The right place at the right time

Phew, something’s going on, that’s for sure – I had vivid dreams last night that woke me up every hour or so, drenched in perspiration even though I had the aircon on low at 23C….What were those dreams? Of course I don’t remember them, but I DO remember that they seemed to me about my past lives… Not in the reincarnation sense, but the people I’ve been in this life – the country boy on a scholarship to a school where everyone else seemed more talented and cosmpolitan… the techie… the politician…. the consultant…

And now here I am lecturing in Beijing. Time to count my blessings, I guess, and to take stock of the path that’s led me here. I’ve been stressing out about this for a while, particularly since the trip to Pingyao. Two of my companions on that trip were fellow-students on my MBA; one now works for one of the biggest-name investment banks, the other for a major global advertising firm. I, on the other hand, went to work for a startup that was going to make me rich… if it hadn’t tanked instead. Unexpected market changes, no blame anywhere; it couldn’t be helped. So I’ve been lecturing… It’s certainly no way to recoup what I spent on the MBA, although it does offer opportunities. Looking at it conventionally, there’s no doubt that my star has fallen far, and sometimes that worries me.

And yet…. here I am in Beijing. I enjoy my job. It gives me daily opportunity to cultivate a compassionate outlook, to develop humility, and to seek to improve myself. It’s interesting. I’ve got the chance to train bagua with one of the big names in the field, Sun Zhijun, and to be honest I think I’ll be one of the last to have that opportunity. I’m developing what seems to be a more traditional relationship with my other bagua teacher, who’s also going to teach me Shanxi short staff and other styles… I’ve got a good Ch’an meditation teacher who speaks English, can put Ch’an into the context of traditional Chinese medicine and Daoist thought, and is well-connected with the monastic community here in China…I’ll soon have the opportunity to start training in Yiquan’s highly regarded methods… I may not be earning much money even in Beijing terms… but it’s enough to live simply and comfortably, while paying for my training…. I’m meeting interesting people…

I have feeling that if I can stay here for a couple of years, that’s all I need to make the breakthrough, to make significant progress on the questions of “Why am I here?”, “What is my true purpose in life?” and on starting to clear my karma… cultivating water-nature and wu-wei… After that – which coincidentally will be around the time I turn 40 – it will be time to start a new chapter, and right now only one option is looking like it will make sense… but a lot could happen before then.

So yeah, it’s a long way from when I was a cutting-edge geek and rising political player with a comfortable amount of cash in the bank – but I’m happier and more content than I’ve ever been. Lao Zi would approve, no doubt!


  1. I think you are on the right track 😉 What is truly of value? At the least, you will be one of the rare few who have done what you are doing… (One warning, though: many teachers don’t like it if you learn with other teachers, so it would be best to not tell them about it…)


  2. Heh, thanks for the support. I do find this a scary kind of situation to be in sometimes… but then I consider the alternatives, and I’m reassured.

    As for the teachers, well, it’s difficult to keep secrets when you’re blogging everything! I don’t make a point of telling teachers who else I’m studying with, but then neither will I actively hide it. With Master Sun Ru Xian, he knows that others of his students have other teachers, and he’s OK with it. He’s the most traditional of them all in terms of teacher-student relationships, as well. It’s also difficult, I think, for a teacher to insist on exclusivity when they’re charging by the hour on a commercial basis… But, no need to injure anyone’s feelings gratuitously, so yes, I stay quiet, respect my teachers, and don’t mix and match in class…


  3. Ha ha, well, I guess your blogging about your experiences does make hiding a problem! At the least, as both your teachers have the same surname, you won’t accidentally call one the wrong name… 😉


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