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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".
NOTE: Next Dream Trip will be in May 2014 (no trip in 2013). If you want advance notice of the 2014 itinerary, send an email to email@example.com (put "Add to China 2014" in the subject line.
We're leaving the 2012 page up to give you an idea of what this fabulous trip is typically like!
Full 22-day trip May 18 - June 8, 2012
Flower Mountain (Huashan)'s spectacular West Peak, with a monastery on top, will be the Wedding site for Michael Winn and Jem Minor.
Right: Taoist monk views West Peak from valley below, the half-mile high cliff is the "Taoist Yosemite".
Get 3 "Mountain Mosts" on one amazing trip:
• Flower Mountain (Hua Shan) = Most Spiritually Powerful mountain in China. In written records and legend, more Tao immortals achieved themselves on Huashan than anywhere else.
• Yellow Mountain (Huang Shan) = Most Beautiful mountain in China. All Chinese people know this. That's why it's scenery was used for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" film.
•3 Pure Ones Mountain (Sanqing Shan) = Most "Secret Jewel" mountain to Taoists. Most Chinese don't even know it exists. A powerful Tao Alchemy Temple surrounded by fantastic rock formations.
Details of unique Water & Fire Wedding Ceremony planned atop Mt. Hua that you are invited to attend:
China Dream Trip 2012
|Michael Winn, Trip Leader
Michael is founder of Healing Tao University, co-author of 7 books with Mantak Chia, past President of the National Qigong Association, and experienced traveler to over 100 countries. He is an ex-war correspondent in Africa & Asia turned spiritual guide – he's explored both the dark and light side of humanity. He's led dozens of adventure & sacred tour groups over the last 30 years on five continents. This is his 15th trip to China.
Alison Downey, Co-Trip Leader
Alison is a Chinese medical doctor in Asheville NC, experienced China traveller (including 2010 Dream Trip), and Goddess-of-Exuberant Fun extraordinaire. She introduced Michael and Jem at an Ecstatic Dance movement group she helped found, and will be an officiant at their wedding atop Mt. Hua. She will lead side excursions for those interested in Chinese medicine.
Jennifer Minor, Assistant Trip Leader:
"Jem" is coming to China for her wedding to Michael atop Mt. Hua. Jem is completing her 4th year at Daoist Traditions Oriental Medicine College in Asheville, N.C. She's been doing tai chi since age 11, grew up "wild and organic" in Alaska, loves being in mountains, and is enthusiastic about Primordial Qigong and Taoist inner alchemy. Her job, together with Alison, is to oversee the health and happiness of everyone on the trip. Her big warm heart makes her well-suited for the task!
Michael Winn, holding a rare Red Panda in China
Alison Downey, Co-Trip Leader
Jem Minor, climbing in Alaska's Wilderness
Cherry Li, born in Yunnan province (near Tibet), from the 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 Dream Trips in China for over ten years, and will assist us on Xian-Huashan portion.
Dana Xu ("shu"), is a long time friend and guide who lives in Hangzhou. She is warm, sweet, and loves to share Chinese culture with foreigners. She'll be with us on the core trip to Hangzhou and the Eastern mountains and temples. She'll be a treasured friend to all!
Cherry Li, long time Dream Trip Guide, at 3 Pure Ones Mountain.
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 following in the footsteps of Taoist Immortals 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. It is why we have some folks coming back in 2012 for their FOURTH Dream Trip!
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China Dream Trip Mission:
"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. Plus continues our pioneer efforts as the only trip that offers genuine cave experience on Huashan. The trips are designed to keep the door open between Western and Chinese 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
NOTE: These Dream Trips have become so famous that two top Taoist scholars, David Palmer (author of highly acclaimed Qigong Fever) and Elijah Siegler, will soon publish a book titled Dream Trippers about the interaction between Western and Chinese Taoists. David and Elijah came on a number of Dream Trips and interviewed Chinese Taoists to measure the effect these trips had on them. The short answer: Chinese Taoists felt acknowledged and empowered by these trips.
(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).
A few succinct testimonials from earlier Dream trips (longer testimonials below, after the itinerary):
"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
"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
"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
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2012 DREAM TRIP HIGHLIGHTS
• (Full trip only): Attend what I am confident will be the most powerful Taoist ceremony I've ever created: my wedding to Jem Minor atop Mt. Hua, on the Secret Celestial Pavilion (inaccessible to tourists). I've visited Huashan over ten times, and made friends with the Tao Immortals and Earth Dragon spirits that live there. I'm sure they will show up to empower the Chii Field of the wedding. Guests will also be participating in the ceremony with group practice of Primordial Tai Chi and Big Dipper 7-Star Stepping Qigong to empower a new cycle of love on planet earth during the auspicious Year of the Dragon.
• Be amongst the first Westerners to explore one of the most beautiful and remote sacred Taoist mountains in Eastern China: 3 Pure Ones Mountain (San Qing Shan).
• 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 some of China's most powerful sacred mountains. We keep the hiking easy, using cable cars to first get to the spectacular walking areas. 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, considered a secret jewel amongst Taoists. Flower Mtn (Huashan) is the oldest Taoist mountain in ancient texts.
- Meditate in the deep cave used by famous immortal Huang in the 4th century to realize himself. Retreat 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.
•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. Pole Star and 7 Big Dipper stars are said to control human destiny. Are you ready to take control of your destiny?
8 Trigrams (bagua) gateway to Qingkeping Monsstery on Mt. Hua, with nearby cave for meditation.
3 Pure Ones Mountain vista, from an amazing walkway.
•We will practice this Shamanic 7 Star Qigong, together with the Wu Ji Gong (Tai Chi for Enlightenment) form, throughout the trip. Together they generate an amazing synergy!
•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 Ge Hong's famous alchemist-Grandfather's Tao Sanctuary on 3 Pure Ones Mountain, and in the 1500 year old Golden Flower Temple in Jinhua of the rare alchemical Shang Qing Taoist sect. Immortal Huang's Double Dragon cave is treated like a temple. These temples are all highly charged with deep spiritual energy of the Tao.
•During the extra week, the powerful temples we'll visit include: Xian's City God Temple; the 8 Immortals Temple (1400 years old!), Jade Spring Temple (at base of Huashan), White God Temple, ruler of the West (atop Huashan), 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.
• See China's top cultural highlights: Do qigong on the Great Wall, in Beijing's Temple of Heaven; tour the Forbidden City, view the magnificent and massive 2300 year old Terra Cotta Army of Emperor Huangdi, experience Hangzhou's amazing "Water Spectacle" (by Olympic Games Opening designer Zhang Yimou) over Westlake, and Xian's colorful ancient Moslem Night Bazaar.
•During the extra week; stay on Huashan in either a monastery or a cave. This has been hugely popular and led to many powerful spiritual experiences for those who opt for this unique challenge. For those who don't want to "rough it" in a cave, you can sleep and eat in a comfortable monastery and meditate during the day in a special cave that is also a Kuan Yin Temple.
If you want to increase your resonance with all things Taoist, this is the trip for you!
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Dream Trippers having fun at a Dumpling House
For collection of my top China Dream Trip photos:
For photos of previous Dream trip to HUASHAN, see:
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!
FROM LOS ANGELES: Full 22-day trip (May 18 - June 8) is only $5590., including airfare from LAX and three flights inside China, all land costs (food, hotel, bus, entry fees, etc.).This includes ancient Xian capital, Terra Cotta Warriors, and 4 nights in monastery or caves on Mt. Hua - and my wedding ceremony!
FROM LOS ANGELES: Short Trip (May 18-31) cost is only $4695. including international airfare, two flights inside China and all land costs within China - 4 star hotels where available, with magnificent banquets of tasty local cuisine. All bus, cable car, and entry fees included.
NOT included in pricing: fuel surcharges (set by airlines at time of ticket issue in March 2012, may be $100+ if oil prices rise), China visa fee, trip/medical insurance ( $150.+ strongly recommended). For tips to the dozens of porters, drivers, interpreter-guides, we simplify by asking everyone in advance for $75. short trip, $105 full trip (about $5 a day). Land cost may increase slightly if there is a significant currency re-valuation of yuan to dollar before trip begins..
You must be at LAX (Los Angeles) late on Friday night, May 18 (to catch 1:40 am flight early May 19). 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 worked hard to keep this trip affordable - the trip is priced $150. lower than the similar 2010 trip, despite high inflation and a strong Chinese currency driving up travel costs. I also want your presence as a blessing at my wedding! It is priced $2500. below comparable quality tourist trips to China, which don't cover the same range of exotic locations. In the travel market, this trip is a total bargain given all that is packed into it. When weighing the cost, know that your life-changing experiences of qigong in China, and travelling with an "enlightened" group of Tao-minded folks, will be priceless!
FULL TRIP FROM BEIJING: Cost for full Trip (May 20 - June 8) is $4390. Covers all land costs. It does NOT include international or 3 domestic flights inside China. The USA group is arriving in Beijing at 5 am on Sunday May 20. You will meet them for breakfast at Tiantan Hotel at 7 am. Afterwards, we do qigong in Tiantan Park. We recommend you stay at Beijing's 4-star Tiantan Hotel on Sat., May 19. and we'll arrange group rate and book it for you.
Book your return flight FROM Xian (airport code: XIY) to wherever you are going) on Thursday, June 8. We supply travel agent in China to help. Email us for specific domestic flights.
SHORT TRIP FROM BEIJING: Cost of Short Trip only (May 18-31) is $3595. Covers all land costs (does NOT include LAX OR 2 domestic flights, PEK-HGH-PEK. This is $400. cheaper than last year, as domestic airfare not included. Book your return flight FROM Hangzhou (to wherever you are going) after 11 am on Thursday, May 31.
FROM XIAN: Separate Cost for 9-day/8-night (May 31 - June 8) portion is $895. (does NOT include any airfare). Normally I do not permit people to attend the week on Huashan separate from the rest of the trip. But because of the wedding, this year I'm making an exception. Note that guests taking this extra week only are NOT guaranteed the right to sleep in a Huashan cave, which are very limited. But as a beautiful alternative, you can stay in a monastery and meditate during the day in a nearby powerful cave-Temple to Kuan Yin.
$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. Students from live retreat teachings of Kan & Li level should email me about additional discounts, this year only.
Single room on Full 22-day trip: $740. does not cover monastery on Huashan (4 nights) or Jinhua temple (3 nights).
Single room May 18-30 (short trip) only: $545. Note: At Jinhua Temple, single rooms NOT included, but may be available at adjacent temple-owned hotel (about $50/night extra).
Single room for Xian/Huashan week only (May 31 - June 8): $195. Does NOT include 4 nights atop Mt. Hua.
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, 2012. All checks payable to trip organizer: Dao Alchemy Research Institute (or its educational branch, Healing Tao USA). Extended payment can be arranged if necessary. Don't let money stop you from following your heart!
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 reduce the cash cost of trip (in 30% bracket, over $500 tax savings). Your donation (and all profits from the trip) go to support Healing Tao University summer retreats, which gave away 20 scholarships in 2011!
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: info@HealingTaoUSA.com
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 airfare fees have changed.
Questions? Contact Jan, Trip registrar, at 888-999-0555 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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DAILY TRAVEL SCHEDULE
Full 22-day Journey with "Taoist Wedding + Cave & Mountain Meditation" May 18 – June 8, 2012
Short Journey: May 18 - 31, 2012
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 May 18 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 Beijing flight. Check in Terminal 2 at Air China (don't confuse with China Air from Taiwan). You'll have your ticket, but for groups there is no seat pre-assigned, so first come/first served. Sometimes you can get a seat by calling in advance). 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.
We lose one day due to crossing International Date Line, but we recover it on the way back.
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.
Temple of Heaven, Beijing's most powerful Taoist site. Entry to Forbidden City still honors Mao.
Built without a single nail. A 14th century star ship? I hope to build a replica in North Carolina!
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.
Afternoon free to rest or walk around, or optional trip to Forbidden City and Tianamen Square. Beijing.
The Qi in Beijing is very powerful, partly due to good feng shui from the ring of mountains surrounding it. You will have powerful dreams here. Beijing.
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, when it is deserted. Evening banquet. Beijing.
Dream Trippers absorb chi from Temple of Heaven, in distance. Tiantan Park: Silk banner dancing dates back 2000 years.
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, gathering Heaven Qi from the 28 Lunar Mansions, 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, 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, We'll stay in a comfortable hotel near the famous West Lake. 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.
We'll later visit the Temple of Ge Hong, a 4th century Taoist adept famous for his alchemical elixirs. We'll enjoy the local cuisine, which is also famous in China. Hangzhou.
Day 7: Morning qigong at sunrise beside the shimmering West Lake. After a gourmet breakfast, we'll stop at a teashop to try some famous Dragon Well (Longjing) Tea. Then 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 the hard part, then hike an easy 1 hour, winding through its gorgeous, magically sculpted peaks. Its reputation for having the most breath-taking vistas in the whole of China is well-deserved.
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. Huangshan.
Pagoda overlooks the serenity of West Lake
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 day 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. Really fit gung-ho hikers have all day to do the amazing 8 hour "Western Canyon" hike, up & down a vertical mile through hundreds of rock pinnacles. I will lead a shorter 2 hour hike to the Bridge of the Immortals.
Day 9: Morning free. 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.
Lao Tzu lives on 3 Pure Ones Mtn! Is this cool, or what? Beauty, beauty, everywhere!
Day 10: 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.
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 11: Drive our private coach 3.5 hours to the town of Jinhua, literally "Golden Flower". We'll stay in its 1500 year old Taoist 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.
We will 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 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.
Entry to one cave near Double Dragon.. Western Taoist adept meditating in cave. China is OLD! 1800 year old tree as testimony.
Day 13: 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 waterfall and river in it, so it is 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.
Shang Qing 1500 yr. old Ritual to 5 Sacred Directions Underground river boat: Double Dragon entry.
Waterfalls inside Double Dragon Cave. 3 Pure Ones Mtn landscapes bend the mind at every turn.
Day 14: Morning free, time to load up on the temple's delicious tea for gifts. Drive to Hangzhou airport. Main group will fly to Xian, the ancient capital. Those on short trip returning to USA may have afternoon to shop in Hangzhou, then fly to Beijing to connect to Air China #983. Depart Beijing 11:55 pm, arrive in Los Angeles 9 pm same day on Friday, May 31 (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.
Those staying for the full trip (and wedding atop Mt. Hua) will take a 2-hour flight to Xian.
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FULL TRIP ITINERARY in XIAN and HUASHAN (includes 9 DAYS: May 31 - June 8, 2012)
Entry gate to Huashan's Jade Spring Temple. North Peak of Mt. Hua ("Flower Mountain"
Wedding Ceremony, Taoist Cave-Meditation & Mountain-Explorers Week
Read this article: For Michael Winn's experience of living in a Taoist cave on Huashan for a week with no food or water, see article "Taoist Alchemy & Breatharians" originally published in Qi Journal (you may need a cookie to read this; just sign-in at top of articles page).:
Also, please read the intense experiences from previous cavers following this itinerary.
I go out on a limb…my favorite meditation spot on Mt. Hua.
Who should attend this extra week? It is open to everyone with the time and interest. I've kept the extra week cost minimal to encourage you to stay - you've come all the way to China, why not go a bit deeper?
The core short trip gives everyone exposure to three sacred mountains and some highlights of Chinese culture. It's a pretty action-packed travel itinerary. The extra week is time to stop moving around, to go within, to digest the powerful EARTH CHI that is unique to these cultivated mountains. This week gives us time to relax, to sink in deep and attune ourselves to the spirits of Taoist masters who merged with the spirit of the mountains, opening an earth-centered portal to immortality.
For people who have already developed a serious meditation practice, it is suitable to spend part of this week fasting in caves on Huashan. For others, it will be far more comfortable and useful to sleep in a Taoist monastery atop Mt. Hua and explore its fantastically beautiful peaks and caves, with shorter periods of meditation and qigong. Or do both – two days in a cave, and two days atop Mt. Hua.
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.
Dream Trippers at Sun-Moon Cave
It also requires extra 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.
I've designed the extra week to satisfy the needs of both paths of contemplation, one staying in mountain peak monasteries, the other spending part time in caves. Let me know which you feel called to follow when you put your deposit down. There are limited cave spaces and I have to figure out a complex schedule to satisfy everyone.
Please notify me if you wish to stay for ONE or TWO NIGHTS in a Cave. If space is available, some may stay for 3 nights.
Priority for reserving 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, 4) willingness to explore bigu (fasting on food while feasting on chi) in the cave.
Those who are coming for the extra week (and wedding) will have a special cave (not open to the public) available to them to meditate in by day, while sleeping in a monastery at night.
Day 14: Fly to Xian. Our hotel is in the very center of Xian, the 4 star West Capital Hotel. Immediately behind our hotel is the Taoist "City God" temple, which has a very powerful chi field. Xian was China's ancient capital from Han to Ming dynasty (200 b.c. – 1400 a.d.). After dinner, we'll walk to the nearby lively Moslem Night Bazaar, which has the best craft bargains found anywhere in China, and delicious local foods. Xian.
Xian's fabulous Muslim Bazaar...I bought this dragon-phoenix plate and love it!
Day 15: Free day exploring and shopping in Xian. It was the ancient capital of China for fifteen hundred years, and is still a giant outdoor museum, with China's many ancient layers of history exposed. We'll visit the enormous city walls and famous gates, and the 1400 year-old Taoist 8 Immortals Temple, still one of the most revered seats of Taoism in China. The temple dedicated to "Doumu" the Ancient or Primal Mother, is especially powerful. Time to meditate and do qigong inside the temple compound, and visit its Taoist gift shop with paintings by local Taoists.
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, and we'll visit a Jade factory, a silk carpet/silkclothing outlet, and a freshwater pearl outlet, which has beautiful low cost cultivated pearls of all colors. You can leave your purchases and extra baggage in Xian while we journey off to Mt. Hua. Evening free. Xian.
Taoist monk from Complete Perfection Order. Mystical clouds around Huashan's (Flower Mtn) 5-petals Peaks in each Sacred Direction
Day 16: In the morning, we'll visit the impressive vast Terra Cotta Army of Emperor Qin's tomb (the size of 5 football fields), the #1 tourist attraction in China. There is a nice 360 degree cinema and one of China's top museums. Then a short drive to visit the oldest and most famous Taoist sacred mountain in all China, Hua Shan. Check into hotel at base of Huashan. Tour nearby Jade Spring Monastery where, according to legend, the famous Taoist adept Chen Tuan did dream practice for 3 years continuously. Chen Tuan is the designer of the famous "tai chi" or yin-yang symbol, and the master of Taoist dream practice. We may catch the local Taoists doing their evening chanting and music ceremony. Huashan village.
Day 17: Take the spectacular cable car ride (the highest in all of Asia) half way up the 7,000 ft. Mt. Huashan.It's about a 2 hour hike to West Peak monastery, where we'll spend the night. Rest of day is free, hiking on its five summit peaks, which form a giant 5-petalled flower (Hua shan means "Flower Mountain"). The views are stunning, with many temple shrines (mostly female deities) built in caves along the trail. There are thousands of stone-carved steps, which also make it impossible to get lost. The precipitous granite cliffs have the majesty of Yosimite Park, but this is far more amazing for its feeling of human will carved into the granite since ancient times.
WEDDING CEREMONY will be at sunset. We'll meet and travel together to a special "secret Celestial Pavilion" (unknown to the public) for the Taoist Wedding Ceremony of Michael Winn and Jem Minor. It's going to be very, very, powerful. We're asking everyone to participate in calling in the Tao Immortals and Dragon Spirits, possibly a few Phoenix Spirits will also show up. We also intend it as a blessing for our new cycle of love and conscious conception of a baby immortal, whose name we have both received as "Emerald".
We intend for the ceremony to broadcast from the top of powerful Mt. Hua those blessings to everyone on the planet, that we all enter into a new cycle of rebirth and love. We'll all do Primordial and 7-Star Stepping Qigong together at this power spot. This ceremony will have many powerful practitioners present, and will be atop what I feel to be China's most powerful Taoist mountain. During my ten trips to Huashan, I've met many Tao immortals and Dragon spirits, and believe they will all show up for this wedding ceremony.....:).
Days 18, 19, 20: Those staying atop Mt. Hua after climbing on the peaks will divide into two camps: Cavers and Mountain Meditation-Explorers.
Some caves had doors on them at one point. Master "Stone of Perfection" serving a farewell meal to Cavers, breaking fast.
Some of the Cavers will hike down for one hour from the cable car landing area, and then hike up for 1.5 hours to the Pole Star cave area where they will check into a pre-assigned cave. Depending on number of Cavers, they may be divided into 2 groups, who will trade positions. There is a wonderful Taoist hermit, whose spiritual name is "Master Stone of Perfection", living in the cave area and maintaining the caves physically and with meditation and ceremonies. Even though you are there to fast, he will undoubtedly offer to feed you in case you've had enough of fasting.
The Mountain Meditation group will stay in a monastery atop Mt. Hua. There are many, many things to explore. One of my favorites is a temple compound dedicated to the "White Ruler God" of the mountain. White refers to the metal/white gold element; this temple is the ruler of all the gods and immortals who are attracted to this mountain. There is a great courtyard for practicing qigong or talking to the Taoists living at the temple about their life as mountain adepts. In one corner of the courtyard is a cave, open for meditation with a small shrine inside it. The cave is said to have been used by San Simiao, a famous Chinese doctor from the Tang Dynasty.
The monastery group will stay for a total of three or four nights in this Taoist monastery atop Huashan's peaks. The food at the monastery is excellent. We'll have electricity, but no running water or heat. Hot water buckets available for bathing, and simple latrine. For those who prefer a shorter stay atop Mt. Hua, you can arrange in advance to descend earlier into Huashan village hotel below and spend time in Jade Spring Monastery.
Those staying at the monastery atop Mt. Hua will find plenty to occupy themselves exploring its different peaks and sheer cliffs. Many Chinese climb Mt. Hua to view the sunrise from the East Peak. The sunsets off the West Peak are amongst the most sublime I've found on planet earth, and strange paranormal events have been known to occur here (flying immortals showing up, etc.)
For the more adventurous, there are steep ladders and a "board walk" across the backside of the South Peak cliff that leads to a cave carved into the sheer side of the cliff. This gets you to the tree growing horizontally out over a 3000 ft. cliff, my favorite meditation spot on Mt. Hua. This group will also have the opportunity to practice the Primordial Qigong and Seven Star Big Dipper Qigong in a very powerful place.
After spending two days in the cave, some Cavers will move into a fabulous monastery less than one hour's hike from their cave.
These caves have been used for 2500+ years by Taoist adepts, are carved from solid granite, and thus generally free of mold, dampness or water seepage. Their location has been kept secret, and thus energetically protected from the polluting influence or desecration of caves found on the main peaks by government and tourists. No cooking or heating fires permitted. Weather should be warm, even hot in June, but can still be cool at night. Come prepared for sudden changes in mountain weather (equipment list is provided). Some caves are large and may be shared by two people, both expected to maintain respectful silence.
Huashan's death-defying "board walk" (optional!!!)
Day 21: Both the monastery and Caver groups on Mt. Hua will hike downhill to Huashan village where they can get a hot shower. This is a very beautiful hike, through a valley with a river filled with giant boulders and magnificent views of Mt. Hua in the background. It will take about 3 hours, more if you stop to explore and play along the river. If for health reasons you prefer to descend by cable car, that option is available, at your expense.
Two hour drive to Xian, then check into same 4-star hotel where we stayed previously. Time for final shopping spree in Xian's wonderful bazaars and crafts shops, or explore the rich history of China's ancient capital with its city walls still intact. Final group banquet. Evening free for packing. Xian.
Day 22: Morning free to shop and pack. We'll do qigong in the City Gods Temple. Depart to Xian on afternoon flight to Beijing, connect to Air China #983. Depart at 11:55 pm, arrive in Los Angeles at 9pm same day (miracle of International Date Line), Friday June 8.
For collection of my top China Dream Trip photos:http://www.healingdao.com/china_dream_trip_photos.html
For photos of previous Dream trip to HUASHAN, see:http://www.healingdao.com/china_2008.html
For Photo Index: http://www.healingtaousa.com/photos.html
Please allow a few months (minimum) to digest the experience energetically. The qigong forms will help you do that.
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TESTIMONIALS from earlier CHINA DREAM TRIPS
From 2010 Dream Trip:
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!
- P.V., Florida
From the 2009 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 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
From earlier Dream Trips:
"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)
I asked 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 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, 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!
F. Now for 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.
- 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.
G. After successfully reaching the Peaks of Mt Huashan, I felt re-empowered, that it 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.
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.
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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 bird-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, 2011 - $300. fee.
2. If cancel Jan. 1 to midnite Feb. 11, 2012 - $600. fee.
3. If cancel between Feb. 12, 2012 and departure date of trip, full trip cost is owed and forfeited (NO REFUND on land or air). Also 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.
If Healing Tao USA is forced to cancel the trip for any reason, its liability is limited to return of all deposits and payments for the trip.
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,