Thursday, May 25, 2017

Maintaining Life: Necessary Life Functions

Necessary Life Functions

We’ll take a look at what human body actually does.

Like all complex animals, humans must maintain a core set of necessary life functions to survive. These include maintaining boundaries, movement, responsiveness, digestion, metabolism, excretion, reproduction, and grow. In order to survive, humans also need nutrients, oxygen, water and an appropriate atmosphere. We’ll discuss these topics in depth below.

Maintaining boundaries

All organisms must be able to maintain boundaries and separate their internal environment from the external one. For example, each cell in the human body is enclosed by a selectively permeable membrane which allows it to take in substances and excrete waste, all while blocking potentially harmful substances. Additionally, the body itself is protected by the integumentary system, or skin. The layer of skin around our bodies protects our internal environment from the external world.

Movement
The muscular system propels our bodies and allows us to move from one place to another. The skeletal system provides the bony framework our muscles need to pull on as they work to produce movement. Without these features, humans wouldn’t be able to perform necessary life functions to survive.

Image result for drinking water


Responsiveness
Responsiveness is defined as the ability to sense changes in the environment and then respond to them (also called excitability). Responsiveness is an extremely important necessary life function. For instance, if you cut your hand open on a razor blade, your body produces a reflex and you involuntarily pull your hand away from the razor. You don’t have to think about it, your body just naturally pulls your hand away. Many systems within the human body act in this exact same manner.

Digestion
In order for nutrients and minerals to be absorbed into blood , food we eat must be broken down into smaller molecules. The digestive system breaks down ingested food and liquid into smaller molecules our body can absorb. In turn, the nutrient-rich blood is then distributed throughout the body by the cardiovascular system.

Metabolism
Metabolism is a term that includes all chemical reactions that occur within the body. Metabolism is regulated by hormones secreted from (glands) the endocrine system.

Excretion
If the human body is to operate correctly, it must be able to get rid of waste and nonessential items. Several organ systems participate in the excretion of waste products. For instance, the urinary system disposes nitrogenous waste while the digestive system rids the body of indigestible food as feces.

Reproduction
In order to survive, all living organisms must reproduce. The reproductive system is responsible for producing offspring and is directly regulated by hormones of the endocrine system.

Growth
Humans must grow to survive. The scientific term for growth means “constructive activities must occur at a faster rate than destructive ones”.

Survival Needs

Survival needs include nutrients (food), oxygen, water and an appropriate atmosphere.

Nutrients
Nutrients contained in food and liquids contain chemical substances used for energy and cell building. Carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats are all vital in maintaining a healthy body. For instance, calcium helps make bones hard and vitamin D is needed in order to produce sufficient amounts of calcium.

Oxygen
Human cells can only survive for a few minutes without oxygen. Chemical reactions that release energy from foods are oxidative reactions and require oxygen. In fact, oxygen is so vital to the human body that it would only last a few minutes without it. The respiratory and cardiovascular systems work in conjunction to make oxygen available throughout the body.

Image result for drinking water

Water
The human body is 60-80% water. Water is the most abundant chemical substance in the body and provides the environment necessary for life. We obtain water through food and liquids and loose it through bodily excretions and evaporation (from the skin).

Appropriate atmospheric pressure
Breathing and gas exchange in the lungs depend on the right type of atmospheric pressure. For instance, on top of Mount Everest (at high altitude), gas exchange can be inadequate for the human body to survive.

the principal senses of all creatures

"Here is my list of the principal senses of all creatures:



The Radiation Senses

1.  Sight, which, I should think, would include seeing polarized light and seeing without eyes, such as the heliotropism or sun sense of plants.

2.  The sense of awareness of one’s own visibility or invisibility and the consequent competence to advertise or to camouflage via pigmentation control, luminescence, transparency, screening, behavior, etc.

3.  Sensitivity to radiation other than visible light, including radio waves, x-rays, gamma rays, etc., but omitting most of the temperature and electromagnetic senses.

4. Temperature sense, including ability to insulate, hibernate, estivate, etc. This sense is known to have its own separate nerve networks.

5.  Electromagnetic sense, which includes the ability to generate current (as in the electric eel), awareness of magnetic polarity (possessed by many insects) and a general sensitivity to electromagnetic fields.


The Feeling Senses

6. Hearing, including sonar and the detection of infra- and ultrasonic frequencies beyond ears.

7. Awareness of pressure, particularly underground and underwater, as through the lateral line organ of fish, the earth tremor sense of burrowers, the barometric sense, etc.

8. Feel, particularly touch on the skin and the proprioceptive awareness of intra- and intermuscular motion, tickling, vibration sense (such as the spider feels), cognition of heartbeat, blood circulation, breathing, etc.

9. The sense of weight and balance.

10. Space or proximity sense.

11. Coriolis sense, or awareness of effects of the rotation of the earth.


The Chemical Senses

12. Smell, with and beyond the nose.

13. Taste, with and beyond the tongue or mouth.

14. Appetite, hunger and the urge to hunt, kill or otherwise obtain food.

15. Humidity sense, including thirst, evaporation control and the acumen to find water or evade a flood.


The Mental Senses

16. Pain: external, internal, mental or spiritual distress, or any combination of these, including the impulse and capacity to weep.

17. The sense of fear, the dread of injury or death, of attack by vicious enemies, of suffocation, falling, bleeding, disease and other dangers.

18. The procreative urge, which includes sex awareness, courting (perhaps involving love), mating, nesting, brooding, parturition, maternity, paternity and raising the young.

19. The sense of play, sport, humor, pleasure and laughter.

20. Time sense and, most specifically, the so-called biological clock.

21. Navigation sense, including the detailed awareness of land- and seascapes, of the positions of sun, moon and stars, of time, of electromagnetic fields, proximity to objects, probably Coriolis and other sensitivities still undefined.

22. Domineering and territorial sense, including the capacity to repel, intimidate or exploit other creatures by fighting, predation, parasitism, domestication or slavery.

23. Colonizing sense, including the receptive awareness of one's fellow creatures, of parasites, slaves, hosts, symbionts and congregating with them, sometimes to the degree of being absorbed into a super-organism.

24. Horticultural sense and the ability to cultivate crops, as is done by ants who grow fungus, or by fungus that farms algae.

25. Language and articulation sense, used to express feelings and convey information in every medium from the bees' dance to human literature.

26. Reasoning, including memory and the capacity for logic and science.

27. Intuition or subconscious deduction.

28. Esthetic sense, including creativity and appreciation of music, literature, drama, of graphic and other arts.

29. Psychic capacity, such as foreknowledge, clairvoyance, clairaudience, psychokinesis, astral projection and possibly certain animal instincts and plant sensitivities.

30. Hypnotic power: the capacity to hypnotize other creatures.

31. Relaxation and sleep, including dreaming, meditation, brainwave awareness and other less-than-conscious states of mind like pupation, which involves cocoon building, metamorphoses and, from some viewpoints, dying.


The Spiritual Sense

32.  Spiritual sense, including conscience, capacity for sublime love, ecstasy, a sense of sin, profound sorrow, sacrifice and, in rare cases, cosmic consciousness."

"Furthermore, the very notion that there are five senses is purely arbitrary (see Classen 1993; Geurts 2003). Why only five? If we wished to, it seems we could at least identify eight, and perhaps divide them into two categories. The taken-for-granted five senses belong to those sensory modes that provide information about the world external to the individual. Those are our exteroceptive senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. It is easy enough to identify at least three more senses that provide information about the internal world of the human body, our interoceptive senses: the sense of pain (nociception), thirst, and hunger. Yet, eight is not nearly enough. What about our sense of our own internal body’s muscles and organs (proprioception)? What about the sensations that mediate between conditions in the external world and internal body, such as our sense of balance (equilibrioception), movement (kinesthesia), temperature (thermoception), or even our sense of time (at least in terms of polychronicity and monochronicity, if not more)? Now our list has grown from five senses to thirteen, and still I experience senses that are not clearly accounted for in these categories. After all, which category accounts for the sensual experience of orgasm? Assuming I can come up with an answer, which is doubtful, it is unlikely that we would agree—especially considering that even within the experiences of one individual, not all orgasms are the same. Or perhaps we could even suggest that to divide the senses into categories is itself an arbitrary act that reproduces our cultural codes. In fact, why divide at all “external” from “internal” senses? Is that not, after all, an exercise in atomism and individualism so typical of Western culture? And because most of our sensations, and thus our senses, depend so heavily on the language that we use to make sense of their operation (Geurts 2003), should we then not treat the senses in their own cultural contexts and within “their own foundational schemas through which the world is… sensed as a continuous whole” (Edwards, Gosden, and Phillips 2006:6)? And finally, are we even so sure that sensations can be so clearly separated from emotions, or even from the material things that are the object of sensations (see Geurts 2003)? What we do know for sure is that to think of the senses as only confined to five exteroceptive sensory modes is to grossly oversimplify human sensual experience, both within anyone culture and across cultures. Maybe that is the key point: modes of sensing inevitably blend and blur into one another, thus making their alleged boundaries fuzzy and indistinct in experience. It is this ecology of sensual relations that should be the focus of our attention (see Howes 2003; Ingold 2000)."
-  Somatic Work: Toward A Sociology of the Senses, Phillip Vannini, Dennis Waskul, and Simon Gottschalk 

Research by 
Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.

Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California

This webpage was last updated on September 11, 2013.

Human Body Organ Systems: An Orientation

Human Body Organ Systems

The human body is made up of 11 organ systems that work with one another (interdependantly). These systems include the 
1. integumentary system, 
2. skeletal system, 
3. muscular system, 
4. lymphatic system, 
5. respiratory system, 
6. digestive system, 
7. nervous system, 
8. endocrine system, 
9. cardiovascular system, 
10. urinary system, and 
11. reproductive systems. 

We will briefly discuss the major functions of each organ system below.



1. Integumentary system– (skin, hair, nails) Forms the external body covering and protects deeper tissues from injury. Houses cutaneous receptors, sweat glands, oil glands, and synthesizes vitamin D.

2. Skeletal system– (bones, joints) Supports and protects the body’s organs. Provides a framework muscles use (movement). Bones also store minerals and create blood cells.

3. Muscular system– (skeletal muscles) Maintains posture and produces movement (locomotion). Produces heat.

4. Lymphatic system– (red bone marrow, thymus, lymphatic vessels, thoracic duct, spleen, lymph nodes) Houses white blood cells (lymphocytes) involved in immunity. Returns leaked fluid from blood vessels to the blood and disposes debris within the lymphatic stream.

5. Respiratory system– (nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchus, lung) Removes carbon dioxide and continually supplies blood with oxygen. Gaseous exchanges occur in the respiratory system (lungs).

Human Body's 11 organ systems
11 organ systems


7. Digestive system– (oral cavity, esophagus, liver, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, anus) Breaks down food to be absorbed and eliminates indigestible waste.

8. Nervous system– (brain, spinal cord, nerves) Control system of the body, responds to internal and external changes, activates muscles and glands.

9. Endocrine system– (pineal gland, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, thymus, adrenal gland, pancreas, ovary, testis) Glands from the endocrine system secrete hormones that regulate many processes like growth, metabolism, and reproduction.



10. Cardiovascular system– (heart, blood vessels) The heart pumps blood and blood vessels transport it. Blood carries oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients, waste and more throughout the body.
Urinary system– (kidney, ureter, urinary bladder, urethra) Eliminates nitrogenous wastes from the body. Regulates acid-base, electrolyte and WATER balance of blood.

11. Reproductive systems

MALE (prostate gland, penis, testis, scrotum, ductus deferens)

FEMALE (Mammary glands, ovary, uterus, vagina, uterine tube)

The main function of the reproductive system is to produce offspring. Sex hormone and sperm are produced by the male testes. Male ducts and glands help deliver the sperm. Ovaries produce female sex hormones and eggs. Other female reproductive structures serve as sites of fertilization and development. For instance, the mammary glands produce milk for the newborn.

11 organ systems

MENTAL MANIFESTING – THE ART OF INNER FENG SHUI

An important principle of Inner Feng Shui is that inner energy that comes from your mind has the power to actualize everything you wish for into reality.

All your wishes can come true and all the outcomes you want can take place. You have the power within you to manifest anything into your life. What you need to do is to focus your mind single-pointedly on what you want.

1. BELIEVE!
This is the most important part of the technique. You must believe that you have the power to mentally manifest what you want into reality.

You must believe that you deserve what you are asking for, that you have a right to it and that you do not need to feel guilty about having it or need to suffer for wanting to get it. To believe intensely in your self and simultaneously stay calm and relaxed requires practice. It cannot happen instantly. But this is the first part of the training and you need to gain control and to subdue your random thoughts, stabilize your mind and focus. This will lead to steady and positive concentration.

2. HAVE A GOAL
You must have a goal whenever you wish to engage your mind to manifest a reality you want. This is a very important part of the technique. Many people are not sure what they really want; their goals tend to be vague and uncertain. So think through your life at this moment and ask yourself what will make you really happy. If you are doing this for the first time, keep your wishes simple, easy to manifest and definitely not absurd or outrageous. The idea is to slowly convince your mind you can do it, so keep your wishes small. The best wishes are specific, focused and something you can visualize in your mind.

3. REMAIN in the PRESENT
Always define your wants and your goals in the present tense, not in future tense. Aim to say “I am successful at my job” instead of “I will be successful at my job” – “I am rich, I have abundance” , "I am enjoying my new house, my new car, my new television set.”

Remember that Objects of Desire are easier to manifest than abstract wishes involving other people. For instance, wishing to win the love of someone, to win a court case, to pass a certain exam, to be successful in a job application are aspirations that require more practice. But…… once you get the hang of it and your wishes start to come true, this will increasingly encourage you and eventually take you on the road to great success until it becomes a habitual part of your living.

Use the words “I desire” or “I want” or “I wish to become” as often as possible. This makes the manifesting process easier; desiring, wanting, wishing are important empowering words and this is because your subconscious mind, the inner higher self of YOU, will go to great lengths to actualize what you want simply to make you happy.

4. BE CREATIVE and KEEP your WISHES SECRET!
Better to go for prosperity programming than poverty programming.

It is wise and beneficial to keep all your wishes to yourself. Never spell out your goals to others. Any negative thoughts or doubts they may have regarding what you wish for can well block your own effort at actualizing. Remember, they too have the power to manifest reality, and while your wishes may be stronger and more powerful, you do not need any obstacles to your success. Any negative thought sent your way which directly targets your own efforts to manifest is sure to hamper your efforts. Make an effort to keep your wishes secret. You may, if you wish, share your success as soon as what you wish for materializes for you.

5. NEVER wish anything that harm others 
Keep all your wishes positive and make it a point never to wish harm to befall anyone. If you inadvertently harm someone intentionally, the same negative thing will eventually boomerang back on you. Use cosmic energy to offer love to another person. It is a lot more powerful.

6. TRUST in your HIGHER SELF 
It is possible that sometimes your higher self resists your efforts to actualize some particular outcome. This can come as a strong inner message that you should stop all attempts to actualize some outcome or something. Trust this message. It is probable that what you are trying to manifest is not in your own best interest or could in the long term harm you or harm someone you love. It benefits to trust your inner guide.

7. ACCESS your HIGHER PURPOSE
Successful Mental Manifestation helps your life becomes happy, successful, healthy, wealthy and stable, it is then that you will benefit even more by going to the next stage, which is to access in to a more meaningful life. Seek out the Higher Purpose of your life is to connect with your higher self who always knows what is best for you.

Over time, you will begin to notice that your pattern of wants and needs and desires take on a new rhythm and that you will be working towards attaining and achieving things that will bring you to even higher happiness levels… and these may not necessarily be associated with material-type goals or objects. GO with FLOW for you are being guided by your inner self, who is always watching over you!

8. HOW to COPE with STRESS? Your journey into self-discovery must take into account the stress level under which you operate. Look within to see what causes you to feel stressed. Consider the following stress-inducing situations and see if anything is causing you anxiety.

In attempting to dissect the causes of stress in your life, you will come to recognize your level of stress tolerance.

Different people have different levels of tolerance. Invariably, the cause of all stress can be reduced to three sources:

People around you who cause you to become emotionally stressed

External events which cause you to become physically stressed

Lifestyle-related issues that cause you to be psychologically stressed

If you examine these three main causes of stress, you will see that they all have to do with the way your mind reacts. The key to dealing successfully with stress starts with pinpointing the root of stress. Everything that causes us to feel stressed comes from the mind.

Generate a sense of mental calmness. Slow down your reaction to people, events and circumstances that cause you stress. Learn to reverse the negatives in life. Try some physical relaxation methods by starting with deep breathing exercises and create powerful and positive word affirmations. Think up short, powerful statements that continually enhance your confidence, build you up and convince you of positive outcomes.



ALLOW the POWER of FENG SHUI to surprise you with positive results!

KEEP THE CHI MOVING and the GOOD FORTUNE will flow in!

Why Salt Lamps are Bad Feng Shui

So I started searching “salt lamp feng shui” and read as much as possible. Could it be that salt lamps are bad feng shui? Or that they should not be used in bedrooms? I had never considered this before.

Luckily the search didn’t take long.

Lillian Too (my favorite feng shui teacher) explains that salt lamps, while pretty, are bad bad bad.

Salt is a great cleansing agent especially if you are moving into a new home or when used in space clearing rituals. It’s particularly good when you need to remove stagnant energy from a piece of old furniture or next to your bedside as described above.

Salt lamps on the other hand are very harmful and do not have the power to cleanse. In fact, salt lamps will soak up all of your chi energy and you will feel tired and listless. They absorb all the good energy from the room including yours! Best to remove them if you are using them now. source

Kathryn Weber, another Feng Shui practitioner, has this to say:

Like the salt cures, these lamps too are quite drying. When they’re heated with a light element, it makes them even more drying. It’s the drying effect of salt lamps that creates problems such as lethargy and despondency, and a lethargic, despondent atmosphere in your home.

Unless you’re a side of ham, you don’t need to be dried out, or live in a drying atmosphere. Most houses (and often people) suffer from is not having enough water and water energy — and the salt just dries them out more. This means your wealth, like your skin, dries up too, as well as your opportunities. Have a salt lamp? Throw it away. source

Final Thoughts
Salt represents earth energy and should only be used sparingly as a cleansing cure. It’s too strong to be used as a regular staple because it absorbs all energy, good and bad.

If everything in your life is going harmoniously and you’re using a salt lamp, then no need to change anything. If life isn’t going as well as you want, try getting rid of that salt lamp and see if things turn around. It’s a very simple and free experiment to conduct.

I removed mine this evening and will report later how it goes. To be honest, I already kinda feel better.



Conscious parenting, family, and relationships.

DARE TO BE YOURSELF

And it can be extremely frightening, especially when being yourself can put you in danger.

I’ve struggled with this my entire life.

Only letting the world see but a fraction of who I was for fear of being ostracized or in some cases verbally or physically attacked.

However I kept flexing my courage muscle because the more I kept myself hidden the more I suffered.

The pain of hiding who I was, was worse than the fear of what I’d face by coming out.

So slowly I began to unveil myself.

First to those who were close to me and eventually to the world.

Not without literal blood, sweat and tears but regardless I felt I owed it to myself and to others who may be like me.

I stood up, wiped off the dirt, wiped off the blood, wiped my tears and like Socrates when asked to leave Athens or die for speaking his truth…

“You are asking birds not to sing in the morning, trees not to blossom when it’s time to blossom? You are asking me not to speak the truth? And that is my only joy: to share my truth with those who are groping in the dark. I am going to be here and I am going to continue teaching my truth”

and the judges said “Then we are helpless, because the mob , with a majority, wants you poisoned and killed”

and Socrates replied “That’s perfectly okay. You can kill me, but you cannot kill my spirit…”

and by spirit he meant his courage and his truth.

and I have learned to speak that truth even if my voice shakes because living outside that space is like being dead while you’re still alive.


Every act of courage to be yourself is creating a freer world because when you’re brave enough to speak your truth you give others permission to do the same.

WHAT IS LOVE?

 “Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.”

As we look into each others eyes, we appreciate each other for who we are, for what we bring to each other and the world.

We work together as a team, sometimes feeling like there’s no place where one begins and the other ends.

Constantly mirroring the truth within each other.

Holding space for our most vulnerable and authentic selves and helping each other navigate that in a complex world.

Not afraid to break free from our conditioned idea of love and open to wherever it leads.


Open to loving what is, as oppose to the way we want it to be.

PERSPECTIVE

I am in a portal in the mythical land called Chana, where the gods of the world are trying to take over her mind. I’m posting this monologue for its very fitting in this age and time.

Dear Gods of Chana,

I don’t understand. Why are you doing this? Why am I such a threat? Why are all these people trapped here threats to you? All we believe in is love. We have felt the power within us move and connect us to a universal force that is peaceful, not competitive and judgmental. How can you be afraid of this? You have created a land of war; where children are dulled down to conform to buying things, to listening to what corrupt officials tell them to believe, to work for elites who only get rich off our labors, who hate each other, judge and seek to destroy.

This power offers freedom. This power offers a way for all of us to get along, where everyone can connect to their highest potentials and make this world beautiful.

You are nothing but greed and malice. You want us to become you. You want us to not think. Not feel. I know what you are doing. You want us to obey, to work for you, to adore you, to be afraid, which goes against everything inside of us. You are selfish. You want us to be walking dead, where anything that makes us special is dead within us, so we can make you rich.

I will fight this. I can feel how you are making my mind tell me things to do; to make me believe that my mind and what I see in front of me is real. But you cannot destroy what my heart has felt, that power within me is the only real thing. And I will remain connected to it no matter how hard you try to beat it out of me. It will survive even if that means you have to kill me.

I can feel it. Whatever you’ve put in here, in this portal, is making me angry, making me think things, like that you are an enemy, that the other people in here with me are my foes. But I want you to know that I remember when I was told the secret. I remember my mother’s eyes, pale like the sky on a mid winter’s day and full of warmth. My mother, with warm hands, told me to close my eyes. She placed a finger on my forehead and suddenly my mind was still and I felt that force that moves from my heart up to a God much higher than you.

You cannot take that away from me, you have no right. I just want to make this world better. This secret should be no threat to you. Everyday I see people so unhappy and so consumed by their mind.


But I’m sorry for you because even if you kill me, you can never destroy this power. It will only grow and spread and one day chill the coals of destruction.

BECAUSE OF YOU I DIDN’T GIVE UP

I WANT TO INSPIRE PEOPLE
I WANT SOMEONE TO LOOK AT ME AND SAY
"BECAUSE OF YOU , I DIDN'T GIVE UP."

I’ve often struggled on my path, sometimes more than I’ve triumphed.

Each time was painful, sometimes seeming like beyond relief.

But there always seemed to be a light, someone who was there to listen, to remind me of my greatness and to lift me higher.


I’m grateful for those people, and my only wish, is that in some way I can pay that forward.

ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE A LIGHT

True story.

At least for me it is.

I remember being somewhere around the age of 18.

I lived with a few friends in a dodgy apartment, AMK 420.

“The crack building” it was called.

We had barely any food; popcorn, a bag of potatoes and coffee (no sugar or cream) to be precise.

But it didn’t matter to me.

I was comfortable.

Because it tasted like freedom.

23 years later as I sit in my 650 square foot condo on the water, sipping fresh coconut water, just about to make a smoothie.

“It doesn’t matter where it leads” because I’m comfortable right where I’m at.

Because this feels like freedom.

The ultimate luxury.

You see, when we are present and overflowing with gratitude, by some miraculous force….

Some call it God, some call it the Universe.

Some will say it’s a cliche, but it’s always true for me…


God/The Universe presents us exactly what we need to get where we’re going.

THAT’S FREEDOM

the feeling of being free of the opinion of others is just speechless amazing 

Your feet so rooted in the earth that nothing or no one can make you budge.

You know who you are, what you want and where you’re going.

That’s freedom.

Once you’ve tasted it you can’t help but desire more and when momentarily the shadow of the person who once allowed them self to be manipulated by the will of others creeps in.

As Cher did to Nicolas Cage in the movie ‘Moonstruck’ you give yourself a virtual smack in the face and say ‘snap out of it’


"The greatest fear in the world is of the opinion of others and the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom" – Osho

Your Personal Lucky Directions (Feng Shui)

Something new and interesting happened.

I told you that I’ve been rearranging my furniture. For example, there was this couch that was in the middle of my living room that always felt off. I kept bumping into it. It looked out of place. But it stayed there for many years.

Recently, I had a flash of idea to move it to the opposite side. And it felt perfect. Even sitting on it felt more comfortable. My apartment flows better. All is well in my world.

It was after I did this that I discovered something called your Kua number. It’s from feng shui and is based on your birthdate and the chinese lunar year.

What you do is take the last two digits of your birth year, add them together.
Mine is 1981. Thus, I get 8+1 = 9.
Then, for males, you subtract this number from 10.
10-9 = 1. That’s my Kua number.

It’s different for women. You will add 5 to your number. 9+5 = 14. Keep adding til you get a single digit: 1+4=5.

And know that the lunar year doesn’t start with January 1. For example, if you were born in Jan 1981, it’s considered 1980.

Confusing, I know.

To make it easier, you can use this Kua calculator from Lillian Too (famous feng shui teacher).

And depending on your kua number, you have four lucky directions and four unlucky directions.

I realized the way my couch was positioned before, I was facing West while seated. An unlucky direction for me. And coincidentally, it’s now facing East, a lucky direction.

If it simply stopped there, I wouldn’t have minded much about this.

But there are more examples.

Usually, I journal while lying in bed in a certain favorite position. I’ve tried many others but this one direction was where it felt freeing.

It turns out, that direction is the #1 favored position for Kua 1 people. South-East. Cool!

The other day, I was hanging out at a friends house. There were three seating options, each facing a different direction. I was not thinking about lucky directions. I kept moving until something felt good. The couch didn’t feel right. The one chair didn’t feel right. And the last chair was just right. I opened up my compass, and I was facing South-East!

Interesting!

I wish I had a chart of all of my favorite positions over the years to see if they match up with my lucky directions.

Anyways, this is a cool little fun thing to try out and I wanted to share it with you. I have no idea why it works. If it works. How it works. Nothing except that it seems I naturally favor my lucky directions.

Resources:

Kua Descriptions – this has detailed info on each kua number: your personality, traits, lucky directions. It feels like a Chinese version of astrology.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

18 Luohan Hands Qigong



Discover all of the famous 18 Luohan Hands qigong set. If you could only practice one set of qigong exercises for the rest of your life, you'd be well served by the 18 Luohans.



The 4 Primary Skills

Techniques are great, but skills are more important for getting results. You'll learn all 4 of the primary skills of qigong: 
1. Discovering the Qi, 
2. Circulating the Qi, 
3. Aligning the Qi, and 
4. Gathering the Qi.



THE HANDS OF THE 18 LUOHAN: Technical Description of the Movements

MEDITATION POSTURE OR WU CHI

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
“Wu Chi” translates as the great void or emptiness, the one not manifested or the one without limits. This position it encompasses all the other positions. Within it, all principles of the remaining postures may be discovered.

Begin by feeling the soles of the feet touching the earth. Like the roots of a tree, the Yin aspect, the feet become the roots of the posture. Visualize roots extending through the feet to create solidity while at the same time extend the head upwards to the sky, developing the Yang aspect of the posture. Like the saying, “The higher you want to go into heaven, the deeper your roots have to be.” Many people on the spiritual path develop only the aerial aspect and forget the earth element.  Balance between these two forces, Yin and Yang, earth and heaven is essential for overall health and well-being.

The body must be very straight and the spine erect. The chin is slightly downward to straighten the neck and release tension from the back of the neck.  The arms hang loose and relaxed, drop the shoulders and relax so that the chest is concave and the back is rounded and convex. There is no tension as if very heavy suitcases have just been set down. Relax the groin, the buttocks and the lower back completely. The knees are straight and relaxed, not locked.

The base of the each foot is like a tri-pod with three points of support necessary to bear the weight of the body. These points are: the ball of the foot at the heel, the ball behind the big toe, and the ball behind the little toes. Lean forward a little in this position, feeling the full sole of the foot connecting, not the edges, neither the inside nor outside edge, but the whole foot resting on those three points.

Trained practitioners may hold this meditative posture for an extended period of time however beginners should start holding for less time and build up their ability to stand longer.

This posture is used to center and gather Qi in the low Dan Tien; to center the mind in the low Dan Tien; to discover the center of gravity in the body; and to calm the Shen or the spirit.

When the whole body is relaxed and the spine and the bones are aligned energy will flow in a very natural way.  There should not be a “boiled spaghetti” feeling, too limp and without backbone, in the body. The Chinese say, “Bones straight, tendons relaxed” meaning the bone structure should be kept straight while in a relaxed state. This ensures that blood and energy will flow freely. For example, using a hose to water the garden when the hose is bent or crooked will not allow water to flow through. In the same way, if the body is bent, the blood and Qi will not flow. Many injuries (in the lower back and neck, etc.) would be avoided by proper spine alignment. The meditation posture acts as a preventive tool to address many of the muscular and skeletal disorders due incorrect posture.

The front side is called the Yin side, while the whole back is the Yang side. As the palms are turned forward a statement of openness, with nothing to hide, like an open book is being made.

This posture transmits the quality of truthfulness and embodies cultivating honesty within ourselves and to certain principles in our lives.  Notice the accompanying phrase, “I keep my body straight and always tell the truth.” In India it is said that the person who never lies and has always spoken the truth speaks words that are so strong that, no matter what is said, they will always become a reality. 


YIN-YANG/SUN-MOON PALM

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS

The position is a stretch up and a stretch down at the same time.  The upper hand is facing the sky and the lower hand is facing the earth. The fingers of the upper hand are pointed toward the inside of the body and the fingers of the lower hand are pointed to the buttocks. The legs are straight, the neck relaxed and the lower Dan Tien anchors the posture. This is a very good posture to stretch the tendons and ligaments in the arms and shoulders.

Throughout the 18 Luohan stretching is emphasized to balance Yin and Yang in the body and to create blood and energy flow. According to traditional Chinese medicine, disease stems from an imbalance in the flow of these two energies in the body. Each completed stretch emphasizes Yang while the release to a fully relaxed position emphasizes Yin. The stretch must always be accompanied by a state of relaxation with attention paid to body structure to avoid injury.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE 
This posture balances the spiritual or lofty and the realistic or grounded element with the hands, one reaching for the sky and the other reaching for the earth to create harmony with the Tao. Note the saying, “I will shine like the sun but I will be humble like the moon” acknowledging the self-assurance and internal power like the sun within everyone as well as the humble quality of the moon, not being arrogant or misdirecting the power within. The opportunity to act according to any given situation is cultivated whether in a more Yang manner, or more Yin manner.


TOPPLE MOUNTAIN RANGE WITH PALMS

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
In the DING JI MA, most of the weight is on the front leg, and there is a rotation of the hip. The knee should not go over the toe of the front leg. The back leg is completely straight, with the back foot at a 45 degree angle and the hip of the back leg rotated in.
Continue the rotation up the spine through the waist and spinal column making the spine flexible and stretching all the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the back.

If the left leg is forward, the opposite arm is forward and the fingers are facing up while the fingers of the back hand are pointed to the side. The upper torso, from the hip and the waist, are completely turned so there is a straight line from the front hand through both shoulders to the back hand.

Both wrists are stretched to a 90 degree angle in the WILLOW LEAF PALM.
Medically this exercise helps to stretch the back leg, strengthen the front leg, rotate the hip joints and increase flexibility.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE 

This posture illustrates the dragon pushing apart a mountain range. It strengthens the mind and the SHEN through a state of deep and powerful determination and concentration by focusing the eyes like the laser eyes of a dragon. Go beyond the physical stretch into a mental stretch; stretch the mind to expand the energy even more.

BLACK TIGER PUSHES THE MOUNTAIN
(click here to see the posture)

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
When stretching the palms forward there should be a tremendous extension, which stretches the back, and massages the kidney area.
This exercise is very good for lumbago, sciatica and strengthening the kidneys.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE
In Chinese medicine the tiger is related to the bones and kidneys, and this posture helps to strengthen both as well as the bone marrow.  Once the physical limit of the push is achieved the consciousness expands beyond the physical body and reaches out more with the mind. “With joy and self-confidence I will overcome any obstacle” is the phrase emphasizing the human value. Harnessing the power of the whole universe, one is able to overcome anything, never giving up, learning from mistakes and never accepting failure. This too is reflected in the natural Yin and Yang cycle; life is a learning process and there is always an up and a down. Learn to see life not as simply good or bad, but as containing many experiences and opportunities from which to learn and grow stronger. 

WHITE CRANE SPREADS ITS WINGS

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS

The practitioner raises his hands, which are in crane’s beak formation, above his head, while breathing in. The practitioner simultaneously stands on his toes.
The entire posture should resemble a large and graceful bird, poised to leap into flight.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE 
Notice the phrase, “I open my mind and my heart and I am free as a bird.” This emphasizes the control that we as individuals have over the mind and emotions, and that actually we are the ones to control whether we are happy or not.


CHILD WORSHIPING BUDDHA TO THE  SKY

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS 
All the muscles of the upper body, through the arms, shoulders and back receive a good stretch.
Being on the toes develops the muscles in the lower legs, and will improve agility. These muscles allow for quick movement. Refer to the colloquialism, “being on the ball” or literally on the ball of the foot, fast, ready and stable.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE
Notice the phrase, “I can reach any goal; there are no limits”. Understanding to discard any beliefs of limitations in personal possibility and potential is physically emphasized in this posture. Success is a manifestation of the inner life. Confucius said, “If it takes him ten times, it takes me one hundred. If it takes him one hundred times, it takes me one thousand. If it takes him one thousand times it takes me ten thousand times, and thus the not skillful can becomes skillful.” The Luohan is a GONG; meaning a skill that is developed through practice and time. If desire, perseverance and attitude are positively cultivated any goal may be reached.









CHILD WORSHIPPING BUDDHA 

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
The legs are straight but not locked and the elbows are out from of the body with space under the armpits. The hands are pressing together touching at the base and through the fingers, but inside of the palms there is a hollow area creating a connection between the two LAO GONG (Pericardium 8) points.

The fingertips are pointing to the upper DAN TIEN or “the upper field of elixir” located between the eyebrows. The upper DAN TIEN is related to SHEN or SPIRIT.  The lower DAN TIEN is also the seed of the JING or ESSENCE QI of the kidneys. The middle DAN TIEN, centered between the nipples is related to QI, to the breath and to the emotions. These three are called the “three treasures” of man: the JING, or the essence, the QI, the energy and breath, and the SHEN, the spirit.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE
This position helps to illustrate how body positions affect the mind, the emotions and thoughts. Feelings of deep silence, humility, and gratitude are palpable in this posture, and help to connect the practitioner to the TAO. It is often said, “the TAO that can be explained in language is not the real TAO,” so it is important for the practitioner to develop sensitivity to how the physical movements affect them on deeper levels.

Within the 18 Luohan a relationship to silence and peace may be discovered. A great deal of energy is expended through talking. Silence helps conserve energy and is a great healer.







THE EMPEROR HOLDS UP THE TOWER

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
Stretch the palms, facing up to heaven with the middle fingers touching. Once stretched fully, relax the upper gate and lean back a little bit or as much as is comfortable.
The legs are straight and the Yin side of the body, particularly the stomach muscles as well as the Yang side, the spine and the back, are stretched.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE
This is a powerful archetypal position; the emperor is so strong that he can hold up a tower. In studying the phrase, “Honesty gives me strength and everybody trusts me,” the theme of strength and the ability to stand one’s ground through honest interactions is continued. Honesty helps develop greater strength in word and action by being guided by higher moral values. Honesty establishes the pillars of happiness, health and peace.





VENERATING THE ORIGIN

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
The posture is done as though being pulled in both directions through the front and back hand.
Keep the back straight and the eyes forward, looking far to the horizon.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE
Venerating the Origin refers to reflecting on and honoring ones own source, home, family, traditions, and experiences. There are two ways of learning through experience: to learn from the mistakes and experiences of other people or, the hard way, to always learn through personal experience. Learning from others by listening, being receptive, carefully observing, and respecting the lessons and opinions that are given, even if, in the moment they do not seem correct, is a path to honoring and respecting one’s origin.





THE SNAKE COMES OUT OF THE CAVE

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
Unlike the other DING JI MA postures, this has the back leg bent and the front leg completely straight. Both hips are turned to the front, so that they are parallel to the direction of the front leg as well as the whole torso. The elbow should be perpendicular to the sky and the opposite fingers touching the shoulder. The other forearm should be touching the kidneys.
“Venerating the Origin” and “The Snake comes out of the Cave” are done in sequence. This undulating movement helps to simulate a snake and support the flow of energy. Learning to move in this very biodynamic way helps to avoid injury and conserves energy by using minimal effort.
Bodhidharma believed that there were things to be learned from observing the snake. In nature he saw that the snake was very relaxed, and very fluid, like water. At the same time it can become very hard and powerful, like a boa constrictor or python. The strength of the snake is like the power of water flowing through a hose: the mass of water is confined to a very small space, and so the force of the water is more powerful. In this context, a very soft thing like water is strong, and it is the same with the power of energy. The relationship between softness and strength and the energy of the snake represents QI and the ability of energy to flow freely through the body.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE
The associated phrase, “I always do my duties and obligations with care” illustrates the value of always doing things to the best of your ability.
Each movement should be performed as perfectly as possible given that moment and time. In order to fully experience the health, energetic and spiritual benefits, the techniques should be performed exactly as they are taught; the benefits are proportional to the correct technique. However, this does not mean that one should trapped by perfection. My grandfather used to say, “Perfection is the enemy of getting things done.” At the same time it is important to strive to cultivate something in life in which one may excel, whether it is qigong, painting, playing the piano, being a good doctor, a scientist or a computer expert. Developing mastery in one’s life leads to greater joy and peace, as well as benefiting our health. Accordingly, medical science is now confirming that people who enjoy what they are doing live longer and healthier lives.





OPEN THE BOW TO SHOOT THE VULTURE

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
The DING JI MA position must be correctly executed, turning through the hips as much as possible, then through low, middle and upper back.
The front hand is stretched all the way forward in a hollow fist and the back hand pulls back strongly with a hollow fist. Both of the little fingers are facing up towards the sky as the pull is completed.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE
The human value illustrated in the saying, “I choose a good objective and I concentrate all my attention to reach it” emphasizes the merit of wholly choosing a worthwhile path, goal, or objective and then applying concentration and perseverance. The ability to clearly focus one’s attention on a goal allows the essence of the subject to be fully realized.

In every exercise of the form, absolute concentration on the physical technique, the breath, the body sensations, and the intent is essential. Mastering these skills in the form then permeate into any daily activity and support the pursuit of health, peace, wisdom and happiness through persistent self-development. Embedded deeply within traditional Chinese culture, including the martial arts and techniques for self-defense, is the pursuit of self-development. For example, in archery, the emphasis is not necessarily on always hitting the bull’s-eye, but to develop the ability of the archer to become one with shooting an arrow, and to feel that the arrow is a part of them. If the archer is able to feel at one with the arrow, the level of concentration and presence within the moment will be so deep as to go beyond the physical act of archery into the realm of a spiritual development. In not worrying about the target, only focusing on the moment, and allowing nature to take its course, one will have arrived at the complete realization of whatever it is that is being done.

THE POWERFUL TIGER STRETCHES ITS BACK

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
This position emphasizes the importance of circles in the practice of Qigong. The energy of the circle allows for relaxation, the ability to gather energy and to allow that energy to flow smoothly. Note the circularity in the posture all the way through the spine, from the heel to the head; the circle between the arms, within the hands and also in the back. The line between the two hands resembles the line the separates the Yin from the Yang in the Yin/Yang symbol.
This is a strong exercise to strengthen the back muscles, the legs and hips and well as stretch the spine. Keeping the spine healthy and flexible will help keep the body young. Stretching is a powerful tool to keep the body healthy and young because it not only facilitates the movement of blood and energy to every part of the body but also dredges the energy channels of blockages in the process.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE
The human value emphasized is “I help others and I have the power of the tiger.” With honest compassion and caring, not attempting to maintain power over anyone or anything, one can be generous to all and begin to see the web of connection between all living creatures. There is a very beautiful saying, “You cannot pick a flower without affecting a star,” so deep is the connection that ties us all together.

GOLDEN COCK STANDS ON ONE LEG

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
This powerful position begins a series of one-legged postures. In the leg that is raised, the foot is completely extended while the other leg is slightly bent. Feel all the way to the tip of the foot.
The upper body is virtually the same as the movement “Open the bow to shoot a vulture”. The arm that is up should also stretch forward in order to get the rotation of the spine. The back hand pulling back is in the hollow fist position.
Drop the shoulders and drop the weight to the DAN TIEN. Strive to fully stretch but maintain the relaxation, so that only the minimal muscles needed to execute the movements are used.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE
The rising YANG energy of this posture, like the rooster greeting the rising sun is associated with the phrase “I smile and I am happy when I wake up.” Starting off each day from the first thought upon waking with a smile and a positive thought helps achieve happiness and peace in each and every day.

There is a saying, “All the faces in the world are mirrors.” It is up to you to decide what face you decide to show the world.

A few minutes of Qigong every morning, whether only 5 minutes or 30 sets the attitude to be carried into life. The transition from the world of unconsciousness into the physical world is aided by stretching and gathering energy, and by allowing the body time to wake up and get the energy flowing. Just like animals in nature, as they get up, they stretch a little bit, they move, they keep on stretching and moving a little bit and then slowly they begin to walk.

The Chinese say that the five wheels (or ways) in life to stay healthy and happy are:
1) to walk with the spine erect,
2) to have beautiful projects in your mind and to plan beautiful things,
3) to listen to music to enhance the life experience,
4) to walk in nature, enjoy and be one with nature,
5) and to smile.

There is scientific evidence that endorphins and other beneficial hormones are secreted when people are happy and laughing. This reiterates the relationship between the body, mind and emotions. It is difficult to feel sad when smiling. When looking for a problem a problem will be found. When looking for solution a solution will be found. Start with a positive attitude and the end result will be positive.

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID


WHITE TIGER LOOKS DOWN THE ROAD

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS 
In the first aspect of this movement, the body leans back in the direction of the arms and though technically difficult to do, eventually the leg and trunk are in nearly a straight line.

In the second and third parts of this position the hands are held in a tiger claw with the wrists flexed. The leg that is raised is kept straight and the foot pointed.

There is tremendous rotation of the spine; movement of the hip joint and hip area; and movement of the internal organs.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE 
The name of the movement calls attention to the importance of developing skills in observation and attentiveness. It is tremendously useful to see the reality of situations that others don’t normally see. Encourage improvement not only in observation but also in every other sense to its fullest while simultaneously improving the capacity for deep concentration. The ability to see detail and become one with it allows us to penetrate to its essence. Then one will experience not only with the eyes, but also feel, understand and begin to know with the whole body.
Wisdom is likewise gained by paying attention to the elements. For example, the nature of water is very adaptable to its environment. It does not fight, but rather yields, nurtures, remains soft and because of that is powerful and strong. It is the one drop of water, that drop by drop, penetrates the rock. By observing the earth, the structure, stability and strength of the mountain is understood. The power and energy of fire to get things done with passion is recognizable; and from air the free and ethereal sense that not being tied down is learned.

The seasons, winter, spring, summer, and autumn, instruct in the cyclical and changing ways of living, thinking, dressing, eating throughout the year so as to harmonize with the season and create well-being. So the human value expressed in the saying, “I take care of nature” might be better understood as “I take care and harmonize and learn from nature.” As one delves deeper into silence, into these exercises and into introspection, an understand of this in a natural way, not from intellectual discourse, but from a living experience will manifest. Much of this wisdom is already innate.

Everyone agreed. And this is how it has been since that time. Man is always searching for happiness without knowing that happiness is within himself.

WHITE CRANE STRETCHES

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
This is a balancing posture with the two hands held in a cranes beak—fingers held together with, the tips of the fingers facing each other, the wrist flexed, and the arms outstretched.

One of the legs is stretched back and toe is pointed. The leg is turned so that the buttocks are facing to the back rather than up due to the rotation of the hip. Look forward and focus the awareness to the forward hand as well as back to the tip of the toe. The arms and leg that are in a straight line.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE
A crane stretching to fly brings to mind the migration of the birds. In order to migrate the birds must inherit all the knowledge they need to travel such long distances. They know how and where to fly innately and follow their natural course. The phrase “With perseverance and effort I reach what I want,” sums up the formula for success in life and, just like the birds, if one puts all of ones effort into reaching a destination, any goal will be reached.

This position provides an opportunity to put that perseverance into play. At the beginning it seems to be very difficult. Over time, improvement in the posture will develop. Often when students begin this posture, they are worried and say that it is very difficult to do. Yes, these positions are very difficult to do but I tell them, “You know difficult and easy, it just really doesn’t matter. These are words that I don’t even deal with. We must do things and so we do them.” The real question is whether it is worth doing, or not worth doing? If the movement is not thought of or interpreted as easy or hard, but worth doing, then, instead of conquering it in one day, it slowly and gradually unfolds over time. Patience is required to understand that things done well take time.

 KICK WITH THE HEEL

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
Feel the heel of the foot and the toe straight up. The opposite foot and hand are forward based on the rotation through the upper body.
The back should be kept straight, and the weighted leg may be kept bent or straight, which is more difficult.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE
In this exercise you develop stability and balance to maintain well-being and happiness. This is evident in the phrase, “I keep my balance to be happy.” Learning the way to harmoniously bring together duty and pleasure, work and fun is the most exquisite balance, and is the way to lasting and true happiness.

FAST KICK

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
The “Fast Kick”, is the only movement that is done quickly in the whole sequence. This exercise is used for coordination, stretching of the legs, loosening of the arms and a continued connection to the DAN TIEN.

It stresses elasticity and the flexibility of the joints and the legs while keeping balance and keeping the lower foot fully connected to the ground.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE
The phrase and associated human value refers to “Fast outside, calm inside.” This is means by which to move through life; allowing for the ability to move quickly without losing one’s stability or center while maintaining a sense of peace and calm. The Chinese say, “Stillness in movement, movement in stillness.” This is a very healthy attitude because energy is conserved. My first teacher said, “We should be like a hurricane in certain emotions and in certain times of our daily life. We act fast like the hurricane where the outside is moving very fast, but the inside is very calm.” The same teacher also said, “Go through life like a fish in a fish tank. The fish swims around very slowly in the fish tank, calmly without wasting energy but if you put a hand in there they are capable of moving very quickly. And then they return to peaceful, calm movement.”

In the Luohan, the movements are learned in a very calm and elegant way, but are capable of moving very fast as well. The ability to move quickly is related to the flow of blood and energy. While observing a cat it is obvious that it is not always moving but it stretches from time to time, allowing energy to flow, keeping the joints warm and lubricated and the muscles toned. When the cat decides to hunt it proceeds slowly and calmly with tremendous intention in the eyes, and it is ready to jump in a second.

TURN THE BODY WITH TWISTED STEPS

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
The entire sole of one foot is on the floor and the other foot connects with the ball of the foot. The both feet point forward and the weight is on both legs.

The hips should rotate so that they are oriented to the back with the body kept straight and the shoulders relaxed.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE
The phrase notes, “I am flexible and I adapt to different situations.” Adapting with flexibility to any given moment or situation and to act accordingly will improve the quality of life. Water is a perfect example of the ability to adapt, with the least effort, moving around until it reaches its goal and returns to the sea. Those who are very rigid and structured suffer without finding solutions to problems. In the Orient, it is said, “One of the first lessons we must learn is that there are many rules and laws to be learned and the most important one is that there is no strategy, there are no rules and one should be able to change very quickly.” As the different cycles of life are experienced many values, desires, and goals modify and must be changed accordingly. There is a saying from an Indian poet, “Do not cry because the sun has set, because the tears will not let you see the beauty of the stars.” The inability to change because of need and attachment does not allow for the possibilities of a new situation. Perhaps this new situation is much better. Learning to let go shows faith in nature and the willingness to take full advantage of all the possibilities that are offered.

LUOHAN DRIES HIS GOWN IN THE SUN

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
This is performed with the feet parallel and the arms relaxed while stretched out to the sides. The hips thrust forward while the legs are kept straight. The torso bends backwards, with the neck, the upper gate, relaxed and the arms hang like a piece of cloth.
This is a very powerful extension and flexion of the spine. As in all the other movements of the form, be sure that it is done carefully.

SWORD FINGERS

TECHNICAL & TEACHING POINTS
The last posture is done in a HORSE STANCE position in which the legs and the feet are parallel to each other facing the front. The knees are extended out as if being held open by a piece of wood, which helps to strengthen the muscles on the inside of the leg.
This position strengthens and opens the hip and is a very stable position related to the structure and power of the earth element.
The index and middle finger are put together while holding the ring and little finger with the thumb. The sword fingers are extended out to each side as if touching objects very far away, while extending the concentration and consciousness equally far away. It should have a very dignified, powerful and solid feeling.

BEYOND TECHNIQUE
The phrase, “I am courageous and guided by justice and honor” highlights the human value in this posture. Throughout the course of life many situations will demand courage, and the belief that courage is inherent will generate the power to overcome any obstacle. Actions, guided by a clear sense of justice and treating others as we would like to be treated, will reinforce our sense of honor and will provide peace and health.

In the last pages of the coloring book, a Luohan walks away during a full moon and it says “And Luohan continued his way observing, listening, meditating; trying to learn something new every day.” Life is the school and the learning process with each day provides an opportunity to learn to be better people, to be more peaceful and wise, to be more loving, more just, more honorable, because that is what will bring deep, true and lasting happiness. Observe oneself first, the feelings, emotions, thoughts, actions, and words and meditate on those. Mindfully observe others, and nature, and meditate on that to discover peace, health and happiness.


At the end it says “And it is said that Luohan is on the search of another grand adventure” indicating that there is always more to come in this very beautiful adventure that is life.