“If you ignore the dragon, it will eat you. If you try to confront the dragon, it will overpower you. If you ride the dragon, you will take advantage of its might and power.”
— Chinese Proverb
“The dragon is our spirit. Embrace it with heart, and connect to an entire lifetime of wonder.”
— Casey Kochmer
In Taoism, the dragon is the symbol for the essence of the spiritual half of the cosmos. The dragon breath in-takes the chaos of the unformed potentials of the Tao and breathes out the order of our very nature.
The focus of Awakening Dragon is to re-connect and re-integrate with the spiritual aspects of life.
Modern western culture has focused almost exclusively upon the physical (Tiger) aspects of nature, to the degree the dragon is merely a myth within western culture. Without our spiritual half, life becomes meaningless and without direction. The school of Awakening Dragon concentrates on helping students discover a balance between mind, body, and spirit.
Ask yourself: “How do you define spirit?”
and after you decide on your first answer,
then ask: “What are your actions that fulfill and support your definition of spirit?”
Awakening Dragon Taoism focuses each student on training against these personally defined actions to answer the very question of what it means to move with spirit. We comprehensively support each student to refine and polish their actions to flow gracefully within their own life. This isn’t a western school where a student studies various one size fits all Taoism 101 classes; rather, we work with you and your heart to reveal your hidden inner book.
If you only want to learn about Taoism, plenty of resources exist online for free to do just that. This school is about learning how to live with your inner fire and using Taoist lessons to expand that fire. This is something that only happens by actively taking time out to explore your own life.
We call the members of our school and community dragons. If you want to become a dragon, the first step is to become an Awakening Dragon patron member and access our community chats and materials.
School of Awakening Dragon Taoism
Three Levels of Teaching
- Awareness: Embracing Inner and Outer Truth
The materials on this site only concentrate on the first two levels of teachings. Transformation teachings are taught personally, being directly transmitted from teacher to student.
The first part of the practice is discovering Acceptance.
Acceptance cannot be obtained by gathering more knowledge. The route of knowledge, while powerful, is an endless chase for more knowledge. Acceptance is the hardest of the three levels to learn. Without acceptance: the understanding of inner and outer truth becomes impossible. Without acceptance, a person cannot transform their nature beyond flesh and blood.
Awareness: Inner and Outer Truth
The second aspect of Awakening Dragon is opening one’s awareness and learning the nature of truth.
Teaching awareness has many aspects to it. To some, it might mean expanding out their knowledge and exploring different variations of Taoism for perspective. It can mean for someone disconnected to the world to learn how to better use the information and resources around us and to better integrate into our society. However, it can also mean the exact opposite for a person too connected, and the lesson could very well focus on disconnecting oneself from the larger world to hear the heart on one’s own terms.
Taoism, more than any other faith or philosophy, concentrates upon the relative nature of the self. Awakening Dragon Taoism both removes ego and embraces ego in order to reveal a person’s full nature.
This is the process of discovering kindness and connection to a larger world.
Meditation is one of the many tools used to help a person open into a larger awareness of their life.
Transformation is not a goal; it’s part of everyday life. To live is to change. Awakening Dragon teaches how to harness the nature of change and direct it in a spiritually fulfilling manner. The true potential of transformation is limitless by the very definition of transformation.
However, in a rush to improve life, people often transform into something they don’t like. For this reason, the School of Awakening Dragon only teaches transformational practices after a person understands and accepts their nature.
In this manner, personal transformation becomes soulful, spiritual and a process of living to wonder
Attend a 3-Week Online Exploration of Taoism!
Learn how to embrace your Personal Tao! Explore your essence and gain insights from Taoism for a rich and kind life.
We will go over teachings and techniques that are used to improve a person’s life.
3 Saturdays beginning October 23rd, 2021
Time: 8:30 – 9:45 am Hawaii Standard Time
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Awakening Dragon Practices
Most people think the purpose of life is to be found within a set of practices. Seeking purpose from practice is often why most people stumble within the search for meaning for their lives. A practice exists to support your nature.
Awakening Dragon Taoism understands each person will need to blend in a unique set of practices to support their nature. We teach Qi-Gong, Yoga, meditation, dance, and many other forms of practice as an initial baseline to enable each student to find what works best in their life.
Becoming a Student
This school teaches at the pace of life. This means as a student, you learn at your own life’s pace. This isn’t a stressful experience of trying to memorize the hidden secrets of someone else’s teachings. Rather this is a process of learning how to release into your life fully. To become a student in Awakening Dragon Taoism is to accept the challenge of being yourself in full potential. Not to be measured to the standards of others, but the inner truth and needs of your own heart.
Awakening Dragon Details
Awakening Dragon Taoism was founded in 2006 by Casey Kochmer.
Additional Materials about Awakening Dragon
The Structure of Awakening Dragon
Live life kindly, compassionately, gracefully, never striving to be first, with modesty while embracing a colorful story to enjoy as ourselves.
The Awakening Dragon Taoist Lineage is about teaching a Taoist lifestyle without finding a monastery at the end of the world. We do teach over the internet to help keep costs down for students around the world. Also, we have a simple retreat center located in Hilo, Hawaii, to provide a beautiful, quiet place for those wanting a place of peace to learn Taoism.
Normally people change to fit their practices. However, in Awakening Dragon Taoism:
Taoism changes to fit its practitioners.
It’s a unique school to address the challenges of living in the unkind modern world. Awakening Dragon Taoism is simple and relaxed in its core teachings. I teach very specifically how to live without judgment. We use modern terms to better work with older Taoist teachings. For instance, I re-translate “Striving not to be first” to be “Non-Judgement”, and being a “true human” as “working with our stories”.
Awakening Dragon Taoism is arranged in three circles.
- The outer circle (first circle) consists of the common practices and teachings that apply with ease to everyone. Using ideals found in Taoism as the baseline on how to approach a day. Kindness, compassion, modesty, nonjudgment (striving not to be first), pu, wu wei, open awareness, working with our stories, and more.
- The middle (2nd) circle consists of esoteric teachings and practices. Some of the esoteric teachings might be energy work or spiritual exploration that Taoism has been teaching for countless generations but isn’t necessarily required for everyone to learn. The middle circle also focuses on all of the generic practices which can be helpful such as Qi Gong, Yoga, or meditation. However, each person plays and then picks and works with practices that match their nature.
The practices in many religions are confused to be the religion itself. This is not the case: rather practices exist to support each practitioner have healthy lives. Practices exists to support the heart & core essence to continue to grow. Since spirit represents the movement of life, it means these practice are often considered to spiritual practices because they do focus upon helping a person move more gracefully thru life.
In this circle, we are all coming together as a collective of teachers (since we all have something to offer). Nonjudgment is critical for this. Since with judgment, people force their teachings on each other. Using nonjudgment means teachings become “mixed plate” in nature, and people can pick and choose freely from what we each have to offer, without feeling disappointed or feeling like there is something to prove in teaching.
- The inner circle is your own inner space. In Awakening Dragon, you don’t look to another to invite you into some secret center group. Rather each person has something unique and special in their own nature. Together we help each other find peace with our natures.
The actual framework & core for Awakening Dragon Taoism is to let each person strive and use their essence (heart-mind) as the guiding principle for their life. Awakening Dragon Taoism is geared to give tools, community, and ideals to assist each person in growing (not replace) their heart.
This is confusing since in many religions people think there is a common single core practice that has to be met or held: as a common belief or set of actions or way to see things. This isn’t the case in Awakening Dragon. The common core is: We respect each person’s essence, including our own essence.
In this system, a teacher works with the students in the first and second circles. However, each person is their own master in exploring the inner circle of their own heart.
Most organized religions teach a person an outside framework of truth to live by; Awakening Dragon flips that around to show how your heart is the central truth and framework of your life.
Since Awakening Dragon Taoism releases judgment, it becomes possible to share your heart’s journey with Awakening Dragon Taoism members without fear, and you will lose sight of your own unique personal journey. Once releasing judgment, it means discovering the strength of true friends who work with each other to accomplish the heart’s dreams. In this manner, Awakening Dragon accomplishes something unique: a school that can be shared across the world and yet still be a fully personal place for each member of Awakening Dragon Taoism.
I have lived my entire life to Taoist ideals, and I have lived in the west. I have had to adapt and use the best of what Taoism offers and live a graceful and amazing life. I started to teach this because other people started coming to me to get help. Over time the teachings grew and became optimize to work even better. From here, it has continued to grow into Awakening Dragon Taoism and a new community itself. I teach Taoism with minimal Chinese Cultural aspects on purpose. I have done this since the West isn’t China. Taoism is changing and evolving to fit into new cultures, and this means we should flow with new variations of Taoism. In that, we get to pick and choose and make the best of what Taoism has to offer to help live a more graceful life.
Awakening Dragon is not a new-age practice. While we see many new age offshoots arise in Taoism, Awakening Dragon is practical and rooted in one’s life. This explains why we are growing Awakening Dragon slowly. Religion becomes “new age” when pushed too fast/far that it goes beyond the words and life that we can center upon. As a result, Awakening Dragon Taoism is a patient and modest practice with Taoist ideals, so it doesn’t lose touch with our humanity. Awakening Dragon has been growing slowly for over 14 years in my own life and a larger group setting now for six years. It will continue to evolve for decades to come.
Patience is a guiding principle within Awakening Dragon Taoism. We are not in a rush to get to any one destination fast, because the destination is to live our lives fully. The process of growing Awakening Dragon out gracefully, is part of the fun of being a practitioner in Awakening Dragon. We all shape it equally, patiently and with our hearts. It’s a very democratic philosophy/religion: not in voting but by our actions shaping it as a community and yet encouraging each person to be freely themselves.
It is a step at a time, learning how to live to our essence, and for us, this is our Taoist practice.