The chi-cycle lifestyle is a bridge from the mundane to the mystical. Do a daily chi practice, follow the cycle and make finding your cosmic self your priority, and you can cross that bridge at will.
If you were drawn to repeat a drug experience it was because that unreal version of reality was not enough for you. It is not supposed to be enough. I wish I’d known this. I’d never felt satisfied with ordinary reality, even as a child. I dreamt of having special powers and of travelling to other dimensions, but I was regularly told I was a dreamer, and I should ‘grow up’ or ‘get real’.
Everyone else seemed fine with ordinary reality, so I started thinking that there was something wrong with me. Valium numbed that sensation, which is why I took to it so quickly, but a few years later, when LSD and other mind-altering substances made everything I had dreamt of real, I saw that I had been right; the universe truly was a mystical, magical place.
Drugs were my escape route, and drug-altered states fast became my preferred reality. This is where I felt at home. But this was not because anything went wrong for me, but rather because 1970s suburban Germany, with its emphasis on material wealth, social status, external appearances and its obsession with what the neighbours thought, did not feel like home to me. The Daoists flagged this issue centuries back. They saw how believing that the material or acquired world is all there is, leads to misery and to ‘not feeling at home on earth.’ Every drug user I treat these days can relate to this.
It is the same fundamental longing for something more than ordinary that makes them resonate with drug states. All it takes is a line of coke, a happy pill or a joint and the most boring chore in the most mundane place becomes an amazing multidimensional experience. You’re still ‘here’ interacting in the normal world, but it doesn’t look or feel normal any more. This feels right because essentially, it is.
But keep using drugs, and you drift from Dao; your acquired self becomes stronger, as does the feeling of not being at home on earth. The acquired response is to find someone or something to blame for your alienation and pain. I ended up with the anarchists fighting street battles against the police and what we called ‘the establishment.’ But what I was really protesting against was the loss of my access to the mystical.
The chi-cycle lifestyle is a bridge from the mundane to the mystical. Resist the urge to give in, to live an acquired life and to take what seems to be the easy path. Do a daily chi practice, follow the cycle and make finding your cosmic self your priority, and you can cross that bridge at will. Then you will always know who you are and where you really belong. You will feel at home everywhere: in your body, your home and community, on the planet and in the cosmos. This is how reality should feel.
The material world is temporary, the mystical is eternal.
Finding your cosmic self is every drug users’ responsibility. We usually see the words drugs and irresponsibility paired, but if you’ve taken drugs you have set something significant in train and I believe you have a responsibility to see it through. None of us are here on earth just for entertainment. Recreational drugs are powerful transformational substances, not a DIY fun-kit. Those of us that said ‘yes’ did not do so just to have fun. We initiated a transformational process and now it’s time to follow through.
The Daoists believe that we are here to evolve our souls. This process begins with awakening to the fact that there is something beyond the physical, followed by the desire to feel the connection to this. This is already underway because you know that there is more than normal reality out there. You may have run into aliens, seen through walls or experienced telepathy. You understand that inexplicable things and invisible forces surround us. Your ongoing drug experiences were evidence of your desire to explore and feel this. Now just switch methods from drugs to chi practices.
The chi practice
I’ve been really pushing doing a chi practice because, if you make yourself do this every day, one day you will find yourself wanting to do it. Keep going, and then you start having to do it. You will naturally shift from feeling chi, to consciously moving and directing chi. This is known as ‘chi cultivation’. This is the ultimate escape route.
You’re already familiar with this process. When you take a drug, as soon as it hits your system it’s – wow! You instantly take note of what is happening internally, this is you ‘discovering’ chi. Dancing on ecstasy, getting into the music, phoning all your friends, getting into sex, are all versions of ‘directing’ or ‘circulating’ chi. You’ll work with these feelings until you hit the zone where everything is flowing, and you don’t perceive yourself as a separate entity any more; you perceive yourself via everything around you – the music, the people. You feel totally connected with all there is. Your singular awareness dissolves into cosmic awareness. The universe reshapes itself around you.
This is exactly the chi sequence to pursue afterwards, of discovering, gathering, and directing chi. Your chi practice will then naturally take you towards the ultimate state of dissolving in chi. One day you will find you are no longer consciously moving through the postures and directing chi flow, you have become it. You’ve spontaneously shifted into a higher state and crossed the bridge to non-ordinary reality. Once you chase and crave chi states like you once craved drugs or alcohol, you have begun to live for your spirit as much as for the material world.
Align with the stars
The third stage of soul evolution is what contemporary Daoist scholars call ‘cosmicisation’. This is finding your cosmic self and becoming cosmically aligned. I’ve talked about the cosmic self a lot so far but there is a literal aspect to this concept.
In Chinese medicine, we come from the stars and we are connected to the stars (each acupuncture point in your body aligns with a star). Doing a daily chi practice aligns your body with the stars, and following the chi-cycle lifestyle aligns your life with the stars. When you feel equally at home with the stars as with your daily life on earth, you’ll know you have achieved cosmicisation.
So, if you repeated a drug experience, you were chasing something mystical, spontaneous yet eternal – an experience of Dao. You were, in fact, all along, on a mystical quest, not just on drugs. Questing might sound like something from a fairytale, but the minute you become rational about your drug use and recovery, and start applying intellect and analysis, it takes the Dao, the creative spontaneity, out of the equation. Instead, continue your quest by working with the mystical cosmic forces, yin and yang and chi, and there are no limits.
Time to trust
Just trust that the mystical world is as real as the material world; trust in your chi practice, follow the chi-cycle recovery plan, and you will keep one foot in the mystical and one in the material world. You will find your cosmic self. This means you won’t get caught up in emotionality or right and wrong. You will be able to hold onto the positives and see things as they really are. Then, you will understand why you took drugs. You will have no regrets, feel no resentment and nothing will be unresolved. Then, you will be fundamentally happy in everything you do, regardless of outcomes. You’ll see that we are all in the same boat, and you will begin to feel fortunate. This is true freedom.
Your drug journey might have broken you down physically, emotionally or spiritually, but if that becomes the catalyst for you to discover chi, cosmically reconnect through the chi cycle, and relaunch your mystical quest, be forever grateful, because everything is now in place for you to live happily ever after.
Born in Germany in 1958, and living in Australia since 1981, Jost is an ex speed addict, dealer and deserter, turned drug and alcohol counsellor who then became an acupuncturist. After lecturing in traditional Chinese medicine for a decade and running numerous health centres, he developed his revolutionary recovery programs and his rehab program is now available on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.
This article is the final of a series of articles excerpted with permission from The Rebel’s Guide to Recovery by Jost Sauer and published by Centre of Dao, Maleny, Australia, and is also available for download from Amazon. You can learn more about his work at JostSauer.com.
Jost’s 24 hour chi cycle was published in its entirety in the LivingNow annual, 2009. They were completely sold out, but we recently found a box of annuals in a cupboard. So we are very pleased to be able to offer them at $25 each, including postage. There are several left. Please email
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