Beginning of the fall
Beginning of the fall, slow by slow all the energy of the ground comes down to rest. It is time for the body to slow down too, to let the cold and retraction have their effects upon us… It is a perfect time to listen to Li Shi Fu teachings about Daoist medicine.
The rhythm at the temple during this class is perfect for studying with our body, and with our brain. From the great theories about life and what can bring about disease in the body, to the great movements of Tai Ji, Qi Gong healing and meditation, we work on all aspects of health.
Carried by the strong power of the temple and Li Shi Fu, one by one are all those points explained and shown their place in the global Daoist Healing System.
For me, after several months at the temple, and a few years of experience as an acupuncturist beforehand, this class is the pinnacle. I was always searching for someone who could explain to me about Qi and also who was living it in his body, in daily life, and that’s exactly what Li Shi Fu is giving to us. It’s not so easy like the rest of the teachings offered here at Bai Ma Shan. Challenges and tests are part of the content and we have to put in some effort to reach the knowledge. Like Li Shi Fu says : «Man man lai» , «Slow by slow it comes.»
The content of the class is dense and yet practical at the same time. Li Shi Fu is always testing us with kindness if we get the teachings or not, not like an examination but as a way to be sure that we understand. So I feel really well taught.
It’s really interesting for me to make a synthesis of my knowledge of the past in Qi Gong, theories about medicine, and at the same time learning so much more new content.
I have the feeling I want to get rid of a lot of useless stuff in order to come back to the essence of medicine. Do I want to work with low medicine or try to reach a higher way of practicing it? Making the connection between the natural world, the spirit world and humans is a much more interesting way.
Getting up early
For me, getting up early was always the hardest thing to do, but this place makes you want to run up to the Jade Temple and practice Qi Gong when the mesmerizing sun rises. Feeling that energy involves you, it is addictive. You can feel it growing stronger every day, your qi, your body and your health.
Learning Tai Ji, water style, was fore-feeling because I wanted to learn it for quite a while, and to have the opportunity to do it in a especial place like this is a privilege. The pain, and sore muscles were bitter sweet. With new content every day, the excitement was so big that I easily forgot all that. All the movements that seemed very complex were explained in a way that my body understood them first then my brain! It took all of us a while to get the complete sequence, and join the older students, but once we got there, it was an emotional day for everybody! Slowly stopping the brain thinking every movement and starting to feel it, breathing properly, and relaxing was magical. Even more now that everybody was synchronized.
During the afternoon classes, every single word was precious. Learning about herbs and their benefits, acupuncture methods, as well as the “hows” and “whys” was far deeper then I thought it would be. But still, changing the way we think, and helping others do the same in a positive way is very powerful and as important or more.
The way the knowledge is passed through is so different from what I was used to, especially when we were examined. Never a teacher stood so calmly watching and correcting me without judging what I was doing right or wrong! That made me feel more and more confident, and less afraid to fail. When that happended, learning turned out to be easier.
And then, we learn new Qi Gong! Qi Gong healing that we were been doing before evening meditation and from that point on, the changes were faster and the feeling stronger. It’s amazing to think that you can build your qi, become stronger and later use that to help people get better and get their health restored. I used to think that that was only for gifted people, born already with that power. Now I learn that any of us can do it, in their own rhythm, day by day.
The time goes faster when you feel at home and loving every day of learning, and very quickly a month was gone. Can’t wait to learn and feel what’s coming next!
Gratitude, Compassion, Faith…
One month at Bai Ma Shan and I still have to tell every morning to myself that this is not a dream. Sometimes it feels like a gate opened to me and here I am at the other side of the world, in another dimension. Another dimension of feeling, seeing, perceiving, being.
Starting from the beginning, even if I read the recommendations to travel light and only bring strictly necessary things, I found my “necessary” to be too much as I started climbing the hill. There are things you only know when your body feels it… then you know! That was the first and the beginning of a learning process, an understanding of things brought to a body level. This was to happen again with the learning of Qi Gong and Tai Chi. Learning by doing, repeating, more than getting theoretical explanations. And in this process I started feeling more and thinking less, looking for the real intention behind what I was doing.
Despite my studies in Chinese Medicine, I never had the feeling of not learning, every time I am in the presence and listen to Li Shifu. Sometimes I really have the sensation of totally being a beginner and have the feeling I know nothing.
I think there is a perfect integration of everyone here, regardless of each one’s previous knowledge or physical skills. Everyone in the group has their own strength and weaknesses, own purposes and reasons to be here and each has the possibility to work on what are their own needs. Therefore I think the whole group is absolutely harmonious because it is so heterogeneous. The requirements to practice are clearly showed and explained and we are taken to be responsible and conscientious in our own discipline, which is great.
The contents of the Daoist Medicine course are a true challenge, since I didn’t learn most of them before and the handicap of not understanding the Chinese language is giving me some headache, so I definitely understand now the importance of getting prepared at this level before coming here. I hope there will be a next time for me and I will put effort on learning to communicate in Chinese. Still about the contents, I find herbal medicine a bit difficult, because the plants are showed and explained very quickly and there is not enough time or information given to be able to use them or to combine them. As a suggestion, maybe herbal medicine should be a separated course with enough time and practical teachings.
I realize Li Shifu is giving us real treasures of his knowledge. I always wished in my relationship with my patients, to be able to bring deeper intention and authenticity into my treatments. And I feel here that all is going into this direction. I see first happening that I’m working a lot here at the Temple on how to self-regulate, to cultivate this deeper intention and authenticity towards myself, kind of a self-healing and this is simply magical. In only one month I feel stronger and more grounded, stronger on my legs, on my heart, on my thoughts. Fear gives slowly place to faith and confidence. I’m very grateful to Li Shifu to open the Temple and his home to all of us and for opening our hearts and our thoughts.
Gratitude, Compassion and Faith, those are the words I whisper everyday when I bow to Guan Yin in recognition for all the positive transformation, all the magic I feel it’s happening.
Singing the scriptures has been a real medicine for me. Only when singing I feel so clearly where my blockages are and work on releasing them; so much emotions come out and so much transforms while I sing. I wish I could start singing the scriptures and do Qigong before or afterwards, since this would really mean a lot to me.
The natural spontaneity of the daily routine which changes according to weather, seasons or other natural events, is really nice. It reflects the dynamic aspect of life and seems more true to me than rigid forms. I feel the wish to truly be part of this family and to have the opportunity to come back again soon.