Speaker: Sarah Tulivu

Cultivating an Inner Stillness for Compassionate Service

"Make the world your Temple." In 2019, Sarah Tulivu had been given this clear instruction by two Taoist masters, including her direct teacher, Master Waysun Liao. At the time, Sarah, ordained as Fong Yi, was living and training full-time as a monk in a Taoist temple in Lago Atitlan, Guatemala. For six years, she had practiced meditation and the embodied consciousness practice of taiji (tai chi) in the lineage of Taiji Tao for six to seven hours a day. In the two years prior to her monastic life, Sarah had been a deep student of the Buddhist tradition across Nepal, India, and Thailand. It was now time for her to venture into the world. "Find the Teacher and the Teaching everywhere, and in everyone," said Master Liao.

While she considers herself still in training, Sarah has done just that. With her gentle presence, light-filled eyes, and a tender smile, she shares her wisdom in retreats and workshops around the world, mostly in Tuscany, Ireland, Vienna, Lebanon, and Greece. She also returned to be part of the world of humanitarian aid, which she had been doing in East Africa and the Middle East before her immersion in contemplative practice. This second time around, Sarah was called to conflict in regions -- like the border of Lebanon and Syria during the Lebanese Revolution (2019-2020), and again in 2021. Sarah also led Taiji Tao practices in support of the aid workers, addressing burnout and healing at its root. She has seen how cultivating inner stillness and harmonizing the complementary forces within can sustain the great need for compassionate service.

For her early childhood, Sarah was in Canada and Italy. Despite Catholic influences in the Italian town of her upbringing, her family didn't observe any particular spiritual or religious traditions. At 16, Sarah began to travel, and she encountered many different traditions and approaches to the spirit. She never felt herself an "-ist" of any particular doctrine, but rather, embracing the diversity of ways to find truth, love, service, freedom, and beauty. For Christianity, "it was only when I was in Kenya, in a slum of Nairobi," she reflects, "that I met the life of Jesus through different eyes, thanks to the volunteers there who lived his teachings in a very different way than what I had seen growing up. For example, I was reminded that Jesus lived with the poor and the marginalized, and spoke up to oppressive powers."

When she moved to the Tao Temple at 24 years old, it happened in a very organic way, just as the "natural consequence, the natural next step in my journey." A monastic lifestyle seemed to be the best fit for her priority of "waking up," so she followed the call. The tradition happened to be Taiji Tao. Taiji, Sarah explains, is often translated as "the unlimited, absolute, boundless..." Similar to other wisdom traditions, Taiji Tao is a path that aims to return us to our origin, to our most natural state, which means to return us to a state of harmony, balance, and union of the yin (feminine) and yang (masculine) aspects of ourselves, our communities, and the world at large.

For a taste of Sarah's presence and offerings, please explore her introductory video and a series of 10-minute meditations, for all levels.

Please join Cynthia Li and Rohit Rajgarhia for this special offering -- part conversation, part workshop on taiji and embodied consciousness practice -- as a response to the great challenges and the great flux in the world.

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