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Coming Back! In retreat with Master Mingtong


A Retreat Experience at the Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY, by Zayne Marston


 To my amazement, I turned 65 in September. As a gift, I attended five days of Wisdom Healing Qigong with our joyful and inspiring teacher, healer and qigong master Mingtong Gu at the beautiful, accommodating campus of Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY (Sept 19-23).

Two of my qigong students joined me! It was exciting to share the chi experience and to know that the transmissions will enrich the chi field back home in Western MA where we practice Wisdom Healing Qigong.

Teaching assistants, Luisa de Castro and Suan Armstrong from Connecticut helped support the program. Many thanks for their gracious presence and attention to our needs.

Auspiciously, the Autumnal Equinox crept in halfway through the retreat and ushered in the energy of change and seasonal shift. The interplay of sunlight and the emerging leaf colors cast a magical shimmer to the atmosphere.

Change and transformation were definitely afoot as the days progressed. Here are some reflections.

Setting the Chi Field

 Master Mingtong initiated the chi field by acknowledging and honoring the dedication and commitment of the students who made the time, effort, and resources to attend the program.

There was noticeably strong coherence among the group of over 60 participants, 20% of whom suffered from Parkinson’s disease. Students came from places as distant as India, others just from  “down the road”.

The group emanated positivity and respect, camaraderie, eagerness and openness to learn and experience, which was catalyzed by Mingtong’s infectious, joy sparkle presence, purpose and vision. From this place of resonance we spirited the unified purpose of healing others and ourselves –and so it began!

Some Teachings

Like a magician, our beloved teacher wove in sweet words of wisdom and set the tone and perspective for the coming week in his morning presentation.

Do you want to heal? This pied piper of possibility and potential began to speak and inspire. Come this way. The way is in. Come back was the call. Come back to your home in the body. Focus your consciousness and intention internally, embrace all feeling, and recharge through this embodiment in the spirit of the heart’s joy and loving kindness that is being activated.

Energy is the ultimate refuge, the ocean of life. Residing fully in our body of energy connects us to the larger home, our Source, and brings us more energy, more life, more happiness, more wholeness.

Re-create yourself in the wisdom energy of the creative living universe—your organs, your cells, your DNA. Perceive your body as liquid light, the formless ocean of energy light within the form, the hollow bone. Visualize and imagine your perfection. Consciousness, the subtlest form of energy of our being, is a co-creative agent.

Feel and embrace the pain and discomfort first to access the energy blockage, and allow the ever present, omnipotent source energy to open into the knot of discordance and transform it.

There is no shortcut to healing but rather a straight line through diligent qigong practice. Practice, experience, practice… transform… HEAL…

You can never do it wrong in qigong. Attend to the quality of energy to deepen that experience, and awaken the ancient divine blueprint of perfection within.

Use your best effort rather than strive for perfection and performance. Work hard and know your purpose; engage yourself fully with intensity, intention, emotion, passion, joy, creativity, and playfulness. All will follow. All is well. Haola!

Group Process Exercises: The 3 A’s

 Although qigong raises the baseline of vital living, the weather systems of life still occur. That’s life. To better navigate the inevitable ups and downs we apply the 3A’s to living: acceptance, activation and appreciation.

In small groups led by teachers-in-training, we practiced the 3 A’s approach to a life circumstance or challenge, traced and identified feelings in the body, and shared the three steps of our process—a truly powerful, contactful exercise.

The Practices

Mingtong presented these 3 method of practice at various levels through the retreat.

Music and sound were thematic. Five Organ Integrative Sound Healing Method for emotional transformation highlighted the first evening public event. Suan’s magical arrangment of bass flute, chimes, drum rhythms and flowing banners added a dimension of light, color sound and enchantment to the meditations and sound practice.

Awakening Vitality Method led us deep (the deepest I’ve ever been) into the spinal bone marrow washing. Down the rabbit hole we went, spending over an hour penetrating deeper, opening the form to the formless, relaxing and bathing into the ocean of invisible light, feeling the interplay of discomfort and bliss, savoring, linking the twist of the energy spine with focused intention, where mind and body become one.

A silent, “follow me” presentation of Lift Chi Up, Pour Chi Down (External Integration method) was deliciously delivered; tranquil, expansive and beckoning, which inspired me to lead a 90-minute class afterwards. Students eager for more joined me for back-to-back rounds of Awakening Vitality and LUCPCD by the nearby pond during our afternoon break. And what a joy to share!

Breaking Bread with Mingtong and Future Teachers

In recognition of teacher/healers in training and those inspired to enroll in the training, we lunched and mingled together with Mingtong, asked questions, introduced each other and shared among a diverse group of nearly 30 committed practitioners, healers and teachers to be.

Mealtime with Mingtong generated a feeling of promise, vision, excitement, camaraderie, personal connection and effervescent exchange. You could feel the Vision taking form and expanding.

Dance Party

The Dance Party was open to the Omega community and there must have been at least 100 participants. The opening act was the Spiraling Universe. Mingtong anchored the center point and chanted Haola in concert with everyone as they walked the spiral in and out generating powerful group energy.

The sound of Stevie Wonder commenced the celebration and everyone cut loose on the dance floor. It wasn’t hard to tell that Mingtong loves to dance!

Conclusion: Sarah’s Song, Qigong Hands

The final morning my student, Sarah Pirtle had a dream of a song that she wrote down upon awakening and shared it with Mingtong and the group. It captures the energy we cultivated together on our journey into chi space in such a precious, melodious manner – love and appreciation in form and a perfect way to punctuate the closing.

QIGONG HANDS by Sarah Pirtle  (

This song was written to honor and thank Master Mingtong Gu for the Wisdom Healing Qigong five day retreat at Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, September 2016, and express what I learned there.into the formless

1. These caring hands plant this garden.

These caring voices call very near.

And caring eyes -- oh, these are my eyes --

Say, I am home. I am here.

Chorus:  I am healing. I am whole.

I am grounded. I am held.

All is well, all is well, all is well, all is well, oh, oh, all is well.

2. I accept where I am dancing.

I accept where I have been.

We’re not alone. We’re in this ocean.

With every breath, we enter in.


3. These caring hands are at my elbow.

These caring voices from far away

Live inside in the one field

that we keep planting here today.


Repeat first verse.

QiGong Hands.mp3 

click here to listen


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