How important is having the right keys?

The ‘keys’ set forth in the outline below are meant to be true gauges in vitally assisting one in making healthful decisions (in working strategically toward True Health of the mind, body, and spirit), and in understanding healthful classical philosophical writings such as the Tao Te Ching, Chuang Tzu, I Ching, the Analects of Confucius, and the Sutras. These Keys are most specifically and benevolently set forth in the Tao Chan/Ming Chia traditions (Ming Chia = the Bright Beautiful School of Thought). Over millennia Tao Chan/Ming Chia have benevolently embraced the amalgamation of philosophical Taoism (Tao Chia versus Tao Chiao), philosophical Confucianism, and philosophical Buddhism.

All of the Keys fall under the primary heading of Wu Wei, e.g., Acting Without Acting…

It is endeavoring to do the right thing for the right sake without the need for selfish recognition or hidden agendas”

In short, “The right thing for the right selfless sake”

The Same Boat Theory

The notion that ‘we are all in the same common boat MUCH more than we think and act’”

The primary fault of humankind is the notion that you are there and I am here”

Endeavor to embrace “dignity (healthful dignity), decency, goodness, and grace in our interactions and spirit…figuring out to truly mean it, no matter what”

Healthful diplomacy at all levels of interaction – family, friends, in society, and other lands – AND benevolently inclusive of being a more and more and more healthful conduit/diplomat between Heaven (and the heavens) and Earth

The True Responsibility of Making the World a Better Place”

The notion that “the world would be a much better and different place if more and more of us take true responsibility for our own health and well-being”

In short, “True Health through True Responsibility”

With True Responsibility comes True Freedom…yin to yang and yang to yin – with True Freedom comes True Responsibility

True self-defense is self-defense against our own weaknesses and bad habits.” (In most cases we aren’t defeated, we defeat ourselves.)

Learning to Play the Part of a Less and Less Blemished Witness”

Through meditation and guided imagery (embracing true effort), we can learn to objectively witness the truth, versus utilizing opinion, inclusive of selfish self-serving agendas

Being living loving witness, congruent with objective insight – greater and greater objectivity (more and more without opinion, again just witnessing)

Again, in this spirit we can learn to better and better and better, glimpse absolute truth

True Appreciation and Gratitude”

Witnessing the truth – that we so often take for granted the nearly infinite blessings which we live with or have been bestowed upon us…right down to the air that we breathe…the ability to breathe it

The most basic of blessings are no less blessings/miracles, just because they are so common

Learning to appreciate even another of our most splendid of blessings…the miracle of moment, more and more and more each moment – “true appreciation of the miracle of the moment” (the more we do so, the more we witness that our daily trials and tribulations are of less consequence)

There is nothing perfect on this earth, but we can humbly work toward emulating perfection and catch objective insight/glimpses of what it is like in Heaven (Perfection)

“There is a place where, wherever you are there, whatever you are doing…no matter what, in any given moment, there should be nowhere you would rather be. It is where you are right now – and you have the ability to so deeply and artfully appreciate your life and its living…to connect one healthful insight to the next, and make them all one…learning to witness this already-existing truth.”

Endeavor to Avoid Preference for the Sake of Preference”

This notion illustrates the unhealthful silliness of having preferences for their own sake – value of preferences should be gauged by whether or not they are (truly) healthful and make the world a better place versus tearing it down

If there is a Heaven, a key to the universe, even a sixth sense, they are rooted in…True Honesty, promoting of True Happiness and True Freedom…most importantly, nothing to hide behind.”

In the wilderness of our existence…a place of budding flowers about, about to unwrap in a showing of perfect appreciation for all to thrive upon, we are the flowers which can blossom again and again in each season of our deeper and deeper insights…all connected…each better and more healthful than before.

It is not unlike Heaven…and it can become Heaven, with enough insight and appreciation. It takes quite a few sparks, glimpses – sweet and innocent sparkling spine-tingling moments…as a way-of-life which becomes more and more purposeful…more and more without time or space or distance. More and more there is less and less to hide behind.”

True Effort (and the spirit/demeanor thereof)”

Treating life as a living loving art form”

Through True Effort the Way becomes clear”

The significance of ‘doing it until in works…working at it…working at it, until nothing short of success is enjoyed” (accordingly, “one never fails unless one quits trying”)

Therein outgrowing one’s desire for blaming, complaining, and excuses”

Embracing change”

Inclusive of healthful change and often fear of change outside of one’s control (accordingly, change is constant – we make the world a much better place by not running from it)

Supporting others in their healthful effort/healthful change”

Selflessly doing so

Embracing one’s comfort and discomfort equally”

Learning to better and better avoid the need for immediate gratification”

Learning to embrace one’s blind dislike of, and with facts and practices which are, if followed, truly rooted in substantive healthfulness

Learning to better and better avoid plateaus of unhealthful and/or unrealistic contentment, (seemingly) relief from facing change”

The Way…

The way that can be told is not the eternal way…the way that can be told is the mother of all (material and tangible) things (which can separate us)”

The Way manifests in the madman screaming…’If the stars are not words, then stop calling them stars’”

There is a love inclusive of, but much more than friendship, family, or romantic love”

True Forgiveness”

It is likely that most often we all have made the same mistakes that we see others make”

Within each of us, the wars and famines of our spirits are reflected back and forth between us and the greater world” – again yin to yang and yang to yin, to almost infinity

The Three Portents (harbinger of all bad tidings)

Hate

Greed

Ignorance”

Embrace the Five Virtues

Healthful Respect

Healthful Loyalty

Healthful Humility

True Honor

True Integrity

– – Dr. Glen Hepker (quotations are from A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health (2011)

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Dancing With Light and Lightness…

Spiritual Bath Guided Imagery

When practicing any of the various forms of guided imagery chi kung in this specific tradition (Ming Chia/The Bright Beautiful School of Thought) we generally begin by utilizing our most fundamental guided imagery, e.g., (titled in the form of a question) How Much Gratitude Does One Need to be Healthy? This is a traditional type of guided imagery on its own, though it is also done as a preparatory exercise in order to assist one in gathering a proper spirit with which to perform more complicated types of guided imagery that we practice and teach – in this case as set forth further below, e.g., Spiritual Bath Guided Imagery. This initial preparatory guided imagery is meant to ‘slow us down’ and down and down, prompting us to gather better and better objective insight, to be a less and less blemished witness, and hence becoming a better and better conduit/diplomat between Heaven (or, if one prefers, the ‘heavens’) and Earth.

Herein, this guided imagery will be set forth for a standing position, but it can also be done in a sitting position – sitting on a chair/stool or in a lotus sitting posture.

Stand with one’s feet almost together (called a ‘humble stance’), and bend one’s knees comfortably. Put one’s tongue against the roof of one’s mouth (connecting the Governing and Central Vessels – congruent with acupuncture theory). Relax one’s face, shoulders, hands, and feet – it’s said, “if they’re relaxed, you’re relaxed.”

Realize that relaxation is a true skill – there is always room for improvement. Realize, we ALWAYS have some stress, no matter how relaxed we are. Be so relaxed that one is barely standing – in what we coin as a Swaying Willow demeanor. Gently roll the spine above the waist, forward and backward. This demeanor is much like a willow tree swaying in a gentle wind. Breathe in, all the way forward and backward, and breathe out in between.

Constantly adjust one’s vision so that one is looking just slightly above straight ahead, without focusing or staring: herein, one is endeavoring to play the part of a less and less blemished witness to one’s external environment – ideally without expectations…as if all is new to you, you know nothing (it isn’t genuinely possible to do this, but it is important to try). After a bit of time (as one chooses – but try not to hurry), continue with one’s eyes closed. Keep one’s eyes in their sockets as if one’s eyes are open and looking just slightly above straight ahead (don’t let one’s eyes droop or drop): herein, one is endeavoring to play the part of a less and less blemished witness to one’s internal environment, without fear or discomfort.

Get the ‘engine’ of the (advance versus reverse) diaphragmatic/abdominal breathing going: Breathe in, push one’s abdomen out, breathe out, pull one’s abdomen in. Pretend that one’s lungs are in one’s abdomen. One of the greatest gifts one can allow oneself, is all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing – there is nothing more healthful. In practicing this breathing for five minutes twice daily, within 30 to 60 days most people will realize all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing. It greatly enhances circulation, and promotes the secretion of relaxing, pain killing hormones (empirically substantiated).

Be in a spirit of gratitude and true appreciation. Be all in the moment. A true appreciation of the miracle of the moment. Ask oneself, “How much gratitude does one need to be healthy?”

Try not to think, just witness one’s breathing, relaxation, and subtle movement – all of the above, or just one at a time. In this tradition, the MOST basic of all of our types of guided imagery is simply focusing solely on one’s breathing. Again, endeavor to play the part of a less and less blemished witness. If a thought comes to one’s mind, embrace it, see it for what it is, try not to hang on to it, just let it go – put all of one’s attention in just what one is doing.

Mindfulness meditation is putting ALL of one’s attention into just one, two, or three aspects of what one is doing at any given time. It is next to impossible to be upset, anxious, worried, depressed, sad, or frustrated, if one is not thinking such thoughts. This is a primary purpose of mindfulness meditation – it is the sword (H’ou T’ou) that cuts out internal dialogue and/or cyclical thinking – ideally all thought…BEING ‘light’. Thoughts are often ‘heavy’, most especially, cyclical thought.

Spiritual Bath Guided Imagery (aka Compassion/Love/Healing Visualization or Beautiful Breathing or Micro/Macro Universal Visualization):

This guided imagery cleansing technique is all about concentrating all of one’s energy, effort and/or focus on what is herein coined herein as True Love or Real Love: This ‘true love’ is traditionally viewed as love which can be inclusive of, but MUCH MORE than, what we typically see and define as the three types of love in Western doctrine, e.g. family love, friendship love, and romantic love.

This practice necessitates playing the part of a less and less blemished witness (it is commonly accepted in these traditions that nothing is perfect here on Earth – so we can only work toward this witnessing with ongoing/endless true effort). It is working to better and better empty one’s mind of thought – again, less and less blemished witnessing: less and less a spirit of fear, hate, preconception, expectation, prejudice, likes/dislikes, preferences, or opinion. The above (How Much Gratitude Does One Need to be Healthy?) preparatory exercise is meant to assist one in gathering insight into these protocols and spirit in a quite specific and fundamental fashion (please realize that these practices have been refined over many hundreds of years).

It is significant that, before one begins, one endeavors to have a healthy faith in (the goal of realizing), what is coined herein as ‘true love’. This concept and corresponding guided imagery are obviously very difficult – such effort must be made throughout one’s lifetime. Once again, this awareness is congruent with witnessing that there is ALWAYS room for improvement/greater skill – a splendid recognition which is among the most splendid of blessings, unto itself. It is said that this guided imagery (if realized as it is meant to be) can be an utmost pinnacle of true health. It is in the SO healthful spirit of ‘being’ this love, this utter benevolence – so much about true forgiveness, congruent with honest gratitude/appreciation. It is in the spirit of doing the right thing for the right sake without the need of selfish recognition or hidden agendas. It is in a spirit of knowing that we are all in the same common boat. It is being the spirit of dignity, decency, goodness, and grace, no matter what – a spirit of kindness and goodwill. It is a means of true meditation, e.g., to honestly work toward manifesting this so-healthful spirit – witnessing (NOT deciding) the utter truth.

Among the most important goals of this guided imagery is to realize that one can only come closer and closer to reaching this so-healthful spirit, not by thinking, not through consideration, but only, once again, witnessing it, being it…through less and less blemished true meditation: In this so-healthful spirit, we can witness the truth that, “If there is a Heaven, a key to the universe, even a sixth sense, they are rooted in true honesty, promoting of true happiness, and true freedom, but most importantly, nothing to hide behind.” It can be a ‘glimpse’ of a so-to-speak existence where there is no time, no space, no distance…most importantly once again, nothing to hide behind…all is known.

So just sit or stand and ‘be’ this spirit. These are the ‘hints’ as such, in working at the Spiritual Bath Guided Imagery. As stated, be empty, be your own guide, ALBEIT without expectations, no hidden agendas. AND listening to me/reading this, to be sure, is not the truest of meditation – I’m just sharing, so that you can learn to understand and memorize the ages-old protocols and learn to do it all well on your own. This may all seem obvious, albeit as per tradition, we feel we SHOULD risk being redundant in order to try and make certain that this is understood. (Again as per tradition, the protocols shared herein (and similar protocols) are commonly practiced during competent levels of tai chi chuan, chi kung, kung fu, and yoga, but can certainly be practiced as an art form unto themselves.)

The practice of Spiritual Bath Guided Imagery is a state-of-being in which we enjoy a spirit/demeanor, e.g., a sparkling awareness that we are all in the same common boat, BEING this spirit more and more and more…rocking the boat less and less and less. It is bathing oneself in – being this true love – being cleaner and cleaner and cleaner…clearer and clearer and clearer…lighter and lighter and lighter…better and better and better being lightness and OF light. Oh boy!

When I dance, I can really love.” (NOT talking romance!). Dance with your spirit…light and free and loving and sparkling…BE your spirit…SO much about gratitude and appreciation. It is a sweet and innocent sparkling spine-tingling/shivering true love beyond…

The Lotus Flower Blossoms (as set forth in Chapter XV – “True Freedom” of my book, A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health):

There is a place where, wherever you are there, whatever you are doing…no matter what, in any given moment, there should be nowhere you would rather be. It is where you are right now – and you have the ability to so deeply and artfully appreciate your life and its living…to connect one healthful insight to the next, and make them all one…learning to witness this already-existing truth.

In the wilderness of our existence…a place of budding flowers about, about to unwrap in a showing of perfect appreciation for all to thrive upon, we are the flowers which can blossom again and again in each season of our deeper and deeper insights…all connected…each better and more healthful than before. It is not unlike Heaven…and it can become Heaven, with enough insight and appreciation.

It takes quite a few sparks, glimpses – spine-tingling moments…as a way-of-life which becomes more and more purposeful…more and more without time or space or distance. More and more there is less and less to hide behind. – Dr. Glen Hepker

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Nothing to Hide Behind…

The following Bright Beautiful School of Thought saying shares a very healthful perspective:

“If there is a Heaven, a ‘key to the universe’, even a sixth sense, they are rooted in True Honesty, promoting of True Happiness and True Freedom, but most importantly nothing to hide behind. It is a glimpse of a so-to-speak existence where there is no time, no space, no distance…all is known, and once again, nothing to hide behind.”

What can we do with this bit of knowledge? Is it the right thing for the right selfless sake? How honest do we want to be with ourselves? This can be tough stuff. From this perspective, does much of what we so often think is SO important in our daily lives really look so important? Maybe there are LOTS of things that are so much MORE important. We can healthfully learn to witness this truth – the silly things that we often act like, think are so important, may not ‘hold a candle’ to the genuinely substantive things that are truly of immeasurable importance. This is a bright beautiful thing, e.g., to witness the truth as such: Being genuinely in a splendidly healthful spirit of True Appreciation – gratitude for each breath, each moment and all of the innumerable blessings and miracles that we SO often blindly take for granted. These notions are quite congruent with honestly/mindfully seeking to avoid hiding from the truth.

What are the things that each of us as individuals tend to hide behind? Again, how honest are we willing to be? How happy do we want to be – how much can we handle? Do we want to acknowledge that we ARE hiding – do we want to face the things we hide behind? This outlook is quite consistent with the true and healthful view that we human beings are NOT so much separate/separated as we commonly think.

Now with the COVID-19 crisis, we are facing a dilemma that can at times force us to look within ourselves in fashions which are quite new to us. How good or uncomfortable does it make each of us feel, to look deeply within – to work toward deep objective insight (again, True Honesty): This being maybe more obvious when we face what most certainly is an existential crisis.

In this turning point, we have the choice of making the world a better place, or to tear it down. Often people/societies have come together and set forth their finest effort when facing such huge disconcerting problems. It is the right thing for the right selfless sake – doing more and more and more good, with less and less and less need for selfish recognition: Wouldn’t the world be a much better place the more and more we work to do the right thing for the right sake, e.g., selflessly? Is it a significant aspect of taking True Responsibility for our own health and well being? Isn’t this in the splendid and honest spirit of living IN appreciation/gratitude? There likely isn’t anything more important. – Dr. Glen Hepker

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‘Hitting it out of the ball park’ TOGETHER!

A key point in this writing is to set forth and substantiate the following: Bullying should be definitively viewed as a form of abuse, a formal medically recognized behavior disorder (in and of itself) and as crime, inclusive of when it happens on primary/secondary schoolyards. To many this statement likely may seem naïve, quaint, or silly, being that bullying is extremely common in our society and of course all around the globe – now and by all means historically. My counterpoint is that, no matter how common this behavior is, it is no less despicable and damaging. This pertains to what commonly goes on in our schools and workplaces, and of course innumerable settings: For simplicity, and to make the specific points I want to arrive at in this writing, I am focusing primarily on such behavior in our school systems (though of course the points herein can be applied in many settings).

The damage that this behavior prompts can be immense and debilitating – so much so that it is genuinely quite difficult to objectively comprehend: It can have horrific effects over the lifetime of one who has been treated in such a fashion, especially if it happens to them repeatedly – even more so over a number of years. It can affect not just the immediate victims over their entire lifetimes, it can even affect how they raise their children. Some may say that bullying and shunning ‘toughens people up’ – preparing them for the ‘real world’. While it may sometimes have that effect, that is NOT how it often happens. AND to be clear, a primary issue herein is that it is the actual act of bullying that should be viewed as wholly unethical and illegal, not just its potentially terroristic repercussions.

The great majority of individuals who have acted out as perpetrators of school shootings, were they themselves, bullied and shunned throughout their school years. OF COURSE, having been abused as such in NO WAY excuses the actions of those perpetrators, e.g., displaying any type of such behavior (beyond that of reasonable self-defense), first and foremost obviously, is inexcusable (though it may be easier to understand what got them to such a point, most particularly if we take into account that they were abused over many years).

It is QUITE clear that the great preponderance of people who have been bullied and shunned do not act out violently. Those who lash out with firearms often have some level of mental disturbance/illness, which in addition to having experienced ongoing abuse by their peers, is enough to push a relatively small number of individuals, over the edge. (I realize that this is a very touchy subject and some people may be offended by what is set forth herein. Albeit the points herein are based on factual evidence NOT ‘fake news’.)

On the flip side of this coin, is of course the bullies. They are cowards – as their behavior is truly cowardly (as is with most types of criminal behavior): Bullies wouldn’t bully if they didn’t think they’d come out on top or if they thought they would be held accountable – AND those who shun wouldn’t shun if they knew they’d be held accountable. These behaviors can manifest in people who think they are better/superior than those they are abusing. And most of these abusive individuals do not invent the notions of acting out as such, they of course learned it somewhere – from peers and even parental figures. An important point herein, is that however each individual or group comes up with and displays such behavior, it reflects mental instability just like an illness – it is displaying of chronically poor judgment and chronically poor insight. To take that logic further – such behavior should eventually be accepted as a distinct diagnosable behavior disorder (of course this won’t happen anytime soon – but I believe that eventually it will be).

This illness provokes such malevolent turbulence across societies, cultures, that it is almost impossible to fathom, to wrap one’s head around – so much so that it likely would be impossible to truly gauge statistically. Bullies of all stripes are among the worst actors on the stage setting of planet Earth. Most if not all of the wars and famines of human history are rooted in the behavior of such bad actors…bullies. I realize that there are many that are uncomfortable with more laws. Albeit, what we’ve been doing to lessen this behavior, isn’t working very well. At the very least, we need a strong movement the liking of which has never widely existed before. In order to greatly abbreviate this behavior in a widespread fashion, it will obviously necessitate a huge cultural shift – by way of the development, ongoing fine-tuning, and practical application of a truly benevolent healthful philosophy, one which would (even slowly) provoke truly substantive healthful change. This splendidly healthful philosophy would need to broadly become a way-of-life! The world view herein, is that the act of bullying needs to be viewed for what it really is…evil.

Well-meaning religious and philosophical traditions already embrace and display such healthful messages, but it would require religious, societal, and political leaders, from the national level to the local level, to broadly embrace and espouse the importance of this healthful outlook, and act accordingly themselves as genuinely healthful role models. AND OF COURSE this isn’t just about “leaders” embracing and espousing this healthful outlook, it is for all of us to do so.

This splendidly healthful philosophy would acknowledge and substantiate the genuine significance of the notion that we are all in the same common boat and we’d better start acting like it. It would additionally be founded on acceptance of the importance of dignity, decency, goodness, and grace – and true responsibility. What a different and wonderful world it would be as more and more and more people accept the notion of true health through true responsibility. What a different and wonderful world it would be if we raise ourselves up (and also teach our children) to better and better embrace the notion that we can learn to live life as a living loving art form – thus learning to better and better avoid stagnant plateaus which can be like a living death. It might sound again, naïve, quaint, or silly – or all of the above. It may sound ‘pie-in-the sky’, but some of the issues involving humankind’s greatest steps forward were seen beforehand as sounding naïve, quaint, silly, even quite ridiculous. Let’s have the biggest party in human history! The Same Boat Party!! (‘Hitting it out of the ball park’ TOGETHER!)

I realize that this is almost ‘beyond words’ difficult stuff – maybe nothing could be more difficult! But it is the only means by which humankind can evolve to a higher level. How can we objectively/insightfully argue that this is not the ‘right thing for the right selfless sake’? Something that we as a society should work really hard at? How important is it for us to openly acknowledge and embrace the great significance of seeing it as a dire responsibility to work to make the world a better place each day, versus tearing it down? It would require true honesty and true faith, and of course a societal passion to move us together toward a substantive step in SUCH a healthful direction – likely many small steps in it’s fine-tuning. It IS the right thing for the right sake, and maybe could even become a humble glimpse of Heaven…true happiness. — Dr. Glen Hepker

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How important is it to be a less and less blemished witness?

Playing the Part of the Less & Less Blemished Witness Guided Imagery:

All types of meditative guided imagery can fit under the heading of being a ‘less and less blemished witness’, albeit this meditative witnessing is a form of general guided imagery and can be utilized in almost any context or setting.

Being a less and less blemished witness is focusing (not thinking) on or about one thing or two or three things, e.g., with regard to witnessing just exactly what one is doing at any given time, ideally nothing more nothing less. This meditative witnessing is the ‘sword’ (h’ou t’ou) that cuts out, erases thinking and/or cyclical thinking, so that one can eventually learn to genuinely (without fooling oneself) empty one’s mind completely. That said and yin to yang and yang to yin, even if one truly learns to empty one’s mind, it doesn’t lessen the importance of the various types guided imagery. These descriptions can be a bit confusing to contemplate at first, but using the so-called sword of guided imagery as a step toward totally emptying one’s mind does not in any fashion alleviate the importance of guided imagery as a splendid and healthful practice in and of itself. Meditative emptying of one’s mind AND types of meditative guided imagery are traditionally viewed as both very important, and never a competition between the two – both fall within the traditional context of ‘true meditation’, e.g, the pinnacle of the Eightfold Healthful Path. AND the difference between the two can at times seem trivial or almost nonexistent. Having said that, it is accepted in this tradition that the sword of guided imagery was strategically created as a helpful step toward actually learning to empty one’s mind completely, or what can be coined as the ‘perfect witness’. This even though it is accepted in these arts that nothing is genuinely perfect on this earth.

These practices yin to yang and yang to yin, again traditionally, are associated with diaphragmatic breathing, resonant healing sounds, the Theory of Lightness, True Health, True Relaxation, Opening the Door, aka Parting the Veil, and utilization of the so-coined spiritual eye/third eye (pertinent to the Yin Tang/Stamp Hall acupoint between eyebrows – or in Sanskrit, the forehead chaktra/upper heaven, pertaining to the pineal gland and the hypothalamus gland).

Even though being a less and less blemished witness can be practiced anytime/anyplace (focusing solely on an aspect or aspects of what one is doing or seeing at a particular time/space), it is likely helpful to share this most basic coinciding meditative guided imagery: Therein, one follows this example by working on witnessing one’s breathing, relaxation, and subtle movement – known as:

How Much Gratitude Does One Need to be Healthy?

Herein, this guided imagery will be set forth for a standing position, but it can also be done in a sitting position – sitting on a chair/stool, or in a lotus sitting posture.

Stand with one’s feet almost together (called a ‘humble stance’), and bend one’s knees comfortably. Put one’s tongue against the roof of one’s mouth (connecting the Governing and Central Vessels – congruent with acupuncture theory). Relax one’s face, shoulders, hands, and feet – it’s said, “if they’re relaxed, you’re relaxed.”

Realize that relaxation is a true skill – there is always room for improvement. Realize, we ALWAYS have some stress, no matter how relaxed we are. Be so relaxed that one is barely standing – in what we coin as a Swaying Willow demeanor. Gently roll the spine above the waist, forward and backward. This demeanor is much like a willow tree swaying in a gentle wind. Breathe in, all the way forward and backward, and breathe out in between.

Constantly adjust one’s vision so that one is looking just slightly above straight ahead, without focusing or staring: herein, one is endeavoring to play the part of a less and less blemished witness to one’s external environment – ideally without expectations…as if all is new to you, you know nothing (it isn’t genuinely possible to do this, but it is important to try). After a bit of time (as one chooses – but try not to hurry), continue with one’s eyes closed. Keep one’s eyes in their sockets as if one’s eyes are open and looking just slightly above straight ahead (don’t let one’s eyes droop or drop): herein, one is endeavoring to play the part of a less and less blemished witness to one’s internal environment, without fear or discomfort.

Get the ‘engine’ of the (advance versus reverse) diaphragmatic/abdominal breathing going: Breathe in, push one’s abdomen out, breathe out, pull one’s abdomen in. Pretend that one’s lungs are in one’s abdomen. One of the greatest gifts one can allow oneself, is all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing – there is nothing more healthful. In practicing this breathing for five minutes twice daily, within 30 to 60 days most people will realize all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing. It greatly enhances circulation, and promotes the secretion of relaxing, pain killing hormones (empirically substantiated).

Be in a spirit of gratitude and true appreciation. Be all in the moment. A true appreciation of the miracle of the moment. Ask oneself, “How much gratitude does one need to be healthy?”

Try not to think, just witness one’s breathing, relaxation, and subtle movement. Again, endeavor to play the part of a less and less blemished witness. If a thought comes to one’s mind, embrace it, see it for what it is, try not to hang on to it, just let it go – put all of one’s attention in just what one is doing. Be the moment, be the breathing, be the relaxation, be the movement, be the gratitude, not thinking, just being.

Mindfulness meditation is putting ALL of one’s attention into just one, two, or three aspects of what one is doing at any given time. It is next to impossible to be upset, anxious, worried, depressed, sad, or frustrated, if one is not thinking such thoughts. This is a primary purpose of mindfulness meditation – it is the sword that cuts out internal dialogue and/or cyclical thinking – ideally all thought…BEING ‘light’. Thoughts are often ‘heavy’. — Dr. Glen Hepker

 

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Five Senses Guided Imagery Chi Kung…

This is a form of mindfulness meditation guided imagery/visualization chi kung.

Herein, this guided imagery will be set forth for a standing position, but it can also be done in a sitting position – sitting on a chair/stool, or in a lotus sitting posture.

Ancillary preparatory exercise: titled as a question – How Much Gratitude Does One Need to be Healthy?

Stand with one’s feet almost together (called a ‘humble stance’), and bend one’s knees comfortably. Put one’s tongue against the roof of one’s mouth (connecting the Governing and Central Vessels – congruent with acupuncture theory). Relax one’s face, shoulders, hands, and feet – it’s said, “if they’re relaxed, you’re relaxed.”

Realize that relaxation is a true skill – there is always room for improvement. Realize, we ALWAYS have some stress, no matter how relaxed we are. Be so relaxed that one is barely standing – in what we coin as a Swaying Willow demeanor. Gently roll the spine above the waist, forward and backward. This demeanor is much like a willow tree swaying in a gentle wind. Breathe in, all the way forward and backward, and breathe out in between. Constantly adjust one’s eyes so that one is always looking slightly above straight ahead, without focusing or staring (though it is done both with the eyes open and closed – begin with the eyes open).

Get the ‘engine’ of the (advance vs. reverse) diaphragmatic/abdominal breathing going. Breathe in, push one’s abdomen out, breathe out, pull one’s abdomen in. Pretend that one’s lungs are in one’s abdomen. One of the greatest gifts one can allow oneself, is all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing – there is nothing more healthful. If one practices this breathing for five minutes twice daily, in 30 to 60 days most people will realize all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing. It greatly enhances circulation, and promotes the secretion of relaxing, pain killing hormones (empirically substantiated).

Be in a spirit of gratitude and true appreciation. Be all in the moment. A true appreciation of the miracle of the moment. Ask oneself, “How much gratitude does one need to be healthy?”

Try not to think, just witness one’s breathing, relaxation, and subtle movement. Endeavor to play the part of a less and less blemished witness. If a thought comes to one’s mind, embrace it, see it for what it is, don’t hang on to it, just let it go – put all of one’s attention in just what one is doing.

Mindfulness meditation is putting ALL of one’s attention into just one, two, or three aspects of what one is doing at any given time. It is next to impossible to be upset, anxious, worried, depressed, sad, or frustrated, if one is not thinking such thoughts. This is a primary purpose of mindfulness meditation – it is the sword that cuts out internal dialogue and/or cyclical thinking – ideally all thought…BEING ‘light’. Thoughts are often ‘heavy’.

Five Senses Guided Imagery

Continue in the humble stance with the gentle Swaying Willow chi kung. In all forms of chi kung, be as relaxed as one can be while still standing (or like earlier, this can be done sitting, but without the Swaying Willow mien). Keep one’s tongue against the roof of one’s mouth. Keep the engine of the diaphragmatic breathing going.

Put all of one’s attention in one’s sense of sight:

Ideally, try not to think about, just witness through one’s sense of sight. ALL of one’s attention is therein. Look slightly above straight ahead – about one degree above the imagined or real horizon. Be aware of everything in the 360 degrees of one’s peripheral vision – while NOT moving one’s eyes, just gazing, not staring, again just one degree above straight ahead. If the light in one’s eyes seems to fade, change, or darken…

Try not to blink it away.
Try not to move one’s eyes.
There is nothing to fear.

This visual effect is part of gathering a ‘visual meditative demeanor’. Meditation is not just with one’s eyes closed.

Often we take these wonderful gifts, these five senses for granted…endeavor to be in a spirit of gratitude and true appreciation for these wonderful gifts. Again, endeavor to witness, not think about, just witness through one’s sense of sight.

Moving on, close one’s eyes: Put all of one’s attention in one’s sense of hearing:

Ideally, try not to think, just witness through one’s sense of hearing. ALL of one’s attention is therein. As always, one can hear the music, me, background noises – one can hear one’s own breathing (*to the point, this is set forth as such with the instructor narrating these steps and calming music in the background). Imagine all is new to you, you know nothing – without expectations, like witnessing it for the first time. Be aware that witnessing is a true skill – it will never be perfect, there is always room for improvement.

Moving on, put ALL of one’s attention in one’s sense of smell:

Ideally, try not to think, just witness through one’s sense of smell. Breathe in and out through one’s nose, or breathe in through one’s nose and out through one’s mouth – all-the-while still performing diaphragmatic breathing. Never breathe in through one’s mouth, unless one has congestion.

It is said in these traditions that “the senses of smell and taste have an intrinsic connection which can be greatly enhanced by the deep diaphragmatic breathing.”

Moving on, put ALL of one’s attention in one’s sense of taste:

Ideally, try not to think, just witness through one’s sense of taste. Place all of one’s attention at the top of one’s tongue. And try to witness, not think about, just witness what we in these traditions coin as the ‘five tastes’ plus neutral…

Sour, bitter, sweet, hot, salty, rarely neutral.

It is usually a combination of a couple (of tastes).
One does not have to have food or any such in one’s mouth, in order to taste.

Moving on, put ALL of one’s attention in one’s sense of touch:

Ideally, try not to think, just witness through one’s sense of touch. As always, one can feel one’s…

Feet on the floor –
Clothing on the body –
Air currents in the environment –
Feelings within one’s own body –
Ideally one can feel the rise and fall of the abdomen with each diaphragmatic/abdominal breath.

One can feel a budding sense of lightness, a lightness of being, a lightness in the moment – according to the Theory of Lightness, one feels lighter and lighter the more and more relaxed one is.

The sense of touch is so broad, it is likely impossible to be aware of the whole of it at one time. Place all of one’s attention in just one or two aspects of it, at any one time.

In moving on, but still with regard to the sense of touch…

Imagine there is a fire, a flame, a sparkling furnace just behind one’s navel (CV-8), and that one can fan that furnace stronger and stronger and stronger, with each diaphragmatic abdominal breath – so strong that one can learn to feel that sparkling furnace AT WILL. There is nothing more healthful, combined with the deep breathing and playing the part of a less and less blemished witness. These are important facets of this mindfulness meditation guided imagery chi kung. 

– Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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How important is True Appreciation? How important is it to recognize the genuine abundance in our lives?

How important is it each day, even each and every moment…NO MATTER the quality of the day, the moment – choosing to find a means by which to make even the most difficult of days/moments into splendid blessings that we will never forget? Do we have such wherewithal?

What would the world be like if more and more of us learned to succinctly see this as a true responsibility? Would it require that we learn to better and better embrace healthful change and avoid getting lost in a mien of blind craving and desire? Would it require that we learn to better and better embrace the notion that we are all so much more in the same common ‘boat’ than we often think and act? Would it require that we endeavor to do the right thing for the right selfless sake…more and more and more? Would it require that we endeavor to be resplendently benevolent, compassionate, and empathetic (albeit NOT co-dependent) in our interaction with others…displaying dignity, decency, goodness, and grace…and figuring out how to truly mean it, NO MATTER WHAT? Would it require that we be supportive of others in their healthful goals?

Certainly this is ‘tough stuff,’ to say the least…but quite likely there may be very little that could be more rewarding, inclusive of realization of true health. Such appreciation of life and its living is absolutely requisite of quintessential levels of love and deeply genuine gratitude – sparkling spine-tingling/shivering impeccable true appreciation of the miracle of the moment. So humbly and respectfully, it is requisite of true effort – realization/enjoyment of levels of true mastery whose ‘secret’ may be in enjoying deep appreciation of one of the most significant blessings of all on this Earth, e.g., that there is ALWAYS room for improvement, greater and greater levels of objective insight and mastery. Is this a ‘key’ to true health? Each of us can only answer this for ourselves.

Congruent with this outlook is the notion that enjoying free will is among the most wonderful of blessings. Albeit, LOTS of responsibility comes with it, most particularly IF we CHOOSE to RESPECTFULLY answer to it. Ideally, it must be harmoniously consistent with the wonderful spirit thereof, e.g., creating a truly healthful and appreciative WAY OF LIFE.

Getting ongoingly lost on crepuscular/stagnant plateaus can be like a living death: Embracing healthful change CAN make it possible to more and more realize the ability to play the part of the less and less blemished Witness…taking part in the living loving story of our lives, vs. just being a pawn in the story of our lives. It is so much about true appreciation and true honesty, promoting of true happiness and true freedom…but most importantly, needing less and less to hide behind. — Dr. Glen Hepker

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Why is exercise so commonly such a chore?

An excerpt from my book, e.g., A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health, Chapter XIII – “Embracing Our Comfort and Discomfort Equally”…

“A great majority of us took part in physical education and sport activities in primary and secondary school. In this setting we were often required to perform athletically, with the goal of trying to do our best competitively, or at least take part and try to show improvement within the various activities of our ‘physical education.’ Some will recall a distaste for having to, for instance, try to run fast. Their experience as such, leaves an unhappy memory of running – in fact were quite ‘turned-off’ by it. It is sad that this is the case. Wouldn’t it be better, if physical education was really just that, being educated that exercise is once again, a way-of-life, not just an unhappy memory of having to take part in competitive sports (or simply be pushed toward accepting a competitive mindset)?

This is not to say that competitive sports are a bad thing – albeit they are clearly not for everyone. On the other hand, comprehensive health education in such school settings – the promotion of exercise as a way-of-life, could be for everyone. Healthful exercise as a way-of-life could be, more and more, enjoyed by most everyone: Exercise can be exercise, without having to actually be athletic. The world would look quite different if, for instance, slow jogging and walking were promoted as a way-of-life in our school systems. Humans were meant to walk and run – the speed is not very relevant to overall health…it is the doing which is clearly relevant. Even so, the most important thing to promote within the young minds of school children, is that if they learn to desire healthful success as such, they each need to realize that it is never completely easy. They will have to learn to better and better embrace their discomfort, each day, each year, throughout their lives, in order to realize genuine levels of comfort/wellness. Enjoyment of a truly healthful quality of life takes a lot of effort…it is not meant to be an easy thing – it does not need to be easy. ‘True health’ necessitates ‘true effort.’ It necessitates learning to deeply appreciate challenge…as that among the most significant of blessings.

Notwithstanding, for those of us beyond school age, it can be obviously said that we cannot change the past. For those of us who do not participate in healthful levels of exercise, it would require a lot of effort to do so – especially when we have almost innumerable types of distractions – “toys,” “tastes,” and “fun.” A healthful response might be that toys are best utilized in moderation, tastes (of whatever type) can be enjoyed in moderation, and fun can become something healthful. Albeit, at least until one develops a liking for healthful exercise, it does require one to embrace one’s comfort and discomfort equally. We can change the past in a sense, if we are willing to learn to embrace the discomfort of painful memories. By doing so, we can look at and witness the past, and use the resulting knowledge as impetus to further educate ourselves – discovering why we can justify turning uncomfortable effort into something positive, though initially hard and difficult, into a healthful way-of-life which sustains our health in ways many only dream of or think impossible.

To further support this point: It is difficult to argue against the notion that we all have a true responsibility to be the best role models we can be – most particularly for those school children spoken of earlier. The better role models we are, the less difficult it will be for children to see that healthful effort and outcomes are normal – not simply just something that they are being told to do…not simply just ‘do as I say, not do as I do.’ Making healthfulness a norm is doing the right thing for the right sake, without the need for selfish recognition – and ‘it doesn’t get better than that.’” – Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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Are we all much more in the same common ‘boat’ than we so often think and act?

An excerpt from Chapter III/”The Same Boat Theory” – of a Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health…

“The Same Boat Theory is another central feature of the Bright School of Thought. In some ways it is similar to the Golden Rule of Christianity, e.g., “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Even so, the former is traditionally associated with notions pertinent to health and wellness (inclusive of emotional, physical, and spiritual facets thereof). The key thesis of the ‘same boat theory’ asserts that…the primary fault of humankind is the notion that you are there and I am here; it will likely be obvious to most, that many if not all of the problems of humankind are rooted in thinking which is not displaying of an awareness of any such philosophy. That is the true health issue within this healthful ‘way-of-life’ philosophy: Our healthful motivation or unhealthful lack of motivation to interact with others in a fashion congruent with the notion that we ARE all in the same boat is a gauge of the quality of our health and wellness status – emotionally, physically, and spiritually (and as per these traditions, there really is no true or clear separation of these three measures).

According to this theory, each of us inwardly suffers emotionally and spiritually from wars and famines which are reflected to and from the greater world. A significant portion of this suffering is rooted in our most significant/common human flaw, e.g., the faulty notion that you are there and I am here. In this theory, this learned disconnection is not unlike, unto itself, a malady/illness.

In the first chapter I focused on one facet of the Bright School notion of ‘true responsibility’ – the displaying of dignity, decency, goodness, and grace in our interaction with others (as a measure of true health). The same boat theory goes a step further: It relates that the only way which humankind will ever elevate itself to a higher level of true health, is when at least an initial slight majority is raised to do the right thing for the right sake, e.g., Acting Without Acting (as portrayed in the preceding chapter). The theory of ‘acting without acting’ sets forth the notion that all good acts are just that – a good thing. Albeit, a measure of true health is the ability to do so without the need for selfish recognition – an intrinsic element in the following notion: It is much more difficult to feel a need for ‘selfish recognition’ if one is endeavoring to realize practical application of the true health ideal that ‘we are all in the same boat’ – as the analogy conveys.

It is evident that the practical application of the philosophy herein in one’s daily life is not a simple matter. Albeit, the issue is not that we perfect such practices (as the sayings go, ‘there is nothing perfect on this Earth,’ and ‘there is always room for improvement’). The issue is that we try – that we try not to rock the boat in a fashion which jeopardizes wellbeing. Such effort is a vital key to true health, and it may be said, that at its best, this is what life is about.

*The notions of acting without acting and the same boat theory pose a strong fellowship with the budding contemporary movement of social entrepreneurship (social enterprise and risk literacy), albeit more obviously on a micro scale. Even so, the micro level has a profound, if not greater effect on the macro level – likely not the other way around. Without individuals willing to embrace healthful change, then large movements manifest stagnicity. Healthful change must go in both directions – yin begets yang, and yang yin.” — Dr. Glen Hepker

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Why does God hide from us? Why are we put here?

Questions from my friend, Arvind Shapira, M.D.: “I would like to ask God, ‘Why did you create all this so neatly woven mesh of lives on earth?’ ‘Why do you hide yourself from us?'”

Response: Humbly and respectfully, Dr. Arvind, I believe that the more and more genuinely healthful witnesses we become, the more and more resplendently we will (in a living loving spirit of true appreciation) understand these and ALL things…in a less and less blemished LIGHT. It is up to us to decide the quality of which we are (as) conduits between/for Heaven and Earth. In my ages-old arts, these are among the quintessential reasons we are here. Herein I am in NO way promoting notions of God or gods – I am speaking ONLY for myself, e.g., setting forth this outlook which is congruent with the ages-old arts that I teach, coach, and endeavor to follow. I absolutely make no claims to have a ‘special’ insight into this matter, how dare I if I did.

That said, in order to respond to the above questions, I believe it is quite important to say…”If there is a Heaven, a ‘key to the universe,’ even a ‘sixth sense,’ they are rooted in true honesty, promoting of true happiness and true freedom…but most importantly, needing less and less to hide behind. It is so much about a living loving spirit of truly healthful dignity, decency, goodness, and grace. It is so much about endeavoring to do the right thing for the right sake – without the need for selfish recognition or hidden agendas.

There are beyond-wonderful (beyond words) magical things going on inside of us and all around us, ALL of the time…we are often uncaring and/or untrained to witness these so-beyond-splendid blessings/gifts. In working to become more and more appreciative/healthful conduits between Heaven and Earth, it IS possible to catch more and more common sparkling spine-tingling/shivering glimpses of a so-to-speak existence, where there is no time, no space, no distance…all is known…but again most importantly, nothing to hide behind. Through true effort, we can thus become more and more prepared for what lies ahead. Nothing is perfect in THIS existence, but we CAN catch such remarkable ‘glimpses’ and realize greater and greater strength and happiness within our own selves. As we do so, we may gather greater and greater insight into the notion that, the ‘primary fault of humankind is the notion that you are there and I am here.’

The Lotus Flower Blossoms (as set forth in Chapter XV of my book):

“There is a place where, wherever you are there, whatever you are doing…no matter what, in any given moment, there should be nowhere you would rather be. It is where you are right now – and you have the ability to so deeply and artfully appreciate your life and its living…to connect one healthful insight to the next, and make them all one…learning to witness this already-existing truth.

In the wilderness of our existence…a place of budding flowers about, about to unwrap in a showing of perfect appreciation for all to thrive upon, we are the flowers which can blossom again and again in each season of our deeper and deeper insights…all connected…each better and more healthful than before.

It is not unlike Heaven…and it can become Heaven, with enough insight and appreciation. It takes quite a few sparks, glimpses – spine-tingling moments…as a way-of-life which becomes more and more purposeful…more and more without time or space or distance. More and more there is less and less to hide behind.” — Dr. Glen Hepker

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