IT’S BEEN DIFFICULT FOR ME TO KNOW THE RIGHT TIME to write a testimonial of my Ren Xue journey. Sometimes, it appears as if I am struggling with the same patterns I thought I had just worked through, only to find later, when I look back, that I have made good progress. It’s been a continual process of doing practice, digging deeper to unearth the roots of my problems, finding myself stuck, doing more practice, learning to relax even further, and digging some more. As time has passed, the process has become more joyous because I am feeling freer, feeling calmer, feeling more at home within myself. Each time I emerge from another journey of spiraling down deeper, emerge from the entanglements of my patterns, I am a little further along in my path. This inspires me to move forward and deepens my understanding of and appreciation for the practice. Writing a testimonial is like sharing a glimpse into a journey that is constantly unfolding.I am someone who has made it my life’s work to learn about my own patterns and to help others learn about theirs. I am a psychotherapist by profession, and have worked hard using as many tools and traditions as I could find to help myself and others experience wellbeing. After 28 years, I found that I had made some good progress in helping myself/clients understand problems and patterns. A combination of tools such as insight, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness and meditation did help improve my overall state and facilitate healthier life choices. However, I never felt as if any of the traditions, theories or techniques I used helped me (and therefore enabled me to help others) change on a fundamental level, on a root level. Not the kind of change that would shift my reference system or my instinctual responses to life’s unexpected problems. At the most basic level, I still viewed myself and the world through the same glasses. I still felt deeply tired after a day’s work. I still felt burdened by an inner pressure to perform and achieve. I still felt as if having more money, more friends, more affection, more approval would make me feel secure. I still got caught in self-editing and in judgmental thinking when I was in certain social groups. I still had this underlying dis-ease and anxiety. I still had aches and pains in my back and in all my joints. With all that dedicated inner work, I didn’t really, truly, know what it meant to relax, to let go, to trust.For me, learning Ren Xue is like finding a treasure box with endless gems. Each gem, a piece of wisdom culture, that buys me a little bit of inner freedom. Not like the paper money I used to use that would only buy me a bit of symptom relief. These are real gems that become more valuable with each use and that have withstood the test of time. My body is healthier, my mind less busy and less encumbered, and my baseline state is much more relaxed. My core experience is shifting on a fundamental level.

Learning from Yuan Tze has been a gift for which I have tremendous gratitude. Having a Master teacher is unfamiliar to many of us in the west. Many associate them with gurus or cult leaders, finding it hard to know who to trust, let alone how to trust. My process of trusting Yuan Tze has paralleled my own journey of learning to trust myself. Yuan Tze is a truly wise man, someone who has applied his learning to himself and his own life cultivation and who is making himself available by sharing his knowledge with others. Period. That is the whole picture. He continually encourages his students to rely on the practice and our experience rather than him to discover what is useful, what is meaningful. The degree to which I am able to open my heart and mind to him and his teaching reflects the degree to which I can open up to and trust myself. At the last retreat, November 2011 in New Zealand, Yuan Tze talked about the fear most of us experience in truly letting go during deep meditation, such as while practicing Three Centers Merge. He spoke about the fear the False Self has in letting go, a fear of falling into some kind of mindless abyss with no control. He shared how, in truly letting go, one experiences an acute sense of presence and awareness. While I have yet to experience that state in Qigong practice, I have found something similar to be true in regard to my experience of trust. And here is where I share with you a bit about what is currently happening in my Ren Xue journey. I am working with patterns around trust and what I am discovering is: the more I open up to the teaching and the practice, the more I let go, the more wide awake and truly in control I feel. The basic safety net within the practice and within the Ren Xue community is the core principle of looking internally for wisdom, harmony and wellbeing. So ironically, the more I learn to open up to Yuan Tze and his teaching, the more I learn to open to myself.

– Ellen Dekker