Interview with a Healer – Mince Chang
Olivia Wood, Editor in Chief at The Healing Network (THN), talks to Mince Chang : Banker-Turned-Energy-Guru, 43, from Durham, UK
Time and Place: 28 May 2016, Dharamkot, Dharamsala, India
OW: What brings you to India, Mince?
MC: Travelling, learning Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Yoga, meeting amazing people, and sharing energy.
How long have you been travelling?
3 years – mainly in India; also in South East Asia and China.
What were you doing before?
I worked in banking, IT and accountancy. All the sexy jobs (he chuckles).
What made you quit?
My dad passed away from cancer. I knew that I needed to heal and that going to India was the beginning.
To undertake this process would be a long journey; it was going to be hard and painful. So I had to quit the corporate world.
How did you know that India was the place to begin?
My twin (Minker Chang) left the corporate world 5 years ago and became a Yoga Teacher. I saw the change in him. It’s a cliché, but he became more spiritual. He was always a caring person, but his actions matched his heart after India.
Where did you first land in India?
Kerala. We went straight to Amma’s ashram (after stopping off in Kochi for ice cream of course!)
What was your experience like at Amma’s ashram?
It’s almost like going back to university. You’re ‘the new kid on the ashram block’. Everyone’s wearing whites, you’re sharing a dorm – you’re a shy teenager again. And that’s before you meet Amma! That’s a life-changing experience. She’s Mother India, personified.
Did you get a hug?
I got 2 (he beams)! You get one on the first day, or the last, but because I was a twin she waved us back for an extra one!
I like to think I made Amma laugh and cry. She opens your heart, she takes away your bad Karma. All in a simple hug, she gives unconditional love.
Were you a Yogi at this point?
I’d done Studio Yoga – ‘The Western Approach’ – in gyms. A bit of Ashtanga. I didn’t know then the other Limbs of Yoga.
What was your first impression of India?
(Laughs loudly) The things that draw you to India initially are the colours, the sounds, the cows. It’s actually the bad things, you learn, which make India good.
Applying for a passport teaches you patience. Travelling anywhere teaches you patience. As my Yoga teacher (Sophia La Pastina) says: “Yoga is not in an ashram, or on a mat, it’s any time you have to do something.”
Every time India challenges you, you learn a new lesson.
What has India taught you?
To open my spiritual heart, to surrender the ego.
Understanding that all the different healers, yogis, jugglers, martial artists – we all work with energy – and there’s so much interesting stuff coming up all the time. What India shows you though is the importance of a Guru: someone with a lineage who teaches ancient wisdom.
Do you have a Guru?
Not yet (laughs, smiling). But I’m looking.
Sophia would say: “You are your own best teacher. Don’t listen to me; listen to your body.”
What kind of Yoga do you practice?
Mainly Hatha, with Bhakti. When my body feels like it I like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kundalini. My daily practice is a mix of Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong.
How have you been able to support yourself (financially) to travel for so long?
When I was an evil banker I made quite a bit of money. I paid off a mortgage and now live off rental income, which is enough to get by (he shrugs, modestly).
What do you spend your days doing?
It’s a bit like Groundhog Day: every day is the same, but you learn something different.
Whether it’s in your practice or during the day, you’re constantly learning about your own energies. And with healing you’re learning other people’s.
What kind of Healers have you met on your travels?
It depends which mode I am in. If I’m in my Tai Chi practice I meet 80% martial artists. If I’m doing Yoga, it’s a lot more varied. Then you’re meeting the healers, the jugglers, the people with open Chakras who can tap into their own greater potential.
What has Yoga taught you?
My Hatha Yoga teacher has taught me that Yoga should be fun. You should be laughing without having to do ‘Laughing Yoga’.
Keep it simple – focus on the breath. It’s the inner process rather than the external.
Bhakti Yoga – that’s the important stuff – setting an intention and all that. Surrender … (he laughs, looking up to the sky) … as always!
What does ‘surrender’ mean to you?
Letting go of The Ego.
It doesn’t necessarily mean surrendering to a higher spiritual power. It means focusing whatever you do with deep devotion, and whatever challenges come your way, you keep facing them.
Yoga, as well as being blissful, teaches you about your Inner Goddess, your Inner God: being strong like a warrior, but humble, like my favourite God, Ganesha.
What do you do with all these healing tools?
At the moment I’m mainly self-healing, learning about the energies, seeing how the energies work in combination with each other. I give a physical Tai Chi massage to friends with Reiki to balance spiritual energies.
As a Healer I was taught all these different techniques mainly for free, through energy transmissions. So I don’t charge.
One of the lessons I learnt in India is energy exchange. Everyone knows something. It’s about grabbing hold of that knowledge, and sharing yours back.
The more you surrender to the Universe, and the more you devote your Heart to something, the more the Universe listens.
What are your hopes and dreams?
To continue learning every day. Yoga and Tai Chi: it’s a lifestyle. I want to progress, maybe one day teach and set up a healing centre. For now it’s to continue being on a journey.
Are you living your dream life?
Yes. Every day in India is like a movie. You can change the ending, you can just watch and be the witness, or you can actively participate.
Do you think you can bring this energy to the Western World?
Part of me would be interested in going back into the corporate world and teaching Yoga and massage to all the people who work there. I look back at how much tension and stress I had then and didn’t even realise. These are the people who need the most healing.
On the other hand, when you do all this healing you end up hanging out with people on a higher vibrational level, and I’m in that flow.
What do you think needs to change about the Western (Capitalist) System?
The corporate world is very male dominated. It’s Yang energy – fire, metal. It needs to learn female energy.
How can this be achieved?
You can’t change from the top-down; most of us don’t understand how to change the external world. So part of the idea in going back to teach Yoga and massage is to get people to learn about grassroots change, and self-healing.
The system’s not broke; it’s the people within it. If you heal the people, you heal the system. We don’t need a revolution, we need an involution.
(Which is just what we’re doing at THN! *shameless plug*)
What advice can you give to people stuck in lives they’re not satisfied with?
Listen to your inner voice. You’ll know when you’ve made the right choice if you feel like a lot of weight’s been lifted.
What is the biggest challenge of this nomadic lifestyle?
Going home! Being on holiday in India is the easy part; it’s using what She’s given you when you go home that counts. As Ram Dass says: “If you think you’re spiritual, go home and see your family.”
For me, it’s using what I’ve learnt here to heal my own family, and beyond.
Thank you, dear brother, for sharing your story and Divine words. Your huge smile, open heart and laughing eyes bring joy, healing and inner strength to all you meet.