An excerpt from our upcoming eBook, Tai Chi Ch’uan, the lost Yang-style Tai Chi Ch’uan form, brought to the U.S. in the 1960’s by Kuo Lien Ying:
Donald studied with Kuo Lien Ying, at his studio in Portsmouth Square park, San Francisco, for many years beginning in 1976. Early one morning while practicing out in the park, Donald was shown a glimpse of a greater interconnectedness of all of nature that convinced him there is more to what we perceive of as reality than he had ever previously imagined.
One of the standing meditation practices that Sifu Kuo taught is Universal Post, from Yi Chuan (from the Xingyiquan tradition); the practitioner literally stands like a post, with arms upraised and rounded, as if hugging a tree. The goal of this practice is to settle your mind, and develop an awareness of the internal systems of your body and of your connection with the external energies around you, and ultimately the wisdom to direct them flows from this awareness. Sifu Kuo did not speak English and couldn’t explain to his students who spoke only English the purpose of this exercise. Donald noticed the other students, after they had completed their physical practices, going to stand under the trees, so he did the same.
We were encouraged, by the older students, to stand like this for as long as possible, and to stand for a longer period each time. For the beginner, this was an extremely difficult thing to do – your arms would start to burn, your legs would start to shake, and your monkey mind would be screaming, “How much longer do I have to stand like this? What is the point of this? I can’t take another second!”
The Universe Expands
Early one morning, while Donald was standing next to a tree after an hours-long rigorous practice of Shao Lin Chuan, Sifu Kuo walked up to him and reached out to touch him. Kuo adjusted Donald’s hand positions, bringing the left hand slightly forward and the right fingers pointing to the center of the left palm. As Sifu Kuo adjusted his hands – which had an immediate effect of also correcting his posture, Donald felt the energy from his teacher flow into his own body, and in that moment Donald experienced something almost beyond words, he felt the universe in complete alignment and perfect harmony; he could see the truth in all things and he felt connected, on a deep and profound level, to the universal order. Then Sifu Kuo released his hands and walked away chuckling, and that expansive, all-pervading wisdom disappeared, and Donald returned back to his normal, suddenly narrowed, perception.
Having felt this connection, this all-encompassing power and exquisite beauty, even for so brief a moment, Donald knew he could find it again. This set him on his life-long quest for what he refers to as the Holy Grail of Tai Chi Ch’uan and Qigong: living in the seemingly elusive state of being that is the total integration of inner and outer reality, where all of the senses are in a heightened state and the doors of perception are cleansed, not by psychotropic substances, but by resting in the natural state of the mind.
Donald knew that if he could experience this connection and flow, then every person has the potential to experience it as well, and decades ago he determined to find a way to transmit this ability to others who are ready, who have open hearts and receptive minds, and show them how to expand their consciousness and transcend the limitations of everyday existence.
Fast forward to September, 2014. Donald received a phone call from a former student. Donald had not talked with Richard for 20 years, and he told Donald how much he valued the teachings he received from him, 20 years ago, and he practiced daily the Qigong that Donald had taught him. Every day he would do Donald’s Long Life exercises, he stood in Wuji meditation, and he did the dissolving technique. He said that he had gone for a physical recently, and was given an excellent bill of health by his doctors. He was calling because he couldn’t calm his monkey mind, he had ADD and he felt he wasn’t accomplishing all that he could accomplish in his life, his monkey mind seemed to be in control.
Time and space are not obstacles in the Universe, the power of a highly-trained mind is limitless. Donald gave Richard a teaching and sent a transmission to his mind over the phone.
We received an email from Richard a couple of days later:
“Thank you for giving me that teaching on the phone the other day, and for emailing me those life-changing affirmations. I had a profound experience the first time I uttered them. When I said, “I am one with the One,” I was instantly overwhelmed by a feeling of pure love and absolute compassion. I felt that I was in touch with the chi that animates the universe and gives consciousness and is a consciousness. I felt every plant and animal tuned to it, in my perception even flies have awareness. I was part of this vast web of an endless cycle of birth death and regeneration that the stars and planets are a part of and I felt everything pulsing in and out.
Although I am a scientific realist about extra-terrestrials [I'm waiting for empirical evidence] I was aware of countless sentient beings experiencing the same thing. My eyes were closed and I saw total blackness with no racing thoughts for the first time. Yet the darkness was moving rapidly in all directions at once with a slight phosphorescent blue tint to it. I wasn’t afraid and embraced it and the only way to describe it was just total love and compassion. I tried to absorb that into my body and it was so warm. After that, it was over. This was as intense as any psychedelic experience I’ve ever had. I realized that the efficiency I was requesting was just a small part of the balance of the universe. I felt the relationship of predator to play, of plants and their environment, and I felt the stars spinning in harmony with each other. My needs were miniscule and yet so easily granted. Thank you so much.”
We know that anyone can have this life-changing experience as well. Diligent and continual practice is the key; as the I Ching states, ‘Perseverance furthers.’
(c) Donald and Cheryl Lynne Rubbo