Studying the philosophy of Lo Ban Pai with Lujan Matus has yielded many insights that are of value precisely because they change how I perceive, experience and live life. Until recently, I had grossly underestimated the scope and role of movement practices in the cultivation of a Heart-Path.
The benefit of physical and energy body health was logical. However, I had not yet grasped the key role our bodies play in the cultivation of that transformative awareness that turns belief into a knowing. Here follows a testimony to the value of this system, and to the significance of one’s bodily experience as a teacher.
It began with one single reference experience of what Lujan called:
During my last visit, while working through the Whispering Palms series, the topic of the role of movement practices came up. At one point, referring to something we had discussed earlier about relationships, Lujan stated: “the movements won’t guarantee that you won’t be lonely, but you will be accompanied”.
These words; “you will be accompanied” struck a chord. Lujan must have seen the gateway. In his typically practical approach he repositioned to indicate I follow him. “Come, let me show you…”, he said.
Following his lead I performed the movement we were busy with, ending in a golden turtle back-lock. “Feel that” he said as we were doing the movement. I was stunned:
Mid movement the sensation of feeling energy with my palms (that I expected) changed and expanded. I was perceiving directly with both my body, an unmistakable presence right there with us in the room. It was impersonal, vast and entirely beyond description. The kicker was that it was aware of me and somehow letting me know that.
Lujan continued and my attention shifted. “Amazing isn’t it?”, he said smiling, knowing I had felt what I did.
This one brief reference experience started a chain reaction in my awareness, unlocking insights about other concepts I had previously engaged only intellectually. It has been said one learns best from experience. Perhaps what this post seeks to impress most is the role the body, through movement practices, can play in creating those transformative experiences. Some examples follow below:
Later in that same session Lujan said more about the gestures of the movement practices. “One could say the movements beckon the spirit, but that makes it sound like one has control. There is no control of the infinite. But when you are impeccable in your practice, you make a space for it to come to you. You learn to “accommodate it”. Something clicked.
The word ‘impeccable’ within the above context illuminated something Lujan focused on some years earlier (during a group training in Dragon’s Tears):
“You cannot perform a gesture through movement alone. The movement must be sincere. Sincerity makes a movement a gesture”. He added -something to the effect- that: “One does not gesture TO, the spirit, one has a gesture WITH, the spirit. Yet, on one level one does beckon the spirit, but without sincerity that gesture can never be a gesture OF, the spirit.” Something else clicked.
Waiting for Not-Doing
Lujan covered the concept of ‘waiting’ extensively in the book ‘Shadows in the Twilight’. This topic in particular began to bring meaning to the core concept of Not-Doing. After discovering “the Art of Being, Knowing and Not-Doing” (fully described in the book ‘Whisperings of the Dragon’), Not-Doing became even more tangible thanks to the practice called the Eight Gates taught in this book. In my case, it was the experience of accompaniment that finally provided that gleaning of Not-Doing. I expect everyone will reach this gate in their own way.
Back into the Body
Learning from experiences that the mind is not the final seat of consciousness has been an amazing gift of developing ‘body consciousness’ through the movement practices of Lo ban Pai. Over time, tactile experience through body consciousness begin to permeate and coalesce the teachings, binding them into knowing that impact my way of being, rather than trying to theorize concepts mentally to try and manipulate my doings.
When choosing to walk ‘a Path with Heart’, or to follow ‘The Way’, the practical question that arises is; How? What has made a “… system of spiritual development through the continuous cultivation of awareness, energy and alignment with the heart”, real for me, are the experiences that come via my body through the movement practices.
Learning with Lujan makes this journey a dual treasure. I echo the many sentiments of praise and gratitude so many others have posted here.
In closing; Since our next evolutionary step lies in fully bringing our dreaming attention into this, the real world, and in so doing to manifest the ‘third attention’, I cannot think of a better way to cultivate it than through the very body this third attention must manifest in.
Perhaps that is why at the end of most visits, Lujan’s parting word to me is not “cheers!”, but “Practice!”.