Two weeks ago I attended, along with friends Glenna and Lisa, a marvelous seminar at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. It was led by Mingtong Gu, the celebrated Qi Gong master, and involved 5 days of the most wonderful, inspiring and healing exercises and lectures. I have been practicing Qi Gong for years, and have long been a fan of Mintong’s work. I was fortunate enough to have a podcast interview with him several years ago, and Merlian News has favorably reviewed several of his online courses and books in the past. This week, however, was the first time that I was participating in a live class and meeting him in person.
I cannot speak highly enough of his energy, wit, humor and kindness. Each day began with a small talk, loaded with joy, funny anecdotes about people he had helped, and gentle guidance for the upcoming exercises. On one of the days we concentrated on moving the spine, and the importance of keeping it supple and youthful. Mingtong explained that if the spine is not flexible then the whole body is affected and this accelerates aging. I learned that it wasn’t enough to just go through the motions: in addition to exercising and twisting the spine, he instructed us to set our intention of healing and to visualize the spinal fluid and chi energy flowing up our backs and bathing each vertebrae. On another day Mingtong lectured about quantum fields, building up a personal chi field, and how to tap into the incredible global chi field that surrounds us all. Each day we participated in “Sound Healing,” chanting and feeling a powerful series of sounds aimed at restoring and balancing all the organs and functions of the body.
Throughout the week, Mingtong emphasized doing the exercises gently, and to the best of one’s ability. He stressed that if you can’t do a particular movement standing, then do it sitting; if you can’t sit, then do it lying down on the floor. No one was ever made to feel embarrassed or left out if they couldn’t participate. I started the week with a terrible bronchial cough that I’d had for weeks and couldn’t shake. Afraid of disrupting the class, I felt very self-conscious about it. By the next day the cough was 50% better, by the second day it was barely noticeable, and by the third day, to my astonishment, it was completely gone and I felt great!
We were privileged to have Mingtong Gu join us for lunch one of the days. He started the meal with some advice that he had already spoken of in the class: to start the meal in silence for the first 9 bites or so – to close our eyes and not speak to each other for the first part of the meal. This led to truly savoring and appreciating our food, to a greater sense of peace and gratitude for the meal, and a renewed sense of energy and well being when we did finally resume speaking and interacting with our companions.
Like everything else from that week, it was another small gift of wisdom that we could take away with us to use forever. I truly felt the benefits of Qi Gong and Mingtong Gu’s presence on every level: spiritual, physical, emotional and mental. One of the true highlights of the week was getting hugged by Mingtong Gu and feeling the enormous power of his chi energy, as if I had been plugged into an electric socket!