This is a favourite saying of my long-time friend, fellow Cursillista and active Anglican, Forbes, who, 18 years ago, introduced me to the Taoist and Buddhist meditation discipline, Qi Gong. Our small men’s group, a follow on to Cursillo, has been getting together regularly for about 29 years and we have often talked about whether or not being a Christian is the only way to have a relationship with God. Our opinion has been that aspects of other traditions can enrich our relationships as Christians.
I am honoured and grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to this community as a Christian and a member of the Anglican Church. Christianity is a major facet of my relationship with the creator and my spiritual journey but not the only facet. I’ve been a bit tentative about sharing this info because I appreciate that aspects of my spiritual journey may be unfamiliar to you. However, when it comes to prayer, I draw on all of these aspects of my journey.
Qi Gong has been a part of my life for 18 years and I have been teaching for 13 years. It is a meditation and movement discipline related to Tai Chi and traditional Chinese medicine, specifically acupuncture. The intent of this practice is to heal one’s body. The word “Qi” or “Chi” is the Chinese word for the universal life force that permeates all things. There is no direct translation to English. In Hebrew, the closest word is “Ruache” which I believe translates to “wind of God”.
1 Corinthians 6:19 refers to our bodies as “temples of the Holy Spirit”. I like to take reasonable care of my personal temple and Qi Gong has helped me sleep better, be sick less often, be more relaxed and become more body-aware. I will write more on Qi Gong another time.
Another facet of my spiritual life is Reiki. This is a discipline that began in Japan. “Ki” is “Qi” in Japanese. Reiki is intended for healing of oneself and others. I am a Reiki Master. This means I have done training to the level where I could practice and teach Reiki. I have chosen not to do this for a living and to keep it as an aspect of other parts of my life. I practice on family members including pets. The animals seem particularly responsive.
I’m looking forward to an upcoming visit to Sorrento Centre, a retreat centre in the BC interior which is part of the Anglican Church. It is one of my favourite places. I will be attending a weekend of training in Inca Shamanic practice. My shamanic training predates my Qi Gong activity. This is not something I intended to do. What I was told: you don’t decide to be a Shaman, other Shamans recognize you. I was recognized by another Shaman, also an engineer, over 20 years ago. I learned from him and other Shamans — who were actually mostly women. This weekend is attended mostly by women and is led by a Catholic nun.
How does all this stuff impact my prayer life? A few things: focus, intent and experience.
Qi Gong and Shamanic practice have many elements of meditation. They have helped me learn to tune out the background noise around me and in my head and focus.
When praying for someone else, my intention is for them to become all they have in them to become; I have no expectation, ownership, control or condition on the outcome. I strive to be a clear channel of God’s love and light. The Sufi poet Hafiz wrote “I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath flows through.” This is my intent. It’s not perfect – sometimes the flute is a bit out of tune 😉
The healing arts, Qi Gong, Reiki and the Shamanic practices, can result in some tangible experience. In my mind these are more intense forms of prayer perhaps like comparing running to walking. And they are doing the same thing in different ways. It’s hard to describe Qi because we can’t see it. That’s an issue for some. However I usually argue that I’ve also never seen a microwave, cel phone signal or something as basic as gravity. I experience some indications of their existence.
I offered Reiki to my son’s girlfriend recently to help with her knee problem. Her comment: “This is weird, it feels all tingly”. She was experiencing something. What was actually happening to her knee? I don’t own that or have any expectation of the outcome – I leave that to our Creator. However I pray her knee will heal and she’ll dance again.
And all this is done with focus and intention. I believe the power of my prayer is real even though I don’t see it, and most of time there is no immediate or obvious result.
Do you have knowledge and experience from other traditions that are a part of your journey and prayer life? How does that make a difference for you?