The Incredible Story of Guolin: Cancer Survivor

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This is the  story of Guolin. I'm sure many of you have no idea who she is.  But for those of you who have or have had cancer, this is a story, I’m sure, you'll like.

Ms. Guo Lin taught traditional Chinese painting and, at 43, was diagnosed with uterine cancer.  She had her uterus removed in 1949 while in Shanghai, China. Unfortunately, it spread to her bladder and, in 1960, had half of it removed.  After four additional operations, the doctors gave up and, in 1964, told her she had months to live.

Not one to give up hope, she searched for options. Then by chance, she found, while cleaning her home, ancient Qigong texts left to her by her late grandfather (a Taoist priest).  Without a sifu or instructor, she self-taught herself these forms.  Incredible as this sounds, in after six months, Guolin’s cancer went into remission.

With this success, in 1970, she taught other cancer patients, primarily, in the parks of Beijing her “New Qigong Therapy.”  The word spread as many benefited from this "new" qigong. By 1977, she gained distinction, leading daily classes by the hundreds, working tirelessly lecturing, demonstrating and promoting good health, until her death in 1984, at age 78.  After having survived cancer for over 34 years, helping thousands recover from the pain and suffering of various ailments, and promoting an effective form of Qigong, it was a cerebral hemorrhage that finally took her down.

A Qigong style was named in her honor, spreading to many countries throughout the world. A TV special on health called "The Healing Heart” showed a segment on Guolin Qigong and the Shanghai Cancer Recovery Club showing members out every day: walking, moving, and breathing – enjoying life instead of waiting to die.

After reading about her life, I felt inspired to continue her legacy and work to help others.

Qigong literally means energy exercise and is an ancient practice that incorporates mindful meditation, deep breathing, and slow movements. Tai Chi, a form of Qigong, means Grand Ultimate Fist and is a martial art that like Qigong incorporates slow purposeful movements unlike that of other martial arts like karate, kickboxing, jiu jitsu, judo, wrestling and boxing.

3,000 years old with nearly hundreds of exercises that target various illnesses, qigong has a rich and wonderful history.

Goulin, through her will and ability to teach herself the ancient Taoist Qigong techniques, lived way beyond her deadline and created a culture of living instead of waiting to die.

There are four simple principles to her philosophy.

• Live with a purpose.
• Accept your condition but not add to it.
• Exercise mind your body and spirit.
• Give.

Those who have been touched by her work and teaching claim great results.  Though considered non-evidence based medicine with anecdotal examples of patients surviving their conditions, some recovering to the point of full remission, these examples provide strong arguments to its efficacy and usefulness.

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The one and only constraint preventing it from joining conventional medicine is the inability to measure Chi. As explained in TMC, chi is a person's life force, the energy that moves throughout his body.  Without chi, a person dies. Many attempts have been made to scientifically quantify its properties with poor results therefore accepting it as standard treatment is not possible. (At least, not today) Not to be dismissed, qigong, Tai Chi, acupuncture, natural plants and herbs, and mindful meditation are currently being integrated with Western medicine to provide a powerful one-two punch to treat illnesses cancer and chronic illnesses.

I am not a doctor nor a medical professional.  I cannot tell you that the methods that have helped Guolin and her followers will help you.  I am a martial artist and have practiced diligently for the past 45 years, both external and internal martial arts where, in the past 15-years, have focused on Tai Chi and Qigong and their esoteric benefits. I have spent hours researching how these techniques and methods have helped many with health conditions and am encouraged by their results.

I have had family and friends who succumbed to cancer; lived with a brother-in-law and cared for him, for six months until he died, helpless, watching him deteriorate from a 200-pound healthy construction worker to less than a hundred pounds.  In his last days, he stayed in bed and waited. I attempted to take him out, to see the world outside his room, but not wanting to fight a battle he knew he already lost, and gave up.  What hurt me the most was watching a strong a powerful man, who verbally declared that he would make a difference in this world, lose his will to live.

Had I known about Guolin and healing qigong at the time, I would’ve taken him to classes.

Guolin wanted to live, regardless of her condition, and found a way to do so, through an old book her grandfather left her.

The first precept “live for a purpose.”  As a young mother, it was instinctual for her to raise her kids and make sure they were fed, wore warm clothes and protected.  She refused to quit despite the pain she was in.  I learned in one of the stories, she forced herself to work out two to four hours a day, despite her condition.

“Accept your condition but not add to it.”  She learned that, by complaining about the symptoms and allowing it to control her life, served no purpose.  She was at peace with her cancer, and each day when she woke up alive, she was grateful, and she showed her appreciation by going out and teaching, lecturing and encouraging others to life their lives the fullest way possible.

The third precept, “exercise the mind, body and spirit at every available moment.”  She learned that the mind was powerful, stronger than any bone in her body.  To win any battle, external or internal, she must stay active, learning something new, practicing her deep breathing and body movements, believing in her internal energy or “chi” to win any battle.  If she relented, rested, even for one second, the cancer would win.

Finally, “giving”.  She learned that, by giving; it didn’t have to be money, it could be anything: lending a hand, helping elders with their laundry, making steam buns for the homeless, the mind convinces that the body has the strength to go on.

This was why she worked tirelessly.  She refused to let cancer or any disease win.

“Giving,” Guolin did, by teaching these principles to others, managing to help thousands deal with their conditions and, as explained before, provided anecdotal evidence of beating the disease.

To assist in validating my blog, please see the attached link

There are many stories of other cancer survivors, who used TCM to win their battles.  I encourage you to read and research more on Guolin, qigong, tai chi, natural herbs, and mindful meditation.

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And with that said, I may not have much, but I have some knowledge that may help others deal with their conditions, give them with hope, motivate them to go on and fight the good life. With life, as short as it is, we may as well live each second of the day with the gusto we all are entitled to: I can think of no better way to live.

Can you?

Peace and Harmony.

Sensei Domi

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