Monday, December 21, 2009

Solstice Qigong Update


Greetings every one. I hope this update finds you in good health and well being.

In this update:
*** Solstice Experiences
*** Travels with Amma
*** Upcoming Classes and Retreats

*** Solstice Experiences

It has been the most powerful, and beautiful, solstice transition that I can remember. I was very fortunate that, after such an intense semester, I had a window of no activity during the solstice time, before things got busy again with the Christmas holiday. Just like every other year, I made plans to spend the seasonal transition practicing inner alchemy and puja, as well as setting intentions for this next cycle of expansion. When Yin reaches its peak, the seed of Yang is born, making it a particularly auspicious time for setting intentions, as well as for cultivating one's energy and spirit. The intentions set at this time are like seeds that awaken from dormancy, animated by the Yang life force energy as it emerges from the darkness of Yin.

When Yin reaches its peak, it is a natural time of stillness and slowing down, offering a powerful opportunity to go deep within oneself. In returning to our essence, we can perceive that which is essential, and that which is non essential. In that space of stillness and clarity, intentions emerge that reflect our essence, which can then take form and shape in the year to come. Riding the current of the solar cycle, the intentions are imbued with life force energy for manifestation as the Yang begins to rise and expand. This happened precisely at 9:47 am on Monday, and will continue to do so until Yang reaches its peak at summer solstice, and the cycle of decline begins. In reflecting on recent years, nearly all intentions that I've set consciously in this way, coupled with spiritual practices, have come to beautiful fruition. Following the natural laws of energetic movement simply makes good sense.

This year, the seasonal transition has been particularly powerful. I've had a more personal experience of the veils thinning between the various realms, facilitating the transmission of information from one realm to the next. I've also had a deeper experience of what it means to transform Shen into Wuji (spirit into void), the 3rd alchemical transformation described in Daoist inner alchemy. Opening various gates along the spine and washing the Sea of Marrow has also been greatly facilitated during this time, a process that began in the presence of Amma during my travels with her in November.

In Daoist cultivation, in terms of the solar cycle, there are eight times each year that are particularly auspicious for inner work, austerities, and spiritual practices. Four of these times are marked by the winter / summer solstice and spring / fall equinox. (Zi, Mao, Wu, and You) The other four points include the exact midpoints between these times. Each of these points marks an extra powerful time for cultivation, as highly evolved spirits are much more active, and the energy is especially high. The idea here is "twice the effect for half the effort." Any form of meditation, contemplation, intention setting, as well as practicing loving kindness, forgiveness, and selflessness, are all greatly amplified during this time.

After some stillness and contemplation in the time leading into the solstice, I've set some wonderful intentions for the current cycle that began on Monday. As an example, one of my "seeds" reads like this: "I am confident in teaching medical qigong to doctors, TCM practitioners, acupuncturists, and anyone else." The reason for this seed is that, in the last year, I realized that I've been feeling some intimidation in teaching this material, especially when some of my students have been practicing Chinese medicine longer than I've been alive in this body! =) Of course, the more I teach this medicine, the more I realize that what I received through both my Daoist and Sanatana Dharma lineages, they don't teach in acupuncture school. And so I realize more and more that we are all exchanging information with each other, as I study acupuncture/ herbology, and teach Daoist alchemy. Its a beautiful trade! Working with this "seed" has already brought about much insight and transformation into my purpose, as well as illuminating the "darker" aspects of my personality that hinder the full expression of these arts.

*** Travels with Amma

Since the last update, I've had the opportunity to be with Amma for 2 weeks, including one week in San Ramon and another week in Michigan, for Thanksgiving. Time with her is always life altering. She holds the vibration of pure presence and divine consciousness, while being in the flesh, and tangible for all of us to see and experience. The depth of her love and compassion continue to dawn on me, as more awareness increases over the years of following her teachings and example. The realization that came to me in San Ramon this last time, was just how much seva, or selfless service, really is karma yoga. A deep experience washed over me, of how all of us on staff, and anyone lending a hand to help the programs, feed the people, etc., are all yogis... practicing yoga. All of the service rendered had a deep and tangible sense of being spiritual practice, yoga, helping all of us merge into the divine presence.

A powerful slide show of Amma pictures, which contain a video towards the middle of the segment, can be found here:
I've been playing this over and over during this special solstice time. =) Seeing Amma with her arms raised towards heaven like that is so sweet!

*** Upcoming Classes and Retreats

At Five Branches University (San Jose campus):

In the spring term, I will only teach the Level 2 qigong course at Five Branches, as Francesca Ferrari will teach the Level 1 course as an intensive. The dates are arranged so that both courses can be taken sequentially:

Level 1 (with Francesca)
Saturday and Sunday, January 16 & 17, 30 & 31 (32 Hours/CEUs)
9 am - 6:30 pm (1.5 hour lunch)
Level 1 offers an extensive introduction into qigong practices for health, and how they can be modified to address specific organ and channel disharmonies in the body. We also learn several shengong (spirit skill) meditations that enhance our energetic awareness and qi projection skills. The course includes both practical application and theoretical understanding of cultivation for health and energetic detoxification.
More information: Mimi Latno

Level 2 (with Tom)
Sundays, February 7, 21, and March 7, 28 (32 Hours/CEUs)
9 am - 6 pm (1 hour lunch)
In level 2, we practice advanced shengong (spirit skill) meditations designed to open one's prenatal awareness, facilitating greater diagnostic as well as energetic projection skills. We also bridge the gap between personal cultivation and the application of energetic skills on a treatment table.
More information:

We will offer Level 1 and 2 again in the Fall of 2010.


Insight Meditation South Bay presents:
Ennobling Truths
A Day of Meditation plus Qigong
with Shaila Catherine & Tom Leichardt
Saturday, January 30, 2010 9:30 am — 5:00 pm
Edwards Hall of St TimothyĆ­s Church
2094 Grant Road, Mountain View, 94040
More information:

Qigong at MA Center:
I would like to offer at least one qigong day at MA Center in the first part of 2010. The format will likely be similar to those of the past, including the "sound bath" meditation by Anaghan. Stay tuned for details, as I'll be setting this up over the next few weeks.

Thanks for reading this far! =) I hope to see you all sometime soon.

Tom (Yogeshwar)

Where there is Love, there is no effort.

Tom Leichardt, DMQ (China)