This story begins with Lujan asking me one day to become involved in transcribing and editing his new book.

My heart exploded with gratitude and excitement, for I knew I would be taking a deep dive into the unknown.

Oh, boy! It’s ten weeks since we began, and this has been a journey that’s one of a kind.

Even though English is not my first language and I had no idea what book writing entailed, having studied with Lujan for years and after talking to him about my insecurities, he helped me realize that my perceived disadvantage was not an obstacle. I knew enough to be able to take notes. What I had no clue about was how this process would transform me.

To put this simply, it has been the most amazing, intense, and equally rewarding time of my life. I am forever grateful to my loving Teacher, Lujan Matus, for giving me this opportunity and patiently guiding me on my path.

This book is a process that reveals, in a straightforward way, his fundamental teachings. It showed me what I needed to do and not do next on my journey. Step by step, like an upward spiral, each chapter illuminated aspects of my consciousness I was not aware of, clearing the doubts that cloaked my sacred heart.

As I witnessed my deepest weeds being gently uprooted, I realized this process could become an overwhelming experience in the absence of the sincere approach, steadfast determination, and compassion of a loving teacher. Those of you who have taken classes with Lujan will know of what I speak.

In reflection, I love this quote from the Gospel of Thomas:

Yeshua said: Recognize what is before you, and what is hidden will be revealed; for there is nothing coveted that will not be made manifest.

Now, looking back, I only see glimpses of our time together, laughing for thirty minutes straight, until our faces and bellies ached. Or bursting into tears in complete abandon, filled with gratitude, love, and understanding.

For many, my description may seem unusual as Lujan is a reclusive kind of Teacher. Yet, there’s a part of his wonderful being that most would love to meet. He said to me when this process began, “I need to be surrounded by kind and loving people.” This simple statement brought tears to my eyes and opened up my heart to recognize such a fundamantal truth we all search for in our lives.

It also made me realize something: motive will always stop one from establishing a genuine communion with their Teacher. Getting close to him but not to their own heart is a lost opportunity. I now understand why Lujan always says, “Be your simple, loving self.” It is the only way to progress.

This book taught me not to miss the chance to be within my purpose, stay on my path, and accept full responsibility for the results of my life. It also teaches commitment to the present moment as a joyful expression of the heart.

Practicing Lo Ban Pai, Lujan’s movement system as a physical application to his philosophy, increases fortitude and bestows clarity, strength, and determination. I am lucky to have already studied some of the forms so I could see how our daily interaction reflected back in my practice.

I remember the first workshop I attended, learning the form Golden Lotus and my initial encounter with Lujan. My heart recognized immediately that my search for a Teacher had come to an end. There I discovered the most unbiased reflection that a master can embody for his students, revealing who they really are within that moment of communion.

And even though such an intense gaze as his can sometimes be daunting, years later, after witnessing many of his interactions with his other students, I realized his sharp, powerful focus is exactly what is needed to dispel any disharmonious feelings so that they could come upon their own heart. Not through blame, shame, nor guilt but through their own realizations.

Each story that Lujan, as the Mango Grove Master, so generously imparts to his disciples has the power of his life experience behind it. The way these stories resonated in my own life, as I believe they will resonate within yours, is a still-unfolding revelation.

The events that are presented here are practical examples of how communication actually happens, and I have generously been given the space to ask questions that clarified some of my own curiosities. One of the answers the master elucidates in “The Passerby” chapter is in relation to my inquiry about an extraordinary thing I observed during one of the training sessions I participated in.

It was in Langkawi, an island in the Asian Pacific, the second time I was interacting with Lujan. He was teaching us a form called Opening the Tao and briefly demonstrating its martial application to one of the students. I still can’t reconcile what took place. It seems like a dream to me, and I can only remember how the student gently touched him, only to spring backward quite high up into the air. There was a feeling of shock in my chest when this happened, but I did not understand it nor dared to ask about it.

Looking back on it, Lujan relayed to me he had forgotten I was even there on that day. I suppose one of the reasons why is that I did not find the courage to stand up and inquire, so this greatly diminished our chance to truly meet.

Simultaneously, I recall another instance that I directly experienced inside my body and found surprising. Lujan was teaching us about something pertinent to that moment when he suddenly rose from his chair. My body mimicked his instantaneously, only to find myself wondering why I had stood up as well. After bringing to shelter the clothes hanging outside to dry in the open air, he clarified and said that gentle raindrops had begun to pour. He had stood up quickly, and my body was pulled up by his movement unexpectedly in response.

One of the things that make the Lo Ban Pai philosophy so effective is how it teaches one to be completely engaged within the present moment while waiting for the knowledge pertinent to one’s path to be revealed out of apparently unimportant or seemingly innocuous experiences of one’s life.

“It’s strange how consciousness works,” Lujan said many times, voicing my astonishment at how complex and interrelated everything is. He is also aware that I, like many others, need the correct guidance to navigate these frequencies that become available through diligent practice and sincere application of the principles he imparts.

I believe these timeless teachings that are so generously expounded upon here are essential and practical tools that enable us to do that—to take control of our dysfunctional emotions and uncontrollable mind chatter; to subdue them once and for all so that the expression of one’s heart may mirror back its untainted reflection of love and compassion ultimately revealing the wisdom hidden within us.

Janina Oprea.