And Other Creatures Of Spring
Leap for your dreams and believe in what you truly are.
Last Wednesday while teaching, at the end of our pre-class meditation, I found myself reflecting: what is the path for our group today? The images and feelings swirl around me in the field, a guide speaks to me, and the practice unfolds. The class sits in a circle. We all take a deep breath in together and wait for the ethereal dust to settle. Suddenly, I feel some pain in my knee, a twinge of tension flickers through my leg and and my thumb naturally reaches over to press down into the tendon.
A smile spreads across my face and I say to the group: “We are here, at the Vernal Equinox, the Apex of spring.”
It is the time of tendons, strength and transformation. Your physical body wants to feel the excitement of trail running, climbing or dancing. Your creative juices are flowing and your ready to take on the next big project.
Awakening the Dragon
In the Daoist tradition, the dragon is the symbol of spring’s explosive energy. The dragon is the mystical being of change and is connected to the wood element which is connected to sinews, strength and anger.
In many cultures the Vernal Equinox is the beginning of spring, but in Daoist schools, spring begins much earlier (in February) and the peak energy hits at the point the earth is half-way on its journey back toward the sun (when the days and nights are of equal length).
For more on the seasons, read the blogpost: “Understanding Daoism” (The Chinese Lunisolar Calendar).
In the physical realm, we are most full of life in the spring. Winter’s wisdom and our stored power, combine with spring’s energy to rocket us toward our inevitable climax: the promise of summer’s fulfillment, as all of our plans and efforts reach embodiment.
Spring is the tendons in your body all working in perfect harmony to launch you into the highest jump you have ever imagined. It is the necessary time of year where we must leap for our dreams and believe in what we truly are.
A Mystical Transformation
The dragon spirit is the symbol of spring. It represents the flexibility of new plant life shooting up through the soil seeking the warming light of the sun. Plants take the water of the earth and draw it up to the sky—a physical conduit that links the water and fire elements, and builds a bridge of life between heaven and earth.
The dragon is the symbol of mystical transformation and provides a gateway to the ethereal realm. When we embody the dragon, we allow consciousness to link with the ethereal spirit: the Hun. The Hun is the part of our consciousness that connects us to the astral plane. The Hun helps us to move outside the normal boundaries of time and space. When we allow our minds to let go of convention, we find ourselves having premonitions, or connecting with someone intuitively who is far away. Another way of thinking of the Hun spirit is: opening up to the possibility of immediate communication anywhere, anytime. This is what we often refer to as "The feild" or energetic realm.
Spring Is Fueled By The Energy Of Anger
Anger is something that most Americans tend to have trouble with. We can get caught up in an imagined ideal way of behaving where we are never rattled, and somehow never lose control. In the Daoist view, anger is a critical emotion that allows us to reach our highest self. Our emotions are energetic frequencies, and one of the ways our spirit responds to our environment.
You’re going to need to get a little angry to find inner peace!
One of the great human paradoxes is this:
Anger As The Path To Peace
The path to speech is often through silence. The way to move forward is to sometimes to move backward and the way to peace can also be through anger. This emotion/frequency we call anger I also called passion, and is sometimes the only antidote to apathy.
Think of the mother whose child is trapped and in the back seat of a car after an accident. She can’t get the door open and there is a fire starting. She is filled with fear, but the fear is overcome by an unwillingness to accept the situation. This feeling builds to rage and she reaches with superhuman strength and rips open the car door, saving the child.
If we are backed into a corner and paralyzed by fear, there is a moment where we can catch the force of anger and ride it like a wave into radical change.
Imagine the underdog almost defeated, who suddenly finds some new inner strength and defeats the much stronger opponent against all odds. This is the power of spring—of new life energy.
Lightning Strikes In Your Nervous System
As one of the key emotions connected to the autonomic nervous system, anger represents an explosion of energy. Like the shockwave of thunder after an intense lightning strike, it echoes from deep within and resonates out with omnipotence. Stress hormones—adrenaline and cortisol—flush through your body, making you stronger, and faster.
The force of this emotion, when released with skill, can clear away a thousand lifetimes of stagnation.
Uniting The Energy Of The Spirit
With The World
In the martial world, a common mantra that is used at the beginning of a battle is “Ki-Ai” (pronounced “kee eye”). The terms literally mean: Ki- energy/breath/spirit and Ai- join/union/connect. In many martial arts the sound of the ki-ai is a loud shout as one commits to an attack. It can also be as subtle as the direct connection of the spirit between two people as they make eye contact. Either way, the true intent of the person is felt in their Ki-Ai.
The way I understand the Ki-Ai is as the powerful joining of your spirit with the world to achieve a goal of profound growth and understanding. This kind of action takes a tremendous amount of focus and practice to perfect, but it’s the natural result of being in harmony and alignment with oneself.
The Vernal Equinox is loudest Ki-Ai of the year. It’s the time when the earth takes all of the practice, power, and intent that has been stored up through winter, and from deep down in the marrow shouts a call to life. This force is part of our being. It’s part of our very nature and the part of ourselves that screams from the mountain tops:
“I am alive and I will drink in every moment of this existence!”
Become Like The Bow
The secret to using this energy to its greatest potential is to be in a state of awareness. Self-mastery, in this case, is about remembering where you are and where you have been. You must feel into the state of your body and mind, being careful to nourish qi, quiet the mind, and observe.
Awaken your body, mind, and spirit from its winter slumber. Build it back up to a state of readiness for change. Then, when the time is right, surge forward with passion and understanding into a world that is just waiting for you show up and deliver.
The energy of the Dragon, and of spring, is like the energy stored inside of a well-made long bow. The bow must be flexible and strong, so that when the archer fires, she will bring home her prey.
As you move into this strong transformational practice (physical, mental, or spiritual), take the time to fully activate your intent. Use the breath to move the spirit and join the body and mind with the world in your own personal Ki-Ai!
with love and qi ,