Monday, July 31, 2006

taoism comedy hour

We attended the Taoism class and meditation on Friday night which is held on the last Friday of every month at the Taoist Center over near 35th & Macarthur in Oakland. I had taught kali there for a few months a couple of years ago and had been kept on the mailing list. But this month seemed like a month to go.

Neither of us had ever gone to a meditation. I was familiar with the Taoism ideas from Tuhan's lectures, but I still don't know how Dr. Feng's practice of Taoism differs. There was a crowd of about 40 people of various ages. Many were already familiar with each other. There were a handful of other people who were there for the first time as well.

His wife welcomed the crowd, mostly seated in a few rows of chairs, and Dr. Feng took his place at the seat in front. Then Dr. Feng gave his talk. Tidbits that I still recall include: The transition from nothing to a-ha to duality to nothing again. Getting stuck in the duality. Where is your taoist heart? Is the water hot or cold? Naked monks. Students who didn't feel loved. Learning to welcome everything that comes in, and being just as joyful when you say goodbye to things/people/etc. Does the world still exist when I close my eyes? When you close your eyes and I am gone should you be saddened? He told alot of stories, funny stories in fact. I would almost call is a comedy hour. Sometimes he'd start laughing before he even told us the punchline. Only a few people laughed out loud, including the hubby. While most people quietly listened or perhaps did like me and just smiled or chuckled in amusement.

He had everyone do a drill. He said he wanted to change our state of being. We stood up and looked at the person next to us in the eye. Without speaking and gesturing, to send forth to the other person, "I love you. I need you. I have to have you in my life. You are important to my life." Next, again without speaking and gesturing to send forth to the other person, "I don't love you. I don't need you. You are transient. You are not important to my life." And then finally, to try to find the in between of those two things.

It was harder for some. A woman in the front row started to cry when we tried the second thing. I found it took a bit of warm up to do the first thing and it was much easier for me to do the second thing, and quite refreshing and liberating in searching for the third thing. I've always been a bit reserved when it came to the first thing. I've not been a heart on my sleeve type of person. It was easier to do the second thing, partially because of my own general reservations, and partially when I do the kali it's a place I go to, to become cold and expressionless. The third, this place of balance, was refreshing because in a way it allowed me to love more. That our relationship is transient (one of us will die eventually, hopefully a long while off still eventually), but that my love chooses to be here in this relationship. That I could leave, I could be someplace else, but this is where I choose to be.

At the end of lecture, they dimmed the lights and a fellow played a Tibetan crystal meditation bowl. A very large white translucent bowl played along the rim with a wooden stick. The sound of it was quite surreal and quite loud as the sound bounced around the room. It did facilitate the letting go of the mind almost to a highly uncomfortable level.

Dr. Feng's wife closed out the evening. Talked about how last month, Dr. Feng had asked her to give him something she treasured, which he immediately gave away. Then the woman who received it, gave it to someone else. But then felt that wasn't enough, so gave away her most favorite necklace to her yoga instructor who was also there. They asked her how she felt about receiving the gift: how honored she was, but then how she misses the necklace she gave away. I think the lesson was supposed to be about the welcoming of things in and the ability to be joyful when things leave. I don't think his wife ever answered how she felt when he gave her cherished scarf away. Now there's a conversation to be had at home. Because spirituality and philosophy do not necessarily keep anger at bay.

Afterwards we went up and greeted him and chatted about the experience. As we left, he said he had something for us. Into my hand he placed two magnet hearts that were stuck together. I immediately showed it to the hubby and placed it in his hand. Then after looking at it, he gave it back to me, for safekeeping he says. The magnets were cute. In the car ride home, I pulled them apart and watch them snap back together, pull them apart, then back again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow cool, I was there that night too, also a first time. Nice description of the event. Dr. Feng seems like a cool guy. When the bell was going off it was LOUD!! But it was doing some cool stuff to my brain, felt like I was turning on the left half and right half back and forth like a light switch. Also did you notice the teacher during the meditation seemed to be growing taller and taller as he sat, I think he was giving us some of his spirit. It was a cool session, glad I went.