New Moon, Solar/Lunar eclipse and Fall Equinox time. Time to start new and collect the essence. So here we are sharing with you what our committees are up to and some articles of our members. Keep sending anything you want to share so it goes out on our next issue firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would like to take a moment to remember and honor those that helped build up this system and have move to another realm.
Dena Saxer was born May 2nd 1933 and she died Thurs, May 14th 2015, at 82 years old. Here was a woman with a grand zest, vitality and independent nature, all her life. Born in Detroit, where she taught public speaking in schools and eventually moved to Los Angeles where she acted in, directed and wrote screen and stage plays and eventually co-wrote and/ or partially ghost wrote several books for Mantak Chia through his guidance. Master Chia made her a Senior Instructor for her work which came flowing from her due to her love of his system.
Oh, Dear Dena, I and many of those from HTIA... Love you...
Obituary of Dena Saxer by Raven Cohan
Report form the Committees:
Greetings! The HTIA now has a new condo chair who is responsible for booking reservations in the HTIA condo. My name is Ji Hea Kim, and can be reached at email@example.com for any questions that you have as well.The newest change from policy of Member-Usage of first week of stay is free, $100 for consecutive weeks after the first week. I am also the new Treasurer for the HTIA and will handle all finances. I can answer all questions regarding the details for these matters at firstname.lastname@example.org
The mission of the HTIA Marketing and Membership Committee is to maximize dues-paying members and to promote services offered by the HTIA. Committee members are Steven Peterson, Michele Collins, and Andres Vergara. The first steps of the new committee will be to survey current and former members to identify their needs and the kinds of services that would be the most useful. Committee contact: Steve Peterson at email@example.com
The HTIA mentoring committee's goal is to support HTIA instructors in building and maintaining a growing core of students and to provide ideas as to how to support and expand their ability to teach Taoist practices for health and spiritual growth. The current committee members are Michele Collins Vergara, Andres Vergara, and Kazzrie Jaxen. The committee will work with the marketing and membership committee to survey current and former members to determine what their needs are and how the HTIA can best support them. The contact for the Mentoring Committee is Michele Collins Vergara at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bylaws Committee consists of Minke de Vos, Chris Dewreede, and Michael Winn. We sponsored a vigorous debate about updating the HTIA Ethics standards governing sexual relations. The member feedback was robust and resulted in our holding accountable any instructor who is aware of a violation by another instructor. We also set stricter sexual standards for Chi Nei Tsang practitioners because of the frequency of complaints that arises from intimate body work. We're about to start a new discussion on our election cycle. The contact for the Bylaws committee is Chris Dewreede email@example.com
To subscribe to the HTIA listserv (email discussion forum), just send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org . We intend to complete the member feedback process on other topics within the next two months, so we can move forward on ratifying new bylaws by the end of this year.
I'm in charge of the Newsletter and looking for volunteers ;-)
Love and Light
Below are two articles for you to enjoy. One is by Raven Cohen (first installment) and the other one by Marc La Porte
Bone Marrow Breathing
(Edited down from a chapter of the unpublished book by Raven Cohan.
The Title is sequestered until the book is ready for publication.)
Before we get started performing the first exercises correctly, it is good to know a great deal about your bone marrow. Bone marrow in Chinese Medicine is considered a very powerful healing source, as it also is now proven to be so in Western Medicine. Recent information has possibly cooled the tremendous criticism in the United States that has had the scientific community drawing censure from some of the religious communities. Most scientists would like to have the freedom to explore the power of gaining stem cells from embryos in various ways but it is now coming to be known that there are quite usable stem cells also in adult bone marrow. Doing the exercises in this segment will let you enhance stem cell power directly from inside your own bones in order to be stronger and healthier which is long known and utilized by the Ancient Chinese It is for prevention but also can nicely kick in your self-healing in very specific ways. With practice, your bones and your entire health improve. Learning Bone Marrow Breathing could possibly make such above mentioned moral decisions unnecessary for scientists and laymen alike. If more people saw results of maintaining health when moving through dis-eases by doing practices such as this in a specifically, detailed way, the need to utilize embryo marrow might not seem so urgent. Personally, I am glad the controversy put forth by those who object over cells from embryos, is becoming less of an issue due to the recent findings.
Note: I.M.O.: Being supportive of all types of research is important. Education offered to people who object is also important.
My own practice has shown me that utilizing meditation, i.e., mind-eye-spiraling power, into bone marrow cavities, enables Universal Healing Tao teachers and their students, to engage the stem cells. As with Shaman leaders, world-wide for as much as 5000 years, many utilized some forms of practices which worked for them. Once you learn it, and after enough time practicing, perhaps several months to a year, you will be able to feel your bones are more pliable and spongy as they were when you were a child.
A seventy-eight year old friend asked me if I wake up with my bones feeling, "creaky" untill exercising. I used to feel that way in my youthful, professional dancing days¦ as my norm. Rarely do I feel “creaky” these days at age 69. When practicing Chi Kung in general, you fall less, but you are even more protected when you specifically do Bone Marrow Chi Kung/Nei Gung Breathing exercises. You will be less likely to fracture or break bones if by chance you do fall on a knee or hip or twist an ankle, stub your toes or fall or hit the arm bones, spine and skull. The practice delineated here is utilized by martial and Chi Kung artists. Be encouraged to develop an interest to understand, that through chi developmental practices, martial and medical healing artists can recover more quickly and easily from extreme physical injury. Developing through experience, you train how to ward off injury and even transform cancer in bones, back to health through techniques learned. Staying healthy or regaining health is dependent upon your research. Here are some specifics to consider offered below:
"The Thyroid Nodule Epidemic" by Jeffrey Dach MD is an article by Dr. Jeff who is a friend and student of mine. The entirety can be found on his web site archives: http://www.jeffreydach.com . (to be continued……)
Marrying the Heart and the Brain
Educating the Mind Without Educating the Heart Is No Education at All – Aristotle
My two loves, music and meditation, are finally coming together. The forms of meditation I’ve practiced over the years are rooted in Taoist Chi Kung and Tai Chi Chuan.
Having collaborated with multiple types of musical projects over the last 20 years, I’ve met people from all walks of life and traditions. I’ve played upright bass, bass guitar, and piano in various genres in the New Orleans area – blues, rock, punk, experimental music, world music, and more recently, traditional jazz. I started on piano at an early age where I learned mostly classical music. My teacher instructed me in music theory and showed me how to read music. For me, it just seemed like another memorization game, one of the many I was exposed to as a young person (multiplication tables, vocabulary words, etc.). I moved on to bass guitar around age 15 and learned to play by mimicking all the blues and punk rock bands I grew up listening to. The sound in my projects would change, depending on the other people in the band and style I was playing. I pretty much left theory behind except for the main elements (chord structures, etc.) and used my ear to get through a lot of shows, whether the scenario was blues, rock, or jazzy free form improvisation.
There was a long period where I fought against having any kind of structure in my bands. It was only later after having learned about Taoist meditation, Chi Kung and Tai Chi Chuan when I started to see the importance of structure and music theory. I noticed that even with a structure, a frame to work within, I could still achieve a state of bliss through repetition.
Meditation came into my life in the 90s when I met Ben Wren, a Zen meditation teacher at Loyola of New Orleans. It blew me away how much 10 minutes a day of sitting and quieting the mind could help me, mentally and physically. My stress levels just decreased and so did my migraines. Sitting still was super challenging so moving meditations, Chi Kung and Tai Chi Chuan was much more my style. I also met a Taoist Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung teacher, Peter Hom, around the same time. The Taoist meditation tools I learned changed my life. Pretty soon I started feeling and looking younger, and so did the other students around me, and they were much older than I was. People who suffered from social anxiety, PTSD, substance abuse, and other issues would come to the class and it would seem their troubles would just melt away.
Peter would talk about chi, life force, and play around with it. He understood the Tao and the way that everything changes. He would change around the forms he taught much to some of his Western students’ distress. They wanted something set in stone, and he’d have to remind them that that is not Tao, and that Tao is change. He reminded me of a jazz musician, except that the tradition and framework in which he played were thousands of years old. With dedicated practice, the series of movements eventually harmonizes all the cells in one’s body to bring the mind, heart, soul and spirit together in the flow.
Jazz music is a celebration of improvisation, world rhythms and sound vibrations. It celebrates the unique feel of each musician while paying homage to the framework of the collaboration. Taoist meditation techniques embrace the vibrations of the universe, energy at its atomic and sub-atomic levels. The Taoist Chinese refer to it as chi, the bioelectric current that runs through all living things. Native Americans refer to it as “The Great Spirit,” whereas the Hindus refer to this as the primordial Om, the breath, or prana. In the Egyptian tradition, it is known as ka, whereas the Africans refer to it as ashé. It is also seen in the Christian tradition where they refer to the breath of life, or the Holy Spirit.
From my first three Tai Chi and Chi Kung instructors, including Mantak Chia, I learned various forms. I gathered from them that there are almost as many forms as there are instructors in the world throughout the ages. There are slight differences depending on the teacher. The more advanced one becomes, the smaller some of the movements become. Even in sitting meditation, one can practice Chi Kung and Tai Chi in the mind only and feel the energy flow to the parts of the body where it would while in motion. But, still behind all the forms is the basis of it all – chi energy. The Tao masters say that where awareness goes, chi follows. It can be used to heal, mentally and physically, or to defend oneself as in Kung Fu. It’s a balance of mind and the body. When one starts to learn Tai Chi or Chi Kung, it, it’s a very cerebral process, but once the movements and the order of the movements sink in, the brain and the body become one, as when performing music.
Every musical arrangement is unique like our DNA. Even with classical where arrangements have been played thousands of times throughout history, no performance is the same on a vibrational level. Outside factors always come into play, like the wood which makes up each instrument, the temperature and humidity of the room, the horse hair on a cello bow – not to mention the emotions and physical makeup of the performer.
I’ve performed in groups who were all heart and soul, but no head. I’ve also played in super rigid environments where the heart and soul gets buried in the overcomplicated solos, theory and showboating. Have you ever heard a guitar or drum solo that is so overly complex that it lacks any kind of feeling? Sometimes, a solo may peak a listener’s interest because of the difficulty of its delivery. At the same time, the brain can sometimes hinder the spirit of the performance from fully expressing itself on the heart’s level. As in martial arts, one can know the moves and have memorized many different forms, but until one brings the heart and soul into it, there is no life force, or chi, behind it. That’s the sweet spot where the magic happens.
Whether my role is as a listener or performer, a musician or a meditator, my explorations have always been driven by the need to be in the flow – that feeling attained where there’s a marriage of the heart and the brain, the right brain and the left, the emotions and the intellect. Some people get there through yoga, dancing, jogging, swimming or even driving. It can happen while listening to a piece of music or in a museum while staring at a painting. It’s that state where a trance begins and everything just starts to make sense. It’s the moment when one falls in love or gets shivers down the spine during the climax of a film or in a piece of literature. Perhaps it’s only so beautiful because it only happens every so often? Whatever it is, we’re wired for these experiences. I spent years working in the bars and restaurants and I look back at those busy moments during carnival season where it felt the wheels were going to fall off the wagon, yet I’d just get to work, get in the zone and do my job. Even through such mundane activity, I’d just let it go, dive in, and stay there.
More recently, I started re-visiting some of the music theory I had originally used while playing. After years of just winging it as a musician, using my ears, with the little theory I knew, I noticed that if there were parameters it was easier to play with jazz musicians with whom I wasn’t familiar. With a framework we could improvise all night knowing there was always a place where we could break away from and return to. It wasn’t until I had played the same mapped out jazz tunes week after week when I finally started to be in the flow. I’d even catch myself in a kind of trance where I was able to watch the crowd and the dancers without even realizing I was holding up an upright bass. It was in that moment where I was reminded of my meditation practices – learning a structure only so you can break it or dance outside of the parameters and return to it if you want. There’s also the option not to return, but it’s in knowing that you have the option to return where the ultimate freedom lies – in riding the sweet spot.