Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner
thelivyjr
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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:40 p

Biography of Yang Chengfu, continued ...

Strong Sense of Wu De (Martial Virtue), concluded ...

Chengfu had a lot of respect for other martial arts.

In 1928, Nanjing’s National Kuoshu School’s director Zhang Zhijiang invited Chengfu to become the head of the Taijiquan branch.

He also invited Chengfu to bring some of his top students to be teachers.

Since Chengfu had a lot of students in Beijing, there were a lot of details that needed to be settled before he could move.

The Vice Director Li Jianglin seeing that Chengfu not able to take his post in a timely manner, invited Sun Lutang to fill the post.

Master Sun did not know that Mr. Zhang had already invited Chengfu and changed the Taijiquan section to Wudang section (Wudang is a shorthand for internal martial arts), and his students taught the 3 internal martial arts Hsing Yi, Bagua, and Taiji.

Chengfu did not know about the situation.

When he arrived in Nanjing with his students, Mr. Zhang took Chengfu to a restaurant.

After a few rounds of drinks, Mr. Zhang said, “The School cannot have two Wudang masters."

"May I ask you Mr. Yang to test your skills against Mr. Sun."

"The winner can stay and the loser will leave.”

Chengfu calmly said, “Sun is my Elder Brother."

"Of course he should be the director of the section, there is no need to test our skills."

"Unfortunately since there is no position opened for my students, I must apologize that I will be leaving with them.”

Afterward, Chengfu said to his students, “Sun and I are like brothers."

"Testing our skills behind closed door is one thing, but how dare Mr. Zhang asks us to test openly in front of people, just for a tiny amount of money profit the size of a fly’s head!”

After Chengfu went to Shanghai, Mr. Zhang knew that he was in the wrong and asked Chengfu to be the counsel of the school in Zhen Jiang.

When Sun Lutang learned of the episode, he asked another Hsing Yi master Guo Zhendong to take his position and resigned.

Sun became the counsel of the school in Jiang Siu, showing that he was the same position as Chengfu (and not higher).

From this, you can see that these two elders are ethical and were very respectful of others.

When Chengfu went to Shanghai, Wu Jianquan was already teaching in the Jing Woo school.

He brought gifts of ham, bird’s nest, shark’s fin and fine wine to welcome Chengfu.

Wu said, “Third Uncle, how are you?"

"Our Wu family learned from the Yang family, and now can make a living."

"We can never forget the kindness from the Yang family.”

Chengfu replied, “Yang and Wu are like one family."

"I will not take your students."

"You do not have to worry.”

Indeed when Chengfu was teaching in Shanghai, he would refuse any students of Wu who wanted to switch school.

He would explain that while Yang and Wu forms might look different, but the philosophy and the methods were from the same source.

Zhang Xiulin’s student Tian Zhoulin and Sun Lutang’s student Chen Weiming were personally introduced by their respective teacher to Chengfu to be his students.

Otherwise, Chengfu would not have accepted them either.

Chengfu cultivated harmony among the different martial art schools, his Wu De (martial virtue) was of the highest degree.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:40 p

Biography of Yang Chengfu, continued ...

Passing

In 1936, Chengfu passed away just when his kung fu was at the highest level.

He was 53 years old.

There were a lot of speculations and rumors on the cause of death.

Some people thought that Chengfu Fajin too strongly and hurt his internal Qi.

Sifu Jing Hua said, “That’s nonsense."

"Yang family’s long springy jin, even though it sends people far away, it is very soft and does not use any force."

"Founder Luchan and master Jianhou also Fajin strongly and lived to be old age."

"I am more than 80 years old myself, bouncing people several tens of feet away without using any force.”

Other people said that Chengfu indulged in sexual matter.

Sifu Jing Hua said, “Master Chengfu was an upright person and was always faithful to his wife."

"He and his wife loved each other very much."

"When master Chengfu came to Shanghai, if there were any female students, he always kept his distance."

"As a student in the school, I followed master everywhere and I knew that Sifu did not indulge in such things (“treasure the body like jade”)."

"You must not act like the gossipy small minded person and spread rumors!”

Sifu Jing Hua was knowledgeable in both Chinese and Western medicine.

He thought that master Chengfu died early because of his dietary habits.

When master Chengfu was young practicing, he would swing his waxwood pole left and right 200 times and then “brushing” the tree 200 times.

He would do standing (Zhan Zhuang, pole standing) for the length of burning 3 incense sticks.

Hard practice made him to have big appetite.

Each meal included 30 bun, one pig’s leg and a chicken.

When Sifu Jing Hua first went to the Yang household, he saw that master Chengfu eating a huge amount (eating fast and furious like wolves and tigers), he thought of the legendary character in Water Margin’s “tiger-beating-hero” Wu Song and was quite aghast.

After a while though, he got used to the sight and did not think of it as odd.

After master Chengfu became famous, he did not practice as hard.

However, he did not consume less, and his weight increased to 288 lbs.

He also preferred meat over vegetables, and his cholesterol and blood fat must have been very high.

His edema was not from kidney disease, but resulted from the heart disease.

This was a bad result of the long term high blood fat content.

The ancients said, “disease comes from the mouth.”

This is indeed sage advice.

Chen Tianshen, a ninety year old elder martial artist from Hanzhou, finally disclosed why Yang Chengfu and another martial artist Xiao Pinsan died so young.

He said, “Our cultural history is so rich, sometimes it is difficult to see the truth at the moment.”

Chen was a vice director of the Hanzhou Wushu organization in the 1980s, and now he pulled from his memory events from more than 70 years ago (the original article was written in the 2000s).

In 1929, the “Western Study” group organized a national Wushu competition.

Yang family founder Yang Chengfu (since Chengfu had numerous students and standardized the “large frame,” he is often also referred to as a founder) and the Southern style master Xiao Pinsan and other martial artists went to Hanzhou to compete.

During 7 days of competition, 109 martial artist entered the competition stage.

It was a very popular event with many audience attending.

There were also western martial artists, but none dared to enter the stage.

After the event, the “Western Study” group built a new school - and it proudly displayed “Zhe Jiang province National Wushu School” on its front door.

Masters Su Jingyou、Yang Chengfu、Liu Baichuan、Xiao Pinsan were among the teachers.

In 1930, the then 15 years old Chen Tianshen became the school’s first student.

One day in 1931, around 8 O’Clock in the morning, Xiao Pinsan was teaching Chen Tianshen the “Black Tiger Fist” at the school.

When practicing the Black Tiger Fist, one shouts and stomps the feet.

When a high level practitioner stomps their foot at the mud, they would leave a footprint there.

Chen Tianshen said, “There were about 30 students at that time, and we asked Sifu Xiao to demonstrate."

"Sifu Xiao asked us to put some bricks on the mud, and then put a heavy stone slab on top."

"Sifu Xiao then performed the Black Tiger Fist form on top of the slab."

"He shouted a few times, then stomped his foot, and both the slab and the bricks underneath were shattered.”

Having seen such demonstration of high level kung fu, the students cheered loudly.

Unfortunately, the noise woke up Yang Chengfu who was asleep at that time.

Yang Chengfu was the director then and he had a habit of waking up late.

He put his coat on and came out, asking “What is going on?"

"Why is there such noise?”

Xiao Pinsan replied, “I am teaching the students Black Tiger Fist.”

Yang Chengfu said, “that skill is useless!”

This angered Xiao Pinsan a great deal and he challenged Yang for a match.

Yang Chengfu said, “Fine, you hit my stomach 3 times first.”

Xiao Pinsan hit Yang Chengfu at the stomach.

Chen Tianshen and other students saw that Yang Chengfu’s face contorted in pain.

Chen Tianshen continued, “When Xiao Pinsan hit the second time, we all could smell blood coming from Yang Chengfu’s mouth."

"When Xiao hit the third time, Yang Chengfu held his stomach tightly with his right hand, and the left hand shot out and hit Xiao at the chest."

"Xiao flew back and fell down 2 meters away, spitting blood.”

This match ended with both parties injured.

Not only did they not teach together any more, Xiao Pinsan died in 1933, and Yang Chengfu also passed away in 1936 from disease.

Thus because of a small matter, two high level martial artists died early.

Afterward, the Vice Director Su Jing asked the students to keep the event secret.

This secret was kept for more than 70 years.

Chen Tianshen continued, “It happened more than 70 years ago."

"All the teachers at that time have died."

"There were 38 students then, and I was the smallest ‘Little Ghost.’"

"Now even this ‘Little Ghost’ is over 90 years old."

"This event has been in my mind all these times."

"We can all take lessons from what happened!”

TO BE CONTINUED ...

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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr » Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:40 p

Biography of Yang Chengfu, concluded ...

History and Lesson

I wrote this brief biography of master Yang Chengfu to provide researchers who want to study Yang Family Taijiquan with some supplementary information, and also to inspire later students with something to think about.

Chengfu is Founder Luchan’s grandson.

He started practicing when he was young, and gained supremacy when he was 40 years old.

Master Chengfu is the third generation standard bearer.

Even he did not inherit all the Yang Family kung fu.

Nowadays any older generations who learned from the Yang Family, or even just a little relation with the Yang Family, sometimes they self-proclaim as the Yang Family standard bearer, and boast how strong their kung fu is.

Master Yang Chengfu words and deeds show that he is virtuous and is a model of Wu De (martial virtue).

If a person’s kung fu is not at a high level (“enter the house”), but acts and talks abusively and looks down on other people, then aren’t they showing great disrespect toward founder Chengfu?

I am humbly share this information with everyone.

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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:40 p

longwhitecloudqigong.com

Yin and Yang – Common Misconceptions


27 September, 2019

Misconception 1: Yin and Yang Is A Religious symbol

One common misconception about Yin and Yang is that it is a religious symbol.

This misconception usually comes from people who have their own strong and somewhat superstitious religious views themselves, which causes them to look at the world through this lens.

They see something unfamiliar from another culture which has meaning that they do not understand, and they leap to the conclusions that it must be religious – because this plays such a big part in how they frame their own view of the world.

In particular, it is this diagram representing Yin and Yang, called the Taijitu, that they interpret as being religious:

Just a little bit of investigation into the meaning of this diagram and the concept of Yin and Yang makes it clear that what it represents is more philosophical or even scientific than it is religious as we would usually use the term.

Yin and Yang refers to a fundamental pattern and principle found throughout the universe at every level of manifestation.

We see it in the cycling from day to night, summer to winter, and so on.

It is the idea that for all things there is an opposite, and the existence of these opposites creates flow, activity and life.

We see this in positive and negative charges creating a current of electricity between them, and hot and cold temperature differentials creating physical movement and flow.

This principle of Yin and Yang is embedded into our most fundamental scientific understanding of the universe and how it works, from a western perspective as well as from an eastern one.

In fact – in relatively more recent times Gottfried Leibniz, the inventor of binary, cites Yin and Yang and its manifestation in the I Ching as a major influence in his development of the binary system.

Binary is the system that computers function on, without Yin and Yang we would not have much of our modern technology.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:40 p

longwhitecloudqigong.com

Yin and Yang – Common Misconceptions
, continued ...

Misconception 2: Yin and Yang Has Moral Significance

Another common misconception about yin and yang that possibly comes about due to the first, is that Yin and Yang somehow have some relationship with morality.

I have also seen this from many people who would not consider themselves religious, but it still comes from some kind of inherent desire to give things a moral classification.

They want to classify some things as bad, and other things as good.

This really is a misapplication of the concept.


Is positive charge good or bad?

How about negative charge?

What about warm and cool?

Hard and soft?

Light and dark?

We may sometimes use these classifications as analogies for morality, but in and of themselves there is nothing moral about them whatsoever, and thinking about them in moral terms leads to all sorts of misunderstanding about application of the principle.

I have seen this from people who really should know better.

Including people with decades of experience in eastern arts.

For some reason they have not been able to look beyond their moralistic view of the world to gain true understanding of the principle – which then leads to distortions in how they apply it.

One common example of this is to think that Yin is somehow ‘good’, and yang is somehow ‘bad’.

This can lead to an over emphasis on Yin development and training methods – to the exclusion of Yang – which is counterproductive to say the least.

I think I have some idea of where this aspect of the misconception may have originated from.

Many people when they were first exposed to some of the eastern arts, such as qigong or kung fu, only received a superficial understanding of them.

There are many possible reasons for this.

Language and cultural barriers, remnants of secrecy remaining around some of the arts, or simply lack of time for in depth training and understanding.

Historically, people naturally got lots of Yang development through their day to day activity.

So for them – more yang was often not desirable or ‘bad’, whereas Yin training would help to balance them and bring vitality, ‘good’.

But without understanding that this was a specific application of the principle to a specific situation, this misunderstanding has been spread to others due to incomplete knowledge.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr » Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:40 p

longwhitecloudqigong.com

Yin and Yang – Common Misconceptions
, continued ...

Misconception 3: Yin and Yang Are In Conflict

This can lead to the idea that Yin and Yang are in conflict with each other.

If there were a moral application of the principles of Yin and Yang, this would be it – to have them in conflict with each other would be ‘bad’.

You see while Yin and Yang represent opposites, this would only mean conflict if the principle was being applied in an unnatural or unskillful way.

Skillful application of the principle of Yin and Yang brings harmony, the opposition is used in a productive way to create flow, balance, and vitality.

Like a kite pulling against its string – the opposition is actually what gives it the lift to fly!

This would be the ‘good.'

Neither Yin or Yang are good or bad in and of themselves, but the way you use the principle can be either skillful or unskillful, harmonious or in conflict.

The Taijitu referred to earlier depicts a harmonious relationship between Yin and Yang, one flowing naturally into the other, feeding it and supporting it.

Neither becoming out of control or trying to dominate, but rather taking their turn and fulfilling their role.


Strengthening one, strengthens the other, strengthens the whole, because each is just a part of the greater whole, not something that can be separated out and exist by itself.

There is no Yin without Yang, and no Yang without Yin.

Healthy Yin Yang flow supports each other

This is helpful for us to remember, as it applies to every aspect of our lives.

I think now more than ever in our society we have a tendency to push for the extremes of things – trying for things to go completely one way.

But we have more harmony and balance, and we achieve more, when we understand complementarity.

This is helpful for people seeking peak physical performance, perhaps athletes and others.

Sometimes they want to push to the extreme with yang physical training – but they achieve more when they balance this with more yin pursuits, meditation and qigong.

Introducing yin activities does not mean that the yang training is bad, but rather it supports it and helps to create balance so that the benefits of the training can be more fully received.

On the other side, those who seek more introspective meditative goals are more successful at doing this when they also balance this with yang activity.

This was the great lesson the Bodhidharma brought to the monks at Shaolin after nine years of contemplation.

He instituted physical exercises for the monks not for the purpose of developing the fighting skills that they became so famous for, but rather to keep their bodies healthy so that they could focus more effectively in their meditations.

Physical activity is important for effective meditation.

This is an example of the healthy application of the yin and yang principle

Good qigong helps us to understand this principle and create this balance within us.

It can then spread into every area of our life – our work, our rest, our recreation, our relationships with others.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:40 p

longwhitecloudqigong.com

Yin and Yang – Common Misconceptions
, continued ...

Misconception 4: Yin and Yang Are Absolute Values

People often want to have a set way of categorizing things.

They want to put something in a box and make sure that it stays there.

But Yin and Yang are always relative to each other, which means how something is categorized will change depending on what you are relating it to when you categorize it.

Is 25°C warm or cool?

Well compared to 10°C it would be warm (yang), but compared to 40°C it would be cool (yin).

This is a rather obvious example, but the same relativity applies across all the many variables which can be classified as Yin and Yang, and sometimes this can get a bit tricky because there are Yin and Yang classifications for just about EVERYTHING.

So whether something is Yin or Yang will always depend on what perspective you are looking at it from.

Often there will be several of these characteristics in play at once, so the interaction of the different factors can be complex.

I will give you just one simple example of this, and how your classification of it will change depending on your perspective.

The example I will use is breathing.

When you inhale, your external muscles, the muscles that surround your torso, relax and lengthen to allow space for the air that you take into your lungs.

These external muscles are in a relatively more passive state as they lengthen on the inhale, than when they contract and shorten on the exhale to squeeze the air out of your body.

So – viewed from the outside, looking at the effect on the external body, the inhale is more passive and yin, while the exhale is more active and yang.

If however we shift our focus to the diaphragm muscle which is inside the body, sitting in a dome shape underneath the ribs, when we breathe in this internal muscle contracts and shortens to draw air down into the lungs.

When we exhale, the diaphragm muscle relaxes and lengthens.

So when we take a more internal view, the inhale is more yang, and the exhale is more yin!

So you can see how people can sometimes talk at cross purposes when they are describing one thing as yin, and another as yang.


This confusion is compounded when they have simply been told that something is yin or yang, without understanding the principles used to describe it in that way.

They are unable to see why someone else would describe something in a different way, because they do not understand that the classification is relative, and someone may be describing it from a different perspective.

When you do understand this principle, it can help you to understand exactly what someone is describing when they classify something as yin or yang, and gives you hints as to the purpose of the classification, it helps you to understand what perspective they may be describing it from.

This idea of there being layers of yin within yang and yang within yin is depicted in one of the most ancient diagrams of the yin and yang concept.

It is very helpful to remember this when considering the yin or yang nature of something, and certainly when discussing it with others.

There are some common classifications of yin and yang which are based on common perspectives that we view things from, rather than the absolute principles of yin and yang.

Often within different practices these classifications are accepted as almost a fact, but it is important to remember – it still comes down to perspective.

Another example of this is direction.

In many places you may see it stated that South is Yang and North is Yin.

But why?

If you don’t understand why you may misapply this information.

The reason why south is classified as Yang, is because the heat of the sun is stronger from the south in the northern hemisphere, and so conversely it is cooler in the north.

As qigong and much of the philosophy of Yin and Yang developed in China, which is in the northern hemisphere, this classification of the directions is recorded in many places.

But… what if you are in the southern hemisphere?

The perspective changes completely, and without an understanding of first principles you may become very confused and try to apply the principle in a completely wrong way – because in the southern hemisphere the heat of the sun comes more strongly from the north, and it is cooler in the south.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr » Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:40 p

longwhitecloudqigong.com

Yin and Yang – Common Misconceptions
, concluded ...

Left or Right, Yin or Yang?

Returning to the subject of the previous article and placing your left or right hand on your dantien.

Commonly – viewed from the outside, the left hand is considered to be more Yin, and the right hand is considered to be more Yang.

There are a number of reasons for this including common left or right side dominance, but also the layout of the organs within the body, which affects the way that the energy flows within you.

This creates a natural pattern of the left hand being more inclined to receive energy, and the right hand being more inclined to send energy.

This can be switched intentionally or unintentionally for various reasons, but it is a natural overall pattern.

It was interesting, one person who commented on the previous vlog on Facebook, was convinced that this was back to front.

He was very sure stating ‘Acupuncturists treat the left side first because it is Yang’.

I responded to him by asking ‘Which acupuncturists, and where did they train?’ but… the relevance of my question seemed to be lost on him.

My point being, that there can be, and are multiple perspectives on this – and depending on the particular perspective of the school that someone has trained in they may be focusing on different aspects of the energy and describing it in different ways.

In my own training we usually treat the left side first as well – because it is yin… … …

Same principle described in a different way, and – the very next week at some qigong workshops I was talking to another acupuncturist about yin and yang and without prompting he mentioned the left side of the body being yin…

I did plan on replying further to that particular commenter to help give more perspective on this, but ended up getting busy with other things and could no longer find the relevant post.

So, what is my point in rehashing all of this to you?

It is to not become too hung up on the definitions of Yin and Yang.

Try to understand their essence, what is really meant by them rather than arbitrary classifications from a book or a teacher.

Then you will be able to identify for yourself which is which in a given situation according to how you are using it.

In the case of your hands on your dantien, with some awareness and sensitivity you can feel the difference in the stimulating or relaxing effect of each hand on your energy and use that guide your usage according to your needs.

The same applies for every other principle you encounter in qigong.

Definitely understanding the essence of each principle will be valuable to you, but then always compare this to your experience, what you can sense for yourself.

This should always be your ultimate guide.

Conclusion

As you can see – while at its essence Yin and Yang is a simple principle, in application it can become quite complex, but understanding it and applying it well can bring great benefit to your life.

This article was just to dispel a few common misconceptions about Yin and Yang, but in the new qigong course material that is in development, there will be materials that explore Wuji, Taiji (Yin and Yang), and Wuxing (the five elements) in a lot more detail.

These are fascinating principles to explore and understand that can bring great richness to your qigong practice and every aspect of your life.

So look out for these in the future.

Yours in qi!

John Munro

Founder – Long White Cloud Qigong

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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr » Thu Oct 17, 2019 1:40 p

Deng Ming-Dao's TAIJI MEDITATION 94

Yes, martial arts are hard.

But they’re not impossible.

In particular, I’d like to make a distinction between movements that take time to master versus movements that are just wrong.

If a movement doesn’t feel right, if it isn’t working right away, then I almost always find that it’s not that the movement is “too advanced.”

It’s usually that I’m doing it wrong.

My foot’s in the wrong place, I’m facing the wrong way, I’m trying to muscle it instead of using my whole body.

When I finally get corrected, I always feel foolish, because just by some minor adjustment — in other words, doing it right — it’s shockingly easier to do.

Sure it might take months, even years, of polishing to make the set perfect, but when performed correctly, the movements will lead your progress.

That’s why teaching is so important.

That’s why practice is so important.

That’s why patience with yourself is so important.

You can do it.

But you have to make sure you’re doing it right.

Taiji takes decades to do well, but decades of practice won’t make wrong movements right.

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Re: Inward Bound - The T'ai Chi Corner

Post by thelivyjr » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:40 p

Heart Intelligence is a higher level of intelligence that supports physical, mental and emotional well being.

Heart Intelligence can be accessed using simple practices and intentions that create a state called "heart coherence" - connecting the Heart and Mind.

"Heart coherence" is a term created by the Institute of HeartMath, a scientific research organization that studies qualities of the heart that have a powerful impact upon personal happiness, health, and performance.

HeartMath scientists discovered that the heart does much more than just pump blood throughout the body.

The human heart emits an electromagnetic field that surrounds the entire body and extends at least fifteen feet in every direction.

This field sends signals to every cell in the body, affecting physical, mental, and emotional health and well being.

The human heart field also interacts with and is affected by the electromagnetic field of the Earth, as well as other people, plants, animals - anything that has electromagnetic qualities - which includes pretty much everything, including space, planets and even stars.

Exactly how and to what degree our individual heart fields are affected by the environment is still under investigation.

However, it is clear beyond a doubt that this field connects all of us to each other, the Earth, and space in ways we don't yet fully understand.

We do know that humans that intentionally create heart coherence in their own field have an impact upon their own health and well being.

Creating heart coherence also has a positive impact upon those around us.

The extent to which creating individual coherence can have an impact on global coherence is being tested now by the Institute of HeartMath.

The electromagnetic human heart field is a powerful source of energy and information that literally tells all the cells in our body what to do.

It exists within and is a part of a Universal ocean of energy and information, which can be accessed by the human mind under the right circumstances.

The information that can be accessed by the Mind via the Heart is what we call "heart intelligence".

It includes and transcends the information we gain through the five physical senses, adding a new dimension to human intelligence that expands human consciousness and empowers the Mind.

Access Heart Intelligence by Creating A Mind With Heart

• A Mind with Heart overcomes the Illusion of Separation and sees the connection in all things.

• A Mind with Heart has access to infinite energy, intelligence, and Source.

• A Mind with Heart receives inner guidance and experiences inner peace.

• A Mind with Heart creates a world of abundance, happiness, and well being.

http://www.metaphysics-for-life.com/hea ... gence.html

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