2016 Retreat Experience

This is our third year participating in Heart Chan’s retreat. Feeling the power of energy was my biggest breakthrough in the first year. Last year, I was honored to be given the opportunity to organize the retreat held in Southern California which not only challenged me to organize and coordinate an event but also let me interact with all the brothers and sisters of Heart Chan. I grew intellectually and spiritually. However, my mind was so preoccupied last year with running the retreat that I don’t think I had a moment of true
calm till the very last day.
Going to Elijay, Georgia this year was truly a treat. While driving up the mountainous road to ERRC (East Regional Retreat Center) in the dark around 9pm, our family couldn’t help but joked that the road could lead us to the resort like in the movie “The Shining” with Jack Nicholson. In the movie, a family was contracted to manage a resort in the winter that turned into a horror experience. 🙂
Laughing aside, the truth is my husband, Gene, and our two girls, Elizabeth (11) and Emily (9) all felt a sense of peace and the unspeakable joy of “coming home”. Words can’t easily describe it but when we saw the warm and smiling faces of Tongming Laoshi, Brother Andy, Sister Kiki, and other brothers/sisters at check in, we knew we were “home”.
The facility is simply beautiful. The pureness of air and water was so refreshing. The lodging was so comfortable that we recovered quickly from the fatigue of travel and able to participate in the early morning mediation at 6am each day.
The theme of “Harmony” this year really resonated throughout the entire 3 days/3 nights of the event. Warm smiling faces, familiar and new, signified the growing family of Heart Chan. Gene and I enjoyed every session we attended as all the teachers are unique in their teaching styles but all emanated humility, love, and compassion that are often sprinkled with humor.
However, the most memorable session for me was the session with Miaoming Laoshi, when he spoke of his experience meeting Shifu for the first time.
I normally enjoy sitting up front but because Gene and I were scheduled to teach a children’s class in the hour after, we decided to sit in the back in case we needed to leave early. Unable to see Miaoming Laoshi from my vantage point, I opted to close my eyes and instead let my ear and mind focus on his words. Gradually, as I listened intently, I was taken to the same room where he first met Shifu. When he spoke of the tremendous white lights when Shifu entered the room, all of a sudden, I also saw bright
white light appearing. When he spoke of the electrical shock throughout his body, I felt a tickling surge through me as well.
All of a sudden, I felt as if I was back in the same room where I first met Shifu (last May in Taiwan). I knew I was very blessed to see Shifu since I heard many brothers and sisters never had the chance to personally meet Shifu. I thought the best way to share the experience is for me to capture a video of Shifu and share with everyone at the retreat. I was so focused on my mission to capturing this video that I failed to realized how rare and precious the moments were that I had with Shifu to connect with him. At
the end, as he kindly walked me out the door, he gently put his hand on my shoulder and gave me the most compassionate smile I have ever seen, I knew I connected with him at that moment.
After sharing my experience with Miaoming Laoshi afterwards, he told me kindly that Shifu’s light is everywhere. I was so glad to re-live the moment and knew that I will always be able to find it again because it was always there.
Another breakthrough session, again with Miaoming Laoshi, is when he talked about how we may feel that “we are not good enough”. That really resonated with me as I realized that I always felt that I am not ready to take the training to become a teacher because I am “just not ready”. When he says that we can only take each moment and try to perfect it, I knew I heard what I needed to hear. I already knew enough to share and teach others the benefits of basic Heart Chan meditation. The long road to become
proficient begins with sharing and teaching others.
Mediation under the full moon is a whole new experience for us. We not only saw the bright tricolor around the moon but both of our daughters experienced very strong tingling energy in their heart and dharma eye chakras as well as their palms. To quote Emily, it was like someone “taking a marker and keep poking at my forehead!”
Sister Evie and Brother Justin ran an excellent Children’s Program. Our daughters enjoyed every session, whether active or sitting still. Our friends, Amos and Usila Koech and their sons, Kipruto (10) and Kiprotich (8), flew from Las Vegas to attend the retreat had an amazing first experience with Heart Chan. As a matter of fact, they loved Elijay so much that they are seriously considering getting a house nearby!
Since coming back from the retreat, we have been diligently waking up at 5am in the morning and practicing beginning with Qigong that Sister Beili taught us followed by 45 minutes of meditation. We have become more energized and focused and we look forward to sitting for one hour very soon.
We are taking Sister Kiki’s parting words of “Keep Practicing” to heart!
We deeply appreciate all the efforts of Sister Kiki and Brother Andy, for organizing the retreat, and all the volunteers who made it a fruitful and memorable event for everyone.
We plan to be back to Elijay, real soon!
With a deep bow,
Christina and Family (Gene, Elizabeth and Emily)