The following is Part 1 of a talk by Francesco Garripoli at the National Qigong Association – NQA Conference 2009 in Asilomar, California, recorded and transcribed by Solala Towler, Editor, Empty Vessel Magazine
Francesco began by telling us a little about his recent journey to the Australian outback, where he spent time with the local tribal people and learned a little about what they call the Dreamtime, the source of all being.
With these Friday workshops we get to set the tone for this incredible weekend. We have lots of people coming and teaching and learning from all over the country.
We should all set an intention for the day, the intention of why you have brought your body, mind and sprit to this class today. Hold that intention. What you hold in your mind and energy field sets the unfolding of the Dreaming that you call your life, your reality. And we sometimes underestimate the power of our ability to set that resonance, to set that energetic. The more and more I do work with Qigong over the years, and I had lots of years playing with this, I see our life much more like a dream; what we experience every day is more like a Dreaming, not fixed, it’s a living process. And our Qigong work sets that resonant tone that the ancient Chinese have called the wei qi field, that energetic field around us. When we start to discover really what Qigong is… Qigong is every breath of your day. It’s not just when you’re moving your arms and when you that you say, “Oh I just did my Qigong.” Many people spend an hour a day doing practice but they haven’t done anything close to what Qigong is as far as I’m concerned. Its good exercise, our body needs to move, our lymph system needs to move so that it can flow through the body. We need to help qi get activated but the real Qigong is that which can’t be spoken, Just like the Dao that can be spoken is not the true Dao, Qigong that can be spoken is not true Qigong.
Forms that we learn are ways to anchor into this processing. The exercises we do are to help repattern a system that has been patterned by corporations, the government, parents, religions etc. Part of the evolution of the human spirit is to repattern our very evolution into the Dreaming, to shift the way that we look at ourselves in a physical dimension and move ourselves in to our energetic body. Why is quantum physics moving the way it’s moving? Because its part of that dance! And why are these indigo kids coming up with this amazing brilliance? You talk to a three year old and they tell you everything a Qigong master could say in a few sentences!
They are moving up in this dance, and this Dreaming swirl is starting to happen on all the unconscious levels. And that’s why Qigong is becoming what it is becoming. And all you guys that have been practicing for a while and all of you who just found out about it today—we are all exactly together, because there is no time. So when someone talks about their long, deep practice, and say, “I’ve done this for years”, well, who gives a crap? I have met kids who can do Qigong, I have sat with kindergarteners who blew me away! They have that ability to sit and resonate and come up with a powerful resonant energy field. You know what it feels like, right? You know that zone, that sense when you’re in that space. That’s Qigong. And you can get that in a split second or you can spend 25 years and never come close to it. Trust that. But why do you take classes? Repatterning. We have to continue to set up that habitual regeneration in our system because humans are pattern generators. It’s what we do really well. We suck at almost everything else. But we can create patterns, we can create bureaucracies, we can create prayers and mantras. We can do amazing things, we can create buildings—all patterns, patterns that that are built on patterns that are built on patterns—so that a little bit of knowledge becomes a massive engine system. A little bit of knowledge becomes a giant quantum physics concept.
So Qigong is a patterning tool to help us become sensitive to our pattern-making ability. Why is it so hard to break a habit? We’re all different as to how we work with patterns and how we integrate this work. The dance is to understand what Qigong is. Qigong is nothing. You don’t want to hold on to Qigong. Everyone wants a brand. I love Qigong. I have put a lot of time into it. But I know that deep down, in Qigong, there’s really nothing there. How old is the word Qigong? Most likely it was born in 1962. That’s when a teacher in China created “Qigong” as a word, putting two Chinese characters together. Its not 5,000 years old. What we are really being asked is to hold the essence, the intention. We know that the intention behind Qigong is millions of years old.
To connect with this powerful energy we need to understand the essence, to understand what is beyond the name, what is beyond the movement. That’s what I really want us to play with today. I want us to go to the place where when we are stretching, that it’s just like the aboriginal stories—there are levels within levels within levels. If you can access those levels, you understand your dreaming, your ability to be a dreamer. To be a Qigong practitioner is to be a dynamic dreamer. To understand that this reality that we’re experiencing is part of our dance, what we are contributing to every second in our dreaming. The resonant field that you create, like we just did with the energy-testing exercise with Daisy, is a baby step, but it teaches us how our mind affects some semblance of our reaction on this physical level. How can we go deeper, how can we push deeper, how can we apply that everyday, everywhere in our life?
We’re going to explore a lot of Qigong forms, today, we’re going to do a lot of exercises that I want you to remember and then I want you to forget. And then remember again. Remember Donavan? How many people here are old enough to remember Donavan? First there is mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is. First there is Qigong, then there is no Qigong and then there is Qigong again. The “Qigong again” that we return back to helps us see right through the forms. Now the form itself doesn’t carry that much power. It becomes a patterning tool. The Qigong form is an intention-carrying tool.
We learn a ton of them from a ton of teachers but don’t let anyone of them be more important than the other. Make the importance be based on your joy around it, your excitement around it. Like it and love it for its poetry. I want you to understand that because if you really want to go to the deeper levels of Qigong, if you want to get the benefits, you learn that the healing happens in an instant. All healing happens in an instant. I have worked with hundreds if not thousands of people who have had everything from chronic pain to cancer, strokes. I have worked with babies in hospitals, all kinds of health challenges. And when the healing happens it happens in an instant. No matter what you thought about the time it took to get up to that healing, there was a moment when the shift happened and the whole of reality changed. We want to work on that shift more. That’s what we practice Qigong for, to cultivate that moment.
This is why we are doing Qigong—to be healthy, yeah, the Daoists tell us to do Qigong to build that strong body, to bring that jing qi up to a place and to get the jing luo flowing, to bring yourself up to this resonant place. Why? Just to have a strong body and to live 250 years and have great sex? Forget it!
It’s to take this thing and shift it, to open yourselves up to your infinite potential, so you can start to be a resonant dreamer and start shifting that reality around you so you can help others do the same thing. And that is how we change the world, how we change communities, how we build communities. The health focus is just the first baby stuff. And then it becomes the reminder, because nobody gets perfectly healed. And that’s another problem with people doing Qigong. “Well I did Qigong and I got healed and then I fell off and I got sick again.” No, you didn’t fall off anything. The illness, the sickness, the disease, is a critical part of moving us deeper every time you return back to it. I have been practicing Qigong for many years and can get rid of flu symptoms in 20 minutes. I can break bones and heal them, it’s amazing what I can sometimes do with my body. But do you think I can fix this miserable fingernail? No, I’ve tried everything its been a year and half now! But you know what? I love it. I love it!
I love it because it reminds me that these challenging things are the critical parts of our unfolding, our dreaming. So what if you can heal everything? So what if you can make a ton of money? So what? You look for the things that aren’t in that zone. Cause they’re the ones that are going to get you to grow. They are the motivators that are going to help you wake up. So it’s not about completing one process and getting to another, it’s about how can they all start working together. And our Qigong work brings you into a sensitivity. I always call Qigong “sensitivity training.”
It brings us to our sensitivity and brings us to our honesty. We can look at things and keep folding them into our Dreaming, keep folding them in and understand how it’s playing a part to open our heart. This is the work of Qigong. Now, if you want to stay in that zone of just doing those exercises it’s perfectly ok. If you leave this class today and just do the physical work, that practice is going to set up enough of a healthy pattern that you are going to get great benefits, all by itself.
What happens when we move into love? We start playing with shen qi, we go into that heart resonance. When we go into the heart resonance nothing can sit outside that circle. That’s why the real high level masters are in that loving space. I met a lot of Masters who taught me great things but then it stopped. I have met several of them and when I saw that love wasn’t a main motivation in their work I had to stop working with them. I got kicked out by some great Masters! Yet I was very happy to get booted by a lot of these Masters because it got to a point of “Us or them”, which means, “You can be my disciple but you can’t practice with anyone else or you have to practice my forms only for a few years before you can practice with anyone else.”
When it’s heart-based teaching, it will always be inclusive. When you move with love, the circle keeps opening, your “wei qi” field opens and opens and opens and there is nothing outside of it. When nothing is outside it there can be no disease that you battle, when nothing’s outside it there can be no person that you can be at odds with, when there’s nothing outside it then there’s nothing outside that circle. There are no finances that you need to go seek. When there’s nothing outside it, your circle keeps expanding until there are no adversarial relationships with anyone. That’s what Qigong does. It pushes the circle so big.
Why do we have the National Qigong Association? Solala and I have been working with this association for years! All you guys working with this association, why do we do it? Opening up circles. That’s how the hologram works. Every circle that we work with is a resonant expression of bigger and bigger spheres of energy. This circle here is exactly the circle of the way the sun moves through this galaxy and this galaxy moves through the universe. Everything resonates. Everything reflects.
You have to remember you are dreaming the dream and your Qigong work is helping to create the passion. You can’t dream without passion. I’m not talking about a dream that you’re fantasizing or a dream that you’re sleeping in. I’m talking about the dream that we are doing this second. A waking dream. Qigong is waking dream work. How many times do you do your practice and you start getting that vision. you start getting that feeling that were all connected. You starting getting that feeling like, shit, I really can heal this body. Wow, that glimpse! You might go back to your limit, but you’ve had the glimpse. I’ve busted up enough bones to know that you might fall back once in a while. But each time you fall back you have to understand the illusion, the relationship you have with the physical. And when you can understand that illusory relationship, then you can embrace it. Then you understand that you are excellent at working with the subtle energy!
Every human’s power is in subtle energy work. We’re not very good at big stuff. We can’t move these ceiling beams without machines. We can’t do a lot of things without outside help. But you can do amazing things at the subtle level. And we forget, because the world doesn’t tell us that our real power lies at the subtle energetic qi level. So we tend to do our work over the gross granularity resolution. We tend to do the work with force, when the magic is in the subtle, the wu wei.
As I repeat from my teachers in China, “yi dao qi dao”, where the mind goes the qi goes. Use the mind, use your power. Every time you have a conflict, smile and open the circle, open the sphere and come back to the subtle. All of a sudden, in that subtle place, you realize that that’s where you cultivate coincidence. That’s where you cultivate the magic resonance. That’s where you cultivate the real work of Qigong.
So we’re here to remind ourselves. My old teacher, back in the seventies, used to tell me, “You teach best what you need to learn the most.” So I obviously need to learn a lot! I teach as much as I can and know that learning is a life-long process.
Anything worth mastering is most likely not worth learning. I want to explore the infinite aspects of my nature, of my dreaming, and you can’t “master” something infinite. Even a carpenter that someone may refer to as a “master” will be the first to tell you they are learning something new with every project. Every new piece of wood presents a new opportunity, a chance to start fresh and with an open mind.
You need to work with love. Love is a dynamic process that never stops. And that’s the beauty of this work. So if you get pissed off with yourself that you’re not mastering something say great, cause Francesco told me not to try and master it! Your highest level comes from remembering that you can’t master it. You’re not meant to be healed all the time. You’re not meant to be perfect. You’re not meant to have your emotions all under control.
Qigong teaches us, as we do our work, as we do our exercises, as we do our breathing, as we do our intentional work, as we do our posturing—that there is there is no perfection there, there is just that resonating with that infinite sense of self. And that’s where the dance continues and that’s where the joy and that’s where you going to cultivate your real connection with the subtle. That’s where you’re coming to cultivate your coincidences. That’s where you cultivate your healing and it will keep coming more and more and more as long as you stay in the subtle.
Move away from mastery and you get more and more healing, more and more connected, more and more love. Do your work from your heart. Let go of trying to remember. Let go of trying to hold on to qi. There is no qi to hold on to. To cultivate qi, to build it up, paugh, masters do that! I don’t want to be a master, masters die at 50 because they’re holding on to qi and their reputations so tightly!
You might know the story about that Master in the San Francisco Bay area who used to charge clients for his medical Qigong practice based on body parts and how much qi he was giving. “How much money do you have?”, “200 dollars?”, “Ok I can give you this much qi, for that arm and the left leg.” Fascinating! He’s passed away now. But I’ve seen this many times in China and elsewhere.
Let go of the finite. Anything that seems to be finite, about space and time, puts you into the mastery level. Let it go. Let it go. If you think that healing takes time just embrace it, breathe into it and release it. Because we live in an infinite universe. You are here today to remember that you are an infinite entity living in an infinite universe. That’s the sphere that we want to keep opening up into. Qi is equal everywhere. There is no place on the planet that has more qi. Oh no, there goes our China Study trips! (Laughter)
(end of Part 1)