Renowned Qigong Master Chunyi Lin came to America more than 20 years ago to learn how this nation educates its people. Since that time, he has educated America — and people throughout the world — about how to heal the body, mind and spirit with simple movement and meditation called qigong (pronounced chee-gong), an ancient practice dating back more than 4,000 years in China. Its principles are the foundation of all Chinese Medicine: Everything is energy, and energy is intended to flow smoothly and continuously, in balance and in harmony with all.
On June 19-21, Master Lin’s legacy as a healer will be celebrated in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of Spring Forest Qigong, a practice of simple movements, mental focus, breathing and meditation. This effective way to unblock energy and rid the body of disease, described by Dr. Bill Manahan of the University of Minnesota School of Medicine as a practice that will “revolutionize the manner in which we look at healing,” was birthed in the Twin Cities by a man who believes that everyone was born a healer. During the past two decades, Spring Forest Qigong has been used by a quarter of a million people worldwide. The anniversary will kick off on June 19-20 with the first workshop ever taught by Master Lin on the Heart Sutra, the Buddha’s expression of unconditional love, compassion and forgiveness.
This noted healer took the time to speak with The Edge about qigong, about the heart and about how we all have the innate ability to heal ourselves.
For those not familiar with it, what is qigong?
Chunyi Lin: Qigong is an ancient Chinese meditation. “Qi” means energy, “gong” means with — working with the body’s energy; that’s what qigong does. What we are doing with qigong is to help people to heal, to balance the energy in the body. They’re sick because of energy blockages here and there in the body. These blockages existing in the body block the energy flow and then the body gets sick. Qigong is a simple healing movement and meditation that can help you to unblock these energy blockages so that the energy can flow freely in the body — and then the body heals.
What effect does qigong have beyond the physical body — on the emotions, the mind and the spirit?
CL: No matter what kind of things exist in the world, from the stars or rocks or trees or an emotion or an illness in the body — physically, emotionally or spiritually — that is just energy in different forms. Einstein said that energy cannot be created and it has always been. Energy cannot be destroyed. It will always be that energy can be transformed. The question is whether the energy is transformed for better or for worse. Through these simple movements and meditation, we can help you to empower yourself to unblock these energy blockages and redirect energy flow in the body so you can heal completely.
So, ultimately all disease comes from the blockage of these energies?
CL: Exactly. You may have aches and pains and even cancer — any kind of thing you can name in the body — and it is there because of energy blockages. Once you unblock these energy blockages, then the energy can flow. It’s just like a river. When you have a flood, there is a lot of problem of water spilling over both sides of the river. To resolve that situation, the best way is to open the flow of the water back into the river. This is what qigong does. It helps you to bring your energy back to the normal flow in the body so the body heals.
Does qigong simply relieve pain or does it eliminate it at the source?
CL: Qigong helps to release the source of the cause of the blockages so that the symptoms disappear, no matter if it is a pain or a tumor.
What was your ambition as a young boy? What did you want to become?
CL: At the very beginning, I wanted to become a writer, an author who writes a lot of books, and then later I changed my mind and I wanted to become a philosopher. I also had a dream that I could become a t’ai chi master or a doctor or something like that. I had lots of dreams in my life. When I grew up and I met a lot of people and they changed my life, I really wanted to find a way to understand how we can help this world to become a better place for everybody to enjoy.
I have had a lot of personal challenges. I love to play basketball and I had lots of injuries in my back. I tried everything to find healing, but they didn’t work. Injuries became swollen in my knees and in a bone spur in my back. Nothing helped me, no matter what I tried. Then I came to qigong, and in one meditation, seven hours and a half, the pain in my knees was 85 percent gone. For two months or so I practiced the qigong again from this master, and I healed myself completely. That got me deeply into the qigong studies.
I followed different masters and practiced a lot, and then I found out that qigong is actually something very simple. You can empower yourself and learn a way to love yourself — and then you can give this love back to the world. So that’s how I got into the qigong.
Through qigong I found three things that are just awesome. Number one, you can help yourself to heal your physical body. Number two, you can help others to heal, too. And number three, you can help people to open their hearts — and help us all to open our hearts, too. You know who you are and what you are. You come to a bigger picture to understand the relationship between you and the universe, between you and the Divine. So now, when anything happens or if you have conflicts with any people in the family or at work, you can use this wisdom to resolve this situation in a harmonious way, and you enjoy your life. Now, any place and every day is a joy.
In June, you will be teaching the Heart Sutra workshop. Is that all about opening the heart? What will participants experience?
CL: Oh, yes, absolutely. The Heart Sutra is the most profound of Buddhist teachings. All the Buddhists around the world agree that the Heart Sutra is the most powerful practice. It took me 20 years to figure out how to interpret the Buddha’s teaching in a simple and powerful way to the level I feel comfortable sharing with others. With this sharing, people can really come deeply into their inner hearts to understand the power of the heart. When you have the heart open, you can use this universal, unconditional love to heal the emotions, to heal physical challenges. I’m going to share techniques on how to do that.
It is how to put yourself in the light, like Jesus said and the Buddha said and Lao Tzu said. In this workshop, I’m going to share with people what I know and how to use these simple techniques to heal with the Heart Sutra. The workshop is two days long. We have a lot of meditation and a lot of fun time and there’s a lot of healing — healing through your heart and healing through your physical body and healing through your spirit.
Tell me about Spring Forest Qigong, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer. How many people were a part of Spring Forest in the beginning and how has it grown as an organization?
CL: Yes, that is a very interesting journey. In 1993, I was a healer on an AFS program, American Field Service, an exchange program. At that time in China, I was a college teacher. I was training people to become teachers at elementary schools and high schools. Through the AFS program, I came to the United States to study the educational system to observe how people run schools in this country. I went to colleges, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools, to observe the educational system in this country. During my evening time and sometimes in the weekends, I gave small classes on qigong and t’ai chi.
My first qigong class was in a middle school. My class was offered through the community education. A friend helped me get my class going because I helped his dog with deafness in the ears. My friend was very happy about that, and then later he asked me to work on his knees, which had a lot of pain. He was a hockey coach. After about five minutes of working on him, his pain 90 percent gone — and he was very excited. He told me to go to the community education center to talk to the director, and then we put a class out there called “Chinese breathing exercise.”
When the classes started, we had five people sign up — and among these five people, two people signed up by mistake. They came thinking the class was about acupuncture or t’ai chi. When I explained to them, “No this is a healing movement in the qigong,” they said, “Well, since we’re here, we’ll just continue.” One of these five people was one lady who came with an oxygen tank. She had been on oxygen for six and one-half years, diagnosed in the Mayo Clinic that she needed a lung transplant, and her lungs were filled with the scar tissue.
I asked her, “How did you find out about my class?”
“I did not. My son did,” she said. This lady was not very happy that evening. She said that with a very unfriendly tone.
I said, “Well, you’re here.”
“I told my son I’ve been breathing for 60 years and I don’t want anyone to come over from the other side of the world to teach me how to breathe.”
I said, “Well, you are here now and let me make a demonstration before we start the class.”
I asked around the table if anyone had any aches and pains in the hands, in the back, in the neck, or whatever. A woman said she had carpal tunnel and pain in the wrist. I said, “Well, put your hand on the table. Let me work on you.” So, I worked on her hand for about three to five minutes and then I asked her to open her eyes and move her wrist. She did, and the pain went away. She was so surprised.
Every week we had a one-hour class with exercise and meditation. People went home and practiced the exercise a half an hour to one hour a day. The woman who needed the lung transplant three weeks later came back from the Mayo Clinic. All the lung scar tissue had disappeared. And she did not need oxygen anymore since then. Qigong gave her 20 extra years for herself for her life. This was documented in the Mayo Clinic as a miracle healing, and after that I was invited to the Mayo Clinic to give some talks and do some studies. I had a pain management study with external qigong, and I sent energy out to help people with their chronic pain and this was very successful. Then I did a study on internal qigong and on pain management, and it was also very successful. I did another study on depression in Chicago and that one was also very successful.
What makes Spring Forest different than other forms of qigong?
CL: With all the qigong forms, the goal is to help people to balance the energy. Spring Forest Qigong is different because I like something simple and more powerful, number one. Number two, I focus on healing. And, number three, the most powerful healing energy is unconditional love, actually the love energy from your heart to help you to heal. In June with the 20th anniversary of Spring Forest Qigong, I will present a new qigong exercise for people. I will combine the five elements of emotions together with unconditional love in a guided meditation and very simple movement to help you to unblock the energy channels, even faster than the exercises I had taught before.
Through all these years I have studied the body and observed people’s healing. So I went deeper and deeper into my meditation, and then through guidance I developed this completely new movement for people. I have been sharing it with a few dozen people and it has had fantastic results, so I am just so excited to share this new revolutionary qigong form with the world.
What is it called, this new qigong form?
CL: This is an Energy Healing movement under the Spring Forest Qigong system. Later on, I will have external qigong practices to help you send out energy through your hands to help yourself to heal, with different techniques for different ailments, such as to heal deafness in the ears, migraine headaches, eyesight problems, lung problems and heart problems. These will be simple exercises to help you to stimulate the energy flow in the heart and help yourself to unblock those energy blockages even faster. It is amazing.
Spring Forest Qigong offers many levels of training — Level I through Level V. The levels of training may seem complicated for first-time people to know where to begin.
CL: Starting from this 20th anniversary, we’re not going to call these level I, level II, level III, level IV and level V anymore. They will be called self-healing, and I’m finalizing the titles for each of the courses. Each one can stand alone by themselves. For some people who say, “I have been doing meditation and exercise for a long time, so I don’t need to go to the fundamental one,” they can just go directly to the advanced classes for healing cancer or healing HIV, for helping to heal from strokes and Parkinson’s and depression and bipolar and such. You can go to any level that you want. I will have also different workshops, like a teleseminar, to give people direct information how to work on specific things — how to help heal the liver, how to help heal breast cancer, how to help heal a migraine headache, how to help heal the digestive system and many other things. I will have a simple exercise for particular challenges.
How has Spring Forest Qigong spread over the past 20 years?
CL: In the United States, we have taught through conferences and workshops and classes and self-learning courses about 250,000 people around the world, and so we have trained over 200 teachers to teach Spring Forest Qigong. I estimate that we have 500 practice schools all around the world doing so.
These people already are demonstrating that everybody was born a healer. Everybody was born with the beautiful gift. You can help yourself heal and you can help others to heal, too. In the middle of the night when the baby is crying, the mother can use the techniques to clear energy blockages and help the body heal. It is important to help every family heal and give them hope.
If you could tell every single person in the world something right now, what would you tell them?
CL: I would tell them that this is the most powerful healing energy. Utilizing unconditional love using this ancient wisdom is so simple and so easy to learn, and you can help yourself to heal and you can help others to heal, too. When you do so, you will always put a smile on your face. SMILE stands for Start My Internal Love Engine. With a smile and with unconditional love, we can activate the inner heart, and with these simple techniques you can make miracles any time in your daily life. You can have more energy in your life and you will feel more peace in your life. Your heart is more open and you can tolerate any situation much better. You have time you do it — five minutes or ten minutes or a half an hour. Even if you don’t have time, you can do it with your mind, so you can use it on the go.
For more information on Spring Forest Qigong, visit www.springforestqigong.com.