Years ago I was diagnosed with idiopathic choroidal neo-vascular membranes in my right eye—a condition that was stealing my central vision. I was told by retina specialists that if I did not undergo surgery immediately I would likely go blind in that eye and it could happen in my other eye as well.
At the time, I had been practicing Wu Ming Qigong for about two years. At class, I spoke about my condition and what the doctors were telling me. Grand Master Lu asked if I would be willing to put off surgery for a week and try healing myself with his guidance and support. While I had quite a bit of fear, I knew that this was a critical moment in my practice and my life. I had considered myself an avid student but knew that if I did not take the opportunity Grand Master Lu was offering me with my eyesight on the line, then I was basically kidding myself and might as well quit my practice.
Grand Master Lu’s challenge was for me to take a week off from life, be as peaceful as possible, eat only three apples a day and be sure to practice at certain times of the day. Despite having much fear on the surface of my mind, deep down I trusted Grand Master Lu and the Wu Ming system. I was about to take the first real step toward trusting myself, too. For a period of 5 or 6 days, I stayed home from work. I did not answer the phone or check my email. I did not watch TV or listen to the radio. Instead, I practiced Qigong (and some taiji, because I loved it) for 10 to 12 hours a day. When I wasn’t practicing, I was sleeping or resting quietly. I ate only one apple a day and drank only water and very little at that.
At first I felt very uncomfortable. I was tired and had a bad taste in my mouth. My body ached and I felt a general unease. But I kept going. And I believed. If I fast forward to the end, I can say this program “worked.” I never had the surgery and I did not go blind. In fact, my vision got significantly better. But for me, the real miracle was the experience itself. At around the third day, I began to feel better than I had in my whole life. I felt tremendous energy in my body. For the first time in my life, I had the palpable feeling of knowing I belong in the Universe. I felt connected to everything. My senses, especially my hearing, became far more sensitive than I would have believed possible (I could hear things I would have thought I should not have been able to hear). I was extraordinarily happy for no reason at all—and so much more.
Now, years later, I have an opportunity to write about this experience remembering there are no accidents and the body never lies. I was losing my central vision because I was refusing to see what is central in my life—an approach that, perhaps, has not completely changed to this day. Despite the experience I had, I went back to an old, overly emotional way of being in the world. In this writing, I have an opportunity to not only share the power of this system but also to re-connect to that power and truly change. What is central—the thing I had refused to see—is that the power is within myself. True healing is in my hands.
-Gary Van Lieu