Aug
4
0

Quote for week of 8/4/2014

2014-06-28 12.17.04

Drinking tea with Tao is about letting go of all our “stuff” and just being ourselves

as we really our, in our true nature. 

Aaron Fisher (Wu De)

 

FIRE

 

 

 

 

 

We talk a lot about the lower dantian in qigong training. Actually we use it also in meditation and nei dan (internal alchemy) practice as well. The lower dantian, while the first (if you count from the bottom) of three dantians, it is considered the foundation level. As in building a house, we have to start at the bottom, rather than at the top. Many people, on first learning meditation, want to start at the top and begin working with the upper dentian or third eye center and often get themselves into energetic trouble. To the Daoists, it is very important that one builds a foundation before beginning such practices. It’s like attempting to put the roof on before building the foundation. The center will not hold.

Of course middle dantian or heart center practice is very important. As a matter of fact, this is the center that women are often told to begin with. In Daoist tradition, woman are seen as not only energetically superior to men but are also spiritually superior as well. This is, of course, a generalization but many women have a much easier time opening their hearts to Source than many men do.

In any case, beginning with the lower dantian is always a good way to go. The lower dantian is also closer to our kidney center, which is where our jing is said to be stores. Jing, which we receive at conception, is the repository of our sexual energy. This can also be linked to the aging process. (Here again, women have a better deal than men since they don’t lose jing energy during sex, as men do. Go to any retirement center and you will see many more women there than men, who don’t usually live as long. Of course, this is a whole other subject. For more on this look at my book The Tao of Intimacy and Ecstasy.)

Good sexual energy doesn’t just mean good sex but also good reproduction and even a sense of vital health and greater creativity as well. And, since the kidneys are associated with the water element the lower dantian is also associated with water.

On the other hand, the middle dantian or heart center is associated with the element fire. In Daoist tradition, the heart is also the home of the mind. Most of what we think of as the cognitive mind is said to live in the heart center. In basic nei dan meditation we are taught to put the fire energy of the mind down into the water center of our lower dantian. This is often illustrated as a cauldron with the fire underneath the water.

What happens when fire is placed under water? The water turns to vapor, or qi, and rises. This is part of the process of transforming water or jing into qi or vapor. It is the beginning of a long process of transforming or transmuting jing energy to qi, qi to shen or spiritual energy and then shen to Dao – the mystical journey in Daoism.

But the lower dantian, the belly, is the place to start. In Chapter Three of the Daode Jing Laozi tells us that sages “empty their heart/minds and fill their bellies (dan tian).” What do they fill them with? With qi, with intention, with focus, with breath. By breathing slowly and deeply “from our heels” as Zhuangzi said, we fill our abdomen, allowing it (not forcing it) to expand when we inhale and contract as we exhale. (Of course there are other breathing patterns used in Daoist practice but this is the basic one). By building a strong foundation in our lower dantian, by bringing the fire of the mind into the water of the belly we are able to begin the process of transforming our jing, transmuting our qi and enhancing our shen – all steps in the long path of bringing ourselves back to our Source, to Dao.

 

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!

Zhuangzi

meditation

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!

 

shiva

 

“Eternity, it’s all around, it’s in the sound.

Love comes down with the rain, the lovely rain.”

Matura – Dharma Wheelswww.maturamusic.com

 

“It’s all love or calling for love.”

Fantuzzi – Divine Inspirationwww.fantuzzimusic.com

 

 

Jul
16
0

Solala Blog 7/16/14

 

DOGS
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. https://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 solala@abodetao.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!