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Qigong the Personal Resilience Multitool: Lung Health

Many of you are familiar with our Rock Solid Health Qigong video series and the tremendous health and wellness benefits to be derived from practicing these foundational Qigong techniques.  In the spirit of our upcoming Resilient Life Code unit on Internal Exercise, we’d like to take a moment to consider Qigong in a different light, as a specialised toolkit that can help you to achieve particular goals, both health and fitness related and in other areas of your life. 

Qigong is a term that encompasses the Chinese arts of internal exercise and energy cultivation in all their diversity.  Qigong is a collective project, having been developed, practiced and refined by Taoists, Buddhists, martial artists, healers, monks, generals and all orders of Chinese society.  It stands between meditation on the one hand and the martial arts on the other and is not entirely separate from either.  The basis of Qigong is the absorption, circulation and refinement of natural energy through the coordinated use of mind, body and spirit for the cultivation of all aspects, faculties and powers of the human being.

Qigong is extremely specialised and diverse.  It treats the physical body almost like an onion, strengthening it one layer at a time.  Fascia, muscles and tendons and major organs all receive their due attention through specific techniques.  The human energy system is likewise cultivated step by step.  Qigong’s biggest flaw is that there is far too much for any one person to master.

Nevertheless, there is another level of specialisation in Qigong that can be very helpful for your health and personal development goals.  Qigong has branches designed not only to maintain good health, but to heal illnesses and chronic conditions in yourself and others, to improve physical performance, to absorb energy from the environment, and to apply qi energy to the development of the spirit (shen).  It is here that you can really match your qigong to your personal resilience goals.  Here’s a look at a specific set of techniques for dealing with one set of health challenges.

(Note: Please seek the advice of a qualified practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine before using specific medical Qigong techniques.)

 

Medical Qigong: The Lungs

Much of the world’s population suffers from asthma and other chronic lung diseases.  Qigong approaches lung health from several directions.  First of all, the lungs are included in the Inner Smile meditation, a practice for bringing positive qi to the different major organs, a version of which is shown in the video.  There are also specific breathing exercises for strengthening the lungs, qi circulation exercises, and specific attention and massage exercises for asthma.  Here are some basic exercises:

  • First Breathing Exercise: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, hands folded over your dantien (lower abdomen).  Press gently as you exhale and draw your abdomen in, bending your upper body forward.  Straighten and breathe in naturally.  Repeat three times.
  • Second Breathing Exercise: From the same position, lean back as far as you comfortably can and extend your arms slightly back while inhaling, expanding your lungs and contracting your abdomen as much as possible.  Hold your breath as long as you safely can.  Then return to an upright position and exhale through the mouth.
  • Asthma Focus Exercise: Be still in a sitting, standing or prone position.  Focus your attention on your zhichuan (“benefit asthma”) acupuncture points, located on either side of your spine on the narrowest line between your shoulder blades.  Focus for 20-30 minutes.

 

There are many other related exercises and approaches to lung health in the Chinese tradition.

Qigong is a diverse and multifaceted tool for your personal resilience and personal development, waiting to be explored.

 

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

~ Anthony S. Rodger, M.A.


Book Review: Nei Kung: The Secret Teachings of the Warrior Sages

In his first book, The Magus of Java, Kosta Danaos wrote of his encounter with a Taoist master living on the island of Java.  Nei Kung is the sequel, attempting to amplify the teachings of this particular Taoist lineage in light of Danaos’ knowledge and experiences onto a much broader set of issues related to human spirituality, society and understanding of the world.

 

It is difficult to adequately convey a unifying impression of Kosta Danaos’ second book; it seems to defy single interpretation, perhaps by design.  It is challenging, diverse, mixing personal experience, concrete technique and informed speculation into something that is less a synthesis than a series of thematically-related inspirational materials.

The book takes a great deal of time explaining Danaos’ speculative views of the spiritual underpinnings of human history, pre-history, evolution, physics and many other subjects, but the real treasures in the book are the fruits of personal experience, some his own and some from those he has encountered along the way.

What really commends Danaos’ book to any spiritual seeker are the personal accounts of spiritual life, almost any one of which would individually have made the book worth reading!  In one passage, Danaos finds himself conversing with the spirits of a mountain in Greece, who ask him to intervene to stop a strip-mining operation.  Accounts of such spirits inherent in the natural world are common to many traditions, including Taoism and both Celtic Druidism and the Celtic Christianity which succeeded it (Celtic saints’ lives are often predominantly accounts of their power in the natural world).  The Eastern Christian mystical tradition is filled with similar phenomena as well.  Consideration and study of these beings, in whatever mode they may exist, is more than timely as we are faced with the damage done to the earth by modern man.

In another account, Danaos meets a man who was literally a week dead and about to be cremated when he returned to his body, having had a profound spiritual encounter.  He woke up with a sudden perfect knowledge of Mandarin, though he had spoken only English before.  These narratives are coupled with a call to meditation and self-cultivation that is earnest and backed by a profundity of experience and conviction.

 

Danaos’ speculations, while undeniably interesting and occasionally enlightening (particularly those pertaining to spirituality in the distant past), are given in something of a shorthand way, leaving the picture too incomplete for the reader to draw conclusions one way or another.  That said, there are many points on which I feel that Danaos is undeniably correct, such as his observations about the enhanced natural faculties of so-called non-civilized peoples.  I believe he is also correct in his reconciliation of divine love with human suffering on the basis of freedom of choice, although how exactly it fits in with the foregoing discussion of guided evolution is not clear.  These passages are worth reading as part of ongoing discussion of these issues, but not enough of a clear picture emerges to evaluate their merits as theories.

Reading what Danaos had to say on the difference between religion and spirituality was timely, as we’ve just finished the first unit on Spirituality for the Resilient Life Code, which contains a detailed account of the institutionalization process as it affects spiritual traditions.  Danaos perhaps doesn’t have a complete picture of the process as it affects Christianity (nor for that matter a very complete view of the original Christian spiritual tradition, though as a Greek, he is more aware of it than most other authors), but he’s on the right track on many points.  In particular, his characterization of the Emperor Constantine’s character and motives is highly amusing.

Danaos’ views on the nature of (human) spirits struck me as the oddest thing about the whole book.  His account is either incomplete or imprecise.  He identifies the spirit with the unconscious- a lower, yin faculty without the power of active thought or decision, a simple reservoir of whatever impressions it gains in life, and helpless to think, learn or act after death.  He advocates meditation as a means not just of merging the conscious with the subconscious, which it is, but of more firmly imprinting the image of the conscious mind onto the subconscious so that we can maintain a more substantial “selfhood” after death.

I am not certain this view squares even with the experiences he recounts, still less with the broader view of many authentic ancient traditions.  Most traditions would identify the spirit not as the subconscious mind, and definitely not as an impotent lower faculty, but rather as the higher faculty on which we are working through meditation in order to render it clear, to bring it to its true nature.  This being the case, we need not have any doubts of the power of a realized spirit, in the body or out of it.  Not only does the reversal of the classical yin-yang associations of body and spirit strike me as odd, but Danaos’ position on the issue reminds me of the conversation of Odysseus with the shades of his fallen companions at the gates of the underworld.  The shades are portrayed as miserable, lifeless shadows, whose only ambition is to drink the blood of living things sacrificed to them, in order to taste a little of life.  Achilles’ shade even says, “I would rather be a paid servant in a poor man’s house and be above ground than king of kings among the dead.”  And remember, these were the great heroes, entitled to the Elysian Fields, not the common mass of humanity.  This was exactly the kind of existential pessimism that the late Romans began to reject in perhaps one of the greatest spiritual awakenings in history.

Don’t expect to actually encounter an abundance of practical Nei Kung teachings, despite the title.  At most, this book provides a guide to basic energy-cultivation meditation, coupled with a theoretical picture of what the higher levels look like.  As no doubt with many ancient lineages, when it comes to spreading knowledge beyond the traditional master-disciple relationship, this one is still dipping a toe in the water.

I don’t wish to come across as overly critical; this is a marvellous and inspirational book.  Its overall message is sound, even if its speculations are sometimes scattered or incomplete.

Now, if you would like to acquaint yourself with Kosta’s master, “John Chang”, just click on the link below and turn up your speakers:

 

~Dr. Symeon Rodger


Why Walk Outdoors? – Here’s the WHY You May Not Know About!

You already know you should be spending more time walking and moving around outdoors, so we’re not here to tell you that.   After all, your whole body-mind organism is screaming that message at you all day long.  What we ARE here to clarify for you is WHY you should do this more often.  And the reasons may surprise you!

In fact, with one small change in how you spend your time outdoors, it looks like you can exponentially increase the health benefits you receive.  And best of all, that one change does NOT involve doing any particular exercise 😉

The Three Levels of Benefit

There are at least three levels to consider, all of them interrelated. The physical level is obvious, the psychological level is obvious to most- but there is another level, the energetic level, on which being outdoors is critical.

On a physical level, we can quantify the Vitamin D our bodies produce through being exposed to sunlight, and its many, many positive effects on our physical health. We can measure the impact of the exercise we do outside. All of this is important. We are designed live and work outdoors, hiking through forests and over hills, and our entire system responds undeniably to that.

Psychologically, the medical community has recognized for a long time the importance of sunlight, and such conditions as Seasonal Affective Disorder, which causes low energy levels and depression due to the short daylight hours of higher-latitude winters, are familiar to many. Personally, I have always felt the winter malaise has as much to do with the lack of growing, green plants as the lack of sunlight. But there are other key psychological benefits to be gained from being outdoors. It has always throughout history been the practice of the well-to-do to go to places with wide-open vistas and water. Ascetics of Authentic Ancient Traditions throughout history have done the same- mountaintops being particularly popular. Wide open spaces, and particularly the energy of large bodies of water, have a transformative effect on the brain. They facilitate meditation, relax the mind, stimulate creativity and clear unproductive emotions and energetic blocks. Some health systems suggest that just looking at things ahead in the distance, or at objects above the horizontal plane, changes thought patterns.

One of the key principles of resilience is that the physical, psychological and energetic worlds can all impact and change one another. For instance, Vitamin D produced by sunlight exposure has been shown to have an essential role in our mental wellbeing, for instance in preventing dementia.

On the energetic level, things get interesting. We know that all living things, plants and animals alike, generate electromagnetic fields and coherent light emissions, and we can demonstrate that even plants respond to information communicated through that energy field. We humans were made to be surrounded by the energy fields of other living things, and we still respond to that energy. I may not know what exactly my body-mind organism is saying to the trees or the trees to my body, but I do know that I’m better for it. All living things emit energetic frequency, and to be surrounded by the healthy frequency of a vibrant ecosystem, not to mention the frequencies being put out by the sun itself, in turn changes my own frequency, which changes my state of physical health, emotional energy and thought processes.

 

“Grounding”

One interesting body of research suggests that we should not only be walking out in nature, but doing so barefoot. Grounding, as it’s called, resulted in part from the observation that those who walk barefoot at least once a day suffer less inflammation than others. Inflammation is a key part of most disease processes from arthritis to heart disease and an indicator of poor tissue health.

It works like this: we often think of the earth as electrically neutral because of its ability to absorb and neutralise vast amounts of electrical current, but in reality, it does this on such a regular basis thanks to lightning strikes that it is in fact negatively charged. What that means is that there are a whole lot of free electrons available from it, electrons that we are preventing ourselves from absorbing because of our rubber and synthetic-soled shoes.  And that’s the one change that will pay huge dividends – just put on footwear that doesn’t act as a barrier to this electron absorption!

(For more info on “grounding” or “earthing,” as it’s sometimes called, have a look at this video…)

 

The benefit from being in direct contact with the earth is twofold.

First, we absorb a great deal of residual electromagnetic energy in the surrounding environment from the ambient radio, microwave and infrared pollution with which our society saturates the electromagnetic spectrum. Numerous studies have shown a direct impact on our health, notably related to cancer. By grounding ourselves, we are plugging in to the earth’s normal and far more powerful field, the one we were designed to be in contact with, clearing our systems. The earth’s energy field is also essential for setting up a healthy internal bioelectric environment and a number of natural rhythms, including circadian rhythm.

Second, the abundant free electrons available through contact with the ground have a powerful antioxidant effect, destroying the free radical toxins that are so abundant in our society. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules which are produced naturally in the metabolic process and which the body uses as part of the immune system. Your body has mechanisms to neutralize excess free radicals, but when too many of the molecules build up, that system is overwhelmed. Unfortunately, sources of free radicals in our society are so many that these molecules build up to harmful levels, causing inflammation and facilitating cancer and other diseases.

Common sources of free radicals include:
– Radiation- X-ray and microwave radiation increase the production of free radicals.
– Heavy metals- metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead, aluminum and cadmium are particularly pernicious because our bodies have no means of eliminating them. Sources include common dental fillings, food preservatives, cosmetics, antiperspirants, aluminum cookware.
– Chlorine and fluoride- lots of sources, notably tap water
– Propelene Glycol and Sodium laurel Sulphate- common ingredients in many personal-care products
– Hydrogenated trans-fatty oils- these fat molecules have been modified through long-term exposure to heat or chemical process. They oxidize much more quickly than ordinary fat molecules, releasing free radicals at a rate that kills or damages the host cell. They include shortening, deep-fryer oil, non-dairy creamers and a number of common cooking oils.

A number of other benefits to going barefoot, or in leather footware as our ancestors did, have been suggested. Running, for instance, was and in some places still is a traditionally barefoot activity, strange as that sounds. Shoes alter our gait, and guarantee that we land heel-first, with maximum skeletal shock, rather than toe-first, minimising the impact. Beyond that, the thickness of modern supported soles may simply be making our feet lazy. The foot is connected to every part of our energy system, and by removing the foot’s natural movement and the massaging action of walking, we’re essentially putting an essential part of our energy system in a cast and telling it not to move.

There is one further level of benefit from the natural world, a spiritual one. To be in touch with something that was before us and will endure after our physical death is powerful. We are meant to interact with nature, hence the power of activities like walking and gardening for our mental health. Above all, we are intended to appreciate and give thanks for the beauty of nature- and to give thanks, to appreciate beauty, is one of the best things, according to the Law of Attraction, that we can possibly transmit.

~Dr. Symeon Rodger 🙂


Your Energy Body – the Science is In…

For a long time now you’ve been hearing people talk about raising your vibration and frequency.  And ancient traditions constantly speak of the light emanating from holy / enlightened beings.  But what does the science say?  What can the latest, cutting edge research tell us about any of this?  Is it true or just ancient myth mixed with New Age nonsense?  Keep reading to find out…

Caution: if you’re firmly wedded to the Newtonian world view, then for you this post is rated well beyond “PG-13”.

We are electromagnetic beings.  Thanks to the research of people like Gary Schwartz, Fritz Popp and many others, we know that human electromagnetism is expressed on many different levels.  Russian scientists Kirlian and Korotkov developed technology to photograph the so-called “aura,” the bioelectric fields surrounding the human body, technology widely used in Russia for diagnostic purposes.  Schwartz, amusingly, began his interest in the field when he discovered at the age of seven that he could substitute him own body for the rabbit-ears on his television set and achieve perfect picture.  And if you’re old enough to remember rabbit-ears, you may have done the same thing!

You Transmit Information Constantly

Tests of energy healers, for example, have revealed that healing is accompanied by much higher than normal electrostatic and magnetic fields emanating from the healer.  The implication is that humans can be trained to use their intention to manipulate electromagnetic fields.  But that is not all.  Healers also register higher than normal emission of photons- light.

I say “normal” because all living things do emit light.  Put a plant in a darkened space in front of the right camera, and you get a perfect image of the plant in its own light.  A similar procedure carried out on the hands of a healer showed coherent streams of light emanating from them.  Fritz Popp has been able to show that DNA is the control mechanism for the frequencies at which this light is emitted.  What makes light from living organisms extraordinary is its counter-intuitive tendency toward coherent oscillation.  Ordinary light is not coherent.  It interferes with itself and thus is limited in the distance it seems to travel.  Coherent light, like that produced by a laser, travels much farther.  In a phenomenon dubbed “super-radiance,” the light emitted by a living thing acts like a single frequency.

German biophysicist Herbert Frohlich created a model showing that complex dynamic systems, like living organisms, tend to organize energy coherently.  Subatomic particles which have become coherent become electromagnetically linked and resonate together rather than separately.  Living energy is the highest form of coherence discovered in nature.  Coherence of this kind was postulated in matter by Einstein, and may be a key to superfluid and superconductive materials- matter that, respectively, flows and allows electricity to flow through without losing energy.

And You Are Receiving Information Too…

So, we are beings of light and our intention is expressed as light.  We are transmitting information, but are we receiving?

Cleve Backster was a leading expert in lie detection.  In a moment of bored experimentation, he hooked a lie detector up to a plant, with the idea that by measuring electrical conduction at different points he could measure the rate at which it absorbed water.  And then, prompted by a misinterpretation of his own readings, he thought he had registered a human-like emotional response from the plant.  He then threatened the plant with a match.  This reading was not a mistake.  The moment the thought entered his head, the needle jumped.  Backster would spend decades designing controlled experiments through which he managed to show that plants are both receivers and re-transmitters of feeling and intention.  And it’s not only things like plant-mold and yogurt bacteria that react to human emotional states.  Once two organisms become attuned to one another, it doesn’t matter how far away they are; they will react to the emotional state of the other.

So, plants do receive.  What about animals?  Fritz Popp discovered that fleas transmit, receive, and retransmit light to each other, as though providing updates.  But it was Korotkov who used his equipment to monitor the reaction of humans to intention transmitted by other humans.  The light discharge of the recipient of the intention changed markedly according to the emotion being broadcast.

You’ve Been Kept in the Dark for Decades

Unfortunately, the scientific community never really listened to Backster, not because he was not meticulous in designing his experiments, but because he lacked formal credentials – and of course because it didn’t want to accept his findings.  To accept any of the findings we have talked about in this post individually is a stretch for the Newtonian worldview; to accept that they have transformative implications for understanding how life relates to other life, to accept that there is anything here that changes how we understand the human experience, is something that the materialist mindset cannot abide.  Korotkov, a physicist, repeated these experiments with more advanced equipment, and, building on the work of others, was able to explain the effects.

So the data was in decades ago and much of the more recent experimentation has simply validated that data, expanded on it and begun to uncover even more intriguing things about this wonderful world and how we relate to it.  Yet you will seldom see anything about this in the mainstream because the implications are HUGE, far too huge for most people to contemplate.

And I think you understand what I’m getting at here.  If life and all living systems are interconnected transmitters and receivers of coherent light, if life itself tends toward empathy and coherence, that insight has tremendous implications for our view of the world, for our thought processes, for our individual behaviors.  It means that meditation, energy healing, and all of the marvelous claims which ancient traditions have always made about the potential of human consciousness need not be seen as remote and improbable, or the unique achievements of a few gifted individuals, but an obvious and logical response of humanity to the way the world really works. 

Ultimately, of course, it means that your consciousness has an affect on the material reality around you, and that is the final nail in the coffin for the Newtonian worldview.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger 🙂


Human Energy Fields: Understanding Health and Illness

Electromagnetism, which is the movement of photons (light) in a quantum field, is one of the most marginalized areas of research in medicine and biology.  To explore this area in terms of modern research sheds new light on our own approaches to health and wellness, and additionally gives us further insight into the healing and lifestyle recommendations of numerous ancient traditions.  Magnets as such have been known as a healing modality since at least 1000 A.D., and have been recorded in use by notable physicians from Persia to Europe.

We are beings of light. The human body is an emitter and receiver of photons, and is surrounded by a number of energy and magnetic fields.  Electrical charge, radiant energy and magnetism, it turns out, are big players in the game of health.  Ancient medical traditions, of course, knew the body’s energy systems very well.

Basic Energy Fields

To give you an idea of just some of these fields as identified in recent research, L-fields are electrically measurable fields surrounding the body.  The state of the L-field can be used to predict physical changes and upcoming illnesses, and can even reveal the future shape of a growing organism.  This morphological function is potentially important for understanding the relationship between the growth of organ systems and energy fields.  Your L-field is influenced by your emotional state.

T-fields or thought fields are the fields influenced by human thought.  Numerous experiments have shown the ability of thought itself to influence the material world and to transfer information; of these, the placebo effect is only the best-known.  Twin studies have shown the uncanny ability of one twin, separated by whatever distance, to know the thoughts of the other.  Likewise, a wrinkle appears in the scientific method.  Dr. Robert Rosenthal of Harvard showed that a researcher can influence the behavior of rats in a study simply by his or her intentions.

Thought fields may operate on magnetic principles, but it is certain that thought can and does pass from one brain to another and can influence physical objects, including, of course, the body of the person generating the field.

The Body Electric

Every cell in the human body emits radiation and, according to the work of Dr. Georges Lakhovsky, it is the interaction or oscillation of the unique frequencies of each cell with all the others that most directly sets up health or illness in the body.  This radiation sets up the electrical current that sustains the health of the organism.  Thus, positive and negative charges play a significant role in many health issues.  As we know, electricity flows from positive to negative, and thus harmful bacteria, with positive charge, seek out negatively charged tissue.

Dr. Robert Becker, whose work in bioenergetics has had significant impact on modern medicine, discovered that our bodies’ electrical currents act as a kind of control system, central to healing as well as to changing states of consciousness.  Glial cells, which previously were thought of as a support structure for the nervous system, convey information by varying in electric charge.  Likewise, Dr. Bjorn Nordenstrom showed that the healing process involves flows of ions creating electrical effects that stimulate repair.  We are, in effect, living systems of energy fields mediated by semiconductors in our tissue.

Dr. Royal Raymond Rife was one of the first to classify microorganisms according to the frequencies of radiation that passed through them.  This allowed him in experiments to save the lives of animals exposed to a specific pathogen  through the use of single-wavelength electrical energy at the frequency to which the pathogen was vulnerable.  Likewise, Rife showed that beneficial microorganisms can become pathogens if their environment is altered in specific ways.  Rife’s research was banned from medical journals.

Similarly, the Diapulse machine, which uses short high-frequency pulses to promote healing, was studied in numerous applications with positive results at Columbia University, yet was banned for many years by the Food and Drug Administration.  It was shown to significantly improve the healing of wounds and reduce post-operative pain.

Man-Made EM Pollution

Given the key role of the electromagnetic spectrum in human health, it should be no surprise that human interference with these spectra can have unfortunate effects on both our health and our mental state.  This has been called Electromagnetic Spectrum Pollution.  ELF or extremely low-frequency radiation, produced by power lines and even plugged-in appliances, has been correlated with an increased risk of leukemia.  Microwave radiation, such as that produced by cell phones, penetrates living tissue and excites water and fat molecules (as anyone who owns a  microwave oven will know), and can contribute to cancer.  The one widely-acknowledged effect of the electromagnetic environment is the link between ultraviolet radiation and skin cancer.  Of course, given the variety of ways in which energy fields affect our health, this is barely scratching the surface of the effects of electromagnetic pollution.  There are also a number of ways in which the lack of certain kinds of magnetic fields or exposure to the wrong magnetic fields can affect our own.

Planet Earth’s Fields

Like the human body, the earth itself is surrounded by electromagnetic fields.  Naturally, we are affected by these fields, as they are by us.  Schumann Waves, named for Professor W. O. Schumann, oscillate between the earth and certain atmospheric layers.  They are not only similar to brainwaves, but follow a similar daily cycle and thereby help to regulate the body’s circadian rhythms.  NASA uses equipment to mimic Schumann Waves in order to combat the disorientation of the bodies of astronauts removed from contact with this regulating force.

The magnetic environment in which we live is influenced by every element present in the earth and by the huge magnetic power of the sun and moon.  The earth’s own magnetic field seems to be self-regulating in definite patterns, which can be detected through magnetic and radioactive properties.  These include Ley lines, the Hartman Grid, and others that we will not get into now.  Interestingly, particularly intense magnetic and radioactive points along these lines are often well-known sacred sites.  Our position in this vast Earth-regulatory network has been shown to affect health, though exactly how requires further study.

This ongoing research points to several things:

  1. Your body-mind organism is a complex network of energy conduits, nodes and fields.
  2. And all of these are constantly interacting with the energy fields outside of you (other people, other living organisms, the planet and the cosmos) in ways you are not consciously aware of.
  3. The planet itself has an energetic structure that appears to correspond to the energetic structure of the human organism (Note: this theme is discussed in some detail in the biography of Taoist Master Wang Liping called Opening the Dragon Gate, recently reviewed on this blog).
  4. Your emotional state, energy fields and state of health are linked.

This is an incredibly exciting time to be alive because we are now validating some of the conclusions of ancient traditions while at the same time gaining more insight into exactly how our marvelous universe really works.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger




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