Return Journey represents the highest level in the Hua Gong teaching available. It is the spiritual part of the Hua Gong practice focusing on longevity and mental clarity through some special method of sitting meditation and group discourse. Its Chinese name is more accurate in what it means: Fan Huan Dao, meaning the Dao of Return, a way to reconnect to our root, or to the cosmic Qi.
Return Journey aims at the highest objective in Qigong practice: longevity and spiritual realization, which means to sustain good health to the end of our physical life and to die without illness and suffering. This will be the real test for us as Qigong practitioners. Some people after practising for some time seem to have lost motivation to practise and begin to wander “what I am do this for?” Apart from we should not forget how much we might have benefited from the practice so far, if we ask ourselves “can I accomplish this highest goal as a practitioner”, the sense of losing direction and incentive should be dissolved easily.
In the Daoist tradition, life is compared to a candle. Ideally the candle should burn to the end when the flame goes off. That means the candle has fully realised the life it actually has. However, more often than not, a candle will not burn to the end when the flame goes off. Actually it is probably quite rare to see a candle does burn to the very end. It is even normally accepted that a person should die of illness. In the Qigong point of view, however, that should be considered as unnatural death. Through proper and diligent practice, we should be able to preserve our life to the very end and die just like a candle’s flame goes off when it reaches the end of its length. Many masters in the spiritual tradition have demonstrated that this is possible. In my retreat in the Wudang mountains in China earlier this year, I met a Daoist num who is 110 ten years old. She has very clear mind, articulate speech, good hearing and full mouthful teeth. She sits in the full lotus position most of the time. Another master I saw lives in a city but trained in the same mountain. He is 109. Apart from his white hair, he had no sign of old age. He is still teaching martial arts and able to do somersault. A Daoist disciple told me that his master passed away at the age of 115 without any illness.
Return Journey contains the transmission and methods for achieving longevity and spiritual realization. As a meditation method, it contains the code and technique for us to connect and synchronize with the cosmic state of being and therefore we will be blessed and nourished by the natural life force. We can experience the transformation and rejuvenation effects. The techniques are simple and effective, though will need to be practised to function. Some “Qigong Yoga” will be taught as complementary practice to the meditation. In addition, group discourse is a feature of the Return Journey teaching. Through the discourse, we learn the practice of spiritual contemplation which is the key to our mental clarity and understanding, or Wu in Chinese. Wu enables us to be happy and to be more detached and therefore above our problems in life. Sharing the wisdom and visions of spirituality from all traditions, and exchanging experiences and inspirations from our Qigong practice will be a main function of the discourse too. We will also have a chance to exercise our mind, to clarify our confusions and to seek answers to all our questions in relation to our practice.
This retreat provides a good chance for us to practise as well as to learn this valuable method. Specially designed to be a longer retreat, we will have a better chance to have some profound experience and breakthrough. It also gives us the opportunity to discuss Hua Gong in general more deeply and extensively. Therefore it can also be seen as a comprehensive Hua Gong retreat. This is an advanced retreat and is strongly recommended for those who have attended this retreat before and who want to focus on the practice of it. Those who want to learn the Return Journey and study Hua Gong thoroughly will also benefit greatly from this retreat.