Chasing The Dragon

Standing at the entrance to my destiny, I look at the rough hewn stone pillars, that I want to touch, to make it real. My fingers brush over them, a sense of how the journey might unfold. The way is blocked by two hinged iron gates. The middle of each depicts a dragon’s head, yellow against the black of the gate.

I feel a sense of having arrived, yet I’m still standing outside. I’m transfixed by the piercing eyes of the great beast. The golden hue is compelling, powerful, like the energy of the sun, and exudes a distinct Yang principle. It, indeed, embodies the sun’s life-giving, generative powers. The sun rises and sets from and to the darkness of the unknown, bringing in the yin quality of intuition. As well, it signifies illumination and dissemination. Yellow represents warmth and motion and is generally considered an auspicious color. I know yellow shares some of its symbolic nature with gold. It is used to protect against evil, denoting courage. It also represents the element Earth, the time of transition between seasons, and the center direction.

Pleased with my ability to call upon the knowledge of some years of study, I reach out and place my palm upon the smooth inset face, feel it’s cool against my warm skin. I have the sudden urge to place my other hand upon it’s mate on the other side, and say, “Open Says Me.” That childish part pulls back inside. This is real. It’s not child’s play. Not any more. This is not Kwai Chang Kane standing at the gates of his Shaolin Temple. It’s not some story told on television.

Pushing, the gate swings slowly open and I step inside, turning to close it, then in a continued about face, I gaze down the tree lined pathway that leads into the grounds where I hope to spend many years. I stand like The Seeker, one simple bundle, with all I own in the world, held within.

There is such serenity here. The scent of, perhaps, cherry or orange blossoms is carried on a breeze that washes over me. That feels auspicious, being cleansed by the element of the East, the place of beginnings. I breathe in deeply and begin walking further into the beautifully landscaped campus. A line plays through my mind, from a noble man I shared words with: “New awareness is finally breaking the old making room for what is not, yet.”  It is so palpable, this sense of waiting to enter the space of what is to come, what will evolve. My heart beats faster for a few moments, then the calm settles back onto me.

My steps are not measured. Rather, I move, stop, breathe in, look about, and remember to keep going when I feel I’ve communed with the moment, and can release it, for what the next will bring. It seems odd to me, just walking in, nary a person around, as If I’ve stumbled upon some alternate universe, where I am the sole student to millennia of ancient wisdom. No outside sounds can be heard, nor any inner comings and goings of residents who reside here.

The road continues, turning, revealing, twisting, unfolding in a universe which feels to be made of my own imagination. I can see, up ahead, the peak of a roof, the graceful architecture of Asian construction. The next curve of the pathway gives me a view of the front of a temple, across a pond, against a backdrop of mountains. My breath catches, as I find I stand within reach my destination. I can see a bridge, narrow, wooden, spanning the pond to the doors.

My foot steps make a soft patter as I cross to the few steps which lead to the entryway. I can feel desire welling up within, to be inside, to stand alone in the silence, perhaps hear the echoes of thousands of years of other disciples who have come to ask admittance to a personal mystery school. Twin pillars rise up on either side, at the first step,  each carved with exquisite artistry, the sinewy body of The Yellow Dragon. The work is like nothing I’ve seen before, the detail beyond real. I could swear I saw the body swell as if a breath was taken. My eye follows the line to where the wing is pulled in, flat against itself, and on to the head, bent down from an elegant curved neck. The eyes are as golden as the body, with a dark slit. It blinks!
I step backwards two steps, my head tilted back. For a long moment, I wait, but it does not reoccur. It must have been a trick of my eyes, my wild imagination.

Several minutes pass before I move up onto the top step and reach for the handle of the door. While, a heavy door, it moves silently and easily at my pulling to open it. I step inside, just barely, drinking the simplicity of the chamber; high, arching ceilings, shining black marble floors, reflecting back the glow of a row of lit candles, leading, like an airport runway down the aisle. I don’t know where to go. I see no obvious welcoming party. I move forward. The walkway seems to continue into an abyss, but I reach a pedestal finally. It rises up, and while it does not impede further progress, I feel it must hold information. An open book rests upon the stand, a fountain pen resting in a lip. At the top of the page, it instructs, simply: “Sign in.” I comply, writing my name across the first empty line below a list of names.  I look at the entry above mine. It is written in what looks like Chinese Caligraphy. Next to the name is a space for the date. This, on the line above, is written in a numerical printing I can understand: “05 – 01 – 1915. I squint at it, thinking I’m not reading it correctly. But it is exactly as I read it. The last person here signed 100 years to the day!

I look at the line above that. The signature of the person is written in a language I do not recognize. The date reads, 05 – 01 – 1815.

What have I gotten myself into?