The Future of Qigong looks vast. Given that what we are dealing with here is 'Life' itself, then we have a wide range of possibilities as it enters into, and becomes part of, the West. There are many possibilities, because there are many kinds of Qigong used for different reasons. In some ways there is a continual, developmental spectrum from Fitness to Spiritual Development - the practices get more refined as the student progresses. How this range of possibilities will graft onto our own established culture remains to be seen. The following is a partial listing of possibilities, giving a sense of where developments might go, and what might unfold.
Probably the application that will get Qigong widely introduced and firmly established in the West is its truly remarkable abilities in Health and Healing. Wondering whether Qigong will become part of the health-care system in the West feels a little reminiscent of a few years ago, wondering whether Acupuncture would become accepted and established. It is inevitable - for the simple, straightforward, reason - It Works! It is only a matter of when and how, but, like water following its essence, it will find its correct and appropriate level.
The principles, logic and science that Qigong is based upon are revolutionary in regard to the way that we think, and what we believe to be true. It fundamentally changes the basis of what we understand the world to be and how we understand it to operate. This should become part of how we educate our young. How can we seriously teach anatomy without including the energy system - the co-ordinating and integrating system - into the picture? How can we, knowingly, give young people a wrong and outmoded picture of the world? As has been pointed out, there are relationships between the physical body, seasons, hours of the day, colors, sounds, emotions, temperature, weather, mental functioning and all other phenomenon - as described in The Table Of Correspondences - and we have a clear obligation and responsibility to teach this to our young.
Schoolteachers who have studied Qigong themselves have taken it back into the classroom and naturally integrated it into the way that they teach and relate to their students. Why? Because it makes simple, straightforward, sense - the students respond better and feel calmer. A teacher's job is to teach children the truth as they know it, and those teachers who have trained now know the principles of Qigong to be true. Once we know this information we have an obligation to teach it to children. It's not a weird belief system - it's factual.
Psychology is a new science. It has only been applied for approximately 150 years in the West, but has become fundamental to the way that we think and behave as a culture. It has developed many dimensions, from Clinical studies, to Psychoanalysis used for individual therapy, to Transpersonal Psychology which addresses spiritual issues.
Psychology has taught us many things about ourselves, but in the East there has never been a separate field known as psychology, there has never been a separation of the mind and the body and the spirit in this way. The interactions between our physical being, our emotions, our mental level and our spirit are so interrelated that they cannot be separated. In the last 25 years this inter-dependence has come to be recognized in the West, and is now popularly known by the term "BodyMindSpirit", which makes the effort to put back together the three major dimensions of ourselves which were never separate in the first place.
Mental Health is of supreme importance in a world where one person can hold a whole country to ransom, or somebody can go over-the-top at any time and involve totally innocent victims.
- Here, on one hand, we have societies that are perpetually on the brink, and prone to widespread random violence that costs more annually than the defense budget.
- Here, on the other hand, we have a method - Qigong - which works to great effect in many situations, and a system of training which almost anybody can do.
Although there are many very valuable aspects of contemporary Western society, and social programs that were undreamed of in the past, there is still enormous room for improvement. The list of social ills is long indeed - child abuse, juvenile offenders, drug addiction, battered women, welfare, street gangs, burglary, homicide, ... and there are not many viable answers. A significant amount of these problems stem from such obvious sources as poverty, ignorance, single Moms, broken families, poor education, lack of opportunity etc, but how effective are the solutions that are offered? There are a limited number of options provided through social agencies, all of which cost scarce money.
The vast majority of these problems involve emotional disturbance and a significant lack of control by the people involved. Such people are often described as unhealthy, sick, out-of-control, crazy... Granted, there are uncorrectable cases of pathological, congenital and psychiatric origin, which need all of the attention and care we can provide, but most of the rest of such people would benefit by having their emotions accessible and appropriate, and having control over their control-system, their energy.
To know how to cleanse and purify the emotions, and how to cultivate the virtues and thereby generate Goodness, would have three distinct benefits:
1) People would be able to emotionally correct themselves internally, thus avoiding the externalization of actions, which then become the problems. They may not get as angry or sad or depressed or hopeless or aimless.
2) It would provide an experience of The Qigong State and therefore different criteria to measure things against.
3) They would have more 'Life' in them, and would therefore function better.
Qigong, the cultivation of refined and correctly functioning energy, could become a viable remedy for many social ills. And how would this be presented to people, and taught, and delivered? Well, a simple question to ask somebody is, 'Would you prefer to feel better or worse. In control or out-of-control?'
Qigong should be on the program of every social service agency, and every social agent should be trained. Of course, the only way such an unorthodox program could gain recognition or acceptance is to initially try it out and get the results! We need Pioneers, and we need clinical studies.
The Business world exists to make profits. One of the major components and resources it has to work with is people. People work at different levels of efficiency and effectiveness, and any businessperson in their right mind wants each employee to be working at their maximum. So, the question of what constitutes maximum is of great relevance.
The impact and cost of sickness is an enormous factor that has to be seriously considered in Business. In the United States major companies are bringing Qigong teachers into the workplace, to teach their employees how to relax, de-stress, decrease their tiredness and increase their energy levels. Increased productivity and greater employee satisfaction are the result. As this becomes reflected in profits no doubt the business world will take every opportunity to utilize Qigong to increase business.
The one thing that can be relied upon in a capitalist society is that if something really works then somebody will provide it and lots of people will buy it. ***************
From all of the indications Qigong is about to hit the West and transform it. It is likely to change the way we experience ourselves. As it enters and becomes established as a part of the global culture, it will likely manifest in many different ways. How this will all turn out remains to be seen, but here are some possibilities:
- It could change the way that we think about ourselves, about what we are and how we function as human energy events.
- It could effect our way of thinking, because to understand and make sense of this requires a different and expanded way of thinking - Daoist thinking.
- It could give us a new reference point and a criteria to measure ourselves against, thereby setting a new standard for our behavior and actions.
- It could make what is "crazy" about our societies sane again.
- It could keep us healthy, vital, happy and young and operating at our higher potentials.
- It could make us our best.
The future will soon be the present.
Hopefully this list of possibilities for the future will fall far short of the reality, and unimaginable benefits will emerge for everyone.
Qigong is like finding a new dimension of ourselves. Hopefully, in this impending on-rush - the Qi Rush - the name Qigong will not become an over-used and misused term that comes to mean almost anything, and therefore nothing in particular. It is important that over time standards are established, and people will learn to differentiate between various styles, levels, teachers and practitioners.
My hope is that this document will inspire people to try some of these practices and learn how to become aware of, and pay attention to, their energy. They can then learn how to adjust and improve it, and find a teacher and progress further, until it becomes part of their being. As Qigong becomes accepted and established, the most important thing is that the awareness of our energy filters into common consciousness.
Balance, Free Flow, Right Quality, Good Volume, & Correct Relationship of the Energy System
* If we operate according to criteria that emphasize maintaining our energy at the right Balance, Flow, Quality, Volume and Relationship, how can we not take good care of ourselves and rise above our transient emotions, wants and desires?
* If we are focused on cultivating and transforming our energy-body and spirit, how can we get preoccupied and fixated on our own immediate needs, feelings and personal ego gratification?
* If we see ourselves primarily as a delicate inter-relationship affected by numerous internal and external energies, how can we any longer separate ourselves from other people, society and nature around us?
Qigong is The Dao entering into the West, Yin joining with Yang to create the Whole. Practicing Qigong is a process of personal evolution, and an act of social responsibility. Qigong holds the potential to make us healthy, sane and happy - and truly Alive with Energy.
Practices To Experience Your Own Qi
Accompanying this Introduction is a document titled 'Eight Extraordinary Meridians Qigong'.
This is a step-by-step training program developed and taught by the author since 1983. It represents 25 years of teaching this material.
It describes the basic anatomy and physiology of the human energy system, its structure and function, which is the control system and blueprint for everything else.
It is written so that hopefully anybody, even people who have never heard of Qigong before, can start at the beginning and developmentally and progressively learn the practices.
It is being given with no cost because these practices are most important for individuals to learn, and for society in general. It is a matter of social evolution in these difficult times.
Try them, and see for yourself. You may find you have more energy... and more life.
There is good reason for the convention of having a Foreword at the front of a book or document such as this.
It allows the author to tell the reader what the document is, how it came about, and how it is organized - it gives an Overview.
It also provides an opportunity to say in a personal way why they wrote it, and what it means to them - after all, such an undertaking requires a lot of time and effort.
Additionally, as the Foreword is written at the end, when the document is finished, it is often a surprise to the author themselves.
But having written this, it did not seem to fit at the beginning, it gets in the way of the flow, so I am writing this as an Afterword.
The following could be said about this text. It has various features:
It is Free. If you are reading it, it now belongs to you.
It is the collected essence of a Trilogy of books on the topic, written between 1993 and 2 002.
It is the 'public' version of a 9 month training program that the author has been developing and teaching since 1983. Previous versions were Reference Manuals for students who had completed the training.
It has been produced with a sense of social responsibility, to make this work available as widely as possible. Only people who live within a one-hour drive from the author's hometown could take the weekly training program - this constitutes 0.0167% of the world's population, and eliminates approximately 5,999,000,000 people - which doesn't seem fair.
It is self-published. No commercial publishing company would be engaged in creating a work such as this, with the costs and time involved, and give it away.
It is only possible because of the Internet and the World Wide Web, without which it would have to be printed on paper and distributed globally - which is prohibitively expensive and cumbersome.
Also, it can be updated easily and regularly, and re-posted on the website so people can download improved versions. **********
During the training programs, at the beginning of each practice I gave out photocopied handouts, and the students worked through that particular practice. At Graduation at the end of the year each student was presented with a copy of a book of all of the practices. This book evolved from time to time, and year to year.
The introduction to this contained the following statement:
"This book is a Reference Manual and Practice Review document. It has been written for reference purposes for people who have completed my 9 month training program. It is not intended as a comprehensive instruction and practice guide for people who have not received oral instruction or completed the training, because such a practice instruction guide would need to be of a different kind. There is a big difference in the way these two approaches are treated in writing."
So I set out to write this document in a way that would be accessible to anybody, anywhere - to write a 'Comprehensive Practice Instruction Guide', to write it in such a way that anybody, even those who may not have heard the word 'Qigong' before, could start at the beginning, and following the instructions work their way through the whole program until all of the lights went on.
And it has been written so that it could not only be translated into any language, but any alphabet. That is to say a simple, straight-forward, common language of human experience - with hopefully no complex, technical or ambiguous words.
It is also written so that it can be read aloud to a group. If one person can read English they can translate to a group in their own language, and thereby lead a group practice - after all, many cultures and societies function more as groups rather than as separate individuals.
Only you can be the judge of whether this worked for you.
I would be interested and pleased to hear back from you. Please feel free to drop me an email or letter. **********
On a personal note I could say that after having three books published, they did what they did, and are now out-of-print -although used copies are available via the internet. Having self-published The International Chi Kung/Qong Directory in 1995 the size, extent and potential of the field was recognized. Having created the National Qigong (Chi Kung) Association USA in 1996 and given it years of time and attention it has now become stable and established and the largest organization of its kind in the USA. And after 30 years of clinical practice in Acupuncture and 25 years teaching Qigong, with my most critical and questioning mind, I believe that this training program presents the primary anatomy and physiology of the energy system - the Eight Extraordinary Meridians - which underlie everything else. This may be the proverbial 'Bottom Line' where each person ends and the rest of the universe begins.
But all of this effort in promoting Qigong, the best of myself over these years, seems like a drop in the ocean. Although Qigong is growing and spreading it is doing so very gradually, infusing slowly like a teabag in water, and is still confined to a small elite who are 'in the know'. It is still 'fashionable'. It is still 'alternative'. Despite all of the efforts of myself and many others it has not become mainstream in the West. It has not even appeared on the front cover of Time magazine - yet!
Now with the global energy crisis, the increasing enviromental chaos, and food and energy shortages, the world is in danger, and there is a great sense of urgency. People need to know this information as soon as possible. It could literally make the difference between life and death for some.
And I am no longer as young as I was. I began my studies in Acupuncture at 2 7 years old, and I am now 60+. So I decided to do this project - I felt I owed it back to the world, in gratitude for the quality of life I have had because of Qigong.
In some ways this document is my 'Hail Mary', a term used in American Football, which everyone in the United States knows, when a Quarterback has three seconds left at the end of a game, six big guys are running at him at top speed, he is covered in mud and blood, bruised and aching all over, and it is raining and cold. He has no idea if there is anybody positioned to catch the ball because he can't see clearly anymore - but this is the deciding throw, because if his team scores they win the game, and the championship.
So he gives it everything he has got - just throws it as hard and as far as he can, and hopes for the best.
I am taking everything I have done in my life's work and casting it out into the world. This is my 'Hail Mary! Hail Dao!'. It will do what it will do.
And I am trying to have no expectations or attachments.
However, on a practical note, this all costs money that I never really had. So I am hoping to at least recuperate the costs of producing this, which primarily involved buying professional quality computer equipment.
If you feel this is valuable to you, you can make a donation - of any amount, it all helps - to The Global Qi Project.
Log on to www.globalqiproject.com
Or you can send a contribution by ordinary mail to:
The Global Qi Project, PO Box 4540, Boulder, CO 80306, USA.
An audio version of the complete 'Eight Extraordinary Meridians Qigong' program in Part 2 is available. It consists of the text of this document and a series of practices led by the author as if you are sitting in a class. These audio versions lead you through the practices without having to refer to the written instructions.
They can be downloaded directly via the Internet at www.globalqiproject.com.
There are 12 sessions covering each of the 12 practices.
The cost is $10 US, for each class -or- $100 for the whole set.
You can try the first one and see if you like it. However, you are advised to learn each session in sequence, because you need to follow the developmental progression. It is not advisable or recommended to jump ahead to the more advanced practices without getting the fundmentals firmly established first.
If you would be interested in producing your own audio version in your own language, and make it available through the Global Qi
Project website, please contact us for details. **********
The author holds the copyright of this work and asserts the moral right to be identified as the author.
"Copyright (c) 2 008. James MacRitchie.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts."
Acknowledgment and credit would be appreciated, but is not required. You may use it anyway you wish, send it to anybody you want to.
Thanks are due to the many people who participated in this project and helped make it happen - particularly: Colin O'Neill, a computer genius who backed me up all the way; Karelle Scharff, of Best Mac Solutions in Boulder who found the best solutions for this Mac; Layah Bachs McLean, my one woman cheerleader team who just kept showing up with great ideas.
And, of course, the folks who gave their valuable time in proof reading various stages of the manuscript and other assistance: Jan Bachman, Sherry Ballou-Dolman, Doug Cain, Teresa Cain, Jesse Dammann, Jeff Durland, Paul Hansen, Stephen Joffe, Rebecca Maret, Paulina Mundkowski, Jerry Ryan, Jason Sauter, Rob Thompson, David Weinstein, Tom Weis, Ann Windnagel and Turaj Zaim. And anybody else I forgot to mention - you know who you are.
And special thanks to Debra Kuresman, without whom...
To my teachers and guides over the years:
Bill & Wendy Harpe, Anna Halprin, Prof. J.R. & Judy Worsley, and Dr. Robert & Zoe McFarland. To my Qigong teachers, particularly Mantak Chia and Gunther Weil, and all the others too many to mention. And to my Qigong friends and practitioners in the National Qigong (Chi Kung) Association USA and beyond.
To my son John Michael Wise MacRitchie, and his mother Anna Wise.
To my step-children Sonnet Grant and Hagan Caldwell, and their mother Damaris Jarboux.
Thanks for making me a fully qualified Dad.
To my extended family. And to the many students, friends and patients who urged me on over the years.
Front Portrait: Ken Sanville. Author Photo: Ben Sagenkahn Other Photos: Tom Kumpf. The lady on p35 is my wonderful mother.
My personal thanks and appreciation to everyone.
You were a great team.
James MacRitchie, Lic. Ac., has practised Classical Acupuncture since 1977, and Chi Kung since 1983. He now combines these in 'Chi Kung Acupuncture', in his practice in Boulder, Colorado. He teaches classes and workshops at The Chi Kung/Qigong School.
Originally from Liverpool, England, Jim was the Founding President of the Acupuncture Association of Colorado, and Founder of the National Qigong (Chi Kung) Association USA. He has trained in China and has presented and taught his work internationally. He has written a trilogy of books: 'Chi Kung - Cultivating Personal Energy' (1993), 'The Chi Kung Way - Alive With Energy' (1997) and 'Chi Kung - Energy For Life (2002) [available through www.amazon.com]. Jim has practiced and taught in Boulder since 1981. He was Co-Director of 'The Evolving Institute' with Anna Wise from 1982 to 1988. He Co-Directed 'The Body-Energy Center' with Damaris Jarboux from 1989 to 2007.
Previously involved in the Arts and 'the music business', he has been engaged in painting, theatre, dance, film, video and photography. He is still evolving.
Jim can be contacted at:
The Global Qi Project, PO Box 4540, Boulder, CO 80306, USA.
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