Video Description

Testimonial – Learning Lo Ban Pai with Lujan Matus

I arrive in Sedona after midnight, just a few days past the Winter Solstice. I’m staying in a bedroom aptly named “Shaman’s Cave” for there are no windows and the room is filled with Amerindian artifacts. In one corner of the dresser is a two-foot high Kachina, and it looks at me with a blank if not somewhat ominous stare.

The next morning, I walk to the market for some provisions then stop at a small cozy cafe on the main drag. While waiting for my hot drink, I sit down on a tufted sofa and spy a deck of Tarot cards laying on the coffee table, which I proceed to pick up, shuffle, and cut. Then I pull a card–the Nine of Swords. It shows a woman sitting up in bed with her head in her hands with a set of nine swords behind her. Since I’m not terribly into the Tarot, I’m unaware of the significance of the card, place it back into the deck, finish my drink, and head for my room.

Once back in my dimly lit “cave,” I do a little research. Though some websites focus on the negative side of the card (grief, regret, fears) I come across one essay on the breakthrough qualities of this particular image, equating it to the Tower, one of the most feared cards in the Tarot deck. Since Swords represent the conscious thinking-mind, and I know that the number nine is nearly at the completion of the minor arcana, this card could be seen as an attempt to break through the conscious thoughts holding us back from a truer self.

Is it co-incidence that two days later, I find myself waking in the dead of night, unable to sleep and crying seemingly for no reason? And then, once I’m there, holding my head in my hands, weeping and sobbing, I dig deep in wonder, far and wee, to discover the reasons why, why these salty tears? (And yes, Lujan, we know what else is salty— the sea.) As far as I can tell, these are not tears of grief, or suffering, or sorrow but strangely enough, of happiness flowing to the surface, a river of feeling, an involuntary and completely unexpected outpouring of joy.

Of course, there’s an ache there as well and I can only hope my tears are not coming from some misplaced regret or sentimental notion, but from a place of honesty, of gratitude, a place of sincerity, for I laughed at myself too, laughing and crying at the same time because it felt good. To me, laughter and tears are two sides of the same coin. They both flow largely from the unconscious mind, without our willing it, without intention. Of course, we all want to laugh more than cry and that’s how it should be. But the ache of what it means to be alive is there for a reason.

And where is Lujan in this personal tale that leads to a trail of tears and laughter? He is at the end, and he is at the beginning.

I don’t mean to obfuscate. It is nearly impossible for me to explain Lujan’s teachings for they resonate on so many levels. His example, his verbal teachings, the forms, the movements of the hands, the body, all point in the same direction—towards freedom. In his presence, I’m constantly questioning—myself, and my experience of reality. With him there is a heightened sense of what it means to be alive in this world.

To say I was a bit weepy during the week would be an understatement. It was not the mood I would have chosen if I had had a choice. But maybe I did. I could not say why I was crying. It felt like joy, but it also felt like weakness. Lujan said I was breaking open. I know that since starting my tuition with Lujan, I have changed so much. It is the recognition of this and of how much I owe the teacher that summons the feeling of gratitude, and yes, love.

And on the last day, it all changed again, for on that day, the teachings seemed to pour out of him, through him, in true transmission. No time for tears now, my friend, only time to learn and absorb. As it is written—a time for every season.

But perhaps what Lujan teaches is less important than what he is—and that is the living embodiment of spirit, of the all-pervading force in the universe. And aren’t we all? But Lujan IS IT, and he knows who he is which is why he can live his life with such uncompromising integrity, such clear purpose. And this is the challenge and task that he places in front of each one of us. What Lujan teaches is to live a life of purpose and to search for that purpose without striving—for love, for the empty force, for kindness, compassion, beauty, the strength of an elephant, the stillness of a lizard.

Very simply, he makes me glad to be alive.

So laugh until you weep, my friends. Hold on to one another. Share your joys as well as your sorrows, and walk a mile in another’s moccasins before you begin to judge.

To all you who read these words, great gifts, for we have been granted the gift of a great teacher, a master no less, who does what he does in the world with a kind heart and empty intention.

Lots of love to all.


We are now accepting registrations for small group training in Sedona, AZ from July-December 2020.

Please register via the link below: