Opening the Tao: The Quest for Inner Development

internal-kung-fu-quest

Testimonial

My recent training with Lujan proved again to be wonderful and invaluable. Things that have evaded me in my 20 years of studying and practicing Chinese martial arts have suddenly become like a spark ignited inside of me. Though my understanding is only at the point of beginning, in my heart it has started something profound. And though this ‘eureka’ moment filled my being with joy and a sense of beauty, what I am even more grateful for and holds more beauty to my heart, are the confrontational lessons Lujan and the empty force have given me. The insights I gained into my behavior, things I need to let go.

When we had sat down with Lujan, he told us he was going to teach us Opening the Tao that week and the reason being that we needed to increase our magnetism, since Earth’s magnetic fields are gradually weakening. And in order to let this have the least amount of negative effect on our body, we needed to increase our own, something Opening the Tao will help do..

“You are probably wondering why I’m wearing these clothes”, referring to the cotton garments he was wearing around his arms and legs. Lujan explained that they emphasized the feeling of chi in the hands and feet and showed us he was wearing magnets underneath them as well, to add to his own magnetism. If we wanted to do that as well we had to make sure the right polarity pointed inwards, though I must confess that I’m not totally sure what polarity that is. I believe he said the north pole needed to point inwards, but whether that is positive or negative, I have no idea. So please make sure before trying.

The subject changed to his coming book and he told us the story that prompted him to write it and that is part of the book itself. But at this point I felt I wasn’t grasping the significance of the story, the conclusion was logical, but I didn’t feel it then.

Perhaps Lujan picked up on the fact that I wasn’t picking up on it, because the conversation turned and then he his attention went to me, saying I was carrying a shield around that I put in between me and other people. A shield of irritation/aggression, a shield that costs energy to maintain and uphold. He told me I should drop it and as I recognized it through the insights he had given me, I was able to.

We started the training and as we were going through the warm up exercises, Lujan first explained the significance of the upper and lower girdle, i.e. the shoulder and pelvic belt, if you will. When positioned correctly they seal off the top and bottom of your torso, giving you a closed container or space through which conditions can be created to become aware of sensations or physical feelings, that have to do with the central column and the two next to it and with the dan tien and it’s orbits. This he made clearer through showing us the movement of ‘burying the bones’ in relation to other information.

I had told Lujan that in my training I often had been standing in horse stance while holding the arms in ’embracing the tree’ position. He explained that one could stand like that for 20 or 30 years without discovering the true purpose of the exercise. For the true purpose of the exercise is to let go. Once you let go in the right way you discover that your body has a natural, circular rocking motion, or coiling to it. Through this coiling of the body you can discover the central column.

Perhaps you can see it like this; if you could picture the torso as a glass cylinder, with lids on top and bottom. And from the middle of those lids, from top to bottom, you would span an elastic band, with in the middle a tennis ball, representing the dan tien. If you then would make circular movements with this cylinder, the tennis ball would stretch the elastic band and would start to go around in circles against the outside of the cylinder. This movement on the inside is not only found by the motion of the body, but perhaps more so through the movement of the hands, which is mimicked by the dan tien.

When the hands are activated so you can feel the magnetism and you move them in pair about, it creates a gravity and that coaxes the dan tien to follow. It was in my eyes a massive eye opener, that left me excited and also hungry for more.. This was what I had been looking for, for so long after all.

The next day Lujan was excited because I was excited and was all to willing in sharing his knowledge. He asked me what I wanted to know about the dan tien and so I asked him all the questions that I could think of at that time. I then also asked about the meditation technique described in Whisperings of the Dragon and said I hadn’t sunken into my dan tien yet from the space behind the heart.

“Why not?”, Lujan asked. I didn’t think I was empty enough for that and that I didn’t want to take aspects of myself into my dan tien. So here Lujan revealed another aspect of my social self.

“Your feeling of perfectionism comes from a sense of superiority and that position doesn’t allow you to be vulnerable”. It hit home and I saw many instances in a short moment where I had positioned myself in such a way. It had such an impact that I wasn’t sure how to position myself anymore and my posture collapsed.

Lujan noticed this and pointed this out; that one could train for 5 years and that that could be nullified by a few words. Also he hadn’t really wanted this to happen with me. But I noticed that my kidneys did hurt by then.

Afterward conversation turned to situations and experiences that Lujan has had. Very beautiful, yet very strange and dangerous and sometimes downright outrageous stories. All of them contained a ton of information, about many different subjects, like manipulation, the awareness of it, how people will personally do to others, what big international companies do to the masses. Stories to such an extent that they could make you depressed yet important information to be aware of.

Training brought me back to my excitement and desire to learn as much as possible. We learned more about the dan tien and it’s orbits, through the ‘tick tock’ movements, which work similarly to ‘burying the bones’ though they strain the central column sideways. They give very clear sensations in the abdomen and/or the areas of the middle and upper dan tien.
Because of my love for kung fu, Lujan was showing me a lot of that as well. And when we made contact I bounced away, sometimes backwards sometimes upwards.

What was interesting was that I would bounce upwards when something was standing behind me, so I wouldn’t fly into that. He explained that the bouncing was happening because I was engaging with competitiveness, so I wasn’t empty and thus not grounded through (or in) the empty force. Also my ‘fullness’ was something that could be disrupted and broken. Lujan said that he wasn’t doing anything, but that it was the empty force working for him and that he couldn’t take credit for it. He simply gives it room/space by not being and than witnesses what it does, so he was getting information, or energetic flowers, as he describes it, through our contact and then shared that information with me, so I could learn in retrospect.

When we came in the next day Lujan asked who had been smoking among us..My friend hesitantly came forward and I said I had smoked one as well, like a social cigarette, but that I didn’t really smoke generally. That sounded silly even to my ears, so when Lujan asked why and confronted me with this, I mumbled something about imperfections.

I was then finely shown the difference between imperfections and indulgences. But by soft confronting this time. He explained that smoking makes one a negative polarity, and so all the energy of non-smokers who are positive polarities flow to that person. That’s how he knew somebody had smoked and that he couldn’t/wouldn’t touch people who had, because of that. He told me to quit my indulgence.

He also handed me a pair of arm-warmers, so I could try them out. He had picked up on the fact that I had been thinking about wanting to try them out and so it was. I tried them on and immediately noticed my palms activating. Lujan then continued with a story of a student that he had given a gift that had gone sideways, to make us aware of the subtleties and energies behind gestures.

In the practice that followed we learned about the yin fist, how one trains to move the dan tien into your punch. The way of moving makes the dan tien to jump up, and was referred to as ‘soft frog’ movements. Again something that is usually hard to find and hard to train and yet made so very easy to feel and train in the way Lujan teaches it. So filled with wonder, I was full of questions again that Lujan generously answered.

He said, “So any more questions, because I know you are demanding and I want to give you as much as possible.”

This remark started something in me, something began to dawn. And became totally clear to me by the next day. Also because of what happened at the end of the practice, when we were about to leave; Lujan’s story about his gift to his student had confused me a bit in a way that I wasn’t sure if the arm-warmers were a gift and I didn’t want to let this go sideways either, so I did just that.

Me: “Ehm, so these arm-warmers…?”

Lujan:”Ah, I see it, take them.”

The next day Lujan explained that he saw that I wanted to have them and that through that energetic gesture, the arm-warmers were no longer his, so all he could do is acknowledge that and move along with it. He also invited me for training the following week, something he had picked up from me again, without it being spoken out loud. Though all these loving gestures of Lujan, attending so selflessly to all my needs and desires, I became very aware of my greediness. That doing and learning about the things I love most, brought up a very strong desire within me, that again pushed away emptiness and thus the empty force and showed me yet another aspect of my social self.

I saw how my desire lead me to wanting to control, by asking more and more and not truly appreciating what I was being given. In a flash I saw myself in different moments with Lujan and to me my behavior seemed like I was stamping or trampling on all the soft and beautiful gestures Lujan made. I felt ashamed and yet very thankful for the true magic Lujan’s lessons bring.

The following week we practiced Windlock which is perhaps subtler and is rejuvenating. It can also bring about emotional upheavals. The lessons I received this week were a bit less blunt for me, though the issues of the previous week came back in different forms or indirect, when Lujan was addressing my friend. Lujan would patiently explain how I could not-do, and then ask: “So you know now what to do?”

Me: “Yes I need to do this, this and that”.

Lujan: “No, you’re doing it again. You can’t decide who you’re gonna be. You need to not do.”

He shared many more stories about food and why it is important to detox, about things that were going on the island and the house he was renting, about Indonesia and it’s people (I have an Indonesian background) and other things.

He had also noticed a rash on my skin and came up with some drops and ointments that I had to put on there. It worked wonders; the following day the rash was far less severe. We treated it like this almost every day and a week or two after I got home (then I was treating it with peppermint oil, for I had to order the other stuff) it was totally gone.

Everything seemed more subtle this week and yet very intense, potent and magical. One day, as we were in a deep conversation, we build a dream like energy/state of awareness. When Lujan pointed this out I could only acknowledge and marvel at its wonder. The last day this subtlety and magic would show me all my lessons again of the last two weeks, so I could take them to heart. Lujan started of that day by telling us the story about his late father, the story that he began the first week with and that will be in his new book. But this time he told it far more elaborate and with far more details, in such a way that it caught me and felt the beauty of the lessons contained within.

The story was followed by the ending of Windlock, where we learned very beautiful and powerful primordial exercises, that give full orbits of the dan tien and show the heaviness of the empty force, when you move slowly and strain the body in the right way. That left us with one hour for consolidating our Golden Lotus that would confirm my lessons one more time, so I won’t forget it ever again.. Here my desire to learn the moves and gestures correctly came up again. So I was watching Lujan intensely. This caused Lujan being unable to execute the movements, for the empty force was retreating itself, away from my gaze, since it won’t present itself, if being forced.

My gaze was too hard, full of my social self. So Lujan asked me to come and stand beside him, otherwise he couldn’t do it. It hurt my feelings more than I realized and more than I wanted to admit and this made him laugh, but also explained what I just outlined. It made me realize while looking back, that gazing in such a way made me loose my awareness of my surroundings and only allowed me to see that what I was focusing on, that paradoxically became less than it was, under that pressure.

So in these two weeks I was confronted with many instances where my social self pops up and loose contact with the empty force and what’s around me. And that is especially true in the things I love doing most. I can’t express how much I love, appreciate and value Lujan’s lessons, but I will surely return!

Thank you, Lujan!

Love, Thomas.

Netherlands

Remember, Thomas, the exterior of your body, which is the expansion of your energy bubble, is a manifestation of your internal energy. And the inside of your body is the external unit of sensory data, which expresses itself externally.

So the outside is within, and the inside ultimately expresses itself outside. The quest of internal kung fu is revealed in this. That within this, and this within that.

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9 Comments
  1. A really beautiful post. I can feel your awe and joy while reading it. Thank you both for sharing.

  2. hartelijk bedankt
    thank you very much for sharing your experience. i can find myself in your story…feel you inside of me.

  3. Beautiful, beautiful. I truly enjoyed reading this. Thank you, Lujan. Thank you, Thomas.

    Can more be explained about the polarity of magnetism?

  4. A wonderful experience! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Heart felt connection to this wonderful account!
    Thank-you for sharing :)

    PS. Magnets north pole is positive and should be pointing inwards… Just like the searl-effect generater.

  6. Very helpful. Thanks to you both.

  7. Thank you, Tyson.

  8. Thank you for sharing Thomas. I hope you are doing well my friend!

  9. Dankjewel, Thomas. Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed reading your post, and it brought back many memories of the Opening the Tao training. I could see aspects of myself reflected in the exchanges between Lujan and you, and appreciated being shown them once again for reflection. Be well.

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