“Life is the most precious”
Since a long time ago, when I first start practicing Tai Chi and get to know about the martial arts world, it has been my dream to come to China and find a Master who can teach me more about martial arts and its secrets together with a spiritual development. Until I found it.
In some point I had no idea why I was coming to Wudang I barely knew it was Daoist but I didn’t really had a clue where I was going or to what, because all the sudden I lost the sense of my own walk and life and my dream was not anymore my dream. But I kept on going with the original plan, even dough I was scared of what was ahead… the unknown. Inside me I had a feeling I was going to find something and also leave something from me and transcend in a certain way.
My first lesson, ” you are welcome to the Temple as long as you take it seriously…” commitment has been a big issue to me, I just can’t commit to anything because it gives me the sensation of trimming or cutting my wings. My body manifests many illness and all the signs says to me “You must take the step”. So far I have realized that the commitment is with one self and commit to be yourself, to take care of yourself, to nourish yourself, to cultivate yourself, life is a gift, your body is a gift like how Li Shifu would say ” life is precious, the body is precious,
take care of it, who is going to do it?…”
Since I start with the Internal Alchemy course a window of unlimited possibilities has been open, showing a long road to walk to keep cultivating a porpoise, nourishing my body, mind and spirit.
On Traditional Chinese Medicine course I have learned so amazing and interesting information and besides I have ground more what I have learned in the past and also grounded my self working every day on my stillness and emptiness of mind. I had to disperse all my personal illusions and fears and attachments but every day I feel stronger and stronger. The time is passing by and i start to feel the Temple of the Five immortals like my home. With all my brothers and sisters, helping each other on our personal grow, getting to know Li Shifu a little more and being able to see his soul and carrying beyond his strength, holding space for us in the middle of our personal growth and dealing with all our insides, providing the wisdom and knowledge that we seek for. There is so much to learn still, and time is running. The cultivation is constant.
“Plan for your self…” Li Shifu
I thank the Great Dao for the experience I am living now, I hope I can come back and take the Kung fu with the Taichi courses, if there is Destiny.
I had a rough emotional year where I indulged in negative and excessive behavior.
A solution was on the horizon and I knew help would come from the temple. Qi gong, Daoist medicine, and a deeper look at myself helped me deconstruct the negative habits that brought me down and often times to bad places. One of the main things I’m looking to gain is lasting inner discipline, that I am able to take with me everywhere.
The past couple times I came to the temple I had amazing experiences and developed skills that I took home but due to the constant pressures of society I lost touch of my focus on how to be my best self. I have a higher idea of what I want my life to look like and I believe I can unlock it with the skills I learn at the temple, but only when I can stay strong in the face of my previous unhealthy habits.
It is a slow journey that has a lot to teach me, and day after day I learn a little more about what it means to be myself. The view of Daoist medicine is not only about material diseases, but also formless issues. Which is a foreign concept in other medicine practices. I have seen how so many problems can originate from something that can’t be seen, or scanned. We often forget to look inside ourselves and see how were really doing. I know firsthand that the best kind of healing starts within.
I know that the first step to helping others is to help myself. I need to look closer at my inner world and let go of the emotional conditioning that prevents me from experiencing life to the fullest, and helping others.
“A new chapter as a healer”
The first two weeks of Daoist Medicine have been about change and adjustment. Throughout my time on the mountain I have been faced with many different time schedules, wake up times, training styles, Qi Gong, Tai Ji, lectures and Ceremony. Having mostly lecture and theory is hard for me, I do better with one movement class and one lecture a day. I hope we go back to that soon.
Over the past several years while doing massage, people have approached me with severe cases and have asked for my diagnosis, which I have had a problem with. I’m glad we are spending a lot of time learning the different types of diagnosis: observing, listening, asking and palpating. I think that when we get to studying the methods to tonify and reduce based upon deficiency and excess of the elements, the diagnosis will be ultimately the most important step in treating the imbalance and patients needs to reach optimal health. I am understanding how important the 5 elements, the Bagua, the earthly branches and the heavenly stems are to treatment, understanding the Qi flow in the body, and the unification of Earth and Heaven through the human.
As my first deep dive into Chinese Medicine, I feel that understanding its roots as Daoist Medicine is starting a new chapter of my life as a healer. There are many patterns that I am beginning during my time here, for example daily meditation and Qi Gong. Right now I am having a difficult time staying present as my return to my life back home is near. I want to press for time and take advantage of my time here.
“Download the system”
Most of the paid jobs I’ve had have been within scientific medical research – biotech, spectroscopy with cell biology, meta-analysis work, cognitive neuroscience, etc. In this context, I have spent a lot of time immersed within world of Western medicine, in addition to being the personal health consultant for family and friends as a result. I came to the Daoist medicine course because I am personally searching for knowledge where the un-scientific holes are within Western medicine – psychiatry, pain management, women’s health, to name just a few. I am hoping that by learning different languages to describe the body and health, I will be able to gain a deeper understanding of these topics – similar to how learning different spoken languages helps one gain a deeper understanding of human expression, communication, and cognition. Also, the doctors that my loved ones have turned to for help with medical problems have rarely had the capacity to help, to even decipher what is occurring in, apparently, complicated situations. I hope that with a broader understanding of health, with becoming fluent in different medical systems, that by their mutual support, I will be able to understand more deeply, to have more tools and perspectives with which to interrogate, understand, and, God-willing, treat the persistent health issues around me.
While Western medicine speaks about the absence of health, traditional medical systems tend to speak about the presence of health. This is something that has held true within the language of the course concerning Daoist and Traditional Chinese Medicine so far. I am hopeful about the healing methods we will learn in this course from the language used in these first few weeks. The importance accorded to thoughts and emotions and their effects upon the body is something which is taken as a fundamental within the course content, in contrast to this only being spoken about within research on the edges of Western medicine or within superficial epidemiology research (e.g. “people who have more social support have a higher life expectancy”). This adds another dimension, something more holistic, to a health system.
I am also excited to learn the qi gong sets in this class – it is another aspect to “speak about the presence of health” to be concerned with maintaining one’s own health through Qi and blood regulation, massaging joints, stretching, etc. This is something which is lacking from my knowledge in Western medicine, and, furthermore, health in modernity is inherently a socio-political issue. States exert power and control over people through health, through control over life. Today, one can find many people in the “developed world” who will be able to say what the average “healthy” resting heart beat is, yet who have not taken time in stillness to listen to and be familiar with their own pulse. We have become disconnected from our bodies (and minds, too), from our health, and when people give up the capacity, power, and knowledge to affect their own health, of how to maintain life, they are easily controlled and manipulated. What is more dear to us, after all, than our own life and that of those whom we love? It is necessary for the individual to understand how to create the conditions for health to flow, but, also, on the broader scale of humanity, it is necessary that we regain our understanding of how to tend to our own health, so that we do not submit ourselves to control by something as personal and close to us as our own lives, lest we continue to be used as pawns in the power struggles of capitalist nation-states. I am hopeful that the Qi gong practices we are learning and will continue to learn will provide some help towards this endeavour.