I Want My Mommy
I Want My Mommy
Kurt Levins Sr.
Taoist teachers come in many shapes and forms. There was my first, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto. Then a Chinese guy who owned a fly by night construction company. Then the Chinese cook. Master Lein told me that Taoist teachers are always around if we just open our eyes and ears to find them.
When Master Lein left I retreated to nature and nature became my teacher as he said it would. It still is and I’ve found it to be the best teacher. However I doubt if I could learn from nature if I didn’t have the form (yang) and structure (yin) that my previous teachers had provided.
Well a little while ago I found another great teacher – Sifu Alex. Alex is a physical marvel in tip top physical condition. Able to do full splits and other amazing things with his body, like stick his foot in his mouth. He can climb like a monkey. Amazing simply amazing. His Taoist breathing is perfect. Watching his abdomen rise and fall with each breath represents a pure example of the bellows described in the Tao Teh Ching. But what may be most amazing is that Alex is three years old.
I retired after 27 years of police work and my wife and I decided to have a baby. Alex was born when I was 49. Sometimes I teach him and other times he teaches me. Who am I lying to, mostly he teaches me. Alex is pure Tao, unpolluted by education, science, religion or other constructs of man.
What I want to share with you is an important lesson that Alex has taught. Oh, I had read the lesson and heard the lesson a million times before. In fact, I’ve lived the lesson before. But it was Sifu Alex who really made me realize this lesson.
Only now as I look at the lesson from my seat as a trained and initiated Master I can appreciate its importance.
As I said, I am retired. I am a stay at home Dad while my wife, Alex’s mom, finishes her law enforcement career. I wake with him and take care of him all day. Make breakfast and lunch, play with him. Change the diapers, settle the tantrums and so on. Some might call me Mr. Mom, and I love it. After the yang career of a warrior, spending yin time at home with Alex is a great teacher.
Despite all of my time with Alex, when he gets sick what does he say, who does he turn to? “I want my Mommy,” is what he will say when he is sick. That is the lightning strike of this major lesson that he has taught me-“I want my Mommy.”
How many of us when ill, wouldn’t like our Mommy to show up and take care of us as when we were a baby or toddler or at any age. To wipe our forehead, give us something to eat, rub our backs or just comfort us. I know I would.
My Mom was a special person. Born of Irish heritage she really represented the strong matriarchal image that she had learned from her Mother. So to me as a young child, Mommy could fix anything and was always there for comfort
So where is the big Taoist lesson? We all know we are attached to our mothers in some way. Well here it is. Just as our biological mothers were such great healers when we were young, curing bumps, bruises and assorted other bangs, Mother Earth is a great healer for us all.
I have found that Mother Earth with her magnificent yin power is a great healer. And it seems to me that many of the recurring ills affecting modern man are from excessive yang energy-whether on a micro or macro level. On the macro level global warming is a yang problem. The destruction of the rain forest is a yang problem. Pollution of our seas is a yang problem. Mother Earth can and will heal these problems with her yin power. But remember in the Taoist world, what is reflected without is also reflected within. That is where this lesson can help each and every one of us
I will now teach you a simple technique that can cure many ills such as headache, sinus congestion, upset stomach, and many others. I’ve used it and it works. Do not be alarmed at its simplicity.
The technique is this, simply stand or sit with your bare feet on the ground. That’s it folks. It is that simple. Let Kidney 1, the Bubbling Well connect to Mother Earth. She will take the injured or damaged yin energy and replace it with healthy yin energy. The length of time you need to remain in contact with the Earth varies with the illness.
In early stages of illness, five to ten minutes may be enough. For serious problems 30 minutes to an hour may be needed. Also you may have to repeat this exercise several times. I have used this technique to reduce fever, cure headache and many other problems. It truly does work. Even if it does not remove the problem completely it almost always offers some relief. If the problem is not a lack of yin but chi moving in the wrong direction (a cause of vomiting and nausea) this exercise still seems to work.
It is my belief that we are complete when we come into the world-as is. That is the design of the Creator. Unfortunately man has decided at times that he is smarter than the Creator and so man has created things like shoes. When we walk without shoes, every step allows an infusion of yin energy from Mother Earth. Shoes impair this exchange. Master Lein always required us to do Tai Chi using cotton-soled shoes. Dr. Martin Eisen always liked to do chi kung without shoes. Modern shoes with their rubber, leather or synthetic soles do not allow this exchange of energy. Try doing Three Circle Chi Gung with shoes and then without shoes. You should be able to notice a difference.
But here is a warning. Do not do tai chi forms in bare feet on sand. Instead wear cotton-soled shoes. Why? I did this one-day at the New Jersey shore and it was glorious: Sun, wind, water earth, it was a fusion of the elements- tremendous. The problem? All of the twists and turns of tai chi acted like a dermabrasion on the bottom of my feet- all of the old dead skin was rubbed off by the sand. Later that night when I went to put on shoes and walk, oh boy, very tender feet, sore, pain even. I had promised the family we would spend the evening on the Boardwalk and I kept my word and every step reminded me of the lesson- no tai chi in bare feet on the sand.
Also, when troubled and your mind is jumbled and rumbling with thoughts that won’t calm down, simply sit down in a quiet place and put your bare feet on the ground. Try it and see what happens. Mother Earth will calm you down. Isn’t that what you learned as a child? When things were confusing, when something scared you, what would you do? Go to Mommy for comfort. Well, you still can.
I must go now, Sifu Alex is teaching me another Taoist lesson. What may start out as a wonderful meal, always ends up as poop. Now isn’t that a complete Taoist circle if there ever was one.
Beginning his study of Eastern thought in 1974, Kurt Levins was initiated into the Taoist Priesthood in April of 2001. He was awarded the title of Master in Tai Chi Chuan by Master Lein Chen Cheng of Taiwan. Mr. Levins is Director of the Pinelands Institute of Taoist Studies, Marlton NJ and is available for teaching, consulting and eating bean salad. A retired police officer, Levins also writes on the practical application of Taoist Warrior skills. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 856-797-5897.