Rose Johnston MD ,of Pictou Nova Scotia
Rose first met Master Li in 1999 during a weekend workshop in Toronto. She was attending as a recommendation from a naturopath for the chronic condition of fibromyalgia. Rose immediately enjoyed the practice, and at the end of the weekend had the privilege of watching Master Li doing his personalpractice. The experience was so powerful that Rose literally felt the presence of Qi and unconditional love.
Since 1999 Rose has been a committed practitioner and teacher of SZ. She has attended six 10 day teacher trainings around the world & 6 weekend seminars with Master Li and Jing. Along with her partner Muriel, she has participated in the Rescue Gong, travelling to Portland Oregon for over 3 months. Rose has been teaching SZ regularly since 2000. As the senior teacherof Sheng Zhen in Nova Scotia she is currently teaching advance students who travel from all over the province to attend her workshops. Practising and sharing SZ, as well as a Coursee in Miracles, continues to inspire, delight, and direct her sense of well-being.
I met Master Li the summer of 1998 in Toronto. I had been ill with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia for four years and was seeking help. The naturopath I was seeing recommended I attend Master Li's qigong workshop.
As the weekend workshop was drawing to a close, Master Li demonstrated his personal practice of the form "Heaven Earth Gong". It was while watching this practice that I felt moved, a feeling deep within me that this was what I had been looking for. I felt a sense of wholeness, nothing missing or to add, and of connectedness. I knew I wanted to learn this practice more than anything! That is still true today, and why I am motivated to continue working with the philosophy and practice of Sheng Zhen Gong.
This feeling of wholeness and connectedness is my definition of "true healing". Engaging with the movements, postures and contemplations powerfully and consistently leads me to a direct experience of the qi of Unconditional Love.
I began a daily meditation practice in the mid-1980's, which I continue, and have had training in a number of approaches, including Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu and First Nations. I feel that the Sheng Zhen meditation is a shining contribution to the process of awakening to our true Self. The mantra "forget yourself, think of nothing, merge", along with the meditation instructions brings me to a Natural State of contentment and joy!! For me, this is a path of "true healing".
When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia I was 40 years old, a rural family doctor, with a new partner and three stepchildren, owned my own home with a large garden, and had a lot to accomplish each day! I was stopped in my path with what would be called a life changer! My life and my body seemed to no longer to be my own. I had ongoing symptoms of fatigue, pain and disturbed sleep. Sometimes I could walk less than ten minutes. Over the years I have often felt like a prisoner, a victim to my body!
Poor health has been very humbling for me. In my youth I was a basketball star. I played on the Canadian Women's Basketball Team and toured Eastern Europe and Russia the summer that I was 19. I was used to winning and making things work my way! To lose my physical health felt like the greatest loss possible. The ongoing challenge, not only physically but emotionally, has often felt like a slow death. I work with the constant challenge of softening around that hard place in my mind and heart, the tendency to be resentful, and feel hard done by. The blessing of the soft, "nurturing" qi of Sheng Zhen has been essential.
Having a long-term health condition has given me considerable opportunity and motivation to reflect on the meaning of sickness and healing. I study the non-dualistic (Oneness) paths of Sheng Zhen and A Course in Miracles. They teach me that the source of ALL suffering is the "sick" thought of separation, of duality and differences. Thus true healing is joining, merging, letting go of conditions and judgments. Unconditional Love. The practice and philosophy of Sheng Zhen Gong continually reminds me of this truth.
Over these years, my two principle paths have "fused" for me as one. I find that the practice of Sheng Zhen Gong has made my understanding of A Course in Miracles deeper and clearer, and vice versa. I remember reading the contemplation for the first movement of "Heaven Nature Gong", for instance, which says, "It should be as if you were born and never suffered any pain nor ever had any worry. You are innocent and carefree as a newborn child." When I first read this contemplation my condition was giving me considerable pain and worry, so I dismissed it as impossible. I saw it as a nice imagination. But now I recognize the commitment of my ego to remain a separate individual, with suffering as its proof. The wisdom and guidance of Sheng Zhen instructs us that the key to end all suffering is so simple, as Truth is. Just let go!
Master Li often says, "Go directly to the ocean". The movements, meditations and contemplations take us to the experience of this Natural State of joy, of no suffering. I see myself on a path with some moments of deep peace, of being in "the ocean", and the slow progression of the lifting of my suffering, the healing of my belief in separation.
My illness continues, and it is an "up -down life", a "colorful life" as Master Li would say. I continue to have limiting symptoms. When I began Sheng Zhen Gong I was practicing with a goal that was physically orientated, to heal my body. At one time, as my pain increased, I felt that Sheng Zhen had failed me. What I have come to realize is that it was not the Divine Essence of Unconditional Love that failed me, but it is I who had "failed" It. I am even more committed now to reach the goal of both Sheng Zhen Gong and A Course in Miracles, to "Return to Oneness". To "Return to Oneness" is the healing of all suffering in all times and forms. It is "true healing".
The contemplations of Sheng Zhen Gong point us to this supreme goal of returning to our One True Self. For example, in "Releasing the Heart", we are instructed to "go back to the original pure Self". In "Heaven Nature Gong" we remember the words, "Facing the moon, your heart reveals the Self." I was also touched to read the conclusion contemplation in "Heart Mind As One" where it talks about the importance of acceptance, resisting nothing and embracing all. "It is like the supreme challenge of a chronically ill person who accepts his fate and at the same time fully embraces life. It is a delicate balance. Living life fully involves learning to master it ... then comes the experience of being nothing and being All. The experience is complete ... all this takes practice. One practices not resisting." These words remind me why I practice.
I was touched on one of Master Li's visits to Nova Scotia when he said to the large group, "Notice how emotionally happy Rose is even while having to deal with a chronic illness". The group had seen how I had to lay down at times in the back, as I could not sustain my energy. I felt that Master Li was using me as an example of how practicing Sheng Zhen can help us be a "happy person" (in his words) under difficult circumstances.
When I practice Sheng Zhen Gong I feel good, I feel uplifted, and I can go to that Higher Place where our shared perfection lies. I am lifted out of my suffering to the "True World", as opposed to the "empty, illusionary world". The direct experience of this beautiful qi of Unconditional Love is the most precious gift possible. Coming to know and experience more of this True Self brings true healing, true contentment, which is why I have practiced regularly and shared the practice as a Sheng Zhen teacher over these many years.
Had I not had the circumstances in my life that brought suffering, I would not know today that there is actually a Power that can lift us out of suffering.
Carol Anne Landry - BA, D.TCM
Carol Anne graduated from an Oriental Medicine school in Victoria BC in 1999. It was during this training that she first studied Qi Gong for medical purposes. She also holds an undergraduate degree inphilosophy from STFX. Her background in medicine and philosophy is the foundation she now draws from as she maintains a Chinese Medicine Clinic in Antigonish. She is most passionate about studying and applying Sheng Zhen philosophy not only with her patients and students, but within her own life for profound healing purposes.
Carol Anne was first introduced to Sheng Zhen Gong in 2003 through Dr. Rose Johnston. After attending a weekend with Master Li in Mahone Bay in 2009 she began teaching weekly classes in Antigonish. Her class has been offered through Recreations Programs in both the Antigonish and Port Hawkesbury areas, as well as yoga studios and meditation centres. In 2014 she attended a 10 day teacher training with Master Li and Jing and is now inspired to teach full day workshops a couple of times a year in the Antigonish area.
Muriel Agnes first met Master Li in 1998 when she saw him doing Heaven Earth Gong. She was inspired as she felt the movements move through her. She joined her partner Rose in a retreat with Master Li in January 1999 in Toronto. That March she flew to Manila for a 10 day international training to prepare for the Rescue Gong. She and Rose spent the following winter in Portland with the Rescue Gong group, practicing daily for 4 hours for 3 months. Since 2002, Muriel has brought Master Li to Nova Scotia several times, and is currently on the Board for "Sheng Zhen of the Americas". Muriel loves the direct connection to Oneness of this practice, and feels it live in her whether she is practicing or teaching or just moving through daily life.
Zané Jessens deNoncourt, Antigonish, NS
Zané first encountered Sheng Zhen Qigong in Truro in 2004, at a weekend workshop where Rose Johnston taught Kuan Yin Standing, Jesus Sitting and Zhong Tian Yiki. Zané speaks of this first encounter as amazingly transformative, as in experiencing spontaneous healing from her MCS and Chronic Fatigue ... and thus determined immediately to teach this wonderful practice to others. Zané furthered her learning at Master Li's SZ Teacher Trainings in Pictou (2004), Austin Texas (2006) Vancouver (2008), and Antigonish NS (2015), as well as weekend intensives in Tatamagouche and Mahone Bay. Zané especially values how practicing qigong regularily, eases us into the sensation of "merge with the universe", and uplifts compassion, loving kindness, spontaneous joy and equanimity.
Sarah Mac Donald, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
In November 2012 I received an email inviting me to a Sheng Zhen weekend workshop at Tatamagouche Center. The practice of Sheng Zhen with its movements, familiar language and concept of unconditional love really spoke to me. The inspiration from my Teachers, Rose and Muriel and fellow participants was insightful and encouraging. I continued practicing Sheng Zhen on my own and again attended the weekend workshop in 2013 deepening my commitment. In August of 2014 I was present at the ten day Sheng Zhen Teacher Training by Master Li inAntigonish. I am so grateful to have experienced the movements, symbology, meditations and deep contemplations from the teachings of Master Li. In 2015 I continued my daily practice, completed offering my first Sheng Zhen class and am taking second level Sheng Zhen training from Teacher Dr. Rose Johnson.
Dave Maybee has been practicing Sheng Zhen Gong for about 10 years and it has altered the path of his life by lifting his spirit more everytime he practices. He has recently begun the journey of becoming a certified teacher by teaching small beginner classes for the past two years. He has spent a lot of time with Master Li Jun Feng and plans on continuing and expanding his practice and teaching experience and is excited that there is so much interest and passion around this practice in the Maritimes. Dave is also a practitioner of Auricular Medicine and massage therapy and a devout student of A Course in Miracles.
This advanced Sheng Zhen class is the first ever class for advanced Sheng
Zhen practitioners for Rose to teach. since beginning her teaching of SZ
over 15 years ago. Her focus for these classes is the open heart, which is
the core purpose of this practice of qigong. For it is in opening the heart,
that we find our true happiness and purpose in life.
The three forms Rose has chosen reflect this theme of the open heart. They are 1) Releasing the heart, a gift from Mohammed, a standing form.2) Listing to the heart, a gift from Mohammed, a sitting form, and 3) Union of three hearts, a sitting form that is considered the "mother" of all of these forms of qigong. Our goal is the quiet heart, the contented heart!
The program consist of four days, in Pictou at the odd Fellows home, and six evenings, again in Pictou. It is $75 (or pay what you can) for full day and $30 for evening (or pay what you can). See below for the dates and location. The forms will be taught over at eight month, and students are encouraged to use the videos and books for their home practice and contemplations.
Rose has shared some of the key teachings to us via emails as refreshers and review, and will put some of these resources up on the website for all of Maritime Sheng Zhen practitioners to access and learn from as they wish. Please look for these, and we will notify you via email when new ones are made available for your viewing and learning option.
Rose plans to offer each spring into the fall a new advanced class, and all SZ practitioners are welcome to join, having met the criteria of previous 10 hour teaching with a Sheng Zhen teacher. It is her joy to share this practice and philosophy.