RSS of interest…

  • Lessons in Stillness From One of the Quietest Places on Earth November 9, 2017
    Twelve to 14 feet of rain fall here annually, and the plant life is monumental: I was immersed in a forest’s cathedral stillness ... worried about is a real health danger, researchers now say. Increasingly, they believe that quiet is a long-neglected ...
  • Silence is Golden November 25, 2015
    But most times nowadays we have to either travel out of town or wake up early to catch the stillness we all need. I enjoy getting up and meditating at 5 a.m. before the streets around me get busy ... between noise and heart health. Medical evidence ...
  • The Daily Practice That May Be As Vital To Your Health As Exercise June 4, 2015
    Though his life may have looked like a dream, Iyer says in reality, he was so busy that he never stopped to consider ... In fact, he says that finding moments of quiet in our day is as vital to our health and well-being as exercise. In the above clip ...
  • Relish in the Quiet of Chester Hike May 1, 2015
    And in the heart of the park ... But on this morning hike, only quiet greeted us as we set off from the parking area near the bottom of this reservoir. The stillness enveloped us as we took to the blue and red-marked Pattaconk Trail.
  • Happy snap your way to inner calm June 20, 2014
    The idea your mobile phone could help you find inner peace and stillness might seem laughable. But the camera in your phone can be a perfect tool to do just that, one mental health advocate ... it's a great way to still a busy mind, says Johnstone, who ...
  • Everything You Need to Know About Meditation March 23, 2014
    Ideally, you get mindful in a quiet ... busy, but it's not like I'm the secretary of state. By week three, I was able to get in the zone faster. I went on for 20 minutes, as does hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, author of the new book Success Through ...
  • Health Checkup: The values and benefits of doing nothing July 9, 2013
    We are more of a "Just Do It" nation (thank you, Nike) and are fast-paced and busy and value accomplishment ... and feelings is a still deeper place where the heart stores its wisdom. It's the still quiet place that connects us all. Spending a few minutes ...
  • Where do you go to find peace and quiet? In South LA, it can be a challenge May 26, 2013
    The notion of stillness and quiet is central to him and his congregation's school ... or the temple grounds where Kodani worships, shows that, even in the heart of busy South L.A., one can still find places where the world slows down.
  • Straight from the heart March 23, 2012
    It was sent from England, on a whim, by a friend filling up a quiet morning in a country kitchen anointed ... Carved out a slice of stillness in a busy day, forcing myself into a soul-concentration as her reverie was answered with another.
  • Too Busy? April 3, 2011
    Feeling really busy or in a hurry can make you so task-focused that you ignore others' needs as well as your own. In the famous Princeton Good Samaritan study, nearly all the students observed walked right past a man apparently having a heart attack on the ...

Help Make the Laughing Heart Guide More Intelligent, Interactive and Personalized

Imagine if you could have your own personal intelligent guide dedicated to helping you, your friends, organization, or community cultivate and apply Laughing Heart whenever it can be most beneficial in the world:

  • A resource to develop steadiness and balance in hard times.
  • A trusted friend to guide you toward wise decisions.
  • A platform to connect you with interesting new friends and colleagues who share your passions.
  • A new way of learning and discovering surprising connections among seemingly unrelated domains of knowledge.
  • An immediate means to cascade acts of kindness and generosity in the world.
  • As many other ways as you can imagine and innovate to bring Laughing Heart into the world.

For Benefactors and Sponsors of the Laughing Heart App Initiative

Initial Donation Goal For This Project is $50,000. Use of Funds: To Build, Test, and Promote the Laughing Heart Intelligent Guide App in 2017. Donations of any amount you can afford are gratefully welcome. Please make your contribution directly to "Alliances for Discovery" via check or Paypal below, or if you prefer, to the The Santa Barbara Foundation earmarked for the Laughing Heart Initiative. All Santa Barbara residents have a lifetime free membership.

Charter Sponsor Packages

Springs of Amethysts - $100

  • Public Recognition as a Laughing Heart Charter Sponsor

Rivulets of Moonstones - $500

  • Amethysts awards plus:
  • Signed copy of Julian Gresser Piloting Through Chaos—The Explorers Mind(2013)
  • 5 free copies of the Intelligent Guide with one year memberships

Sparkles of Opal - $1K

  • All of Amethyst and Moonstone awards plus
  • 10 free copies of the Intelligent Guide with one year memberships
  • Public lecture, webinar, or other program in your honor
  • 3 signed copies of Julian Gresser Piloting Through Chaos—The Explorers Mind(2013)

Fountains of Pearls - $5K

  • All of Amethyst, Moonstone, and Opal awards plus:
  • Designation of favorite cause for Paying Forward in Laughing Heart Launch Celebration
  • Three (3)public lectures on Laughing Heart with attribution to benefactor
  • 5 signed copies of Julian Gresser Piloting Through Chaos—The Explorers Mind(2013)

Jade Eddies of Laughing Hearts - $10K

  • Amethysts, Moonstone, Opal, and Pearl awards, plus:
  • Specially published “smart” book celebrating charter sponsors and their contributions, updated quarterly.
  • Prominent visibility as a Charter Jade Sponsor on the Vital Santa Barbara web site and within the Laughing Heart Network
  • Bi-annual ½ day Laughing Heart Discovery Seminarsat office or transferable as a gift to favorite causes.

Sapphire Brooks of Laughing Hearts - $25K

  • All of Amethyst, Moonstone, Opal, Pearl, and Jade awards plus:
  • Two (2) Bi-annual ½ day Laughing Heart Discovery Seminarsat office or transferable as a gift to your favorite cause.
  • Free advertising as sponsor for Laughing Heart TV SBseries and public acknowledgement at Laughing Heart Community Workshop hosted by the Santa Barbara Center on Lifelong Learning.
  • Promotion and paying forward empowerment for three (3) causes of importance to Charter Sponsor.

Contact Us

Ruby Streams of Laughing Hearts - $35K

  • All of the Amethyst, Moonstone, Opal, Pearl, Jade, and Sapphire awards plus:
  • 10 hours of dedicated free consulting time to community causes of highest priority to sponsor
  • One full day (1) training program with materials for organization of choice to Charter Sponsor.
  • Special prize award to designated cause of choice

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Diamond Rivers of Laughing Hearts - $50K

  • All of Amethyst, Moonstone, Opal, Sapphire, Ruby awards plus:
  • Two full day (1) training programs with materials for organizations of choice to Charter Sponsor.
  • Matching grants to designated organizations of choice any time within three years after release of Version 1.0 of the Intelligent, Interactive, Personalized Guide.

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The Laughing Heart Fund

The Laughing Heart Initiative is establishing a special Fund in collaboration with visionary philanthropists, corporations, and foundations to direct new sources of funding and other forms of support to causes and organizations that are applying Laughing Heart principles to relieve human suffering in all its manifestations. The goal of the Fund is to create compounding beneficial leverage by encouraging effective collaborative among receipts to maximize Laughing Heart Advantage for the largest number of beneficiaries. Financial and other support will be available through:

  • Special prizes
  • Direct Grants
  • Joint financing
  • Mobilizing volunteers and paying forward initiatives to designated beneficiaries
  • Celebrations
  • Client Co-branding
  • Other contributions in kind
  • Support for local communities



Move #1
Quieting the Heart



Quieting the Heart is the tonic—the first musical note. It is the foundation state. Quieting the Heart enriches all other moves. When the heart becomes quiet, your Mind also settles down.

How to quiet the heart?

Simply relax. Be loose. Empty your mind. Forget yourself.

Now bring your attention to the area of your heart: not only your physical heart, but also an energetic field surrounding your heart at the center of your chest. Ease into this place.


Imagination can help. Imagine the quiet of a bright moon shining over a silent lake. The bright moon and the lake are inside your heart.

Now imagine that your heart field is opening, very slowly, and a clear mist is rising from your heart. Ask yourself, “How does it feel?”

Combining Age and Youth

When your heart quiets, you see more clearly. It is easy to demonstrate this. Slowly open your eyes and observe. You needn’t do anything. Things naturally become clearer. This is a new way of perceiving with your heart, and your eyes, and your mind simultaneously. You see, feelingly.

Now return to the exuberance of your youth. The two states merge. You possess the wisdom of age and this bubbling vitality. It is a gift, available to you, anywhere, anytime.

Laughing Heart as an Elixer or Tincture

There are many tributaries to Laughing Heart. Imagine yourself doing what you love most. You can think of Laughing Heart as a special tincture or elixir that you simply add to what you already love to do.

Now, Stop, Look, and Go! Pause to experience this gift of life and savor the radiance of this special moment with gratefulness for your life. You might want to replay this extraordinary video by Brother David Steindl-Rast. (“Stop. Look. Go.” Note: please scroll down.)

How do you know you are in a Laughing Heart state?

Here’s a check list. Note: It is the combination of these elements that gives Laughing Heart its unique quality. How many of these qualities can you experience simultaneously? See if you can catch the special flavor.

[__]   Deep relaxation

[__]   Loose and agile (the key to relaxation!)

[__]   Open-Hearted

[__]   No stress, no worries

[__]   Flowing

[__]   Connected

[__]   Vital Spiraling Energy or Life Force

[__]   Mentally alive and alert

[__]   Balanced (emotionally and energetically)

[__]   Loving

[__]   Resilient

[__]   Confident

[__]   Courageous

[__]   Timeless

[__]   Befriending Uncertainty  

[__]   Grateful

Printable PDF Checklist


Author’s commentary

When practicing the qigong forms in these videos it is interesting to explore them as metaphors for the ebb and flow of life. See what you can discover.

Li Jing – Calming the Heart
Return to Spring by Li Junfeng
Awakening the Soul by Li Junfeng

Quieting the Heart tonifies and sharpens all the senses. You can see and feel more clearly and expansively. Your intuition deepens. Thus Quieting the Heart is closely linked to the next Move–Finding Your Power.

Emotive Reaction Range? Hints: mystery, not knowing, wonder, surprise, suppliance, grateful/gratitude

  1. Traveling Without Jet Lag–Comments from Qigong Grandmaster Li Junfeng

    The essential point Master Li makes is there is no silver bullet: you can’t manipulate or medicate your way out of jet lag while traveling. But you can learn how to relax and open yourself to a free source of energy of the universe (qi and love). Relaxing and rejuvenating in this way are in fact one and the same. With practice your Laughing Heart becomes integral within your life; you can naturally relax in circumstances or conditions that previously were extremely stressful. Master Li remarks that when he was younger–he is now 79– he had difficulty adjusting in the first three days after arrival in a long journey. But now as he ages, he is more relaxed and adaptive– one might even suggest younger in this respect.

  2. Yesterday Angela and I visited the Peabody/Exeter Museum and there was an exhibition on the moon. The moon is closely associated with Laughing Heart. Since ancient times across many cultures it is a source of fertility, creativity, and regeneration. Here is the stunning video, Moonwalk, that is on display. It illustrates the connection of quieting the heart, balance, and action.

  3. The Heart of the Sufi

    “When our heart is at peace, we cannot lose the way.” These are the words of an ancient Sufi in the extraordinary film, “Bab’Aziz (The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul.” It is the third part of a trilogy by the Tunisian director, Nacer Khemir. “We see with the eyes of the heart, feelingly,” the Sufi continues.

    The embracing philosophy of Sufism, in particular the transcendent role of heart, is expressed eloquently by the famous Sufi master, Ibn Arabi (, ):

    “My heart can be pasture for deer and a convent for monks, a temple for idols and a Kaaba for the pilgrims. It is both the tables of the Torah and the Koran. It professes the religion of Love wherever its caravans are heading. Love is my law. Love is my faith.”

  4. The Heart/Mind Bright as a Mirror

    I asked my friend, Ruth, who tried Quieting the Heart for the first time what was her experience in 15 seconds,

    “Everything appears brighter” she replied.
    Why does everything appear brighter, I asked? What is happening?

    When the qi transforms as in the practice of Quieting the Heart, as expressed poetically in the Chinese language, it becomes “quiet as the moon, clear like water, and bright like a mirror.

    That evening I recalled this extraordinary koan that seems somehow beautifully connected:

    Blue Cliff Record # 82—Ta Lung’s Hard and Fast Body of Reality

    A monk asked a teacher, “When the physical body perishes and decomposes; what is the hard and fast (everlasting) body of reality?”

    The teacher replied, “The mountain flowers bloom like brocade; the valley streams are brimming blue as indigo.”

  5. Quieting the Heart in Managing Performance Anxiety

    I am learning the way of Big Heart Intelligence. It is a very powerful and versatile tool that can be applied in many different ways to address many different challenges. I am struck by its power and versatility. It resonates very deeply with me and leads me to wonder if it could assist others and me with performance anxiety.

    Music was my first love. I started playing the piano at age 4 and the flute at age 7. I enjoyed it and it came rather easy for me. I had a lot of support for my musical education as I was born into a musical family. My mother was a gifted soprano and my father played four different instruments; the banjo, the clarinet, the alto saxophone and the piano. He would accompany my mother on occasion.

    Whenever we would visit family or friends that had a piano, my father always told them that I played the piano and they would ask me to play for them. I hated this but said nothing. Over time the possibility of having to perform for people generated a source of dread. As soon as we entered someone’s home I would scan their living room to see if there was a piano and breathed a sigh of relief when I did not see the instrument. However, one night, I was asked to play and made one mistake. When we returned home, my father asked, “why did you make a mistake?” I responded that I did not like to play for strangers and that it makes me nervous. To this he asked, “Why are you nervous? If I played as well as you do, I would want to play for others all of the time.” It was at this moment when piano performance anxiety solidified. I had less performance anxiety with the flute and it became my love. Plus the flute did not have the same performance history as the piano attached to it. I grew as a musician and performed in recitals, and took my certification exams at the Settlement Music School where I studied both instruments. I did well but continued to suffer with and through the performance anxiety.

    In 2001, after a 26-year musical hiatus, I returned to formal music study. Since I had braces as an adult I decided to study the piano. I returned to the Settlement Music School and worked with a wonderful teacher. I was delighted to have her as my teacher and she was delighted to have me as her student. We began to work on Bach’s Piano Concerto in F minor arranged for two pianos/four hands. After we had worked on it for a while she announced that she wanted us to perform it in an upcoming recital. I could not believe it but I reluctantly agreed. The old performance anxiety returned and returned with a vengeance. On the recital stage, my hands shook uncontrollably, my palms were sweaty and my heart raced. I tried to play the opening few notes and I had to stop. I could not go through with it. This never happened previously. I could not believe it, my teacher was shocked, and my two daughters were sad. However, through the encouragement and support of my teacher, my children, my choir director and my church I continued to play and it got a little easier to perform as time passed.

    I have learned over the years that performing artists have a gift and gifts are to be shared. When we give freely our heart is quiet, open and our focus is on others. I never had the opportunity to learn this in my youth and was denied the agency to share my gift freely with others. As a result the focus was placed on me, my error, and perhaps, how that embarrassed him/the family.

    Every performing artist who suffers with performance anxiety has their own unique story but I think it would be interesting to explore how quieting the heart create a positive chain reaction that can help people free themselves of anxiety and replace it with joy.

    Ruth Perry, M.D.

  6. “A man’s work is nothing except this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.”
    Albert Camus

    This above sculpture by a youthful Michelangelo captures the quietude and original innocence of Laughing Heart.

    Sculpture (1564) of Michelangelo by Michelangelo’s nephew, Daniele Da Volterra (1509-1566). From the Medici-granducal collections

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