THE ART OF SHARING
After class we sit in a circle and have tea. It is poured from a modern tea urn that looks like something from a space ship or maybe R2D2 without legs. We pass the small white porcelain cups without handles around the circle amongst ourselves. We are instructed to smell the aroma and then drink the tea focusing on our DahnJon while the liquid warms the inside of our bodies. It is very hot so I have to hold the cup by the top rim and I need to sip it slowly. I feel the warmth of the tea traveling down my throat, through my chest to my DahnJon throughout my entire body, warming every cell. This is tea like no tea I’ve ever drunk. It has a special fragrance—nutty, fruity. One member thinks it smells like bubblegum. Another mentions dates. When we ask Instructor Sarah it’s name and where we can buy it, she coyly answers that it is a “special” blend, made with the energy of the center. I actually like not knowing what it’s called or where I can purchase it because I know if I brewed it at home it just wouldn’t be the same.
When we finish, Instructor Sarah places her cup on the floor in front of her and we do the same. She looks around and says, “How are you everybody? Do you feel good? to which there is a general reply of consent. She then says “Let’s have a sharing time.” And one by one we go around in the circle sharing our thoughts, emotions, feelings—our experience of the class. Most members begin their sharing with a general “I feel good.” Instructor Sarah presses for a more specific answer. “How does your body feel?” “Do you feel some sensation?” “Is your DahnJon warm?” and our answers usually lead to teachings on the concepts of Su-Seung-hwa-gang (which means “Water Up, Fire Down”, a core principle of circulation with fire energy from the heart traveling down to warm the DahnJon while water energy from the kidneys travels up to cool the head), or “My body is not me, but mine” (core principle of the reconnection between mind and body). Some members share that they did not have a huge awakening, maybe felt a little tingling in their palms during Jigam (energy meditation) exercise. Instructor Sarah nods knowingly and says, “Anything is okay. Small things, big things. Even nothing. The important thing is to be aware of how your body feels. A little awareness can develop into a bigger awareness. It is part of the training.”
The object of this practice is to bring our mind to our body. It is thought that sharing our experience with others confirms it. Many times we may feel something but it comes and goes so quickly we are likely to forget that we felt it. By putting the experience into words and then saying them out loud so that others can hear them we confirm the experience. The verbal sharing connects us to ourselves and others.
Sharing should be from the heart. Naturally there are times when the practice may open the heart, cause pain in the body and the energy release comes in the form of tears. We are shedding the layers of ego-skin, getting closer and closer to our true self but the process is not always joyful. Sometimes I hit upon an emotion and it takes over. When this occurs, it is my habit to show my “sharing” by making a display of the emotion. This is a throwback to all the times, I suppose, when I felt I wasn’t being “heard.” When I share (“show”) the emotion I am always surprised and a little dismayed by the lack of response from other members and the instructor. Rarely do I receive the feedback I wanted (attention, sympathy, etc.) This is a sign to me that my ego is at work and the other members are probably picking up on its subtle manipulations. After all, we know that the purest way of receiving someone’s sharing is to listen without comment or judgment. I am learning that these exhibits of emotion, while I may think they are beneficial releases, are just another type of coverup for what’s really going on. If I really watch myself and bring non-judgmental awareness to the emotion I discover that the so-called emotional release is a drama created to get attention rather than a true feeling. It is okay to feel sad, it is okay to feel angry. It is okay to feel anything. The sharing is related to the non-judgmental awareness…something that can be passed on. It is a simple process of observation, reflection, acceptance and ultimately purification from release.