It is difficult to place a number or a value on the ways in which the soul grows.
Two years ago, after a series of events and insights, I found myself browsing the webpage for the Five Immortals Temple. I began reading the content that was immediately available; course descriptions, class schedules, various paragraphs of scripture, as well as summaries from previous students. I found that the more I read the more intrigued I became. In all honesty my decision came about relatively quickly; I was going to go to study the Dao in China. Specifically at the Five Immortals Temple. It was only a matter of when.
In this moment I feel I should touch on one subject which was, for me, a key factor in choosing to come to this specific location and study under this specific master. That subject is the authenticity that was expressed through the website about the value and depth of the teachings that were being offered. The truth of which has been validated, for me, through my experience thus far. Yes, there is the very physical aspect of the training one must endure to become proficient at any of the martial arts; that much is a given. However, what was, and is, unique and attractive to me is the offering of all of the other dimensions of what it means to truly study the Dao; a concept I make no notion of fully understanding, only merely that I have caught a glimpse of the seemingly infinite depth and vastness of these teachings. For me this is where I find great value.
Existence is so vast. Experience is immense. To truly be a student of life one must not only study the physical theories and lessons of life. One must open themselves to the understanding that all dimensions of existence hold value and wisdom. That with the guidance and teachings of a benevolent master, through study, diligent practice, time and sweat, one will being to make progress through the vast journey of cultivation. The capacity to facilitate this process is what is unique about the Five Immortals Temple and the master, Li Shi Fu, who resides and teaches here.
It is difficult to place a number or a value on the ways in which the soul grows. The truth of this is reflected in the wisdom that was shared with me during my stay here. A friend shared with me, at a point in our conversation, that true transformation is that which happens gradually, not in an instant. It is an experience that subtly weaves itself through our existence and only with time and reflection of where we are and where we have come from do we truly see the ways in which we have changed and grown. To look in the mirror each day it appears we have not changed, have not aged. To look at a picture from years ago the truth then becomes clear.
But, that being said, the quality of that which one can experience here in one month is vastly different than what we experience in our regular day-to-day lives. I reflect upon this month and I can see the ways in which I’ve grown. The easy ones are the physical aspects; the strength, flexibility, body awareness and proficiency with movement. The more difficult ones to define are the mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions. However, I can feel from within that the space I now hold has changed. As time goes on maybe I will have a deeper understanding of the ways in which this experience has changed me. But for now I am content knowing I have found a place where I can make exponential in through this process. I will leave here with more light, with a more solid ground to stand upon, and with more insight and clarity regarding my own potential, as well as what it truly means to be given the gift of existence.