Currently I am in China, training in Tai ji Quan. I have been practicing various forms of Tai ji for about 15years, and have never really had a sense of satisfaction about my form. I’ve had a variety of teachers each teaching a different thing. Finally decidedly finding Master Chen Zhong Hua, I decided to focus on Chen style Tai Ji Practical Method. Unlike the other forms of Tai ji, it has simple rules that help build a structure where the body can move through lines of power. This lead me away from the popular thinking of “meditation through movement” that many western teachers have and subscribe Tai ji as so.
The program here can be intense, though ultimately you get out what you put in. Though, I’d like this post to be about Tai ji, but I have another blog dedicated to that.
This post is essentially about the blurring of my spiritual searches into one. At one point, earlier in life, I sought out meditation since Tai ji for me was more for exercise and health. Seeing it as that and I turned to Buddhism, particularly Vajrayana, Tibetan Buddhism. I felt at that period in my life there was a thirst for some answers that were still unanswered. Similarly around the same time, I started going to Chinese Medicine School, in a career changing situation. Chinese Medicine became an out growth of my Tai ji studies, and eventually I became an Acupuncturist, and layperson of Vajrayana. As one gets older the paths toward health and spirituality slowly become one and the same. I then started seeing myself as a Buddhist Chinese Medicine Doctor, and now as one that does Chen style Tai ji.
The funny thing is that history leaves its clues for you to grow through your own keen sense of self. In studying the classics of Chinese Medicine, one sees the syncretic work of centuries amassing and blending ideologies into fine workings of truth and rightness. The backdrop of the I Ching, Daoism, Buddhism, and then Science, all combine together through personal self cultivation and the health and wellbeing of others.
I came here to China with some books on Chinese Medicine, Daoism, Confucianism, hoping that I could plough through then and just practice the Tai ji form with ease, reaching a better sense of constancy and continuity in the form. I was then quickly taught that this task would be much more difficult.
The Dreams then became.
Robert Thurman, when describing Yoga Nidra, the Yoga of dreams, the light of consciousness surrenders to the darkness. Knowledge then turns off and all constructs of cognition rests in the darkness of slumber. The body settles. In the darkness of emptiness, there is a subtle clarity that the mind surrenders to. This is the clear light of awareness that always is and has been. He describes it as transparent quality of light, empty, yet subtly illuminating. It is likened to the quality of a diamond. It is the Nature of Mind.
There were many dreams. One after the other and the dreams didn’t end. It was like a complete dumping of my OS. It was like years of my dreams where compressed in another format and then dumped out in the span of a few weeks. A karmic compression of sort. Every sort of knowledge that I had encountered in my studies were becoming melded through my dreams as each new day I awoke in a fear as if there was an upcoming end of things. I was quite shooken and taken aback since, I could not take any more information in, it was all spitting out at once. The only thing I could do was Tai ji quan.
Two things came to my mind as a solace, in my frightening awakenings each morning.
“Live each day as if it were a reincarnation.” a quote by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. This was a pith of constant vigilance, knowing that there are small deaths, and large deaths, yet death is one and the same. Sleep may be the smallest death, but certainly it is a preparation for the larger one. It reminds me to be fearless, that I can continue on knowing that there will be another day/life, and then another and another, and it doesn’t matter since, there is a clarity guiding my way to a greater continuation.
The third noble truth of the Buddha, also spoke to me during this time. “Know Paths.”
In knowing these paths out of suffering, and these paths of healing, I am well in the know as a child of the Buddha. These paths converge all within me, and the searching should end.
The dreams were a confirmation of my knowledge on my Path.
The dream detox woke me up to my past and the possible futures that were in front of me but yet it would only be just another day unlike any other day. A present now full of delight, wonder, and awe.