Firstly, I'd like to remind everyone that I'm leading a one hour qigong session during the Insight Meditation South Bay retreat this Saturday: "INTRODUCTION TO THE BUDDHA'S TEACHINGS. Ennobling Truths - A Day of Meditation plus Qigong."
This is a wonderful event where you can get exposure to Dharma, meditation, and qigong all in one place. I'd love to see some familiar faces out there in the crowd, so come by for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. For more information, please visit:
***Medical Qigong Level 2:
This course is also beginning shortly at Five Branches University at the San Jose campus. The dates are Sundays, Feb 7, 21, March 7, 28, 9 am - 6 pm, for a total of 32 hours of practice and instruction. Level 2 is where we round a corner in our qigong training, bringing our qi skills to the treatment table. We also cover a variety of very strong Daoist meditation practices that greatly increase qi sensitivity and projections skills, as well as our protective qi field. For more information visit:
***Qigong Retreat at MA Center:
On Sunday, February 28th, Anaghan and I will return to MA Center for another session of qigong plus the sound bath experience, and we would love it if you joined us! This is a great way to refresh your qigong practice, rejuvenate with the crystal bowls, earth gong and other instruments, and of course reconnect with the ashram. The MA Center is bathed in Amma's wonderful energy even when she isn't there, and the land offers a sublime place of refuge for a weary soul. For more information, please visit:
For more about Anaghan and his sound healing work, please visit:
***A Word About Karma
A few weeks ago, someone asked me a question about karma. I avoided her email for a long time, thinking about the volumes that could be written on this topic. While writing, I thought about sharing my response with you all, and was grateful that she inspired me to contemplate her question. A portion of the answer follows...
According to Amma my spiritual teacher, there are 3 types of karma.
The first type of karma can be easily erased by simple remedial actions.
The second type of karma can be remedied, however, it is never fully removed and can reoccur. It is sometimes likened to a tumor that can be surgically removed successfully, however, it can reoccur after some time.
Finally, there is the third type of karma that cannot be remedied. This is like a completely incurable form of cancer. This type of karma can only be endured.
Our attitude makes all the difference. According to Amma, there are three beneficial ways of looking at karma.
Firstly, see the experiences as necessary to make us more aware. Stepping on a thorn in the road may hurt, but it will make us more careful with our feet so that we don't fall into the ditch later.
Secondly, see the experiences as necessary to exhaust our accumulated negative karma.
And thirdly, see the experiences as necessary to awaken our latent potential and inner strength.
We should always strive to respond to our karmic experiences with the right attitude, understanding that it is the subtle laws of cause and effect that are bringing our own actions back to ourselves. Try to see the people in the various scenarios of our life, as being only the messengers that bring our own karma back to us. Rather than blaming the messengers themselves, we should look at ourselves as the source of these experiences, and try to learn from them. In taking care not to "shoot our messengers," we avoid creating further negative karma, and, we also neutralize whatever karma ripens on us in each moment. When we learn the karmic lesson, we need not experience that karma again - or if we do, we continue to transcend it with a light attitude, rather than getting caught up in endless cycles of violet behavior, retribution, power plays or negativities, whether overt or subtle.
Remedial actions to work with karma include spiritual practices of all varieties. A few examples include qigong, meditation, puja, and selfless service. Qigong and meditation neutralize karma in that these practices bring more awareness into our lives. More awareness brings healthier choices that are in greater alignment with Dharma (or the natural order of a higher good) which in turn neutralize our karma. Puja, a form of ritual worship to a specific deity or power, is also very effective. Pujas can be done to alleviate specific karma, or to bring more auspiciousness into our lives. In either case, they strongly connect the practitioner to the deity or power being worshipped, which in and of itself is precious. Selfless service, known as Karma Yoga, is a powerful way to burn up karma. In this practice, the fruits (or beneficial results) of our actions are surrendered, and we focus on the action itself, bringing our full awareness and attention to it with utmost care.
Doing good things for others puts us in touch with the creative intelligence of the whole, and in turn the whole responds favorably to us. Amma sums this up beautifully by saying it is our actions that come back to us as God's grace. She further says that it is God's grace that brings things together in a favorable way. So we need to recognize that there is something far greater than our little ego running the show. To put it another way, when we get out of our little "me and only me" mode of consciousness, and actually think of others and do things for the good of the whole, we fall into a more beautiful synchronicity with the whole. Life becomes more like a beautiful symphony. Each individual piece of music expresses itself fully, and yet adds to a much greater synchronistic whole. The whole symphony, in turn, immeasurably adds to the beauty of each individual piece of music, giving each piece a magnificent field upon which it can express its individual self. However, in the "little me" mode of consciousness, we short change the bigger symphony, trading the good of the whole for short sighted personal agendas. This brings harm to the integrity of the whole, which in turn does harm to each individual that is a part of that whole.
Blessings and Love,
Main Temple at Qingchengshan (青城山)