Monthly Archives: May 2015

Images from the 2015 ADGL Daoist Retreat

Images from the Daoist Priest Ordination Ceremony, 2015
Black Mountain Retreat Center, CA

Zuowang and Surpassing Pu

Jack Schaefer, acupuncturistIn 1998 I was practicing Zuowang meditation with a Tuina and qigong teacher of mine when I had a very interesting experience. It was during one of the regular weekly Zuowang classes that an interesting inspiration came to me with regard to a teacher, student and “pu” 樸 – the uncarved wood. During my meditation a vision came info my mind where I saw my teacher transform into the image of a knife and myself as piece of wood. After leaving class that night I contemplated the image of my teacher as a knife and I as a chunk of wood. I began to feel like it was about the teacher doing the work to shape the student into something. How wrong this point of view actually was.

A Reflection of the ADGL 2015 Retreat

nicole_stoneMy experience of the Wood Sheep retreat was one of shedding. It was my first retreat with shifu Michael and the ADGL community and going into it, I did not know what to expect. As a budding Daoist, I decided it was best not to expect anything. This opened up some space inside myself for discovery. What I found was quite a lot of things. At first, I noticed my strong desire to connect with others and ask so many questions. You see, for the most part, I have been studying qigong, TCM and Daoism in the privacy of my home, so being in a community of fellow enthusiasts was almost too much for me. I was bursting with desire to hear from others and share some of the fruits I have harvested in the last year. After I got the opportunity to connect with others, I began a process of slowly shedding– shedding the concern about my husband and son at home, shedding the desire to know more, shedding the need to belong, shedding the need to ‘get it right,’ shedding the grief from personal losses I’ve had in the past couple years, and more. There were times when this shedding felt painful, and other times when it felt joyous. Each part of the retreat helped me to shed more layers– the silence, the sitting, the ordination ceremony, the 24 hour meditation, the circle walking, the readings on Anterior Heaven, the qigong, the burning of our Joss paper wishes, the divination sticks, the tea drinking and poetry reading, the healing transmissions and simply chewing my food well– all of these things helped me shed more rigid layers so that I could touch a deeper inner well of silence. I ended the retreat feeling completely nourished, needing very little. Thank you.

Nicole Stone
Alameda Qigong and Meditation Teacher