I suspect that if Michael Lomax was Chinese, wore the silk pyjamas and spoke in riddles, he would have people kicking down his door to learn from him.
Probably a few years back now, I first encountered Michael’s book while doing a browse of the different qigong and martial arts books on Amazon.com. While being drawn to the book, I was put off by the title and the cover-as well as the price. All of that was somewhat different to the usual books, with their pithy titles, nice artwork and price at around half the cost of Michael’s book.
The old saying about not judging a book by its cover rings true though, at least in this case (and perhaps the old saying about finding things at their right time as well). What made me change my mind and make the purchase though was reading Michael’s comments and observations on ‘The Taobum’s’ Internet forum. Several things stuck out.
Firstly, his calm demeanor in the face of an initially hostile reception (Michael had to address the negative comments on his book, posted by a participant of this forum) was impressive. This calm and pleasant attitude followed through to Michael’s general participation. While others, myself included, would get pretty irate at times, Michael maintained a pleasant, non-hostile attitude despite provocation. This is something largely unheard of in the world of internet forums, particularly those occupied by ‘spiritual seekers’ and ‘martial artists’. I was genuinely impressed.
Secondly, his descriptions of his own experiences regarding qigong/neigong. I am no stranger to high-level neigong, having personally met the famed John Chang at the invitation of the author of ‘The Magus of Java’. I got to witness John Chang first hand in his home, as well as during his later visit to Greece. I also have a teacher with abilities like John Chang’s. Fair to say I have some experience of remarkable happenings involving qi and the spirit world. Michael’s own anecdotes of his personal experiences, as well as the abilities of his teacher, Wang Juemin, were quite fascinating. There are many bullshitters who make up fantastic claims, but Michael gave me the impression he was being completely honest and up front.
Thirdly, a friend of mine attended one of Michael’s weekend seminars and posted a very positive review on ‘The Taobum’s’ website. Again, a very positive impression was given of the man. This is hugely important, as an ethical, decent teacher is fundamental in learning these practices. Being taught incorrectly, or simply being taught bad practices can be very damaging to both the body and the psyche-something I have learned from past experience. It is also inevitable that some of the character of a teacher will rub off onto the student. People subconsciously and deliberately pick up the character traits of those they interact with.
Thanks to the Internet I was able to do some more research into Michael and particularly his teacher, Wang Juemin. Several people had visited him during the 1990’s and given remarkable accounts of their experiences with him. That Wang Juemin was a renowned qigong healer was something I was able to confirm myself, as I live in China and was able to get a Chinese friend to look into this for me.
From his neigong practice, Wang Juemin was able to survive nearly twenty years of terrible privation in a Chinese prison during the Cultural Revolution. This was a great boon to mankind as he had studied with, and was able to pass on to Michael Lomax, the combined wisdom of several of the greatest qigong masters of the twentieth century. That Wang Juemin had this wisdom was rare enough, but his willingness to share it with a non-Chinese made him almost unique. While Michael does not bang on about it, he does in fact have one of the best lineages of any neigong/qigong teacher anywhere.
So, from everything I had managed to learn, I finally decided to purchase the book. I was not disappointed. Perhaps the most important thing I found was that Michael’s comments in the book and his comments on the Internet were entirely consistent, even though there was a time gap of 8-10 years between them. The one sure way to spot a liar is that they inevitably contradict themselves at some point. Michael did not.
I thought I had had some ‘interesting’ experiences, having been around the likes of John Chang and others. They however seem to pale in comparison to those Michael details in his book. For those who have read the remarkable account of Wang Liping’s apprenticeship as the inheritor of the Longmen Pai lineage, (‘Entering the Dragon’s Gate), let me tell you Michael’s account is in many ways just as remarkable and fascinating.
Spirit guides that assist and guide the seeker when needed. Encounters with dark entities while helping the spirits of a Native American tribe ascend from their earthly bonds. Moving between the past, present and future in order to help others and himself. Moving between different dimensions. Last, but not least, meeting and learning from a remarkable master of neigong.
While the stories were all very interesting, they were not the reason I bought the book. I was interested in finding out more about the Stillness Movement neigong practice. I had read one review on Amazon.com where one person stated the inner quiet and peace they had got just from practicing what they had learned from the book (Michael himself recommends attending a seminar for the full benefit). Having experienced a few times a sense of profound stillness and peace myself, I was very interested in any practice that could deliver this.
The original reviewer on ‘The Taobum’s’ had expressed their disappointment at what they considered a basic practice being detailed. It is true that it is not a complex process, but I know from experience that seemingly simple methods can be very powerful in their results.
All good methods of neigong/qigong release blockages and enhance the circulation of blood and qi. By doing this, stored up injuries, both physical and psychological, are released. The specialty of this practice is the natural manner in which this happens. The body moves itself, without conscious prompting. This allows the body to work towards what will balance it, without following a prescribed routine of set movements that may or may not also do the job.
This natural releasing of blockages allows the circulation to regain a healthy state and the mind to move towards a peaceful and clear state.
From my own experience I know the flow of qi was obviously enhanced (and I know the difference between real qi as opposed to just sensations). On several occasions I’ve experienced very noticeable feelings of qi during the practice.
Very interesting was the significant improvement of a long-standing shoulder injury. Other qigong had helped, but the Stillness Movement practice, in a short space of time, almost eliminated the pain completely. I am sure with continued practice it will remove the pain totally. Having lived with this pain for over three years, I was very, very impressed.
As the body balances out, the mind also comes to a more peaceful state. I find that simply from doing the practice, new and old issues arise but smoothly dissipate. It can genuinely be described as moving, healing, meditation.
As the practice can be done sitting down, it is very relaxing and does not require special breathing or any athletic ability to do. This means that an hours practice is not difficult to complete. I am a great believer in other forms of neigong/qigong also, but they can be physically and mentally difficult to practice for a meaningful amount of time. Stillness Movement is not.
For example, static standing practices are very good indeed, but do require a lot of stamina to practice over a long period of time. Simple sitting meditation requires holding a posture that can also cause fatigue. The movements of Stillness Movement prevent these issues from occurring and there is no resulting fatigue in my experience-either during or after the practice.
My own opinion is that this form of practice may indeed be related to the original neigong practice, as per the movements and dances of the ancient shamans. While following the practice, I’ve found myself performing qigong exercises that I had seen outlined in books but never personally practiced before. I’ve also found myself doing arm and waist movements reminiscent of Asian dancers, such as those in India or Bali. My arms would also do wide, sweeping movements, like they were gathering in qi. If I stood up I would find myself rotating around in circles. All of this was the body moving itself, none of it deliberate or forced. These lead to very definite energetic feelings and movements.
As well as detailing his personal experiences, Michael gives his insights into medical qigong (in which he is highly qualified and experienced), shamanism, and all manner of information related to energy and spiritual matters. While fascinating to read, as many of these aspects are not within my own personal experience I won’t comment on them.
Michael gives guidance on practice with the book that I also wholly agree with. That we are here to grow as individuals while being part of the whole is something I believe from my own experiences. Also that it takes consistent practice over a long time period in order to develop. It is all too easy to jump from one method to another and as a result see little to no improvement. Real attainment comes from daily practice of a method over a period of years. There are no shortcuts in that respect, though a good teacher can help a student progress, be it from correction or indeed using their own qi to help the student.
In conclusion, for someone looking for a practice that will enhance their life, or even add to their existing practice, I can very happily recommend this book. The stories will provide inspiration; the advice will provide useful guidance and the practice of Stillness Movement will benefit both body and mind. As with Michael, I strongly recommend that you find a teacher when learning qigong, and I am more than happy to recommend him and his method.