Several weeks ago I spent 2 grueling 12 hour days in the Hotel@MIT. The purpose of my time there was to find my True Self. It's called "Shim Sung" in Korean. This workshop was part of my study of Dahnhak. Dahnhak means "energy study" and is a combination of tai chi, yoga and qi gong.

There are 2 rules that epitomize the experience, and your adherence to them governs you success in the quest. You must be completely honest. You must give 100%. These are not simple things to do. Every one of us has protected our fragile emerging selves by bending these rules as we grow up, so much so that they are totally habitual. It is scary to bend these structures away from oneself, to expose the tender beings we are to the daylight of a public experience. But when there are 37 others struggling with the same thing, and those who have done it all before carefully tending the boundaries of the space, it is possible.

At first you are not even aware of what is happening, you participate in the exercises, you give your 100%, but you cannot see what the end will be like. But slowly you feel your false self peeling away from the truth of you. Like the skin of an orange, you become aware of the difference between your emotions, your body, your habits -- and your true self. You can feel your own greatness shining out. You realize, feel in your core, that you truly swim in Love, that it is infinite and the only thing keeping you from it is your false self, is your willingness to let go of what you thought constituted your identity. Your true self has always been there, but you didn't really know what it was, and mostly you ignored it. When you are aware of it at last you are never alone. When you are saturated with love, you can give it freely to everyone you meet, you can share it without fear. You realize that life is not a zero-sum game, that love is not finite and cannot be hoarded.

The world looks different afterwards. It is subtle. It is also supremely hard to hold onto the love and the bliss. But returning to that state is much easier the second time, it is not physically and mentally exhausting. All it requires is attention, simply be aware, aware of where you are, and aware of where the love is. You will return, slowly, there will be little flashes, stretches of time where you regain the beauty. And these will fade and come again.

I have not mentioned the specifics of the exercises because talking about them out of context would make them sound arbirtary and somewhat silly. However, when you are in that room, with all those people, and you are all giving 100%, then they make a lot of sense. We were not told what we going to be doing until be began the work, so we could not form opinions about what we should do and how we should react.

I have always disliked writing like this, because it provides no concrete directions for reaching this state. It is merely a description of what it is like there, and it sounds kind of wishy-washy. Yet, after being there, I find myself blathering on like I'm Deepak Chopra. I am sorry I can not offer any directions to you. It is not as simple as 1-2-3. For most people it is necessary to be surrounded by others making the same journey, who don't tolerate the bullshit you spew to protect yourself and who love you perfectly. Then they can challenge you to your core and if you give back just as much, then you just might make it.

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