My Journey ~ Ted J. Cibik, PhD,
To understand my practice and to understand why I call
Formless Daoism my practice, I must reveal a little of
my personal history and cultivation.
I was raised in a very Roman Catholic household, went to
Catechism until the 7th grade with Sunday church service a
part of my reality. Then a very interesting thing happened…I
Yes, I mean that in a literal sense. I died in the hospital
not once but twice; once when I was 5, the other when I was
12……both times flatlined in a hospital and given my last
rites (Catholic). After that, my reality was never the same.
I wrote more extensively about my experiences in my first
book Air Passages, and it was one of the most powerful
experiences of my life.
After my first death, I realized that my corporal body
needed a lot of help in order to survive, so I began martial
arts and meditating at the age of 5. My meditations were of
a Ch’an linage from my martial arts teacher, but in
hindsight I feel that there were “digitally enhanced” via my
passing to the other side.
I started meditating in my bedroom as a child, but something
called me to the great outdoors. Living on a farm, I had a
favorite spot: on the top of a moss-covered knoll surrounded
by 300-year-old oak trees, overlooking a small stream that
made the most relaxing music ever heard. This is where I
spent everyday after school for the next 12 years….merging
with the Wuji.
||It was not long
that I also realized I had an affinity with wild
animals, as they would gather around me as I
meditated. I had no fear of the dark nor of the
forest and often would walk the woods at night with
my father or alone. It was here that I discovered
how to be fully mobile, conscious and at peace
simultaneously before I was even a teenager.
After my “second death,” at age twelve, I really
came to experience and perhaps even understand the
arcanum of the spiritual world and the other
dimensions. I call it the time of my eyes opening. I
continued to practice in my forest temple with no
walls until I went to college. I still consider this
time between five and seventeen, my main training or
teachings, for there is a wisdom that cannot be
explained by man in the power of nature. Having
communed with that power daily for most of my
formative years, I did not need the words of man to
explain to me what it is to be spiritual or how to
harness the power of Qi.
Some may call this Shamanic training, but I would
disagree to the extent that what most people think
of as Shamanic training is being mentored by a
senior shaman through the journeys between the
worlds. I had no mentor on these planes of
existence. In fact, very few people that I have met
truly can communicate at this level and yet be
grounded in man’s reality. It was 20 years later
when I saw the pictures from the Hubble telescope
that I realized what I had seen in my minds eye.
In college and beyond, the
world of man seemed to me to be at odds. The nature of what
I understood from my passing and meditations did not seem to
transcend into the material world of man at all. Very
confusing for a teenager and a young man, so I began to look
at various systems of healing for answers, not only to heal
my weakened body, but to hopefully make a communicative
connection to the spiritual world as well. Yes, my body was
still weak after all the training. With modern marketing, I
have often mused over the whole super hero concept of “I was
afflicted and I did X (fill in the blank) program and now I
am healed.” For some of us, it is not that easy.
At age 18, I was in a sever car accident and some months
later ended up with bone cancer. For 3 months, I laid in a
hospital bed with countless experimental surgeries and
procedures that tested every ounce of my meditative
abilities to control pain. Bruce Lee, my hero at that time,
said the words that I held tightly onto: “Do not pray for an
easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
…and so I developed Inner Strength.
like to tell my students, “Karma Hurts” sometimes. I
still consider all these events my training –
training on how to relate to people with real
problems of mind and body and how to communicate to
the very soul of sentient beings. There is a true
difference of learning between that of books and
even mentorship and self-discovery in the uncharted
wilderness of learned mind and consciousness.
Since Chinese alchemy may be the oldest in the
world, I began my study with it and inevitably, what
is now known as classical Chinese medicine. The
philosophy made sense to my inner world and yet it
had Jing level applications that later, unbeknownst
to me, would end up being my career.
The teachings of Formless Daoism now contain
my experiences of my formative training years
combined with my training with my intense study with
Jeffrey Yuen for the last decade. The difficult part
is putting words to the wisdom that I have gained
through my experiences and knowledge acquired.
From a written word perspective, Formless Daoism,
sees the wisdom in the ontological cross between
Theosis and the Huang Ting Ching, Korzybski’s
Science and Sanity and the Tao Te Ching, The Tibetan
Book of the Dead and the book of Enoch etc.
The teachings transcend
monotheism and polytheism, transcendentalists and
immanentists. It supercedes sect and dogma, as Emanuel Kant
wrote in his 1784 paper, What is Enlightenment, …….“ Thus it
is difficult for each separate individual to work his way
out of the immaturity which has become almost second nature
to him………Dogmas and formulas, those mechanical instruments
for rational use (or rather misuse) of his natural
endowments, are the ball and chain of his permanent
Formless Daoism is not about rituals (although there
is nothing wrong with them at all) but more about teaching
people how to celebrate their conscious union with the Dao
moment by moment and paying homage in your conscious
actions. It gives one tools to deal with illness, mental
peculiarities and toughen people to embrace life and be
happy with what you already have. Today, I assist people on
their path in the same location that I developed my own
skill set. My specific counseling methods is called
allowing my students to discover their own inner divinity.
This leads to what the Taoist would call the 'Immortals', or
Formless Daoism is meant to be experienced and felt,
never to be locked into stasis, but free to grow and evolve
into an intrapersonal evolution assisting the embodiment of
ones’ own spirit, towards a fulfillment of ones destiny.
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