Detail of painting by Lilian Storino
“Once, there was a man who was really fond of dragons. His house was decorated with paintings of dragons, there were statues in the yard and even some of his furniture had a dragon design. The man would read books and watch movies about dragons and tell stories to the children. And so, one day a dragon who lived in the clouds heard of this man. “Oh,” he thought, “a man who is not afraid of dragons but who loves and admires us.” The dragon got excited and decided to go pay this man a visit. And so he descended from the clouds, found where the man lived and knocked on his door. But when the dragon-loving man answered, he was frightened to death. He slammed the door closed and ran back inside, hid and waited until the dragon was gone.”
My tai chi teacher told us this story many times. She would say, it’s the same with Tai Chi. People say they love tai chi, they practice something that looks like tai chi, but it’s fake. Real tai chi is not like it’s practiced these days, as if it were a moving meditation, a form of relaxation therapy. Tai Chi, she said, is hard work and demands a lot of concentration. Needless to say that her classes were tough and at the end of class, we were often drenched in sweat. Most dragon lovers are afraid of real dragons and so too, a lot of tai chi people don’t like ‘real’ tai chi.
I always refer to this story as the Story of the Tai Chi Dragon and I am convinced that this Tai Chi Dragon has a Spiritual Brother.
“The Tai Chi Dragon has a Spiritual Brother”
When I put up a post on Facebook with a deeper spiritual meaning, I have noticed that I don’t get as many likes. The opposite happens with posts to one of the spiritual groups I am a member of, such as “I am open to all forms of abundance in the universe. Just accept this blessing, type YES and share,” or “My friend is very sick and needs healing. Please send light energy and type AMEN.” These posts get a lot of likes, it’s incredible. They also state false truths but nobody seems to notice. It is quite obvious that most of these ‘like button’ people are only spiritual so long as it pleases their egos while dwelling in hollow spirituality. But when it comes down to real spirituality, many will turn their heads and look away.
Fashion style spirituality is as fake as can be and leads nowhere. Interestingly enough, it is found most where one would expect it the least: in alternative spiritual circles and movements, new age groups and in the yoga world. There are exceptions of course, but some of these environments are lead by superficial and spiritually corrupted individuals who create even more confusion among the many spiritual seekers they attract.
The Spiritual Brother of the Tai Chi Dragon or ‘real spirituality’ is different. Rather than flirting with words like love and compassion to portray yourself as a nice person, put them into practice. Remember that hands that help are holier than lips that pray. And yes, it is easy to love your friends yet when asked to also and especially love your enemies, oops! That may pull you out of your comfort zone, but this is where you grow as a person. Don’t turn your head when the loving truth stares you in the face. The truth can make you feel uncomfortable for many reasons, but with a willingness to change, an openness to new ways of thinking and total self acceptance, you will see the perfection of it all and the truth will set you free.
Being truly spiritual takes courage and the path is not always easy, but well worth it – so be a real dragon lover! And maybe one day, a post like “Love All, Serve All – Help Ever, Hurt Never” may get thousands of ‘likes’ on Facebook instead of just a handful, and perhaps posts with pretty pictures of people saying it’s their birthday and sending love blessings could draw a bit less attention – at least when posted on a ‘spiritual’ page.