You are invited to join me on a journey inwards, to try a meditation style that has transformed my internal practice. Having spent 19 years training Tai Chi, Qi Gong and other internal arts, over the last year I have intensively trained a meditation that draws from Taoist observation and Buddhist emotional release techniques, and is excellent at tackling a crucial stage of internal work known as heartmind repair.
The word heartmind may sound a little strange, I use it because in Chinese, the word xin 心 is used to mean both heart and mind, and points towards a holistic worldview that does not separate out mind and body in the same way we do in the West.
Let us consider a worldview then, in which when we are hurt emotionally, our bodies receive some damage as well. We harden and form a shell over our wounds; the function of which is to protect but sometimes, long after we have healed, remains and becomes a block. Blocks that hinder qi flow in the body, free thought in the mind, and love in the heart. To repair the heartmind is to work on these blocks, which can reveal themselves through physical discomfort or actions that do not seem in line with our true selves.
A year of this practice has helped to ‘melt’ my body inside, so everything can move freely and responsively to intention. It has helped reveal lines of power that can be used to open the body for subtle work and martial purposes. It’s also helped heal past wounds, fortified my emotional foundations, and been a valuable tool for living amongst the uncertainty and anxiety of the pandemic.
The Nei Gong we are looking at is standing stake; it’s used to build power, each internal art has at least one style of standing used to mould body and qi into the optimum state for its practice. Standing practice can be challenging, but I have found this meditation style adds ease to it, so I am pairing the two together. We’ll be training Hun Yuan standing which is particularly useful for Tai Chi but is also a good general-purpose standing stake.
The times we are living in are difficult enough, so our approach will be gentle, with students training each exercise for as long as they wish within a given timeframe. Students are asked to bring a notebook to record results, and creative pursuits or a book to read so they can stay with us in the virtual space if they finish while others are still training.
This intensive will take place online via zoom in the mornings, 7.30-8.30 am for five days from 16th November and the sixth session will take place 10-11.30am on Saturday 21st November. New students will receive an additional 15 minute introductory talk on the theory of what we are doing before the intensive starts. The retreat costs £55 at standard rate or £45 for concessions. Those who book on before 8pm on Tuesday 10th November will receive a small gift to help connect us all before the event.
I hope you can join me on this journey, together we can bring some light to the darker months.