On April 24 and 25, to help celebrate this year's World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, Kim Shelton's latest award winning documentary ALREADY FREE will be available to view at no cost in 13 different languages. You can register for a reminder at https://www.alreadyfreefilm.or
ALREADY FREE is an inspiring story of two ordinary people living thousands of miles apart: Dorrie from New Zealand and Norberto from Portugal. They independently discover an innovative form of life cultivation and qigong called Ren Xue. Dorrie and Norberto’s individual transformations are dramatic and profound, affecting everyone in their lives, generating new hope for humanity, the earth and our entwined destiny. From their stories to the cinematography and the music, this film is anchored in love and awareness as internal obstacles are removed and awakening takes place.
Streamed by several festivals in 2020, the film received the Merit Award of Awareness at Awareness Film Festival 2020, Best Documentary Short at Dreamers of Dreams Film Festival 2020 and as Semi-Finalist at Capital Filmmakers Festival Lisbon 2020.
Some Among Us Are Already Free
By Violetta Petrova
The documentary Already Free (2019, dir. Kim Shelton) features two ordinary people, Norberto Rodrigues and Dorrie Van Roij-Houtappels who have reached enlightenment under the guidance of their teacher Yuan Tze, the creator of Ren Xue, an innovative life cultivation system.
Read what Norberto, Dorrie and Yuan Tze have to say about their extraordinary experience of life cultivation.
Norberto Rodrigues: ‘I Received Much More Than Health’
Norberto Rodrigues is a Ren Xue teacher, Yuan Gong instructor and skillful Qi therapist based in Lisbon, Portugal. Student of Chinese life cultivation teacher Yuan Tze since 2011 to the present. In 2018 Norberto started regular online seminars on enlightenment from the perspective of heart transformation and personal experience.
Q. In the documentary Already Free you said that you knew Yuan Tze was the right teacher for you as soon as you saw the Ren Xue website. Could you go back to this moment and explain what made you think that you had found the right teaching?
Norberto Rodrigues: “In those times I was feeling a lot of physical and emotional pain almost twenty-four hours a day, although I took painkillers, and muscle relaxation and anti-inflammatory drugs. It was very hard. My body was losing its strength. It was hard to move, sometimes my legs could not move at all. I used all the available resources, and I was supposed to get better. But obviously what I did was not enough. It was getting worse. I spent all my spare time to search for a solution. I did a lot of search on the internet, really a lot. From time to time I came across promising offers. However, there was a gut feeling telling me that this was not the right thing or person.
“One day I found Yuan Tze and as soon I saw him, I entered a very deep state, almost like a trance. I started to experience an overflowing joy and happiness, sometimes even tears were coming to my eyes and I am not someone that cries easily. At this moment I felt I was stronger and higher than myself and my problem. For about three days I was in this special state, all the pain in my body disappeared, my body felt free, I could move normally again. I was not really aware of the meaning of what happened. But I was absolutely sure that I must meet Yuan Tze and learn from him. I felt this with my heart and there was no trace of doubt in me.”
Q. When did you realise that you have natural healing abilities and what was your thinking at that moment?
Norberto Rodrigues: “It happened when I was a child, in my early childhood. I don't remember how old I was. But I clearly remember the exact occasion when I first realised I can help people.
“I visited with my parents an elder family member, one of my uncles who had had a stroke. He was in bed unable to talk or move. He felt a lot of pain, screaming and sweating, and we could hear his groans as we approached the house. My parents and his family tried to help but nothing seemed to work.
“I also wanted to help. I closed my eyes and made a prayer. I said: ‘Dear God, my uncle is old and defenseless. I am young, I can carry pain and suffering in my body. Please, let me carry this burden and alleviate him’. I started imagining that all the pain and suffering he was experiencing, has been transferred to me. Within a few minutes my uncle got calmer, smiled softly to us and fell asleep. I remember feeling heaviness on my body, nausea and dizziness. After I went out to the street they quickly dispersed without me doing anything.
“At that moment I realised that I could help people even without letting them know. I have done this many times since then not only to humans but also to animals and plants. I have never told anyone. This is the first time I talk about this.
“Ren Xue helped me to understand what I was doing. Over time I refined the techniques. Now, when I do healing, I always ask people to unify with my heart and I take their pain as mine and then surrender it to the Universe.”
Q. You healed your back injury a long time ago without needing surgery; yet, you are now – a more avid Yuan Qigong and Ren Xue practitioner than ever before. What keeps you continuing with the learning and the practice?
Norberto Rodrigues: “Healing my body is like a drop in the ocean compared to what Ren Xue has done to my life. Ren Xue is about healing the totality of life and about gaining deep understanding of the laws of life and the universe. It is about gaining realisation and wisdom and transcending the suffering and illusions. And, most important, it is about manifesting the true self.
“What Ren Xue gave me is priceless. I want to share it. I feel this is my responsibility to give people the tools that, I know this very well, will help them to realise the true self, to heal deeply their lives, and to reach more realisations, true wisdom, happiness and love. This responsibility I feel deep in my heart and I need to share it. I wish to see humanity becoming wiser and everyone manifesting their true self. I feel the need to become the best version of myself. All these make me practise harder and study more than ever before.
“I have a dream for humanity. I imagine everyone’s life growing, their true selves manifesting, and wisdom and love becoming the normal state of existence of all humans. We can be a genuine family and live in peace, harmony, love, respect, co-operation, mutual understanding, wisdom, realisation, freedom, joy, and happiness. How wonderful it would be for this planet to become a heaven for everyone.”
Dorrie Van Roij-Houtappels: ‘Now I Know How To Create Peace in My Everyday Life’
Dorrie Van Roij-Houtappels is a holistic lifestyle coach and animal communicator/healer based in Waiheke Island, New Zealand. She has a background in sport, beauty therapy, therapeutic massage, reconnective healing, astrology, NLP, EFT, Reiki, Zen, Tai Chi, Kempo and Qigong. She is certified Ren Xue and Yuan Qigong instructor and a gifted Qi therapist.
Q. You were familiar with many different life cultivation practices but, eventually, you chose and stayed with Yuan Qigong and Ren Xue. What prompted you to make the decision?
Dorrie Van Roij-Houtappels: “During the last twenty-five years of self development I have been on a search through many holistic disciplines. I had never found one that truly addressed all my questions, until I discovered Ren Xue. This system is practical and built on creating peace in your everyday life. Grounded in reality Ren Xue offered me a whole holistic view. It allowed for a deepening on a metaphysical level that I had never experienced in another discipline. I have a deep passion to share with others my love for staying within the present moment and building a natural and calm state of life. Becoming a Ren Xue teacher enabled this. The system allowed for a deep breath of life cultivation no matter what the personal history and life experiences of my students are.”
Q. In the documentary Already Free we see your whole family being influenced by the big change that you have experienced. What attracts them most to the ‘new version’ of Dorrie?
Dorrie Van Roij-Houtappels: “I asked my family the question and here are the responses: ‘Dorrie is at her core a wholesome compassionate being. Everyone in the family understands and feels that her love is unconditional. With this our family gained a new and stronger foundation of trust. We can see how she can handle any situation, or conflict that may arise, calmly and with complete peace. She is very creative with the solutions. All these combined gives us a great sense of trust. As a result, everyone in the family is changing. We are a cohesive unit and understand how to open our hearts to one another. Now family life is far more harmonious. Dorrie has become a supporting and loving base for us all.”
Q. In your book It’s Time to View Life With New Lens (2019) you often ask people to talk to their hearts when looking for a solution to a problem. Speaking technically, how do you do the inner conversation?
Dorrie Van Roij-Houtappels: “Learning to trust your own heart is something that many people have lost touch with throughout their lives. For me having an open heart that can guide you with its wisdom is invaluable. In my book I explain and give some teaching how to feel and communicate with your heart. There is a method in Ren Xue In which you ask your heart questions. In the beginning, I was very literal when doing the internal dialogue. It was a matter of really speaking to my heart by using the mind as If I spoke to a close friend whom I trusted. Now, after I have gone through this new stage of life development and gained more realisation, I no longer need to be so literal about it. My heart and its wisdom permeates through all of my thoughts and actions. It is now intertwined with my true self. I am grateful for that and I am certain that it is possible for everyone’s heart to reach this state.”
Yuan Tze: ‘Realisation and Wisdom Is the Only Solution For Survival’
Yuan Tze is a life cultivation teacher and qigong master originally from China. In 2002 he arrived in Wellington, New Zealand with a few clothes in a bag and soon established the first ever Ren Xue centre. Today Ren Xue has an international network of certified teachers and thousands of students.
Q. You founded Ren Xue and created an innovative Qigong system, Yuan Qigong. Within a relatively short period of time, at least two of your students have reached the milestone of enlightenment in their life cultivation. It seems that Ren Xue is an incubator of enlightened people. What is the secret of this success?
Yuan Tze: “Thank you for your compliment. I created REN XUE because I saw the urgent need for a tool that could help humanity deal with problems, individually and collectively. This need was urgent because the problems humanity is facing are causing a lot of damage to not only all human and animal life but also the environment we live in.
“I have spent a lifetime studying the wide and varied disciplines in traditional Chinese culture (Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Martial Arts, etc.) as well as Western developments in philosophy, science, and medicine. However, none of these approaches or ideologies addressed the root causes of humanity’s problems. I realised that for a tool to be effective, it needed to work at the fundamental level.
“My search for the root causes led me to the human consciousness. To be more precise, the unhealthy patterns of the human consciousness. Patterns determine how we think and what we do. Unhealthy patterns lead to problems of all sorts and are obstacles in our attempt to achieve better health, happiness, a greater sense of wellbeing, and growth.
“For the tool to be effective for transforming life, it needed to provide information to help people understand their problems and how to solve them. It also required practical methods that people could use to create real, lasting change. From this foundation came the development of REN XUE. The information and methods REN XUE offers are a distillation of my understanding of traditional wisdom and my work applying it to deal with my own problems in order to change my life. The REN XUE methods are like stepping stones. When following them one by one, a person can expect benefits such as better health, happiness, an improved sense of wellbeing, and growth. Ultimately, my goal was to provide others with a practical and comprehensive approach for improving health and living a wisdom-guided life.
“I should mention that ‘growth’ means ‘making progress in the development of realization and wisdom,’ which is the ultimate goal of REN XUE life cultivation on a personal level. This personal growth serves as the foundation for helping other people achieve these benefits and growth. Enlightenment, where the “True Self” is revealed, is a milestone in the progress of developing realisation and wisdom. I know more and more diligent REN XUE practitioners will progress via these stepping-stones and reach the milestone of enlightenment. I should also say that enlightenment is only one of the milestones. From there on, one can continue to make progress and keep uplifting life. REN XUE provides a pathway to make this seemingly unreachable milestone reachable.”
Q. Both your students, Norberto and Dorrie, say in the documentary Already Free (2019, dir. Kim Shelton) that they have experienced great opening of their hearts at one of the retreats that you held annually. What exactly did you do with people’s hearts for such a dramatic transformation to take place?
Yuan Tze: “A few important factors are at play when I run a retreat. Firstly, there is always a strong Qifield built for the retreat. I would build the Qifield in advance, so it is there waiting for the participants before they arrive. The Qifield not only contains a large amount of Qi but also carries potent information. Throughout the retreat, I would also invite all the participants to build the Qifield together. As we do this, the Qifield gets stronger and stronger as the retreat proceeds. It supports all the participants and hugely enhances the effect of everything we try to achieve during the retreat. When a participant is open and one with the Qifield, anything is possible.
“Secondly, the teachings are shared in a special way via heart-to-heart transmission. This is a two-way communication and connection of the hearts—between mine and the participants’. Heart-to-heart transmission allows the information I’m sharing to go into a very deep level of the consciousness. The information can work immediately, as it is intended and initiate dramatic change to life.
“Thirdly, Norberto and Dorrie experienced the great opening of their hearts at a two-week REN XUE teacher training retreat. This retreat had a very special focus—the heart. During that retreat, trainees engaged in very intense learning about the heart, and applied these learnings to their own heart in a profound way, specifically cultivating the Five Xin, or five essential qualities of the heart – trust, openness, love, gratitude, and Gongjing (true respect).
“With these three components working together—the Qifield, heart-to-heart transmission, and the Five Xin—many people experienced remarkable changes to their hearts, including the great opening. The great opening of the heart not only brings dramatic change to life but also serves as a solid foundation for attaining enlightenment.
“Such results are not limited to just those who attend REN XUE Teacher Training. Anyone who applies REN XUE properly can make such progress in life, including those who attend the retreats for the general public and those who learn REN XUE from our qualified teachers. We have teachers all around the world sharing the REN XUE teachings and methods to anyone who wishes to make dramatic changes to their lives.”
Q. On many occasions, you spoke about the situation the world is in and pointed out that we humans are standing at a crossroads, and a complete change of direction is urgently needed if we were to bring a better future for all. What kind of change were you referring to?
Yuan Tze: “The direction humanity has been taking since the beginning of the human species is mostly an ‘external approach’. This refers to using external means to achieve the goals of better health, happiness, a sense of wellbeing, and growth. These means include the pursuit of money, fame, status, power and control. We mistakenly believe that the more of these we gain, the happier and more fulfilling life will be. If we honestly examine how effective this approach has been, we can see that it has been unsuccessful and also extremely damaging to the health and wellbeing of us humans as well as the planet. This approach has also led to all the problems and crises humanity is now facing. These problems and crises are so severe that even the survival of humanity is threatened.
“Since this way is not working, it only makes sense to change our approach and follow a different direction. The different direction REN XUE is promoting is the ‘internal approach.’ It teaches the practitioner to turn their focus to themselves when seeking to achieve better health, happiness, a sense of wellbeing, and growth. What we can discover is that all the wonderful treasures we try to achieve are already all within us, and the obstacles that are in the way of reaching them are also within ourselves. We just need to remove those obstacles and these treasures will naturally be revealed.
“What are the obstacles? They are mainly the unhealthy patterns of the consciousness mentioned above. They drive us to grab all these external means in order to gain a little sense of control and security. In REN XUE, we identify those unhealthy patterns and transform them. When unhealthy patterns are successfully transformed, our hearts will be restored to a natural, healthy state, and the five essential qualities will fully manifest. Most importantly, the realisation and wisdom of the ‘True Self’ will also manifest. The way we live will be guided by wisdom, and we will not be doing things that are damaging to our own lives, the lives of other people or nature. When more and more people are working on their patterns and growing in realisation and wisdom, the world will have more peace and harmony, and the health of the planet will be restored. I firmly believe that if humanity wishes to survive, following a path to realisation and wisdom is the only solution.
* Violetta Petrova, PhD, taught film and media studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Author of The Shadow of Laius (2003). Previously worked as columnist, film reviewer, editor and writer. Since 2005 studies Ren Xue.