October of 1986 I was working in a school when suddenly I couldn't breathe, my heart started racing, I was dizzy and perspiring, my body trembling uncontrollably. I thought I was dying.
A student guided me to the nurse's office and from there I was transported by ambulance to the hospital. The diagnosis was panic attack. But, the symptoms worsened.
At one point, I started stuttering, developed migraines and the left side of my body became numb. Walking was difficult, I lost my relationship to the ground below me. Fear and terror gripped my mind and body. I lost all confidence and trust in myself and the world around me. For the next eleven years panic and anxiety attacks took over my life.
I believed the doctors had misdiagnosed my illness. I thought there was something wrong with my heart but all the tests indicated my heart was functioning just fine. My heart as a physical organ was working perfectly. However, my heart as a soul-spiritual organ was weak. The heart's nourishing forces of love, hope, joy, faith and courage were not warming nor vitalizing my body. My heart, my sun, had been eclipsed by fear. I was in desperate need of help.
About seven years after my first panic attack, I started hearing about the practice and teaching of Qigong meditation in China. I immediately knew this was a study I wanted to pursue. However, living in a state of panic and anxiety twenty-four hours a day, a trip to China was not an option. I could feel a sense of urgency to meditate. In my heart and mind I knew there was a teacher out there who would help me and teach me to meditate but I had no idea who he was or how to find him.
Some time later, my parents showed me a newspaper article featuring a man who was teaching Qigong in the Twin Cities. As I looked at the picture of the instructor and his students my eyes were pulled to the instructor, and I remember thinking, "Oh, there you are, but this doesn't look like you." My eyes scanned the article but again they were pulled right back to the man standing in front of the students. And I stood there staring at the newspaper photo. After awhile I wondered why I was still standing there staring at the man. Then, sadness came over me, for I wanted to study Qigong but I didn't have the strength to drive myself to a class.
August of 1997, I was in the middle of a panic attack sitting on the couch in my parent's living room. I was flipping through the cable stations and caught the last two minutes of a community cable program. Chunyi Lin was being interviewed. When I saw him I literally jumped off the couch with joy and exclaimed, "There you are! You are my teacher and you are going to teach me everything I need to know!"
The interviewer asked him one last question which was , "Can you leave our viewers with something they can practice at home?" Master Lin showed the hand and breathing movements of the Seven Steps of New Life. I followed along and it had an immediate effect on me. The program ended. I quickly wrote down the telephone number, called for a catalog and signed up for Levels I, II, & III and two Tai Chi classes.
Level I began in October at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. It was quite far away from my home for my comfort level, but I was bound and determined to attend this class. I made it to the college, but the parking lot was full. I did not have the strength to walk from the parking lot down the hill then back up to the building so I parked illegally and went to class. I felt so dizzy and faint I thought I would have to crawl in. I made it. The only seat available was in the front center. And, all I could say at this point was "Let the healings begin "
While sitting in class I noticed that whenever Master Lin stood in front of me I felt strong, I could sit upright. When he walked to the other side of the room I felt weak, sick and faint. Well, he walked back and forth standing in front of me lecturing and then moving to the other side before I figured out that I felt stronger and healthier when he stood before me. Then he moved away again and as I felt my body slump down to the table, in my mind, I asked him, "Please come over and stand by me." No, my mental request was not that polite. It was more like, "Oh my God, get over here!" He did so and stood in front of me the remainder of the class. Smiling at me and staring right into my heart.
That evening I realized I found something very special, a form of meditation and a teacher who opens his heart to his students. He is like a godparent, who watches over one's soul yet honors the individual freedom of each student to walk their own path of meditation and discovery. His style of teaching is gentle, the source of his teaching is love.
When I signed up for Spring Forest Qigong, I had no idea that Master Lin was a healer and that in addition to teaching us how to meditate, he would be teaching us how to heal ourselves and how to help others to heal. To give and receive is an example that flows from nature.
You can see it in the water cycle through evaporation and precipitation; in our relationship to the plant kingdom with the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen. We are truly in a relationship with everything around us. Master Lin teaches us as we receive this universal love, to remember to return this love to the universe, and to people through actions of good deeds, kindness, love and forgiveness.
I have been practicing Spring Forest Qigong ever since that first class. The meditations have been my daily bread, and the medicine my heart needed to heal. I thought I had been living in a total eclipse of my heart, but perhaps there was one stream of light that refused to be eclipsed by fear. If I could name that beam of light it would be hope. Hope gave me the strength to search for the healing medicine my heart so desperately needed. The medicine is love. It does conquer all.
Through the practice of Spring Forest Qigong meditation, panic and anxiety have shifted away and in their place I feel the rays of love, peace, hope and faith stream outward. As the physical sun gives healing rays of light, warmth, and life to the earth, I will continue to strive to keep the channels of my heart open in order to serve and breathe back to the universe the healing rays of love, peace, hope and faith.
Master Lin, with deep gratitude, thank you for your teachings, your healings and your love.
Angie Meierding Burnsville, MN
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With all the stresses and strains of modern living, panic attacks are become a common problem for many people. Panic attacks occur when the pressure we are living under starts to creep up and overwhelm us. Often it's a result of running on the treadmill of life and forgetting to watch the signs and symptoms of the effects of excessive stress on our bodies. Thankfully panic attacks are very treatable. Often it is just a matter of learning to recognize the symptoms and learn simple but effective techniques that help you release yourself from the crippling effects a panic attack can bring.