Do you feel held back in life by “invisible forces”? The ordinary mind struggles blindly, reaching for happiness that seems elusive, just beyond our grasp. Align with Tao mind, and you feel guided moment to moment.
1. Featured Special: Taoist Dream Practice Audio CD + Lucid Dreaming Qigong DVD. See below – offer good until midnight June 30, 2013.
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Dear Lovers of Effortless Living,
The Tao Te Ching, or “Classic on the Natural Way to Live with Integrity” by Lao Tzu, is famous for promoting the flow that comes from living a life aligned with the Effortless Tao. It’s been a best-seller for over 2500 years – obviously it’s an appealing message. But it’s also an elusive goal, even paradoxically maddening if you use “effort” to achieve “effortless-ness”.
We now live, both in China and the West, in a culture of Over-achievers. If you don’t “try hard to win”, it feels like you might get left behind, or left without the rewards dangled before you, or left for being a “loser”.
What to do? How to “try” without “trying too hard”, and living in struggle?
I come from a family where my father went to Harvard Medical School and my mother finished her PhD courses by age 21. I was thoroughly programmed to compete. In high school I beat out 100,000 other teams to win the California State Debate Championship. I was one of three in my family who went to Stanford, Yale, or Dartmouth – Ivy colleges filled with America’s most competitive students.
I read the Tao Te Ching in college, and was deeply puzzled by it. How do you actually DO it, i.e. live that effortless life of the Tao? I dismissed it as “lovely mystical poetry”, not practical advice. It took me a long time to “unlearn” the brainwashing of my culturally biased education, the Western Way of Over-Efforting. I studied many paths, but eventually Qigong and Taoist meditation were my main tools.
25 years after graduating from college, I began leading China Dream Trips. I could not find a single Taoist monk who had graduated from college. They were all ordinary folk, who just took a yearning for the Tao, and followed their heart.
Carving of Lao-Tzu from bone (1 foot tall) that I bought on a China Dream Trip. Even Lao Tzu’s horse is in serene deep meditation with the Earth below, not racing about wildly. Lao Tzu carries a gourd with primal Elixir of Yin-Yang Qi next to his heart, and he has a smile on his face. All are secrets clues to surrendering to the Effortless Way.
Note: no China Dream Trip in 2013, I’m still recovering from my wedding trip last year. Send me an email if you want to be early-alerted for the May 2014 China Dream Trip. I’ve been scouting out some fabulous new places.
Here’s my advice, as a Western Taoist, after playing with this “don’t struggle” conundrum for 33 years.
FIVE STEPS TO EFFORTLESS LIVING
1. Go Slow. Take a deep breath, exhale whenever you feel frustrated. Every out breath is a mini “Letting Go”. Most people inhale more than they exhale. This is unconscious cultural programming to grasp after life energy. Practice balancing your breath before you take on your entire life. (I teach the three types of Taoist breathing – natural, reverse, and counterforce – in Medical & Spiritual Qigong Fundamentals 3&4: http://www.healingtaousa.com/ckf3.html).
2. Ground yourself witih Conscious Movement. Sports, dance, exercise, or hiking will all help, but their benefits disperse without constant effort, because their focus is often external. That mens your Qi (same as Chi, both pronounced “chee”) is flowing out of your body. “”Qi flows where your Mind goes” is a famous Tao saying. When you ground your entire body with qigong movement, it feels effortless, and the focus is consciously internal.
I find qigong is deeper than other kinds of exercise, because it feels more likely to stick, i.e. the Qi keeps flowing inside your body long after you stop practicing. That gives you a solid platform from which to proceed in your outer life- you are now grounded and filled with balanced energy. Your odds of creating an effortless life just went up 100%. Inner patterns of your psyche will unfold in your outer life.
3. Cut yourself a lot of slack. Impatience is Enemy No. 1 on your path to the Effortless Way. Inner Smile to your heart, ask it what it TRULY needs in any given situation. Usually it’s something simple, and not what everyone else wants – and certainly not worth lying, stealing, or cheating to get it. If you follow that inner heart voice, doorways will begin to open for you, effortlessly. Your heart is wired into the heart of the Cosmos, what Taoists call Original Spirit. (If you haven’t read my Way of the Inner Smile free ebook, download that from my homepage, or get the guided Inner Smile Audio CD).
Clear heart is essential to infusing “te”, integrity, into to one’s Qigong cultivation practice. I know an American female martial artist who spent 30 years cultivating her Qi. She is very talented, and has undoubtedly helped many students. But she is personally still angry and over controlling. There is a danger that building more Qi without an equal infusion of Integrity (te) from your shen (spirit) can amplify the struggle in your life.
4. Study with different Taoist teachers. Each one has different discoveries to share. They can save you years of struggle. Having the Right Attitude / Heart + Right Method is the best short cut to avoiding an excruciating series of painful life lessons. This is about finding the discipline right for you, what I call True Effort, that will graduallyreward you with increased ease and good health.
5. Cultivate a direct relationship with the Life Force, or Original Qi. This is the most Direct Method. Original Qi (literally Original Breath) holds our memory of Original Integrity with the Tao. That is our original state of Oneness, what is called Divine Love. Cultivating Original Breath is the goal of my teaching qigong + inner alchemy meditation together. Can we breathe this Original Breathe into a world filled with polluted, negative energy that is trapped and stuck, struggling within the physical plane?
Cultivating this Original Breath requires True Effort, which is not NOT STRUGGLE. Struggle is caused by disharmony between yiin and yang forces. True Effort feels rewarding, like you are completing your destiny, even though it is hard work — perhaps the hardest work of your entire life. But you will be given the Qi necessary to complete any difficult task required to complete your Highest Destiny. It’s unique to each person – that High Destiny given to us by the Tao is what Lao Tzu wants us to surrender to.
Ultimately all Grace, what Taoists call “wu wei”, or “living spontaneously” (literally “action without effort”), comes from aligning and allowing the Original Qi to flow into the physical plane as harmonious yin-yang energy flow. It flows in a continous orbit, from Source/Tao, through collective spirit, into your soul, and finally into your body-mind. There it hits the Resistance, what causes struggle, and it must be transformed before it can flow back to Source again to continue the orbit.
Harmonizing this orbital flow is what Taoists alchemists call cultivating the Three Treasures, the harmony of Jing, Qi, and Shen. When Qi flows freely between all three layers of your physical, energy, and spirit bodies, you experience true integrity and will effortlessly express the Tao within the microcosm of your personal life.
Can you allow your energy flow to be as transparent as this butterfly’s transmission of Clear Light?
Tao is multi-dimensional. The only thing you can take with you at the moment of death – when you change dimensions – is your Integrity. You leave your family, reputation, wealth, and toys behind. Our potential for learning, for gaining Integrity within a human lifespan, is part of a much greater infinite process.
So don’t get hung up on a fixed end goal of what salvation, enlightenment, divine love or immortality is “supposed” to be like. It’s never like what we project it to be. What your soul truly needs will arise naturally and effortlessly in your daily life — once you enter into a state of Openness to the flow of Tao, to the Life Force that holds the absolute integrity of this cosmos.
This Openness to flow of Tao is not the same as striving to achieve “no-mind”, which all too often people interpret as “no-body” and “no-self” as well. Openness to flow of Tao is not a denial of our personal responsibility as a an Embodied Self. Rather it’s the ultimate integration of worldly (body) attention and discipline raised to the high spiritual level of True Effortlessness. The combination of self-discipline in cultivation of Qi + surrender to our innate Integrity inspires the Natural Presence or Original Spirit hidden in the core of our Embodied Self to flow into our body-mind’s daily life. You can cal it wisdom.
Letting Go involves a lot of Trust in the Life Force…but everyone has a different level in what they will trust their body to experience. Doing something radical like sky-diving can open you up to a new level of trust: can you surrender to “diving into the Earth”? That’s what sky diving is really about.
Study With Many Different Teachers of the Way!
I’d like to highlight my point #4, about getting different teacher’s viewpoints as key to breaking your own fixed, unconscious patterns of struggle. One of the reasons I sponsor 20 week long Tao retreats in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina is because I love promoting diversity and the richness it brings to teachers and students alike. Teachers can only teach from their own essence. We each respond to different teachers based on our resonance to their essence and their life’s sharing.
Let me share a little about some of the amazing teachers, and link to videos that some of them have made. I won’t talk about my own Qigong Fundamentals, Healing Love and Kan & Li Inner Alchemy track, because you hear about me all the time.
Minke de Vos
Minke de Vos has integrated in Week 1 an amazing system of Medical Qigong for energy healers who want the best of the Healing Tao + other medical qigong systems. Minke is a wonderful free spirit and one of the most senior of Healing Tao Senior Instructors, with nearly 30 years experience. She co-teaches Healing Love/Taoist Sexology, one of the highlights of my summer, and has published high level training materials for women.
I call David Twicken the “master of Taoist cycles”. His integration of Chinese astrology, qigong, alchemy, feng shui, and Chinese Medicine is without parallel. I just reviewed his forthcoming book on Eight Extraordinary Vessels, which was a terrific addition to his many other books. In Week 1 he’ll be integrating Primordial Qigong and Fusion 2/3, the MacroCosmic Orbit/8 Extra Vessels, and Rejuvenation Qigong. Don’t miss him! He also has a weekend on Chinese Medical Astrology and 5 Elements Qigong the first half of Week 2.
Andrew McCart is new to our summer faculty, but a familiar face with over 12 years in the Healing Tao and currently on the Healing Tao Instructor’s Association board of directors. He has acquired amazing skills by studying with more than 11 Senior Instructors on 3 continents, and will teach Tai Chi Qigong (Week 3), Tao Yin (Taoist Yoga in Week 4), and co-teach Fusion 1 & Iron Shirt with Steven Sy (Week 2). In his other life he is a talented professor at Purdue University. In his Tao life, he has three black belts and mastered many healing modalities, including Chi Nei Tsang, Reiki, Acupressure and Medical Qigong. He is highly skilled, warm, funny, and one of the liveliest teachers you will ever encounter. See his video on Tao Yin:
Steven Sy is another new faculty addition, but a very familiar face at our summer retreats as the long time bookstore manager. Steven has also acquired a lot of wisdom by moderating the Healing Tao USA online Forum, which has had nearly 14 million hits. Steven is Vice President of the Healing Tao Instructor’s Association and over 900 hours of training. He has long been overdue to start teaching Iron Shirt (Week 2). His discipline and root are awesome, he is a master of precision in posture. Iron Shirt is a perfect followup to any of the Week 1 courses- everyone needs more grounding.
L: Frank & Tiina in China. Ctr: Frank Allen. R: Tina Zhang
Frank Allen and Tina Zhang are the dynamic duo of the NYC martial arts scene, with over 60 years teaching experience between them, won innumerable competition awards, and published definitive books on Bagua and Northern Wu Taijiquan. They go to China every year to refine their skills and we are delighted to have them share their rare knowledge at our summer retreats. Frank is finally releasing his main teacher’s secret lineage form that integrates tai chi, wu xing (5 elements), and bagua zhang. Tina’s Northern Wu Tai Chi form always gets passionate raves, and Frank is world class. Their courses are in the same week 5, so you have to pick one of them!
Jampa Stewart is also one of the most Senior of Healing Tao Seniors, past President of the National Qigong Association, a Chinese medical doctor, accomplished martial artist and meditator, and master of deep organ massage. He is teaching both Chi Nei Tsang levels 1 and 2. We are very lucky to have him visiting from his mountain retreat in Crestone, Colorado. Jampa is highly skilled, funny, and will take you on a deep healing journey.
All of these wonderfully talented instructors can help you LET GO of your struggle in life and help you master the flow of Effortless Tao.
» Fantastic Summer Tao Retreats. Tao is NOW – book yours today!
» FEATURED SPECIAL: Taoist Dream Practice
» Photo: Tree Dancing under Full Moon
Need help deciding which retreat is right for you, or understanding all the jr, sr, foreigner, reviewer, multiple retreat discounts? Contact: Julia Considine, Retreats Registrar. firstname.lastname@example.org 828-575-3825
NOTE: There is NO China Dream Trip planned for 2013. Next trip is planned for May 2014. To be added to advance notification list, hit reply, put “China 2014” in subject line, send.
Select Retreat Code to Register. (Removable later)
| Retreat Code
| Retreat Title
Select Title to view detailed
information about the Retreat
|Healing Tao Summer Retreat Week 1|
|Medical & Spiritual Qigong: Fundamentals 1-4
|June 21 – June 26, 2013||Michael Winn|
|Rejuvenation Qigong + Fusion 2 &3 + Primordial Qigong||June 21 – June 26, 2013||David Twicken|
|Medical Qigong for Energy Healers||June 21 – June 26, 2013||Minke de Vos|
|Qigong Fundamentals: Levels 1 & 2 Weekend||June 21 – June 23, 2013||Michael Winn|
|Healing Tao Summer Retreat Week 2|
|Healing Love: Taoist Sexual Secrets||June 28 – July 03, 2013||Michael Winn
Minke de Vos
|Fusion of Five Elements 1 + Iron Shirt 1 Rooting
Emotional Grounding & Dissolving Negativity
|June 28 – July 03, 2013||
|Chinese Medical & Spiritual Astrology
+ 5 Elements Qigong
|June 28 – June 30, 2013||David Twicken|
|Healing Tao Summer Retreat Week 3|
|Tao Qigong Basics & Sexual Energy Yoga||July 05 – July 10, 2013||Minke de Vos|
|Tai Chi Qigong Yang Short Form
Move with Ease, Grace, & Grounding
|July 05 – July 10, 2013||Andrew McCart|
|Inner Sexual Alchemy: Lesser Kan & Li (Water & Fire)
Get Pregnant with your Inner Sage
|July 05 – July 10, 2013||Michael Winn|
|Healing Tao Summer Retreat Week 4|
|Chi Nei Tsang 1: Deep Organ Massage
|July 11 – July 16, 2013||Jampa Stewart|
|Chinese Yoga / Tao-Yin||July 11 – July 16, 2013||Andrew McCart|
|Planetary Soul Alchemy: Greatest Kan & Li||July 11 – July 16, 2013||Michael Winn|
|Healing Tao Summer Retreat Week 5|
|Chi Nei Tsang 2 & 3: Opening the Wind Gates||July 17 – July 22, 2013||Jampa Stewart|
|Legacy Form: Taiji + Wu Xing + Bagua Zhang||July 17 – July 22, 2013||Frank Allen|
|Classical Northern Wu Style Taiji||July 17 – July 22, 2013||Tina Zhang|
|Heaven & Earth Alchemy||July 17 – July 22, 2013||Michael Winn|
Taoist Dream Practice
This Audio CD seminar by Michael Winn (11 hours, 8 CDs) covers the following topics:
Dream Practice vs. Dream Interpretation
Dark (Night) Side vs. Evil Side, True Yin vs. False Yin
Tao theory of Body Spirits at night
Guided Meditations: body sleeps, Mind Awake
Power Napping, Lucid Living, Dream Commands
Short cuts to higher soul contact
Featured Special available until June 30, midnight, 2013:
1. Tao Dream Practice Audio ONLY: reg. $109. Save $20. Buy for $89. + s/h
Note: order in MP3 format or Audio CD format (please specify).
2. Tao Dream Practice Audio + Lucid Dreaming Qigong DVD. Reg. $154. Save $35. Buy for $119. + s/h.
Note this DVD is currently listed as Blissful Breathing Qigong, and is part of Medical & Spiritual Qigong Fundamentals 3. I originally developed this qigong to support my Tao Dream Practice, and will be re-issuing it under the title Lucid Dreaming Qigong.
TO ORDER either audio-only or the package audio + DVD, please email my office manager:
Jan Gillespie <email@example.com>
or call 828 505 1444 (or 888 999 0555 within USA).
This discount is NOT available online.
Hope you’ve been enjoying this May full moon, last flourish of Spring’s wood Qi before Summer Solstice fire.
Loving the Effortless Dance of the Tao,
“Who takes Heaven as his ancestor, Virtue as his home,
the Tao as his door, and who becomes change — is a
Sage.” — Chuang Tzu, Inner Chapters
“The Tao is very close, but everyone looks far away.
Life is very simple, but everyone seeks difficulty.”
— Taoist Sage, 200 B.C
Register online for on Healing Tao University,
the largest Tao (Dao) Arts & Sciences program in the
West with 25 week long summer retreats featuring “chi kung”
(qigong) and inner alchemy (neidangong) training. For
more info, see http://www.HealingTaoRetreats.com
Or visit http://www.HealingTaoUSA.com, to
order books/videos/tapes from the Tao Home
Study program. Call the Healing Tao USA Fullfillment
center at the Mystical Number 1-888-999-0555 or more
ordinary numbers: 828-505-1444, or email
Visit http://www.Taichi-Enlightenment.com for a glimpse into
the world’s most magical spiritual tai chi form.
To get Michael Winn’s FREE 130 page ebook Way of the
Inner Smile, with 25 fabulous photos of the world’s
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Healing Tao USA • 4 Bostic Place • Asheville, NC 28803 • Tel. 888.999.0555 • www.healingdaousa.com