China Dream Trip - 60 Amazing PHOTOS
May 16- June 3, 2014 from Los Angeles (May 17 from Beijing)
Led by Michael Winn
L: Hanging Temples 1500 years old, near Taoist Sacred Mountain of North, Mt. Heng.
R: Mr. Hua is center of Taoist Dream Practice, where many immortals are said to achieved themselves.
Dear Lovers of Spiritual Adventure,
Even if you believe you cannot go to China, please still read this, take the trip vicariously.
You'll get a great education, with 60 photos making it easy.
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 in faraway lands,
and dream of merging that exotic experience into their present moment.
I've been to more than 100 countries. My 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 Traveller
Visit 3 Sacred Tao Mountains - I promise it will be the most amazing trip of your life:
1. Mt. Heng, Taoist Sacred Mountain of the North, and nearby famous 1500 year old Hanging Temples.
2. Mt. Hua, Flower Mountain. Taoist Sacred Mountain of the West - the most spiritually powerful mountain in China. In written records, more Tao immortals achieved themselves on Huashan than anywhere else. In 2012 I got married atop its sheer 3000 foot granite cliffs. We stay in monasteries or caves used by ancient Tao adepts to dream their Way to immortality.
3. Lao Tzu's Ascension Site in the Zhong Nan mountains, near Louguantai, "Place of Highest Contemplation". This is where Lao Tzu also transmitted the 5000 character Tao Te Ching. It has amazingly high etheric energy - my favorite meditation spot in China.
PLUS stay in Huashan Monastery or Cave, and see China's Major Cultural Attractions: Temple of Heaven, Great Wall, Xian ancient walled capitol, Terra Cotta Warriors, many powerful Taoist temples.
2014 DREAM TRIP HIGHLIGHTS - 15 Good Reasons to Go On This Trip
1. Beijing: Temple of Heaven, 4 days of qigong & tai chi training, Taoist White Cloud Temple, Forbidden City
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!
2. Great Wall: do Primordial Tai Chi on top to capture its powerful Dragon Qi (chi).
3. Mt. Heng: Taoist Sacred Mountain of the North, breath-taking Hanging Temples, ancient pilgrim town of Datong with 9 Dragons Wall, Pagoda, and Sacred Grottoes with 50,000 Buddhas.
4. Xian: ancient walled capitol, Moslem bazaar, 8 Immortals Temple, City Gods Temple
5. Terra Cotta Warriors. 2300 year-old army of individually sculpted soldiers covers 5 football fields - China's most famous site.
6. Mt. Hua "dream caves": Flower Mountain's fabulous peaks, temples, caves where we co-dream with immortal beings
L: those tiny dots are people, not ants, hiking up a ridge to West Peak monastery!
7. Louguantai. Lao Tzu's ascension site, the original Taoist spiritual power center.
Cauldron and Taoist priest at the Temple of Lao Tzu in Louguantai.
8. Learn Spiritual Tai Chi in China. 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 qigong, inner alchemy, feng shui, and tai chi.
Get free DVD in advance, when you put trip deposit down. This is something that you'll take home with you, a lifetime treasure. Even as we visit the "must-see" cultural highlights of China, we constantly focus on using Qigong & Tai Chi to develop a profound "earth connection".
9. The EARTH QI IN CHINA IS DIFFERENT. It has been cultivated for thousands of years already, so it is more refined than other parts of the world. We practice in China's most powerful sacred mountains and caves. Taoist adepts have practiced here for thousands of years. Their special Qi will support each of us. When you come home, you will feel super-grounded, ready to create your deepest Life Path.
10. It's Easy. 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 a few short stretches of steep stairs - but who cares when the view is what is really taking your breath away? Our group qigong practice will give you incredible energy to handle those stairs and our packed travel schedule.
11. China's top power spots: feel self-empowered. 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. The Tao Immortals who originally transmitted this form are likely to show up!
12. Shamanic 7-Star Big Dipper Qigong. Training by Michael Winn in the rare and ancient shamanic Seven Star Big Dipper Qigong Ceremony, from Nu Xian Pai, "Path of the Female Immortals" lineage. 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?
L: Dream Tripper meditating in 8 Immortals Temple. You can feel the vibration of 1500 years of meditation. R: Tripper in deep trance at Lao Tzu's Ascension Site near Louguantai - amazing etheric energy, my favorite power spot in China.
13. Deep Meditation. Taoist temples allow space for deep tranquil meditation in the midst of 1.5 billion people. We'll meditate (you choose a 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.
14. Stay in a monastery or a cave on Huashan. This has been hugely popular and led to many powerful spiritual experiences. 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 cave, a Kuan Yin Temple that is not open to the public, just our group..
L: Statue of Chen Tuan at base of Mt. Hua. He's The Sleeping Immortal who dreamed for months at a time. R: Weak Peak of Mt. Hua has a monastery atop it where we stay.
15. Have the spiritual adventure of a lifetime!
Follow your own "Way" in China, on a Journey designed to be a life-changing experience. Do you want to enrich your life and 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
back to top
Our Guides; new Dream Trippers book
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 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 18th trip to China. His leadership assures you will have a safe, fun, and profound experience that few travellers to China enjoy.
Cherry is master at taming the Monkey Mind....:useful when herding western Taoists )
Cherry Li, born in Yunnan province (near Tibet), is from the Yi tribe. She is warm, friendly, and dedicated to helping fellow Taoists understand Chinese culture and its people. Her kind heart helps us to travel comfortably inside China. She has been guiding Dream Trips in China for over ten years, and will assist us on the Xian-Huashan-Louguantai portion.
Lily on the Great Wall.
Lily Lee in Beijing is a wonderful and knowledgeable guide from our last Dream Trip. Everyone enjoys her marvellous sense of human about city life in China and in explaining to westerners what to look for that's different about their thinking.
We'll have other support guides in Datong, and a second support guide atop Mt. Hua.
Dream Tripper relaxing atop Mt. Hua's West Peak, feeling on top of the world.
Trip Co-Stars: 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. But everyone brings an open soul and curious mind, and together we have 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. We've had folks take FOUR Dream Trips! Each one is unique.
China Dream Trip Mission:
Cauldron with Pearl, symbolizes the Alchemical Elixir of Life rising up.
"Our group Mission is to experience the spiritual essence of China. To meet & study with spiritually powerful Taoists. To do Qigong & Tai Chi in its most sacred and beautiful landscapes and connect to its ancestral Qi (chi). To deeply taste China's ancient culture and peoples, and feast on its local cuisines at sumptuous banquets. To 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 Dream China Trip I would give to myself, if I could only visit China once.
This 2014 trip upholds its pioneer status as the only trip to offer genuine cave and monastery 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
Forthcoming Book: 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 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 answer: Chinese Taoists felt recognized 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.
Some succinct praise from Dream Trippers (more below, after daily itinerary):
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
back to top
Photos - Previous China Dream Trips
How to Register for China Dream Trip
HOW TO SIGN UP - 2014 CHINA DREAM TRIP
L: Dream Trippers having fun at a Xian Dumpling House. R: Winn does Flying Crane Qigong atop Mt. Hua's South Peak.
Money back guarantee: on returning home, you will be a different person!
FROM LOS ANGELES: Full 19-day trip (May 16 - June 3, 2014) is only $5690., includes airfare from LAX and two flights inside China, all land costs - food, bus, train, all entry fees in itinerary, includes ten nights double occupancy in 4-star hotels (note: low-priced trips use 2 star guest houses).
NOT INCLUDED: visa fee, trip/medical insurance ( $150.+ strongly recommended), fuel surcharges from LAX (set by airlines at ticket issue in March 2014, may be $100+ if oil prices rise). There's a 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 $100. into a tip pool.
You must be at LAX (Los Angeles airport) late on Friday night, May 16, 2014 (to catch 1:40 am Air China flight early May 17). Low cost round trip add-on fares to LAX from domestic US cities may be available. Contact our travel agent, Virginia Chan: 626-571-6727 (Calif.) or email@example.com.
START FROM BEIJING: Cost is $4490. Covers all land costs. It does NOT include your flight TO Beijing or flight FROM Xian (last destination). It includes one domestic flight and train, buses inside China. You will meet USA group on Sunday May 18 at Tiantan Hotel at 8 am, when we begin qigong training in Tiantan Park. We recommend you stay at 4-star Tiantan Hotel on Sat., May 17 (we'll arrange group rate and book it for you if you request it).
Those starting in Beijing must BOOK YOUR RETURN flight FROM Xian (airport code: XIY) to wherever you are going on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. We have a travel agent in China to help.
$100. DISCOUNT to Michael's weekend workshop students or attendee of Healing Tao USA summer retreats in the past three years, past Dream Trip, or dues paid Healing Tao instructors. $100. discount for each additional Dream Trip you went on (i.e. 3-time Tripper gets total $300. discount).
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT: $695. Book this early; may not be available last minute. Does not cover monastery/cave on Huashan.
I've worked hard to keep this trip affordable, despite high inflation and a strong Chinese currency driving up travel costs every year. It is priced $3000. below comparable quality tourist trips to China that don't cover the same range of exotic locations or include tai chi training. This trip is a bargain given how much is packed into it. 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 terms of cancellation policy posted below. Credit cards accepted for deposit, but checks or bank-wired funds are requested for balance of payments. If you need to finance the trip with credit cards, 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% Surcharge on American Express.
BALANCE DUE: Trip fee balance due by midnight, Friday Feb. 14, 2014. Extended payment can be arranged if necessary. 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:
Questions? 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
This trip often sells out. But there are often last minute cancellations and signups. A phone call or email will "time stamp" your deposit and hold your spot for a week while you mail a check payable to:
Mail deposit checks 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 those questions to Michael: info@HealingTaoUSA.com. You will receive extensive information on what to pack, how to stay healthy, how to prepare for the experience, avoid jet lag,free DVD, etc.
PLEASE CONFIRM YOUR (phone or mailed) DEPOSIT 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, and may cost more if airfare fees have changed.
back to top
Daily Itinerary -more Great PHOTOS
DAILY TRAVEL SCHEDULE 19-day Journey May 16 – June 3, 2014
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 16 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).
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 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. Dream Trippers seek the hidden treasures of the ancient Middle Kingdom.
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. 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.
L: Temple of Heaven, Beijing's most powerful Taoist site. Built without a single nail. A 14th century star ship? I hope to build a replica in North Carolina! R: Tiantan Park: Silk banner dancing dates back 2000 years.
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. It 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, get a massage, or explore the giant maze of the nearby Red Pearl Department store - a cultural tour in itself. Optional tour of hutongs ("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.
Day 4: Morning: 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. This form gathers Heaven Qi from the 28 Lunar Mansions. It is a perfect companion to the counter-clockwise spiraling circles of Primordial Qigong, which dances the Chinese calendar. The 7-Star Big Dipper ceremony is undoubtedly of older historical origin. It feels extremely ancient and shamanic.
It's 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. This may be challenging at first for some (smile!). I guarantee that everyone will get it after a few hours practice. Both are spiritual qigong forms that affect you personally as well as organize the larger field of life. 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!
L: locals praying to zodiac god of their birthsign, White Cloud Temple. R: Meditating in Inner Alchemy museum within the temple grounds.
Afternoon: leisurely visit to 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.
Day 5: Morning: Qigong training with a master I met at a Qigong conference near Mt. Changbaishan. He has tentatively accepted my invitation.
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.
L: Entry to Forbidden City still honors Mao. R: The feng shui of the many palaces is laid out to promote power.
Day 6: Morning: Qigong training. 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.
L: Map shows Datong. Both Taoists and Buddhists choose their sacred mountains of North here. R: Yungang Grottoes.
Day 7: Morning fly to Datong, a major ancient pilgrimmage city near to Mongolia. Both Taoists and Buddhists have their sacred mountains of the North here. John Blofield, author of Mystic Journey in Ancient China, describes his experience in Datong of "Golden Flower Festival". This was hundreds of young Chinese women disiplaying their tiny bound feet in hopes of attracting a marriage suitor.
Famous Hanging Temples of Mt. Heng, 1500 years old.
Day 8: We'll visit the famous 1500 year old Hanging Temples, which contain a mix of Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist temples perched on the side of the same cliff. We'll climb nearby Mt. Heng, which has a Taoist monastery on top.
Yungang Cave Grottoes,a World Heritage site, have over 50.000 statues of Buddha, ranging from a few cm to 17 meters high. R: 9 Dragon Wall.
Day 9: Day free to rest, or wander in ancient town of Datong. In the evening we'll take an overnight train to Xian. I treasure my train experiences in China; they give a wonderful panorama of China's landscape and timeless scenes of farmers in their fields, sections of the ancient crumbling Great Wall that extends 2500 miles across China, etc.
Day 10: Arrive early morning in Xian, 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 factory, and a silk factory with carpets, scarves, and clothing.
Our hotel in Xian is modelled on a traditional Chinese palace.
Our lovely 4-star hotel is in the very center of Xian, conveneint 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. You can walk to the nearby lively Moslem Night Bazaar, which has the best craft bargains found anywhere in China, and delicious local foods.
Day 11: 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. Then short 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 temple at the base of Huashan. Our hotel is only a hundred yards away.
I hired these Taoist priests on 2010 Dream Trip to do a special ceremony celebrating the Healing Tao's 30th birthday. There may be ceremonies happening when we visit temples on our trip.
Day 12: Tour Jade Spring Temple 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.
L: Xiyue Temple at base of Mt. Hua. R: My favorite meditation tree on Mt. Hua. It grows out sideways 50 feet over a 3000 foot drop off.
We’ll also visit the Xiyue (“Great Western Mountain”) Temple, whose vast scale and architecture has earned it the nickname of “the Forbidden City of the West”. Built in 206 b.c. the Emperor made annual sacrifice to the White Ruler God of Huashan. It has amazing fengshui, built in direct line of sight to the top of Mt. Hua. You can feel the energy flowing down the mountain through a “dragon line” (ley line). This is a perfect way to align our Energy Body with the sacred mountain before climbing on it.
Afterwards, free time to hang out in the village of Huashan. It is charming, with a big square where people often dance next to a giant statue of Chen Tuan, the Taoist Sleeping Immortal and patron adept of Dream Practice.
L: Chen Tuan statue honoring his Dream Practice, which is actually a form of Taoist internal alchemy. R: Dream Tripper playing flute in one of the special caves we use (not open to ordinary tourists).
Day 13: Take a spectacular cable car ride - the highest in all 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. Rest of day is free, hiking on the 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. 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.)
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. It is next to a tree growing 50 feet out horizontally over a 3000 ft. cliff -- my favorite meditation spot on Mt. Hua. We’ll practice Primordial Qigong and Seven Star Big Dipper Qigong in a very powerful “secret pavilion” where I got married in 2012, off the trail and hidden from other tourists.
Days 14 & 15: The group will take a spectacular hike half way down the mountain to a special quiet monastery not open to the public. It’s a perfect base for those who want to meditate and do dream practice in its nearby cave (it has two beds), while sleeping at night in the monastery and sharing delicious meals with the Taoist monks and nuns.
8 Trigrams (bagua) gateway to Qingkeping Monsstery on Mt. Hua.
Others will hike up to the Pole Star cave area and stay in ancient primitive caves used by Taoists for 2500 years, and fast for a night or two of intense dream practice and meditation. A Taoist hermit I’ve known for 16 years, "Master Stone of Perfection" (his Tao spiritual name), lives in the cave area and maintains it physically and with ceremonies. Read the separate section on Huashan Cave Life below.
OPTION: Those who prefer a shorter mountain stay after hiking atop Mt. Hua for a day can arrange to descend on foot or by cable car to our Huashan village hotel and spend time relaxing and meditating in Jade Spring Temple at the base. 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 16: Both monastery meditators/dreamers and Cave groups hike to Huashan village. This is a very beautiful 3 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 hotel. Free time for shopping in Xian's wonderful bazaars and crafts shops, or simply resting and digesting the power of Mt. Hua.
L: Lao Tzu statue at entry to Louguantai. R: Michael Winn and Abbot Renfarong at Louguantai.
He later became President of China National Daoist Association.
Day 17. Optional Day trip: 2 hour bus to Louguantai, considered the birthplace of Taoism in China. In the morning we’ll do qigong ceremonies in the Lao Tzu Temple next to a giant wall with the Tao Te Ching’s 5000 characters carved into it, near the pass where Lao Tzu transmitted his famous work.
L: Two Winn brothers do tai chi in temple courtyard. R: Lao Tzu Ascension site group meditation.
Afternoon: visit “Lao Tzu’s Ascension Site”, as local Taoists call it. It is totally humble and plain, no roof and no money spent to attract tourists to it. I was totally skeptical that this place was real, and didn't bother to visit it for some years. But ithen I discovered t has the most amazing etheric energy I’ve found in all of China.
We’ll meditate here, with optional easy hike in the surrounding hills to a Primordial Mother temple. Return to our Chinese palace-like 4 star hotel in Xian, with its great location.
Day 18. Free Day in Xian. We'll do final group qigong ceremonies in the City Gods Temple behind our hotel. Day free to shop, pack for trip home, and explore my favorite city in China. There are 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. We’ll have a final group banquet.
Day 19 (June 3). Fly to Beijing, then connect to Los Angeles. We arrive at LAX on Air China #987 at 11 am same day (miracle of International Date Line), 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, ou don’t need to schlep a sleeping bag/backpack, but will still need warm clothes.
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 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.
back to top
Dream Tripper Stories: "I stripped naked atop Mt. Hua to dance with Dragons!"
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 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
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 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
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!
The places you chose were powerful and spectacular!
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 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
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!
Everyone on the trip was an inspiration for me
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!
My shaman says I am "more myself"
F. 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
G. 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.
I Stripped Naked...felt clouds mystically rise like Angels and Dragons Breath
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.
Most Special was bonding with others...I'm a loner at heart
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!
My Friends sense a profound change in me.... I'm positive an Immortal is present
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.
back to top
China Trip Cancellation Policy
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, 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 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 midnight Dec. 31, 2013 - $400. fee.
2. If cancel Jan. 1 to midnite Feb. 14, 2014 - $600. fee.
3. If cancel between Feb. 15, 2014 and departure date of trip, full trip cost is owed and forfeited (NO REFUND on land or air, regardless of reason. 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 paid toward the trip. Once the trip begins, Healing Tao USA cannot take responsability for acts of God, terrorism, war, etc (full legal disclaimer to this effect must be signed by all trip members).
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!