Monthly Archives: July 2013

Not Two in Mud Crabs

mudcrabIt’s strange when a thirty year old refers to you as a surrogate mum and you realize that you are – well i did and although well meant, i found myself having slipped out of the net and into the position of knot maker. No longer one of the fishes in the sea. I glanced across the table and watched a version of myself, just of a  different generation and it didn’t matter because i was now so far away from youth that my needs had to be redefined.  Did i walk away feeling old? Not at all. I took the calm and peace that sits within my head and body, and enjoyed it, as i watched the nervous energy of new experiences take hold.  Her first mud crab. And i smiled as she said to me how as she gets older it becomes more and more difficult to have a first experience of anything.  And she’s right  for a few more years, but the joy of such discovery enters a phase of metamorphosis and becomes the re-discovery of favorites through the honeyed moments of younger eyes.  Mud crabs will always belong to this space. It’s where i understood that i was indeed not two in any way but inextricably and undeniably at one with everything else, even the remnants on the plate; the stars still shone and the moon’s crescent told stories of ambiguous adventures.
A perfect night for everything we want, i thought to myself and with that, hugged an overgrown child who hadn’t seen the woman within herself as i didn’t for so long, and enjoyed the night air, another story on my road of many tales, another friend in the gathering of hearts and a lesson in mortality, for once, welcomed.

Written by
Jane Nash
ADGL Member 2013

Wu Wei and No Mind are Not Two

I always wanted to be a poet but practice Bagua instead. It is a way of not-doing to do.
I do, however, enjoy reading poetry. And, perhaps, it is the most effective mode of illustrating that Wu Wei (non-action) and No-mind are Not Two.
Below is a gem from the Chinese poet Wang Wei (701-761). After reading it, I hope you will intuit what I am aiming at.

A FAREWELL
I dismount from my horse and drink your wine.
I ask where you’re going
You say you are a failure
and want to hibernate at the foot of Deep South Mountain.
Once you’re gone no one will ask about you.
There are endless white clouds on the mountain.
(Translated by Tony and Willis Barnstone and Xu Haixin)

Many bows to Master Wan Wei. Not-doing and no-mind are the single source of potential.
Wu Wei and No Mind are Not two. Poetry in motion. Time for some Bagua practice.

Written by
John Gist
Priest-in-Training 2013

Newsletter Summer 2013 – Zuowang

There are several nice articles out there about Zuowang meditation practice.  Articles that explain that one sits and forgets (self, separateness, etc) or sits in what Livia Kohn describes as ‘sitting in oblivion’.  For a beginner mediator this terminology may not be very helpful since they may be challenged by simply “sitting”, period.  The mind racing about with a seemingly endless stream of thoughts arising. Various sensations such as an itch or twitch or an ache here or there all seeming to ask for attention and with this a reaction.  So, the beginner meditator reacts by scratching the itch or adjusting their body to relieve the discomfort. Thoughts may form around these sensations, and the cycle of monkey mind continues.
I have sat with intermediate mediators who shifted their body in response to sensations. How can they have stillness in mind if they are not having stillness in body? To advance in meditation, to truly sit in Zuowang, one practices stillness of both body and mind.  So, here is what I tell beginning mediators:  When a sensation arises, watch it without reacting to it.  Just simply sit with it.  Observe how the sensation changes and then vanishes.  It’s the same with thoughts.  Just simply watch them arise and pass. Keep practicing, noting the sensation and not reacting to it.  Just watch.  With ongoing practice, the mediator is able to sit for short periods and then longer periods without making bodily adjustments.  In doing this sitting still practice, one is also training the mind in stillness.

Written by Priest Tina Hamilton

Newsletter Summer 2013 – Qigong

Harmony of Mind and Body in Qigong Practices

Harmony in qì gong practices is really an extension of having yin and yang both present in one’s self. One mistake that many practitioners make is that their their qigong practice is largely one of “intention based” movements. They say, “I am making the qì move here, or I am cleansing this or that, or I am cultivating my qì, etc.” and then hollowly move their body. Intention is great, but there should be a tangible change in the body while doing qigong or when finished – not just a relaxation effect. There is nothing wrong with relaxation, but it is not the end-all-be-all of qìgōng. One favorite acupuncture teacher once said to me, “Acupuncture should be like thunder and lightening, things should be zipping around the body and the person should feel different when you are done, from when you started.” Qìgōng is exactly the same! Every practice has a purpose and you should, with some practice, be able to feel a change in your body, your mind, your health, etc during and when done with a practice.

This aliveness can be accomplished by first knowing what you are supposed to get out of a particular form. Then, begin to practice the form with that purpose in mind. Next, if yin and yang, aka mind and body in this metaphor, are both present and working in harmony, your results should be quicker and more dramatic. The idea is a microcosmic representation of “not two.” Break this rule and your results will be slow and sporadic. We observe this harmony in many other places in our life. Just try driving home from work with no mental presence operating your car, or try thinking your way home without your body operating your car. Both are impossible.

In most practices this harmony is accomplished by having your body match the mind’s movements. If you are guiding qi into the lower dantian via the central channel, your body should have a sinking dropping feeling and movement toward your belly and your mind should follow that pathway leading the qi. “The mind leads the qi”, it is said, but not without the body’s participation since qi and blood cannot be separated. It sounds simple, but it is easy to let your mind float off to other topics while your body moves unsupervised. When you notice this, simply refocus the mind and body once again. Yin and Yang both present, not separate, in harmony.

Written by
Jack Schaefer
Priest-in-Training 2013

Tea During Ordination

Priest Yolanda and Priest Mitch in a tea ceremony during their ordinations in 2013.

The ADGL Priest Ordination Ceremony

Priest Tim and Priest Dominique being ordained in 2012.

The Altar of the 3 Pure Ones

The Jade Pure One, The Supreme  Pure One, & The Grand Pure One.

Daoist Tea Ceremony

Head Priest Shifu Rinaldini and Priest Tina during Daoist tea ceremony.

Attendees of the 2013 ADGL Retreat

Priets, Adepts, general members, and Qi Gong students of Head Priest Shifu Rinaldini attending the 2013 Retreat in Sebastopol, CA.