Six Day Stay with Taoist Master

In: Beds Power Of The Mind Stories Travel Information

On: September 22, 2015

Since leaving the UK I have been doing quite a bit of reading and my interest in Zen led me to learn a little more about Taoism. Upon arriving in Korea I decided I would look for groups and training courses on topics I am interested in like the power of the mind, pain management and healing. This is when I discovered Master Kim and his Taoist Healing Center. After emailing him and speaking to him on the phone we agreed that I could come and stay to learn some more about Taoism and in particular a system called Sundo.

Sundo is a little like Tai Chi in the sense that the different shapes the body makes whilst using the application help to realease the chi for us to become a healthier person. As Master Kim himself describes it:

Kouksundo ( I have no idea where the Kouk came from!) has four components 1) stretching exercise; 2) Postures 3) lower abdominal breathing; and 4) meditation. The stretching exercises and postures help free the flow of energy and circulation that awakens the wisdom of the body. Lower abdominal breathing facilitates the oxygenation of the body so that toxins and wastes are cleared. finally, meditation changes the brain waves from beta to alpha, helping the person to be alert and calm at the same time.

Master Kim has a balance of eastern and western philosophy having moved to America in 1979 and gained a masters degree in the field of integrated studies. He recognises the differences as:

“In my observation, the East tends to be procedural, the west conceptual. Eastern people act rather that questioning and thinking. In the west, people are more likely to think and question rather than do. Eastern people try to understand through the body while westerners try to understand intellectually. I strongly believe that we should refine both qualities within ourselves. If either one of these is missing, actualisation of our life on the earth cannot be fully achieved.

His suggestions on a more balanced approached between the two seems to resonate with me. There are times when you just need to stop thinking and trust that it will just work out. Generally, we in the west over analysis ( Well I know I do 🙂 ) and the east can trust in systems with little evidence except their own experiences by amalgamating the east and west we can start to mix both cultures. This is already happening in the case of mindfulness which science and research is proving to be very effective for pain and health, something buddhist and the eastern philosophies have instinctively known for hundreds of years.

As you can tell from what I have written above I had a lot of time to think on my retreat with Master Kim. We agreed the following schedule:

Retreat Schedule while you are here with me;
15th(Tue.)
6:00 Dinner
7:30 Introductory Sundo practice
10:00 Sleep

16th(Wed.)
4:30 wake -up
5:00 A double Sundo practice
7:30 breakfast
9:00-11:00 an assigned work(by yourself)
11:00-12:00 free time
12:00 Lunch
14:30-17:30 Sundo class at Hanseo University
18:00 Dinner
19:30 evening meditation
10:00 Sleep

17th(Thur.)
4:30 wake-up
5:00 a double Sundo practice
7:30 breakfast
9:00 an assigned work(by yourself)
11:00 free time
12:00 Lunch
13:00-14:00 free time
14:00-17:00 an assigned work(by yourself)
17:00-18:00 free time
18:00 Dinner
19:30 evening meditation
10:00 Sleep

18th(fri.)
4:30 wake -up
5:00 A double Sundo practice
7:30 breakfast
9:00-11:00 an assigned work(by yourself)
11:00-12:00 free time
12:00 Lunch

We pretty much followed this, except Thursday when we had to pick up some furniture in a van which took from 9am until about 6pm. On this Journey Master Kim asked if I would like to stay for a further 3 days. Thus enabling me to learn more about Sundo and how it helps fulfil the Taoist philosophy of being in the moment by utilising stomach breathing. This was an offer I was very happy to accept and the routine was continued with a couple of differences. One being I was joined by a Tae Kwon Do Master called Bom Ji Whun for the Saturday and Sunday Morning double practices and I attended Master Kims classes at Hanseo University; The Friday afternoon session consisted of a Sundo practice with advanced practitioners, the Saturday morning class was a degree course in Taoism and I attended this which I understood very little of because it was mostly in Korean.

The morning Sundu Practices were really quite nice. I have always been more of a morning person but getting up this early I was lucky enough to see the black of the night develop into shades of grey before the colour entered the world.

The assigned work was agreed to be manual work to help Master Kim. Anyone who knows me know I am not a big fan of manual work. What I was asked to do was move objects from two sheds and make them fit in one. As a minimalist moving all this stuff was a challenge and I saw it as a sort of Karate Kid and Mr Miyagi type challenge and tried to see the messages I could learn or look at a way of practicing stomach breathing rather than moaning at myself internally when I do this type of work. On the most part I really did quite well with my inner chatter by practicing a Mark Manson technique I have been practicing from a post about our two minds. This, along with my Sundo practice, has really helped calm my over analytic and thinking mind with the help of focusing and trusting that it will work in true Eastern Cultural style. The proof in the pudding will now be how I proceed when not at a remote retreat but travelling from place to place in sensory overloading location like Tokyo, where I fly to on Thursday.

Mark

The areas of life I am most interested in are great design, the golden ratio, minimalism, Pareidolia (faces in everyday objects), micro living and finally I will be searching for remarkable human beings who use the power of their mind to achieve amazing effects.

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