Ai Lin on Daoism

We heard that you host meditation sessions. How did you come up with Daoist meditation and tea tasting session?

AI LIN: I’ve been experimenting lately with teaching meditation at raves, and also using Chinese tea as a sort of “party drug”. People don’t understand how deep tea really is. It’s like the Daoist speedball - you know like when you mix coke and heroin. Except it’s caffeine and L-Theanine - one raises your heart rate while the other calms the nervous system and alleviates anxiety, yin and yang together. It’s psychedelic, but only when it’s really good - and usually it’s very expensive as well as difficult to find for the uninitiated.


Please introduce yourself!

AI LIN: My name is Ai Lin - I’m a musician, designer, dancer, masseur, and martial arts teacher.


What is your ideology behind Daoism?

AI LIN: My ideology or “dao” - isn’t so different from Dao in its classical sense. Only, I live in a concrete cell in Brooklyn as opposed to a cave and play drum machines instead of a flute or zither. I sleep at 11pm, wake up at around 6am(or 3am if I’m catching the later half of a techno party), eat a pretty strict diet according to traditional Chinese medical principles, and spend pretty much all of my time practicing esoteric Daoist meditations whether I’m on the subway, dancing at a rave, or having sex etc. It makes me better, and thus everything better for me.

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Meditation and deep hypnotic techno also have a serious affinity for each other. Just like fine tea however, good techno is extremely inaccessible - most people have never heard it! Same goes for meditation and dharma - the cheesy new-age burning man yoga clowns have ruined it for “spirituality” and it’s sort of my personal mission to clean up after them and turn a few sensible, intelligent, tasteful individuals on to the sphere of “higher philosophy” so to speak. I teach a lot of serious theory connecting the subtle energy networks of the body to particular elements of a precise cosmic view. It’s very physical and very cerebral at the same time, requiring one to push both the body and intellect synergistically.


What are you inspired by?

AI LIN: I’m inspired by underground techno, classical east Asian aesthetics, transgressive mysticism, and sexuality which is the sort of governing principle - if it’s not sexy then something is wrong, there’s been some deviation from the Way.

What does your tattoo symbolize?

AI LIN: My tattoos are entirely mystical symbols that are all linked together to create a sort of riddle on my body. It would be absurd to try and explain the whole thing here but I can try a few such as the black band around my chest - which symbolizes the concept of “void heart”. The character for heart in Chinese is also used to refer to “mind”. So it isn’t about coldness or heartlessness in the petty, angsty, western sense as much as it is about remaining devoid of desires and not getting caught up in personal agenda loaded with traumas and societal concepts.  

The tears beneath my eyes are the Arabic letter “yeh” which being the last letter of the Arabic alphabet symbolizes literacy and thus knowledge. Knowledge alone results in sorrow, so sorrow can only be transcended by transcending knowledge - going above that which the eyes can assess and verify through conventional reasoning. That thing which exceeds knowledge is love, and the composite sigil on my forehead is essentially that.


Aside from your passion for Daoism, what other particular interest do you have? 

AI LIN: Other than that, I’m in the process of making my own jewelry and natural perfume. I’m about to get pretty serious with music again, and I’d like to start making some short films in the near future.

Photography and interview Estelle Shing, Model Ai Lin