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The Dream Trip to China is for people who believe that life is a spiritual adventure. It is for souls that hunger for the riches of ancient wisdom in faraway lands, and seek to merge them into the present moment.
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,but by the places and moments that take our breath away“.
China Dream Trip & Qigong Journey May 2011:
‘3 Pure Ones’ Sacred Taoist Mountain + Golden Flower Cave + “China’s Beauty Queen” – Yellow Mountain
Join Michael Winn at new and fantastic Taoist sites in Eastern China – and have the spiritual adventure of your lifetime! (If you can’t come this year, please enjoy the photos and join us in spirit.)
15 Day Journey: May 13 – 27, 2011
Bridge of the Immortals, Yellow Mountain (Huangshan)
(note: all photos on this page are by Michael Winn
|Led by Michael Winn
Michael is founder and Director, Healing Tao University, past two-term President of the National Qigong Association, and an experienced traveler who has been to over 100 countries. He is an ex-war correspondent in Africa & Asia turned spiritual guide ? exploring the shadow and light sides of humanity. He has led dozens of adventure & sacred tour groups over the last 30 years on five continents. This is his 15th trip to China.
Michael Winn, holding a rare Red Panda in China.
|Lead Trip Guide: Cherry Li, born in Yunnan province (near Tibet) to the minority Yi tribe. She is warm, friendly, and dedicated to helping fellow Taoists understand Chinese culture and its people, and to travel comfortably inside China. She has been guiding Healing Tao USA in China for over ten years.||
Trip Co-Stars: Everyone who comes on the trip! Why are China Dream Trips so special, and very different from typical tourist trips? We attract a fabulous group of Tao-minded spiritual adventurers. Not mere curiosity seekers or jaded tourists, but fascinating folks who are excited about literally following in the footsteps of Lao tzu and doing powerful qigong ceremonies in China’s highest spiritual energy spots.
After every Dream Trip is the same refrain: “the incredible people I met and grew to love were as important as China itself”. This is the kind of trip where you make lifetime friends – or might find your soul mate.
“To experience the spiritual essence of China. To meet & study with spiritually powerful Taoists. To do qigong in its most sacred and beautiful landscapes and connect to its ancestral chi. To deeply taste China’s ancient culture and peoples, and feast on its local cuisines at sumptuous banquets. To share the very best secrets I discovered on previous trips to China ? before it disappears in China’s madly modern rush to forget its rich history. In short, The Dream China Trip I would give to myself, if I could only visit China once.
This trip explores new riches in eastern China not offered on the previous Dream Trips. The trips are designed to keep the door open between Western and Eastern Taoist adepts, and to deepen the ground of our personal practice. Our qigong practice will connect us to the uniquely powerful Qi currents flowing in China’s sacred mountains. If your heart feels drawn to China’s mystery, I advise you to trust your soul’s guidance, and trust the Tao will supply the time and resources to GO.”
– Michael Winn
“I am still unpacking the chi from my unforgettable experiences doing qigong in China’s sacred mountains. This trip gave me continuous ecstasy, amazing landscapes, superb food and powerful sacred temples and monasteries – all with a crazy bunch of warm-hearted western adepts accompanied by a premium group of Tao immortals! Thank you all for such an extraordinary experience!” – Aurelio, Mexico City
“Thanks seems extremely insufficient to express my gratitude to you for making this trip to China possible – but, anyway, please accept my sincere gratitude. It was the most powerful experience of my life and continues to have a palpable moment-to-moment effect upon me.” ? Very Happy Camper
“Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have been the gateway to what my soul was seeking for. This China trip is a milestone in my life, a profound spiritual development. Each time I think about you and the group my heart beats faster and a big unstoppable smile takes over!
The outer trip was set up perfectly, to make our inner spiritual trip go perfectly! From start of the trip to the end, it was like yin and yang making love? it was so beautiful! Poetic?simply magnificent! – 2nd generation Chinese man, living in Toronto
- Follow your “Way” to China, on a Journey designed to be a life-changing spiritual experience. We visit the “must-see” cultural highlights of China but focus on using Qigong to develop a profound “earth connection” – in mountains and caves where Taoist adepts have cultivated chi for thousands of years. You’ll feel super-grounded, ready to follow your deepest Life Path.
- Climb on two of China’s most powerful sacred mountains. Breathtakingly beautiful Yellow Mountain (Huang Shan) was made famous as the backdrop for the film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. 3 Pure Ones Mountain is very hidden, a kind of secret jewel to Taoists.
- Meditate in the deep cave used by famous immortal Huang in the 4th century to realize himself. Retreat for three days in the nearby Golden Flower Temple of Taoism’s oldest alchemical Shang Qing sect. The Taoist orbit meditation practice of “Circulating the Golden Flower” was likely named after this temple.
Learn and practice 800 year old lineage Primordial Qigong (aka Tai Chi for Enlightenment). It’s an amazing form that combines qigong, inner alchemy, feng shui, and tai chi. Get free DVD in advance, when you put trip deposit down.
Our group tai chi practice at Taoist “sacred power” sites is very, very empowering. This form feels different in China. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to practice it on the 3 Pure Ones Mountain or possibly in the Golden Flower Cave. Tao Immortals who originally transmitted this form to Chang San Feng, are likely to show up!
- Regular daily qigong training in China by Michael Winn, and by local teachers where available. Training by Michael Winn in the rare and ancient shamanic Seven Star Big Dipper Qigong Ceremony, from the Nu Xian Pai or “Path of the Female Immortals” lineage. It combines beautifully with the Taoist inner alchemy method of absorbing purple chi from the Pole Star.
- This Big Dipper shamanic qigong generates a very special and powerful chi field. It was used in ancient times to build a protective field around one’s community or before going into battle. The Pole Star and the 7 Big Dipper stars are said to control human destiny. Are you ready to take control of your destiny? 8 Trigrams yin-yang (ba-gua) is the gateway to Tao. 3 Pure Ones Mountain vista, from an amazing walkway.
- We will practice this Shamanic Star Qigong, together with the wuji gong (Tai Chi for Enlightenment) form, throughout the trip. Together they generate an amazing synergy!
- Master Jiang Nan, the lineage holder (Nu Xian Pai or “Path of the Female Immortals”) and my teacher of this Shamanic Star Qigong form, says he will try to be available in Beijing for personal astrology & healing sessions. 30 people had sessions with him on the 2008 trip, and every one was satisfied. Jiang Nan attended the 2010 Tao Congress in Tao Garden and has become Mantak Chia’s fengshui consultant, setting up Ming Dynasty giant vases in Big Dipper patterns at Tao Garden. Jiang Nan plans to bring his students to Tao Garden. $90/per half hour session. Please sign up in advance.
- Taoist temples support deeply tranquil meditation. Meditate in Beijing’s White Cloud Temple and the Temple of Heaven; in the ancestral temple of Ge Hong in Hangzhou; in his famous alchemist Grandfather’s Tao Sanctuary on 3 Pure Ones Mountain, and in a 1500 year old temple in Jinhua (“Golden Flower”) from the nearly extinct Shang Qing Taoist sect. These temples are all highly charged with deep spiritual energy of the Tao.
Dream Trippers having fun at a Dumpling House
For collection of my top China Dream Trip photos:
For Photo Index: http://www.healingtaousa.com/photos.html
HOW TO SIGN UP for CHINA DREAM TRIP
Money back guarantee: on returning home, you will not be the same person who left!
Trip cost is only $4850. including international airfare from Los Angeles, includes two flights inside China and all land costs within China – 4 or 5 star hotels where available, with magnificent banquets of tasty local cuisine. All bus and entry fees included.
Not included: airline fuel surcharges (set at time of ticket issue, may be $100+), visa fee, trip/medical insurance (about $150.+ strongly recommended). For tips to the dozens of porters, drivers, interpreter-guides, I simplify by asking each to contribute in advance $75. (about $5 a day). Trip land cost may fluctuate slightly if there is a significant currency re-valuation of yuan to dollar.
You must be at LAX (Los Angeles) late on Friday night, May 13 (to catch 1:40 am flight early May 14). Low cost round trip add-on fares to LAX from domestic US cities may be available. Contact our travel agent, Virginia Chan, at 626-571-6727 (Calif.)
I’ve done my best to keep this trip affordable. It is priced well below comparable quality tourist trips to China, which don’t cover the same range of exotic locations. High inflation – 15 % a year in the cities – and a strong Chinese currency are driving up travel costs. In the travel market, this trip is a good bargain given all that is packed into it. When weighing the cost, know that your life-changing experiences will be priceless!
Travelers NOT flying from Los Angeles: cost for trip starting in Beijing is $3995. (+$150. ticket surcharge on the 2 domestic flights, unless YOU separately fly transpacific on Air China, or don’t use the return flight and get your own ticket). You’ll meet the LAX group that arrives on Sunday, May 15 at 7 a.m. in Beijing’s 4-star Tiantan Hotel. If you arrive early (recommended), on Sat. May 14, 2011 we’ll arrange group hotel rate for you.
Book your return flight FROM Beijing in late afternoon or eve of Friday, May 27 (unless you plan to stay on longer in China). There are many Hangzhou-Beijing flights (we pay for it, just tell us which flight to Beijing you want. You may have to pay your taxi to airport if you don’t go with the group bus).
$100. DISCOUNT to my personal students, Healing Tao instructors, past China trip members or any attendee of Healing Tao USA summer retreats in the past three years.
Single Room supplement: $695. At Jinhua Temple retreat center, single rooms may not available, but should be available at adjacent temple-owned hotel.
RESERVE YOUR PLACE with $600. deposit, subject to terms of cancellation policy posted below. Credit cards accepted for deposit, but checks or wired funds are requested for balance of payments. If you need to finance the trip with credit cards, it’s acceptable, but please call us to arrange. The trip is not priced for everyone to pay by credit card (those airline miles you earn cost me 4%!).
BALANCE DUE: Trip fee balance due by midnight, Friday Feb. 11, 2011. All checks payable to trip organizer: Dao Alchemy Research Institute (or its educational branch, Healing Tao USA). Extended payment can be arranged if necessary.
TAX DEDUCTIBLE: As an IRS approved 501c3 non-profit activity, US nationals may claim 40% of total trip fee as tax deductible. Depending on your tax bracket, this may substantially reduce the actual cash cost of trip (in 30% bracket, over $500 tax savings).
Ecstatic Calligraphy, from Golden Flower Temple (Jinhua)
TO MAKE A DEPOSIT FOR CHINA TRIP:
You may call in your deposit to our office at 888-999-0555 inside USA, or phone 828-505-1444, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A phone call or email will also “time stamp” your deposit for a week while you mail a check payable to:
Healing Tao USA , 4 Bostic Place , Asheville, North Carolina 28803
Trip registrar is Jan Gillespie. It is safe to leave credit card information on the message machine, or send an email with card number in two sections for security. Note: Jan has NOT been to China; email your questions to winn AT HealingTaoUSA.com. You will receive extensive information on what to pack, how to stay healthy, how to prepare for the experience, etc.
PLEASE CONFIRM YOUR DEPOSIT (phone or mailed) WITH EMAIL TO: info@HealingTaoUSA.com.
DON’T DELAY in making an advance deposit ? reserve your space as early as possible. Last minute applications are accepted on space available basis, but may cost more if airfares have changed.
Questions? Contact registrar at 888-999-0555 or email: email@example.com
China Dream Trip & Qigong Journey May 2011:
‘3 Pure Ones’ Sacred Taoist Mountain + Golden Flower Cave + “China’s Beauty Queen” Yellow Mountain
Day 1: Travel day to Los Angeles. We meet at LAX on Friday evening May 13 for check-in anytime after 9 pm. It’s your option as to either arrive early, take a layover day with L.A. hotel at your expense, or visit the beach until its time to go to the airport. OR get an evening connection to the LAX flight. Check in at Air China is individual (you’ll have your ticket, but no seat pre-assignment, so first come/first served). Air China #984 departs at 1:40 am (Saturday morning).
Day 2: In flight. Since we leave LAX early in a.m., the plane is kept dark for most of the way to facilitate sleeping. The flight is 12.5 hours. You will receive detailed instructions on how to avoid jet-lag and stay fresh.
Day 3: We arrive Beijing 5:20 am. Stay at 4 star Tiantan Hotel, near the wonderful Temple of Heaven park. We immediately visit the Taoist Temple of Heaven (Tian Tan), the most sacred place in Beijing. Before touring the temple, we spend the morning at Temple of Heaven park, Beijing’s largest and most colorful potpourri of people. It is filled each morning with qigong & tai chi players, ballroom dancing, gambling, folk singers, gymnasts & musicians.
We start with a qigong class in park to erase any travel fatigue. Everyone coming on the trip will already have received the Primordial Qigong / Tai Chi for Enlightenment DVD. I will give corrections and more in depth understanding of its energetics, so that everyone feels totally comfortable with doing it daily for the rest of the trip. This 800-year old lineage form is inherently alchemical in nature. It speeds up your self-transformation process and smooths out your life karma. It is the most balancing and most deeply centering form I’ve ever encountered, with many medical applications as well.
Tour the magnificent Taoist “open sky” Altar of Heaven with its white marble stones in patterns of 9, and the Temple of Heaven, an extraordinary three tiered circular temple that looks like an antique spaceship ? built without a single nail. The Emperor, as Son of Heaven, had to visit here twice a year to receive Celestial instruction.
Day 4: Qigong early morning in the park. Morning visit to the White Cloud Taoist Temple, headquarters of the Complete Perfection Dragon Gate sect. This is a powerful place to meditate & practice qigong. They have a fascinating museum of inner alchemy, and dozens of small temples and hidden parks to meditate in. Drive to Great Wall of China. The Wall is very impressive, a wonder of the World, part of a 2500 mile long wall. We’ll hike and do Primordial qigong on the Wall at sunset. Evening banquet. Beijing.
Day 5: Morning we will learn the ancient Shamanic Seven Star Big Dipper Stepping Qigong Ceremony from the Path of the Female Immortals, taught to me by Master Jiang Nan, current lineage holder. This form, which moves clockwise in squares, is a perfect companion to the counter-clockwise spiraling circles of Primordial Qigong.
Both are spiritual qigong forms that affect you personally as well as organize the larger field of your life/Nature. Both are unlike any other medical or martial qigong forms I’ve ever seen; each generates a unique and powerful chi field. Performed together, they are off the charts.
Primordial Tai Chi on the Great Wall of China. Master Chia on far left. Meditating in Inner Alchemy museum, White Cloud Temple, Beijing.
Mantak loves this form, will soon adopt it into the Healing Tao.
The 7-Star Big Dipper shamanic ceremony is undoubtedly of older historical origin. It is also a closely held lineage form, from the Path of the Female Immortals. It feels really ancient and shamanic. It looks like a kind of “brain gym” of alternating hand and foot movements while walking a Big Dipper star pattern. It forces you to stay very centered while invoking different energetic frequencies and simultaneously toning. This may be challenging at first for some of us (smile!). But I guarantee that everyone will get it after a few hours practice.
Late morning free to rest, get treatments from Jiang Nan, or explore the giant maze of the nearby Red Pearl Department store – a cultural tour in itself. At 1:30 pm bus departs to airport, and we fly to Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
Day 6: We spend the day relaxing and exploring China’s most famous lake and surrounding hills. West Lake is so beautiful it is considered the premier location for honeymoon couples in China. It’s common to see weddings on the shoreline. We’ll hire small boats to take us out to the islands in the center of the lake, with exquisite classical Chinese architecture, meditative gardens, and lovely walking paths.
We’ll practice Primordial Qigong surrounded by the Lake energy. We’ll absorb the chi from the fabulous views of the surrounding hills, with temples and pagodas rising from their heights. The most famous tea in China is grown in those hills, called “longjing”, or Dragon Well tea. Be sure to bring some home.
We’ll later visit the Temple of Ge Hong, a 4th century Taoist adept famous for his alchemical elixirs, and possibly another temple famous for its stone carvings. We’ll enjoy the local cuisine, which is also famous in China. We’ll stay in a sumptuous old style Chinese mansion hotel near the lake. Hangzhou.
Day 7: Morning qigong at sunrise beside the shimmering West Lake. After a 5-star breakfast, we’ll take our private coach 3 hours up a new highway to what is considered China’s most beautiful mountain: Yellow Mountain (Huang Shan). We’ll take the cable car up part way, then an easy 1 hour hike winding through its gorgeous, magically sculpted peaks. Its reputation for having the most breath-taking vistas in the whole of China is well-deserved.
Pagoda overlooks the serenity of West Lake
Yellow Mountain is where the most spectacular mountain scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were filmed, including the famous final “leap off the cliff” shot. It’s interesting that there are neither Taoist nor Buddhist temples on Huangshan, in a country where most mountains have temples. It’s almost as if the beauty of the mountain itself was so sacred that it was left untouched by human culture. We’ll stay in a comfortable mountain inn, and enjoy the peaceful beauty. Free hiking time. Really fit gung-ho hikers may have time to do the 7 hour “Western Canyon” hike, up & down a vertical mile through hundreds of rock pinnacles. Huangshan.
Day 8: First thing in the morning, we’ll do Primordial Tai Chi to gather the fabulous mountain beauty chi. The chi here is quite different than mountains where Taoists have cultivated. The vibration is not as spiritually intense, but it has a wonderfully innocent and free feeling to it. Rest of the morning free for relaxing, meditating, or hiking to various spectacular viewpoints nestled within the forested valleys. Your hiking path is suddenly interrupted by craggy cliffs and soaring pinnacles of stone with marvelous hues of color.
We’ll take the cable car down to the base of Yellow Mountain for lunch, then bus in the afternoon about 2 hours to the base of 3 Pure Ones Mountain. We’ll stay in the tiny mountain village, in its lone 4-star hotel. There are charming shops with unusual high-chi rocks from the mountain. 3 Pure Ones Mountain.
Yellow Mountain spectacular vista at sunset. Amazing walkways built on sheer cliffs. Beauty, beauty, everywhere!
Day 9: We’ll catch the first cable car up 3 Pure Ones Mountain in order to have all day to explore its stunning scenery. It takes a couple of hours hiking to reach the powerful Taoist temple, called the Tao Sanctuary of the 3 Pure Ones, set within a natural cauldron of buttressed hills. But it is a most amazing hike. This mountain is a World Heritage site, and the Chinese have built amazing walk-ways along the edges of sheer cliffs so that the impossibly spectacular views become reachable.
3 Pure Ones Mountain is sometimes called a “baby Yellow Mountain”. It will be quite interesting for us to compare the two. I find the individual rock formations on 3 Pure Ones Mountain to be more stunning aesthetically. Energetically, I feel the chi from the Taoists meditating and communicating with the mountain spirits elevates the spiritual vibration of the entire mountain.
Cherry at 3 Pure Ones sunrise, an orgy of beauty. Dragon & Tiger temple, Tao Sanctuary. 3 Pure Ones: Snake Rising Pinnacle.
To explore the entire network of trails takes about 5 to 6 hours of hiking, but shorter routes are available. There are many Taoist temples and shrines dotting the north side of the mountain. One of them is the Dragon and Tiger temple, with exquisite miniature statues of Taoist deities and immortals meditating under the open sky temple (no roof). I asked the local Taoists where their favorite place to meditate was. They pointed to a giant rock facing the temple. After we reach the Taoist Sanctuary, we will do Primordial Tai Chi together on that “power rock”, which has special fengshui that allows it to absorb chi from the natural cauldron formed by the hills.
We’ll catch the last cable car down the mountain to return to our comfy 4 star hotel. 3 Pure Ones Mountain.
Day 10 -11: Drive our private coach 3.5 hours to the town of Jinhua, literally “Golden Flower”. We’ll stay in its 1500 year old temple and retreat center. It is perched on a mountainside with magnificent views overlooking a lake and tea fields that belong to the temple. We’ll enjoy a Taoist tea ceremony in the temple tea house, led by the head nun, who gave up a life of wealth in Hong Kong to dedicate herself to spiritual service. The tea here is one of my favorite in all of China.
These first two days will be to rest, meditate, and digest the chi from our mountain experience. We’ll practice qigong and meditation together each day. It will also give us a chance to watch the many Chinese pilgrims who come here to pray at the temple dedicated to Immortal Huang, a simple goat herder who achieved Tao in the 4th century. Jinhua Temple.
Day 12: We’ll spend the day visiting the caves used for millennia by Taoist adepts, most famously the Immortal Huang in the Double Dragon cave. This cave has an underground river in it, so very moist and warm. It can only be reached by laying down in a small one person raft that flows down a narrow tunnel to get inside the cave. Each cave has a different kind of chi, which we will experience and use to build up a “library” of different frequencies of deep earth chi refined by generations of Taoist meditators. Many Taoists are said to have achieved themselves in these caves, most famously a goat herder named Huang in the 4th century. The Golden Flower Temple still keeps a flock of pure white goats in “Immoral Huang’s” honor. He is the “local god” in the main temple, and countless miracles in the community are attributed to him. I was told that Westerners making the pilgrimmage to this ancient temple are eligible for similar good fortune..
Day 13 – 14: We’ll continue our meditation and qigong retreat at Jinhua. The chi here is VERY special, even the famous Taoist Wang Li Ping (subject of “Opening the Dragon’s Gate: The Making of a Taoist Wizard”) holds retreats at Jinhua. The temple belongs to the Shang Qing (pronounced “Ching”), a 5th century Taoist sect that, previous to my discovering this temple, I believed was extinct in China. Shang Qiing were the first Taoists to publicly initiate the alchemical meditation practice of connecting the vital organ spirits to the spirits of the sacred cardinal directions. You will see these ceremonies still being performed here today. It is the perfect place to practice the kind of alchemical meditations taught by the Healing Tao.
The secret Shang Qing liturgy was recently translated into English with an excellent commentary, and is available on my website. I recommend you get the book before you come on this trip: Way of Greatest Clarity, by James Miller. Here is his summary:
“Highest Clarity Daoism, originating in the 4th century C.E., represents one of the earliest and most successful attempts to synthesize the foundational religious elements that had already appeared on China?s religious scene. These included shamanism, mystical experiences, astrology, the quest for immortality, meditation practices, court ritual and …. concepts of death and rebirth.
“The synthesis brought these various elements into a single complex system, the highest goal of which was the transfiguration of the body and its pre-mortem ascension into heaven. Should this goal not be attainable – other, lesser, forms of salvation were also available to practitioners so that even if they were to die, they could safely pass through the underworld and be reborn, intact, in the heavens”
The Shang Qing meditation technique involves visualizing gods descending into the 5 organs of the body at certain times of the year. This alone makes it interesting for adepts of One Cloud?s Alchemy Formulas for Attaining Immortality, which work with similar principles. Meditating in such a location is very empowering for those on the alchemical path. Jinhua Temple.
Day 15: Morning free, time to load up on the temple’s delicious tea for gifts. Lunch, then drive to Hangzhou. At 4pm fly from Hangzhou to Beijing, connect to Air China #983. Depart Beijing 9 pm, arrive in Los Angeles 6 pm same day on Friday, May 27 (miracle of International Date Line). This gives time to connect to other flights, or Virginia (our agent in LA) will help you book a hotel to relax in Los Angeles after the 12 hour flight from Beijing.
Please allow a few months (minimum) to digest the experience energetically. The qigong forms will help you do that.
For collection of my top China Dream Trip photos: http://www.healingdao.com/china_dream_trip_photos.html
For Photo Index: http://www.healingtaousa.com/photos.html
OH Michael, I have the most beautiful memories from China?.so many great moments, what a great trip. I’ve been reading The Power of Now. I can say that if I’ve ever have been in the NOW, in peace, in deep connection with nature, it was the magical Chi of China that got me there. Those moments and memories makes all my daily hassles worth it. Thank you for showing the Way to capture this deep chi from China, thank you for bringing me there ? Love you Michael. You’ve created with God ‘s and Lao Tzi’s help a great life which I was so fortunate to share for a few weeks. Know that you are in my living room at least couple of days a week?. at least on your inspiring qigong videos!
“This was my 2nd Dream Trip. I didn’t want to leave China (maybe next time I won’t). The rhythm of travel and the energy of China, the succession of encounters that keeps us on our toes, reminds me that it’s fun, that life is play, I don’t need to take myself so seriously. I feel acutely in the present moment as the road unfolds the energies of the earth and its sacred places.
Sometimes it’s going by so fast we don’t have time to realize how “amazing” it is. Later, after falling into the routine of home, things come back that make me stop and appreciate it all over again, but with a new perspective. Or as Proust says, that this returning memory is the experience coming to its full maturity and really felt for the first time; it becomes more real when you remember it. There seems to be a lot more packed into that Dream Trip than I could comprehend as it whizzed by each new day.
Our experiences reverberate into our subsequent lives. My qigong and meditation practice has gained traction and substance. Something is happening and I feel changed. My orbit is deeper and more solid-feeling. I fall into qi-pulsations spontaneously at unexpected times, like standing in the grocery checkout line, or on the subway.
I think “shopping qi” is a legitimate thing. I’m glad you pointed it out to us as a powerful spiritual practice to circulate energy between our cultures. As with internal alchemy, a strong center is recommended. I think I learned to become more free with myself by practicing “money-flow gongfu”. Even going on the trip was already a first step in that workshop.
I really love the everyday authentic encounters on the trip, the moments that are not scripted. Just the pulse of life happening and the wonder of it is the air to be enjoyed, the delight of change, feeling welcomed into that flow of Chinese life.
There was something pretty great about our dinner with guides-in-training in Kunming, exchanging cross-cultural views about hot broth and weather. The girls were adorable, they gave us name cards with special notes written for the occasion: “I love you.” “I miss you.” “Have happy life.” And then, some of them really broke down with sobbing goodbyes. One was gripping my shirt, weeping, not wanting me to leave. It was a shock. I felt unprepared, unsure how to respond, and also moved by the intensity and openness of this feeling in them. Java also cried saying goodbye at the end of her guiding us. Maybe it’s surprising because I don’t expect Chinese people to be emotionally expressive.
Similarly, in Dali, at a bistro, there was a gorgeous young woman who’d decided to get up and dance with herself. There was music, soft lighting, her dancing was very slow, and as sensuous as I’ve seen anyone anywhere dance. Mesmerizing undulating hips. She’ll have no problem opening qi flow in the orbit. This was erotic and not vulgar. And this was a young woman in China, in public! Quite the surprise, and even to this day I think of her from time to time. Feeling the magic of her movements, and the self-possessed power in her eyes.
-Brian B., NYC
I actually met the Jade Emperor when I prayed to him alone, and gave myself up completely. It was the first time I ever prayed in a Taoist temple. I became transparent and was not afraid to let God, or Original Spirit or whatever people call it see me? all my good, all my bad. In total openness I truly saw my self?
But then some crazy stirrings happened in the lower tan tian. Rumbling, earthquake… explosion in my head. Feeling pressure.. mouth open wide, eyes shut tight, indescribable feelings in whole body… then boom!! It expressed through me as great laughter, I laughed like never before, my whole body was shaking in laughter, my lungs gasping for breath, my eyes tearing like crazy from laughter… Then crying?like never before crying and crying.. Then dancing and spinning like never before..
I was being guided by some very strong invisible force. Chi? Spirits? I’m not sure what but I felt it hold me in key points on my body as it moved me effortlessly. I was just there watching my body dance in wonder! Then the strong force made me run outside and dance and sing before everyone I met. I loved everyone and everything!!! Life felt incredible! so fun!!! so amazing!!!!!
I was flying, jumping, doing flips, spinning, and running all over Weibanshan mountain expressing my joy, love and compassion to all! I believe I was taken over by my own spirit. There was nothing that could make it unhappy, I could be slapped in the face, or beat up and I would still be in love and happy!
I was drunk with life! I remember running, hugging and kissing everyone from the group. Some were happy and touched, and some thought I went crazy! Some thought I was possessed – but to me it didn’t matter! I saw and felt so much love and beauty in everyone, I loved everyone so much and wanted to be one with all.
When I got back home, I did primordial chi kung with the intention to connect all the power spots in China, to help bring change, inspiration and new life to Toronto. It was very very gray, dark, lifeless. During the form, the sun broke through the clouds and shined a bit. When I finished the whole sky was blue with beautiful white clouds, birds were flying and chirping, insects were buzzing, and life seemed to have arrived.. It was just such a wonderful feeling and reponse from nature…
Also, I really miss the food in China…you picked great restaurants! The food back here is so tasteless and lifeless! I might have to move to China just because the food there was so great, so rich in life and flavour! The food, the people, the group, and the experiences in the China trip has made me feel and be younger, more loving and compassionate.. So many incredible positive things have resulted, the list is endless. Thank you so much!
– Teddy C, Toronto (Chinese nationality)
I asked the question: How did the China Trip change your life? Names withheld for privacy. I will note that two Dream Trip members moved to China as a result of the trip! Another one married one of my best guides. (There is yet another very pretty one looking for a husband?). As you can tell from these letters, this trip is not for simple tourists. It’s for people open to intense transformation ? my definition of inner alchemy.
– Michael Winn
A. How did China change me? That is too difficult a question, I will stick with, What did China change in me? My practices, I seem to have acquired a much stronger Chi field. Meditations have a lot more depth and in some meditations what were just words or thoughts are now strong physical/energetic/spiritual feelings, experiences. I have a much deeper understanding/connection with my bodies.
Same with Qigong my arms are moving through a much denser chi field. I find myself experiencing a much deeper experience of Tai Chi. I find it easier and easier to connect with the energies of the cave and various monasteries. I have had some great experiences connecting with Lao Tzu’s ascension site then taking it into the cave.
I have been working on converting my garage to a practice place. My father pointed out that I was sawing timber in straight lines and hammering nails without bending them (and without hitting my thumb) This Is most unusual and my father noticed right away. Was it worth it? Absolutely undeniably yes. A great group of people. I look forward to the next trip.
B. Your China Dream trip changed my life. One experience in particular comes to mind. On our first day on Mt. Huashan, I crawled out on a rock ledge and sat there drinking in the beauty of the incredible vista before my eyes. I was looking down on the tops of clouds. I didn’t have anything particular in mind, just a little rest and a few moments of solitude to drink in the beauty before me.
I easily settled into meditating and immediately began to feel so light. Quite spontaneously, fears, the existence of which I had never fully acknowledged, surfaced and were released down into the emptiness in front of me along with more than a few tears. In that moment, on that ledge up above the clouds, I knew I was no longer able to settle for less than living my life fully. ..
Days after returning from China, I filed for divorce, something I had been trying to do for years. It was a peaceful parting. Thank you so very much for all you did to make that trip an incredible experience for everyone involved. You did a fabulous job!
C. Just writing to thank you for organizing the trip to China. I had an amazing time! I met a lot of fun and interesting people, ate a lot of great food, and the places were powerful and spectacular. Thanks to you my entire life is about to undergo a huge change. I will be moving to Chengdu in Sichuan province in January, and living in China for at least a year to learn the language at Sichuan University. After that, who knows, the possibilities are endless! Thank you Michael, I hope to meet you again. I hope your life has changed for the better as radically as mine. (Note: this young Australian did move back to China and married my Chinese tour guide!)
D. China was an extraordinary trip for me! I am still swirling in the experience and richness of it all! My world feels much bigger and at the same time, the exquisite sameness of all people is resonating throughout my being. I will try to get some words down to describe some of it before too long, but meanwhile wanted to thank you!
E. I do think about the group often. I don’t take it lightly. Our time together was important to me. Being a novice at these practices. I wish I had consulted with you more on your experience. Our time together was short but intense. There wasn’t a person on the trip that wasn’t an inspiration for me. But I do feel lucky with my roommate, as he was my greatest inspiration. Nothing bothered this guy, and I found myself doing meditation on that. What kind of attitude would a person need to have this positive way of looking at things, events, life? Thanks!
- immediately after the trip I began to realize that the JUDGMENTS I have are just my judgments. I can now feel the separation they create. And now know that its not the way things and people really are.
- my main Tango dancing partner told me I was DANCING better because I am softer and more relaxed!
- several friends are saying that my VOICE on the phone has become softer, slower, somehow changed.
- the shaman I sometimes see says I am “more myself” – whatever she means by this. I can feel what these feedbacks are referring to and I’m happy about it.
The connections I felt during primordial qigong allowed me to feel my goal of connection to God (within) is possible. Primordial is extremely powerful… not just arm waving. I made new friends, and plan to visit them. I have really come to appreciate the Chinese people and their lifestyle. I love Temple of Heaven park and all the people there, just hanging out.
H. I spent three days at the group’s “secret spot” atop Mt. Hua. During Primordial Chi Gung I saw the clouds mystically rise like angels and dragons and daggers. I could sense the clouds as the dragons breath. I stripped naked once, and laid down on the rocks, My spine aligned with the spine of the granite mountain. Now that I am home, I am feeling my spine aligning with the mountains. I rode a cloud dragon up a spiral towards heaven, taming my wild mind as the wind washed through me, playful & euphoric. I thought: THE IMMORTALS ARE THE MOUNTAINS. I saw them through the eyes of the dragon, a bat, and a butterfly. I feel altered forever. I still ride the dragon now that I am home.
I. The most special part of the trip was bonding with others and sharing laughs in our group. Christina and I bonded immediately as if we had known each other our whole lives. We stayed awake each night sharing our experiences of the day and talking about everybody. We giggled like little school girls and wondered how Michael paired us up so perfectly????
I am a loner at heart, but I so enjoyed my time with everyone. I grew to love many of you. Memories spent together still pop into my head out of nowhere, and I and miss everyone. Michael, I told you that Huashan was difficult for me, but I knew one day I would be grateful. When I returned, I had lost 10 pounds and got my high school wash-board belly back!
J. Things were definitely rocky the first couple weeks after the trip. I was physically in Los Angeles, but I was mentally and spiritually back in China. I still float off to the caves, the various peaks at Huashan and other places whenever time and situations allow. My wife will often ask me where I am if I’m being quiet, and the reply is always the same – China.
All my computer desktop pictures are China pics. Amazingly, I find little pieces of everyone I met in China here at home, reflections of you all. One of the people I train with could be Russell’s little brother, another reminds me of our lovely guide Cherry. I try to bring Teddy’s excitement on Weibaoshan to all the Tai Chi classes that I teach.
The few lessons I received from the monks have served me well and my own Tai Chi is really rocking lately. Like many I think I’m still digesting it all and lessons I didn’t understand or even realize were happening now surface when I least expect it. The spiritual awakening I experienced doing tsunami relief work in Sri Lanka was really kicked into overdrive in China.
I came back from China a much calmer, more well balanced person. Situations that might have resulted in arguments or just general negativity now bring on compassion. And if I am brought to the darkness of anger I’m immediately embarrassed and sorry.
I’ve had a couple moments where I’m positive an immortal is present. Words of encouragement from people I’ve never met from out of the blue or just a simple look in the eyes of a passing stranger. I know, that sounds nuts. But the overwhelming rush of emotion in these situations and the sense of peace that consumes me after it’s passed are very powerful.
My friends have sensed profound change in me as well but I realize I’m very much a work in progress. I’m already on the list for the next China trip as is another Tai Chi student from my school. I’m still getting used to the new me, but I like the changes so far.
Note: Low cost travel insurance is made available to all trip members. (Last year it cost average $150.- 200. depending on your age & trip length). You are strongly urged to obtain it. If you do NOT obtain it, you must sign a legal release.
If SARS or some other killer bird-flu or swine-flu virus should it break out before the trip date, I personally believe the trip will still happen. Two reasons.
1. During the last epidemic there were virtually no cases where we are spending most of our time.
2. Chinese health system is much better prepared and alert this time around.
3. Extensive instructions are given to all trip members on how to stay healthy before and during the trip. These are my time tested travel methods to keep immune system at peak operating level. This strategy has proven very effective on previous trips.
Fees for cancellation are as follows:
1. if cancellation notice is received before midnite Dec. 31, 2010 – $300. fee.
2. If cancel Jan. 1 to midnite Feb. 11, 2011 – $600. fee.
3. If cancel between Feb. 12, 2011 and departure date of trip, full trip cost is owed and forfeited (NO REFUND). This is why it is essential you get trip insurance.
4. No refunds for termination of travel AFTER trip begins. Even if a member must involuntarily cancel for physical health reasons AFTER the trip within China has begun, and does not use a portion of their already pre-paid services, no refunds will be made. It is simply too difficult to collect in China, and not worth the trouble. No refunds are made for unused excursions and special program activities.
We will supply you with a reliable and inexpensive travel insurance option (or you can choose your own). Check the terms and conditions of the issuer of your travel insurance policy as they are defined in the policy’s cancellation clause, which outlines your coverage, its limitations and exclusions. Usually written medical excuse from doctor or proven death in family are accepted.
I hope to hear from you soon ? that you’ve decided to join me for the spiritual adventure of a lifetime!
Love, chi, blessings,