When inner light shines forth, outward appearances are forgotten. It is all too easy to forget what should not be forgotten and not to forget what should be forgotten. This is true forgetfulness!
I went to a concert last week with a friend. It was outside of town in a beautiful meadow with a wooden stage at one end. It was great to be in the country and visit with various friends and listen to the deep devotional music of my friend Matura, who was accompanied by much of the cream of Eugene musicians. After his set another pretty amazing musician named Fantuzzi came up on stage and shared his wonderful heart soul music with us (also accompanied by the creamy musicians.) As evening came on and the stars came out I realized that I would probably get home too late to do my qigong practice. I decided to move over out of the light of the stage and fire into the darkness at the edge of the meadow and see if I could do my practice to the drumming, didge and singing that was going on.
It actually worked out pretty well as I found a rhythm in my form (Primordial Qigong) that worked with the rhythms that were coming from the stage and from the audience. It was a good reminder for me that qigong practice is much more flexible than we often give it credit for. My slow gentle movements meshed very well with the tribal sounds that were dancing thru the meadow that night.
Lately, doing my practice twice a day has had great benefits. And the energetic differences of doing it in the morning and then doing it again at night is very interesting. Not to mention my own energy first thing in the morning and then close to the end of my day at night.
It reminds me that our qigong practice can be experienced in so many different ways. We can move with the different rhythms of life that are constantly going on all around us. We can find a way to flow with and play with and dance with all the currents that carry us along our way……
If we are open and easy about our practice….if we are free in our hearts and spirits (the same thing in Daoism)…if we don’t allow ourselves to get stuck in any one place that is “the correct way” to practice…if we really invest ourselves in our practice…if we really let the practice itself be our teacher…then we will find ever new vistas, opportunities, experiences and levels within levels of cultivation.
Out in that meadow, under the stars, with the music throbbing the night and my friends gathered in front of the stage or back at the bonfire, was a gift and a joy, both with my qigong practice and the opening of my own heart/mind. I am grateful, as always, to my teachers, my practice, my sweetie, and my friends in Dao and indeed!
“Eternity, it’s all around, it’s in the sound.
Love comes down with the rain, the lovely rain.”
Matura – Dharma Wheels – www.maturamusic.com
“It’s all love or calling for love.”
Fantuzzi – Divine Inspiration – www.fantuzzimusic.com
The black girl dog is Lili — short for Lilikoi (Passionfruit) — and the brown boy dog who always smiles and saved Lili’s life when she had kidney troubles as a pup is Koa (like the Hawaiian hardwood).
I’ve just returned from a trip to Boulder and Denver. In Boulder I did a short presentation to some of the good folks at Sounds True, my new publisher. It was great to meet some of the people I have been speaking with and emailing with in the year-long process it took to produce the book. In person, everyone was nicer even than on the phone! It is very exciting to be able to work with such a high-level company, one who really works to make things as smooth as possible during the publishing process and then goes to such lengths to promote the book!
Here is a link to the podcast I did with the Sounds True founder, Tammi Simon. http://bit.ly/1dtEwUT. The link will take you to a whole list of free podcasts that have been done with other very interesting Sounds True authors. (Look for mine under Tao of Intimacy and Ecstasy). We are currently featuring this book on our site at a 20% discount!
Then I went to Denver where my host was Debra Lin Allen, a very gifted qigong healer and mother of an amazing school. While I was there she had a celebration for her graduating class and it was truly touching hearing to hear the stories about their healing journey. (It was a three-tissue event for me.)
Everyone in my class but one were Debra’s students, some of whom have been studying with her for many years, so there was a beautiful cohesiveness in the group, unlike any other class I have taught. I even got to teach a little of Zhuangzi!
One of my friends from our last China Tour, Sarah Freese, joined us, which was a real treat. Not only that but she brought her two dogs! These were not little fluffy things but good sized dogs. I was a bit unsure at first, but I figured if it was alright with Debra it could be all right with me.
Well, the dogs proved to be a really nice addition to the group. They were amazingly well behaved and rolled around in the center of the circle, chewing on their stuffed toys. Then, when we got up to do the movement, they immediately lay down on the floor and didn’t move through our whole form! This is with folks stepping between their legs and over their tails! Doggie Gong!
I have been practicing and teaching the Primordial (Wuji) Qigong form for over 15 years now and it never gets old. The many circling movements just set up such a nice qi field that we are all caught up in the beautiful dance of wuji. I love to travel and teach so if there are any of my readers out there who would like to sponsor a workshop in your area please let me know at email@example.com.
I have also made a new tea friend, Arron Fisher (Wu De) whose book The Way of Tea is a favorite of ours. He lives in Taiwan and publishes an absolutely beautiful journal called Global Tea Hut, which comes each month with a rare tea! See their website at globateahut.org. He also runs a tea ashram called Tea Sage Hut, a school of Dao and Tea. Look for information how you can visit this Tea and Dao center at their site at teasagehut.org.
Wu De is a beautiful soul who really understands the deep teachings of Dao and Tea. I highly recommend anyone interested in the Way of Tea to look him up!
At my class in Denver I performed a tea ceremony and offered three kinds of tea, including an amazing one I got from my friend Wu Zhongxian called Golden Horse Eyebrow, truly a wonderful brew. Thank you Master Wu!
And thank you to all our readers for all the years we have been publishing. It is so much fun to do the journal in color now! I am having such a good time making it as beautiful as I can!
Daoist Nature Meditation
There was something formed in chaos,
coming before heaven and earth,
existing in the silent and tranquil void.
it stands alone and unchanging,
It pervades everywhere without becoming exhausted,
it is the mother of heaven and earth.
I do not know its name
and so call it Dao.
For want of a better word
I call it great.
Being great it is far reaching.
It is far reaching
yet it returns to its source.
Therefore I say that Dao is great,
heaven is great,
earth is great,
and humankind is great.
In the universe there are four greats
and humankind is one of them.
People follow the way of earth;
earth follows the way of heaven;
heaven follows the way of Dao;
Dao follows its own natural way.
Daode Jing Chapter 25
We begin with the season of spring, the time of year when the new growth of trees, plants, flowers and people begin to reach out towards the life-giving sun. The color associated with spring is green. The totem animal is the Green Dragon. The element is wood, the wood of newly growing grasses, plants, trees and flowers. The direction is east, the direction of the sunrise, of new beginnings, new ventures and adventures. The organ associated with spring is the liver. The positive emotion is free-flowingness, our ability to flow freely through the challenges of our lives. It is also associated with flexibility, the flexibility of the young plant to bend with the wind and not be broken.
When we are born we are supple and tender
like a young plant.
When we die we become rigid and unyielding.
The ten thousand beings,
including plants and grasses,
when young are soft and pliable.
At their death they are dry and brittle.
Therefore we say that the stiff and unyielding
are the companions of death.
The soft and yielding are the followers of life.
In the morning sit, stand or lie upon the earth in an area of trees, bushes, flowers or grass. Open your eyes wide and let the good, deep, green color fill your vision. Allow the color green to fill your being with the energy of new growth. Feel your ability to flow freely throughout the challenges of your life as well as your day-to-day life. Feel the excitement of the new sunrise, the new day, the new opportunities each day brings. Allow your inner being to soften and become as flexible as a newly sprouted blade of grass.
Stand facing the warm light of the sun, eyes closed lightly. Feel the love and gentle warmth of the sun flower inside you, filling you up with the fire of joy and expansiveness.
The color associated with summer is red. The totem animal is the Red Phoenix. The element is fire, the fire of joy and creativity. The direction is south. The organ associated with summer is the heart.
You can also swallow the yang fire of the sun down into your dan tian, though usually not more than nine times (so that you do not overload your system with the fiery yang energy of the sun). Feel the energy of the sun, the supporter of all life on our beloved planet as it shines down upon you and within you, filling you up with light and joy.
Earth (the time between each season)
Stand, sit or better yet, lie down upon the good rich earth. Feel it holding you up, supporting you, caressing you. Move your hands along her ground, your fingers caressing the earth. Feel how, when we lie upon the earth we are connected to everyone lese upon the world as they also live their lives upon it.
The color associated with this time is a rich earthy yellow. The totem animal is the Yellow Dragon. The element is earth. The direction is towards the center of the circle. The organ associated with spring is the spleen. The positive emotion is empathy, a sense of groundedness and a deep connection with all other live forms (the ten thousand beings).
Stand, sit or lie down, paying close attention to your breath. Breathe deeply, allowing your lungs to fill all the way up, your abdomen expanding as you inhale. Hold it for a few seconds, then breathe out again, emptying your lungs completely. Imagine your lungs as the precious substance that they are. See them as shining gold. (Usually this element is listed as metal but in the alchemical tradition it is seen as gold, a much warmer and more precious element indeed).
The color associated with autumn is white. The totem animal is the White Tiger. The direction is west, the direction of gathering in for the harvest. The organ associated with autumn is the lungs. The positive emotion is courage.
Sit, stand or lie down by a body of water – a stream, a pond, a lake, a river, the sea. Listen to the sounds that the water makes. Feel it moving through you as the water of your blood moves through you. Feel yourself dissolve into the water and then be reborn again, over and over.
The color associated with winter is a deep blue/black. The totem animal is the Black Turtle (sometimes in combination with a serpent). The element is water, the deep mysterious water from which all life is born. The direction is north and the energy is that of Returning to the Root. The organ associated with winter is the kidney/adrenals. The positive emotion is that of will and concentration.
Practice non-action (wu wei).
Accomplish without accomplishing.
Taste what has no taste.
The great comes from the small.
More begins with less.
Return bitterness with kindness.
Deal with the difficult while it is still easy.
Create the large from the small.
The sage does not try for greatness
And so she is great.
Promises made too lightly are hard to keep.
Easy tasks often become difficult.
The sage is always ready for difficulties
And for this reason never experiences them.