Interveiw with Andrew Fretwell about Chi Nei Tsang.
Adriana Bozagiu a Romanian jornalist for a Cypriot magazine recently interveiwed Andrew Fretwell about Chi Nei Tsang
Adriana Bozagiu: You teach and practice Chi Nei Tsang (CNT). What is CNT? What does CNT do?
Andrew Fretwell: What it is, is a very simple message to the abdomen. To help create space in the abdominal cavity for the internal organs to function better. And another way of looking at that is, if our energy doesn’t flow, if it doesn’t move, then we can get sick. So CNT is a way to help your energy move in a very natural, very balanced way. And nothing is as powerful as working on the abdomen.
When you work on the abdomen, the energy moves and you feel good. And it connects you to your real Self. To your Authentic Self. It connects people to their real self. It helps and goes deeper than their mind, deeper than their feelings, it helps them connect to the spirit, to the part of themselves that never changes. And I can see this. Every time I give CNT, I see people, their spirit, their soul; the light comes out of the face and people become themselves. It’s wonderful. People just become themselves.
Adriana Bozagiu: How do we know that we are totally released of the emotions of the past during the CNT massage?
Andrew Fretwell: I don’t think its total in other words never have similar feeling again, especially with really strong trauma from the past, a lot of these things we bring in, our soul actually chooses our childhood and our parents. Chooses it for particular lessons, so we actually come in and we actually learn particular lessons from our parents and so, I don’t think especially these really deep traumas. Let’s say you came into a family where, let’s just give an example, where you were hit a lot. So, from our perspective, that looks very terrible. But from a spiritual perspective, there’s a much bigger understanding why that happened. In fact, we choose our parents for reasons… And so, what looks terrible on the physical level, from the spiritual perspective might be very important for us. It may teach us something.
Also what is very important is to honour that, not to invalidate it if you were hit as a child that is very traumatic so you don’t say to people as well your soul needed to learn this. That is not very compassionate. And so, of course, if I give CNT to someone who had that experience when they were younger a lot pain and sadness will come out. But I don’t think we ever really fully let go of it. I mean, I think there will always be memories of it and every now and again it will come up. We will understand it. When it comes up it is not so overwhelming, it is not so, it doesn’t take us over. So, especially these very deep life lessons, I think are there in our life for a reason. Like in my experience, in my case, I had a very hard time with people judging me. It was a very traumatic experience. When I was young I was just being myself, being a very innocent child and suddenly I was judged for being natural. So, when that happens now, I still feel the pain of that but I understand, I know where it comes from, it doesn’t take me over. and I don’t have to act based on that. And I think it’s an important life lesson for me, because it taught me how to be compassionate for people, and how hurtful it can be when you judge someone.
Adriana Bozagiu: So I have heard you say that we can regress to childhood while we are being massaged. Can we go further, to the intra-uterine period, let’s say?
Andrew Fretwell: Sure. Absolutely. I mean, not only that, we can go back before we were born. You carry a sort of memory inside of you from your ancestors. So it is very common. That is why we tend to repeat the same pattern our parents had, so someone has to break that pattern. So, it is quite common that we carry many things inside of our body. Especially the inheritance of our parents and ancestors.
Adriana Bozagiu: How old is Chi Nei Tsang? Which are the origins of this type of massage?
Andrew Fretwell: You know, it’s just so funny, I was just in Constanta Romania and I gave many people CNT and a lot of people came and they weren’t even in my class, people came and Romanian people came. And one woman came, she was the mother of one of my students, and after I gave her a massage and she was so happy and she told me: You know, 40 years ago, there was a Romanian woman who came in our house and she gave the same massage to my father when he was sick, and it was the same, she said. And I said, this is fantastic, because my belief is that CNT is not just of Chinese Taoist origin, I think all over the world in traditional cultures they have some form of abdominal massage and it usually comes from the older people, the wise woman, the wise man, they understand these things. It’s passed down from generation to generation. So, I think is very old, I think is thousands of years old. And it’s not just from China, it is in all old traditional cultures. But it is hidden, it’s very hidden. It is not so known.
Adriana Bozagiu: Can you tell us more about the role of disease in people’s lives? And about healing too.
Andrew Fretwell: So, everyone agrees that disease is not something we want. But somehow it is part of life. I mean there are many answers to this question. Of course it is not pleasant to get sick. But we have to understand why we get sick, and a lot of times, sickness and illness comes from denial, from denial of our self, from denial of our emotions, denial of our feelings, denial of our experience.
Certain sicknesses are more like genetic, inherited like if you have something in you DNA, from a long time ago, it’s carried in your genes, then this is not emotional, this is more like something inherited. And so, sickness is a fact of life. You cannot escape it. I think it’s a big mistake to think that we can go through life and never be sick. So there are many aspects to this question.
The most important thing is to understand when we start to get sick if we can catch it early, we can feel the symptoms. So, for example, if you’re always getting a sore neck, it’s to listen to your body, what your body is trying to tell you, before it goes chronic. So, many times we have symptoms and we don’t want to feel what those symptoms represent, so we take drugs to stop the symptoms. And then the sickness goes deeper. And so then we have to deal with it… So in my experience many sicknesses, many illnesses actually have an emotional component, of not facing your feelings, of not facing something in your life; something that is difficult. CNT helps you come to terms with what is difficult inside yourself.
And I don’ t want to give the impression that I have this together either, I mean this is a challenge for me as well. I mean sometimes I get a sore back and that means I take on too much , sometimes I feel tired , I mean I had to work on myself, I mean, it doesn’t matter. Even a great teacher or someone who is a great master has to deal with symptoms and their problems; this is part of life. We have to embrace it and to accept this part of life. And I think if we can do that and not feel sorry for ourselves, it is very common, when we feel sick we feel sorry for ourselves. Generally, I don’t feel sorry for myself when I am sick, I just honour the fact: Hey, I am sick and try to understand what my body is telling me, and that is all.
Adriana Bozagiu: Are you grateful when you are sick?
Andrew Fretwell: I don’t know if I can say that I am grateful. I think I would be a saint if I would say that I was grateful. (He is laughing) I mean you have to be on a very high level to be grateful for your sickness. I am not on that level, when I am sick I am not particularly happy about it.
Adriana Bozagiu: Why is the abdomen so important? Why do we feel all the emotions in the stomach?
Andrew Fretwell: It has a lot to do with our digestive system. So, if we think about our digestive system, it is all a hollow tube actually. We start here, with our lips and it goes all the way through our body, all the way to the anus, there are more lips there, our anus, so another pair of lips, so it is like a tube, all the way through our body. In fact when we take food it is the environment, the world coming into us. That is a way to think about it. The environment coming in through the tube and it is only in the small intestine that the environment goes into the vili of the small intestine and goes into our body. So actually our digestive system is not really inside us. It is a tube and it only enters in the small intestines through the vili of the small intestine, and the environment comes into us. And certain food when it comes into the intestine it is difficult to digest. And it can cause gas, it can cause pain and it is very upsetting for us. And in the same way our feelings come into us, through our digestive system, through the stomach. I don’t know why, that is the way God made us. I have no idea why, I mean why don’t they come into the brain. I mean, the scientists will tell you that in the brain, but we all know, we feel things in our belly. And it is related to food. Food, air and emotions are things that come into us, for us to digest and absorb life. Life experience is air, food and feelings. Experiences. We can say experiences. Experiences, food and life. They all nurture us in some way, they all give us something. Can you imagine if we only ate food, and we didn’t have any emotional experience, we would be dead. So, experiences are also something that we need to digest.
That is why the abdomen is so important, because sometimes emotions like food, cannot be digested. It is difficult to digest emotions. And so they stay there. And they are stored there in the internal organs. And Chi Nei Tsang practitioners come along and open it up and help you come to terms with what is inside.
Adriana Bozagiu: What is the Tan Tien?
Andrew Fretwell: So, it is basically three fingers below the navel and it is inside. So, is in the centre of the body, so it is not on the surface. It is an energetic centre. The exact translation is “Field of the Elixir”. The elixir of immortality. It is the place where we can form our immortal body. Where we can bring our spirit into some tangible experience here on Earth. So, it is a very mystical place