Archive for November 2010

The Nature of Evil   3 comments

M C Escher’s Heaven and Hell

Fear, Anger, Resentment, Hatred, Prejudice, Domination, Destruction, Hell.

It starts with fear that leads to anger… not your normal healthy anger mind you but the uncontrollable anger that leads to hatred.  Most anger starts with fear, fear of the unknown, fear that someone or something will harm us. Normal anger can save our lives or pull us out of debilitating fear; healthy anger comes from the feeling that someone or something has broken one of our “rules”.  We all have rules that are a construct of our beliefs, and/or that have been programmed into us by habitual conditioning.

The reasonable person can see this for what it is and uses anger to give him an opportunity to learn. For example, maybe your “rules” are too ridged, maybe you expect too much from a person or a situation. Maybe you did not explain your rules to those around you that you feel have broken them, or maybe you are in the wrong situation and your rules do not apply.  Anger is a chance to take positive action by either, changing your rules to adapt, or explaining your rules better to someone or maybe to move on and get away from a place where your personal rules do not fit.

Failing to take proper action when angry usually leads to resentment. Now we discover the real “root of all evil”…resentment. Resentment is a failure to deal with our anger. Usually coming from an ego based sense that someone is to blame. The nature of resentment is to kill healthy relationships by being unable to forgive.  If one cannot forgive or leave a situation, is unable or unwilling to explain their rules, or cannot adapt, then often there arises the need to make others responsible for their anger. When a person blames others (or themselves) for their anger they are not taking responsibility for their own emotions, this will always lead to resentment. You might say resentment is way of moving away from our angry by projecting it onto a situation or other people.

Being resentful and blaming invariably leads to hatred. How could it not? Being fearful and getting angry about things and subsequently feeling helpless to find resolution amplifies resentment to the point that anger becomes manifest as hatred. You might say that hatred is habitual anger. This habitual anger is the root of all prejudice.

This is how propaganda works by keeping people angry with others over a length of time hatred is the result…. Governments have been using this tool forever. Keep people angry with the “rich” or “ the Jews” or “the Christians”, “Blacks”, “Whites”, “men”, “Americans”, “Muslims”  pick whoever you want it is still evil to hate.  Hate often comes from self-loathing, and more out of control emotions like guilt.
Whenever you fall victim to being angry, and resenting and hating, you are on a path to hell. Being prejudice, hating, and a continued sense of fear and helplessness often ends up becoming a need to control and to dominate others.

In a desperate need to quench anger, the ultimate expression of hatred and prejudice becomes focused by an egocentric rationalization that if we can control or dominate others our personal suffering will be alleviated. This is often sensed to be a righteous path;  “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.  We rationalize that we are “doing the right thing” and /or “fixing the injustices of the world. Seldom do the “do gooders” realize that their motivation is actually coming from their hatred. Case in point: Hitler believed that the Jews caused his suffering, resentment lead to hatred, lead to prejudice, domination, and destruction. Because a person feels out of control anger and they blame another they try to force others into submission and rationalize that they are doing the right thing.

We all need to find a sense of fearlessness that will stop anger from leading to the hate that leads to suffering. People were born free; Taoists recognize the natural laws that govern man’s existence; a spiritual commitment to human freedom. Taoist philosophy is natural law. The way of humans follows the way of nature. This is not always the way we want it to be but it is the only fair way.  Have faith that things are what they are everything will turn out OK. We may not be happy with the results but the evolution of the universe is out of our control. Taoists do not try to change the world they have faith in the understanding that with Yin and Yang everything works itself out instead, they cultivate the pathway to heaven; “adapt and overcome”.“The greatest misfortune is discontentment”.

Perhaps if everyone did more Taiji and learned to embrace the philosophy of Tao instead of arguing and about how to try to control and dominate others there would be more peace and harmony in the world.  Humans are still learning how to be, class is always in session, everywhere. The answer to all the suffering and disharmony some people feel is actually quite simple.

Do not judge others, do not let anger go beyond the impetus to adapt, never fall victim to resentment and if you do, immediately forgive others, right there on the spot. Always help your friends and neighbors, be kind and yet firm. Do not overlook evil, do not be drawn into the fray. Never give a pass to hatred, prejudice or domination onto your spirit. Taoists have a very important belief that always gives them solace…its called Faith.

See also:  The Nature of Love

Posted November 27, 2010 by The Maui Taoist in Relationships, Tao

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Taoist Meditation Lesson #7 Finding Heaven   Leave a comment

“The sage sees the universe without going out the door”

 

Small Heavenly Circle (Microcosmic Orbit) Meditation Part #1

Attaining Tao is to merge with the wonders of heaven. In the very first verse of the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu says, “The Tao that can be named is not the real Tao”. What he is saying is the greatest of all things is beyond words, and once we attempt to name it we have defined the indefinable, which obviously is not going to work.  So then, how do we merge with the undifferentiated source of all things? Simple, start by just letting go of your desire to be or do anything and focus your energy into heaven.

If you have read the six prior lessons on Taoist meditation basics and practices and if you have actually tried some of these techniques then it is time to expand your horizons. Be sure to read Tuning the Breath as well.

I hope by now you have had some success with staying “in the moment” and have learned to use some of these tools to dissolve your mind into your body. Learning to control your thoughts is the basic methodology to allow your energy to find a higher calling. In this article, I will give you a little piece of treasure, another tool for your meditation that will help you reach a higher state of consciousness.

Much has been written about the “Small Heavenly Circle” also known as the “Microcosmic Orbit” meditation; a simple Google search will give you over 5,000 results.  I will not attempt to re-invent the wheel here, (pun intended) but instead I will give you my method.  This method of meditation takes the practitioner on an inward journey along the superhighway of energy that predominates within the human body.  My method is a straightforward and simple way to start exploring the universe within.

On the inward journey, the first things we learned were to dissolve our thoughts and get in touch with our energy, something you are getting skilled at if you have been doing the lessons so far. Now I am going to explain how to circulate that energy within your body.

We start with a basic energy circuit that runs up and down the torso in a circular path just under the surface of the skin; this path is called the “Small Circle.”  The vessels and meridians in your body that carry the qi are usually along high conductivity tissue such as tendons  and sometimes muscles. The centerline of both the front and back of our torso is mostly tendons, and this is a good conductor for the qi to flow within.  Learning to follow this path is a major step to moving even deeper into your body, and will give you more insight into the universe within you. My method starts with identifying the two major pathways of energy (that connect into a circle) by defining 15 points along the way. Like planets in a galaxy, we will travel to each one, picking up provisions along the way.  As we get to know each “planet” we will gain an understanding of our inner workings, this is the “Sage seeing the universe with out going out the door”

The two main paths have many names and energy can be moved in a variety of ways. In this beginning technique, we are going to follow the natural flow of energy down the front and up the back. For now, just think of them as Yin and Yang.  The “Yang path” starts at the perineum and then the base of the spine, continues up and over the crown of the head, and ends at the pallet. The “Yin path” starts at the tip of the tongue and flows down the front of your body and ends at the perineum at the bottom of your torso. Technically the “Ren” channel ends at the ovarian palace but since the connecting “Tu” channel emerges at the perineum I start there. Again, there are many resources available online for your perusal. Here I want to give you my method of navigating this “orbit.”

First, let me name, locate, and describe each “planet” along the orbit. Since we have to start somewhere, I start from that place where you “see things” when you close your eyes, a place between the eyebrows that is sometimes called “the minds eye.”

There are many more than these 16 points (that are really bigger than “points” that is why I think of them as “planets“) but I like to keep things simple. Picking these 16 allows us to be clear about each one and later we will apply a breathing technique to help propel your “spaceship” to each “planet”.   As your awareness grows you will feel and communicate with many more places than I have put on this list.  For example, between numbers  8, 9 &10 there are 2 others, the anus for instance, which is actually 6  in itself, front, back, each side, the center and the outer muscle!

My list of 16 celestial destinations within:

Classic texts would have you start at the Dan Tian and “contemplate your navel” for “as long as it takes to feel the qi there“.  I will not refute this method but there are alternatives. While this skill is admirable, I think we get the point; moving on from there, I believe spending a few minutes at each point is a better way to learn this orbit. Of course take as long as you want to explore each world, again the “classics” say to spend as long as a couple of months on each point until you can send your awareness and feel your qi there.

Once you have “opened the channel”, you will notice the qi moves rather quickly around the orbit. I usually do not need to linger long at each place at this point in my training and because I am not writing a book here, think of this as a quick tour through the planets,

The Mind’s Eye (behind your forehead)
The Heavenly Pool (where the tongue touches the pallet)
The Throat, (thyroid gland)
Thymus gland
The Heart
The Solar Plexus
The Dan Tian (just one inch below the navel)
The Sperm (Ovarian) Palace (a hands width below the navel)
The Hui Yin (the perineum)
The Tip of the Tail Bone
The Gate of Life (on the spine opposite the Dan Tien)
The Kidneys and Adrenals (on the spine opposite the Solar Plexus)
The Shen Dao, Between the Shoulders (opposite the Heart)
The Da Zhui, at the C-7
The Jade Pillow (at the base of the skull)
The Bai Hui or Crown Point (at the top of the head)

My planetary journey starts where I already am…

Sit and tune the breath,

Bring your awareness to,

1.    The Minds Eye (behind your forehead); Starting where your mind is already is a good place to start. When you close your eyes, you will “see” or rather “observe” energy actively moving about. Then just let the awareness sink down trough the Yin Path….

2.    The Heavenly Pool (where the tongue touches the pallet); When I put my awareness here I feel saliva welling up from the bottom of my mouth and pooling around the base of my tongue encouraging me to swallow.

3.    The Throat; This spot sends the flow downward along the yin channel. Here lies the thyroid gland a tiny little gland that controls the rates of regeneration for your entire body.

4.   The Thymus gland is a very sensitive gland that is an emotional regulator, sensing the heart and breathing rates, etc.

5.     The Heart; When my mind travels here I feel my heart moving a little bit, not so much an increase in speed, but sort of a warm gentle thumping.

6.    The Solar Plexus; This is a major nerve gathering center in your chest, at this location I feel a lump that seems to radiate out in all directions.

7.    The (Lower) Dan Tian (one inch below the navel); This is the home planet for your Qi. When qi gets stuck in your head (Upper Dan tian) it can cause rampant thinking, when the qi is at your Thymus or Solar Plexus, (in the middle Dan tian), you might feel emotional, but when the qi is here it will feel at home. After my first few years of practice, I began to feel a rotational sensation here.

8.    The Sperm (Ovarian) Palace (a hands width below the navel); This space is connected to all of your glandular systems and placing my mind here, brings me a sense of being connected internally.

9.    The Hui Yin (the perineum); When here, I feel a pulsing feeling as though there is a warm current flowing through my perineum moving towards the back of my body. This is the bottom of the torso and it is full of muscles that support the pelvic floor. The Hui Yin is sort of the launching pad for the next part of the orbit, the Yang path.

To keep things simple just do this for now…

First Tune your Breath and then just work on putting your awareness on each spot until you notice it; just like when you were using your hands; remember, “listening” for the tingling sensation there? If not re-read the other lessons. The point is, if you can send the energy to your hands it is a logical step to move to these orbit spots here. Just do this a little bit and see if you can feel the flow of energy coming down from your head to your perineum.

In the next lesson, I will lead you through the rest of the orbit.

Soon you will see that Taoist meditation and internal qigong are similar. You are now starting to learn the fine art of “Nei Gong” or “internal qigong”

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Yiquan Club in Kihei   9 comments

Yiquan friends doing some Yi Jin Jing Qigong

Come and play with our Yiquan club every Thursday morning.  Since Sifu Fong Ha comes here every September, a group of six or seven dedicated practitioners has began meeting every Thursday to continue working on his (and others) teachings. Since then it has become a great free-form “Internal Arts Day”

This is not a “class” because it is at Kamaole III Beach Park and the county will not allow a formal class: so I call it a club, there is no charge we just play.

Yiquan means “Mind (intention) Boxing” and it is a simple way to train martial arts and meditation skills. One of the main practices is just standing.  There is a huge variety of postures used in standing work, also known as “Zhan Zhuang” lit. “standing like a post”.  In Yiquan, there are eight main postures, you just stand and hold a posture, it is very simple.

Every Thursday morning starting at 6:30 AM with zhan zhuang, Qigong and Taiji walking, sometimes we take a break about 7:50 or so, look for us at a table at that time, then at  8:15 AM, we continue with Taijiquan until we are done.

The pre-dawn standing part is simple; just stand (or sit) in Wuji and if you want to, hold some postures or do whatever you want to! Try doing some “spontaneous qigong” also known as “Zi Fa Gong” or do the Yiquan postures.

The qigong that we originally did here consists of two sets and some “Taiji walking”.  The first set is called “Yi Jin Jing” this is the famous “muscle and tendon changing classic” invented by Bodhidharma in about 520 AD.  The second set is another classic qigong set known as “The Eight Brocades” or “Ba Duan Jin“.   Most likely though, whatever we we do here now is pretty random, so many things we could do, it is never the same qigong at this practice session. “Taiji walking”  in the sand is a favorite!

The Taijiquan part usually consists of doing the Dong (Yang) Long Form, we often do all three sections of the form or whatever we decide!

Come and play but know this is not a class…. I don’t do any real “teaching” I want to have fun with my friends, build some push hands connections, and keep the spirit of all of our teachers training active at Kamaole III

Overview:

6:30 AM to 7:50 AM
Wuji, Zhan Zhuang, Yiquan

Zi Fa Gong

Yi Jin Jing, Ba Duan Jin, or “Whatever Qigong”

Taiji walking

7:50 to 8:15 AM Break…

8:15 AM
Taijiquan
Tui Shou

See All Classes Here:

https://taijionmaui.wordpress.com/category/schedules/