Christos 'Dorje' Walker
Growing up as a surfer on the sunburnt beaches of the Gold Coast in Australia was a long way from where I would end up spending much of my adult life (in India and the Himalayas) studying various forms of meditation and spirituality.
Did you ever grow up wondering or feeling that there could be or should be more than what you see going on in the world around you? For me the endless cycle of materialism and just the general propagation of our species alone felt a bit empty, it felt like there was something missing... Something more to discover and experience. At first this was just a childhood fantasy that slowly grew in my mind as I got older. Fortunately, fuelled by chronic health issues and personal crisis, I was lead to question more and more, what else could one do with this human life? What is our true purpose and potential?So I finished my apprenticeship as an electrician on the Gold Coast and started to travel with one intention, to find a teacher. Someone who could straighten me out a bit and show me a better path in life. And so I went to India of course as that seemed to be the best idea. This stayed with me all my life, going back again and again to Nepal, Bhutan, North and Southern India. For me these parts of the world are rich, filled with spiritual knowledge, indigenous doctors and healers. I have done my best to learn from those that cross my wandering path. Personally I have done my best to learn from some of these great beings whom I encounter on my wandering path. It has become part of my purpose to try to share some of what I learn from these teachers with others in the hope it will bring some comfort and peace as it has done for me, this is my path of service.
One thing I would like to say at this point. Yes the trip I have just been on (and that I have been asked to write about) may seem to be magical and all that, and yes it is a special experience we all can have from time to time. But there are so many amazing teachers, healers and doctors coming from authentic indigenous traditions, right here in your back yard! Take for example, one of the most profound relationships I have had with a teacher / doctor is my Qi Gong Master Wolf Miao. Wolf has a small Chinese Medicine clinic in Palm Beach, Gold Coast and seems like just your usual unassuming Chinese doctor. But behind the facade, Wolf is the sole holder of a 400 year unbroken family Qi Gong lineage and is a highly realised Qi Gong Master. I have trained with Wolf now for almost 20 years. And I still can't believe my luck, meeting him on the Gold Coast of all places when he was working in a Chinese restaurant. To further this point, a couple of years ago I was in a taxi coming back from Sydney Airport and I kept catching a look from the taxi driver glancing at me in the rear view mirror. I knew this look, he is checking me out! Chinese dude, not much english,solid energy field. This guy knows Qi Gong proper. He starts to probe me with some questions and then I say to him "you know Qi Gong". He says "Hmmm yes, you know Qi Gong as well" with an air of authority. The way he said it and through the look in his eyes I knew this guy was a serious Qi Gong Master, and hidden as most of the best ones are. He was happy to be quietly acknowledged, then he drove off and I never saw him again. But I'm sure he's still out there, driving a white "taxis combined" cab on the evening shift. A true master in disguise. I have a saying, I don't know where I picked it up but it goes something like " Never underestimate the power of being underestimated." This I know is the way of the true master.
If you open your eyes and stay true to your heart teachers are all around you in many different forms, teaching all the time. So I guess my point is that they are everywhere, Teachers, Healers and the Mystics. You don't have to sit on a rock for 10 years and eat rice to get enlightenment it is right here around you in modern day suburbia if your willing to open your eyes... I just don't want to give the wrong impression recounting my travel stories, For some of us we are able to drop things and go, for others life is more stable and consistent. Both are a suitable path for practice and realisation… anyway I digress a little.
I just got back from a 3 month sojourn in Asia. One of the highlights of the trip was a one month retreat in Bhutan. A place called Gangteng, in the Wangdue Phodrang district. I have been traveling there for the past 5 or 6 years and in this time developed a relationship with a Bhutanese Buddhist Master, called Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche. Rinpoche is an incredible source of Buddhist wisdom and holds a very special lineage of Meditation from that part of the world. So I have travelled to study with him for the past 5 years and as a part of this study I am required to complete retreats in combination with the teachings he gives. One of my friends also lives full time in Gangteng as a translator for the monastery, and with one other westerner friend, the three of us have been fortunate to be led on an ancient winding path of meditation and insight that has been around for a very very long time. To retreats a held in cabins located in the hills behind the monastery, it is where Yogis have sat for hundreds of years in retreats. The cabins are handed on as one yogi dies or comes out of retreat and a space become available for another, it is truly inspiring place for me and fortunately there is one cabin I have been able to renovate and use for each retreat. I must say living in a cabin up in the mountains in the, in the middle of a Bhutanese winter, you need some inspiration as it gets pretty cold up there. From the photos you might get an idea of what it is like, basically it is a small wooden cabin that has mud and bamboo panels in a wood frame. Not that warm, one stone wall with a fire and a mat on the floor for sitting and a blanket. Thermos for hot water and some green tea. Someone brings food to you so you don't have to worry about cooking and you just practice. It is a tradition in Tibetan Buddhism that goes back to the 8th Century and even before then in various parts of the Indian subcontinent.
For me sitting in a cabin in the middle of no where is not my full time aspiration but it does give me a few good lessons in life.
- No running water or electricity - be grateful for the small things in life.
- No insulation, so it is cold. And no furniture, so you learn about accepting discomfort.
- A bath each week or two in a tin tub with boiled water from an outside fire = Bliss. Enjoy the small things in life.
- It is good to eat simple food and not talk for a while. The mind settles down and some clarity can come, in exchange for those thousands of thoughts every day.
After the month I felt more open and settled. I had just finished 10 years of clinical practice combining Meditation, Qi Gong and Somatic Psychotherapy here in Sydney. I needed a break and this retreat came at the right time. I took 3 months off in the end, and one month in Bhutan was a great start.
From there I went on a charity run with a mate of mine who is an Actor. We went to Nepal for Fred Hollows Foundation and also to Southern Thailand to see Peter Baines and the tsunami orphanage he set up there called "Hands across the water Foundation". It was a contrast to be in contact with a lot of people again and it was uplifting to see the positive things people are doing in countries like Nepal. Tilganga Hospital and the Fred Hollows Foundation do amazing work, 80% of blindness in Nepal is curable with often just a 5 minute procedure. It can cost anywhere from 100 dollar to nothing depending on what the patient can afford and within 24 hours they can see again. This was incredible to witness.
After this a quick trip to Mumbai and meet some of the Bollywood heavy weights like Amitabh Bachchan! The guy in 'Slum Dog Millionaire', who the kid climbs through the toilet and all that crap to get his autograph. Amitabh! That was cool! Amitabh is kind and well spoken and is said to be the most famous man in India. I believe it, by the crowds that gather outside his house on sunday nights when he pays his respect to his fans and comes out for a wave.
After that I went to see my Guru in the south of India. This was just pure bliss. Narayani Amma lives in a small village outside of the Vellore District of Tamil Nadu. I love the fact my Guru is younger than me albeit by 4 years but still he is the most inspirational person I know on the planet. Amma sits in Puja's all day doing sacred rituals from the Hindu tradition and has a profound connection to the Divine Mother Energy, in a Hindu sense Amma is a fully realised being but still manages to run a massive charity with Hospital, School, feeding people daily and a massive Temple that attracts 20 million people a year who come to pay their respects, some days more than 150,000 people come through that Temple. You can check it out on www.sripuram.org if you interested. One of the main things I enjoy about Amma and Narayani Peedam is their connection to the Traditional Ayurveda approach to life. From herbal medicine, hand mudra's in meditation, cultural events and festivals to Seva - serving your fellow humans. Amma for me is a great inspiration that says your human life is not just a gift for you alone, your life is so much greater when you also choose to give to others.
I stayed with Amma for 3 weeks and managed to sit in Puja's for 3 or 4 hours a day so at the end of my trip to just sit and charge up after a fairly intense charity excursion though Asia was a wonderful regeneration and rest. Now I am back home. The phone started ringing which is a good sign and so I will start my clinical work again. I just work from home here in Bondi and try to get a surf in most days I can. It is a great thing for me to be able to some how integrate what I learn in my travels with working in clinic here back home. Australia is my home and I love it here, as I said in the beginning, I believe everything you need is here. You don't need to go to Asia to learn about wellbeing or gather wisdom it is all here if you are open to it. I hope the stories are helpful in some way and inspire others to practice meditation, go on a journey or just take some time out each day to look after themselves. My website www.dorje.com.au is under construction but will be up again soon with free guided meditation audio tracks and Qi Gong videos. I just want the site to be a resource tool for people who want to practice these ancient tools that are as relevant today as they have been throughout the ages.Namaste and Enjoy.
Warm Regards, Christos Dorje Walker.
Qi Gong practise by Christos 'Dorje' Walker
Dorje learnt Qi Gong from Master Wolf Maio in the early 90's. It has been kept in Master Wolf's family in an unbroken linage for 400 years. Dorje says "Of all the practices I have learnt in the past 20 years this remains one of the most simple and yet powerful practices of them all. It has become the back bone of my practice and what I share with others." If you would like a DVD go to Dorje's website...http://dorje.com.au
39:06 min, 88.3 Mb