~ Slightly edited update of a post from December 2016. Peter Van Buren
Sheng Zhen Gong doesn’t just improve you in body, mind and spirit. It teaches you about life and your connection to the universe.
Here is a collection of some of the learnings I have gained from my practice since I started down the path to become a certified Sheng Zhen Gong teacher. Before my first Sheng Zhen Teacher Training in May of 2015, I had never really meditated.
During one of the meditation sessions at that training, a mantra came to me: “Trust love. Surrender.” Meditating on the words again and again, I have come to this current understanding of their meaning.
Put your trust in Love. Love is very smart. Love knows best. Trust completely. Open you heart and let love guide you. Gratefully accept the path that love puts before you, realizing that it may have ups and downs. This is normal.
All of us will die someday. We know this. When this happens, we return to the source from which we came. We return to the One, to Love. So, there’s no need to worry or fear. Surrender your worries. Surrender your fears. Surrender your feelings of inadequacy, of unworthiness. Free yourself from these bonds which you put on yourself.
And, love with abandon. Love everything and everyone. Open your heart and let it flow.
Everyone is connected to you; everyone is a part of you. And, you are a part of them. We are all a part of the One. By loving others, you love yourself, care for yourself. Helping alleviate the pain and suffering of others directly helps you. No pain, (the) ALL gain(s). And there is more and more love for all.
Each of us can journey down the path that love gives us, with an open heart, without fear, joyful embracing the wonder and awe of this magical life. Now, that’s a life, that's a vision, to strive for.
I learned this word from TV Journalist Ann Curry, who was one of the guests on a PBS holiday special by celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich. The show involved Lidia asking each of her guests to recount holiday memories from their families' celebrations.
Ann’s mother, Hiroe, was Japanese, meeting and marrying her serviceman father after World War II. Consequently, Ann told Lidia about some of her mother’s non-traditional holiday recipes, as she admitted her mother never really learned to cook turkey.
But, the story Ann told that stuck with me was about the word, “gambaru”. Her mother would whisper this word in Ann’s ear as she was leaving from family get-togethers. When Ann asked for a translation, Hiroe told her simply “have strength”. Eventually Ann realized the word means so much more.
She now translates it as, "Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER give up, even and especially if there is no hope of winning.” Here’s more background on Gmabaru and Ann’s mother’s story.
Everything that has happened to take us to this moment was correct. We are in the right place of now, which is a moment on the path to what lies ahead. Part of trusting love is accepting what is without regrets or other negative feelings.
This is not fatalistic. All is not pre-determined. Rather this recognizes that we must fully accept what “is” to open the possibility to affect the future in a positive way.
Everyone still needs to do their best to bring forth the future we desire, acting with hope and gambaru. By doing this, we open the possibility to create a world where everyone and everything is loved, respected and cherished.
One of life’s great practical jokes involves lessons. On our path through life, each of us encounters a special set of lessons we need to learn. If we don’t learn the lesson that is being taught, life will simply repeat that lesson over and over again until we do. No matter how much we dislike the lesson.
Only when we have heard the lesson, understood it, incorporated it and embraced it, will life end the repetition and allow us to move on.
This is why the same thing keeps happening to you, or you notice the same thing happening again and again to someone else. It is the story of Sisyphus and the rock, except you can break the cycle by embracing the lesson.
Creating goals provides direction. However, as you start toward your goal, you may not fully understand, or understand at all, how you will achieve the goal. This is OK, and it is true for many of the most worthwhile paths.
To start, one only needs to know how to take the first step, and gather the will to take it. Then you move down the path, one step at a time, sometimes moving faster, sometimes slower; sometimes taking a detour or stopping or needing to back track. Trust your heart to find the next step and trust love as you take it.
Little by little, step by step, great things can happen. After a while, you may find that you have attained goals that you never considered, and they may even be better and more desirable than your original intent. Show gratitude.
There is only one god, and there are an infinite number of gods.
God is Love. Love created qi, and all qi comes from love. Love is the source, and love's qi created and connects everyone and everything. Qi/love/god is within each of us. It always has been so, and all religions recognize this truth in their foundations.
Our egos, as manifest in our religious and governmental institutions, have taught us to emphasize our differences, rather than this one basic truth. Focusing on our differences creates hatred, fear and greed. But, deep down, we all know we are one.
By opening one’s heart, we can connect the god within us to the web of qi in the universe. The web of love that unites everything. We connect to the source. We return to oneness. This is magical and beyond comprehension. You cannot think this. You can only be this.
This is Sheng Zhen.
The goal is to be in the state of Sheng Zhen all the time. The “Practice of Sheng Zhen” is just that – a practice that helps you become more and more Sheng Zhen in your life.
Keep practicing and smile. Be Sheng Zhen.