16 – 19 March, 2018
Most of us have arrived to Eindhoven on Friday 16 and after greeting all Brothers & Sisters we straight away started our practice: reviewing Morning Qigong movements first of all. I am grateful we had the chance to discuss any “issue/problem/question” arising.
Although I have not met some of the Brothers & Sisters yet, I instantly felt a deep, special connection with all of them: We are Family. I feel Home. This bright and warm feeling in my chest helped me to push myself through our run in the mornings at 6:30. As the snowflakes melted on my face, I felt this warmth shining even stronger. It snowed for most of the day.
This, of course did not stop us and we carried on with our practice: Morning Qigong, then after breakfast we carried on reviewing our Tai Chi form. It was great to see the different variations older students have learnt and how these variations still keep the core purpose of each movement. It shows how we should each individually make tiny adjustments, keeping the core purpose of course, but to create more flow and eventually move like Water.
For some, the 3 sets of Longevity Qigong was a review, for some this was something new we have learnt. I am very grateful since this was something new for me and am bringing this into my everyday practice. Every evening, sitting in one big circle, we practiced sitting meditation together for at least 1 hour. We also recited Mantras during this time. It was an Amazing circle of Love.
No matter from where in Europe we all flew from, we are Family, we are all One. I felt a Pure Unification, Stillness and Peace created during our practice. Tears of Joy and the feeling of Light warmed my face and heart whilst trying to let go of this thought during my Meditation practice! I feel this Retreat also reminded us to practice Compassion in everything we do: Be it chores, cleaning toilets, cooking food, or uplifting and helping others with Authenticity and True Honesty. I am grateful for this experience and for each and every single one of you.
After this Retreat Separated, yet Unified in the Universe we shall all carry on with our practice. Future Retreats are being discussed, with possible review of Kungfu movements, Fire Taiji or even Daoist Medicine review. I feel this Retreat has brought a great chance of sharing and exchanging ideas and of course the Power of Collective Practice. I cannot express my Gratitude to every single one of you, contributing in a huge way.
Thank you. May the True Light Stay with Us All. With Love, Cheng Guān.
Linus & Vasco
The gathering took place in the Netherlands. We were hosted in an abandoned health care centre by Anna and Eric.
The first day of the retreat we had cold weather and snowfall, most of the snow eventually melted and by the end of the retreat the sun joined us. We were next to a river and many old trees surrounding the building. The place was close to the airport so the logistics was no problem. Most of the food was bought on beforehand and the bedrooms were prepared, mattresses were provided for everyone in need. We had pillows to sit on during meditation and blankets. We emptied all cabinets of cutlery for every meal and it was just enough. There were chores for everyone to help maintain the order of the living areas.
On Friday after lunch we started the first training with one-hour meditation and we reviewed the morning healing Qi Gong so there would be no complications in the early morning of the following days. During dinner we had a brief presentation to get to know each other followed by one hour meditation.
Saturday morning, we begun at 06.30 with a run followed by 75 minutes of healing qigong. From 9:00 to 12:00 we practiced the Water Tai Chi form outside in harsh weather. In the afternoon we reviewed the first set and beginning of second set Longevity qigong, before bedtime we meditated for one hour starting with the chanting of the Five Tones melody.
Sunday morning, we begun at 06.30 with a run followed by 75 minutes of healing qigong. From 09.00 to 12:00 we practiced the Water Tai Chi form. This time we had access to an indoor training area, because outside was still to cold and the regular indoor training room was to small for Tai Chi. In the afternoon we learn all of the second and third set longevity qigong, before bedtime we meditated for one hour starting with the chanting of the Five Tones melody.
Monday morning, we begun at 06.30 with a run followed by 75 minutes of healing qigong. We practiced the tai chi outdoor from 09.00 to 11.00. After the training we reviewed the retreat and the participants gave feedback about this retreat and also talked about ideas about future retreats and the discussed ways to honour the teachings from the temple and ways for us to keep cultivating by our selves with the help of the brothers and sisters of the sect and the best way to share the knowledge while protecting it from dilution and misconception.
The following is ideas from that review:
• Everyone had a great experience from the chanting of melody’s and the reciting of mantras, and agreed that this should be a vital part of the gatherings.
• Many of us had experienced the difficulties of integrating ourselves back into society after the experience at the temple. While life in society always remind us that we are first humans and second Daoists, by giving us different hardships and barriers, many of us had found it hard to focus their energy on cultivation and we all agreed of the important of having this community of support, that we will walk further if we keep together, even though we have our own personal Way, we aim fort he same goal.
• We also realised the importance of casual talk among cultivators. Our knowledge is enriched by seeing others ways to perceive these teaching and the solutions they have found for common problems. We are all very thankful for the knowledge gathered from the temple therefore we are also concerned about how to maintain the integrity of these teachings.
• One idea was to create a small basics system of essentials to guarantee that we are all on the same page, even if the ways and expressions is different for each of us without losing the principles of the Pure Yang and the Dao.
• We all had the experience that this retreat exceeded our expectations, but that much review of new content is very confusing and required a lot of mental energy in this short time period.
When you bring people together with a common purpose, the result is multiplied, personal connections were made, and those who didn’t know each other before the retreat have now a deep connection. The gathering brought our best qualities to surface and the challenge now is to hold these qualities when returning home.
There were many ideas for future retreat. Including Medicine practice, theory classes, gong fu. The thing we agreed of was to bring our projects, books and share related items to the Daoist lifestyle.
Special thanks to Anna and Eric for hosting us, to Dariusz, Virginie, Krisztina and Maxime for preparing the delicious and nutritious food and to Giuiio for the planning and initiative.
Also thanks to Nova, Jan, Pawel, Aurelian, Alexander, Andrea, Susanna.
Yours Sincerely Linus and Vasco.