love reflects the flow of Cosmic Self-Love. Both seek to create a flow of balance and harmony here in the physical plane. Self-love is not an abstract idea. It’s how we express our deepest unconditioned being through a physical body-mind that is totally conditioned. We are basically born carrying deep sexual and karmic tensions, loaded with ancestral patterns. It takes a whole lifetime for these patterns to unfold so that they can be healed and re-integrated back into the totality of Self. Self-Love Awakens Multi-dimentional Memory of Source This book is titled Primordial Tai Chi: Way of Enlightened Love because I wanted to emphasize the unity of all leves of love, personal to universal. I discovered that along with the Inner Smile, daily practice of this unique Tai Chi-Qigong-Bagua movement ceroemony was an easy and powerful way to deepen our feeling of Pure Love from Source. It helps us feel that love on the entire spectrum of Personal-Self, Worldly-Self, and Cosmic-Self. Enlightened Love is simply another way to describe Self-love that embraces our multi-dimensional Self’s vast interconnected web of relationships, and reawakens our conscious emanation of Pure Love from Source. In the Here and Now. Most important, this ceremony’s sense of cosmic directionality allows us to locate our soul or Energy Body’s center of spiritual gravity in physical time/space. This is the best form I have found for both physical grounding (to earth below) and spiritual grounding (to core self within). Why is our physical position in time/space so important? This is the hidden truth behind all feng shui, the science of Directionology embedded within Wu Ji Gong. Our deepest memory of Pure Love arises as we emerge from Source. But our Original Feeling of that moment is lost as we get polarized and stepped down into a material human body. We have the imprint on our soul of this Original Feeling of Pure Love, but the body-mind forgets it, as its vibrational memory get scattered in all directions by the chaos of physical life. The Original Feeling is very subtle, and its challenging to hold on it or remember it in our body’s slow-vibrating, left-right polarized brain. Yet this positional imprint of Original Feeling of Pure Love from Source acts like a GPS system for our Soul on our Return Journey. Wu Ji Gong activates our memory of this Original Feeling as it causes our Qi to flow into the quadrants of the 7 sacred directions (front-back, left-right, above-below, and center) that form the simplest matrix of Time, Space, and Human Feeling. Wu Ji Gong is designed to energetically scan all directions, and then gathers that information into our core/center/portal within our body that leads back to Wu Ji / Source. This spiritual Tai Chi form re-awakens our Original Self-memory and thus satisfies our deepest longing for loving and being loved unconditionally by the Divine/Source/Tao/Wu Ji (or whatever language satisfies you). Doing the form activates our spiritual GPS. Wu Ji Gong is the process of remembering our true POSITION in the matrix of Time/Space/Feeling. That re-membering (which literally means “re-embodying”) is what gives our soul peace. Read more here
  2. Hope you enjoy this story of Tai Chi master and Marshmallow Immortal Emerald's leap down 13 steps..... Dear Lovers of Learning the FUNdamentals of Grounding Qi, The question of whether an 8 month old infant can master "Tai Chi" is not facetious. Tai chi is a cosmological term, not a martial term. It is the word "chuan" (as in "tai chi chuan" or "taijiquan") that describes a martial art. Chuan means 'fist". The whole point of Tai Chi as a cosmological term is to awaken the harmonious flow of True Yin and True Yang, as they first emanate from Source. Are babies more awakened to this Tai Chi (literally "Supreme Ultimate") flow than adults? That is really the question being asked. Here's what the ancient Tao master Lao Tzu had to say about infants in his classic "The Way and its Highest Integrity". Composite Translation by Michael Winn (after reading 15 others). Note: ancient Chinese did not use pronouns with fixed male or female gender. The spiritual One who cultivates virtue (de) has the radiant Qi of a newborn child. Hornets will not sting, nor snakes bite, wild animals and bird of prey will not attack an infant free of any resistance to life. Her bones are flexible and his muscles are supple yet her grip is firm. He is oblivious to the sexual union of woman and man, yet her Qi is aroused to fullness, his penis can stand erect in full potency. She screams and he cries his heart out all day - yet her voice does not grow hoarse, so complete is his natural harmony To perceive this harmony is common sense, applyng common sense is our natural destiny (ming). .....What is not the Natural Way (Tao) always comes to an untimely end. -- verse 55, Tao Te Ching My experience as a first-time parent is that infants are naturally awakened to this flow of life, and play with it constantly in their present moment. Yesterday morning I did a Tai Chi training exercise with Emerald known as "push-hands". We did a variation of it I call "push whole-body/mind". He was wiggling like an excited worm. I went into total yin, yielding to his every move, following his energy for nearly half an hour, until his impulse to wiggle was exhausted. Then he fell asleep in my arms. But that was just the start. We were in such deep resonance that my Energy Body easily merged into his. I received a deep transmission of his core Yuan Qi, or Original Breath, which I noted was far stronger than my own - a sign of a true Qi master. His purity and iinnocence arose fresh, due to his closeness to source. Yes, he lacked the wisdom that life offers on how to apply his Qi to aspects of the outer world. But in this moment, it was irrelevant. I was his contact with the outer world, he was doing his iyter spiritual work through me. The apparent struggles of the outer world were far away, and their essence all held within our embrace. His Original Breath (a kind of neutral Qi) flowed into my body and sought out areas of resistance, old stuck patterns of false yin (holding on) or false yang (over expressed) Qi. We both dissolved into a beautiful pool of loving bliss. I can still feel its effects the next day in those parts of my body that are still resonating with his "Push Hands Whole Body/Mind" transmission. One of the key elements of Tai Chi training is to learn to yield. You don't attack your opponent; you wait and receive his aggressive energy and then guide it elsewhere. Learning how to fall is also an application of yielding. If you are soft and relaxed, there is no resistance to the fall and bones are not broken. Your personal Qi meets the Qi of the earth and flows into it, which energetically allows for a flowing movement as you land. If you are tense, there is impact and injury. A few weeks ago, Emerald had not yet learned to crawl. He sat on the kitchen floor and played as I turned my back to wash some dishes. He was six feet away from a stairwell (that we tried to mount a gate on, but some parts were missing and couldn't). Suddenly, the worst nightmare a parent can have materialized. I heard a repeated THUMP THUMP THUMP that never seemed to end. I turned around to see Emerald had disappeared and knew from the sound that he was rolling down the long stairwell - all13 steps. Emerald could not crawl, but he knew how to flip and roll. Apparently, he had done about three side rolls with flips, sat up, turned, and then rolled down the stairs - a rather incredible acrobatic feat for him. Emerald's 13-step initiation into Tai Chi mastery of Yielding. 13 is a number used in many esoteric initiations, likely a reference to the 13 moons in each solar year (the l3th is five days), or a reflection of the famous sacred geometry of "13 Kissing Spheres". Any sphere can be surrounded by 12 identical-sized spheres touching it - a model for all 12-phase zodiacs and their 13th center/source. Horrified, I raced down to the bottom of stairs to pick up his limp body. My heart panicked at the thought of serious brain, bone, and bruise injuries he might sustain. Jem and I held him gingerly in our arms, fearing the worst as he came out of shock and bawled his heart out. In a few minutes, he stopped crying, and started laughing. There was never a bruise on his body, and no joint or limb injury. His body was so fat and soft and he was so relaxed that he simply yielded to the experience. Amazingly, he continued yielding -- 13 steps in a row -- without tightening up. Most adults would have instinctively frozen their body and increased their resistance and thus their injury. This surely proved his Tai Chi mastery of yielding, and proved Lao Tzu's prophetic words about how an infant is protected from injury. Emerald has earned a new nickname - the Marshmellow Immortal. And his parents gratefully continue receiving lessons from the young Tai Chi master. I invite you to consider learning how to develop a flexible Energy Body next weekend in Asheville - Medical and Spiritual Qigong Fundamentals 1 & 2 (see details below). At the end of the training, as the graduation requirement, we push each student down 13 stairs to test their level of flexibility.... Seriously folks, life is full of unexpected bumps and falls and collisions - emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. Your energetic flexibilitiy and groundedness is what will keep you young and springing back into love of life and pursuit of your highest destiny. This training gives you those energetic skills to stay grounded on your feet and centered in your Energy Body. At the same time you learn to continuously circulate Qi between yourself and your environment, both inner and outer. What many people would describe as a rare "mystical peak experience", students who train in my combination of qigong and Taoist internal alchemy find themselves enjoying as their continuous everyday life. Learn more here
  3. Creativity and Sexual Energy are like husband and wife. Together they are life's "secret sauce". I hope this will stimulate the flow of your creative juices.... Dear Lovers of Life's Creative Secret Sauce, In this letter I will share with you my three Simple Secrets of Creativity, and how they relate to the pulsing yin-yang forces of sexual energy. But first, let's notice how Nature itself is creative. I hope you had a wonderful summer and are already absorbing the Metal /Gold Element of Autumn. In Chinese thinking Fall season began on Aug. 6 and is will peak on Sept. 22 with the Fall Equinox. Please take the time to honor this powerful portal with your own Equinox Ceremony. I suggest you align to Nature's cycle with a focus on Letting Go of your resistance to change. Autumnal change is symbolized by leaves falling off the tree to expose the strength of its core trunk and branch structure. Autumn is time to shift focus from the rich sensory flowering of summer to turn inward, to our branch-like Qi meridians. Each season had its own special Creative Qi (or Chi, both pronounced "chee"). Nature shifts the quality of its creative force from season to season. Humans can do the same at any time, if they are tuned in. Metal season is great opportunity to discover your true creative strength. Michael Winn performs Red Fire Dragon of Souith Summer Solstice ceremony, at Healing Tao USA summer retreats near Asheville, N.C. Summer program first week's dates are planned to coincide with Nature's solstice cycle. I had a very creative, Qi-filled summer. In May we had a fantastic China Dream Trip. It stimulated creative response in the 30 Dream Trippers that made that journey of spiritual adventure. Folks are still writing to me about the creative changes in their life that are still unfolding as a result of our "eating" China's Deep Earth Qi using forms like Primordial Tai Chi/Qigong. The next Dream Trip will be in August 2016. We'll visit the Healing Tao's lineage root mountain, Mt. Changbai, where the Taoist hermits One Cloud and White Cloud spiritually achieved themselves. I found it was super easy to do internal alchemy when supported by Changbai's deep lake waters being alchemically steamed by the fire of an active volcano. The Qi Field itself was incredibly creative (If you want to get on my early notice list, hit reply to this newsletter, put China in subject line). Meditating around a simple floor altar at summer retreat on Medical & Spiritual Qigong Fundamentals 1-4. The methods in this course offer the major Qi circulation and grounding skills needed for nearly all creative Taoist energy work. Taoists Study the Life Force as Creative Process In June & July, many lucky folks enjoyed a virtual explosion of Creative Qi at Healing Tao University's 20 summer retreats. The Taoist energetic arts and sciences reveal an amazing range of creativity with every possible Qi application one could dream up. Qi for self-healing, medical Qi for healing others, alchemical Qi for longevity & immortality, sexual Qi for loving relationships, Tai Chi Qi for self-defense, Taoist Yoga Qi for relaxing and opening the body, Fusion Qi for managing negative emotions. That's just for starters - Qi is infinitely creative. It's the very medium of Creation. We had a new presenter at the retreats who was a big hit -- Michael Gelb. He's a world-famous author whose focus is Creative Qi itself. He's written fourteen books, mostly on creativity. Guess what he says is the secret sauce behind his own creative flow? Q-I-G-O-N-G. He's been studying qigong with many masters over the past 40 years. I loved Gelb's seminar. He felt like an "old soul brother" running on a parallel path that finally intersected with my own. He has left no stone unturned in his quest to maximize his creative enjoyment of life. But in the end, he came to the same conclusion that I did: if you want more Creative Qi in your life, doing qigong is one of the most effective places you can start. As you get good at qigong, everything in your life can become creative Qi Play. Gelb created a special "Leonardo da Vinci Qigong" to enhance creativity, which he shared with us - a very lovely form, and of course, very creative! This form is included in his new book, and shown for free on his site http://michaelgelb.com. His book is called Creativity on Demand: How to Ignite and Sustain the Fire of Genius. Michael Gelb's book is really about Qigong - available on Amazon This is a book that I would have been proud to have written myself. It's Gelb's magnum opus on creativity. He interviewed dozens of creative people for the book, including many qigong masters. This added fascinating breadth to his thesis that "creativity is a choice, not a special gift". Here's the testimonial I wrote for the book jacket of his new book: Michael Gelb belongs to my Curious Souls Tribe - no stone left unturned on his path. His conclusion? The secret sauce underlying ALL creativity is the medium of Qi, the Life Force itself. Creativity on Demand is his masterpiece, a guide to playfully shaping the Qi Field. His methods are fun, practical, and ingenious -- applicable by anyone - even if you think you already mastered tai chi or qigong. It will juice up the creative success of any healer, therapist, athlete, or entrepreneur and ground any spiritual seeker. It will clear the cobwebs for everyone - from couples seeking renewal, to a worker feeling life is a boring routine. Gelb unleashes the mystery of Creativity, frees it from the cabal of artists. He delivers it to anyone brave enough to read this book and open the flow of Creative Qi. - Michael Winn Gelb is a very thorough researcher. I was amazed at how many people in different fields he dug up who are using qigong to ignite and sustain the fires of their creativity in their profession. Mainstream therapists, life coaches, athletes, artists, many others. Simple Secret #1: Inner Smile Opens Space of Creative Play I got to experience his creative focus first hand. Gelb's interview with me for this book lasted over 3 hours, as he drilled deep into my creative process. He only had room to condense a few pages into his book about what I had to say. I told him one of my favorite Qi tools for enhancing creativity is the Inner Smile (on pages 92-93 of his book, if you are curious). I shared with Michael Gelb my three Simple Secrets of the Tao of Creativity. I summarize them here. The Inner Smile is the first secret. It is one of the simplest yet most creative forms of meditation ever discovered - there are literally an infinite number of ways to do it. It need never to get stuck, mechanical, dry and boring like many seekers I've met who sit for years, waiting in vain for total emptiness or enlightenment to smack them in the third eye. Many meditators feel like they somehow failed. Inner Smile is about process, not end goals. When you focus on process, there's never a failure, just the success of infinite learning. During our discussion of the Inner Smile, we discovered that we both share a love for the world's most famous painting -- Leonard da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Why is the Mona Lisa so famous? Because of her mysterious Inner Smile! Leonardo's Mona Lisa with the mystery of her soul's radiant Inner Smile. She's asking, "Can you feel who I truly am?". Contrast it with the modified Mona Lisa showing her personality's socially available Outer Smile. Which painting draws you IN more deeply? Which Mona feels spiritually more secure to you? The Outer Smile is our social self reaching out to test and secure psychological safety with people around us. These social connections are important, but very transitory. The Inner Smile is our soul's essence radiating its truth from the core of our Being. That permanent connection to our Deep Self is what we really live for. When we connect our ordinary mind to our soul, our Inner Smile lights up. That flips on the Creative Qi switch in our life. Gelb describes in his book the creative response of school kids when asked what Mona Lisa is smiling about. He got answers like "She knows the secret of what goes on between boys and girls". Gelb wryly notes that when he posed the same question to a conference of Wall Street types, he got the cynical remark that Mona Lisa's smile was the result of recent dental work. Kids vs. adults - very different types of creative play. I use the painting of Mona Lisa in my 120 page ebook, Way of the Inner Smile: Tao Path to Peace and Self-Acceptance. (If you don't have it, or lost it, please go back and signup again on my home page and download it for FREE from http://www.healingtaousa.com). It's never too late to activate your Inner Mona Lisa!!! You might even invite her to become your Creative Muse, as she smiles internally within you, blessing you to activate the flow of Creative Qi that is everyone's birthright. Simple Secret #2: Sexual Qi Boosts Our Creative Fire One of the things I confessed to Michael during our interview was how, in my youth, I perceived myself as "UN-creative". I was not born with any special talent. My brother David got all the music lessons. Yes, I was intellectually very bright. But internally, I considered that kind of smarts to be little more than a monkey-like cleverness, the ability to read something and feed it back to a teacher. My clever mind got me into an Ivy League school. But I when I graduated from Dartmouth with Senior Fellow honors, I still felt like a over-educated monkey without a creative bone in my body. The only time I felt truly creative was when I made love to a woman. S-E-X - now that felt to me like creative energy at its best. Love-making defined my highest creative moments, it was a kind of religious experience for me. But unfortunately sex was somehow mostly trapped at a deep unconscious level of biology - I could not quite reach into the root of its creative power. I didn't have the skill to link it up at will with my emotions, my thoughts, my power to manifest what I needed in life. Orgasm felt super spiritiual, but how to integrate it with my spiritual process? Later I moved to New York city and started a successful career in publishing. That started loosening my creative juices. I was also full of myself, as the youngest Publicity Director in the field. Then I got fired from my job. The reason my boss gave me? "You're too creative for this corporate world". That was actually flattering, given my negative self-image of feeling UN-creative. But she was right - I was not born to work for someone else. Today I am eternally grateful to my boss for firing me, and forcing me to move on. Thank you, Anna Borgerson. I soon became a free-lance war correspondent in Africa. My creative juices began to flow because my survival - both physically and economically - depended on it. Kundalini: Multi-dimensional Sexual Orgasm What kicked that creativity into higher spiritual gear was a kundalini awakening in Africa when I was 28 years old. The kundalini experience was a kind of whole-body orgasm. It was sex elevated to a cosmic level. It made me aware that creativity was a multi-dimensional affair arising from my soul. That my soul was generating the sexual energy that I needed to expand my awareness and creativity into all of my subtle bodies. It wasn't until I immersed myself in 1) Taoist qigong, 2) sexual energy cultivation practices with a partner, and 3) Taoist inner sexual alchemy meditation that I ultimately was able to sustain the creative flow of sexual Qi arising from the very root of my soul. This took me beyond my youthful obsession with physical sex. Learning how to tap my Sexual Qi was like pouring gasoline on the fire of my creativity. Thus the Taoist methods both sparked and sustained my experience of Creative Ignition. I realized that Taoist Internal Alchemy is essentially a process of capturing our sexual energy and putting it to highe work. It allows us to crystallize our biological impulses into a spiritually pulsating inner pearl, so we can ground our otherwise intangible soul. It's a method to make our soul both conscious and creative. The benefits flow into our worldly life and good physical health, as well as quickening our highest spiritual destiny. Now I cannot stop the creative flow of Qi (ever notice how long some of my newsletters are? . But how is this Taoist sexual-spiritual process different from ordinary artistic creativity? Artists are focused on outer expression, which directs them to tap into their inner psyche. But often they cannot sustain a balanced flow of creativity. Some exhaust themselves (deficient Qi) and feel blocked creatively. Others, like Van Gogh, go mad (excess Qi), and put it into destructive behavior. This is why many who achieve fame in film, sports, or politics cannot handle the intense Qi flow and try to disperse it with sex, drugs, or booze. Most artists don't have a scientific, i.e. systematic way to manage their Creative Qi. That's what qigong and inner alchemy meditation gave me - sustained harmony and balance while at the same time liberating the flow of sexual energy tranforming into Creative Qi. Everyone has a different destiny, meaning a different place to focus their qi flow. The creative challenge I've taken on is to explore the possibility of consciously creating a physical body in the Present Moment. Once we manage that, we've conquered death. It is this flow of sexually-charged Creative Qi that has sustained me over the past thirty years as I've evolved One Cloud's Internal Alchemy Formulas for Immortality, to make them accessible to Western adepts. Simple Secret #3: Flexible Energy Body = Youthful Physical Body I feel I've enjoyed some success. The qigong and sexual energy recycling practices have kept me young enough to enjoy starting a family. I've got the creative energy to consider having a second child (I turned 63 last week). I hope to accelerate my path of "reverse aging" now that I have an 8 month old expert teacher in Creative Play. Emerald is changing so fast that I have to dtop all rigidity in my Energy Body to match his level of play. Rigidity is what kills our adult Creativity and ultimately causes our physical death. A rigid Energy Body is caused by having fixed ideas, stuck emotional patterns, limiting physical movement habits and posture, fear of embracing novelty. All of these act as constrictions on the flow of Creative Qi between the spirit realm, our soul, and our physical body-mind. When our resistance to allowing new Qi to flow in becomes greater than our love of creating our Highest Destiny - we are ready to die. So please don't do IT. I mean don't slowly commit spiritual suicide by killing off the flow of your Creative Qi. Keep the juices flowing in whatever passion you pour your Qi into. Consider keeping your Creative Qi pump primed with a regular practice of Qigong. The especially brave will alchemically charge up their Creative Qi with that super fuel called sexual energy. My study of Taoist energy cycles inside our body, within the planet and Cosmos made it clear why people express their Highest Creavity in different ways. It's because they have very different elemental constitutions. A Fire Type will exhibit creative flair in a very different way from a deep feeling Water Type. An Earth Type will create beautiful gardens, a Metal Type will have a sharp and discriminating mind. Everyone has all five elements within themselves, and true creativity arises from their interaction. You can find out your dominant and weak elements by looking at your Chinese astrology chart, free on my site:http://www.healingtaousa.com/astrologycenter.html Read More Here
  4. Creative Explosion: Year of Green Male Wood Horse 2014 is for folks who want practical tools to get deeper into their Natural Self. Dear Lovers of China's Earthly 12 Animals Wisdom, Happy Lunar New Year! I hope every one is able to ride the Celestial Cloud Horse of their choice with an Open Heart to swiftly enjoy their highest creative worldly and spiritual destiny in this Year of the Green Male Wood Horse. I normally wait a week into the Chinese New Year before writing about it, so I can sample it energetically. But I grew up riding horses. Ionce horse-packed for two weeks in Wyoming's Wind River Range. I was also married to a Water Horse woman for 25 years - Joyce Gayheart, who leaped (a horse-like trait) from her body into higher dimensions of soul-life on Feb. 29, the 2008 "leap day". Joyce had the quintessential horse personality - stubborn and independent, smart, creative, loved to travel, a gifted teacher, an ambitious explorer galloping in all directions, and socially skillful. Horse-types have big hearts as horse epitomizes the fire element, and she was widely loved. She even had the big bones of a horse body. So I know the horse energy well. I was not surprised to recently have a spontaneous "visitation" by Joyce shortly before her January 2014 birthday and the start of this Wood Horse Year. I'd kept open the portal to her soul since she passed, and we've done a lot of powerful spiritual work together since our "heart transplant" operation three days after her death (see link below to read more about Taoist "shijie" liberation from the corpse). On this visit she was radiant, smiling and beaming love on the rapid changes galloping through my life. It was an auspicious encounter, so strong that I could not only feel her but in my third eye actually see her etheric presence in the room. Joyce said she came to bless my life with Jem (my current wife) and our process of conscious conception. She hinted the child, spiritual name Emerald, has been waiting for the right astrology to support its destiny. Then Joyce departed like a Celestial Horse flying back to heaven. As an alchemist, I love these fluid shifts between realities, and our potential for having multi-dimensional relationships. Why limit ourselves to a narrow 3-D reality? Different Schools of Astrology - Which is Right? Joyce Gayheart is coincidentally the subject of one of the best astrology books ever written - it compares 12 different systems of astrology for their accuracy against Joyce's real life "Horse story". The book is Under One Sky, by Rafi Nasser, who is also a Taoist adept. Under One Sky has 12 blind readings of Joyce's chart from 12 different astrology schools. You can read Joyce's amazing life story and decide for yourself if the chart readings match her life (we have a few copies in stock, you can also order the book). Joyce herself felt four of the 12 readings were accurate, four were so-so, and four were completely worthless. You can still get Joyce's Divine Love Elixir she alchemized from 72 flower essences, as well as her fantastic CD set "My Body Moves Easily - I Feel Graceful and Light", designed for Primordial Tai Chi adepts but useful to anyone). One lesson I got from Joyce's book is that astrology's usefulness depends on 1) the SKILL of the astrologer; there is little objectively predictive in it. Two people born in the same place at the same time will have totally different destinies. 2) once you have a skillful reading, use of it depends on your WILL to interact consciously with the cosmic forces flowing into one's personal chart/Energy Body map. So it's risky to predict the stock market using astrology, because markets involve the free will decisions of millions of investors. They could use the Horse Year energy to drive it higher or suddenly gallop lower. The best we can do is energetically merge our personal Energy Body (the layers of our soul and body-mind) into the larger Qi field and absorb the information we most need moment-to-moment. This essay explores in depth the Chinese horse mythos, which is central to the roots of Chinese culture. This includes Dragon-horses and the I Ching, blood-sweating "Thousand Mile" horses and the Magical Flying horses of Fergana that I first encountered while following the Silk Road across China in 1985. Plus a Taoist parable on horses, and loads of lovely horse paintings and sculpture. Horses are a favorite topic of classical Chinese painters. Taoist Living Astrology vs. Abstract Mental Astrology My top focus is on HOW TO CONNECT TO HORSE ENERGY this year. Most modern astrology has devolved into an abstract mental exercise. I myself didn't take it seriously until I re-read a Chinese astrology reading done before Joyce and I got married, and realized, 20 years later, how incredibly accurate it was. Until then, astrology for me was "interesting mental garbage in/ interesting mental garbage out". Readings for most people are like New Year resolutions: we think about it for a day or two, and then forget it as life's real demands overwhelm our abstract ideas or wishes about Life. I now take very seriously the Taoist art and science of Living Astrology, which preserves the lost initiatic roots of inner alchemy. It gives a PRACTICAL way to interact with the planetary cycles that link our personal Energy Body to the Cosmic Energy Body of the stars. What is beyond the Zodiac is what underpins all astrology and karmic patterns - the great Central Sun of Oneness and pure love (called Tai Yi by Taoists). The Planetary & Soul Alchemy Formula (aka. Greatest Kan & Li, or Water & Fire) deals exclusively with Living Astrology (taught in March in Holland, see below). See my Taoist Cosmology Diagram to clarify this energetic map. It's an excerpt from my forthcoming Primordial Tai Chi book. Let me emphasize the Independent nature of horse types. In China, Fire Horse female babies were often killed because they were considered too independent and so unmanageable (by men) as to be un-marriageable. I valued Joyce's high level of independence, so I have a different cultural perspective than the Chinese. My current wife is equally independent. When astrology systems cross borders, they must adapt to new cultural values. Transition from Water Snake to Wood Horse Year is BIG! The Lunar calendar Chinese New Year (2nd new moon after Winter Solstice) starts Jan. 31 in China, and runs through Feb. 18, 2015. The Solar calendar New Year starts on Feb. 4, 2014 and runs to Feb. 4, 2015. There is a 4-day cusp between Jan. 31 and Feb. 4 where newborns may have qualities from both the departing Black Female Water Snake and the arriving Green Male Wood Horse. I recommend doing your own "welcome in Horse qigong ceremony" during the first week of the New Year to capture the billions of Asians charging it up emotionally with their festivities. Horses are skittish about Snakes, so this cusp period could be a delicate transition period for some - and possibly for the planet. My wife Jem and I got a very strong omen about this just before we did our first set of "Welcome Horse Energy" qigong ceremonies last night. Within two minutes we each broke a favorite water vessel - an antique ceramic tea cup and a glass tea decanter with a lovely yin-yang symbol on it. Were these two rare household accidents happening at random, or an omen of how the Male Yang Wood Horse Year is literally busting out of the Yin Water Snake Year container? By Tao theory of synchrnicity, there are NO ACCIDENTS. As an omen, it may portend that people will be shocked by how powerful and rapid changes coming this year will "break" the comfortable patterns of their old life. (AP Report): Another bizarre omen: on the very last day of the Year of Water Snake, a California schoolteacher was arrested after at least 300 living and dead pythons were found in plastic bins inside his stench-filled home in suburban Orange County..... L: Animal zodiac in China is indigenous. It bears absolutely no historical resemblance to early Babylonian zodiacs. R: Every animal or element (fire, water, wood, etc.) is also governed by laws of yin-yang harmony and balance. These forces keep Nature in harmony with itself. LOOK UP YOUR OWN CHINESE 4 PILLARS CHART This essay is not just for those born in a Horse year. Everyone's Chinese 4 Pillars Astrology chart has four Animals, so even if you are not born in a Horse Year, you might have a Horse Moon, Horse Day, or Horse Hour. To see your chart, go to my website, click on FREE READING, enter your data, and copy it for future study:http://www.healingtaousa.com/ZiPingWeb/ziping-reading.html If you want a professional Chinese astrologer to help you understand your chart, just email me (hit reply) and I will refer someone to you. David Twicken, a Senior Healing Tao instructor, is also offering a ten week webinar on Chinese astrology, suitable for those wanting to offer consultations. Sundays starting Feb. 23. See below. Even if you have NO horse energy in your 4 Pillars chart, everyone on planet earth will be experiencing this year's Male Wood Horse energy, so it pays to understand what is going on. Chinese astrology is earth-centered and body-centered; Western, Hindu and Middle Eastern astrology systems are sky-centered. All astrology systems that have withstood the test of time are valid, they are just isolating different information. But I find it curious that the sky systems ignore the planet that is closest to us, Earth, while they focus on the other far-away planets. The last wood horse year was 60 years ago, in 1954, and we'll review the explosive creativity that happened then. The Big Picture Astrologically The Female Water Snake Year 2013 was about digging up deep unconscious personal patterns and bringing them into the Light so they can be shed, like an old skin, by our wise inner Snake. We've been in a re-boot and cleanup pattern for the first six Animals of the Chinese zodiac. The Yang Water Dragon 2012 year was about re-shaping our personal and collective Mythic Self. The Wood Horse of 2014, number 7 Animal in this 12-year cycle, is about kick-starting the second half of the cycle into action. I used the Water Snake Year to explore the roots of the Healing Tao lineage on Mt. Changbai, a lake-filled active volcano in China. If you missed that story, I feel its one of the most important I wrote this year: http://www.healingtaousa.com/cgi-bin/articles.pl?rm=mode2&articleid=168 I plan to use the more expansive Wood Horse Qi to launch my new website and my new book, Primordial Tai Chi: Way of Enlightened Love. The nano-motor funded in 2008 by Taoist investors from this newsletter is now taking off, and it promises a radically disruptive technology that will change the globe. That in turn will fund my vision of Taoist Temple of Heaven & Earth in North Carolina, so western Taoists will have a place for deep retreats and training. Mobilize your Will to Ride Your Inner Horse This Yang Wood Horse Year promises to give us a yang boost in manifesting our newly cleansed selves - BUT ONLY IF WE CHOOSE TO ALIGN WITH THAT POTENTIAL. Nothing is automatic within these large cycles of Nature. People struggle against the flow of nature all the time, and suffer for it. The ultimate result is often disease, unhappiness, poverty, divorce, etc. All personal evolution requires exercising our free will, love, and imagination. That's called "embracing life and responding to it creatively, in the Present Moment". The essence of Taoist self-cultivation is to harmonize with the broader cycles of change and put its Qi (chi) to work within our body and our personal destiny. We can ground the macro-cosmic Qi cycles with qigong and dynamic Taoist meditation like the Micro-cosmic Orbit. You don't have to be born in the Year of the Horse to benefit from it - you can tune in and CAPTURE the creative horse qualities through your intent and energetic practice. Horse Qi is "in the air" this year - just start breathing it in. The best qigong ceremonies for capturing these large planetary energies involve facing all four cardinal horizontal directions and connecting that Qi into our body's core channel. This in turn aligns our worldly outer life with the vertical Heaven-Earth spiritual axis. I rely on three qigong forms that best meet this criteria: Primordial Tai Chi (aka Wu Ji Gong), Deep Healing Qigong, and Shamanic Big Dipper 7-Star Stepping Qigong. The first two are available on DVD, the last one is currently only taught to those who come on my China Dream Trip. Each works a little differently. There is an acquired skill to focus the Qi they gather to accelerate your evolution. 12 Animals = Chi Clock in Mother Earth's Body Chinese medicine has a 12 -hour "Chi Clock" that describes the progression of Qi flow through the 12 major vital organ and bowel meridians of the body. (I'm interchanging Chi and Qi to get readers used to the fact they are identical in meaning and pronunciation). The Chi Clock works like a snake swallowing and digesting a meal - there is a large "lump" of expanded energy that moves every two hours from organ to organ. Think of the 12 Animals of the Chinese zodiac as the 12 organs of Mother Earth's planetary body. This makes the animal zodiac - the 12 Earthly Branches - into the meridians of the planetary "chi clock". Earth is just beginning to puts its inner mouth around the Horse lump. Every 12 years Mother Earth cycles through 12 animal-organ energies, one per year. Now we have Horse energy for an entire year. To make sure the energies are well digested, and keep our "energetic diet" varied and interesting, the Tao rotates the Five Element/5 Phase Qi from Heaven through the 12 Animal cycle FIVE times. 12 Animal Years x 5 elements = 60 year cycle. This gives each of the 12 animals a chance to experience all five elements (five, earth, gold, water, wood). This is THE operating system of Nature, just like your computer has an operating system. This natural system ensures that change (= evolution) is balanced and harmonious. If you can sense the Horse energy as the vital organ Qi from Mother Earth, it makes it more tangible. When I called in the Horse Qi during my "welcoming the New Year qigong ceremony", I knew exactly where it is coming from and its function in the planetary psyche. In 2014, the "yang" or male Qi and the Wood element are like flavors from Heaven that color the Horse-earthly Qi. This is a big energetic "meal" to eat, and we'll be digesting it all year long. But the key is to start inviting the Horse Qi into your qigong practice. Your yang wood qi will gradually increase. I'm feeling this Yang Male Wood Horse Qi in 2014 is that it's essentially a Fire Horse on Steroids. Horse is naturally excitable, due to its dominant Fire element. Horse hour is high noon in the human body daily chi clock, the time of greatest fire. The Horse month is June in the planetary chi clock - a time of high heat and the longest day. When you feed a fire-horse Wood-element fuel, it is like pouring gasoline on a flame. Then you add Yang/male Qi into the mix, and it becomes even more volatile due to its extreme expansiveness. So that's why I theme this Yang Male Green Wood Horse as the Year of Explosive Creativity. Horse is considered the most yang of all 12 animals. It's a fire horse stoked up on steroids (Wood element) and Yang force as "speed" (the street drug). That makes for huge potential - both positive and destructive. In 1954, during the last Wood Horse Year, they exploded the first atomic bomb above ground on the Bikini Atoll. In 2014, it could be the global economy or some major government that blows up. The 2014 horse energy is amplified by the galactic cycle that we are in, just two years shy of finishing our 36 year journey across the dark rift of the Milky Way's Galactic Center that began in 1980. (Read that Mayan Solstice 2012 letter: That empowers this Creative Horse energy with super-charged potential on a collective scale. Will that happen? Let's find out! HORSE FIRE IS LOVING This explosive potential for creativity is softened by the fact that horse-Fire is very heart-centered and loving at its core. The Wood Horse also has very spiritual qualities; it's known as a Celestial or Cloud Horse. Wood Qi is expansive, it rises up to heaven. Within our body, wood is expressed by our Hun Soul, aka "our Cloud Soul", whose physical palace is our liver. It's spiritual nature is Celestial - it can see and hear things far away, and travel there instantly. A Cloud Horse Year offers us a high view of our life. But if we don't mount the saddle of our Wood Horse (= mobilize our creative body-mind) and ride hard towards our Highest Destiny, then we may end up feeling trampled upon by the hooves of change pounding all around us. It's time to Ride Your Own Horse Or Be Ridden by Others. Change actively or sit by passively and watch yourself Be Changed. BEST YEAR FOR TRAVEL 2014 is a good year to Travel, either physically or spiritually. A Wood Horse year is perhaps the best of the 60 Animal-element years to physically travel in. Wood Horse makes it an extremely auspicious year to join the China Dream Trip in May 2014 (see below). The next trip is not until 2016. This 2014 Wood Horse China Dream Trip takes you deep into China's Earth element (its sacred mountains). So it is pefect for folks who want to ground their heart energy and deepen their earth. You will get a Cloud or Celestial view of your life, doing qigong and sitting atop magnificent sacred peaks. Travel takes you away from your old life quickly, and puts you into a space where you are free to change yourself. The China trip will help harvest and ground the Wood Horse Qi being offered in this dramatic new cycle. This is the 31st year in a cycle of 60 years. This Yang Wood Horse Year offers fresh yang energy needed to kick start the second half of the 60 year cycle. If you prefer spiritual travel, take a retreat. Naturally I recommend the 20 fantastic low cost retreats offered by Healing Tao University between June 21 and July 22 (see details below). But any retreat that attracts you will work fine. Warning: an undisciplined horse can go galloping off a cliff. Please don't let yourself go flying off in ANY direction, make sure you have chosen it. The Horse is a FIRE animal, which implies rapid and creative change, but a horse is also very well grounded with four strong legs. This is another way of saying: align your heart fire with your body-earth stay grounded. Harness the Fire and Earth power together to effect positive change. Qigong can help us capture that wood-fire yang movement and direct it to create New Earth (= anything real and solid) in our personal life. L: Horse painting by Jesuit visiting China in 1715 of rider with arrow R: Horses are very independent, but they still love to run in herds. This expresses as "social skills" amongst human horse types. Susan Levitt, a talented Chinese astrologer, author of Taoist Astrology and Taoist Feng Shui (both are excellent, sold in my summer retreats Tao book store) summarized the mandate of this Horse Year very succinctly: The Wood Horse year is a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance. It is an excellent year for travel, and the more far away and off the beaten path the better. Energy is high and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory. But you have to act fast in a Horse year. If you are not 100% secure about a decision, then don't do it. Events move so quickly in a Horse year that you don't want to gallop off in the wrong direction. (Note: Get a cool Tao T-shirt with the I Ching bagua taken from Susan's book cover art at: http://www.healingtaousa.com/cgi-bin/prod_list.pl?ppage=mts05s_m Horse is one of Chinese favorite animals. Horses like to compete with others. They pursuit for their freedom, passion and leadership. That implies that people will have busy schedule for their goals in the year of Horse. The characteristics of those born in Horse Years I also found applied accurately to my own Horse wife Joyce. This summary is from Fortune Angel: Strengths The spirit of the horse makes unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as 'Qianli Ma', a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters). People born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure, although their endeavor cannot last indefinitely. Weaknesses They cannot bear too much constraint. However their interest may be only superficial and lacking real substance. They are usually impatient and hot blooded about everything other than their daily work. They are independent and rarely listen to advice. Failure may result in pessimism. They usually have strong endurance but with bad temper. Flamboyant by nature, they are wasteful since they are not good with matters of finance due to a lack of budgetary efficiency. Some of those who are born in the horse like to move in glamorous circles while pursuing high profile careers. They tend to interfere in many things and frequently fail to finish projects of their own. Celebrities Born in the Year of the Horse Louisa May Alcott, Chopin, Davy Crockett, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Sandra Day O'Connor, Rembrandt, Teddy Roosevelt, Sir Isaac Newton, Barbara Streisand, Cindy Crawford, Cynthia Nixon, Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford, Jason Biggs, Jackie Chan, Jerry Seinfeld, John Travolta, Leonard Bernstein, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Rembrandt, Ashton Kutcher, Emma Watson, Josh Hartnett, Katie Holmes, Kristen Stewart, Kobe Bryant, Genghis Khan, Emperor Kangxi and Yongzheng of China’s Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). Show biz and politics is said to be filled with horse types because of their great communication skills and warm hearts. For 60 modern Horse actors, see Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/01/13/chinese-new-year-2014_n_4590770.html The most interesting name on the Horse Year list for me is that of Khengis Khan. He had a military strategy that used small sturdy horses and quickly conquered most of Asia and Europe. Each horseman had three to four horses, so one would always be fresh. Mongol cavalryman even knew how to sleep in the saddle. That's why they could travel long distances without stopping. We know horses can sleep while standing. Mongolian horses had even a better sleeping skill. When they ran in a group, the horse in the center slept while running. This speed of his cavalry allowed Ghenghis Khan to overrun his enemies before they had time to organize a defense. Be sure to read the other horse sections below on the close relationshiop between horses and dragons in China, and how horses are at the root of Chinese culture and history, Source: Healing Tao USA Newsletter http://www.healingtaousa.com/cgi-bin/articles.pl?rm=mode2&articleid=177
  5. Does a New Year = a New Self?

    Please share with friends interested in the Tao of New Year resolutions..... Dear Celebrants of the Way of Calendars, First, take 1.5 minutes and have some FUN. Mop up your Holy Days with 45,000 pulsing Xmas Lights video...half way through it, a staid Amazing Grace tune turns into a very Over the Top light show. It took three people just to manage the traffic jam of onlookers: http://www.flixxy.com/best-christmas-lights-display.htm Now you're ready to get serious about the skinny on New Years. This New Year has a lot of lunar forces at work - it coincided with a New Moon, which amplifies our sense of new beginning, and the hope for a New Self. We'll discuss why those New Year resolutons mostly fail. That "New" Self is very elusive, despite billions of people pledging to change it. Most people know the New Moon at night is hidden behind the body of the Earth, so it cannot reflect sunlight back to us. Where is that Dark Moon by daytime? The Dark Moon rises at sunrise and sets at sunset, but we don't see it because of its proximity to the sun. But it's still beaming energy into our lives, a different frequency than the Sun. Some cultures worship the sun more than the moon. China has a dominant lunar culture, and the changing lunar phase suits the Taoist philosophy of finding a Way to naturally harmonize with Change. Pop Quiz: Can you find the dark moon in this photo of the night sky? Now for some esoteric astronomy. There are two Super Moons this January (1st and 30th), moons within 90 percent of their closest approach to Earth. Super Moons look larger, except that you can't see a Super Moon when it happens on a Dark or New Moon, which is the current case. But maybe the sensitives will feel Lady Luna's Presence more clearly on this January's two Dark Moons. Or maybe everyone will just go slightly mad this January, drunk on Double Dark Moon Qi, a kind of cosmic expresso. Or we may need the double dose of Dark Yin Qi in January to fortify us before the Yang Year of the Wood Horse begins on Jan. 31. My last wife Joyce Gayheart was a Horse, so I know them well. Horses are fun, stubborn, active manifestors, so get ready to charge in new directions -- or be tossed off your horse if you're not willing to go along for the ride. We also know the Planet is galloping faster and faster towards some major completion of a 36 year cycle by 2015 Winter Solstice. But there could be big surprises in those two years. Why was January 1st Chosen as New Year? Right now, in 2014, everyone is full of cheer and hope, and promising that things will get better. That's great - hope springs eternal. But why should we feel this Way in particular on January 1st? I could point to the Anglican and Lutheran churches that believe January 1 was the Day of Circumcision for baby Jesus. But that implies we're celebrating the sexual pain of being mortal, not a popular topic after those New Year parties. Perhaps big with the Woody Allen crowd of sexual neurotics. New Year's Day is January 1 in the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the older Julian calendar used in the Roman Empire. In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar introduced a new, solar-based calendar. It was a vast improvement on the ancient Roman lunar calendar that had become wildly inaccurate over the years. Julius Caesar was subsequently murdered (Shakespeare immortalized it: "Et tu, Brutus?"). The Roman Senate voted to deify Julius on the 1st January 42 BC in honor of his life and his institution of the new rationalized calendar. The month of January owes its name to the deity Janus, who had two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backward. Or was Janus really all about a Western left-brain vs. right-brain split? Janus was also known as the God of gates, doors, and beginnings. This suggests that modern New Year's celebrations are founded on pagan traditions. January 1 is probably the largest publicly celebrated pagan holiday in the world. Natural New Year vs. Imperial Calendrical Decree To my let's-observe-Nature-and-learn Taoist mind, the Solar New Year starts with the growth of new light on Dec. 22. The Lunar New Year starts on the second New Moon after Winter Solstice (January 20 to February 20), ensuring that there has been a full month of the growth of lunar energy. I celebrate both solar and lunar New Years - they both have power. I also celebrate January 1 New Year as a powerful spiritual opportunity, even though its clearly a governmental (Pope & Imperial) decreed holy-day, and not part of any natural New Year cycle. But billions of humans are opening their hearts and pouring their Qi (chi) out in the form of Hope of Renewal. I do movement qigong ceremonies and meditations to capture that collective burst of Hopeful Qi and put it to work in accomplishing my own destiny here on Earth. It's not too late to do a ceremony to capture some of that vast field of human Qi floating about. But it will gradually disperse, so don't delay. Using all the Qi available from nature - sun, moon, earth, stars, humans - will really help you gather enough focus and power to really manifest what you truly need this lifetime. The Life Force wants to support us humans, but most of us are emitting a signal that is pretty weak or diffused by mixed thoughts and emotions. The Way of Inner Alchemy is to capture the Macro-cosmic forces of Nature and channel them into our personal Micro-cosmos (the inner zodiac of our body's 12 organ spirits & their Qi channels). In higher alchemical formula practices we learn to concentrate Cosmis Qi into our soul's core channel. For more on One Cloud's Nine Formulas of Inner Alchemy: http://www.healingtaousa.com/one_clouds_nine_tao_alchemy_formulas.html Inner alchemy can intensify and quicken our evolution, for those willing to practice daily and train how to concentrate their consciousness. Many meditators just want to de-stress and relax, which is an important first phase of attuning and listening. But it's possible to go beyond that. Humans are part of Nature, so gathering Human Qi is as equally valuable as the Qi of Heaven or the Qi of Earth. Alchemy is always about harmonizing these three forces. This reflects the Life Force itself is split into a trinity (essentially postive, negative, and neutral streams of Qi flow). Why Did China Switch to Gregorian calendar? Every culture has its own calendar, and the most significant traditional date - the New Year - varies widely from September through March. But globalization has meant that the Roman calendar has gradually usurped or marginalized all the traditional calendars. The Western Gregorian calendar arrived in China with Jesuit missionaries in 1582. In 1912, the weak New Republican government of China officially recognized New Year's Day as occurring on January 1. The Chinese had been invaded by Western powers and so weakened by forced distribution of opium that the Chinese had devalued their own lunar culture. Again in 1949, Communist Party leader Mao Zedong (1893–1976) forbade celebration of the traditional Chinese New Year and followed the Gregorian calendar. He wanted to be "modern" - his biggest crime was possibly the Cultural Revolution to destroy China's traditional culture and its wisdom. The irony here is that the Chinese invented gunpowder and fireworks used today to celebrate the Jan. 1 New Year. The Chinese only used fireworks for celebratory and peaceful purposes. But after Marco Polo wrote about how advanced Chinese culture was in the 12th century, Westerners were soon using gunpowder for weapons and blasting down the massive walls of castles all across feudal Europe. It was that wave of aggressive militarization using gunpowder that ultimately led to the spread of the Gregorian calendar in China centuries later via economic, political, and colonial domination. By the end of the 20th century, Chinese leaders grew more willing to accept Chinese traditions. In 1996, China instituted a weeklong vacation called Spring Festival – giving people an entire week to travel home and celebrate the lunar new year. Jan. 31, 2014 will be start of Yang Wood Horse Year, until Feb. 18, 2015. This is a sign of growing acceptance of their own culture. All of Taoist philosophy, ritual, and practice (movement or meditation) is ultimately a celebration of the potential for humans to change themselves. The recommended Way of Harmony is to change in alignment with the larger cycles of Nature, to internalize them. Those changes in the collective Qi field are embedded in the Chinese calendar as 12 Animal/Earthly zodiac cycles and Heavenly 5-phases of yin-yang change. It is not a calendar that is imposed UPON nature by Popes or Emperors. Rather it tracks the cycles of natural change. I hope everyone is able to both relax and to grow their ability to focus their consciousness in order to manifest their highest worldly and spiritual destiny.
  6. Here's why we need to keep our stocking warm and full..... http://www.healingtaousa.com/cgi-bin/articles.pl?rm=mode2&articleid=174
  7. Hello

    I'm happy to see that Tao Bums, originally Sean's spinoff from my Healing Tao USA forum, has flourished. I've decided to post some of my material here to give this part of the Tao community exposure to my approach of integrating qigong and neidangong, and my unique summer retreat program and China Dream Trips.