Ein Sof, Yaish, Qi & Me

ein sof and tree of lifeSuch wonderful inspiration from the podcast On Being (with Krista Tippett) and her interview with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner. What drew me to write about this is the connections I experienced in my brain and heart as the Rabbi talked about Ein Sof and Yaish. “Yaish refers to virtually everything in creation. Anything that has a beginning or an end, that has spatial coordinates, that has a definition, that is bordered by other things, and it’s not just material reality. I mean, love has a beginning, it has an end. Beauty can have a definition.Turns out there is only one thing that’s not yaish. It has no beginning, it has no end, it’s not bordered by anything, it has no definition, it has no spatial coordinates. … it is the opposite of yaish. It is called Ein Sof — without end. Literally it means nothing. But with a capital N.”

Whoa. Jewish mysticism and Qi.  96% of the energy in the universe is unseen, no spatial coordinates–this is Source Energy or Ein Sof. Yaish is form, the 4% of the universe we can see. And oh,  the images I came across while researching Ein Sof and Yaish all rang bells of connection. There are spirals, a Tree of Life, layers in the spiral that are ten emanations of visible light. Lots of references to light. Mystical study and foundations of spiritual thought seem to always come back to the same foundational truths: source energy, light, formless and form. Qi (formless) and me (form).

“…Everything in the world is the wave of which the Ein Sof, or God, is the ocean. And our knowledge of the ocean is largely based on the way it manifests itself in the waves” (Kushner). As you and I exist on this earth at this same time and place and as we gather and connect, we become community. We open ourselves to source energy, that ocean of qi, and learn from each others’ hearts more about that Source. We are the waves. We look to ourselves and to each other to become closer to understanding the Source.

Through the practice of qigong, we claim a path that leads us to become proactive co-creators of wholeness. Our bodies express and give form to our souls, the emanation of Source Energy. Through making whole our individual selves, we can simultaneously open our hands and extend Qi, formless Infinite Light, to all Yaish, all that is seen. And  by opening our hearts to that service, we do our part to repair the world (Tikkun Olam).  Haola!

Kushner is a long-time student and articulator of the mysteries and messages of Kabbalah. The Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah is a rich, magnetic world of thought and teaching. It has resonance with modern understandings of reality — and describes a cosmic significance to the practical moral call to tikkun olam, “repair the world.”



braiding-sweetgrass-coverI am reading a beautiful book called Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I just read a chapter about the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address that is said before every gathering, including each school day in their tribal schools. It is the most beautiful prayer of Thanksgiving I believe I have ever read. Can you imagine how our relationship with the Mother Earth would change if each and every one of us spoke this message of gratitude every day?

It is long, but there are many things of this Earth to be thankful for! Here is just a start:

The People Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as people. Now our minds are one.

cow creek
Calf Creek Falls, Utah

The Earth Mother We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our mother, we send greetings and thanks. Now our minds are one.

The Waters We give thanks to all the waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms‐ waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of Water.   Now our minds are one.

The address goes on with additional odes of gratitude to The Fish, The Plants, The Food Plants, The Medicine Herbs, The Animals, The Trees, The Birds, The Four Winds, The Thunderers, The Sun, Grandmother Moon, The Stars, The Enlightened Teachers. The Haudenosaunee share this beautiful address freely as they were given it to share with the world.  Link to full Thanksgiving Address.

It is my one great existential wish to connect deeply with the energy of water and feel in my heart its awesome power and amazingness. I bow to you, sacred water, in gratitude and in awe.

Posted in honor of World Water Day March 22, 2016




Haola & Healing

monks chantingChant Haola with movement, visualizing the energy flow, and declare your belief in the goodness and wholeness of your mind, body, and spirit. Before studying WHQ (Wisdom Healing Qigong) I had memorized chants from Buddhist tradition. I would chant them to myself when I felt stressed or anxious. For example, on morning yard duty at Home Street, those chants would be my mantra as I made sure kids were behaving well and as I anticipated the day ahead. Elementary school cafeteria duty–hundreds of little children released from classroom quiet to repast with friends. My mantras would be going in the background of my on-duty brain: tying shoe laces, getting hugs, resolving disputes.The more I repeated the mantras, the more they automatically appeared in my brain during any times of stress–and still do to this day. The chanting helps stop the story line, controls the brain, controls the release of adrenalin thus diminishing the stress response which we all know is detrimental, except in cases where we do need to run from a lion! Or respond to an issue on the playground!

Chanting Haola is the first of the Six Golden Keys of Chi medicine. Hao means “all is well”, la means “so be it”. We chant Haola to invoke the divine blueprint of our bodies, minds, hearts, souls and universal goodness. It is a verbal acknowledgment that the universe is good and working as it should be. With Haola, we open ourselves to the source energy that can heal us as individuals and can heal our world. It’s an extension and a deepening of the power of positive thinking. There IS power in being positive, being happy–different chemicals run through our bodies when we feel contentment and joy. We can’t feel that positive all the time, but we can re-program and minimize the deleterious effects of stress and anxiety if we chant Haola whenever we can, whatever we feel, starting with when we practice qigong.

Chanting as a practice “helps to facilitate shifts in our brainwave state by using entrainment. Entrainment synchronizes our fluctuating brainwaves by providing a stable frequency which the brainwave can attune to. By using rhythm and frequency, we can entrain our brainwaves and it then becomes possible to downshift our normal beta state (normal waking consciousness) to alpha (relaxed consciousness), and even reach theta (meditative state) and delta (sleep; where internal healing can occur).” http://www.mindbodygreen.com

There are numerous scientific studies about chanting and sound (including music!) that support  using sound as a means of relaxation and healing. For example:

  • Neuroscientist Marian Diamond from the University of California found that chanting helps block the release of stress hormones and increases immune function. It also keeps our muscles and joints flexible for a long time. (She was my anatomy teacher at Cal in 1975, she was fantastic!)
  • A study by Dr Alan Watkins [senior lecturer in neuroscience at Imperial College London] revealed that while chanting, our heart rate and blood pressure dip to its lowest in the day. Doctors say that even listening to chants normalizes adrenalin levels, brain wave pattern and lowers cholesterol levels.

chant sunSo we chant Haola as we practice and as we live. We relax our brain and allow it in this altered state to unify with our body to create wholeness and healing. All is well.
Everything’s okay. Don’t worry. It is what it is. No matter what is going on around me, I choose wholeness. I choose healing. I choose to be positive, to be loving, to be kind, to be of service to myself and to others. Haola!