Qigong Master Hui Xian Chen – the spread of qigong and the purpose of suffering
This is a continuation of my 30 day Spontaneous Qigong Trial – Day 6. Click here for a primer of what this trial is all about.
Life is Always Smiling Qigong
Whilst doing this 30 day trial, I am also writing a more detailed article on spontaneous qigong. For this, I am currently researching other books.
One such book I found is called ‘Life is Always Smiling: Stories from my Life‘, by Hui Xian Chen.
Before I go on to my practice log, I just want to talk about the fascinating life of this contemporary Qigong practitioner – Hui Xian Chen.
Hui Xian Chen
Hui Xian Chen is the person who helped bring the Souring Crane Qigong system to America in the 1980s and 1990’s. I discussed Souring Crane Qigong in an earlier blog post. It is one of the forms of Qigong that also incorporates Spontaneous Qi movements.
A hard life
The book recounts her entire life story, which is certainly very interesting. She grew up in a middle-class Christian family in China, her parents were hospital physicians, who really emphasised the practice of being of service to the people. They had a comfortable life. However, events of history changed their fortunes dramatically.
The Japanese invaded, and her whole family became refugees and lost everything. She lived through the Japanese invasion in 1930s and 40s but was separated from her parents and lived in poverty.
Chen came of age during the Communist takeover and began with a good position as an English translator for top ranking diplomats. However, her outspokenness caused her to be labeled an ‘unannounced rightist’, which led to her being relocated to the countryside. From there, she spent years working in physically demanding jobs.
She also chose a poor choice of husband and became a single mother. She had many challenges and hardship but she was clearly very strong-willed and threw herself 100% into every job she was assigned; even things like raising chickens, despite being a well-educated women fluent in English.
Cancer & discovering Qigong
Chen suffered several chronic ailments throughout her life. In her later middle-age, just as she was achieving success and recognition for her job as an English teacher at a top university, she was then diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo surgery and chemotherapy. It was then that she discovered Souring Crane Qigong and then the second half of her life began.
She threw herself into her practice, waking up early and travelling a long distance to the park to practice with her teacher and other class members. She trained hours daily and became passionate about qigong.
This qigong helped her to heal completely from her cancer. She also developed spiritual powers along with this, which brought her to the attention of the founder of the movement – Zhao Jin Xiang. She also met other masters over the years.
From reading her first hand account of China in the last 100 years, it is clear that the Chinese people suffered through so many turbulent changes and hardships. When I think about my life today, I realise that things are so much better. We are so much wealthier. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we don’t have problems. The nature of life’s challenges may change their appearance, but the impact can be just as great on our mind.
Suffering has a purpose
One of Hui Xian Chen’s statements was quite profound, so I have quoted it:
“From my own experience with qigong practice, the qi truly opened my mind and increased my awareness of the real meaning of life. it helped me to understand that life itself is a blessing.
For no matter what happens in my life, it is to my advantage. It became clear to me that how I looked at my life problems determined how I experienced life itself.
This was a big change for me. In the past, I would often blame fate for my problems. I complained a lot about the misfortunes that happened to me. I was angry. I was miserable. I was depressed.
After practicing qigong, I changed my way of looking at my experiences. I began to be thankful for all the misfortunes that had occurred. For instance, if it was not for the cancer, I would not have learnt qigong”.
Life is Always Smiling, by Hui Xian Chen
Suffering has a purpose
I take from this quote the meaning that one of the purposes of suffering – is to push you into other life experiences. Suffering opens up new doors and worlds.
I know that we want to avoid problems in life, but actually there is very little way of avoiding them. They are just part of life and in fact, they have a purpose.
If I relate this quote to my own experiences, it was my illness with ulcerative colitis in my early 20s that has had a large impact on the direction of my life.
Looking back, I suffered terribly. I was going to the toilet about 30-40 times a day and night with extreme cramping pain, lacking sleep, losing blood, anaemia and suffering arthritic pains. The worse was waking in the middle of the night desperately needing the toilet, but just dragging myself there was painful. There was no rest from the symptoms. Mentally and physically I was worn out.
I was depressed, in pain, angry and helpless at my situation.
And what’s more I couldn’t get a girlfriend.
The healing path
Yet, it was that experience that pushed me onto the path of being a traditional Oriental healer. It was that pain that led me to a small Chinese remedy market stall in my local town. I only asked the Chinese woman if they had any remedies for acne. Before I knew it she had me on a couch and was sticking needles in me.
I went to that clinic many times after that for acupuncture. I even let one of the Chinese doctors and her husband stay for a few days at my flat, when they moved down to London. A few years later, she helped keep off a potential relapse in my illness.
Learning therapy work
Years later, I learnt reflexology massage and then acupuncture. Since then, I have met so many interesting people. Before then, my life was already stuck. So in this way, I really need to be more grateful for my illness. It had provided me with many interesting experiences. Experiences are what the soul craves for.
So I guess, there is a bright side even to the dark side sometimes. But when we are in the dark times, we are so easily affected by the negatives. This is what we must work on – our mind work and how we respond to the challenges. It is the only thing we have control over.
This is not to say, everything will be alright or ‘just look on the bright side of life’. These can be just empty phrases. But I do believe that there is a deeper purpose to our life experiences – our positive and also our negative. And perhaps it is only when it is all over, that we will know what it was all about.
If you are interested in Hui Xian Chen’s book, here is a link.
On to the Spontaneous Qigong Log:
Day 6 Spontaneous Qigong: Log
I decided to have a light breakfast 30 minutes to an hour before practice. I did notice one thing, which may or may not be related to my qigong practice. I felt a little sickly when I drank my morning coffee with some cows milk in. Usually, I don’t have a problem drinking coffee with milk in, but this morning it made me feel a little nauseas. I decided to continue with my practice regardless of that mild nausea.
Perhaps, with this regular qigong practice my body is becoming more sensitive to stuff that is actually not very good for it. I am aware that cow’s milk is not really easily digestible for humans.
As I mentioned earlier, I suffered from colitis. During that time, the two things I had to give up was coffee and cows milk, both of which, usually exacerbated my symptoms. However, in the last ten years, I have found that I am able to tolerate both. In fact, I even have coffee on an empty stomach frequently, something that would have been a complete no-no years ago.
I know this is bad for my stomach. So perhaps my body is giving me a gentle reminder that coffee with cow’s milk first thing in the morning is not that good for me.
Spontaneous Qigong practice
My practice was gentle. I went into spinal twirls. This is where I twist from left to right, right to left, swinging my arms as I turn. It was quite a nice gentle movement. I chose to do it up to 20 minutes today and then brought it to an end. I did feel like I could keep going and that the Qi would work in different parts of my body. But it is still early days of my trial and I want to stay consistent and easy.
In the past, in this situation, I would be tempted to keep practicing as long as possible. But then, I may find I wouldn’t feel as motivated to practice the next day. So really this trial is also a test of my consistency as much as doing qigong exercise.
This is a light Qi training program and I feel it is unlikely that I will experience any major occurences whilst doing it. But that is fine. I think that I am recently a little calmer than usual. It may be my imagination, but other kids seems to be more relaxed around to me. For example, I took my son to the park yesterday to let my son run around.
Another kid, the same age with his mother was there, who I had chatted to before. Her kid kept coming up to us and even came and held my hand a few times, which was a little surprising to me but also a nice experience.
Click here For Day 7 of my 30 Day Spontaneous Qi Trial.
- Conventional medicine, Cancer and Qigong: Article in Qi Journal (contains an account of Huixian Chen)
- What is Healing?
- Catharsis: Better Out than In – Part 1
Life is Always Smiling: Stories from my Life, Hui Xian Chen
Japanese pond (amended) Silvia Lüthi. akupunkturplus.ch
Image of Chen Hui Xian taken from Wisdom and Peace Wellness Center Website
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