‘How Toxic are my Trousers?’ is available on several online market places. Shaun’s book is a personal exploration and experimentation on the effects of man-made and synthetic materials on the energy system of his own body.
I’m very grateful to Shaun for sharing this qigong video and allowing me to use it. Shaun has a wealth of experience in Traditional medicine and healing.
A hundred years ago, a strange phenomenon occurred amongst the Vailala native tribes of the territories of Papua New Guinea. Whole Villages were infected by a spontaneous dancing trance-like disease. It spread from village to village causing the natives to enter into trance-like, involuntary dance movements. The phenomena occurred for a few years from 1919 to 1923 and then died out. It was recorded by the anthropologist F. E. Williams in his book – ‘The Vailala Madness and the Destruction of Native Ceremonies in the Gulf Division‘,
Is this an example of Group Spontaneous Qigong?
I have been researching a phenomenon, I refer to as, ‘spontaneous qi or spontaneous qigong’. For more information, visit this page.
In my research, I suspect that this phenomenon – the Vailala Madness, contains aspects of spontaneous qigong. And in fact, there are several other instances in recorded history of groups of people being drawn into performing spontaneous trance-like dances or involuntary movements.
Such a phenomenon sounds bizarre, just like something out of an X Files episode, but there have been records of it, especially in the so called ‘primitive’ and native civilisations in the World, and even in Europe in the Middle Ages.
Usually in the past, such occurrences have been attributed to a kind of mass hysteria, or some sort of toxin – perhaps mould on their crops causing group hallucinations. In other cases, a specific medical disorder is attributed to these occurrences, though there are no way of proving, disproving or confirming any of these assertions. They are just theories.
Scientists seek ‘rational’ explanations for everything. I suspect if this had occurred today, it would be blamed on global warming or even the corona virus, rather then something supernatural. Personally, I believe these phenomena to have a spiritual and energetic aspect to them, as well as a spontaneous qi component.
Why is this important to research? I think that spiritual awakening offers humanity the one and only true freedom in this world. I believe that spontaneous qi offers a step into this direction.
However, I do not simply want to triumph these phenomenon as only being a positive thing. It is quite possible there are element of spirit possession, possibly even demonic possession in some of these cases.
I also consider that possibly Christianity, in particular the imposition of this Middle Eastern religion onto a people that previously had their own cultures, gods and spirits, can be a distortive and disruptive factor upon these people, and may even be the cause of such dance like phenomenon, particularly the Vailala Madness. I will discuss this in part two of this article.
As with all things energetic and spiritual, there are dangers to be weary of, should you explore these paths.
Appendix B. Extract from Annual Report, 1919-1920, of the Gulf Division, by G. H. Murray, Acting Resident Magistrate.
The Vailala Madness.
A most curious movement originated in the Western part of the Division in August or September, 1919, the villages of Nomu and Arihava both being credited with having started it, but whether any one individual is responsible still remains a mystery. It spread Eastward from village to village, causing intense excitement amongst the natives and alarm to some Europeans, being commonly known as the Vailala or Orokolo kava-kava (madness).
In Pidgin-English the symptoms were described as “head going round,” and when word would come that a new village was affected it would be such-and-such a village “head-he-go-round”. It was thus described because with the majority of the natives concerned their heads would jerk quickly from side to side, and, with some, the muscles of the legs and arms would also twitch as in St. Vitus’ dance, and one can readily imagine how the former, if kept up for any length of time, would make them fall to the ground from giddiness.
Some Europeans, who know nothing of the movement except from heresay, may be disposed to ridicule it and say it was all chicanery or mummery, but there is not a shadow of doubt that hundreds of natives were thoroughly sincere in their statements and I believe that they were the victims of auto-suggestion, unconsciously putting themselves into a state akin to hypnosis… Hypnosis, far from being a condition of sleep, is a condition of heightened attention.
And like the corona virus epidemic today, the Vailala Madness spread swiftly through the villages…
The phenomena of the Vailala Madness may be regarded in their collective aspect. Once begun, the madness spread with the swiftness and certainty of an epidemic throughout the coastal villages, meeting almost everywhere ready acceptance or the feeblest resistance.
Spontaneous Qi movements
This extract describes movements that sound very similar to spontaneous qi movements. For example the description of “head-he-go-round”, whereby the native’s heads would jerk quickly from side to side. Also, the movements such as “the muscles of the legs and arms would also twitch as in St. Vitus’ dance” can be observed in people with a spontaneous qi activation.
Additionally, the reference to St Vitus’s dance opens up a whole new avenue, which I will cover in another article. St Vitus’s dance takes its name from a Roman Saint in the 4th century, which legend speaks of, as being a famous healer who performed miracles. St Vitus’ dance refers to a group phenomenon which seems to draw people into a trance like dance. It occurred in Europe in the Middle Ages.
Additionally, the extract above considers that this Vailala Madness is a form of self activated hypnotism. I understand that the spontaneous qi state, is similar to a trance state, albeit it, one where you have full awareness. Alexander Brighton, who wrote a book about spontaneous qigong called ‘Zifagong‘, describes the spontaneous qi state as a ‘hypnagogic state’ – a state in-between waking and sleeping, and a state similar to hypnosis.
The author F. E. Williams gives individual accounts of people he observed affected by the Vailala Madness:
During a moonlight evening numbers of people were collecting in the open squares of the village. A young man named Mara stood on the eravo platform; he was bending, swaying and tottering, hands on hips. He continually rolled his eyes and uttered exclamations, which the onlookers said were unintelligent to them…
On the same evening another man, Mankape, was seen sitting on a verandah. He did not declaim, but moaned and shuddered continually in a way suggestive of teeth chattering.
Mankape is a much older man, of rather forbidding appearance but of mild and pleasant manners. He is popular in the village. He has a reputation as diviner, and possibly as puripuri-man (Sorcerer or medicine man). There was no suggestion of imbecility in his appearance, but he had that lined face and somewhat worried expression which may possibly be associated with puripuri or native occultism.
Lifting the energy around the Solar Plexus Centre (Chakra)?
Another extract shows a young man sounding as though he was trying to activate or raise the energy of the solar plexus centre:
A young man, Karao (of fine physique and appearance)… stood aside, stuttering and mumbling in the familiar manner suggestive of teeth chattering; he made a few symmetrical gestures with both hands, but for the most part motioned with his right hand before his solar plexus as if encouraging his stomach to rise. (Both the symmetrical gestures and the “fanning” movement before the stomach have been noted in one of two other cases).
Meanwhile he heaved long sighs, and looked genuinely distracted. Finally he moved across to the flag-pole, and stamped round and round it, shouting such phrases as – “Hurry up!” “What’s-a-matter?” “Come on boy!”…
I would interpret these actions by Karao as someone who was purposely trying to activate the spontaneos qigong by “fanning” upwards around the solar plexus energy centre. However, it sounds as though he wasn’t able to activate it, hence his frustrated exclamations of “Come on boy!” and “What’s-a-matter?”
Is the source of these Vailala movements coming from the Dantian?
These account examples were of the recognized “Head-he-go-round Men”. What was also described in this book was a subjective description of the symptoms of the Vailala Madness. One example suggests that the movements emanates from the lower belly, which equates to the Dantian field in Traditional Qigong and Chinese Medicine.
The actual feelings of the subject are not very easily understood. The common native name for the condition, Iki haveve, which means literally “Belly don’t know, ” would appear to arise from the facts (1) that the seat of the strange sensations is commonly felt to be in the belly; and (2) that the subject, when overcome by them, does not know what he is about.
The stomach is certainly regarded as the source of inspiration by those especially gifted Automaniacs who can divine; and one of them has defined to me two distinct stages of the seizure: first, iki haveve, when he is simply dizzy or ecstatic; second, iki pekakire – “Belly he think,” when the inspiration rises. Pekakire means literally, “to climb.” As for the alternative name haro heraripe, haro means head, and the word heraripe appears to indicate a whirling motion. It is usd of the wind, bea heraripe meaning a whirlwind.
Here the author shows the connection between the dantian (energy centre) with the ‘spontaneous’ movements of the Vailala madness, but also as the source of power for diviners or witch doctors.
I find it curious that the word “iki” is also a word used in Japanese, meaning ‘life‘, and which would be the source of spontaneous qigong activation.
The word “Pekakire” meaning to climb, possibly alludes to kundalini rising energy or it could be the energy rising from the dantian, maybe up the Ren Channel (Meridian) into activating a spontaneous qigong state.
The word “heraripe”, indicating a whirling movement – suggests the energetic spiral and dancing movement of the whirling dervishes. I have already written before about the spinning motion in spontaneous qigong activation here.
Consider that the dantian (the lower energy centre) is universal energy centre for all humans regardless of where they are from, what race, culture or land they are from. The dantian field is not just a theoretical construct that only the ancient Chinese knew. All humans have the dantian as their energy centre. However, as we have become more modern, civilised, and ‘educated’, we have moved away from the hara (lower belly) as being a source of focus and instead we focus on the brain. Too much yang energy above. Too much yin below, making us unbalanced.
I believe that these trance-like movements, as observed in the Vailala Madness are similar to spontaneous qigong trance states. The movements such as “Head-go-round” -where the head jerks quickly from side to side, and “the twitches of the legs and arms” are movements that can occur in spontaneous qi activation.
What I do find interesting is that the ‘Vailala madness’, (perhaps in actuality a manifestation of spontaneous qi movement), or what I would like to call the ‘sacred dance’, can actually be passed on and spread from person to person just like a viral disease.
This idea I find fascinating, particularly, as at the time of writing this, the world is in the midst of the ‘Corona pandemic’, which has a huge amount of media-driven manipulated fear, and hysteria.
Reading this extract about the Vailala Madness gives me hope because it suggests to me that spiritual awakening – can be passed on from just one single awakened person, to all those around him or her. So therefore if just one person awakens (reaches a state of enlightenment), then potentially everyone around that person, can do too.
This is the end of Part One. In my next article, I will discuss the theory put forward behind the sudden start of this mysterious phenomenon: The Imposition of Christianity and the Vailala Madness. I will also briefly consider spirit possession, or demonic possession. Again, I draw no conclusions. This is a blog post, not a peer reviewed article, so I have the leeway to go wherever I want.
Avicii and the Vailala Madness???
So what’s the Vailala madness got to do with the music star, Avicii?
Yes, it is clickbait, but there may be a connection…
Here is a curious video from Avicii, that for some reason seems to show something quite similar to how the Vailala dance, spreads from person to person.
It makes me wonder if there is a message being sent out by Avicii or at least whoever directed his videos. If you consider that many music videos these days are full of subversive/sexual symbolism and imagery, then it has got to be said that Avicii’s videos bucked the trend. Compared to them, his videos seem more positive.
Next Post –
Part Two: The Introduction of Christianity and the Vailala Madness
Bio-electricity is a kind of electrical force, which I believe also refers to the Qi/Ki energy of Chinese medicine.
On this website, I have written previously about a phenomenon called ‘Spontaneous Qi Activation‘, which I would describe as a kind of bio-energetic charge that is passed from a practitioner, with a high level of Ki energy, to someone with a relatively lower level.
This charge itself activates the receiver’s own qi, causing them to clear their own Energetic Channel (Meridian) Pathways, by setting off lots of spontaneous bodily movements such as flailing limbs, joint rotations, jumping up and down, dancing, even making various sounds.
But I believe that this bio-energy charge can be shared in different ways between people. When two people with a similar charge or spiritual development meet (whether they are aware of it or not), it may be possible that this charge can be felt by either of them when they touch. Possibly also, if they connect their heart chakras (ie – by hugging).
Bio-Electricity and Qi/Ki
‘Bio-electricity’ is a term describing a form of organic or human energy, and I think for Westerners, this is easier to comprehend or accept than words like ‘Qi’ or ‘Ki’ or ‘Prana’, as it sounds more ‘scientific’. Of course, it is hugely ‘unscientific’ so if that bugs you, then please stop reading.
This bio-electricity or bio-energy, is not strictly the same as the electricity running through our pylons and wires in the house. But it is similar. This bio-energy is the motive and living force within us. And it is something that can be built up by prolonged energy work practices like meditation or qigong. It is also potentially the key to healing. And it manifests in different ways.
Meeting with a Voodoo Priestess
In this short interview with a friend and colleague – Caroline Ann Graham, a fellow acupuncturist, told me of a physical exchange she had with – no less, a modern voodoo priestess in New Orleans.
In this account, she told me of a powerful electric-type charge she got when she had physical contact with the priestess.
Though, she did not use the term ‘bio electricity’, I have chosen to use this word as I consider that what she felt was a connection of this ‘bio-electricity’ or Qi/Ki. I have chosen to interpret her encounter as an energy exchange caused between two people that were ‘vibrating’ on a similar level. Other people may disagree with my interpretation. Feel free to put me straight in the comments.
In this interview, Caroline recounts how on a holiday around America, she took part in a tour to visit a local Voodoo Priestess. The meeting was short but it left a life-long impression, and may even have been a major turning point from moving Caroline onto a new path from being solely a professional West-End singer and onto the path of the healer.
Caroline describes this energy as a kind of ‘electricity’ which passes from the Priestess to her, through simple touch and almost blew them apart. It was that strong a sensation.
Here is an abridged transcript of the interview. The video interview recording follows at the end.
Interview with Caroline Graham: Meeting and Energy Exchange with a Voodoo Priestess
I was with my husband and we were on a great tour of America for holiday and to celebrate an anniversary
You know how it is. We were in the hotel and we were looking up stuff that you can go and see and do. And in one of these little brochures was the idea of going to visit a voodoo priestess in her sort of temple.
We didn’t know anything about it except received wisdom of a bit of stuff about animals and usually quite dark doings, you think of voodoo – sticking pins in dolls and all that malarkey. I was pretty much ignorant of it all but forever on the spiritual quest to see what is what. I said ‘lets go and see this’.
We booked in and we were taken in a group. There were quite a lot of people – about 20 or 30 people. And in we all filed in and sat down either on the floor or on various chairs. And sure enough, there she was. A wonderful black lady, who her sort of opening gambit was that she felt that it was a good idea to open up her place and explain exactly how things work and the fact that it is ‘to do good works for the community’. But interestingly, if you had asked me ten or fifteen years ago whether I would end up as a voodoo priestess, she said ‘I would have laughed at you. My background is I picked cotton in the fields in the Southern states. Then I trained to become a nurse’, she said. And I guess she got, what would be our equivalent of ‘the call – the call to do the work’.
So there she was and she said ‘what I am going to do is I’m going to channel what I feel are the questions in the room or the reasons why you have all come. And be inspired from your thoughts, and sure enough she began to move almost rhythmically and became very very fluent and very expansive and so on. And I thought ‘this isn’t quite how she began with her nature and her presence’. It was like she was filtering. Like in American Indian parlance – the ‘hollow bone’ if you like, for channelling information.
And she also explained about Christianity coming into the Voodoo realm and how many of the symbols were adapted, and so you have this sort of juxtaposition, rather like we have in things like mistletoe at Christmas and stuff like that. Stuff absorbed into later religions from the pagan heritage as it were.
Anyway, it got quite interesting because she would go around and point up people in the audience – ‘oh you are so and so, or you are interested in so and so’, and she was right.
You are a ‘Seeker’
And then she turned to me and said: “Ah! – You are a seeker” and that resonated with me a lot because at that time I was very much hunting for the unseen. I had always straddled the arts and sciences, and with the rise of quantum theory and explaining all the stuff that is difficult to explain, and of course sensing the unseen in life, in terms of energetics.
I was a singer, still am, but I was a professional singer and you are dealing with the flow of energy and so of course you are interested. And so she said – “yes you are a seeker” and then she proceeded on and so forth and in the end she finished and it was a very warm atmosphere and people started to file out.
It is typical of me to linger and I was actually the last to leave. And she came to me and I said ‘I wanted to thank you for your talk’. Then suddenly she put her arms around me in a tight embrace and we were like two firecrackers! Whoop!
There was this energetic charge that shot us apart and she said
“Ah. You are the same as me!”
And honestly, when I think of it now, I get tears in my eyes, because emotionally I knew the truth of it. And it does not mean that I am going to become a voodoo priestess but it was ‘like’ recognising ‘like’.
A changing experience
And I came out in a mess as I am now explaining this to you now. And I was thinking ‘goodness’ because my husband had remained outside. He had said you can go in but I don’t want to go in, as he is not interested in these kinds of things, but he is very happy as long as I am happy and delighted for me to have that experience.
So of course I wanted to clear myself before going back to him because he would think that I would have been upset by some ghastly sort of thing. But actually it was tears of joy and of feeling a sense of rightness or corroboration or provenance for the fact that my path was not illusory and so that I could proceed with gusto.
Entering the path of the Healer
And I did go on to do things, like experience the wonderful work of the Sacred Trust in this country, run by Simon Buxton, who wrote a terrific book called the Way of the Bee, which is about the Hellenic heritage of Shamanic practice in Europe and I did do various things, and I could have gone on to do their 3 year practitioner course, but I didn’t.
I then went in to acupuncture, because it is energy training essentially – working with the energy within somebody’s body, and from there into healing work – I say healing advisedly, really it is to become the hollow bone that I spoke of earlier, whereby the healing light can simply travel through the hands to help someone – not to heal myself – nobody does that, it is simply that you are a conduit. And there we are. That is where it has led to today.
Question: Do you remember the name of this priestess?
Answer: I don’t remember the name of this priestess and it was a long time ago but she has remained in my mind ever since. She was in New Orleans. Central New Orleans
Question: Can you describe this electrical feeling you had?
Answer: It was extraordinary. Literally, we couldn’t have sustained the embrace. It was like a… (Caroline makes a kind of crackling sound), and it went right through you. Right to Earth. In you and then down. Lightening, literally lightening.
Question: And she had a regular life before she became a voodoo priestess?
Answer: As she said, if she had been asked years ago if she was going to work as a priestess, she would have laughed. And this is comforting actually, in that, any work like this is open to everyone if you want it… If you want it… This is a very human pastime.
Video of Interview
Many thanks to Caroline Graham for sharing this story and giving me permission to write about it.
This article shows a version of the Eight Precious Sets of Exercise, also known as the Eight Pieces of Brocade, from Qigong Master Geoff Pike. I have written a couple of articles about Geoff Pike here and here.
I am grateful to Paul H., a qigong, meditation and yoga teacher who shared with me pages of the out-of-print Geoff Pike qigong book called – The Power of Ch’i. This article gives a brief explanation of the exercises with some model pictures.
The Eight Precious Sets of Exercise are a simple form of eight different qigong exercises, which take around 10-15 minutes to carry out. If practiced daily, they will help develop a smoother flow of Ki/Qi (energy) in the body, gently strengthen your joints and muscles, and have a positive impact on your health.
Over the centuries, different variations of the exercise have been developed and practiced, but fundamentally, the exercises are all very based on 8 specific movements.
Usually the exercises are carried out in a gentle manner with an awareness of energy flow in the body, making it ideal for people of all ages and states of health. But some versions can be carried out in a more physical way with emphasis on stretching the muscles and tendons. Here are the movements along with extracts from Geoff Pike’s Book – ‘The Power of Ch’i’:
Geoff Pike’s Eight Precious Sets of Exercise
We are ready to begin Pa Tuan Tsin. You have chosen the spot in which you feel most natural and where the air is at its best. You are dressed in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing with ample leg room, your footwear is light and flat bottomed, the sash around your waist is soft and not tied too tightly. You are stripped of metal accessories, your bladder and bowels are empty, you have eaten nothing for at least two hours and taken no alcohol for at least six. There is a pitcher of cool to warm boiled water or hot green tea nearby in case you need it. You remember that all inhalation and exhalation must always be through the nose, never through the mouth (unless exhalation is so instructed). All breathing should be concentrated on the slow, silent and deep. The words patience, discipline, fortitude and faith are firmly in mind.
(Page 97, Geoff Pike’s The Power of Ch’i)
Exercise One: Scoop the Stream
The first exercise is one of the simplest and most pleasant to perform. Is is so named because the second movement gives the impression of scooping the water from a stream and drinking from the cupped hands.
It is excellent for expanding the lungs and stretching the ribcage. It also circulates the dormant Chi from the lower abdomen to the tip of the spinal column and to the forehead. It gives you a general lift and generates immediate alertness. A good way to wake up and get started
Page 98, Geoff Pike’s The Power of Ch’i?
Scoop the Stream: Instructions
Relax. Take up your position standing with feet together and hands loosely at sides, fix your eyes on a chosen object.
Empty the lungs. Inhale as slowly as you can while raising the hands (palms down) until the fingertips touch above the head (palms now up). The time required for the movement should coincide with the length of your breath. Stretch the body upward to its fullest extent without raising the heels. Imagine that you are supporting a great weight with your two palms. Hold for the silent count of three. Exhale slowly and steadily while reversing the movement and lowering the hands in time with the exhalation until they are gently back at your sides and the lungs are drained of air. Pause for the silent count of three.
Intertwine the fingers, forming a scoop, palms uppermost. Inhale slowly and deeply while raising ‘the scoop’ to the lips, bent arm in line with shoulders, elbows raised as high as possible.
To the silent count of three, turn the scoop over (palms down) and exhale steadily while reversing the movement.
Stretch the arm downward to their fullest extent as though pressing the palms down on a spring-loaded weight. Hold for the silent count of three. Return the relaxed hands to the sides and repeat both movements eight times.
Geoff Pike’s The Power of Ch’i, page 99 and 100
Here is a YouTube Video of Exercise One: ‘Scoop the Stream’, performed by Geoff Pike
Exercise Two: Press the Sky
The second exercise is so-called because of its ultimate stretching power. The uppermost hand and flattened palm really seem to be supporting the sky.
A variation of Scoop the Stream, in which the active points are the liver and the shoulders. Chi is circulated from the liver to the shoulders alternatively, conditioning the liver, stimulating its function while relieving the shoulders of strain, and stretching the entire body to its fullest extent.
Geoff Pike, The Power of Ch’i, page 101
Press the Sky: Instructions
Relax. Remain in position with feet together.
Reach behind with the left hand and firmly clasp the back of the thigh just below the left buttock.
Drain the lungs of air. Form a ‘cup’ with the right hand hooked at the wrist.
Inhale slowly and deeply while raising the cup to the lips, elbow in line with shoulder.
Without pause, turn the cup outward and over, rise on your toes and continue inhaling until the right arm is ‘pressing the sky’. From toes to upturned palm, your body is stretched to its absolute utmost and full of air. Hold for a count of three.
6. and 7. Exhale slowly and steadily and reverse the action exactly: lower the upturned palm to the lips while lowering the heels. Form the cup at the lips, lower to the groin, relax with both hands at the sides. Reach behind with the right hand to grasp the right back thigh below the buttock. Repeat the movements exactly with the left hand. Complete four times with each arm.
Geoff Pike – The Power of Ch’i, Page 103
Press the Sky: Video
Exercise Three: The Shaolin Archer
The third and much revered exercise is perhaps the most ‘beautiful jewel in the crown of the Precious Eight’… at least that is how it was once described by a Shaolin priest. Its quite classical performance is reminiscent of a Chinese opera, where all sets, props and even weapons are imaginary. It is best described as the drawing of a longbow hewn from the oldest yew or blackwood or forged of the finest steel. It is a bow that takes the strength, artistry and skill of the true archer to bend.
This exercise can be used alone when time does not permit the full sequence, it being considered the most benefical of the set. Its primary purpose, because of its separate (left and right) stretching, is to exercise alternate lung power. At the same time its twisting motion under pressure relieves and strengthens the liver. Executed from the Half-horse (or full Horse, if you feel like it), it also brings into play the leg, hip and spinal exercise explained under Horse Stance, plus the stretching and strengthening of sinew and joint in the arm, developing unexpected power.
Geoff Pike, The Power of Ch’i, Page 104
3. The Shaolin Archer: Instructions
Relax. Drop into a Half-horse stance (high seated, knees half-bent. Settle comfortably, checking your stance for perfect balance; move your foot a centimetre or two to find it.
Take a long, silent breath while raising the right arm and holding it at shoulder level. The left hand is on the left thigh. The right hand is relaxed from the wrist, the right arm firm but not tensed. Keep your eyes, half-closed, upon the outstretched hand. Think of nothing else but the hand. It is a beautiful thing. It is your hand. It has many times saved you as it moves to your will.
Swing the hand in its gentle state slowly across your body just below eye-level, keeping the arm locked but relaxed. Watch its progress as though it were a bird in flight, until it is across your chest and pointing left. During this flight, you are gently exhaling, emptying your lungs quietly but completely.
Before it has finished travelling, bring up the bow (left hand). Your lungs are now empty and ready to draw breath. Raise the forefinger of the left hand as though its tip were a target (or a gun sight).
Inhale slowly, quietly, steadily, as you push out the bow to full arm’s length, keeping your eyes fixed on the raised finger tip. Straighten the left arm to its fullest extent, locking the elbow until the full breath has been drawn. At the same time, the ‘arrow hand’ has been slowly drawn back to its fullest extent. All motion should cease with the peak of your inhalation. In other words, your movements last as long as your slowest inhalation and exhalation. Hold the pose for the silent count of three. During that period of three seconds, with lungs fully extended, concentrate through willpower your entire bodily strength into your raised fingertip. Stretch that extended right arm to its absolute maximum and a little bit more. The elbow and wrist should tighten like a stretched rope, just the way a cat puts every ounce of power into the awakening stretch of its forelegs.
On three, begin to gently exhale and repeat the exact procedure in reverse, lowering the right hand slowly to the thigh and relaxing the taut left hand at the wrist.
7. & 8. The left hand has now become the arrow hand and the right will raise the bow. Exhale as the left hand swings slowly into position and draw the bow to the right. This may sound complicated but you will find that it is not. Just imagine the fitting, drawing and releasing of an imaginary bow, drawn first to the right and then to the left. Repeat four time on either side.
Geoff Pike, The Power of Ch’i, pages 105-107
Shaolin Archer Video
Exercise Four: Search the Clouds
The fourth exercise is referred to in Wu Shu circles as ‘a very essential health dose’. This may be an added incentive to practice it correctly as it appears quite awkward to perform and calls for considerable physical application. It is called Search the Clouds because the movements command attention upwards.
Its benefit can be seen after internal injuries such as bruises or contusion caused from heavy sparring or actual combat. This indicates its internal effectiveness. It is also accepted as a pick-up for fatigue and over-exertion ‘especially after sexual intimacy. ‘Sexual exhaustion or tiredness can interfere with bodily functions, in particular the digestive system. Searching the clouds hardly seems a recuperative procedure for a bruised or weary body, but with careful and regular practice you will find it is.
Geoff Pike, The Power of Ch’i, pages 108
4. Search the Clouds Instructions
Relax. Remain in the Half-horse Stance (or rest your legs for a moment if you must), then lower into the full Horse Stance.
Place the hands on the thighs, fingers spread inwards
Slowly inhale, while bending the upper body backwards and to the left as far as you can go. The lungs and body should be filled with air by the time you have reached the full extent of your backward bend.
Hold for the silent count of three, pressing back to gain another centimetre. Exhale steadily as you bring the upper body to its central position, by which time the lungs and body are drained of air. Relax. Hold for the count of three.
Repeat the movement to the right. Complete four times on each side. Close the Horse Stance and stand erect.
Geoff Pike, The Power of Ch’i, page 109
Search the Clouds Video
Exercise Five: Lift the Rock
The fifth exercise is a combination of exercises one and two: scooping and pressing. The basic movement is that of taking the weight of a rock or nearby object in the hands, lifting it to the chin and raising it as high above the head as possible.
It offers all-round internal benefits while bringing about the utmost in upward stretching. We have all observed the animal stretching habits, particularly feline, upon waking or rising. No authority on physical energy control and bodily relaxation could deny that stretching has considerable restorative effects.
5. Lift the Rock Instructions
Relax. Stand erect with feet together. Empty the lungs of air.
Entwine the fingers, palms uppermost (to accept the rock).
Inhale slowly and deeply while raising the joined hands level with the chin.
Continue the upward press without breaking the finger grip, turning the palms outward and upward as you continue to press above the head. Follow the movement of your hands with your eyes until your flat, upturned palms have reached their utmost height. Strain to gain an extra fraction, to the silent count of three. Relax.
Exhale steadily while reversing the movement exactly.
Back to the beginning position. Press down for the silent count of three. Repear eight times.
Geoff Pike. The Power of Ch’i, page 110-111
Lift the Rock Video
Exercise Six: Touch the Sky Press the Earth
The sixth exercise combines maximum upward stretching with maximum forward and downward stretching, hence the name.
Maximum stretching and bending combines arm and shoulder loosening, chest expansion, abdominal, back and leg exercise whilst greatly benefiting the kidneys and spleen.
6. Touch the Sky Press the Earth Instructions
Relax. Stand erect with feet together, hands loose at sides. Empty the lungs of air.
Inhale slowly and deeply while raising the hands above the head and continuing a backward bend as far as possible. Hold for the silent count of three.
Exhale steadily while reversing the movement forward and down until the fingertips are pressed on the ground as far ahead of your toes as possible. Pause for the silent count of five.
Inhale slowly and deeply while straightening, drawing the hands up the legs to the thigh.
Hold for the silent count of three.
Repeat eight times.
Geoff Pike. The Power of Ch’i. Pages 112-113
Touch the Sky Press the Earth Video
Exercise Seven: Eye of the Tiger
The seventh exercise is perhaps so named because of the tiger’s ability to look directly behind it while keeping its body poised for a frontal spring. We have all seen a cat stalking some unsuspecting prey, only to be disturbed by a sound of movement behind it. It will stop dead in its tracks, front paw raised, every muscle and sinew frozen in the direction of its chosen path, while turning its head to look directly back over its tail. Apparently tigers do this also.
Whatever the origin of its name, this seems as good an explanation as any, for it is just this action that the exercise calls for. It loosens neck sinews, develops neck muscles, exercises the vital organs of the throat and promotes excellent balance while working calves, ankles and feet.
7. Eye of the Tiger Instructions
Relax. Stand erect with feet together, hands loose at sides. Empty the lungs of air.
Inhale slowly and deeply while gradually rising on the toes and turning the head as far to the left as possible. Do not turn the shoulders or upper body. When the breath is complete, you should be fully raised on the toes, head twisted as far to the left as possible in an attempt to look behind you. Hold for the silent count of three.
Exhale steadily while reversing the movement back to the starting position.
Repeat movement to the right. Complete four times on either side.
Geoff Pike. The Power of Ch’i. Pages 114-115
7. Eye of the Tiger Video
Exercise Eight: Grip the Swallows egg
The name of this eighth exercise is derived from the unique way of closing the fists. Each fist is fully formed yet leaves a hollow in its centre as though protecting a delicate object from being crushed. The fist, tensed to its full power when outstretched, must control the energy that surrounds the inner palm. This exercise develops a formidable hand grip, greatly strengthens the arm while demanding passive control. It is one of the classic restraining movements, which, when released with full speed and impact after long practice, can unleash unbelievable but easily controlled force.
To increase power in the arms, from shoulder to elbow, to wrist, to fingers, is the main purpose; at the same time exercising the legs and lower trunk. It is in fact the slow ‘motion’ performance of the ‘kung fu’ punch with strict control on pressure and the restraint of energy. It is a little difficult to master and should be practiced patiently and diligently from one stance at a time until ready to progress to the next. Pa Tuan Tsin only teaches the frontal punch, but I have included punching from the Right and Left Bow.
Grip the Swallows Egg Instructions
Relax. From the Horse Stance, empty the lungs of air.
Inhale slowly and deeply while extending the right fist in a frontal punch. The movement should begin from a relaxed shoulder, gradually increasing pressure as it turns and extends. When the fist is fully extended (imaginary swallow’s egg safely shielded inside), tensed as if in a strike, the arm is also locked at the elbow, exerting full pressure. Hold for the silent count of three.
Exhale steadily as you reverse the movement, withdrawing the fist and slackening pressure as it returns to the waist and complete relaxation. Hold for the silent count of three.
Repeat the movement with the left fist. Repeat eight times.
& 6. Without rising from the Horse Stance, twist into the Left Bow position and repeat the exact movement, aiming the restraining punch at an imaginary target on your right. Four punches with each arm.
7. & 8. Twist into the Right Bow position and repeat two punches to the left. Close the Horse Stance, stand erect. Relax and lower the hands to the sides. Inhale. Exhale.
9. Bow to the light that is in you.
The final exercise of the Precious Eight may leave you a little wobbly at the knees, but otherwise feeling fine once you have closed the Horse Stance and straightened up. The temptation to sit down will also be great. Resist it. Ease tired leg muscles by walking about or, if you are practising in a room, just walking on the spot. Keep your legs moving for at least a five minute period.
Sip some water or tea, allow your breathing to settle and become completely normal.
Geoff Pike, The Power of Ch’i. Pages 116-119
Grip the Swallows Egg Video
Advice on Practicing Pa Tuan Tsin
In his book The Power of Ch’i, Geoff Pike gives some basic advice on ways to get the maximum benefit from your practice of the Eight Precious Sets of Exercise. I will summarise these points below:
As with learning from a book, and without the guidance of a teacher, there is the risk of dropping out. This can occur with losing faith and confidence in what you are practicing, especially in the early days. How do we avoid the temptation to drop out?
Firstly – patience, discipline and will power are the vital ingredients. Unlike many ‘get-fit’ systems, these breathing exercises do not carry a ‘money back guarantee’ or ‘a magnificent body in 7 days’ for five minutes a day of exercise. They do not promise easy effortless easy results with no disruption to your daily life. However, what they do offer is a ‘definite, self-evident improvement in general fitness, increased strength and a degree of immunity from immunity which might otherwise affect a less healthy body’.
The various benefits to be had from Pa Tuan Tsin and the time to achieve them is completely up to you, as is the ultimate goal of Ch’i development.
There is a yardstick to judge your progress on, and protect against losing your confidence and faith in your practice. The first four weeks are when you are at greatest risk of dropping out. During this time, you will find some of the exercises uncomfortable and awkward to carry out in the beginning. Or conversely, they may seem so easy, you cannot fathom any benefit coming from them. There will be days, when you don’t want to practice, especially in a pair of droopy pyjamas posed in front of a mirror or seen by your neighbours in your garden in bad weather. You may find the co-ordination of breath and the movement difficult. However, it is the first month that is the ‘testing ground’. It is the ‘proving period’ you must pass through no matter how slowly, before you realise that you have only just begun.
Be aware of these early stumbling blocks and learn how to deal with them. Firstly, do not hurry in your efforts to immediately follow the routine as laid out. You can leave the extra exercises until you are ready. You do not have to follow the exact sequence of exercises. Instead, you can work on individual exercises – practice the stances or get familiar with the different postures before attempting to coordinate them with your breathing. If a particular muscle or joint is uncomfortable with a specific movement, be patient with it, massage it, coax it and take your time. You will discover your own body’s capabilities and develop your own style.
If there is difficulty with co-ordinating breathing and movement, you can practice the breathing separately. Concentrate first on prolonging and controlling the length and depth of your inhalation and exhalation by deep breathing as often as you can. Remember breathing can be practiced at any time – in the car, walking the dog, by the office window, in bed or the bath.
You cannot always choose the quality of your air, so restrict deep breathing exercises to when the air is relatively clean. For example, it would be better to take shorter breaths when you are behind a diesel or petrol engine, or on a crowded train. But when you can take deep breaths in a relatively clean area, take the opportunity to do so.
Breathe through the nose. You will know when your breathing is improving, because the length and duration of your breaths will be longer and you will find it cooler at the back of your throat, like a cool breeze in the back of your throat, rather than a scarcely noticed rhythm in the nostrils. Also your diaphragm will rise and fall rather than your chest and ribcage.
Geoff Pike does recommend that if you have any doubts about your ability to cary out any of these exercises, then you should take this book to your doctor and ask his opinion. This is particularly the case if you have any chronic health complaints or any specific disease. (I would add that if you are elderly, have mobility issues, are at risk of falls, or suffer from any illness affecting your breathing, this advice would be recommended – my note).
Feel free to drop any exercises out of the sequence if they are not possible for you or just simply don’t feel right. Chi gong is a personal practice. The wonderful thing about Pa Tuan Tsin is that even if you were to practice just one of these exercises alone and nothing else, you would still reap benefits. For example, the Shaolin archer is a popular favourite. Also the Horse Stance can vary in how low or high you go.
Finally, Geoff does make a reference to frequency of practice as being – every day, or at least every other day. However, in the spirit of Geoff Pike’s other advice, I would add that the practice should suit you, your schedule and current state of health. For some people, this might mean that they could only manage once or twice a week. For others, every day. You have to find what suits you at your stage of life. However, it is important to maintain a regular practice and above all, to practice – patience, discipline and will power.
I hope you have found this article helpful. I have quoted heavily from Geoff Pike’s book The Power of Ch’i. Geoff Pike’s version of the Eight Precious Exercises does differ from other more common versions of the Eight Pieces of Brocade that are taught today. In fact, I started practiced this version while working on this article and I immediately noticed improvements to my posture and especially in regards to my forward neck and shoulder habit. I actually prefer this version of qigong.
Geoff’s book is a goldmine of information and I heavily recommend you grab a second hand copy, as it is out of print now (Amazon link here). Again thanks to Paul H. for the copies of the pages.
Firstly, an apology. This article is a click bait. I am not going to teach you how to be rich by utilising Ki power, like this is some kind of ‘Ki-Energy Law of Attraction’. It doesn’t really work like that.
I am exploring the idea that wealth flows to you when your relax your desire for it. It is like standing in the sea by the beach, and trying very hard to grasp water.
You may tense your hands and grab at it, but it will slip out from between your fingers. The harder you try, the more it eludes you.
In this way, you can stand right in the midst of an abundance of water, and yet be unable to grasp none.
Remind yourself that you are surrounded by Money
This is a metaphor for money. We currently have a debt based society controlled by banks. Trillions of pounds, dollars etc flow all around us in this society, just like the water in the sea. But you will find that as you try to grasp at it with tightly clenched hands, it too will elude you.
Yet, just like the sea analogy, all you need is a container and the water will flow without resistance into it. So it is with money. You make yourself the container. You make yourself receptive to the money. Let it flow to you. Do not chase it, nor grasp at it. Make it find an easy way to come to you.
Your openness is the container
In this way, money, is a mental state. Many will find that the more you desire it, the further away from you it is.
There are times in your life, when you do not desire it. Perhaps you desire something else, for example – a relationship, a kind of work, an experience, the completion of a creative endeavour, and then you find money just seems to flow to you without effort on your part.
This is an example of making yourself a receptive container for money.
So how to make yourself receptive? The million dollar question. This article explores the idea that perhaps spontaneous qigong is one such way.
Qi/Ki energy work can help you balance your mind and clear some internal garbage that could prevent you from realising you own potential. By clearing some of these blocks, it may enable you to go on and generate more money in your life.
Stagnant Ki not only affects your health, it also affects your wealth
I believe that money is a form of energy. And just like the Ki energy that flows in the body, when it gets stuck or stagnant, then poor health occurs. Likewise, when our money Ki (or energy) is stagnant, then we have money problems.
It is kind of like a block. Something stops it flowing into our life.
There is a connection between money and health. And the flow of Ki energy in our body and in our life has a role in both.
First, I will discuss the importance of Ki flow in health.
The Chinese have a special relationship with money
It is worth noting that the Chinese are astute with money. Right now, they own most of the US debt. They have all the factories and industries. They have the second biggest economy in the world.
What is not so often noted it that they are avid gamblers. Many years ago, I frequented a casino in Wolverhampton, UK. There were many Chinese there – men, women, young and old. It was a popular pastime for the Chinese community. They also had their own Mahjong clubs, which were closed to none-Chinese. I gained admittance once, because I went with with a Chinese friend who talked our way in. However, we were very quickly asked to leave. No Gweilo (white devils) allowed!
The Ancient Chinese, health and Ki flow
The ancient Chinese emperors were also obsessed with health. They had the best that life had to offer – food, entertainment, wealth and plentiful concubines. So they didn’t want their fun ending prematurely. This prompted the search for the elixir of health. After all what good is it to own the world, and then die at age 40 just when you’re starting to enjoy it all? They wanted to live much longer than that. And enjoy all those concubines.
China is the source of so many health preservation therapies and exercises including Taoism. Tai chi and Qigong, which are practiced by millions of Chinese. ‘Qi’ means energy and ‘Gong’ means work. It literally translates as energy work and that is what it is.
Qigong and Tai Chi incorporates exercises designed to increase the flow of Qi/Ki energy in your body. To learn more about Qi/Ki energy, check out my book – The Genki Self Health Guide. Basically, Ki is a form of energy that runs through energetic pathway in our body, called ‘Channels’ or ‘Meridians’, which provide the motive force for our internal organs and their physiological functioning.
A smooth flow of Ki energy for Good health
To be healthy, we need a smooth flow of Ki in the body. This Ki flows through a special network of energy channels (meridians). These energy channels run through the entire body like a motorway network. The Ki fuels our whole body. It enlivens every part of our body. It is similar to the circulatory system, but is not visible to physical scans. However, to energy-sensitive people they sometimes can be felt.
In sickness, a few things happen. The Ki flow gets restricted at various parts of your body. For example, a simple example is where a person gets a headache or stiff shoulders from looking at a computer screen all day. This means the Ki energy is stuck in your head or upper body.
Because the Ki stagnates in your head, there is not enough flow to other parts of your body. So at the same time you may get a weak stomach, dull back pain, cold hands and feet. If you do, then it means you have a imbalance of Ki energy in your whole body. It means too much is above, and not enough is below. So to be healthy, you have to balance the flow of Ki and get it flowing down again.
The Mood, Emotions and Ki Stagnation
Another example of Ki stagnation can be manifested in depression.
With depression, you have over-thinking, self-doubt, worry, anxiety and pensiveness. Anxiety feeds frustration which leads to poor self-esteem. The shoulders droop, a person becomes listless, loses motivation and becomes lazy.
What is happening to the Ki energy? It is slowing down and becoming sluggish. A person then eats more and puts on weight.
Antidote: Learning to move the Ki-Energy
The Chinese recognised that movement and exercise is the greatest antidote to stuck Ki. But it is not just about running or lifting weights. The Chinese went deeper. They recognise that we have an internal energy system which powers the functioning of the body. And it is when this internal energy no longer flows that eventually the physical body then manifests disease.
Poor Ki flow or stagnation can come from many sources, for example – bad diet, work stresses, accidents, illnesses, incorrect living, bad habits. Many things can throw our balance off. Poor Ki flow can also come from an excess of emotions like anger, sadness, worry or even excess joy. With joy – think over-stimulation.
And what about money?
Good health, smooth Ki flow and the flow of money
Firstly, health equals money. As with the Chinese emperors seeking their elixir of health, the modern day equivalent is seen with the many celebrities who spend thousands on private healthcare, including regular massage, acupuncture and other complementary therapies.
It is clear that wealth becomes less important, if you don’t have the health to enjoy it. Conversely, good health is less enjoyable if you have poverty. So, really we want an adequate amount of both in life – health and wealth.
Another factor, is that you need health to make money.
Without health, your income generating potential becomes lower. With abundant health, your potential increases. And what’s really important is energy. Energy is the basis and with that we need a smooth flow of it not just in out bodies, but in our life in general.
Excess energy means you can put more into a business or a job or in learning skills for a good job or way to generate more income. However, these types of activities can be draining on the body, so you need to replenish that Ki energy so you can keep going. You need also to balance and recharge energetically.
Activity seems to beget more energy. If you slow down and tell yourself that you are too old, or too dumb, or not educated, or that its too late – then this is what will happen. If you keep a youthful attitude to life, enjoyment and willingness to learn or try new things, you can enhance your energy flow.
Age, mental state and Ki flow
Whatever you think of Donald Trump, you have to acknowledge that he seems to have a phenomenal amount of energy for a man in his 70s – to run for President, which is like a year long gruelling job interview.
We see the same kind of energy in people like Jack Lalanne – the keep fit enthusiast who was still pumping weights into his 90s. Recently, I had a client in her 70s, who was living her life like she was in her 40s.
These above examples were also wealthy.
Money is energy, energy is money
Money is a form of exchange and essentially it represents energy. It is a physical representation of energy – energy we can expend. It represents our skills, the services we provide, our effects on other people, our luck, what we own, and a whole lot of intangible things.
There is no clear logic to money. Or even fairness. Those that seem more deserving of it – nurses, nursery assistants, get paid very little. Those that seem undeserving, money changers/lender/bankers/footballers get the most.
Some people have an abundance of it without effort on their part. Others work 12 to 15 hours a day and struggle to pay their bills. Money does not follow the rules of fairness or of such statements such as ‘a fair days work for a fair day’s pay’.
This is why I look at money as something different – it has an energetic quality. And part or it is about flow. You invite the flow to you. Like standing in the sea, you can be surrounded by it, but grasp none. It seems to me there is a karmic and energetic motivation behind money.
If you do not have money, consider your relationship with it. Do you grasp it? Are you desperate for it? If yes, this indicates you fear it and you don’t have enough if it. You have to make it something that does not hold power over you.
Dating: don’t be desperate.
There is this theme in dating. When you seeking a mate, don’t be too desperate to get him or her.
For example, if you are a guy chasing a girl and you go out of your way to get her – making yourself alway available; always changing your plans to be with her if she asks you, letting her flake on meetings with you and yet still agreeing to meet her after – all because you want to please her and make her like you. What then is the result of this?
That girls sees you as the nice friendly guy – “like a brother”. You are friend-zoned and then she goes and dates a jerk and tells you all about it when she has an argument with him.
To get the girl, it is advisable that the guy be indifferent. Chase and be clear about your intent, but don’t be upset about the outcome whether you get it or not. Move on.
Treat a love interest like a hamburger
On a trip with a friend, he met a young woman who was particularly enamoured with him. She asked him to meet him at a specific time when she finished work and to make sure not to be late. “Promise me, you will come at this time” she told him. “Promise me!”
However, when the time came to meet her, he felt really hungry and wanted to get a hamburger.
I told him, it would probably make us late, but his stomach took priority. So we stopped at MacDonalds where he proceeded to order two Big Mac sets and ate them both. He was really hungry.
As a result we were late for his meeting with her and she had already left. He didn’t seem disappointed. He just let it go. Personally, I wouldn’t do that, but I have much to learn.
This is as it is with money. Of course, it is easier to say than done, especially with all those hormones and emotions flooding around. But to put your heart on your sleeve leads you to be tossed and turned like a ship in a storm with full sails open. A rocky ride.
Respect and want the money, but do not grasp at it. Open yourself up as a container to it so it flows to you, but don’t grasp at it. How to do that – one way is to relax our bodies. To create a smooth flow of Ki in our lives in general.
How to Enhance the flow of Ki in our life
So how do we rebalance our Ki energy? Regular qigong can help. It does not mean it will make you rich. But it can help balance your mind and reduce the grasping.
Here is one exercise:
Entering the meditative zone
Here is a simple meditation exercise based on spontaneous qigong. The object is to tune into the subtle energy movements of your body.
Sit in either seiza (legs folded above your ankles), cross-legged or on a chair with a straight back.
Close your eyes. Take some deep breaths for a few minutes. Then relax into a normal breathing pattern.
Then just sit there for 5-10 minutes.
Quietly observe your inner body without attempting to affect any change. Be aware of any sensations, any feelings of swaying or vibrations, pulsations or energy moving up and down your legs and arms. If you feel anything – great, but don’t try to do anything.
Bring it to an end after five to ten minutes.
Do this every day, twice a day.
Wait! So just sitting is going to improve my flow of Ki and make me rich?
No, of course not.
It’s not the sitting that increase the flow of Ki. It’s the tuning into your own body’s energy. It is this turning away from the outward world, from the stresses, problems, desires and million other distractions. It is about connecting to the energetic flow. Over time, this can enable you to tune in and enter the ‘Meditative Zone”. This can enable a smooth flower of Ki in your body and your life.
The meditative zone is a strong energetic and healing field that we all have to ability to access. However so many of us don’t do so, or haven’t developed our sensitivity enough to feel it.
Over time, as your sensitivity increases, the tuning into your body and this meditative zone will become stronger and you may experience other types of things like more swaying, spontaneous movements and your body leading you into unblocking yourself.
However, to begin with, this simple meditation exercise can be a good introduction. If you are interested in taking it further, do read my articles on spontaneous qigong.
So try it, and if after a while of doing daily meditation to encourage a smooth flow of Ki, suddenly a lot of money comes to you – feel free to attribute it to this article. Buy me a cappuccino or even better buy my book: The Genki Self Health Guide.
It is clear from reading this book, that Jim McMillan was a serious student of Mo Pai. He practiced diligently for many years and even achieved the third Level (Level 2b) in Mo Pai – a level that even most of John Chang’s Indonesian students were not able to attain despite having more frequent access to him.
In Jim McMillan’s book, he gives an honest account of his experience with John Chang. He also talks about the other Western students, who sought out John Chang, who by Jim’s account were not as serious about the training, and in some cases were more interested in self-promotion. However, this is purely Jim’s viewpoint.
He also talks about John Chang’s communication with demons. This aspect is particularly curious, because Jim is a Christian who was able to hold a dualistic acceptance of Christianity together with Mo Pai. But he did not shy away from this curious aspect of John Chang and in fact was highly critical of John’s communication with the spirit of his ancestors. Jim specifically referred to John Chang’s guiding spirit as a “demon”.
Finally, he gives some information of the training he did and sensations he experienced. He does not give too many details about the training of Mo Pai, but he gives enough to get a basic understanding.
In this article, I will quote passages from Jim’s book, because I think he gives a good account of the life of a Mo Pai student, as well as his thoughts on the Mo Pai association. His views on John Chang as a teacher and the other students is interesting.
Mo Pai is the name of this particular school of training. The system of energy work they practice is called ‘Naigong’. Jim McMillan also referred to his teacher, John Chang, as ‘Pak John’.
At the end of this article, I will link to some of Jim McMillan’s videos and interviews. These articles and videos are available elsewhere on the internet. I have provided sources/references to these sites, including direct links to these websites.
If you are interested in John Chang or Mo Pai, or simply in the development of your own qi powers, that I would highly recommend you obtain a print copy of Jim McMillan’s book as soon as possible, just in case it ever goes out of print in the future. Here is an Amazon link – Seeking the Master of Mo Pai.
A TV documentary that changes lives
Jim McMillan was a martial arts teacher, who one evening in the late 1980’s, switched on his TV and saw this man from Indonesia carrying out all sorts of incredible magical feats in a documentary called ‘Ring of Fire’.
This documentary created by the brothers – Lorne and Lawrence Blair, showed an unknown Indonesian man, who they referred to as ‘Dynamo Jack’ performing acupuncture. But as he twisted the needles in his patients, they would feel intense electrical type shocks. In fact, he could simply touch a person, and they would feel an intense shock, which he demonstrated on the Blair brothers. John Chang also could move objects with his own chi. He moved a kriss (a ceremonial dagger) without touching it. And more incredibly, he set fire to a piece of paper on the ground by projecting chi into it.
Such things modern movie watchers might pass off as being easily fakable or trickery. But to most people who view this documentary, it looks like the real deal. And even 30 year later, it still looks like the real deal.
This was largely due to the pure unassuming nature of the documentary, whose main topic was the country of Indonesia. There was also the seeming earnestness of ‘Dynamo Jack’, who we later discover his real name is ‘John Chang’. At the time, John wanted to remain anonymous. He did not want any kind of fame from this video. There is also the clearly genuine surprised reactions by the Blair brothers as they were shocked when touched by John Chang.
This segment with John Chang was only a small part of the overall documentary series but it has probably had the most impact on thousands of people ever since. For here we see the stuff of magic, of Star Wars and the Force. We can see the potential of ‘chi’, a type of energy, which is also sometimes called ‘qi’ or ‘ki’ in Traditional Oriental Medicine. And all of this came in the unassuming form of an Indonesian acupuncturist.
And what is more, he stated that these powers can be developed by anyone. When John Chang was asked in the documentary how he developed these abilities? – He simply answered: “Meditation”.
After seeing this, Jim McMillan was awakened. He knew that he had to find this man to learn from him. And this was to begin his manic search to find this unknown man in Indonesia.
Desperately Seeking John Chang
Jim’s account of tracking down John Chang, aka Dynamo Jack was fascinating. He literally landed in Indonesia and asked anyone he met if they knew John Chang. He carried a small picture of John Chang taken from the documentary. He had lots of dead ends. However there were moments of luck, which led him closer and closer to John. Unfortunately, time was running out for Jim. He only had a few more left days to track him down before his return flight.
Finally, only hours away from his return flight, he finally met John Chang through a chance lead with another Westerner who knew of John Chang. This person had been receiving acupuncture from John Chang for an injury from a car accident. With this new information, Jim arranged a meeting and travelled to John’s house.
John Change asked him what he wanted. Jim Mcmillan simply asked to become John’s student. John Chang lifted his arms, felt his muscles and said OK, I will take you as a student. Jim was now John Chang’s first Western student of the Mo Pai system.
Level One of Mo Pai
It is said in Mo Pai, there are 72 levels of training. Immediately in chapter one, Jim describes the training for the first level, which he received in his first rushed meeting with John Chang.
With the remaining time I had left, my new teacher explained the first lesson to me. He had me sit on the floor next to him showing me the correct posture and the proper breathing techniques. Then he told me that I would be getting a certain feeling in about eighty hours, and to let him know about it as soon as it occurred. Then he stood up and acted as though he was finished. That’s it? I thought. This is all I have to do? It just didn’t seem enough; I thought there was more than this!
Then Jim asks John to demonstrate his electrical ability to him.
He (John) smiled willingly as he reached out touching me with only his finger. Just as he did, a powerful electrical current shot through me instantaneously. It made me jump away leaving me dumbfounded and thrilled at the same time. I was completely defenceless by the overwhelming power he demonstrated on me. My sudden reaction amused him. The others who were standing around watching chuckled knowingly.
Curiously, this effect could also be felt without intention from John, for example – when Jim touched John by accident:
A few moments later, I was going over a few things he said while we were sitting next to one another. My hand accidentally brushed against his leg and once again I received another jolt as his electrical current unintentionally shocked my hand. I reacted instantly by jerking it away. He as well as the others in the room all laughed a second time.
My comment: This makes me think of the minor qi sensations a person can get when he practices qigong and acupuncture. For example, there have been occasions when practicing in Japanese acupuncture seminars, when you are in a room full of people practicing energy work – and occasionally you touch the acupuncture point on a person, you are practicing with, and they feel a mini static charge of electricity when you touch them. In some instances, they ask you whether you have needled them? But no you haven’t, you have merely touched them with your finger. It has happened for a me a couple of times, without any intention on my part. It is a very minor feeling and not at the same level as John Chang, but it does imply that we all have some ability to generate electricity.
Mo Pai Training
Jim gives more information about the physical Mo Pai training than Kosta’s book – ‘The Magus of Java’. I think this is because Jim was an extremely serious student.
It is worth adding here, that the breathing exercises that make up the first level training of Mo Pai/Naigong does involve some reverse breathing.
Apparently, this reverse breathing component was not taught to Jim McMillan at his first meeting with John Chang, perhaps as a mistake, due to the unusual circumstances and hurry of his visit. Instead, John Chang had showed him how to do regular breathing. However, at a later occasion, John Chang did teach him reverse breathing. One thing we learnt from this, is that there were no adverse effects from only using regular breathing and actually Jim progressed just fine without the reverse breathing component.
Lotus / Half lotus
Jim had been instructed to sit in full lotus position. However due to a lifetime of various injuries from his martial arts training, he found it difficult to do this. As a compromise, his teacher showed him how to sit in half lotus. This would be an acceptable alternative.
The first level of Mo Pai requires sitting meditation. Specifically, John Chang told Jim that it would take 80 hours to begin to feel the required initial sensations:
My teacher had told me on my first meeting with him that after 80 hours training I would experience a “special” feeling in my dan tian (lower stomach)… He said this would be vital that I develop the dantien before going on to the next level. He wouldn’t tell me what the special feeling was. If he had, he said he feared I might psychologically make up something that was not real and get the wrong results.
After 80 hours, Jim did experience a sensation in his dantian:
Sure enough, around the end of my eighty hours of meditation I begin to feel what I thought Pak John was expecting. The sensation I had in my lower abdomen was strangely exhilarating and very exciting. This sensation felt like heat, and it was developing in my dan tien. It began as a very small feeling of warmth which I didn’t think too much of it at first, but was well aware of it nonetheless. Then it started to grow larger in size and intensity. It continued to the point that it became alarming because I wasn’t sure if it was going to stop increasing in size or temperature.
Jim tried to call John, to ask if this was the sensation he was expecting. Apparently it was not – it was a precurser to the sensation John was expecting:
It was only later that I learned this feeling was not what he was expecting. However, it is the prerequisite to what I am supposed to feel after this first sensation. There is actually a second sensation the first one turns into.
My note: People who practice qigong, particularly the standing forms, will be aware of this first sensation of heat in the dantien. The dantien is an energy centre in the lower abdomen, approximately two finger breaths below the belly button.
This sensation of heat is talked about in texts on qigong and some qigong practitioners have experienced it for themselves. I have only experienced it once, which may be because my dantien is blocked and due to my sporadic practice. However, I am not aware of the second sensation, which Jim and John Chang refer to here. This may be unique to Mo Pai.
John Chang states that this:
This heat is from the chi coming together and building substance in the dan tien while at the same time moving very fast, and all this causes friction.”
Don’t mix energy systems
John also mentioned that this heat that is felt in the dantien of qigong practitioners is used for different purposes than Mo Pai/Naigong practitioners. In this way, the systems should not be mixed. Either you practice Mo Pai/Naigong or you practice Qigong. You should not do both together, because their use of energy alchemy is different.
Early in the book, Jim does not explain what this second sensation was, and apparently, this is why you have to tell your teacher what you feel and then they will confirm it. In actuality it took Jim 500 hours of meditation to attain the sensation – not the 80 hours as initially stated by John Chang. Jim’s understanding and progress was further delayed, because it was at this time that John did his 3 years meditation self-exile in the jungle of Borneo. He was uncontactable during this period. Despite this, Jim continued to practice diligently despite not having contact with his teacher or any instruction:
As it turned out, this training would take as much or more than five hundred hours of meditation just to accumulate the 80 hours of what would be termed “focused meditation”. I hadn’t ever known this before, and from there I found there was a distinct difference betwen meditation and concentration.
The heat in the dantien returns
Later in Jim Macmillan’s’ book, he describes how the heat in the dantian sensation returned again, and how it grew so intensely it worried him. At the time, Jim’s teacher John Chang was away on his retreat in Borneo and could not be contacted for advice:
The sensation of heat in my dantien finally returned and continued to grow and intensify. In fact, it was intensifying so much that it started to alarm me.
Was this something I was supposed to feel? Was it supposed to get this hot? How much hotter will it get? Day by day, it seemed to be getting stronger. Different thoughts raged through my mind. Does this have anything to do with spontaneous combustion? The feeling was beyond anything I was familiar with, but more to the point, it was real and not something I was imagining, and it was consistently happening as I practiced.
Then the heat started moving around Jim’s body:
As if the heat feeling wasn’t enough for me to wonder about, it then all of a sudden jumped to my lower back! What in the heck is going on? I thought. The heat was now located at the base of my spine. I also found that I could flip the hot sensation back and forth at will. I had control of it.
The Microcosmic orbit
As John Chang was away, Jim looked for answers in books about Taoism. He doesn’t state the name of the book in this section. However, later on, Jim does state that he read a book called ‘Secrets of Chinese Meditation‘ by Lu K’uan Yü (Charles Luk). So I assume this is the book he was referring to.
In this book, it discussed how qi energy moves within and around your body at will. it also discussed the sensation of heat and that heat first develops from the accumulation of chi. After the qi becomes organised and accumulated sufficiently, it then embarks on what is called the ‘microcosmic orbit’. Followed that it moves along the ‘macro cosmic orbit’.
There are other articles on the internet on what the micro cosmic and macro cosmic orbit are in the qigong and energy work. And it would be better to read those, to get more information.
In short, the micro cosmic orbit, is when the energy moves, or is moved in a circular movement in your body through the energy centres from the base of your spine, up your spine, over your head down the front of your body, through your dantian and back to the base. Or you can do it going the other direction. The macrocosmic orbit is a larger orbit in the body that involves the legs.
Jim Macmillan discusses the orbiting of the body:
The orbiting of your chi isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. There are seven chakras points it must pass through before moving onto each successive point thereafter; some are easy to do while others can be extremely difficult. when the qi reaches one of these points, it can sometimes come to an abrupt stop. This energy now has the task of breaking through each chakra point if it is blocked. The individuals physiology, health, mental state and some other unknown factors will determine how long it would take the chi to break through each point. On some points it takes a great deal of effort and a long time for it to open up to allow the chi to pass through. Conversely on some of the points the chi takes less time and effort and can pass through rather easily.
I personally have not experienced the micro cosmic orbit, which is a reflection of my sporadic practice and inexperience. However, My friend Miro Barici told me he had. I have written about Miro here.
As regards, the blockage of chakra points, this is something I have experienced. I wrote about my experience at a meditation class in north London, where they carried out an exercise at the end designed to raise the energy up the spine – a kind of mini-kundalini arising. On this occasion the energy stopped at two of my chakra points, indicating a blockage. When this occurred, I felt extremely hot and my heart was beating rapidly. I could hear it thumping in my chest and I was sweating profusely. I was in my late 20s at the time and I did not, and still don’t have, any heart conditions that may have explained that reaction.
Removing his blocks
Without his teacher to guide him, Jim decided to continue working on removing his blocks. However, it sounds like this was mistaken action on his part as Jim wrote:
In my case, I mistakenly thought this was what I was supposed to do in my training. So like everything else I do, I began very determined to bust through my blockages.
I do not know why Jim thinks this was a mistaken act on his part. However, he did make much progress in removing his blocks, as he wrote here:
So when the chi jumped to my lower back I continued to work on it to facilitate its orbit around my body. When the chi came to my first chakra point it didn’t take too long for it to break though. And then further up my spine my chi also hit another abrupt blockage. The energy didn’t stay there long either to pass. But when the chi reached the top of my head it became stuck for a long time!
Everyone is different and will not have the same results regarding how long it takes to accomplish the passing of one’s chi though each point through their body’s “orbits”.
Mo pai (Naigong) differs to Chi gong
As I mentioned earlier, Mo Pai is the name of this particular school. The system of energy work as practiced in Mo Pai was called ‘Naigong’. I understand that ‘Naigong is also sometimes spelt with an ‘e’, as in ‘Neigong’. Jim referred to it as Naigong, so that is the spelling I will use for this article.
Also there are differences between the training for energy practices like Chi gong (Qigong) and Mo Pai/Naigong. The approach and energy alchemy is different and Jim advises not to practice both systems because otherwise you may actually be reversing your effects.
Mo Pai/Naigong appears to work both Yin and Yang together, whereas according to Jim – Chi gong only uses yang. (My note: I don’t have enough knowledge of qigong or naigong to say whether this is true or not)
Jim also discusses how meditation is used in both Chi gong and also Mo Pai/Naigong. And in fact, without meditation you will not be able to acquire yin or yang. But also at the same time, there are other sensations you can experience through Chi gong, but will not experience if you only practice meditation. There are other differences between these different system particularly Chi gong and Mo Pai/Naigong – hence the reason, why you should not mix these systems. Either you practice one or the other.
There is more information about the technics of Mo Pai, Chi gong, meditation and training in Jim Macmillan’s book, and I would recommend reading that if you are interested in learning more.
Christianity and Mo Pai
Throughout the book, Jim discusses God and Christianity. He also has strong opinions on John Chang’s contact with otherworld spirits – particularly two of his dead masters. Jim is particularly condemning of these spirits and believes John Chang’s current spirit master simply wanted to manipulate John to his own end. He believes it was this spirits that ordered John to stop teaching Mo Pai to Jim and stopped his sharing knowledge of Mo Pai to the rest of the World.
Whilst some readers may not like these sections due to the talk of God and Christianity, I think they are valuable. All through the book, Jim acts with a degree of respect to John Chang, Mo Pai and many people he comes across. He acts with straight-forwardness and integrity. I believe his Christianity guides him, but also grounds Jim, so he does not get too carried away. He still stays true to his own original roots whilst learning a completely alien system of energy work.
Jim discusses these apparitions that visit John Chang to give him instruction:
Strangely, in my teacher’s school, he (John Chang) is governed by a yearly, reappearing prevailing, oppressive spirit who decides over all matters, as well as who goes to what levels, and who is to be removed from the school. Plus to make matters worse my teacher is bound to him without question, as if he was totally controlled.
In the documentary ‘Ring of Fire’, there is an occasion, that John is berated by the spirit of his first long dead master for showing off his skills to foreigners. As a result he cuts himself off from the Blair brothers for several years.
In Jim’s book, there is more information about John Chang’s communication with these spirits. One of these spirits also orders John Chang to ban Jim from his school:
It was in 2003 that I was banned by this spiteful uncompromising spirit from the Mo Pai School, because of all things, I am a Westerner. However, I believe there is another extenuating issue that plays in this as well: I follow the word of God instead of this spirit. It is my opinion that spirits are demons and they hate God with a passion. This is why they have isolated the nai gong knowledge so that the world is unable to benefit from it by those that seek after God.
John Chang also fell foul of this spirit, who eventually ordered his removal as head of the Mo Pai School for disobeying the spirits strict rules about teaching to Westerners, especially to Jim:
As it turned out, this spirit “removed” my teacher as head of the school because he ignored the warnings that were made to him for over a decade.
In this way, if not for John Chang disobeying these rules, the world would never know of the possibility of Qi or of Mo Pai. Jim did wonder, why his teacher John Chang chose to disobey these spirit’s orders for so many year and taught Westerners. Jim does suggest, that this decision on John’s part may have given him some tension.
It is worth clarifying that there were two spirits that commanded over John. One was his first master (the one we hear about in the documentary, Ring of Fire). His name was Liao. Then at some point, Liao disappeared sometime around 1993. After that there was a silent period, until soon after a new spirit took his place. The new spirit was said to be Liao’s teacher’s teacher, and whose name was May Yung Chen. This new spirit seemed to be much more controlling than Liao and focused on banning Western students from Mo Pai.
The spirit of May Yung Chen also left more of a spooky impression whenever he appeared:
Whenever May returns to the center he always makes a grand entrance. There is a great wind that accompanies him along with a loud thundering which frightens everyone.
I think that it is this later spirit that instructed John Chang to build an underground meditation centre in his compound.
My Note: To tell the truth, I always feel a bit uneasy whenever I hear about underground meditation centres or temple-like structures or tunnels. I have a feeling that this takes a person into the realm of more sinister spiritual forces and conjurings. However, this opinion of mine has no evidence behind it. It is just my own personal feeling.
Jim Macmillan was especially condemning of these spirit entities who claimed to be John Chang’s masters. He also alluded to the possibility that they may have been draining him or having a negative influence over him. Jim wrote about John’s appearance later on:
It is interesting to note that seeing him in recent years, he doesn’t appear as I once knew him. He has an empty, old hollow appearance. One that makes me think he is becoming lifeless and not necessarily older.
There were also occasions, during John Changs’s retreat into the jungle of Borneo, where he was visited by other spirits. John said that these were mischievous and untrustworthy spirits and “never” to be listened to as they were always trying to manipulate him.
Jim also had his own personal encounters with spirits during the course of his training. For example, during one of his meditation practices, a strange luminous face appeared right in front of Jim. I wrote about something similar I had encountered in this article about low-level entities.
It appears that when you undertake this kind of energy training, it can take you into the realm of the the spiritual world. John Chang advised Jim about spirits:
“You should never believe any spirit, no matter what they do or say.” He said, “They will always try and fool you to get something from you”
This is contradictory statement for John Chang to say, because of course, he was listening to and obeying two spirits – his dead Masters. However, the reason for this obedience, may be found in my previous article about John Chang.
John was suffering with financial problems and a serious lack of money. Despite this, he had been told by his dead master, Liao, that he was not allowed to make money from his acupuncture or healing ability. In frustration he said to the spirit of his master, ‘what is they point of this ability if I must struggle to pay my bills, struggle to feed my family and struggle with money?!’ At that point, his dead master spirit told him not to worry, his fortunes will turn around. Shortly after that, a business opportunity came up and John was able to become a wealthy man.
I believe that this kind of experience, would have cemented John’s obedience to the spirit of his dead master.
Jim talked more about spirit entities. He stated that spirits are attracted to Yin energy. And by this logic, whenever we practice energy work – specifically on the accumulating of yin or yang, we may attract spirits. Jim warns:
Having anything to do with spirits for any reason isn’t something one should take lightly or, for that matter, try doing… Spirits can be very crafty to the point that they can and will lead you to believe they are doing you a favour, but that’s their ruse. They will eventually change and your relationship with them will become one of horror.
Primarily they are after your yin. Yin is like an elixir to them, a vitamin B12 shot if you will. And they will do just about anything to obtain this from an unaware or weak person…
My teacher (John Chang) said that spirits (demons) are “never” to be trusted – no matter what! And he ought to know, he’s been dealing with them for decades!
Jim Macmillan talks more about spirits, including his personal experiences with mischievous spirits. As a preventative measure, he would say a prayer for prevention during his own practice, and maintained his Christian beliefs.
This does remind me of a story I was told by a qigong practitioner many years ago. He already had a high level of qi/yin and yang energy from a long standing qigong practice but he also started to practice meditation regularly. However, on at least one occasion, he started hearing voices during his meditation practice. As a result, he decided to stop practicing meditation and only ever practiced qigong from that point on. The voices stopped. This may have been an example of him attracting a spirit to him, particularly as he had a very high level of Yin energy.
There are 72 levels in Mo Pai. To pass through each stage, a student must have carried out a certain level of practice and achieved a certain amount of power or ability. To graduate each state, I assume a test would be given for the student to pass, just like with other systems of martial arts.
Jim McMillan attained one of the highest level of John Chang’s students. He attained the third level (or Level 2b).
In the Mo Pai system, the earliest levels are hard to attain and the levelling system begins at Level 1, Level 2a, Level 2b and then Level 3.
It is at Level 3, that the practitioner’s Yin and Yang energies have fused and he is then able to do the kinds of actions that John Chang demonstrated in the documentary – Ring of Fire. Possibly things like setting fire to paper by projecting qi and setting off electrical charges in people.
Level 2 or 3 may not sound much when you consider there are 72 levels, but in actuality Mo Pai was a lifelong practice which requires thousands of hours of meditation practice just to be able to attain the first few levels.
For Jim McMillan to attain the third level (Level 2b) was incredibly impressive. Even John Chang did not reach Level 72, during the time he was known to Jim McMillan. We know that John Chang did reach at least Level 20, when he did his self-exile in the jungle of Borneo. After, then, he may have reached higher levels.
It is worth mentioning that Jim Macmillan was not just the first Western student of Mo Pai. He was possibly also one of the highest ranking of all of John Chang’s students – Indonesian or Western. Jim often made comments in his book about the apparent lack of seriousness and lack of practice the other students seemed to have.
On one occasion, Jim was tested over his ability to move objects. I understand this was a pre-requisite test to get to level 2b.
Mixing his own chi with the Yin energy of his teacher
From what I understand (and I could be wrong), moving objects requires the development of Jim’s own qi and ability to project it, but also required Jim to be able to draw on his teachers yin power to move the object. Apparently, John Chang’s yin energy was so powerful that it projects beyond his own body some distance, and it is this yin energy that Jim needed to draw on to move the boxes.
This is indicated because, Jim was unable to move the object (a box) when he was too far from it, but when he moved closer, he could. Also, when Jim was in a different room to John Chang, he could not move the object, but when he was in the same room, he could move an object, and this was whether his teacher was aware or not, of Jim trying to move the object.
Here is a video of Jim McMillan demonstating his ability to knock an object over by projecting qi.
Here is an extract:
Unexpectedly, once I found out something I hadn’t planned on. I was doing a demonstration once for Pak John when we were trying to see how much I had developed over a period of a year. After I had demonstrated knocking boxes over from a distance I needed to leave the room for a few minutes to go to the bathroom. While I was in the bathroom I tried to move an item on the counter and was unable to. But when I returned to continue the demonstration, I was able to do it again while he wasn’t paying attention while I was testing myself maybe ten to twelve feet away. So I came to understand that his yin emanates quite a few feet beyond his body.
Closing of Mo Pai to Foreigners.
Occasionally, I get messages from people wanting to contact John Chang. As I stated in my other articles, I have no connection or contact with John Chang, Jim Macmillan or Mo Pai. I do however, give links to other more current energy work practitioners at an advanced level. One example is a Dr Skakov in Russia.
As far as I understand, there is NO opportunity now for foreigners to see John Chang or learn Mo Pai. Also understand that if he is still alive, he will be elderly now and retired. There was a window of opportunity to learn Mo Pai for 15 years in the 1990s and early 2000s. That has closed firmly now. The best option would have been to contact Jim Macmillan. However, he passed away a few years ago.
John Chang retired as head of Mo Pai and the leadership was passed on to another student. In an interview on YouTube (link below), Jim did mention that John Chang still maintained a role in testing students for the levels, as he was the only one with a high enough ability to test.
Politics between the Mo Pai members
Jim does talk critically about the other Mo Pai students – especially the Western ones. I won’t go into any of that here. To learn more, read his book. Jim was unhappy with the lack of exposure he got in the second follow-up Lawrence Blair documentary featuring John Chang. He was also very understandably upset at being banned from Mo Pai, just for being a Westerner, especially after he had dedicated years of his life to Mo Pai.
I would agree that this is an unfair way to treat a diligent and serious student. On the other hand, I do understand that the fame and promotion of John Chang’s mystical powers does go against the Eastern philosophy of not showing off or benefiting from spiritual powers.
Jim does finish on a positive note by talking about his experience of demonstrating his abilities.
Jim McMillan Memorial
I have provided links to Jim McMillan’s Memorial page below and throughout this article. Jim McMillan died in 2013 due to complications from cancer. Fortunately before he died, he passed on his experiences through interviews and of course his incredible book – ‘Seeking the Master of Mo Pai. I have provided links to his interviews and YouTube clips below. I highly recommend buying his book while you can.
Below is a screenshot of Jim McMillan’s memorial, with a link to the original website:
Links to Jim Macmillan Interviews
Part 1 of Interview with Jim McMillan of Mo Pai and John Chang
From that interview, I have highlighted a few of Jim’s answers.
Jim was asked about his Mo Pai and its effects on his health. Overall, Jim’s health did benefit from his Mo Pai training as he stated:
My health actually improved since I started in neigong. The deep breathing in our first level of training is actually very beneficial, as many of you already know. However, being that we all are very different, the effects/results will show differently in each of us.
I actually overcame a very severe back problem, and became so healthy that I went many years without missing a single day of work.
However, Jim did make it clear that building your dantien does not necessarily guarantee good health, and for some people may even be harmful:
Building up the dantien isn’t what most people think. You are not guaranteed great health. In fact, a few Western student became ill from training incorrectly. Although I don’t have concrete evidence, my observation suggest that if one has greed, power or any other negative desire in his heart, they will have health problems.
I would also add to this and say that likely special X-Men type powers are also not guaranteed for those interesting in Mo Pai and Naigong. Very few of John Chang’s student came close to these kind of powers.
Wouldn’t this training protect you from cancer?
I think it is a logical question to address, considering that shortly after Jim McMillan wrote his book and did these interviews, he died from cancer. The answer to the question – ‘Wouldn’t this training protect you from cancer?‘ is – ‘not necessarily; however in some cases it may increase your survival rate’.
Firstly, consider that the apparent purpose of Mo Pai appears to be ‘power’ and ‘special abilities’ involving chi, yin and yang energy. Health does not seem to be its primary focus, though we would assume that better health would be a side benefit to this training.
Secondly, I have already written other articles on this website about qigong practitioners who got cancer, even after practicing qigong (Geoff Pike and Sat Hon). Conversely I have written about a person who used qigong to help her recover from cancer (Chen Huixian). Here is my article on this topic called ‘An Integrated Approach: Conventional Medicine, Qigong and Cancer’.
Thirdly, consider Jim’s age. As people get older, cancer risks do increase. I don’t know how old he was, but he would not have been that young. There are also lots of factors that can lead to cancer – environmental, genetic, dietary, psychological or emotional. And also possibly spiritual.
As an acupuncturist, I have treated many patients with cancer. There are a lot of factors behind cancer and my experience tells me that it is not as straightforward as thinking that – ‘if you practice qigong or tai chi, you will never get sick with serious diseases‘. Things are more complicated than that. I think the same applies to people training in Naigong and Mo Pai.
Conclusion: The Fruits of his Labour
Jim McMillan finishes his book on a high note talking about his experiences of demonstrating his abilities to John Chang. His years of practice had paid off.
I thought I too would finish this article on a high note by including one extract of Jim demonstrating his abilities. There were several examples in the book to choose from, but I decided on including another example of Jim projecting chi in order to move an object:
My teacher pulled a tape measure from his pocket and motioned for me to come over to him so he could measure my arm.. I knew what I was about to do now. He used a calculator to figure out the exact distance I was to stand from my target, it was about eight feet. A chair was brought and the back part was placed in front of me at the precise end of the tape measured distance that Pak John calculated.
I now stood behind the chair about two feet with my right palm directly above the back of the chair… An empty drinking glass was placed on top of a long table. It had a heavy, one inch thick, glass top. He wanted me to “move” the drinking glass to see how much I had developed since the last time I did this…
I did all my necessary preparations, followed by a deep breath and pushed my chi down into my dantien and then quickly thrust my palm toward the glass. By doing it in this fashion, it literally “shoots” the chi out from your palm. You can also pull things towards you by changing your hand movement… The method of pulling objects towards you is to leave your arm in front of you with your palm directly facing your intended target, and then take a deep breath, and again push your energy down into your dantien. Then as you let out your breath, you simultaneuously twist your palm forcing your energy out your palm.
When I thrust my energy at the glass, it flew off to the side rather than directly backwards, indicating I was off centre. Checking the positon of my palm, I then performed a few practice movements. When I thought I was properly centered I let it go. This time I was a little low, but still knocked the glass backward crashing it against the wall, breaking it. Then it fell to the floor and broke into more pieces.
Pak John ran up to the table. He was not looking at the broken pieces of glass on the floor behind the counter. He was looking at the thick glass table top. What was all that about? I thought. Then he was motioning for me and the others to come take a look.
While I wasn’t aware exactly what else happened, evidently he saw something else occur. The power of the Chi hitting the drinking glass too low inadvertently broke the inch-thick glass table top! He had expected my chi only to move the glass a little, but never considered what might happen to the glass top. However, he was amazed and acted very excited, not to mention how good I felt, but at the same time embarrassed for breaking an obviously expensive glass top. Again the clamour ensured with the replay on the small video camera screens to relive the experience one more time. And Lawrence had taped the entire event as well!
Learning and Experiencing Chinese Qigong in Norway
‘Learning and Experiencing Chinese Qigong in Norway’ is the name of an article published in the Journal of East Asian Science in 2008. A PDF link to the full article is at the end of this post.
The author is Gry Sagli and he discusses the use of qigong in Norway. Gry refers to a form of qigong called ‘Biyun Medical Qigong’, which seems to incorporate spontaneous qigong movements as one of its 5 training stages.
Gry does not use the terms “Spontaneous qigong” or “Zifa Gong”. Instead he uses terms like “movement of qi’, “free-form” or “spontaneous body movements”.
Biyun Medical Qigong
Gry states that Biyun Medical Qigong has five stages of ‘body-mind states’ that can be experienced by practitioners. These fives stages are:
Body movements with concentration.
Body movements, concentration, and qi (life energy).
Qi and body movements without concentration.
Body in stillness and moving qi.
In this article, I want to focus specifically on the spontaneous qigong aspect of biyun, which is Stage 4. But before that, I will briefly summarise Biyun qigong.
What is Biyun Medical Qigong?
The Biyun Qigong system was created by a Chinese Medicine doctor and Qigong master called Fan Xiulan.
The creator Fan Xiulan (born 1947, female) is referred to as “Master” or Grand Master Fan” by the students and is the “unquestionable authority” regarding all Biyun activities. A link to her website is at the end of this article.
In Scandinavia, Biyun qigong originates back to the 1990s with Fan Xiulan traveling to Scandinavia and teaching about twice a year. This resulted in the formation of Biyun associations and teaching organisations. According to this article, more than 90,000 people have attended a Biyun course in Sweden, with more than 600 instructors educated.
Biyun courses were arranged in Norway from 1997 and held in 2001. The Biyun association in Norway was established in 2003. There are an estimated 6000-7000 persons who have attended courses in Norway.
Summary of the 5 stages of Biyun Qigong:
Stage 1 – Body Movements
The first or beginners stage utilises specific basic movements. For example – starting with the feet and rotating the feet, followed by specific exercises for the ankles, knees, hips and pelvis. Movements include moving, stretching, bending and strengthening body parts. Exercises are based on principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the acupuncture points, Channels (Meridians) and balancing yin and yang. For example, one exercise is this:
When the students are doing an exercise that involves the stretching of the upper back, for example, they are instructed to lift up their arms and place their middle finger between the second and the third ribs in line with the middle of the collar bone, and to keep the fingers at this place all the time while doing a forward bending of the neck and elbows. The purpose of placing the middle finger exactly at this point, we learn, is that this spot is an acupuncture point for the lungs.
Stage 2 – Body movements with concentration
Stage 2 involves carrying out qigong exercises and at the same time evoking certain mental images. Each exercise combines a specific image with the movements. The instructors state over and over again about various beneficial effects that are associated with the specific exercises.
The participants are instructed to concentrate on how each exercise can strengthen various parts of the body – whether that is the ankles, feet, joints, kidneys or lungs or any part. They are also instructed to use visualisation when performing movements such as imaging they are a ‘tree waving in the wind’.
One of the key components are that you are activating both conscious mind and body when performing exercises.
Stage 3 – body movements, concentration, and qi (life energy)
This stage deepens the practice by using a CD guide, to carry out the exercises and which includes a description of energy (qi) as part of the exercises. For example, one of the exercises guides a student to do the following:
Go out with your arms, palms facing upwards and in your concentration focus on gathering life energy from nature and from heaven.
Then turn your palm downwards, imagining how you are bringing in lots of life energy which you have gathered.
Imagine how you are bringing the energy of life through the top of your head, letting it flow down inside the middle of your body, down to the dantian.
For qigong or Chinese Medicine practitioners, the concept of qi or the dantian will generally be well-known. However, when teaching Biyun Qigong to new people, the concepts of qi will be less well understood. This is one of the reasons, why this aspect of teaching is at stage 3 and not stage 1. By practicing the first 2 stages, they could gradually develop a sensitivity to their qi.
Spontaneous Qigong: Stage 4 – Qi and body movements without concentration.
Stage 4 is where Biyun Qigong utilises spontaneous qigong. It is described as ‘qi and body movements without concentration’. The focus of this stage is to “let qi work on us without our mind interfering with the qi movements”.
The spontaneous qigong movements are activated in this way:
The exercises are, as usual, carried out with closed eyes and assisted with very quiet and soft Chinese music. The sequence of exercises starts with relaxation and inner awareness. Then, it continues with exercises aimed at gathering qi from the elements of nature; from the sun, moon, stars, mountains, waters, forests, or flowers.
Thereafter, while connecting with qi from nature and at the same time making slow, soft, wave-like movements with our arms, we should “let the concentration go” and allow ourselves to move with the qi that we are feeling within us. When, or if, our consciousness is activated, we should not hold on to these thoughts, but let them also go.
The use of music as an aid to relaxation and inner awareness is also used in the Japanese variation of Zifagong, called Katsugen. The steps of taking “slow, soft, wave-like movements with our arms” is a gentle way to slowly tune into the bodies own rhythm or ‘dance’ and is a way to gently activate the spontaneous qigong state.
Spontaneous qigong movements
Gry also describes the kind of movements can that occur with spontaneous qigong activation:
The instructors explain that the movements of qi can reveal themselves in a variety of ways: in spontaneous body movements; in a feeling of tiredness or stiffness; in an awareness of painful areas of the body; in the awakening of long-forgotten memories; or in an urge to cry, sing, laugh, or let out other forms of emotional or expressive feelings. “This is qi exercising you”.
Gry offers an insight into the mechanics of spontaneous qigong movement. He states that this movement is an activation of the ‘Original Qi’ (Yuan qi), the qi inherited from out parents and which is related to our naturalness and spontaneity in childhood:
The form of qi primarily activated in this exercise is referred to as the “original qi” (yuan qi) within us.
The students are told that this is the qi we have inherited from our parents and former generations. It is the deepest, truest, and most authentic dimension in us. This form of qi demonstrates itself most clearly in children’s naturalness and spontaneity. Qigong can help up to get in contact with our “inner child”; the naturalness and spontaneity in us, which we have learned to control and disregard in order to be respectable grownups.
Benefits of spontaneous body movements
Gry mentions the beneficial effects of these spontaneous qi type exercises that the qigong participants experience:
From interviews and conversations in class, I got the impression that, in addition to the feeling of gaining energy, increased creativity and a feeling of reaching awareness are also common experiences attributed to this stage.
Nils, for example, who practices almost every day the “free form”, as he calls it, explains that he feels that this form is helping him to be more flexible; it releases both muscle tensions of his physical body and other kinds of problems. “It gets the mess to the surface,” as he says, “and after some days the problems tend to dissolve. They don’t appear so difficult anymore.”
Nina explains that she practices this form only when she feels she is in need of something extra, as she puts it, “when I need to see myself.” “The effect I get from doing this form of qigong is that I feel very creative. After practicing I write a lot. It goes very deep. In a way, it goes into your soul.” She explains that she has a lot of visions, almost like dreaming awake, and she sees small films from her life. “It feels like being a treasure hunter.”
Creativity opened up with Spontaneous Qigong
In this article, there is also a paragraph which talks about how this activation of spontaneous qigong, activates the creativity instincts in a person:
Wholeness, namely, the unity of qi and the body, is given a prominent place in the exercises constituting this stage. This unity learns to be influenced by qi in the meaning of qi as a source of self-insight and creativity, in addition to the beneficial effects the qi movements are felt to cause on the physical body.
The 5th Stage – Body in stillness and moving qi.
Compared to the first 4 stages, the 5th stage of Biyun qigong is static. These exercises are referred to as “jinggong” or “stillness qigong”. In this stage, the body is kept still in a sitting, standing or lying pose, and it is the qi that is moved around, guided by the mind internally.
Some exercises involve visualization exercises such as envisioning light from the sun or moon, or light in the internal organs. There are various jinggong exercises utilised at different levels – depending on whether you are at beginners level or advanced.
This stage is also associated with the developing of the heart, the inner self and the soul. The creator of Biyun, Master Fan discusses the importance of developing the power of the heart:
If one wishes to gather life force, one needs to develop the power of one’s heart, the inner self, the soul… Jinggon has the effect that it clears our hearts. The heart is the seat of the spirit. The heart is like a mirror. To reach a better understanding of ourselves, we need to polish the mirror.
How these 5 stages of Biyun work on the qi
Ultimately, the smooth flow of qi in the body is necessary for good health. Gry writes:
An abundance of vitalizing qi, and its free flow, is, according to Biyun, the prime source for healing, health, and longevity, and qi is perceived as an unquestionable reality by Master Fan and by other Biyun instructors.
The 5 stages of Biyun helps achieve this. For example, in the first stage, the students develop new understandings of the mind-body state and learn to become more sensitive to qi. They become more “affected by qi” and learn to feel qi as bodily sensations for example – “feelings of warmth, coldness, swollenness, and pricking, and as electrical and other sensory experiences”.
After the student is familiar with the sensations of qi in his or her body, we reach stage 4 (the spontaneous qigong stage), where they start to experience other manifestations of qi through “emotional outbursts, thoughts, memories and creative activities”.
In the fifth stage, (the stillness stage), the qi is cultivated into other forms such as “self insights, ethical consciousness, and spiritual power”.
I am not a member of Biyun or have I attended any classes. All my information is from the research article – ‘Learning and Experiencing Chinese Qigong’ , which was published in the East Asian Science Journal. So I presume it is all correct.
I do not know how commonly spontaneous qigong is practiced in this system of qigong. If any Biyun members would like to contact me regarding this post, please do get in touch.
This is the third account of how once you start on the path of energy work, you can increase your sensitivity to energy and you may have certain energetic experiences.
Before, I continue, I should add a warning.
It can be risky to mix and match systems. Once you pick one energy system, you must stick to that. Though the ultimate goal may be similar, the techniques each system uses can be different.
It is kind of like trying to force a British electrical appliance into an European plug socket. There will be a mismatch of voltage. Accidents can occur. Some energetic systems can contradict or reverse each other.
Some people do search and seek out different masters and try out different classes and systems. In the early stages, this is fine. But once you find a system or teacher. Stick to them, and them alone.
This is the approach I took. In my 20s, I went through a process of seeking. I visited different classes and teachers to see what I may feel. In the end, I did not stick with any of them as it did not fit me.
In this article, I will discuss the strong energetic sensations I experienced when visiting a Sahaja Yoga Class.
3. My visit to the Sahaja yoga class
My third occasion occurred unexpectedly at a yoga meditation class in Swiss Cottage, North London. I had picked up a flyer for Sahaja yoga meditation classes held at the library. At the time, I was an acupuncture student, and was open to trying out all things energy, for example – Buddhism classes, meditation, yoga, qigong and tai chi.
Sahaja yoga is a system of meditation created by the Indian guru, a woman called Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (1923 – 2011)
Sri Mataji maintains that there is an innate spiritual potential inside all of us and that it can be spontaneous awakened leading got self realisation. This yoga specifically works on raising the Kundalini energy.
Sri Mataji traveled and lectured around the world for 40 years. Also they do not accept payment. I do not recall if I ever paid for a class when I attended. I may have paid a donation, but I don’t recall.
Her organisation is huge with classes and branches in many different countries.
My first class
The class started out with a regular meditation session. I am not particularly keen on group meditation. I am also self-conscious about my stomach growling or gurgling or the need to swallow saliva. This quiet and perfectly natural bodily functions seem to become as loud as thunder when you are sitting among a group of people in silence. Even worse if you have gas.
I always wondered why yogis eat the types of food that are highly likely to cause gas – vegetables, lentils and pulses.
Sorry for my British toilet humour.
Pair work exercise
When the meditation came to an end, the leader introduced an exercise we were to carry out. It was not anything I had experienced before. We were to pair up and in turn, one person had to sit on a chair, whilst the other stood behind to do some kind of energy work.
The standing person had to position themselves behind them and carry out some kind of hand activity whereby they moved energy up the spine by, making a waving motion with the hand in an upwards direction along the spine.
At first, I did not really understand just what was the purpose of this activity. A middle-aged lady, with a warm glint in her eye, readily paired up with me. She beckoned to me to sit down. I was glad to be the first to sit in the chair.
This lady stood behind me. I closed my eyes, not really sure what to expect. I assumed it might be some kind of Reiki treatment. I’d had a few Reiki treatments previously, which I had found relaxing, but nothing more.
But this time was different – very different. I did not know what the lady behind me was doing, but I did feel something quite unusual and very noticeable.
A rising sensation
I had an unusual sensation of something rising up my spine. It was quite sudden. And then I could feel my heart beating crazily. I was having palpitations. At the time, I was in my 20’s and had no heart problems. So this sensation really took me by surprise.
I also felt very hot. ‘What the hell is going on!?’ – I thought.
I opened my eyes and watched the other class members in front of me. They did not seem to be doing anything unusual. The person behind the sitting person was simply waving her hands in an upward fashion up the spine of the seated person.
Being British, I didn’t want to complain, so I kept these sensations to myself, but they were becoming quite intense, and I was getting a little worried. I spoke out:
“I’m feeling a bit uncomfortable”
That was an understatement. Actually I was feeling very uncomfortable – I was hot, sweating excessively, and my heart was beating wildly. I could actually hear my own heart thundering in my chest. I wondered if it might explode.
The lady brought the exercises to an end and faced me. I told her – “That was powerful and very strange, I could really feel something”.
The lady said to me, “I couldn’t get it to rise all the way”. What did she mean by ‘it’? I thought.
She told me – “You have some blockages in your throat as well as your abdomen.
I had read up on some concepts of Traditional Indian medicine, and in particular the chakra system. So I took her statement to mean that she was referring to my throat chakra and second chakra.
I thought it interesting how her findings fit in with my own understanding of my own unique energetic pathology and health condition.
Blockages – energetic and physical
For example, in my 20s, I suffered with a digestive disease called ulcerative colitis. This kind of condition affects the lower abdomen causing inflammation in my gut (the second chakra area).
In my late teens and 20s, I metaphorically swallowed up a lot of emotions – anger, frustration and self-esteem areas in my gut. My stomach muscles have always been tight since.
As regards the blockage in my throat chakra, this also fits. Ever since I was a child, I have had difficulties in fully expressing myself. I was a very late talker and grew up in a broken family. It may have come from my upbringing. Communication is related to the throat chakra.
Even ten years later as I write this, I am aware I still have these blockages present. Guess I’m a bit lazy when it comes to spiritual work.
Truthfully after this experience I was bewildered. I did not understand just what kind of exercise this was about. I didn’t get an opportunity to do the hand movements on my partner as our time ran out. On that occasion, I got the full-time for myself.
That day, I did not see anyone else react with any unusual sensations. I wondered if this was because the person I partnered up with had some special ability or was this exercise the same for everyone?
But then people probably feel different things. Maybe other people got a pleasant sensation from this exercise, which made them happy to keep returning
Return to the yoga class
I found the answer to that question, when I returned to the class once more. I did not want to wait a week, so I attended the next available class. This was at a different location in Hampstead. The people there were different.
The class format was the same, although there was one guy at the front who had removed his socks during the meditation. We were all packed into a small room, it was summer and he didn’t seem to care that everyone in the room had to smell his feet.
We moved on the pair exercise and I partnered up with an older pleasant-looking women. I took my seat eagerly waiting to see what would come.
But this time, there was nothing. After she had finished, I told the lady I had felt relaxed. But I was a little disappointed that I did not get a repeat of the first occurrence.
Then we switched places and I tried out doing the exercise on her. I had to ask the teacher for guidance on what I was meant to be doing. She did not feel anything from my efforts and neither did I.
In hindsight, I felt that the initial reaction must have been because the first women doing it to me, was sensitive to the energy and could feel exactly what she was doing. Whereas on the second occasion, the person doing the movements, did not have the same level of sensitivity and was still a student.
I was in two minds whether I should pursue this class and keep going. Was it right for me? A part of me felt a little fearful, as I did not know what I was getting into. These palpitations and chest sweating was quite an extreme sensation.
Perhaps I should have been brave – not a pussy, and gone and done it.
Asking for a Second opinion
I decided to ask my qigong teacher, Dorothea, at the time for her opinion. I still had some doubts and fears from what I had briefly experienced.
I considered that this yoga class was designed to manually activate and raise the kundalini energy. However, I had read accounts that there were risks when the kundalini energy rose. The biggest concern I had was whether this was safe for me. Dorothea shared some stories about her previous teacher and then she answered my question.
Dorothea was a student of the sufi master Irina Tweedy. For a short time, Dorothea was my qigong and tai chi teacher. And taught me other things.
One of the stories Dorothea told me was of how one time she was walking to see her teacher at her home in North London. As she came close, she felt a strong presence. It was Ms Tweedy’s energy and she felt it all the way up to her house.
Another story she told me was that on one occasion, Ms Tweedy told Dorothea she would do something for her. And like a switch being turned on, Dorothea felt an incredible state of bliss. She felt incredibly good and at peace in the world. This bliss was to last a short period of time. Afterwards, Ms Tweedy asked her how she enjoyed the feeling?
I wish at the time, I had recorded her stories in better detail. It is now almost ten years later that I write this, and some of these stories are not as clear for me. This is my lost opportunity. I needed to be writing earlier.
Should I manually awaken the kundalini?
But anyway, as regards the Kundalini awakening. I asked Dorothea, is it right to have the kundalini energy manually awakened like this? Is it safe?
And Dorothea told me:
“When you are ready for it, it will awaken by itself. It is better this way then to try to raise it yourself.”
What does this mean? Well, instead of forcing something powerful like the kundalini to rise prematurely – it is better instead, to put the ground work in. Build the foundations. Spend years of your life practicing meditation, yoga, qigong, Taoism – clearing your blockages, strengthening your mind, removing your desires, cleansing your body. And this is better carried out under the guidance of a trusted teacher.
Then a time comes, when spiritually and physically your body is ready for it. Then it happens naturally. Or maybe it never comes – not in this lifetime. And that is because you are not ready for it.
That is how I interpreted Dorothea’s advice.
There have been other occasions some years ago, when I have felt a mild wave in my lower spine during periods when I have regularly practiced meditation. I wondered what would happen if I focused on those sensations. Yet, I chose not to. Mentally, I don’t feel ready for any kind of bizarre and strong energetic occurrence. And certainly not for a kundalini awakening, which i have read to be a turbulent experience. So I don’t chase it.
I have read accounts from people whose kundalini had awoken spontaneously or through intense meditation practice. In some of these stories, it caused lots of disruptions to these people mentally and physically. There was one story I read where this woman’s life was completely torn upside down by the kundalini rising.
Granted, there are other stories of people where the kundalini rose and the person was able to deal with it experiencing all sorts of psychic phenomena and abilities. This is very tempting for people to chase. Especially young men.
Many men would like to have X-Men Powers. X-Ray vision is especially useful to adolescent boys.
I decided that in my case, I will let the Kundalini rise by itself and without participating in specific exercises designed to manually rise it. If that means it will never rise in my lifetime, then I am fine with that.
So I never went back to any of these Sarajah yoga classes.
Do we need to follow gurus?
Without intended to be too critical (though I suppose it will sound like it), I wanted to share some personal thoughts about Sri Mataji.
Whenever I saw a picture of this women, I did not find her particularly attractive. I know – she is an elderly women, but what I mean is, that I don’t get any positive vibes from seeing her image. She has passed away now.
Physically, she seemed a bit overweight and was not really what I consider as someone in good physical condition or health.
In comparison I would say my father is far healthier looking. He doesn’t meditate. He does simple (yet physically hard) gardening work, doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, and eats simple foods.
Also my qigong teacher, Dorothea was in really good physical condition due to her tai qi and qigong practice, even though she was in her 70s (or late 60s) at the time, I met her. I trusted her.
I understand that when you follow this system, you have to spend a lot of time meditating on her image, the same way Buddhists meditate on an image of Buddha.
But personally, I don’t want to meditate on her image.
Conclusion of these three energetic accounts
These three accounts I have shared are not meant to give the impression that I am a particularly spiritual or mystical person. Obviously, I am not. These accounts are certainly very mild compared to things that other people, spiritual students or mystics have described.
I’ve had no hallucinations or synchronicities, no books flying off shelves, no visions in the jungle after taking ayahuasca. Or downloads from higher spiritual entities passing on their knowledge to me. Heck not even any aliens shoving things up my butt.
Just a basic perceiving of the energy.
I include these simple accounts for several reasons. Firstly, to show that energetic encounters and experiences are not so unusual and can be common.
We can all experience such things if we practice energy exercises, do meditation, and keep an open mind. There are lots of people out there that work and live with energy or do spiritual work and such things are accepted as a part of reality.
We are energy. For acupuncturists or other healers, we must remind ourselves that we are first and foremost energy healers. What we find on the body – the symptoms are a disorder of the energy flow. Whether that is meridians, chakras, or the auric field.
Though we may use a system, we are still working essentially with energy. It is easy to forget that and become systematic with our treatments. But this is the same as with western medicine – attempting to treat everyone as though they are the same.
Our work is about energy. Therefore developing our sensitivity to energy can only be to our advantage.
It is no coincidence that qigong is related to Chinese medicine. There is a historic relation.
Is energy work necessary for an energy worker?
It is true that we do not need to practice energy work in order to be good at acupuncture or healing, especially in Japan, where there are many acupuncturist who don’t do any qigong.
I do think they develop their sensitivities in other ways. For example, by repeating the same needling movement (in Toyohari) and regularly practicing in study groups.
But it is the energy work that provides that deeper dimension to acupuncture and healing.
“Put on the sunglasses”
Once you open up your awareness of energy, it does risk reminding a person that the physical world we live in is broader than our 5 senses tell us.
It even risks bringing other annoying questions to the forefront of our overactive minds.
Is there more to life than what we think? To this physical reality?
Or even more dangerous: Is the purpose of our life – to work 8 hours, sleep 8 hours, play 8 hours, the largest illusion thrust upon modern mindkind?
The path less trodden
To attempt to follow a set path laid out in front of us and feel miserable if we fail at it. To consume goods and to compete with each other. All the time turning a blind eye to the contradictions and the destructions heaped upon the world.
Also to take our cue from the media, and voices of authority surrounding us, which in the last year has become almost hypnotic. This is the normal path.
Or do we dare to venture off the path. Ah… but there be risks. Like getting lost in the forest and wild animals. But it does open us up to new adventures, encounters and a broadening of our horizons. Along with the ability to at least see – that there is writing on the wall.
This is surely the shamanic path.
I leave it to the reader to decide for themselves based on their own filters and awareness whether to choose to believe what I say or to think I am mistaken or any other explanation. I don’t care either way. I know what I have experienced.
Perhaps I will have more significant and deeper spiritual and energetic experiences in the future. If I do, I’ll write about them here.
If anyone else has any stories to share, do please comment. I am open to listen.
Humans in a meditative or praying state generate a field of energy that can be perceived by some people who do energy work practice.
This concept was reinforced for me when I attended the Self Realisation Temple in London. This is a spiritual organisation founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian Yogi.
From my observation, this is a yoga system, which modelled its services similar to that of a Christian Church type service. However there was one major difference. They put a lot of emphasis on meditation instead of prayer. And they did a lot of it.
Meditation and Prayer
This is a major point, because prayer is a personal thing – a personal communion with god. But when you meditate – especially together with others, it becomes a group thing. A group communion with the ultimate spirit.
And additionally, you create a strong group-like meditative energy field.
This is what I felt when I attended a couple of this organisation’s services. In this article, I talk about my visits to the Self Realisation temple in Regents Park in London.
Just to add, this was based on two visits I made ten years ago. I have not attended this organisation’s services since. Perhaps, things are different. Perhaps, I may not feel anything if I return, just like as happened when I re-visited Canterbury Cathedral.
2. Self Realisation Temple, Regents Park, London
Whilst at acupuncture school, I occasionally chatted to another part-time student, a young woman, who was more into the spiritual side of things. She told me she had done a retreat in India and was planning on going again. She highly recommended I read a book on yoga called – the ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’.
A few years later, I did get round to reading it, and like many other people who read this unusual book, I was mystified by the life of this modern-day guru – Paramahansa Yogananda.
This book contains an autobiography of Yogananda’s life from childhood to his death. Forgive me for any inaccuracies, as I last read the book around ten years ago.
In the beginning, there is an account of Yogananda’s life. He belonged to a high caste family and his father had a respectable job working for the railroad company. However Paramahansa did not want to follow his father’s footsteps. He was drawn from an early age into the spiritual path and he practiced kriya yoga. He spent most of his free time meditating. His father was unhappy that his son did not want to follow his own path, but his love for his son led him to support his decision.
After having visions of his true spiritual master, Yogananda found him – Yukteswar Giri. He devoted his life to him and continued with his spiritual training. He gave himself over to his guru, and even continued to commune with the spirit of his master after he died years later.
As I recall in the book, Yogananda lectured around the world. He also met famous scientists and other spiritual people of the time and wrote of his meetings with them in this book. Yogananda eventually came to America where he founded his organisation, lectured and built a large temple. His organisation is still around to this day.
There is an account of his death that is quite mystical. Actually the whole book is full of one miraculous story after another.
On reflection, I wonder just how much of it was all real and how much was embellished?
Visit to the London Branch
At any rate, after reading this book, I was curious to see if there was a branch of the Self Realisation Fellowship in London.
As with many types of spiritual organisations in the West, they typically have a UK/London branch. And indeed there was. It is at the bottom end of Regents Park, close to Baker Street and Marylebone
At the first session I attended, I was surprised to find that the building is similar in structure and lay out to a modern Christian church.
In a typical Christian service you sit in the aisles, listen to a sermon, sing hymns and do a prayer.
This temple had similarities to a church service, but there was one major difference – it incorporated long periods of meditation as part of the service.
That was cool with me as I was getting used to meditation classes at that time. But when I closed my eyes and participated in the silent mediation, I was struck by a very curious sensation.
I could feel energy. To be precise, I felt as though I was in a thick energy field.
It was an incredibly pleasant sensation. I opened and closed my eyes to see what was going on. I could see all the other members there sitting quietly and meditating.
There was not escaping it – the field of energy was very strong in this hall and very calming.
It was a curious sensation, because it was the first time I had ever felt this before. And at the time, I had tried out other meditation classes.
The rest of the service seemed to combine elements of Yogananda’s teaching along with some references to the Bible, which I found quite curious. I did not know an Indian religion could mix and take teachings from a different source like the Bible. Actually, I liked it, that they did this.
My way or the high way buddy
It is the idea that all paths lead to the same source, no matter what the label. For example, you must follow our religion, because if you follow that other religion, you will go to hell etc.
Well, that’s just great for half the population of the world, who don’t follow that religion.
I see the same thing in acupuncture. People who believe their system is the best and only way and people who practice other systems, are practicing false acupuncture and therefore are all going to HELL….!
Probably the same with martial arts, politics, music, art, everything.
I think it’s a human tribalism trait. Part of our reptilian brain kicking in.
And as I recall at the Self realisation temple, they had pictures of unrelated spiritual masters or icons e.g. – Buddha, Jesus and some others, as though to show homage to them all.
That’s pretty liberating to see.
Being a casual visitor, I did not go too deeply into Yogananda’s teachings. I believe they had some books and a program to sign up to, which you had to pay for if you wanted to take your spiritual learning deeper.
I was interested, but not in a position to go any further. Perhaps, if there was not this kind of barrier, I may have continued along this path a little longer.
Regardless, I had taken some valuable lesson from this visit – the concept that people, can and do, generate a strong energetic field when they meditate together in a spiritual place like a temple or church.
After this first visit, I wanted to return again a second time as soon as I could. I planned to return on the Sunday, which in hindsight, may not have been the best day for me to attend. This was to be a larger event compared to the first service I had attended, which I think was during midweek.
On this occasion, the event was busier. There were over a hundred people, with loud Indian type music and chanting and a woman at the front was banging a kind of traditional drum and singing loudly.
As it was my second time there, and I did not know anyone, I felt out-of-place.
The service followed the similar protocol, but on this occasion there was a kind of communion – like in a Christian church, where you take the bread and wine from the Father at the front
Here, the members all lined up and went to the front. If I recall correctly, we kneeled and prayed at the front.
I went along with it, even though I didn’t really want to. I was overwhelmed by the liveliness of the event. I would have preferred to sit quietly at the back, and probably should have.
However, one thing was definitely palpable – the energetic sea was intense in that hall.
It seemed that the singing, group meditation and the greater number of people doing it, had created this huge energetic feeling that seemed to fill up every area of the hall.
The feeling was like a kind of warmth, like a blanket. It wrapped you up, enveloped you, like a mother holding a baby. The energetic blanket felt nourishing. The sensation became more intense when I closed my eyes and it had a dreamlike quality to it.
It was quite mystifying. I could close my eyes and feel engulfed by this feeling of energy. It felt welcoming. I could see the attraction of attending ever week.
But I didn’t. This was the last time I went to the temple.
There is something I don’t quite understand about my own personality. It is that even when I discover something unusual that captures the imagination, I can walk away from it. Perhaps one of the reasons I did not feel a strong desire to return was from my conversations with the other members at the end of the services in the tea and coffee area.
On the first occasion, I had attended, at the end of the service, I was friendily greeted by an older member. He asked how I knew about the service. I told him I had read the book – Autobiography of a Yogi, and that I had found it fascinating. Then the conversation quickly died down. There was nothing else to talk about with him. I did not think to mention about the strong energetic sensation I had felt during the service. Perhaps, I should have done.
Then another middle-aged person came and asked me the same question. Again, I answered because I had read Autobiography of a Yogi. And then once again the conversation died down. I had the feeling, that so many people must have given the same answer to this same question.
Then I met two other younger people. I was still a young man, and so thought maybe I may have more of a rapport with them. But, despite our similarity in age, I didn’t connect with them.
They were very serious Self-Realisation Fellowship students and told me they were going to America to participate in training. They had bought the programme. I suppose when you are focused on seeking spiritual enlightenment, small talk is no longer a priority. Also, my spiritual level, is probably of a gnat compared to them.
On the second occasion, when I went during the larger service, I felt even less like speaking to any members afterwards. I was overwhelmed with the feeling that a person must have when he first attends a large religious service for the first time without any prior knowledge, or knowing anyone.
For example, if I was to attend a mosque or a Synagogue by myself on a worship day. Neither of which, I have absolutely no knowledge of. I am sure, I would feel really out-of-place. Kind of like gate-crashing a closed club. And that was enough to put me off.
Meeting the girl who advised me to read the book
A few years later, I met that same student, who had first advised me to read the Autobiography of a Yogi. At that time, she seemed heavily into this yoga. On this occasion, when I told her I had read the book and found it fascinating, I did not get the impression that she had the same level of interest in this system of yoga anymore. She seemed not to want to talk about it.
Perhaps, she was done with it and had moved on to other things. I wondered if something had happened, or maybe, I was reading too much into it? Who knows? But I was a little disappointed, because, I was hoping to hear more from someone who had gone further down this particular spiritual path.
A strong spiritual place
Nonetheless, The self realisation temple was the real deal as far as feeling energy is concerned. Also some of their teachings did make a lot of sense to me.
If you are seeking to develop your spirituality, than yes, there is something very powerful in this yoga organisation. The feeling of energy I felt was intense.
Qigong and energy work
Does this mean, everyone who goes is going to feel this strong palpable energy sensation?
No, possibly not.
This is because at the time, I was heavily into qigong. And just like with my account of Canterbury Cathedral, I cannot say for sure I would feel the same energy is I was to return, because now I do not practice qigong or energy work as much as I did as when I first went. So I would not be surprised if I did not feel anything if I went back today.
On reflection, I did wonder why after feeling that strong energetic sea-like feeling, why I never felt the desire to go back?
Simply, a part of me does not desire it, so I do not return. Perhaps I am following my own internal guidance system, which is simply telling me – ‘this is not your way’.