They say that OM is the sound the universe makes when spaceships, rocketships, and other aerial vessels reach the atmosphere. Maybe it's just the sound an engine makes when nothing else is around. But when you say it correctly--a nice, slow, rich OM--you feel the air make an egg shape in your mouth and a slight buzz in your brain.
Our QiGong instructor (forever more referred to as Teacher) drove us (Jane, the Dan(i)s and me) to the Yu Mountain this weekend to cultivate our qi. The trip started at 5:30 am and should have taken 4 hours, but for the stops at aboriginal village tourism information centers where we could see displays like this:
It took 6 hours instead.
Teacher took us to Ya Kou (some part of the mountain peak) to practice QiGong as the sun rose (all of my orientalist fantasies came true at 5am on Saturday morning!) The lesson goes a little something like this: assume an uncomfortable position chosen by teacher like standing with both feet flat on the floor, raising your arms, and leaning back into pure air. Slowly inhale, hold briefly, slowly exhale while saying "OM mani peme HOM one/two/etc." to yourself before suppressing the urge to gasp as you take in the next sip of air. For each position, you should take either 3, 6,12, 18, 24, or 36 breaths, depending on your ability. Forget the pain, focus on the breath. This is how you cultivate your qi.
Me: "Teacher, why do we take 36 breaths?"
"If you do less than 36, it will not be deep enough."
"Why not 37 or 38?"
"Your Qi is like boiling an egg. You can't cook it too long or it won't taste good. 36--no more, no less"
And after all was said and done, we broke out a bottle of millet wine and shivered it down. Like everything else here, it tasted strangely asian.
I love you Jane. I love the way you giggle and say "it is very deeleecious" when you feed us new foods.
I love that you are small enough to stand on top of the car without making me worry that the roof will cave in (though I still vacated the backseat). I love that you won't let us take pictures of you, especially while stealing guavas from a national park (pictured below).
I love the way dogs delight you, especially this one--the world's most obedient dog--whom you trained years ago. I also love that your bathrobe is silk and printed with teddy bears.
The air on top of the moutain was clean and cold. It made me miss the following things:
a. leaves changing colors
b. my friends
c. furiously searching for a used book in passable condition
d. picking apples
e. long sleeves