Standing Still between Sky and Earth
An unfolding antenna to the universe
Text: Richard Reoch, Photo: Jane Ward
“We have come here to stand between the sky and the earth” said Master Lam.
We had traveled with him to the Mongolian Plateau of Central Asia.
It is a land of wild horses and, as you look out over the high grasslands, the earth’s curve is unobstructed.
The sky feels so close you could touch it.
“To experience the full healing power of Chi Kung,” says Master Lam in his book, The Way of Healing, “you need to have in your mind a clear vision of what is happening to you.
In classical Chinese, this would be called a vision of Heaven and Earth. In many ways, it is exactly the same portrait of the cosmos as that now revealed by the most sophisticated discoveries of contemporary scientists.”
The early nomads of this region drew inspiration and strength from what they called the Munkh Khukh Tengri, literally “Eternal Blue Sky”.
They handed down a tradition of living in harmony with the vast, open sky and fertile Mother Earth.
To experience this directly for ourselves was the reason Master Lam brought us to these highlands of our planet, where the horizon meets the endless sky.
One morning at sunrise, our group of 30 students from 12 countries gathered with Master Lam to practice the ancient art of “Standing Like a Tree”.
It is a gentle, profound discipline. You stand without moving, practicing deep internal relaxation.
We stood together in silence as the earth turned towards the sun. The power was unmistakable. “It was like molten gold,” said Master Lam’s son and successor, Sifu Tin Yu.
Years earlier, Master Lam had spoken of this in The Way of Healing:
It is as if we had opened up an unfolding antenna to the universe.
The longer we practice, the more sensitive we become to the energy that flows around us and through us.
As our practice develops, we begin to understand through our own direct experience, the intimate meaning of [the ancient Chinese philosopher] Chuang Tse:
“Heaven and earth and I are living together.”
On our travels across the plateau, we saw landscapes and towns filled with startling and beautiful sculptures rising up into the sky.
There were ornamental carved columns, intricately decorated towers, and images of wild, flying horses.
Throughout our trip – we traveled for hours by bus and train through prairies, desert, and mountains – covering several thousand kilometers – Master Lam made it clear that we do not need to be always standing still to cultivate and care for our internal energy.
He has demonstrated this in his other books, including Everyday Chi Kung.
“Don’t waste your time,” he called out to us on the bus. “Use your time to practice!”
As we look back on all Master Lam has taught us, those simple words sum up so much of his advice.
We can apply them whatever we are doing and wherever we find ourselves on our journey between sky and earth.
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