Friday, July 16, 2010

From Jing to Qi to Shen: An Interview with Healer Darren Orr, Part 1

I'm very pleased to have had the opportunity to conduct this insightful three part interview with my former teacher, Darren Orr.  I was fortunate enough to have studied with Darren for several years, both privately as well as in a group setting. Spending quality time and learning from this wonderfully intelligent, kind and loving soul is something I truly appreciate and will never forget.   
 ~ diane

Darren Orr is a Reiki master and teacher, a nationally certified massage therapist and a Medical Qigong therapist and teacher.  He specializations are in Oncology, chronic pain, stress management, life-altering illness and palliative care for the terminally ill. Darren is also currently enrolled in a 3 year Medical Qigong Program, a Graduate Degree of over 2,000 hours.  When he graduates in 2012 he will have become a Dr. of Medical Qigong. Darren also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and maintains private practice in New Jersey.  In addition he lectures, writes and teaches Dao yoga and meditation classes in which sound therapy is utilized as part of his sessions.

Question:  How did you begin your journey in the Healing Arts?


I think it was a combination of affinity, synchronicity and my destiny.   I grew up living with someone who was in constant chronic pain, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.  I lived and felt firsthand the strength and weaknesses of our Western allopathic model of medicine.  I never realized that there were any other alternatives to surgery and the management of symptoms other then with drugs and pharmaceuticals. 
Later, as I got older, I had a former girlfriend who had just been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.
I was holding her hand one day and I had an epiphany that changed my life and awoke my slumbering spirit. I felt my qi.  I had no idea what is was, I just knew I felt it. Over the next week we were doing research on the Internet about Fibromyalgia and kept coming across references to Qigong. We had never heard of Qigong before, but the articles kept saying that it was the root and foundation of Chinese medicine for over 5000 years and that its primary aim is to examine and get at the root cause of the disease thereby eliminating it.
The articles also referenced recent studies that showed that Qigong could treat and even “cure” so called “incurable” diseases that Western medicine could not.

This is where the synchronicity and affinity comes in. I happen to mention what we found to my mother, who is a labor and delivery nurse, and she said that the next day they happen to be having a nurse’s appreciation day at the Hospital where she worked.  They were giving a Qigong demonstration followed by Kirlian photography and a Reiki session.  Of course we attended, and the first thing we did was learn to feel our qi.  I immediately realized that this is the exact sensation I had felt a week prior, holding my girlfriend's hand.  It was almost like a light switch had been flipped on and I instantaneously knew that my life’s calling was to use this energy to help, assist and benefit not only people in their health..but the healing and well being of all of life and the earth as well.

Since that day I have been consistently and diligently studying and gathering, cultivating and regulating my qi... always eager to learn, grow and enhance my skill and mastery of the Great Communicator.

It's interesting that you bring up chronic pain.  I've had several people discuss pain with me lately.
Chronic pain and pain from injuries.  What insights can you give us about pain?  What are some things that you have found out in your practice and experience that can help people help themselves during rough periods?

That's a big topic!   lol...
All beings suffer. No one escapes life without trials, tribulations and pain. Whether the pain is physical, mental/emotional or spiritual in nature, I feel it's a signal to slow down and become more aware, to pay attention and be present in this moment ...which is the only moment we are alive.
Pain is a wake up call.
For the most part, people tend to either focusing in the past or projecting into the future, very few actually are present with what's going on in their internal universe. Pain is a beacon or signal to begin introspection and to pay attention. Pain is also an excellent meditative tool that's been used for millenia by ancient indigenous cultures the world over to shift and uplift consciousness and spirit.

 Most people tend to grasp or cling to things that make them feel good and reject or instinctively push away that which is painful. That is the way of the ego. Yet pain is a wonderful teacher.  Pain teaches us acceptance and patience in the face of difficulty and if looked at properly, actually allows us to better appreciate the good in our life. I think the most important factor in dealing with pain is one's own mental attitude and how they choose to deal with it.

 Everything in life is a choice. We cannot control what happens to us in life because all life is in constant flux and change.  But, we do have control over the choices we make in response to those events particularly in dealing with pain. If we can embrace the pain and not push it away, it can be the seed from which a universal compassion can arise... because when looked at properly, you see that pain and suffering isn't just unique to yourself, but shared amongst all life.

The problem is that in our culture we don't have the tools to deal with pain. Everyone wants only good things to happen.  People fail to understand that pain and pleasure are two sides of the same coin, yin and yang. You can't have one without the other, they are inseparable. Our culture also lacks the necessary tools to allow people to learn from their pain in constructive and positive ways. When faced with pain most people look to a magic pill to lessen the discomfort instead of looking for the root cause as to why the pain is there in the first place.

That is why the ancient awareness and healing disciplines of Qigong, meditation and Dao yoga are so beneficial and useful in this modern era. These techniques provide you with the tools and techniques to delve deep within the depths of your being to uncover the root causes of pain, illness or disease.

Question 3:  What about people who won't let go of emotional pain?  I know you've come across may people like this in your private practice.

to be continued in Part 2

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Other Related posts:
Qigong Interview with Joanne Kornoelje

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