“When I let go of who I am I become who I might be.”
“Who are you?” My master asked?
“Tevia!” I responded
“No that is the program your parents gave you! You have been programmed since birth. First your parents gave you your name program. Then you went to school and they told you what to believe. You went out in society and they told you what was right and wrong.
You formed an identity and believed it to be true. You held onto it as if it was the very thing that held you to you.”
Shedding my identity, was one of the most powerful lessons of my life.
Now we are in the year of Metal (2020), where it is time to let go of the old to give way for the next cycle, which is a cold winter. After that, spring will arrive and with it, new life.
This is the time to shed our old ways, shed ourselves of that which no longer serves us, the earth and humanity. As the I Ching says, “Adapt to the Dao or death follows.”
I will never forget as it is etched into my memory. Years ago we were going through an economic crisis. I had lost everything I had worked my entire life for. It was so difficult for me to accept reality that you could spend your life working to achieve something and the have it stripped away in a matter of days. Everything I had identified myself as, was also gone. If I was not that person, then who was I? I had spent many years building up an identity and ego. This was when one of my masters came in and reminded me of how much of a gift this was to lose everything. He said, “To be at zero is freedom.”
He taught me how to shed my identity, one of the most powerful lessons of my life. I had learned how the Tibetan have a similar practice of letting go where they spend years working on sand art that takes countless hours of meticulous work. Then when their masterpiece is finally finished, they wipe it away in seconds. I had realized that my life was like that.
I wanted to evolve, but how? I had to release who I believed I was in order to evolve. Many people don’t realize how difficult that actually is until they try to do it.
It was then I learned the Taoist practice of Releasing The 3 Acquired Minds.
Shedding the old self and creating the new. My teacher gave me a new program, a new name, Lin Feng 林峰，pronounced Leen Fung, which means forest at the peak of the mountain. I was to now identify myself with nature. I was to identify myself with where my power came from as I felt an incredible power when I would hike up to forested mountain peaks. While Tevia was my birth name, for years I was only called Lin Feng. This was one step of how I started shedding my old self. He encouraged me to in fact change my name often so I did not hold onto an identity of who I am too long.
In an age of self-aggrandizement where social media capitalizes on the psychology of the human mind, promoting ourselves and how great we have never been more important. I don’t promote myself, I promote the vehicle through which we can make a massive shift in consciousness and that is through White Tiger Qigong.
My master had me do an exercise of letting go of my Acquired Minds.
Exercise to release the Acquired Mind
First, every time I noticed a repetitive thought I would write it down. For example, if I had a repeated opinion on something. Then after I had a number of thoughts written down, I would begin to categorize them into what they were related to. One category was from the news I was reading. Another category was from my father or mother. Another category was from friends. Another, from school. I was trying to drill down to understand where my thoughts came from, to get at the root of my thoughts. Which thoughts were actually mine and which were someone else’s? What was my actual own true thinking? This was a mission to discover my own true self.
This got even deeper as I delved into the Primordial Breath which brings you back before all those thoughts, before birth, when you came from the cosmos. It takes time to go backwards when all of us are trying to move forwards as fast as possible. Now I understood what Lao Zi meant below:
“To attain knowledge add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things everyday”.
One day, feel in the Primordial Breath, I saw all the masks I wore. A mask for my friends, a mask for my father, a mask for my mother, a mask for my master, a mask for my students. Who was I then underneath all these masks? I began to peel back the layers to reveal someone so raw and vulnerable it scared me.
Stage 1 Releasing Traumas and Emotional Issues
Letting go of the traumas was one of the scariest things to do because I had to go to the root of those traumas. Going through it was like spiritual vomit. It was so painful and scary, but when I came out, I was so clean and fresh. I felt like new. It no longer held me back. The trauma of being abused of what some might consider horrific and of witnessing horrible abuse. I was no longer a victim of it. I was no longer held down by it. I was able to forgive others. Forgiveness took years, but I knew I had to let the anger and resentment go as it was damaging my health and weighing me down.
I remember crying for so long as I let go. I would go out and do Qigong, sometimes lying in a pool of my own tears. I did the Qigong until the tears had dried. I had let go. Then the next day start again. Some days it was spewing anger, some days deep grief, but little by little I felt lighter, more balanced.
Stage 2 Releasing Societal Norms and Values
In my travels, to over 37 countries I have found a beautiful variety of cultures and people. In one Qigong training I conducted in Thailand we had over 27 different nationalities present. Variety is the spice of life. In each different culture, I have found extremely different norms and values. I have found that each believes in their way and that is the way. Any way that deviates is either strange, not good or at worst evil.
In working deeply with Qigong with so many people from all around the world I have found common denominators in everyone which actually coincides with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. People need to feel safe and have all the necessities, food, shelter, sleep, etc. People need to feel safe and secure with enough money, health, and work. People need to feel love and give love. They need a sense of connection. People need to feel respect, strength, and freedom. People desire to become the most they can be, self-actualization.
I am not saying any one society is right or wrong, but in order to go deep into this Taoist practice, we must release our societal norms and values, recognizing they are only a program which we chose to accept.
Stage 3 Release Deeply Held Views
We need to release our deeply held view and this includes our national identity. This diametrically opposes what is happening now, as ultra-nationalism is rising and being stoked. If we want to survive as a species we have to let go of this national pride, anger towards other nations and come together. The earth knows no boundaries, disease knows no borders. Neither care if you are so-called American, Chinese South African, Italian or Australian or any other nationality. Nationalities and borders have been drawn up over the years and are always changing. They are a creation that groups of people thought of and then enforced them with military power. They only exist because we accept them. When people did not accept the divide between East and West Germany, they tore down the wall. Releasing belief structures can be scary because our entire foundation of everything we believe to be true can be shattered. It can take a shattering to make a great transformation. We must release religious views. Again, I am not saying any religion is wrong or bad, but in order to go deep into this Taoist practice, we must release our religious views and national identity. Once we do that, then we can go in with a truly clean slate and you might find you agree with one religion, a mix of religions, or none at all. The difference is now you can go into that as a truly clean participant as you can now choose the program you want from your own free will.
All of these things are just programs and can all be undone, then we can create the program we truly want. Each year I question my existing beliefs, I challenge myself by spending time with people who believe things entirely different from my current belief set and try to see through their eyes. I often look at what my current beliefs are and stay open to clean them. I regularly practice the 3 Acquired Minds, because if you do not, programs can sneak back up on you.
I do not promote myself in White Tiger Qigong. I do not want to become famous or a star. I see many teachers are in it for self-promotion rather than as promoting the art in itself. In those cases, the art itself is lost with them. I would prefer to be used as a vehicle to propel this powerful practice. I am here to promote White Tiger Qigong, not “Tevia Feng”.
As you can see White Tiger isn’t about me, it is about we. Letting go of the importance of self is another important next step in the Taoist process of discovery.
If you are interested in doing a deep dive into this Taoist practice see our events.