Spiritual Qigong

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What is Spiritual Qigong?


Qigong practice addresses the two main causes of illness according to Traditional Chinese Medical theory: Qi deficiency and Qi stagnation. Deficiency is indicated by chronic illness, and stagnation is most often associated with pain. But Qigong does more than help people to become or stay physically healthy. The third intentful adjustment in Qigong practice (besides movement and diaphragmatic breathing) involves the mind and awareness.

Spiritual Qigong involves treating Qigong as an Art. This is the gong in Qigong -- cultivation of a skill or art over time -- such as archery, tennis, Tai Chi, or kung fu (the traditional term for Chinese martial arts which is now often referred to as wushu). Obtaining and sustaining Qigong's health benefits requires continued practice. Qigong becomes a foundational part of one's lifestyle, along with proper nutrition and western-style exercise which combine to promote health, growth, and vitality (i.e. promote one's healthspan). 

Spiritual Qigong is concerned with Qigong practice resulting in the Qigong State, or mindfull awareness of experiencing the present moment. This is also a goal of Vipassana meditation and Zen Buddhism, which came from the Chinese Ch'an Buddhism, predominately native Chinese Daoism integrated with Buddhism imported from India. The word zen literally means "meditation", as does it's Chinese counterpart and parent, ch'an as does the Sanskrit dhyana. A fundamental practice used by the Daoists and Ch'an Buddhists to reduce stress, increase awareness, and fully live in the present moment, is Qigong. Spiritual Qigong is not a religious practice. It is a secular practice completely compatible with any religion and no religion.

The Qigong State is actualized through the practice of Qigong. Although mindfullness alone is a benefiical health practice, Qigong combines mindfullness with breathing and movement for a complete mind-body healthspan practice.

The state of mind that can result from the practice of Qigong may be familiar to some as satori, being one with the Dao, nirvana, enlightenment, emptiness, or simply the outcome of meditation. From a physiological standpoint, the body is in a state of relaxation and regeneration. This state is achieved by eliciting the Relaxation Response, coined by Herbert Benson, Associate Professor of Medicine at The Harvard Medical School to describe the healing and stress reducing effects of a mind-body practice. In this case the practice is Qigong, a new category of exercise called Meditative Movement, leading to the Qigong State.

Spiritual teacher Eckart Tolle describes the process of achieving the Qigong State (his term being The Power of Now) as "the transformation from time to presence and from thought to pure consciousness".This transition or path has also been referred to as the ancient practice of internal alchemy (the Chinese neidan or neigong). Eckart Tolle further explains that enlightenment (video 8:32) is only in the present moment: "Enlightenment, or the ego-less state, cannot be achieved in the future, or in time. It is only by looking through it now that the ego-less state is here now. A state that you want to achieve is a mental concept that is endowed with self and as such you can never reach it because it is an abstract concept of who i want to be, not realizing that you are it already."

Note that it is fairly straight-forward to achieve the Qigong State quickly through normal Qigong practice. Someone who knows nothing about Qigong may achieve the state after minutes, hours, or days of practice and instruction. Someone who regularly practices Qigong may achieve the state in minutes. The real challenge is not achieving the state; rather, the trick is maintaining the state throughout the day as you go about normal daily activity.

Although Qigong has spirituality virtually built-in to it because of its foundation of meditation, all of the health benefits of Qigong can be achieved without even considering its spiritual aspects. The practitioner simply doesn't need to be concerned with spirituality. However, for those who want to consider Qigong beyond its health benefits, there is an amazing world to be explored. This world involves age-old spiritual questions such as what is the nature of the world, who am i, do i have a purpose in life, what is life, is there a purpose to life, what is consciousness, etc. All of these questions are a result of one simple fact: humans are self-aware, and as such, they are aware of their own mortality and have created spiritual and religious practices to deal with that knowledge.

Practice Qigong Now

find your qi

(Roger Jahnke "Sitting Qigong". Video 4:40)

do qigong now

Yang Sheng - Nurturing the Mind Body and Spirit - Qigong Practice


Perspectives on Spirituality

The Importance of Spiritual Mindfulness in Palliative Care. Palliative care is a specialized medical approach that aims to improve the quality of life for individuals facing serious illnesses. While palliative care addresses the physical and emotional aspects of illness, one dimension often overlooked but of great significance is spirituality. Many end-of-life caregivers fail to incorporate spirituality as part of the holistic approach in end-of-life care. It is crucial that all physicians and medical professionals possess a holistic understanding of caring for the whole person. Integrating spirituality and mindfulness into palliative care can lead to profound benefits for both patients and caregivers, offering comfort, solace, and a sense of purpose in the face of mortality. PMID: 37916819

Jill Bolte Taylor's stroke of insight (18:42). The Dao and the Right Brain. Neuroanatomist Taylor describes her experience of literally losing her left brain due to a stroke and discovering her connection to the world.

Breathe Deep NewsletterWhen we can look at our life and throw together all of our experience simply as "life unfolding" and do our best to refrain from saying that something was "good" or "bad", then we are well on our way to true freedom. When we can drop into that place of presence, that inner place where everything exists in a unified field of Qi, then we are beginning the journey toward a truly stress-free life. There's something about judging things as good or bad that creates a certain "attachment" to them - funny huh? It is that attachment that binds us, keeps us from letting go and moving on in some cases. That attachment (even to "good" things) is what creates expectations and keeps us from being open to new and unexpected opportunities. Those attachments (to "bad" things) create fears that inhibit our growth. This concept of attachment is at the core of Buddhist philosophy and is key in understanding what the Buddha (enlightened one) was exemplifying. Whether any of us will ever achieve enlightenment in this body is another story, but we certainly can begin to make choices to move our lives in the direction that best reflects our heart. Francesco Garripoli, Chairman of the Board, Qigong Insitute.

Historical consciousness and traditional Buddhist narratives. Fascinating exploration of the origins of Mahayana Buddhism in the context of how mythic accounts can be interpreted symbolically and that symbols should not be considered as less important or real than facts. Only those who buy completely into the model of scientific materialism provided by the European enlightenment would not understand that in religions, symbols are as meaningful as facts.

Bruce Lipton 'The Power of Consciousness' (video 50:57) . Teaching the belief that genes control life is very incorrect. When you teach genetic control, you teach victimization by your heredity. On the other hand, the new science of epigenetics (see Epigenetics and Psychoneuroimmunology) says that when you change your response to the environment you change the expression of your genes. In other words, your beliefs -- how you see the world, your perceptions -- can change your biology. There are many new healing modalities that can help you re-write your subconscious behaviors and beliefs. In order to do this, you need to be present.

Breathe Deep Newsletter, June 2011 - Issue #61 The Healing Power of Ritual:"Ritual is such a critical aspect to our lives... for millennia, ritual has guided humans to plant crops and to harvest them, to pray to the gods, to honor tradition. In our modern life, sacred ritual seems to have been replaced with television viewing or going to work. Even going to church, mosque or synagogue has become an obligation rather than an integration. I find that a personal practice like Qigong, yoga, tai chi, etc. can fulfill that critical element of "ritual" in our lives. Whether it is the group class that you attend once each week or the quiet time you find for yourself, your personal practice is essential. Yes it feeds your body... and certainly it calms the "monkey mind" that our fast-paced word feeds... but ritual personal practice feeds the spirit, fulfills our spiritual hunger for being connected to something infinite... to our own infinite nature."Francesco Garripoli. Chairman of the Board, Qigong Institute.

From Finance Executive to Wellness Coach: Finding My Place in the World. I was 40 years old and the effects of stress started showing up in my body. Rather than just treating the symptoms of these ailments, I chose to understand myself and my life at a deeper level. This shift in my focus transformed me from being a Finance executive to a Wellness Coach and Qigong Energy Healer. Arda Ozdemir.

The Cosmic Pulse of Wilhelm Reich: Where Science, Sex and Spirit Meet"What some people categorize as "spiritual" (or the "divine"), and what these same people consider "sin" (the earthy or sexual), exist on a continuum. The current throughout this continuum is the universal intelligence or life force, called in various cultures chi, kundalini, prana, or the great spirit. This current, which pervades all living things, fuels the celebration of life and self inherent in both sexual vitality and authentic spiritual practices. Since ancient times, priestesses, healers, and shamans have perceived this current or flow as permeating and surrounding the human form, with vortices (called "chakras" in Hindu theory) at major glands. Seekers today, feeling incomplete or empty in their individual existence, are turning to esoteric teachings to help them reconnect to the life force, the infinite source of power. They recognize that to feel whole—whether they ascribe this connection prana or to the Goddess—they need not only the comfort, but the ecstacy, that this union provides...why not reclaim ourselves by focusing on the physical plane? If our body is indeed a temple of the divine, then the growth of our spirituality will be an organic result of living fully, ecstatically, and pleasurably in that temple. This approach makes sense when we consider the role of the body in blocking or allowing the life force to flow, and how even those on a spiritual path harbor blocks." Nenah Sylver.

Moving in Synch with the Universe

people doing tai ch at sunset

"A consistent spiritual practice is good for our mind, much as physical training makes the body healthier. Research that looked at the brain development of long term meditators has found certain parts of the brain are stronger, more developed, specifically the areas related to the regulation of attention and concentration.

For most people, when thoughts or emotions arise our awareness feeds these patterns with more thoughts and emotions, so that a sense of individuality and “self” develops and persists. One then feels very much separate from the world, and in a sense we are, when our awareness is caught by ideas spinning in our heads accompanied by powerful emotional states in our bodies.

But if you do some form of mindfulness practice consistently, like yoga, tai chi or meditation (or even mindful running, gardening, praying or swimming) over time you should find it easier to “let go” of thought patterns, by focusing your attention instead on your breathing, the field of awareness in your body and/or on the sights and sounds of the present moment, mindful awareness of the world around you.

When awareness is focused on the body’s energy field (Ch’i or qi 氣 in Chinese), on breathing, slow movements or outward on the here and now, we feel more calm and peaceful. We can then experience a sense of being anchored and connected to the local landscapes of our Universe, more aware of what is happening both within us and around us, how our lives are moving in dynamic interdependence with everyone and everything else.

The result is a what the Chinese call “wu wei” (無爲) or non-doing, where you are more able to flow in synch with the local situational patterns of the moment, flowing with life, rather then trying to control or manipulate people and situations to fit the imposed “will” of illusory (and transitory) ego patterns and desires.

Traditional Asian arts such as yoga, tai chi, aikido, meditation and tea ceremony have this kind of training as a key goal. Ideally, any physical activity or art form can become meditative in this way, a form of “mindfulness practice” or flow experience if we give our full attention to it."


About Christopher Chase

Co-creator and Admin of the Facebook pages "Tao & Zen" "Art of Learning" & "Creative Systems Thinking." Majored in Studio Art at SUNY, Oneonta. Graduated in 1993 from the Child & Adolescent Development program at Stanford University's School of Education. Since 1994, have been teaching at Seinan Gakuin University, in Fukuoka, Japan.

yingyang symbol at the ocean

YingYang at Cape Perpetua, Oregon

Francesco Garripoli

Embracing our infinite potential & living abundantly everyday


Wuji Mountain Musings #26 - Mind/Body Duality


Musing #26 looks at ways to transcend our conditioned Mind/Body duality that sabotages our ability to heal and transform.

Wuji Mountain Musings #85 - Personal Observation


Musing #85 looks at the concept of self observation and how we can activate Qi utilizing our Intuitive Mind in a Heart resonant way.

Wuji Mountain Musings #322


Musing #322 explores the fact that even if energy healing such as Qigong is not always logical or scientifically provable, it may just be this nature of residing outside of the limits of logic and Intellectual Mind which allows for its healing power. 

Wuji Mountain Musings #802 -  Dematerializing 

Musing #802 plays with the idea of dematerializing and transcending our beliefs and five senses that trick us into entrapment by limitations. Francesco reminds how our practice of working with mind, Yi, can enhance our Heart resonance and deepen our connection to Shen, our spirit nature.


prayer wheels

Emptiness (Wu) is a key notion in Daoism and the basis of all Daoist cultivation practices. According to author Ray Grigg (The Tao of Zen), "emptiness is not an understanding, it is a condition of receptivity. Tao is essentially discovered by learning what not to be and do. Mistakes, therefore, become a valuable source of information."  Emptiness involves emptying the mind of images, concepts, labels, thoughts, emotions, compulsions, habits, and even positive repetitive thought patterns. Emptiness is a state of being and a state of mind that is central in Qigong practice characterized by perceptual focus on immediate experience.

Exploring Emptiness and its Effects on Non-Attachment, Mystical Experiences, and Psycho-spiritual Wellbeing: A Quantitative and Qualitative Study of Advanced Meditators. "Compared to the mindfulness control condition, emptiness meditation resulted in significantly greater improvements in non-attachment to self and environment, mystical experiences, compassion, positive affect, and negative affect. No significant relationship was observed between duration of emptiness meditation and any of the aforementioned outcome measures. Qualitative outcomes demonstrated that participants (i) combined concentrative and investigative meditation techniques to induce emptiness, (ii) elicited spiritually meaningful insights both during and following the meditation on emptiness, and (iii) retained volitional control over the content and duration of the emptiness meditation. Cultivating emptiness appears to be a means of reconnecting advanced Buddhist meditators to what they deem to be the innermost nature of their minds and phenomena."

This research does have potential flaws by not taking into account that compassion and positive affect are the result of being an experienced ("cultivated") or being so-called "advanced meditator". One session of emptiness vs. the mindfulness control that is perhaps performed by less experienced meditators who have not cultivated the equanimity that the other group has. Maybe if they start at ground zero with all inexperienced meditators...

New study suggests meditating on emptiness might be better than mindfulness.

Back of Buddhist's shaved head

Emptiness meditation may be more effective at improving wellbeing than mindfulness meditation, according to psychologists at the University of Derby, UK. More.

microcosmic orbit with energy centers

The Microcosmic Orbit – Taoist Secret of Higher Consciousness. The human body is endowed with spiritual anatomy, using energy to support life and consciousness. As a microcosm of the universe, the energetic circulatory system of the body mirrors the patterns found in the cosmos. The practices of Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Kundalini Yoga, and energetic meditations focus on the development of chi and pranic energy.

NCCIH lecture on Health and Spirituality

Anne Harrington, Ph.D., Professor for the History of Science in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. This talk covers the range of research traditions today that are investigating the relationship between health and spiritual practice, the various historical roots of these traditions and how they interact in our own time, and the different kinds of challenges—intellectual, ethical, political—raised by this research. Nursing CEUs are available for this lecture from NCCAM.

NIH Videocast: Is Spirituality Good for Your Health? Historical Reflections on an Emerging Research Enterprise

Introduction to Health and Spirituality

Church Attendance Is Correlated with Increased Longevity

Meditation Might Reduce Stress and Enhance Health

Faith Heals

Prayer Works

Is Spirituality Good for Health?

History Decides Relationship Between Spirituality and Health Emerges

Spirituality in Film 

Film "Wisdom of Changes - Richard Wilhelm and the I Ching". Richard Wilhelm (1873-1930) is regarded as the European who discovered China´s spiritual world. "Wisdom of Changes“ is a documentary about the life and work of the most distinguished translator and mediator of classical Chinese culture to the west. The film narrates from today's perspective of the granddaughter, award winning film director Bettina Wilhelm, the phases of Richard Wilhelm's eventful life in times of dramatic changes. It also provides insight into the deeply humane, timeless Chinese wisdom of the I Ching, which can still serve as orientation in our own volatile times.

Chi Tree.standing qigong under oak treeThis short film explores the connection we have to the life of trees. It's a video meditation on the stillness of the earth and the presence of an oak tree in a Quantock field in Somerset, England. "Everything on earth is made of the same stuff ultimately - chi (qi, ki, prana or life force - vitality). The notion that we humans are separate from nature, including the earth itself below our feet, is an illusion.

A Small Dark Light: Ursula K. Le Guin on the Legacy of the Tao Te Ching and What It Continues to Teach Us About Personal and Political Power 2,500 Years Later

“It is the profound modesty of the language that offers what so many people for so many centuries have found in this book: a pure apprehension of the mystery of which we are part.”

Ursula La Guin portrait

Two and a half millennia ago, the Chinese sage Lao Tzu wrote a poetic and profound short text known as the Tao Te Ching. With uncommon elegance, it crystallized the teachings of Taoist philosophy on such perennial matters as power, happiness, and the source of meaning in human life. Read article.

Terence McKenna

Time and the I Ching


McKenna discusses the science of the I Ching and how it relates to modern quantum theory. The I-Ching represents a primary perception of the organization of mind, time, the Dao, and matter. Interior psychic events are related to exterior events forming the unity of our existence.

Culture Is Not Your Friend


Shaman are the ultimate technicians who know how to deal with cultural operating systems.

Culture & Ideology Are Not Your Friends (Terence McKenna) [FULL]


Cast aside cultural programming to find real values and return to nature.

Notes on Culture & Ideology Are Not Your Friends (.PDF).

Exploring the Nature of Reality Through the Lens of Psychedelics


Qigong as a Portal to Presence

In the Daoist tradition, a healthy body and longevity -- the goal of most Qigong and Daoist healing arts -- is regarded as the foundation for spiritual realization. The message is a simple one: the longer one lives in health and well-being, the greater the potential for realization. There is no obvious parallel in the Buddhist or Hindu traditions, which, with a few exceptions, view the body as an impediment to spiritual realization.

'Qigong as a Portal to Presence: Cultivating the Inner Energy BodyGunther Weil, Ph.D.

"With sustained 'listening', a more global sensation of energy arises involving the whole body. The 'practice' here is one of effortlessly allowing the attention to rest within the Inner Body, the field of Qi that is manifesting within and perhaps extending beyond the body. Breathing may be experienced over the entire body, as if the cells themselves were inhaling and exhaling. Yet, there is no imaging, description, labeling or conceptualizing involved in any of this. Gradually, the body itself becomes more transparent and the distinction between the doer, the observer, and the object of observation begins to dissolve. Directed attention itself begins to dissolve and what remains is Wu Chi - simple pure, awareness." Gunther Weil, PhD. Qigong educator and psychologist. 

'Qigong as a Portal to Presence: Cultivating the Inner Energy BodyGunther Weil, Ph.D.

Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Spirituality in the Art and Practice of Qigong

The Origins of Tai Chi - Taiji


Dr. Roger Jahnke discusses Tai Chi and the relationships between Kung Fu, Qigong, and Tai Chi

Cultivation, or practice over time, is an essential component of spiritual Qigong. Although the term "kung fu" is most often associated with the martial arts, developing or cultivating any art over time is kung fu. 

Kung Fu for Philosophers offers some insights into cultivation from the standpoint of language, the mind, and Chinese philosophy. Qigong could be substituted for "kung fu" in this article. (New York Times).

'Keeping your body and mind active': an ethnographic study of aspirations for healthy ageing. This UK study concludes that promoting and maintaining physical activity among older people may require more attention to activeness as an attitude and way of life as well as to its social context, and initiatives encouraging broader activity habits rather than discrete activities. Physical qigong practice sessions are discrete activities. But the true power of Qigong comes from the combination of practicing Qigong while embracing it as a habit and a way of life. [PMC4716154]

What is Spirituality?

Spirituality is the most practical thing in the whole wide world. I challenge anyone to think of anything more practical than spirituality as I have defined it -- not piety, not devotion, not religion, not worship, but spirituality -- waking up, waking up!awareness book cover When your illusions drop, you're in touch with reality at last, and believe me, you will never be lonely again. Loneliness is not cured by human company. Loneliness is cured by contact with reality. Reality is not problematic. Problems exist only in the human mind. You can become happy not by being loved, not by being desired or attractive to someone. You become happy by contact with reality."Life is something that happens to us while we're busy making other plans." That's pathetic. Live in the present moment. This is one of the things you will notice happening to you as you come awake. You find yourself living in the present, tasting every moment as you live it. Every concept that was meant to help us get in touch with reality ends up by being a barrier to getting in touch with reality, because sooner or later we forget that the words are not the thing. The concept is not the same as the reality. They're different. Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality. Anthony DeMello.

man eyes closed hands together by nose

Spirituality is a brain state we can all reach, religious or not. Traditionally, this spiritual state has been described as divine, achievable through contemplative and embodied practices, such as prayer, meditation and rhythmic rituals. Indeed, this higher state of consciousness and connection has been reported in many spiritual traditions, ranging from Buddhism to Sufism and Judaism to Christianity. However, recent neuroscientific research shows that the same state can be achieved by secular practices too. Scientific and creative epiphanies with their accompanying ecstatic states characterised by a sense of unity and bliss are similar to religious experiences, with both involving a higher state of presence and observation. MORE.

The Incorporation of Qigong into a Personal Religious Spiritual Practice

Qigong and Daoist Training Center - The American Dragon Gate Lineage

The American Dragon Gate Lineage (ADGL) is under the umbrella organization of the Qigong & Daoist Training Center (QDTC).  The ADGL was founded by Michael Rinaldini (Li Chang Dao), a Qigong Teacher, and a 22nd generation (Longmen) Dragon Gate Daoist priest. The American Dragon Gate Lineage is a non-monastic order of Daoist practitioners who have made a conscious commitment to self-cultivation and to the spreading of the Daoist View. More.

Daoist Immortals 

Platform Statement of The American Dragon Gate Lineage

Daoism is a philosophical and religious tradition, which has its roots in the Chinese culture, history and philosophy. The ultimate concern for Daoists is the return to the Source, which is the Dao. A Daoist in the ADGL studies the history of Daoism specifically the teachings of the Quanzhen-Complete Perfection school and its founder Wang Zhe (Chongyang) (1112-1170), which eventually resulted in the Longmen Dragon Gate sect in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).

Modern Physics, Eastern Mysticism, and Qigong

The Dancing Wu Li Masters

book cover

Li means patterns of energy. Wu Li (chinese for physics) is patterns of energy from wu. Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics is about the relationship between physics and Dao.




The Tao of Physics

"The comparison between physics and mystical traditions is only a small part of the much broader change of worldview and change of consciousness that is now happening in our society. A shift of paradigm, as it is often called. It is the shift from the mechanistc worlview that is expressed in classical physics to a holistic and ecological vision of reality." Tao of Physics.

The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism. Fritjof Capra, physicist.

Qigong Meets Quantum Physics

This book succeeds in presenting both an easily accessible outline of quantum physics and also an appreciation of mysticism beyond vagueness and obscurity. From here it describes the physical and mental movements of qigong as a way of integrating body and mind, head and heart, detailing specific exercises and outlining their rationale and effects. Qigong Meets Quantum Physics

nccih logo

Including Spirituality Into a Fuller Picture of Research on Whole Person Health

As the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) team looks ahead to the development of our next strategic plan, I hope to get a conversation started about how we may thoughtfully include spirituality as one of the domains of research on whole person health. As we strive to better understand the components of overall health, we’ll need to answer a core question. What are the elements of spiritual health that would be most amenable to research and would interconnect with the biological, behavioral, social, and environmental domains that we study? Helene Langevin, Director. Fulll text.

Selected Spirituality Research

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Sustained practice of Qigong results in a somatic hermeneutic process, contributing to appreciation of life. An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Insights revealed how each practitioner makes sense of the sustained 'autotelic' [having an end or purpose in itself] practice of Qigong, and how this contributes to a transformative understanding of themselves and of life. Qigong presents a possible promising intervention to improve both physical and psychological well-being. PMID: 37949545

The Role of Spiritual Care and Healing in Health ManagementIn this review, we discuss the effects of spiritual well-being on health, and the importance of assessing and addressing patients' spiritual needs, highlight the need for methodic, rigorous high-quality studies and improved physician education in identifying and addressing patients' spiritual needs.

Spiritual Fitness: An Essential Component of Human Performance Optimization.

Neural Correlates of Personalized Spiritual Experiences.

Placebo studies and ritual theory: a comparative analysis of Navajo, acupuncture and biomedical healing. Harvard Medical School: Placebo effects are often described as 'non-specific'; the analysis presented here suggests that placebo effects are the 'specific' effects of healing rituals.

Relaxation response and spirituality: Pathways to improve psychological outcomes in cardiac rehabilitation. Researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health have demonstrated a link between the relaxation response (which is elicited during Qigong practice) and spiritual and psychological well-being. The study was conducted as part of a cardiac rehabilitation program.

Integrating spirituality into patient care: an essential element of person-centered care.

Building spiritual fitness in the Army: an innovative approach to a vital aspect of human development. This article describes the development of the spiritual fitness component of the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program. Spirituality is defined in the human sense as the journey people take to discover and realize their essential selves and higher order aspirations.

Impact of Spirituality/Religiosity on Mortality: Comparison With Other Health Interventions. Spirituality is as effective as fruit and vegetable consumption in reducing mortality rate.

Spiritually-based treatments for advanced cancer patients are not "one size fits all". The study found that with regard to patient conceptualizations of religion and spirituality, three categories emerged: (1) Spirituality is intertwined with organized religion; (2) Religion is one manifestation of the broader construct of spirituality; (3) Religion and spirituality are completely independent, with spirituality being desirable and religion not.

Exploring Shamanic Journeying: Repetitive Drumming with Shamanic Instructions Induces Specific Subjective Experiences but No Larger Cortisol Decrease than Instrumental Meditation Music. A significant decrease in the concentration in salivary cortisol was observed across all musical styles and instructions, indicating that exposure to 15 minutes of either repetitive drumming or instrumental meditation music, while lying down, was sufficient to induce a decrease in cortisol levels. However, no differences were observed across conditions. Significant differences in reported emotional states and subjective experiences were observed between the groups. Notably, participants exposed to repetitive drumming combined with shamanic instructions reported experiencing heaviness, decreased heart rate, and dreamlike experiences significantly more often than participants exposed to repetitive drumming combined with relaxation instructions. The findings suggest that the subjective effects specifically attributed to repetitive drumming and shamanic journeying may not be reflected in differential endocrine responses.

Interview with Michael Ferguson, PhD on Neurospirituality


In this 14-minute interview, Dr. Michael Ferguson, from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Divinity School, shares his journey into neurospirituality, describes his team's current research and highlights the potential for neurospirituality to give rise to new modalities of integrative care. 

Meditation is Intrinsic to Spiritual Qigong

Being in the present moment is ordinary; it's the point of being human. Learning to be present for the moment is the beginning of the spiritual path.  Rinphoche Sakyong Mipham.Sakyong Mipham gives an introduction to meditation with some deep insights from his book Turning the Mind Into an Ally. Strengthening, calming, and stabilizing the mind is the essential first step in accomplishing nearly any goal. Growing up American with a Tibetan twist, Sakyong Mipham talks to Westerners as no one can: in idiomatic English with stories and wisdom from American culture and the great Buddhist teachers. More on Meditation.

How Meditation Primes The Mind For Spiritual Experiences. While the stillness and connecting with one's inner self cultivated through mindfulness are certainly an important part of a spiritual practice, feelings of wonder and awe -- the amazement we get when faced with incredible vastness -- are also central to the spiritual experience. And according to new research, mindfulness may actually set the stage for awe.

Kabbalah, Dao, and Chi Gong

yin yang symbol

The Zohar, the primary book of Kabbalah, and the Tao Te Ching, the primary book of Daoism (pronounced Dao De Jing), were both written thousands of years ago. The author of the Zohar, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, and the author of Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu, wrote universal truths that in essence can be studied and practiced by all people, regardless of gender, sex, age, or religion. The similarities between the two are astounding. Sometimes it feels like the same person wrote it. MORE.

Chaung-tzu's Butterfly Dream

Am I Chuang-tzu dreaming that I am a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming that i am Chuang-tzu?

butterfly made from flowers

"The physical act of awakening from a dream is a metaphor for awakening to a higher level of consciousness"

Butterflies, Great Sages & Valid Cognition.

CCARE Science of Compassion 2014: The Biology of Compassion

The Science of Compassion conference is a two-day event held by Stanford's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education to share and explore the latest research and application of compassion from experts in the field of psychology, neuroscience and compassion education. For more information on CCARE, visit: http://ccare.stanford.edu/.

The Psychophysiology of Compassion


Moderator: Stephanie Brown, PhD
Stephen Porges PhD, Vagal Pathways: Portals to Compassion
Sue Carter, PhD, The Endocrinology of Compassion and Love: An Oxytocin Hypothesis
Charles Raison, MD, Brain, Body, and the Social Efforts of Cognitively Based Compassion Training
Steven Cole, PhD, Connection, Compassion, and the Human Genome

powerpoint slide on biology of prayer

Qigong Meditation and Healing Sounds

“It’s very possible that ancient traditions of chanting have actually the potential of targeting different organs. Chants and vocalizations are always linked to exhalations and this is when the vagal effect upon the heart is maximized."
Dr. Steven Porges

Whole Body Vibration Improves Brain and Musculoskeletal Health by Modulating the Expression of Tissue-Specific Markers: FNDC5 as a Key Regulator of Vibration Adaptations. Our results support the hypothesis that different organs or tissues have different susceptibility to vibration. PMCID: PMC9498983

The Buddha on Self and Non-Self


The Buddha's teachings on the self and on non-self are some of his most subtle, interesting, and unique. We'll take a look at them in this video. We'll also compare the Buddha's view of the self with that of western philosophers David Hume and Derek Parfit.

Qi Advisor

"I`m a long time Spiritual seeker just getting into qigong. It seems qigong, as with Spirituality has a dizzying array of different techniques and opinions. I was wondering if you could tell me, in your opinion, which are the best qigong styles for Spirituality, as opposed to medical and other types of qigong."

Gunter Weil's 'Qigong as a Portal to Presence' is an interesting read. Qigong has spirituality built-in to it, so any Qigong that you do can be done for spiritual purposes. The best Qigong is one that you like to do and will keep doing. Since you are starting out, we would recommend checking out different forms. You will potentially resonate with some and not others. You may be lucky enough to enjoy them all.  Explore the examples of different forms that are in the Sample Qigong Exercises section of the Getting Started With Qigong page. 

Yuval Noah Harari on Vipassana, Reality, Suffering, and Consciousness


Harari discusses being in the present moment which is a foundational part of Qigong meditative practice.

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The Taiji Model of Self

An important theme in the development of self-psychology is the attempt by scholars to construct a self-model with universal cultural adaptability. Among them, representatives are the tripartite model of self-built by Triandis, the theory of the independent self and interdependent self-proposed by Markus and Kitayama, Yang Kuo-Shu's four-part theory of the Chinese self, Hwang Kwang-Kwo's Mandala model of self, and Shiah Yung-Jong's Non-self-Theory. However, these models have a difficult time explaining the structure and development of the Chinese self in Chinese cultural background. After pondering over Chinese traditional culture and the Chinese self, inspired by the archetype of Taiji diagram, in this paper, we construct the Taiji Model of Self. The Taiji Model of Self can not only properly represent the Chinese self-structure, but also explain the growth course of the Chinese self and four kinds of life realms of Chinese people with satisfactory cultural and ecological validity. [PMC6598445].

Comments on previous psychological Tai-Chi models: Jun-zi self-cultivation model. In this article we describe four previous Tai-Chi models based on the I-Ching (Book of Changes) and their limitations. The I-Ching, the most important ancient source of information on traditional Chinese culture and cosmology, provides the metaphysical foundation for this culture, especially Confucian ethics and Taoist morality. To overcome the limitations of the four previous Tai-Chi models, we transform I-Ching cultural system into a psychological theory by applying the cultural system approach. PMCID: PMC9521500

The Jesus Sutras: Daoist Christianity

The Jesus Sutras describes how the beliefs of the Eastern World of Buddhism and Daoism were brought together with those of the Western Judeo-Christian world to create the vibrant practice of Daoist Christianity within Confucian China some fourteen hundred years ago. The book presents a fascinating history and picture of the intermixing of Shamanism, Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and the Church of the East. The sacred texts provide an unprecedented view into Jesus' teachings and life in the context of Eastern philosophy and meditative practices.

Alan Watts Opens Up About Religion


Chinese Philosophy and Daoism

Daoism versus Taoism

Daoism and Taoism are different ways to spell (and pronounce) the same Chinese word (characters). Taoism is more well-known and thus more popular because it has been in use the longest. Taoism is the deprecated Wade-Giles spelling and Daoism is the modern Pinyin spelling. Wade-Giles was created in the late 19th Century while Pinyin (which literally translates to "spell sound") was adopted as the Chinese government's official standard transliteration system in the mid-20th Century. Even though it is deprecated, "Taoism" is often the preferred term because it is more recognizable from a marketing and public familiarity standpoint.

Chinese Studies -- Pinyin to Wade-Giles Conversion Table.

What's the difference between Wade-Giles and Pinyin?

Daoism and the Origins of Qigong

Livia Kohn

Contemporary Qigong tends to focus on medical goals and the improvement of life quality with the help of methods transmitted by Daoists. It is practiced both in the medical community and actively pursued among Daoist followers and successfully combines techniques that go back to both medical and Daoist sources. temple on hill at sunset The main distinction between health and longevity on the one hand and advanced spiritual or immortality practice on the other, within the overall system of Qigong, is the degree to which the body is aligned with the flow of yin and yang or the Dao on the periphery versus being transformed, transfigured, and energetically reorganized to a higher level—the ineffable Dao of creation at the center of all. The Daoist transformation of the self in the process of inner alchemy, reaching from essence through energy to spirit and the emptiness of Dao, has become part of modern Qigong discourse, and many techniques of inner alchemy are actively applied in practice. Not only perceiving of the body as an entity of qi-flow and a replica of the universe, adepts of inner alchemy take active control of the energies and, through the systematic circulation and collection of qi, transmutate the body into a cauldron for the growth of an inner elixir. More...

Livia Kohn - Daoism and Immortality. Livia Kohn is a Professor of East Asian Studies and Religion at Boston University. She has been studying Daoism since the 1970s and is today, one of the leading experts on Daoism. Kohn discusses Daoism, Daoists practices & techniques to live longer, the history of Daoism, and what Daoists think of life extension and immortality. Listen to Podcast.

Fundamentals of Daoism

The Path of Daoism (道)


Lao Tzu


Wuwei (無為) & Ziran (自然) in brief


Damo looks briefly at these terms as they are applied to the interaction between mind and body as well as looking at how application of Wuwei and Ziran guides internal practice. 

Wu Wei - Effortless Effort


Taoist Rule of Thirds: Following the Path of Least Resistance


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Functional application of wuwei: saving your precious energy. Dr. Yang Yang: "wuwei does not mean “no effort”—making a conscious decision to not waste your energy requires awareness, effort, and practice. And to truly keep your emotional center, it is essential to understand and be aware of reality and how to deal with reality in a healthy way—which my students will recognize as the foundation of my meditation instruction. To be sure, there are plenty of times when I have wasted my energy in response to minor life occurrences. It is only through long practice that I have learned to nurture my energy and come to an understanding of the functional wisdom of wuwei."

The Slippery Art of Wu Wei 
The Art of Doing Nothing

by Solala Towler

waterfall and pool in the woods

Wu wei is one of the most difficult concepts in Daoist philosophy. Roughly translated, it means “doing nothing.” Westerners who are first introduced to Daoism sometimes think the term wu wei means sitting around and doing nothing—a passive acceptance of life and a sort of mushy, hopeless attitude. Nothing could be further from the truth. Alan Watts calls wu wei "a form of intelligence—that is, of knowing the principles, structures, and trends of human and natural affairs so well that one uses the least amount of energy in dealing with them” or “the innate wisdom of the nervous system". MORE.

Wuwei and Flow | Adrien Stoloff | TEDxBrownU


When we get so involved in an activity that we forget everything else we are doing, it enables us to be "in the zone.” This feeling of being totally absorbed in an activity is known by positive psychologists as “flow.” In this talk, Adrien discusses the concept of flow and puts it into dialog with the ancient Chinese idea of wuwei, or effortless action. Adrien discusses flow and wuwei, and how recent research in cognitive neuroscience suggests what may be happening in the brain when we experience flow or wuwei. 

What is Daoism?


“Opening Dao” – A documentary film on Daoism and martial arts was filmed in China in 2009. Scholars, top martial artists and monks explain the principles of the Way, a treasure of wisdom that survived thousands of years. The film highlights the interconnectedness between the philosophy and the natural world and how its principles manifest in certain martial arts and meditative arts.

Practicing the Tao Te Ching

practicing the tao te ching book cover

Amazon: paperback

Alan Watts

Daoism and Eastern Philosophy

Alan Watts, one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century, points out that our sense of  inter-connectedness has been lost because we think that our personality, or ego, actually exists. This misperception gets in the way of our understanding reality and who we really are, with the ultimate consequence being the unconscionable fouling of the planet that we live on. We are not an organism separate from the environment; we are part of it.

book coverWe have to give up the ego. People say it is hard. It isn't really, because the ego does not exist. As Watts explains, "If you try to get rid of your ego with your ego, it will take you until the end of time." We need to let go of ourselves, our egos, and let nature be. Our fundamental self is happening, not doing. This truth is revealed through the practice of Qigong. Watts' prescient observations were just as valid in 1970 as they are now. Recommended: The Middle Way (53:43), Man in Nature (8:32) , and Time and the More It Changes (50:33) . Essays on Watt's insight into eastern philosophy can be found in Eastern Wisdom, Modern Life: Collected Talks: 1960-1969.

Note that Watts began his life-long study of eastern philosophy with Buddhism, and became well-known for Zen in particular, but focused his later years on Daoism, whose practitioners use Qigong. Watts explores the essence of Daoism and spiritual Qigong in Tao The Watercourse Way tao watercourse waywhere he explains that "...the most subtle principle of Daoism [is] known as wu-wei. Literally, this may be translated as "not doing," but its proper meaning is to act without forcing -- to move in accordance with the flow of nature's course which is signified by the word Dao, and is best understood from watching the dynamics of water. Wu-wei is thus the life-style of one who follows the Dao, and must be understood primarily as a form of intelligence -- that is, of knowing the principles, structures, and trends of human and natural affairs so well that one uses the least amount of energy in dealing with them."

Best known in Daoist circles for his final book “Dao; the Watercourse Way,” Alan Watts (1915-1973) was one of the 20th century’s “foremost interpreter of Eastern thought for the West.” During the 1950’s & 60’s Watts was a teacher and Dean of Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco. Through the late 60’s & early 70’s Watts began to lecture and appeared on television and radio.

Philosophies of Asia - Daoist Way


Life is NOT a Journey 


The Story of the Chinese Farmer


You never know the consequences of anything that happens in the universe. “The Story of the Chinese Farmer” is a parable about life and nature that helps us to stay grounded in the face of seeming adversity or good fortune.

Much of spiritual Qigong as practiced by Daoists (also 'Taoists' or 'Taoism' - see Wade-Giles vs Pinyin) is encapsulated in book coverThe Secret of the Golden Flower. The text uses alchemical metaphors (such as 'Turning the Light Around') to explore psychological transformations that are the heart of spiritual Qigong practice, and can be quite dense reading for people unfamiliar with Daoist terminology. A good summary can be found in The Secret of the Golden Flower, Part One. For an in-depth commentary on the Secret of the Golden Flower, including an analysis of Jung's interpretation of it, read Analytical psychology and Daoist inner alchemy: a response to C.G. Jung’s ‘Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower.

pubmed logoInfluence of I-ching (Yijing, or The Book Of Changes) on Chinese medicine, philosophy and science. I-Ching or Yi-Jing (also known as The Book of Changes) is the earliest classic in China. It simply explained the formation of the universe and the relationship of man to the universe. Most, if not all, branches of various knowledge, including traditional Chinese medicine, can be traced back its origin to this Book in which Fu Shi (2852 B.C.) theorized how the universe was formed, through his keen observation of environment and orbits of sun, moon and stars. He used symbols to represent his views. The essence of I-Ching is basically the expression, function, interaction, and circulation of Yang and Yin.

Ray Grigg explores the origins of Daoist philosophy and conveys a profound insight into spiritual Qigong. In tao of zenThe Tao of Zen he explains that modern Zen did not come from Buddhism. Rather, it's origin can be found in Chinese Ch'an Buddhism which originated in China and Daoism. Grigg discusses in depth the historical connections of Daoism and Zen as well as the philosophical similarities.

For excellent scholarly work on Daoism see Livia Kohn and John Cleary. Also, each Breathe Deep Newsletter contains insights on the philosophy and practice of Qigong.

For contemporary articles on spiritual Qigong and the practice and philosophy of Daoism which utilizes Qigong, see The Empty Vessel: A Journal of Contemporary Daoism.

Empty Vessel Interview on Breathing with Dennis Lewis"...most of us lose ourselves constantly in one or another side of ourselves -- in our thoughts, emotions, sensations, and so on. As a result, we live fragmented, dishonest, and disharmonious lives. And while we might agree intellectually that this is true, many of us are not convinced enough to actually undertake the demanding work of self-awareness and self-transformation, a work that begins with learning how to sense and observe ourselves sincerely, to listen impartially to ourselves in action. Since our breathing both reflects and conditions the various sides of ourselves, a vital part of this process involves work with breath..." Dennis Lewis.

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Building spiritual fitness in the Army: an innovative approach to a vital aspect of human development. This article describes the development of the spiritual fitness component of the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program. Spirituality is defined in the human sense as the journey people take to discover and realize their essential selves and higher order aspirations.

Thousand Hand Guan Yin Qigong. Watch an example of spiritual qigong expressed through dancing. All 21 of the dancers are deaf. Relying only on signals from trainers at the four corners of the stage, these extraordinary dancers deliver a visual spectacle that is at once intricate and stirring. Its first major international debut was in Athens at the closing ceremonies for the 2004 Paralympics.

Peace, quiet pave road to health. The Rev. Deanne Hodgson, an associate pastor at the Church of the Beatitudes in Phoenix, counsels parishioners preparing for surgery in ways to discover inner quiet in bustling hospital settings. Hodgson is a registered nurse and certified Tai Chi instructor who leads classes in the Chinese mind-body relaxation exercises at the church. The classes are open to the public. "We're constantly being bombarded, not only with sound but with visual 'noise,' " explains Hodgson. "The challenge is to discover a peaceful place within yourself, and that's where the practice of meditation of any sort [e.g. Qigong] is very useful."

"Tai Chi, Qigong, Yoga will play an important part in the global awakening." -- Eckhart Tolle, author of A New Earth (Oprah's Bookclub pick).

In the manifest realm of duality, if there is an action, there is an equal and opposite reaction: an opening is followed by a closing, and the cycle repeats ad infinitum. In Taoism, the directive of all closing phases – both during practice and in life in general – is to let go and simply allow the next phase to emerge naturally, without holding on to the past or forcing the future. 

Paul Cavell. https://www.paulcavel.com/

Trying Not to Try: the Power of Spontaneity | Edward Slingerland | TEDxMaastricht


Edward Slingerland - a Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia - claims that recent research suggests that many aspects of a satisfying life - such as happiness and spontaneity - are best pursued indirectly. The early Chinese philosophers knew this, and they wrote extensively about an effortless way of being in the world. We’ve long been told that the way to achieve our goals is through careful reasoning and conscious effort. Can prof. dr. Slingerland change your perspective to stop trying? How can you try, not to try? Dr. Slingerland has combined his studies of early Chinese philosophy with cutting-edge research from modern cognitive science, evolutionary studies, and social psychology to explore why this paradox is real, why is exists, and how finding a way around it is the key to both social cooperation and personal success. Slingerland is the author of ‘Trying Not to Try: Ancient China, Modern Science and the Power of Spontaneity." This talk includes perspectives on "wu-wei "and "de", although he mistakenly ascribes we-wei to Chinese theology instead of Chinese philosophy.

Ken Cohen: The Tao of the Meaning of Life

Ken Cohen portrait

"Life has no meaning, and it is full of meaning. Life does not acquire meaning or reality from something external to itself, a Creator separate from Creation. Tao includes both; in the Chinese language it is both a noun and a verb. The meaning of life is thus experienced; it unfolds like a dance or a piece of music.More....

What Could "Turning the Light of Consciousness Around" in the Secret of the Golden Flower Mean from a Scientific Standpoint?

pubmed logoMindfulness training induces structural connectome changes in insula networks.

Mindfulness, an intrinsic part of Qigong, strengthens interoception. Mindfulness and Qigong both make you better at tracking your inner experience, that is what may be called "interocepting" or turning the light of attention and awareness around... We know that from practicing. 

The Way of Awareness in Daoist Philosophy

The Way of Awareness in Daoist Philosophy book cover

The Way of Awareness in Daoist Philosophy

"In Chinese, the meanings of dao in its everyday usage include a physical road or path, a psychological tendency, a principle, or a method or way of doing something. Laozi, however, seems to be using the word in a sense that both includes aspect of these meanings and also means something distinct from them...The relation of the Way to all the world is like that of the streams from the valleys to the great rivers and seas. The Way is the source of the world, for streams are the source of rivers and seas. On my interpretation, this text would mean that awareness is the source of the world." 

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An outlook better than optimism?

While looking at the sunny side of life offers a lot of light moments, there may be a better path to well-being.

You might think the best way to improve your well-being is to cultivate an optimistic outlook. Think again. "Better than cultivating an artificial optimism is to see the situation and the world realistically," says Ronald Siegel, an assistant professor of psychology, part-time, at Harvard Medical School and medical editor of the Harvard Special Health Report Positive Psychology.

A good way to start seeing the world more realistically is through mindfulness practice which is intrinsic to Qigong. Read article.

Embracing the One: Daoist Meditation

by Solala Towler

Daoist meditation is often called Embracing the One or Returning to the Source. There is much about it that is mystical and may at first seem hard to understand for the beginner. But then again, as Daniel Reid so aptly puts it: "There is nothing mysterious or magical about such meditation. It is as precise, practical and effective an exercise for the mind as push-ups are for the body and breathing is for energy." More.

The Alchemy of Inner Peace

chinese sage playing qi ball

Different from conventional Western anatomy, Eastern views of the human organism include an energetic metabolism, which sustains human vital functions on a subtle level. Depictions and names of energy ‘organs’ vary from tradition to tradition, but they share the vision that vital energy flows through centers and conduits in and around the human physical body.

Just like breathing happens automatically, we don’t need to do anything to make energy flow through us. However, we can choose to cultivate and optimize our energetic state, be it to improve our wellbeing or to evolve spiritually. Energy work can heal us, if we understand healing as becoming whole; becoming one with ourselves, and expressing this through our material lives. More.

What Is the Meaning of Life?

Read hundreds of different opinions. Excellence Reporter: Reporting on the Meaning and the Excellence of Life.

Why no style of martial art is practical in a real fight

chinese farmer herding ox

“Style is a pedagogical tool that helps the student to recognize and identify shapes and patterns. It is also a label that allows us to sell the pedagogy itself. But once the student has learned the true nature of shapes and their meaning, then the style must be transcended. Otherwise, the style becomes nothing more than a well-crafted boat floating in the wrong river.” – Ian Sinclair

"ABOUT THE POWER OF MOVING FROM FORM TO THE FORMLESSNESS OF PERSONAL SPONTANAITY! This article is not actually about Martial Arts -- it is more about the formulation of your personal practice, whether Gongfu (Kungfu), Taiji (Tai Chi), Qigong (Chi Kung). It is also about the process of owning your own, unique insight and power. How will you evolve from learning and practicng forms to learning about yourself and practicing what is perfectly suited to the moment!?!" - Roger Jahnke

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