I saw something on Facebook recently, which went along the lines of “The pharmaceutical industry doesn’t create cures, it creates customers“. This is quite true.
Something odd happened recently during a work trip to Tianjin. I had a few spare periods, and I used them to practice my ZMQ-37 taijiquan form. Like most things that I write about in this blog, it’s been over four years (closer to five, in fact) since I did any work with this, but it came back surprisingly quickly. One set in particular went very well; I entered the flow state, with my mind quite empty of thoughts except for the feeling of my soles in contact with the floor, the movements of my joints and bones, and tendons and ligaments.
Suddenly, the room seemed to fill with the smells of a forest. There was the spicy fragrance of flowers, but also herbal undertones, and the richness of spring vegetation. It was quite inexplicable; I was on the eighth floor of a concrete monstrosity, in the middle of a dusty concrete campus on a very hot and smoggy day. There were NO plants anywhere nearby; the windows were firmly closed, and the aircon was blowing full blast. The experience only lasted for the duration of that set, and it was the only time I smelt anything natural during the two days I worked in that room.
On the other hand, although it’s not something I’ve experienced before, this is the kind of thing that is supposed to indicate a spirit presence. Even to me, that last sentence seems a bit far out but, after I heard the dragons singing in Qingbiankou a few years ago – when I was also in a deep meditative state – it’s an explanation that I’m open to.
Aaah. Yes, I’m back in China. There are different rules here….
A couple of things that I’ve seen recently:
Gao style Baguazhang,Practice and Applications:
“Carus-p48-Mystic-table” by An unknown Tibetan artist – A Tibetan work, reproduced first in Waddell, “The Buddhism of Tibet…”, p. 453, and then in Carus, ” Chinese thought”, p 48. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
North Wales (Eryri, the ‘place of eagles’) was great. We stayed at the foot of Snowdon next to a lake, the water of which was so clear and still it was like glass. It reflected perfectly the smudgy purple of the heather on the hills around, the mossy greens and slate grey of the terrain… A small stream gushed and gurgled past our window. It was incredibly peaceful. With all the trips we made to Caernarfon, Beddgelert, Llanberis and so on, I didn’t manage to do quite as much practice as I had hoped but nevertheless got up at six to stand in zhan zhuang next to the lake. It was wonderful; I haven’t felt so cleansed and energized for a long time. My companion (as they say in the restaurant reviews) and I are now wondering how we could pursue our respective careers from Snowdonia….
Speaking of careers and suchlike: I’ve just found out about a one-year course in acupuncture, taught in English at the TCM Hospital of Tianjin. I’m very, very tempted, I have to say… The detailed syllabus is available here (PDF).