Whole Body Prayer is a fascinating memoir by Yan Ming Li, a Qigong master. It tells the story of his hardships during his upbringing in a working-class family in Communist China during the cultural revolution. He had a natural affinity for Qigong, and it blossomed into healing abilities with some training. He eventually migrated to the West, becoming a teacher and healer in Atlanta. There are some amazing stories of healing in the book. After telling his own story, he teaches his self-healing technique of whole-body prayer.
Master Li has ecumenical spiritual beliefs equivalent to the perennial philosophy which many claim are at the core of all the World’s major religions, and this is mentioned throughout the book. Readers who are skeptical of such beliefs may find this a stumbling block, but I liked his clear discussion of this.
In a nutshell, his self-healing technique is meditation in a standing pose. It involves visualizing energy flowing towards a part of your body from the spiritual center (Dantian in Chinese, Hara in Japanese, commonly taught in various martial arts). I found the technique relaxing, although it involves an arm position I found a bit awkward. I modified that a bit to make it more comfortable. I intend to give it a try, visualizing healing energy directed toward my knee. Who knows?
I have experience with Yoga-based activities originally from India, but relatively little with those of Chinese origin such as Tai-chi and Qigong (note that Qi is pronounced like “chi”, and the Chi in Tai-chi is the same as Qi). This interesting read makes me want to look into them more.
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