We eat and sleep to sustain our health; exercise to look and feel better; read or study to stimulate the mind. The content of our lives acts much like a piece of music. If it’s all activity, it’s just noise. When we integrate “rests” into the music, it becomes a dynamic, beautiful expression. Chan (meditation) allows us to find the sync between activity and inactivity, form and formless, and to allow our life experiences to be beautiful and fulfilling.
Often, people explore meditation in search of peace of mind, to reduce stress, or to improve a health issue. For others, Chan represents an opportunity to deepen and clarify our spirituality, upon whatever path our heart takes us.
The History of Heartchan
Heartchan represents an unbroken line of teachings and teachers, traced back over 1500 years to the enlightenment achieved at a Shaolin temple in China.
There, an Indian monk learned to integrate and harmonize varied spiritual practices, rather than highlighting the differences and potential conflict between them, which led to clarity, truth, fulfillment, and inner peace. At Heartchan (based out of the Sacred Light Mountain Retreat Center in northern Georgia), we share these ancient teachings and practices, as brought to life by our current generation’s Shifu, to allow practitioners to discover and experience for themselves how to deepen and enhance their life experience.
We created Heartchan to be a friendly and unpretentious place to discover and experience this practice and how it might fit into your life. We offer a regular schedule of practice and workshops, weekend retreats, and more extensive silent or personal retreats for those interested in deepening their practice. We also offer teacher training and support for experienced practitioners inclined to start their own local meditation group.
"All religions teach morality, kindness, and charity... ways to transcend mundanity with wisdom and live a life of fulfillment and purpose. This has nothing to do with personal fortune or social status... happiness only flows from within, from wisdom of inner peace and contentment." Wu Jue Miao Tian, 85th generation Shifu of Chan.
Body Practice, Our “Vessel” to Enlightenment
Many of us regard ourselves as spiritual beings spending a finite period integrated with a physical body. However, there is deep wisdom within our physical body, if we can learn to quiet distractions, feel deeply, and listen to the lessons it seeks to share.
At Heartchan Sacred Light Mountain Center in Ellijay, GA, we share an ancient body practice as a complement to Chan seated meditation. After all, most of our life is spent in motion, not in seated practice—our body is the vehicle of that motion.
Heartchan teachers are also proficient in sharing Ba Duan Jin Qigong movements for self-maintenance of health and wellness. These eight gentle movements invigorate the organ systems and support the alignment and function of the muscular and skeletal systems to reinforce, sustain, and integrate the clarity of seated meditation practice, unlocking the body's wisdom so we might realize the benefits in our daily lives.
"Posture and movement in daily life can easily affect the posture and quality of seated meditation." Wu Jue Miao Tian
Focusing the mind solely on the movements of your physical form helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity in motion. Besides the general health benefits and stress reduction attributed to body practice, many find that it brings their seated Chan practice "to life" in a practical, tangible sense.
An unhealthy or otherwise uncomfortable person may find it difficult to meditate to a state of calmness. Body practice may help people concentrate on relieving the physical effects of stress on the body and mind. Many people also find walking meditation on the forest paths beneficial for maintaining optimal health and developing a sense of the interconnectedness of all things.
Body practice can allow us to feel and correct subtle hindrances in our posture and movement. This discovery process can guide us in making significant improvements in our daily life as well as our meditation practice, guiding our bodies to become vessels to navigate our course toward a more enlightened self.