Evolve Your Light – Richard’s Commentary

As I was writing my Morning Pages yesterday it came to me that I want to go deeper with Qigong. Why? I had raked leaves the day before and loaded 15 bags from the front yard – heavy work. As the evening descended my muscles and joints began to remind me that I am older than I think. But I did some breathing and reminded my body that I practice Qigong; all the twisting and pulling motions of raking leaves is not unlike certain Qigong moves I make in practice. In fact I was very mindful of these motions as I raked.

Last year when I raked leaves from that front yard I ended up with stiff muscles in my back for a week afterward. This year I woke up the morning after and felt great. So, I raked more leaves ahead of the East Coast storm we are enjoying today. There is no question in my mind that my body practices are keeping me younger in body than my age in years would indicate.

My plan is to Evolve My Light, or I could say “Evolve My Qi” and take further steps down this path of growth. Why? Here’s how Rosemary answers this question:

Now, at whatever your current age is, those souls are looking to you for your light to shine on the path that you are sharing. How do you shine your light? By living your soul’s purpose, by being the light that you already are.

“Those souls” are everyone in my community. They include you, dear reader. My “soul’s purpose” is to build community. And my approach is to build community around Qigong. Qi is Life Force; it is Light; it is Love. By continuing to go deeper with my Qigong practice I am answering the call that Rosemary reminds us we are here to do.

I am reading some excellent books on Qigong and Taiji. And I am putting the word out I am looking for deeper instruction. At this time I am between classes that I have been teaching because I am feeling this call to go deeper before developing my next series of classes. Naturally I always learn more by teaching as well; a new class will be offered early in the New Year.

What form does your light take? How are you “Evolving Your Light”? This is the most important question you can ask yourself! Why?

YOU are in charge of the development and evolution of your own consciousness. No one around you can do it for you. You were not born to find answers and then stagnate. You are here to learn the next thing, to study, to grow, to evolve.

Never stop. There is no end here, no bottom to the deeper!

I am grateful to Rosemary for this important reminder! Enjoy your “gratitude day” tomorrow as we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the US.

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Choose to Celebrate! – Richard’s Commentary

The press does a great job of getting us into fear. This word is the center-point of Rosemary’s post. It seems, especially since 9/11, that there has been a deliberate campaign to keep us fearful. Call me a conspiracy theorist if you will, but think about it; watch the news (FOX or MSNBC) and listen for the undercurrent, the focus of the articles, the energy of the reporters or anchors. What is your sense?

Now, I don’t even want to go into the motivations for this, if there even are any. Sensation sells. And if the commercials on news channels are any indication then the news is all about selling. And maybe it’s that simple.

The key point here is we have choices. We can choose to listen and believe everything we hear on the news. If we do there is good reason for fear! Ebola is big in the news with a handful of people here in the US who have come down with the virus and one unfortunate death. But it is well controlled, contained and the chances of an epidemic here are next to none. So why all the frenzy and controversy? It sells; it keeps us tuned in. We have a choice – to tune out!

I am not suggesting a total “news fast” here, although there are many, including some of my esteemed teachers, who recommend avoiding the news, all media for that matter! I do limit the amount of news programming I watch and I watch with a very critical eye and ear, looking at the underlying story, motivation, nuance. And most importantly I choose how to react.

That said, if you ask Rosemary she would say I often over-react at the nonsense that is being spouted and reported as news.  Maybe that’s my choice!

Here’s the key to Rosemary’s Exploration:

There are a lot of fear-mongers who would invite you to feel fear. There are a lot of situations in the world that, when focused on, will generate fear. There are, though, a lot MORE situations that invite us to celebrate.

Rosemary goes on to list many, even down to the functions of our bodies, the meals we eat and the air we breathe. Do you celebrate your stomach for taking care of the meal you just ate?

One of the methods I choose while practicing Qigong is the “inner smile” made popular by Mantak Chia. As my practice winds down and I begin the closing breathing and self-massage, I go through my inner organs in my mind’s eye and thank them with a smile! This is my way of celebrating my health, my body and my physical life. Fear, bad news, horror stories of violence and greed will not give me ulcers. I smile to my stomach and offer my thanks and praise for the awesome work it does!

And if that sounds too weird to you, then choose other ways to celebrate. Maybe it’s your safety record as a good driver. Maybe it’s a fabulous accomplishment by you or a family member. Look for the good news from the simple, everyday successes to the complexities of technology that allow you to read this half-way around the world, instantly.

As Rosemary concludes:

Celebrate! You are reading this. Fear reminds you that you have forgotten to celebrate what’s good, what’s going well. Choose to focus on celebrating and let the fear take a back seat. There’s always something to celebrate, even if it’s just that next breath that you take!

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Are You the Director or the Actor in the Play that is Your Life? – Richard’s Commentary

This is such a wonderful question Rosemary asks. It’s one of those questions that makes you go “hmmm”! It stops me and makes me think. And, it’s another one of those questions that take me inside, to examine, to evaluate, and maybe, just maybe to shift!

Here’s the key to Rosemary’s Exploration:

What did you used to believe about yourself, life, the world around you that might be holding you back today? Is it your unconscious mind that is the Director while you and your conscious mind are merely the Actors on the stage?

It’s those old beliefs, those old programs that run on automatic when our attention strays, when “unforeseen situations arise,” or when we simply get caught off guard in a moment of weakness.

Here’s a simple example that is trite but true, a cliché of our times: driving in traffic I still find myself getting upset by unconscious drivers who are in some way impeding my progress! Then I realize I am being unconscious myself in my angry reactions. I take a breath, go briefly inside to remember my impatience is getting in my own way, release frustration and then move along more smoothly – until the next inattentive driver annoys me!

This is a life-long habit. I probably learned it from my father, even though in rural Wisconsin he did not face the driving difficulties we have here in the East! I know I am being the Actor in my little stage play about driving in traffic and my unconscious mind is the Director in this play. It is a hard habit to break and I get plenty of opportunities to practice!

I find my breath work, as part of my Qigong and Yoga practices help me overcome, or at least recover from habits of a lifetime. As long as I remember to breathe intentionally I can short-circuit the old programming and my conscious mind can recover control and direct my life.

Here’s how that works: one of my practices is to employ the Hamsa mantra as taught by Swami Muktananda (ref: I Am That The Science of HAMSA from the Vignana Bhairava). This is probably the simplest yet most profound mantra in the Yogic tradition. “Ham” means “I am” and Sa means “that.” It may also be seen and pronounced or read as So’ham “that I am” depending on personal preference and breath flow.

Ham is the sound of the breath as you inhale. Sa or So is the sound of the breath as you exhale. My natural breath includes a more lengthy pause after exhaling so I use Hamsa as my breath mantra; in other words it seems more natural for me to inhale before I exhale. Practice both ways; if it seems more natural for you to exhale first then So’ham may be the better way for you to use this key mantra.

For that matter you can even use English here inhaling on the “I Am” and exhaling on the “That.” The real key is to become aware of the breath and then become intentional about breathing through the recovery from habitual action and reaction you are working to reprogram. As Rosemary writes:

You can’t just decide to do things differently and have your unconscious mind let go of those old beliefs. They are programs that are running all the time. They are beliefs that trump conscious decisions many times. 

The work is to go inside and uncover the programs and reprogram your mind.

Breath work is an excellent tool to aid you in the reprogramming effort.

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Be Your Brightest Self! – Richard’s Commentary

Rosemary’s article and post this week continues this conversation about “being the light.” I have heard her and the multiple “sources” she channels say many times “you are the light of the world.” This is an easy phrase. Many of us have heard it most of our lives as quotes from the New Testament of Christian Bibles. Jesus frequently said this about both himself and his followers.

But when that simple phrase is closely considered it is not necessarily the easiest concept to embrace! In particular here is one challenge Rosemary throws out:

And when you are having a bad day, do you seek the light within yourself or do you try to pull others into your bad mood to commiserate with you?

OK, I don’t think I try to pull others into my bad moods. But I do have them. And when I am in a mood that is not necessarily of the lightest variety, do I seek the light within? Not always! Do you know what I mean? Are there moods you experience that are dark but you want to stay there, to feel them, to wallow for just a bit? There’s a soothing quality to these moods sometimes.

But consider others around you. I have to pull this notion toward me first when I am in one of my moods. Now that I’m retired I “work” at home. And, yes, it is actual work to keep two businesses going. The point is I am home, with Rosemary, a lot. We do have a big enough house to spread out and go to separate rooms. However we are frequently and often together; our moods rub against each other. It is much easier and more pleasant to reach for the light, even when I am in the darkest of moods – it’s only fair!

How do I do this? As I’ve written many times I have lots of practices to move my moods around: body practices include Yoga and Qigong and I do one or both almost daily. My mental practices include reading, research and my “morning pages.” My “pages” are the quickest way to shift my mood. I enjoy writing anyway; to write about my moods is a sure way to dig in to them, sift through them and finally shift them. Some of my page writing begins quite negatively. But by the end of the third page they always end on high notes! I don’t even know how this works, but it is true. It’s a wonderful practice, for me, and the reason I’ve been doing it for years now.

My spiritual practices include several forms of meditation. But it is difficult, for me, to meditate when I am in a mood. The mood needs to be shifted first. I need to “seek the light within” first and be in that space of light in order to still my mind. But there is one Koan meditation practice that does work; I’ve written about it here before. It is to simply ask the question “what is this?” when the mood insinuates itself enough to be recognized as “a mood.” The question is answered and then repeated several times until the root cause is revealed. It works. You might wonder at first if this is more like a mental practice, but as the questioning and answers move deeper the process does become meditative.

You may ask “why go through all this; moods change eventually.” Hopefully for most of us this is true enough. But here’s what Rosemary says about the “why”:

Your purpose on Planet Earth is to be your own Sun, to shine your light. Those around you are looking to you to shine. They need the light of your love and warmth as much as they need the Sun’s. Who are you to withhold that light from them?

It starts inside. We need ourselves to be lights for ourselves! And this radiates out to those closest to us. And it continues to radiate out to the neighborhood, the community, everyone we encounter from store clerks to friends, from family to strangers (friends we just haven’t met yet). Imagine if we all knew this purpose and became “suns” for everyone else on the planet!

For one thing we’d all have shining eyes – and that would be something to smile about!

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Know Thyself – Tools for Self-Knowledge – Richard’s Commentary

As I was writing my “morning pages” today I realized after a couple of paragraphs that I was writing today’s post and commentary on Rosemary’s Exploration article. I began my pages, as I often do, writing about the passage of time; here’s my entry:

We are running out of Leo fast; and then August. Everyone seems to be noting how fast time is now passing.

Of course it is all perception – as everything is. One effect on our perception is the amount of information we are bombarded with moment to moment. 24-hour news, FaceBook, email, the never ending stream of websites and blogs is literally overwhelming. When we are overwhelmed we can go into a spin, a dive that seems endless, frightening and high-speed. Time melts away in the dive – it almost feels like a death-defying dive!

And it is all perception! The only reality is of our own making, our own perceiving. To change our reality all we need to do is change our perspective. And this is a matter of intention and attention.

It begins with intention: what is going on inside. If we feel we are in free-fall, take a breath, maybe two, deep cleansing breaths, and then put the brakes on. Stop the fall. Sink into the dantien (the lower abdomen area) and breathe there. It is possible to float here. And as we float we can get a sense of flow, of going with the flow. The current doesn’t have to be a raging rapids; it can be a slow, lazy summer river taking its time in search of the sea. It can take on any speed we give it because this is our reality. We can imagine it to be any rate of flow we desire!

It’s good to take time out of a busy life to slow the pace. There really is no place to go. There’s nothing to do. Oh, OK, there are chores of life, tasks we set for ourselves, responsibilities we sign up for and lessons to learn. But we can be and breathe through all of these.

The “being part” is the witness who rides above all of the rapid pace, the wild passage of time, the endless stream of information. Rise up to that level and watch it all. How serious does it all appear to be – how real? How important?

From that vantage the passage of time seems almost irrelevant. Yes, we have our lessons to work out, our karmic Lesson Plan. Here’s where attention comes in. There are external influences that come to play in our lives. We have other people’s perceptions to take into account and to process. When we pay attention we can see and learn the lessons these interactions hold for us. This is a matter of shifting our perspective from “encounter” to “classroom.” We shift from “other” to “mirror” – how is this person mirroring me, my interactions and my behavior?

Inner perspective, intention, and outer perspective, attention, are always relative, which means they are adaptable, transmutable. The simple technique of using breath to do the adapting is all that’s needed. One breath can stop the fall, gain a fresh perspective and shift reality.

I have moved now well into my birthday month, working on my 70th year! To many, and sometimes me, this sounds old! And from this perspective that time is speeding up, I may not have much time left! So, I take a breath and try this on: “70 is the new 50”! Ah, that’s better and about how I feel! And soon enough 100 will be the new 70!

Rosemary asks: Have you explored tools to help you understand where you are coming from? What about where others are coming from? Do you value the differences in how people approach learning, or life, or do you expect everyone to see things as you see them? To listen and to hear exactly what you hear? To feel the way you feel?

My answer, as it is for many things these days, is “I practice Qigong.” Breathe deeply and gain a new perspective on your “reality.”

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Who is Your WHO? – Richard’s Commentary

Rosemary’s question this week is:

WHO is it that you are serving?

My first reaction to this question is to think about my Qigong students; they are my clients and I do feel that I am serving them when we are in class together, when I am leading them through a form, focusing on breath, gathering and storing Qi for health, well-being, and peace. The beauty of my “who” is I am serving myself as well. I am doing the research into Taoism, the basis for the effectiveness of Qigong. I am going through the form with my students, leading myself to health, well-being and peace. And I am working with the forms on my own as well, practicing the forms every day. I continue my research and reading on the subject to go deeper so I can take my students deeper.

In response to Rosemary’s statement:

If you don’t take care of your own health, no one else can do it. You know this. You accept this. But what about your spiritual and psychological health? Your emotional health? Your mental health? Are you serving yourself by taking care of yourself in those areas?

I can feel pretty good, right? Qigong covers all these aspects of my life. Qigong contributes to my health. And the study of Taoism supports my spiritual and psychological health. Reflection on the Five Elements, the basis for Traditional Chinese Medicine, helps me work through my emotional and mental issues. Through all these levels I am serving my students and I am serving myself at the same time!

If only it were that simple!

Everything I’ve written above is true. And Qigong does help my students and me work through issues. But what about others I serve?

What about Rosemary? She is my client as well. I support her business, TheScientificMystic.com, through managing the technology to operate the business, handling the finances, and helping her with the messaging and marketing of her services. How am I doing with that?

Here I can’t be quite as glib with my answers! Sometimes I grow impatient that Rosemary doesn’t work to my schedule! Whose business is this? Sometimes I get frustrated with the procrastination. But I am a great procrastinator! And too often I get bogged down with the technology rather than focusing on what drives the business – Rosemary’s talent!

So, I need to take Rosemary’s advice here:

My work is to build a relationship in which I support them.

My work with Rosemary is to create the best possible business relationship we can have in order to best serve her, as my client!

And I need to do this analysis for all of my relationships. Everyone is a “client” of everyone else. It is important to nurture client relationships and it is vital to nurture all of our inter-relationships.

Who are your clients? Are you nurturing them? Are you nurturing every relationship with others as if they were your client? Are you nurturing the relationship with yourself?

What a world it would be if this were the case!

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WHERE’S ROSEMARY?

Just coming down from and still processing the incredible message and information I channeled this past Saturday evening during Satsang with Rosemary. It was a great event! The next opportunity to attend and to ask questions is December 21, 2013. Get ready for 2014 by joining me as we explore the energies coming in.

Here’s where I’ll be as we move into December:

***Qigong with Richard*** 
Monday Evenings Through November, Severna Park, MD

Richard is offering classes Monday evenings through November. He is teaching Level 1 Form and Five-Element Form Qigong. I’m there to practice the forms too. Monday evenings, 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Join me for this wonderful approach to body movement and meditation: the ancient Chinese martial art-form of Qigong. It is a gentle yet very effective body practice that is easy to learn and do, anywhere. Join the class anytime; give it a try for free!

We’ll be at 503 Evergreen Road, Severna Park, MD 21146.

Get Details Here

***A Conversation with The Other Side*** 
Friday, December 6, 2013, Severna Park, MD and online via Video Conference

I am hosting a Conversation both in-person and online the first Friday in December. If you want a message from a loved one, an angel, a spirit guide, this is a great way to hear it!

Get Details and Register Here

***Celebration*** 
Saturday Evening, December 7, 7:00 pm, Severna Park, MD

Rosemary and Richard are hosting a Spiritual Celebration in their home, beginning the First Saturday in November. Come join with us as we create ritual space, offer teachings and celebrate life! Bring a snack to share.

We’ll be at 503 Evergreen Road, Severna Park, MD 21146. Email your interest by responding to this Ezine!

Learn more here

***Satsang with Rosemary*** 
 Saturday Evening, December 21 at 7:00 pm in Severna Park, MD and online via Video Conference

Rosemary is continuing a new series of teaching and channeling experiences for everyone! If you have spiritual questions, if you want to hear messages from other dimensions, if you are curious about life beyond this physical, three-dimensional world, join us for a unique experience! This is an interactive gathering; come with your questions. Rosemary will teach and channel for part of the time and answer your questions at the end of the evening.

We’ll be at 503 Evergreen Road, Severna Park, MD 21146 and online via Video Conference or phone.

Here are the Details

I hope you can join me, either in person or online, at an event very soon!