knowing, growing, becoming
In February, 2019, we lost our dear friend and mentor, Virginia Sandlin.
Her Obituary said in part:
Virginia cherished her family above all else. She had a larger than life presence and made it her life's mission to make the world a better place. She was a true advocate for a more peaceful and equitable society. As she dedicated her life with a profound sense of spirituality, she conveyed this through being a motivational speaker, personal life coach and business consultant. She was an author, business owner and developed her own body of work known as the Sandlin technique where she connected mind, body and spirit. She was also actively involved at her local food bank.
Virginia decided to go back to school when she was in her 70’s and earned a Master’s degree from James Madison University with a 4.0 average.
We first met Virginia in 1997 in Montclair, New Jersey. She alleviated Barbara’s chronic neck and back pain in just a few sessions. Although she allowed me to witness the sessions, I couldn’t figure out how she was getting such incredible results. When I received a session myself, my entire being deeply shifted even though Virginia didn’t seem to be doing much. It became apparent that these were not simply extraordinary healing sessions but a transformational journey. I was fascinated. So many questions came to mind that I couldn’t refrain from relentlessly interrogating her.
During that same period, a few of us did Qigong weekly at a friend’s house nearby. As word spread of Virginia’s healing and transformational prowess, many in the Qigong group received private sessions. The same friend, opened his house to Virginia. She gave a seminar and then decided to teach her “Sandlin Technique” for the first time outside her family, to our small group. She told me later that all my questions had something to do with this decision. Barbara and I were in that seminal class.
As it turned out, we were extremely fortunate to have sessions with Virginia for 22 years. The vast majority were in our home where she spent 1-2 hours visiting with me, talking about a wide range of subjects over tea and biscotti’s, before Barbara came home from work. I received a session occasionally, but Barbara was consistent every month. To give you a small example of Virginia’s incredible tenacity, she would often drive from Virginia to New Jersey, stop at our place, do two sessions and then drive another hour and a half to her daughter’s home. I could never tell if she came from the next town over or just drove non-stop for 8 hours. And she only slept 4 hours a night, except, she didn’t refer to it as sleep. She said she would lay her body down and not lose Awareness.
We got to know Virginia very well and were privy to unusual stories about her life and adventures. As a lifelong mystic, she had a unique perspective on everything which always stimulated my curiosity. Her answer to any question was consistently amazing and transformational.
She often used her sessions with Barbara as experiential instruction for both of us. She might ask if I could “see” a particular energetic or consciousness shift or if Barbara could describe subtle nuances of her experience.
We would compare notes and she would find a way to stretch our perception and awareness. She never relied on rote teachings or anything one could find in a book. Those precious teaching moments have become cherished memories.
It was common to feel such deep peace in the room, regardless of what was going on outside, that I didn’t think it was humanly possible to feel a more profound level of Beingness…..and then we would drop a few levels deeper. I’ve been fortunate to be around many great Masters from several different cultures, but I haven’t encountered anything like it. Her sessions left me with an “integrated full spectrum wholeness”, for lack of a better phrase. It was the healing consciousness and energy of life itself without feeling separate from life as “an energy” or any level of refined vibration. My words fall far short. Virginia always said that it was not an energy healing modality but those phenomena often occurred. It is a different paradigm; she called it Integrated Awareness.
Sometimes, you felt like you were gently floating and expanding. Other times, there was intense energy, heat or vibration. Your breath could become so quiet and still that it seemed your whole body was effortlessly breathing energy directly. Mystical and visionary experiences occurred. It seemed that body, mind, energy and spirit were being re-aligned and integrated. Each session was different every time. There was an evolution on all levels which also included “cellular memory”. Virginia often said, “A shift in Awareness causes transformation”.
Virginia told us that her Cherokee Grandmother passed on this gift and trained her intensively. She was born with “the veil”, the mark of a Mystic in her culture. A mystic and a shaman are not the same. A mystic, sees and feels life as Oneness.
Her father was Irish and familiar with the wisdom traditions of Ireland. He was also a mechanic who emphasized science. Virginia felt called to bridge the Wisdom traditions she inherited with modern science, including Quantum Physics. As a result, she used the name “Quantum Ethics” to describe a portion of her work. A foundational element of Quantum Ethics is that a “true human being” embraces life on four levels: Individual, relationship, group and world.
Matrimatics is the name she chose to describe her entire body of work.
Barbara and I have been blessed to be trained in all four levels of the Sandlin technique and to have received Virginia’s personal tutelage for 22 years. I have been applying it as an innovative mindfulness technique with remarkable results in Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation settings for the last 5 years.
It is hard to come to terms with the passing of someone so close, especially someone so full of life and love. Each day, I witness the amazing transformation people go through as a result of what she, somehow, passed on to us. It leaves us with deep gratitude and awe.
Tai Chi Chuan or Taijquan?
Chi Kung or Qigong?
Chi or Qi?
Hsing-I Chuan or Xingyiquan?
These are the same words but are spelled differently because initially Chinese words where romanized according to the Wades-Giles system. In the 1980's the transliteration was switched to the Pinyin system. Today you may see a combination which may vary from author to author. Hence, the confusion.
What is Taijiquan? "Taiji" refers to the duality of the universe depicted by the famous symbol of yin and yang. That symbol is called the Taiji symbol. It's half black with a white dot and half white with a black dot. It symbolizes a dynamic state of interdependence, transformation, and balance. Taiji refers to the primal condition of the universe after it split into two from the primordial Oneness. It is often translated as the "grand ultimate or grand terminus". "Quan" refers to fist or force and martial arts. Taijiquan was originally known as Cotton fist.One story is that the originator of Yang style Taijiquan, Yang Lu Chan, was an unbeaten pugilist who employed the principles of yin and yang. His embodiment of Taiji philosophy in his art gave rise to the name, Taijiquan.
The vast majority of people who practice Taijiquan today do not use it as a martial art. Most practice it as a flowing set of mindful movements which reduce stress, increase well-being and balance.It has a long list of scientifically verified benefits including, increasing grey matter in the brain, helping with diabetes, improving bone density, reducing blood pressure and more..
To study the martial aspects of Taijiquan is becoming a little more popular in America than it once was.To actually
use it effectively in real martial arts contests is rare and would require very intensive mental, physical and energy training for years.
Taijiquan is a masterpiece. Woven within it is Qigong, the physics of effortless movement, a through and gentle exercise system, Meditation, Inner Alchemy and the study of Yin and Yang within oneself as well as with others.
It is deeply influenced by Taoist philosophy, i.e. the philosophy of being natural and harmonizing with Nature.
What is Qigong or Chi Kung? Qi or "chi" basically means energy or life force** and "gong" refers to any skill which is highly developed through dedicated practice. Qigong is a method of building, balancing, and refining your energy and awareness. There are thousands of forms of Qigong which may focus on health, martial power, inner alchemy, spirituality and ethical development or can be a synthesis of these. Qigong often includes still meditation and self-massage/acupressure as well.
Qigong movements are done mindfully with different focuses depending on the goal. Generally, there is regulation of breathing,mind,movement and posture with deeper alignments of energetic structures (dantein's, meridians, energy gates) all done in an integrated fashion.
Most Qigong sets are separate movements which are easy to learn. Taijiquan, in contrast, is a series of linked movements which some find more challenging. There are also some Qigong forms, like Wild Goose Qigong, which have a long series of linked movements.
** Qi meaning life force is very simplistic and limited. To begin a deeper understanding of "Qi", please read this: http://jaybulloch.com/articles/what-is-qi/ and start practicing Qigong or Taijiquan.
Understanding the philosophy of Yin and Yang