China Dream Trip August 2016
Return to Root of Tao in Sacred Mountains
Led by Michael Winn
Mt. Changbai is the "crown chakra" of China's sacred mountain landscape. Revered for thousands of years, it embodies the energy of Taoist Water & Fire Alchemy. The deep pure waters of Heavenly Lake rest atop the most active volcano in China. It radiates a phenomenal energy field revered by China's Emperors for its worldly power and Taoist adepts for its grounded spiritual power.
I've travelled to more than 100 countries. My travel philosophy can be summed up:
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the places and moments that take our breath away". -- an Enlightened Traveler
China Dream Trip Aug. 12 - 30, 2016
RESERVE YOUR PLACE with $600. deposit.
4 Ways to Signup:
1. LIVE PHONE. Call office manager Jan Gillespie at 828 505 1444
2. ANSWER MACHINE. Safely leave your name and credit card on our anwering machine (& call back phone)
3. EMAIL. Email credit card information to: info@HealingTaoUSA.com
4. MAIL CHECK. Call AND email (see above) to leave message with your name and phone number: "Please hold a space while I mail a deposit check". Mail check to: Healing Tao USA, 4 Bostic Place, Asheville, N.C. 28803. Check should be post-marked within 24 hours of message/email to hold that priority date.
CONFIRM your choice BY EMAIL. If you choose phone or mail to pay deposit, please confirm you have paid or left message to pay by ALSO sending an email to info@HealingTaoUSA.com.
China Dream Trip is for people who believe life is a spiritual adventure. It's for souls that hunger for the riches of ancient wisdom and off-the-beaten path beauty in faraway lands. It's not an ordinary tourist or educational tour. It attracts people who seek a life-transforming experience.
This particular trip has attracted many serious Tao adepts, but there is absolutely no pre-requisite other than an Open Heart and willingness to join in daily group practice of Primordial Tai Chi and Shamanic Big Dipper Star Stepping Qigong. Beginners will be trained in both forms. Advanced students will learn to take them deeper.
Top Three Highlights of 2016 China Dream Trip. I promise it will be the most amazing trip of your life!
1. Mt. Hua (Huashan), Flower Mountain. Tao Sacred Mountain of the West
L: Mt. Hua or Flower Mountain is China's "Taoist Yosimite" with temples perched on the edge of dramatic 3000 ft. cliffs. It has 72 caves and its peaks are in the shape of a five-petalled flower. Historical documents claim more Tao immortals achieved themselves here than any other sacred mountain in China. R: Mt. Hua's famous boardwalk above sheer 3000 ft. cliff is totally optional!
In 2012 I got married atop a sheer 3000 foot granite cliff. We stay in monasteries or caves used by ancient Tao adepts to dream their Way to immortality. This mountain takes us deep into the Metal/Gold Element at the root of individual self-cultivation and our ability to alchemically crystallize our personal pearl, the inner earth of our soul.
2. Hangu Pass: Lao Tzu's Original Transmission of the Tao Te Ching.
Hangu Pass is where 2500 years ago Lao Tzu transmitted the classic 5000 character Tao Te Ching, The Way and Its Inner Power. This is the "bible" of Taoist philosophy and root of many streams of Taoism that grew from its spiritual seed over the millennia. This will be the first time to visit this site on a China Dream Trip. We'll do a special ceremony to tune in and celebrate this profound portal that opens to the root wisdom of the Human Tao.
Yin Xi (Shi) was the Guardian of Hangu Pass who noticed the spiritual omen of a purple cloud approaching, causing him to stop Lao Tzu (pinyin: Laozi) and demand he write down his wisdom. For a detailed history of Yin Xi and how his status grew in China alongside Lao Tzu, read Prof. Livia Kohn's excellent article: http://www.healingtaousa.com/cgi-bin/articles.pl?rm=mode2&articleid=175
3. Mt. Changbai (Changbaishan), Perpetual White Mountain. Tao Sacred Mountain of Deep North
This sacred mountain located in Chinese Siberia is covered in snow for 9 months of the year - hence its name. The coupling of Fire Qi below Water Qi in this volcanic lake produces a phenomenal energy field of Orignal Qi that quickens the Personal Energy Body development of anyone who tunes in. China Dream Trippers capture its Original Qi with the alchemical sacred movement rituals of Primordial Tai Chi.and Big Dipper 7-Star Stepping Qigong. This mountain takes us deep into the root spiritual energy of Mother Earth and her primordial water-fire that births all life on this planet. It offers an opportunity to dissolve our Human essence into the larger collective field of Heaven-Earth Qi.
We will be meeting and training with Ju Xi, a Taoist adept who lives at the base of Mt. Changbai and who has done deep research into the Changbai lineage. Ju Xi has published seven books about Taoist cultivation and philosophy and is building a temple and Taoist school. He calls himself a "spiritual scientist", not a religious priest, an approach very compatible with my own.
China Dream Trip Mission:
Cauldron with Pearl. Symbolizes the alchemical Elixir of Life spontaenously arising as the crystallization of our soul.
"Our group Mission is to experience the spiritual essence of China. The particular mission of the 2016 Dream Trip is to return to the very root of the Tao. We'll do Cosmological Qigong forms like Primordial Tai Chi in China's most sacred and beautiful landscapes and connect to its ancestral Qi (chi). We'll meet & study with spiritually powerful Taoists. We'll deeply taste the ancient and modern cultures of China's people, and feast on local cuisines at sumptuous banquets. We'll explore its hidden secrets — before they disappear in China's mad modern rush to forget its rich history.
My personal Mission is to create the finest Dream Trip I would give to myself, if I could only visit China once.
This 2016 trip upholds the Dream Trip's pioneer status as the only one to offer genuine cave and monastery experience on Huashan. We'll also be the first recorded group of Western Tao adepts to visit Changbaishan. These trips are designed to keep the door open between Western and Chinese Taoists, 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
Forthcoming "Dream Trippers" Book: These Dream Trips have become famous. Two top Taoist scholars, Prof. David Palmer (author of highly acclaimed Qigong Fever) and Prof. Elijah Siegler, will soon publish a book titled Dream Trippers about relations between Western and Chinese Taoists on these trips. David and Elijah came on a number of Dream Trips and interviewed Chinese Taoists to measure their inter-cultural effect. The short summary: Chinese Taoists felt recognized and empowered by these trips.
I am pleased to announce that Professor David Palmer will join our 2016 Dream Trip. He is a lovely man with immense knowledge of Taoism and Chinese culture that he is willing to share.
Elijah Siegler also wrote a chapter "Daoism beyond modernity: The Healing Tao as post-modern movement" in David Palmer and Liu Xun's book Daoism in the 20th century: Between Eternity and Modernity. It's very worthwhile for its insights into how Taoism had adapted to the modern world. Healing Tao USA is one of the most cutting edge adaptations of Chinese Taoism.
A sampling of praise from Dream Trippers (more below, in separate section):
Unforgettable, Extraordinary Experiences with Crazy Fun Bunch!
"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 fun 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
The Qi in China was Simply Mind-blowing!
"The Qi (chi) I experienced in China was simply mind blowing! I got a transmission from being in those mountains that has totally opened up new levels of my inner vision." - Mark, Fla.
"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
"I can't begin to tell you how much we enjoyed the trip and what a profound effect it had on us and our practice" - Couple with minimal previous qigong experience
Gateway to what my soul was seeking!
"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
Great Photos from previous China Dream Trips (on Healing Tao USA facebook page):
12 Other Good Reasons to take 2016 China Dream Trip
1. Best of Beijing:
The Temple of Heaven is a 14th century spaceship for launching Energy Bodies. I plan to build a replica in North Carolina for a retreat center! In additioin to 3 days of qigong & primordial tai chi training in Temple of Heaven park, we visit Taoist White Cloud Temple, the Old Beijing district with narrow streets (hutongs), the Forbidden City, and Tianamen Square.
2. Great Wall of China:
We do Primordial Tai Chi on top of the Great Wall to capture its powerful Dragon Qi (chi), aka ley lilnes.
3. Best of Xian:
Xian was China's ancient walled capitol for 1500 years. It's a giant outdoor museum. We visit its Moslem bazaar, Tao 8 Immortals Temple, City Gods Temple, and Jade museum. You'll have free time to explore other places.
4. Terra Cotta Warriors.
2300 year-old army of individually sculpted soldiers covers 5 football fields - China's most famous site (more visitors than the Great Wall).
5. Stay in Mt. Hua Caves or Ancient Taoist Monasteries.
L: those tiny dots are people, not ants, hiking up a ridge to West Peak monastery! Ctr. Doorway of one of the granite caves carved out by hand. R: West Peak (with monastery atop) seen from a distance.
Most tourists run up and down Mt. Hua in one day using cable cars. Staying in a monastery or a cave on Huashan for three nights has been hugely popular and led to many powerful spiritual experiences, including contact with the Tao immortals who still like to visit here as their "earthly home". The fabulous temple-caves where we co-dream with immortal beings are not open to the general public or tourists. For those who don't want to "rough it" fasting in a cave, you can sleep and eat in a comfortable monastery and meditate during the day in a special Kuan Yin Temple-Cave that is open to just to our group and local Taoists..
6. Practice Spiritual Tai Chi in its Root Qi field. Anyone can learn and practice the gracefully simple 800 year old Tai Chi for Enlightened Love lineage form, aka Primordial Qigong. Mantak Chia learned this form on the 2010 Dream Trip, and loved it so much he adopted it into the Healing Tao certification system. Attendees on this trip get certified to teach the form. It's an amazing form that combines medical qigong, inner alchemy, feng shui, and tai chi.
You get a free DVD of the form in advance, when you put trip deposit down. This form is something that you'll take home with you from China, a lifetime treasure. Even as we visit the "must-see" cultural highlights of China, we constantly focus on using Qigong & Tai Chi to absorb the Qi of China into our Personal Energy Body. So when we get back home, China is deeply rooted in our bones and vital organs. That's why many people report dreaming for YEARS about this trip after taking it!
7. The EARTH QI in China is Different. We practice in China's most powerful temples, sacred mountains, and caves. The Qi in these power spots has already been cultivated by Taoist adepts for thousands of years. In particular the Earth Qi is special, and it helps us build a strong inner earth. Basically the sacred mountains are "Awake", i.e. Self-conscious. The Qi we will be "eating" is thus more refined than Qi in other parts of the world, like the cities where most people live. This special Earth Qi will support each of us. When you come home, you will feel super-grounded. Your foundation will be stronger and you'll feel moe ready to create your deepest Life Path.
8. It's Easy. We climb on some of China's most powerful sacred mountains. We keep the hiking easy, using cable cars to first get to the spectacular walking areas. Yes, there are stretches of steep stairs - but who cares when the view is what really takes your breath away? Our group qigong practice will give you incredible energy to handle those stairs and our packed travel schedule. Walking on sacred mountains evokes the energy of pilgrimmage: each step deepens our holy connection to the earth.
9. Feel Empowered cultivating Qi in China's top Power Spots: Our group tai chi practice at Taoist "sacred power" sites is very, very empowering. This form feels different in China, even if you've been doing it for years. It's because this form is unique in its ability to gather and concentrate the Qi of the place the ceremony is peformed. The Tao Immortals who originally transmitted this form are likely to show up!
10. Shamanic 7-Star Big Dipper Qigong.
We train in the rare and ancient shamanic Seven Star Big Dipper Qigong Ceremony. This is likely the oldest qigong form I've uncovered, transmitted to me from Nu Xian Pai, "Path of the Female Immortals" lineage. It functions like an ancient "brain gym", with different movements of the arms and legs doing an ancient Taoist square dance.
It aligns with Taoist inner alchemy method of absorbing purple Qi from the Pole Star. This shamanic qigong generates a very special and powerful Qi field -- used in ancient times to build a protective field around one's community or before going into battle. Taoists believe the Pole Star & 7 Big Dipper stars control human destiny. Are you ready to take control of your destiny?
11. Deep Meditation.
L: Dream Tripper meditating in 8 Immortals Temple in Xian. You can feel the vibration of 1400 years of meditation by generations of Taoists. CTR: Tripper in deep trance at Lao Tzu's Ascension Site, with its amazing etheric energy. R: Statue of Chen Tuan meditating at base of Mt. Hua. He's The Sleeping Immortal who dreamed for months at a time. Wesk Peak of Mt. Hua is visible in the distance - with a monastery where we stay.
Taoist temples allow space for deep tranquil meditation in the midst of 1.5 billion people. We'll meditate (you choose the method best for you) in Beijing's White Cloud Temple and Temple of Heaven; Xian's City God Temple; the 8 Immortals Temple (1400 years old!); Huashan's Jade Spring Temple, White Ruler God Temple, and Goddess of the 9 Heavens Temple, one of many Flower ("Hua") Mountain temples dedicated to female Immortals. There are many "cave temples" atop Mt. Hua, dedicated to various divine beings - Jade Emperor, Thunder God, Kuan Yin, etc.These temples are all highly charged with deep spiritual energy of the Tao.
12. Make Fabulous Friends while having the Spiritual Adventure of a Lifetime!
Dream Trippers sharing a sumptuous dumpling feast in Xian.
Everyone who comes on these Dream Trips feels that the friends they make here are at least half the joy of this journey. Tao encourages everyone to follow their own "Way", but it sure is nice to have someone to share it with. This China Journey is designed to be a life-changing experience, and group support is part of that richness. Do you want to have some "serious spiritual fun" with a fabulous group of souls? If you seek a shot of fresh energy to unfold your highest destiny, this is the trip for you.
Cost & How to Register for China Dream Trip
HOW TO SIGN UP - 2016 CHINA DREAM TRIP
Michael Winn does Flying Crane Qigong atop Mt. Hua's South Peak.
Money back guarantee: on returning home, you will be a different person!
PRICE FROM LOS ANGELES: Full 19-day trip (Aug. 12 - 30, 2016) is only $5990., includes airfare from LAX, four long flights inside China (we fly to China's remote "Siberia"), all land costs - hotel, food, bus, all entry fees in itinerary, plus return flight to LAX.
You must be at LAX (Los Angeles airport) late on Friday night, August 12, 2016 (to catch 1:40 am Air China flight early August 13). Low-cost round trip add-on fares to LAX from domestic US cities may be available - contact Virginia Chan, our group travel agent.
PRICE FROM BEIJING is $4990. from Aug. 14 lunch through Aug. 30 breakfast. Covers all land (hotel, meal, buses, entry fee) costs and four long domestic flights inside China (that cost $800.+ if purchased separate). It does NOT include your flight TO or FROM Beijing or your home. You will meet USA group at 8 am on Sunday August 14, 2016 at Tiantan Hotel. We immediately begin qigong training in Tiantan Park. We recommend you stay at 4-star Tiantan Hotel on Sat., Aug. 13 (we'll arrange group rate and book it for you if you request it).
NOT INCLUDED: visa fee, trip/medical insurance ($150.+ strongly recommended), fuel surcharges from LAX (unlikely with current low oil prices). There's a very remote chance of price adjustment due to currency re-valuation (yuan to dollar rate) before trip begins. For tips to the dozens of drivers, interpreter-guides, and group porters we simplify by asking everyone in advance to put an additional $100. into a tip pool to cover the entire trip. Then you never have to worry about tipping, unless you engage someone privately. On "free days" or long hiking days scattered about a mountain lunch may not be included. You must pay for alcoholic drinks at meals and private bottled water.
GROUP TRAVEL AGENT IN USA. Contact our travel agent, Virginia Chan: 626-571-6727 (Calif.) or email@example.com. She can also help foreigners if they are having problem with visa.
$100. DISCOUNT to 1) Michael's weekend workshop students or attendee of Healing Tao USA summer retreats within past three years of your deposit date, 2) dues paid Healing Tao of Americas (HTIA) instructors or overseas UHT instructors, 3) returning Dream Trippers get an extra $100 discount, their maximum discount (combined with other discounts) is $200.
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT: $695. Book this early; may not be available last minute. Does not cover 3 monastery/cave nights on Huashan.
I work hard to keep this trip affordable, despite high inflation and a strong Chinese currency driving up travel costs every year. The 2016 trip cost is less than a 5% increase over last trip two years ago - and this trip has much higher domestic airfare costs. It is priced $3000. below comparable high quality tourist trips to China that don't visit exotic locations or include Tao training. This trip is a bargain given how much is packed into it - read the daily schedule. When weighing the cost, know that your life-changing experiences of Qigong & Tai Chi in China, and travelling with a more enlightened group of folks will be priceless!
RESERVE YOUR PLACE with $600. USD deposit, subject to our confirmation (in cse of over subscription) and terms of cancellation policy posted below. If over subscribed, full deposit will be returned. Credit cards (Visa or MC) accepted for $600. deposit, but checks or bank-wired funds are requested for balance of payments. 4% Surcharge on all American Express card payments, including deposit.
If you absolutely need to finance the trip with credit cards, please call us to arrange. The trip is not priced to include credit card company fees (those airline miles you earn cost me!).
1) An additional payment of $1000. USD is due by midnight Friday, Feb. 12, 2016.
2) Full Trip fee balance is due by midnight, Thursday May. 12, 2016 (three months before departure from Los Angeles). Earlier payment is appreciated - I must pay vendors in China and air tickets. Extended payment can be arranged if necessary by prior arrangement.
TALK TO US! Don't let money stop you from following your heart. We'll help you get to China!
TAX DEDUCTIBLE: As an IRS approved 501c3 non-profit activity, US nationals may claim 40%+ of total trip fee as tax deductible (ask your accountant). Depending on tax bracket, this may offer up to $500 in tax savings. All profits from the trip go to support Healing Tao University summer retreats, which gave away 20 scholarships last year!
Calligraphy is a form of Qigong Cultivation; both capature the essence of our feelings.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR DEPOSIT FOR CHINA DREAM TRIP:
4 Ways to Signup. Easiest is email REGISTRATION FORM in next section.
1. LIVE PHONE. Call office manager Jan Gillespie at 828 505 1444. (She has NOT been to China - emails those questions to Michael)
2. ANSWER MACHINE DEPOSIT. Safely leave your name and credit card on our anwering machine (& call back phone)
3. EMAIL. Email Registration Form w/credit card information to: info@HealingTaoUSA.com
4. MAIL CHECK. Call AND email (see above) to leave message with your name and phone number: "Please hold a space while I mail a deposit check". Mail check to: Healing Tao USA, 4 Bostic Place, Asheville, N.C. 28803. Check should be post-marked within 24 hours of message/email to hold that priority date.
CONFIRM Your Choice by EMAIL. If you choose phone or mail to pay deposit, please confirm you have paid or left message to pay by ALSO sending an email to info@HealingTaoUSA.com. This allows me (Michael) to monitor all signups.
DON'T DELAY in making an advance deposit – reserve your space as early as possible. Last minute applications are accepted on space available basis, and may cost more if airfare fees have changed.
19 Day Schedule - with Photos
DAILY TRAVEL SCHEDULE 19-day Journey August 12 – August 30, 2016
This schedule does not have all talks on Taoism or qigong practice times in it.
Day 1: Travel day to Los Angeles. We meet at LAX on Friday evening August 12, 2016 for check-in after 9 pm. You can either 1) arrive in LA a day early (on Thursday) at your expense, relax at the beach until its time to go to the airport. OR 2) get a Friday evening connection to the Beijing flight. Check in LAX Terminal 2 for Air China flight #984, departs at 1:40 am (Saturday morning). Do not confuse with China Air (Taiwan) in different terminal.
Day 2: The plane is kept dark for most of the 12.5 hour flight to aid sleeping. You will receive detailed instructions on how to avoid jet-lag and stay fresh. We lose one day (24 hours) crossing International Date Line, but regain it on way back.
Beijing's spectacular airport is the modern face of China. a pair of giant dragons guarding entry.
Day 3: We arrive Beijing 5:20 am. Stay at 4 star Tiantan Hotel, near the wonderful Temple of Heaven park. Meet those starting from Beijing after breakfast. We immediately visit the Taoist Temple of Heaven (Tian Tan), the most sacred place in Beijing. Temple of Heaven park has a colorful potpourri of people: qigong & tai chi players, ballroom dancing, gambling, folk singers, gymnasts & musicians.
L: Dancing in the park with silk plumes is a 2000 year old tradition. R: Dream Trippers play Qqong outdoors, with Temple of Heaven peaking in the background.
Temple of Heaven, Beijing's most powerful Taoist site. Built without a single nail. I love this temple, and hope to build a replica in North Carolina!
We start with qigong in the park to erase any travel fatigue. Everyone coming on the trip will already have received a free copy of the Primordial Qigong / Tai Chi for Enlightened Love 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 speeds up your self-transformation process and smooths out your life karma. It's the most balancing and deeply centering form I've found, with many medical applications as well.
Meditate on the magnificent Taoist "open sky" South Altar of Heaven with its white marble stone circles, and the North Temple of Heaven, an extraordinary three tiered circular temple that reflects Tao cosmology of trinities such as Tao 3 Treasures of Heaven, Earth, & Humankind. It looks like an antique spaceship. The Emperor, as Son of Heaven, had to visit here twice a year to receive Celestial instruction.
Afternoon: After a rest, we'll tour Beijing's hutong ("old beijing" with narrow alley ways and shops). The Qi in Beijing is very powerful due to good feng shui from ring of mountains surrounding it. Many have powerful dreams here. We'll have dinner in a private home in the hutong.
Tiantan Hotel (4-star).
Day 4: Morning: visit White Cloud Taoist Temple, national headquarters of Complete Perfection Dragon Gate sect. This is a powerful place to meditate & practice our forms. They have a fascinating museum of inner alchemy, and dozens of small temples and hidden parks to meditate in.
L: locals praying to zodiac god of their birthsign, White Cloud Temple. R: Meditating in Inner Alchemy museum within the temple grounds.
Afternoon: Climb the 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, when it is deserted, and catches the evening glow of light.
Tiantan Hotel (4-star).
Day 5: Morning: Qigong training. Learn the ancient Shamanic 7-Star Stepping Big Dipper Qigong Ceremony in Tan Tian park. It is from the Path of the Female Immortals, taught to me by Master Jiang Nan, current lineage holder. This form moves clockwise in squares, like the Big Dipper changing seasons in the sky and pointing to the Pole Star from the 4 cardinal directions. It gathers Heaven Qi from the 28 Lunar Mansions. It is a perfect companion to the counter-clockwise spiraling circles of Primordial Qigong, which dances diffferent patterns of the Chinese calendar.
Star-Stepping is a kind of "brain gym" with 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 7 sacred vowels. This may be challenging at first for some. I guarantee that everyone will get it after a few hours practice. When combined with Primordial Tai Chi, the energy effect is off the charts!
L: Entry to Forbidden City still honors Mao. R: The feng shui of the many palaces is laid out to promote power.
Afternoon: tour of Forbidden City, with its ten thousand rooms, elaborate parks and palaces reserved for four centuries of China's royalty and their concubines and eunuchs. We'll also visit the nearby power center of China, Tianamen Square.
Evening: Optional (at your expense) Martial Arts Show close to the hotel.
Tiantan Hotel (4-star).
Day 6: Morning: Fly Beijing to Xian. Afternoon: Xian was China's ancient walled capital for 1500 years, Han to Ming dynasty (200 b.c. – 1400 a.d.). The city is a giant outdoor museum, with many ancient layers of history exposed. We'll visit the enormous city walls and famous gates, and the 1400 year-old 8 Immortals Temple, still a revered seat of Taoism in China. Its temple dedicated to "Doumu", the Ancient or Primal Mother, is especially powerful. Time to meditate and do qigong inside the temple compound, or buy paintings by Taoist monks.
Next to the temple is a colorful flea market filled with curiosities, sculptures, jade & Han dynasty antiques dug up by farmers from their fields (another chance to sharpen your bargaining skills!). Xian has the best bargains in China. We'll visit a high quality Jade Museum and store, and a silk factory with carpets, scarves, and clothing.
Our hotel in Xian is modelled on a traditional Chinese palace.
Our lovely 4-star West Capital hotel is in the very center of Xian, convenient to walk everywhere. It has the architecture of a royal palace with curved roof. Immediately behind it is the ancient Taoist "City God" temple, with a very powerful Qi field. After dinner, you can walk to the nearby lively Moslem Night Bazaar, a maze of alleyways with the best craft bargains found anywhere in China, and delicious local foods.
Day 7: Morning: visit a factory where they still make the terra cotta warriors by traditional method. Then visit the impressive vast Terra Cotta Army of Emperor Qin's tomb (the size of 5 football fields), the #1 tourist attraction in China. It has a 360-degree cinema and one of China's top museums.
L: Can you spot the fake Warrior? R: This figure appears to be meditating. There is an amazing variety of figures with exquisite individual detail.
After lunch, drive to visit the oldest and most famous Taoist sacred mountain in all China, Hua Shan. We may catch the Taoist evening vespers, a chanting and music ceremony, in the Jade Spring temple at the base of Huashan.
L: Chen Tuan statue honoring his Dream Practice, which is actually a form of Taoist internal alchemy. R: Magnificent gate to Jade Spring Monastery at base of Mt. Hua.
Our Huashan hotel is only a hundred yards away from Jade Spring Temple and the giant statute of the Sleeping Giant, Chen Tuan. According to legend, the famous Taoist adept did dream practice continuously for 3 years on Mt. Hua. He is also credited with creating the tai chi symbol. Local town folks often dance in the square next to his statue, and we are welcome to join in.
Day 8: 1.5 hr bus trip to Hangu Pass where Laozi transmitted the Tao Te Ching to the Guardian of the Pass, Yin Xi. We'll do a special ceremony to invoke the spirit of Lao Tzu. The pass was also a major strategic military point with guard towers to control passage between eastern and western China.
Hangu pass guard towers, with statute of Lao Tzu riding an ox in foreground. The ox represents the Earth element, implying Lao Tzu has mastered the art of living effortlessly on Earth using Tao philosophy and methods to tame in "Inner Ox".
Return to Huashan hotel.
Day 9: Mt. Hua Day 1. We take a spectacular cable car ride - one of the highest in Asia - half way up the 7,000 ft. Mt. Hua. It's a 2 hour hike up several thousand stairs to West Peak monastery, where we'll spend the night. Lunch on your own. Rest of day is free, hiking on the five summit peaks, which form a giant 5-petalled flower. The views are stunning, with many temple shrines (mostly female deities) built in caves along the trail. The stone-carved steps make it impossible to get lost. Despite the scary photos, it is TOTALLY safe.
The precipitous cliffs have the majesty of California’s Yosemite Park. But Huashan is far more amazing for its feeling of human achievement, the human will carved into the temples perched on its granite rock since ancient times. The sunsets off the West Peak are amongst the most sublime I've found on planet earth. Past Dream Trips have reported strange paranormal events here (flying immortals showing up, etc.)
L: My favorite meditation tree on Mt. Hua grows out sideways 50 feet over a 3000 foot drop off. R: Dream Trippers awatching sunrise over West Peak.
For the more adventurous, there are steep ladders and a "board walk" across the backside of the South Peak cliff. It leads to a cave carved into the sheer side of the cliff (and my favorite tree, above).
Secret Pavilion on Mt. Hua where I got married on a China Dream Trip in 2012. The entire group did Primordial Tai Chi as part of the ceremony. We called in Emerald (our future child), who arrived a year later....
We’ll practice Primordial Qigong and Seven Star Big Dipper Qigong in the powerful “secret pavilion” where I got married in 2012, off the trail and hidden from other tourists. One of my top favorite meditation spots in all of China.
Days 10 & 11: Mt. Hua Days 2 & 3. The group will take a spectacular hike down to the base of the West Peak massif to a special quiet monastery not open to the public. It’s a perfect base for those who want to meditate in its nearby cave-temple, while sleeping at night in the monastery and sharing delicious hot meals with the Taoist monks and nuns.
L: Dream Trippers outside their shared Sun-Moon Cave condo. R: Michael Winn with Master Stone of Perfection in 2014, the hermit living alone in the Pole Star cave area for the past 18 years.
Cavers with backpacks will take a steep 1.5 hour hike up to the Pole Star cave area and stay in ancient caves hand-carved from granite rock, used by Taoists for 2500 years. This group will have to bring camping gear and will fast for a night or two of intense dream practice and meditation. A Taoist hermit I’ve known for 18 years, "Master Stone of Perfection" (his Tao spiritual name), lives in the cave area. He does its physical upkeep, and spiritual upkeep with Taoist ceremonies. Those sleeping in the more comfortable monastery below may hike up to visit this monk. Read the separate section on Huashan Cave Life below.
L: 8 Trigrams (bagua) gateway to Qingkeping Monastery on Mt. Hua.
R: Dream Trippers enjoy hot breakfast in the Qingkeping courtyard with spectacular views
OPTION to Stay Below: Those who prefer a shorter mountain stay after hiking atop Mt. Hua's peaks for a day can arrange to descend on foot or by cable car to our Huashan village hotel and spend 2 or 3 nights below, relaxing and meditating in Jade Spring Temple or visiting nearby important temples. This option is suitable for people with health concerns or who are uncomfortable with the more primitive conditions (no showers or running water, squat toilets) on Mt. Hua.
Day 12: Both monastery meditators and cave groups hike to Huashan village. This is a very beautiful 2.5 hour downhill hike, through a river valley with giant boulders and magnificent views of Mt. Hua in the background.
Afternoon: Two hour drive to Xian, then check into our same 4-star West Capital hotel. Free time for shopping in Xian's wonderful bazaars and crafts shops, or simply resting and digesting the power of Mt. Hua. Another option is to see the famous Tang Dynasty Dancing Theatre. Don't forget to celebrate Confucius birthday (even though he hated women and refused to teach them).
Day 13: Group qigong ceremony in the City Gods Temple immediately behind our hotel. Xian free day (lunch on your own). for bike ride atop the city wall or shopping in the dozens of crafts stores with antiques, scroll paintings, and sculptures. The Moslem bazaar has endless treasures buried in its labyrinth. The Shaanxi County Museum is one of China’s finest. or visit Xian's fabulous museum and many historical sites. Fly to Beijing 7:30-9:30 pm. Beijing hotel-4 star near airport. (We'll be returning to this hotel after a week, so convenient place to drop an extra suitcase).
Day 14: Fly from Beijing to Changbaishan 7 - 9 am. Bus transfer (1.5 hr) to Erdao Baihe, town at base of Mt. Changbai. Free afternoon, wander in markets near our hotel. Erdao Baihe hotel.
Day 15: Early morning ascend Mt. Changbai via bus to base of North slope. Then special jeep up to top of volcano. Afternoon we'll descend and explore the stunning waterfalls and Little Heavenly Lake and Emerald Lake where i believe One Cloud lived and meditated in the 1930's. Return by bus (30 min.) to Erdao Baihe hotel.
L: North Slope of Changbai is the highest, thus has the most spectacular views. R: Heavenly Lake has an outlet that turns into a gorgeous waterfall flowing through a lush valley that is the opposite of the volcanic barrenness elsewhere on the mountain.
L: Emerlad Lake, also fed by the same volcanic overflow, may have been where the adept One Cloud (Mantak Chia's teacher) lived in the 1930's until the Japanese invaded Manchuria. R: The active nature of the volcano is demonstrated by hot springs used to boil eggs. That will be our lunch....:)
Day 16: Day of interesting side trips into China's largest nature preserve which surrounds Mt. Changbai. This area has the most potent ginseng and other Chinese herbs due to rich volcanic soil and undisturbed pristine environment. We'll travel by bus & hike through a volcano park, a wildlife outdoor preserve with Siberian tigers and other local species, and if time permits, a forest-river walk. Erdao Baihe hotel.
L: In this park, a siberian Tiger roams free. as humans cower from him inside their cage. R: Fantastic volcanic sculptures remain from last eruption of Mt. Changbai 1000 years ago. It was estimated to be the largest volcanic explosion on earth in the last 10,000 years.
Day 17. Free day. Lunch on your own. Option on your own to go back up the North Slope, to visit the excellent local museum, or soak in the famous volcanic hot springs spa. Or just rest. Erdao Baihe hotel.
Day 18. Morning bus 1.5 hours to base of West side of Mt. Changbai. Ascend West Slope (1500 wooden steps, on a very gradual slope). We'll do final group Qigong ceremonies overlooking Heavenly Lake's volcanic cauldron - there is a large level platform for viewing the lake.
L: "Highway to Heaven" steps up West slope of Mt. Changbai. R: Tao Master Ju Xi
Afternoon banquet will serve as our group's Last Supper eating organic, locally grown food in a tiny but top restaurant, one of the best I've found in China. We'll also have a Tao Training with Taoist Master Ju Xi, who is building a Taoist University for the study of Qi Science. Later in the evening, we'll fly to Beijing (10:30 pm – midnite flight). Stay at same Beijing hotel near airport.
Day 19 (Tuesday, August 30). Fly from Beijing at noon, arrive at LAX on Air China #887 at 9 am same day (miracle of International Date Line). This allows plenty of time to connect to other flights.
Now the fun next phase begins – digesting “all the Chi in China”. Get ready for your life to evolve in wonderful new Ways!
Cave Life on Mt. Hua: Is it for me?
QUESTIION that many ask: Shall I stay in a monastery next to a cave, or camp in a cave on a mountain facing Mt. Hua?
Answer for most people: you’ll be much happier staying in the comfort of the monastery and meditating in the nearby cave-temple to Kuan Yin. It has beds for dream practice (power naps by day, or 2 people to spend the night). Cave has a door on it that keeps it warmer. With monastery option, you don’t need to schlep a sleeping bag/backpack, but may still need warm clothes for night temperatures on Mt. Hua.
Read this article if you think you want to fast and stay in a more primitive cave. Michael Winn's experience of living in a Taoist cave on Huashan for a week with no food or water, "Taoist Alchemy & Breatharians" originally published in Qi Journal: http://www.healingtaousa.com/cgi-bin/articles.pl?rm=mode2&articleid=32
For people who have already developed a serious meditation or dream practice, it MAY be suitable to spend two nights fasting in caves on Huashan.
To sleep in the caves requires bringing special camping gear (sleeping bag, pad, extra warm clothes). It is a hassle to schlep this extra stuff across China for just a few nights in the caves. You really have to deeply DESIRE this experience to go through the extra hassle.
It also requires extra 2 hours hiking up a steep mountain opposite one of Huashan's peaks. The caves can be cold even when its hot outside. You are not given any food (you can bring your own if you are not comfortable fasting). But basically it is a physical hardship to live in a hard cave.
When you sign up for the trip (pay $600. deposit), let us know if you feel strongly called to cave life. There are limited cave spaces, you will likely have a “cave-mate”. We have to figure out a complex cave schedule to satisfy everyone. Please notify me if you wish to stay for ONE or TWO NIGHTS in a Cave. Those staying one night may be able to share sleeping bag/gear with someone else (you can request we try and match you with someone).
Priority for reserving primitive caves will be given to 1) my Kan & Li alchemy students 2) date when firm deposit is made, 3) general virtue and commitment to meditation or dream practice, 4) willingness to explore bigu (fasting on food while feasting on chi) in the cave.
China Dream Trip Guides
Michael Winn, hugging a rare Red Panda in China
Michael Winn, Trip Leader
Michael is founder of Healing Tao University, co-author of 7 books with Mantak Chia, past President of National Qigong Association, author of 10 Tao home-study courses on Qigong and Tao Inner Alchemy and prolific writer on Taoism. He's an experienced traveler to over 100 countries, an ex-war correspondent in Africa & Asia turned spiritual guide. He's led dozens of adventure & sacred tour groups on five continents over the last 35 years. This is his 19th trip to China. His leadership assures you will have a safe, fun, and profound experience that few travellers to China enjoy.
Diana Liu is native to Xian and knows its people and culture intimately. She has a wonderful loving heart and is committed to serving the Dream Trippers. She was guide for our 2014 trip in Xian area and it changed her life. She is now interested in Taoism and has overcome her fears to hiking Huashan's steep cliffs. She will bring a good friend along as a second backup guide for the three days we are on Mt. Hua (so both cave and monastery groups each will have their own guide).
Diana will aslo be travelling with us from Xian to Changbaishan, as there are no English speaking guides in that remote part of China. In case you want to see the eyes behind those fabulous sunglasses, I've enclosed her guide license photo (hanging around her neck in the first photo). :)
Lily on the Great Wall.
Lily Lee in Beijing is a wonderful and knowledgeable guide from our 2012 Dream Trip. Everyone enjoys her marvellous sense of human about city life in China and her gift of explaining to westerners what to look for that's different about Chinese thinking. She will only be with the group in Beijing.
Dream Tripper relaxing atop Mt. Hua's West Peak, feeling on top of the world.
Trip Co-Stars and Co-Creators: Everyone who comes on this trip is a star! Why are China Dream Trips so special, and very different from typical tourist trips? We attract a fabulous group of spiritual adventurers. Not mere curiosity seekers or jaded tourists, but fascinating folks who are excited about following in the footsteps of Taoist Immortals and doing powerful Qigong ceremonies in China's highest spiritual energy spots. There is no requirement that you have previous experience with tai chi or qigong. Everyone need bring an open soul and curious mind, and together wewill create FUN!
On every Dream Trip a beautiful heart-feeling engulfs the group. Afterwards I always hear the same refrain: "the incredible people I met on the trip 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. One Tripper married one of my guides! Two others have moved to China permanently. We've had folks take FOUR Dream Trips! Each one is unique.
TESTIMONIALS from earlier CHINA DREAM TRIPS
Thanks for showing the Way to capture the deep chi from China!
I have the most beautiful memories from China….so many great moments, what an incredible 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 Tzu'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! - P.V., Florida
I Stripped Naked atop Mt. Hua...felt clouds mystically rise like Angels and Dragons Breathing on me
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 loved the everyday authentic encounters on the Dream Trip!
"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 training.
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
Your China Dream Trip taught me to HAVE FUN!
"I arrived in China, but my soul was still asleep. I woke up in Weibaoshan's Jade Emperor temple! The Journey became a blissful, incredible, moment-to-moment experience of great love and compassion.
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...
Your China Dream Trip taught me to HAVE FUN in life! Enjoy, relax, be with the flow, be open.. be in the middle.. between and beyond yin and yang…
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)
How did the China Trip change your life?
I asked Dream Trippers the question: How did the China Trip change your life? 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 still 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 accelerated transformation – my definition of inner alchemy. - Michael Winn
I got a much stronger Chi field, Meditation grew much deeper
How did China change me? That is too difficult a question, 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 subtle 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.
Your China Dream trip changed my life..... I filed for divorce
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!
The places you chose were powerful and spectacular!
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 you chose 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!)
China was extraordinary...still swirling in the Richness
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!
Everyone on the trip was an inspiration for me
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!
My shaman says I am "more myself"
Here are my life changes after China:
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.
My shaman 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.
I Met God Atop Mt. Huashan
After successfully reaching the Peaks of Mt Huashan, I felt re-empowered, that Life was not over for me at my age….. that I could still do more with my life. 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.
Most Special was bonding with others...I'm a loner at heart
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!
My Friends sense a profound change in me.... I'm positive an Immortal is present
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.
China Trip Cancelation Policy - Please Read Before Making Deposit
Note: Low cost travel insurance is made available to all trip members to cover cancellation costs. Last trip it cost average $150.- 200. depending on your age & trip length, dollar amount of coverage you request. You are strongly urged to obtain it. If you do NOT obtain it, you must sign a legal waiver.
If trip is cancelled for reasons beyond your control (epidemic, war, etc.), you will receive 100% refund.
Fees for cancellation initiated by trip member are as follows:
1. if cancellation notice is received before midnight Dec. 31, 2015: $400. cancel fee.
2. If cancel BETWEEN Jan. 1, 2016 and midnite Friday Feb. 12, 2016: $600. is forfeited (entire deposit). This is the date a second payment of $1000. USD is due.
3. If cancel BETWEEN Friday, Feb. 12, 2016 and midnite Thursday May 12, 2016: HALF of the full trip cost is owed and forfeited.
4. If cancel AFTER May 12, 2016 (date full payment balance is due): the FULL trip cost is owed and forfeited.(NO REFUND on land or air, regardless of reason. Which is why it is essential you get trip insurance).
5. 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 get refunds in China, and not worth the trouble. No refunds are made for unused excursions, entry fees, or unused special program activities.
6. If Healing Tao USA is forced to cancel the trip BEFORE it begins for any reason, its liability is limited to return 100% of all deposits paid toward the trip. Once the trip begins, Healing Tao USA cannot take responsability for acts of God, terrorism, war, health emergency, etc (full legal disclaimer to this effect must be signed by all trip members).
7. 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're committed, and don't subconsciously plan to ever cancel. You want to go on and complete this spiritual adventure of a lifetime!