Archive for the ‘Tao’ Category

Earth Day   7 comments

We cannot "save the planet"

Did you know?

The earth has survived volcanoes, ice ages, earthquakes, floods, erosion, plate tectonics, collisions with asteroids, gamma ray bursts, and who knows whatever for billions of years; always surviving, evolving and adapting.

Did you also know that in China in 1931 between one and 2.5 million people died in a flood?
Or that also in China in 1887 between 900,000 and 2 million people died in a flood.
In addition, in 1556, an earthquake killed 830,000 in China.
And another earth quake in China in 1976 left 242,419 people dead? And in 1920, 243,117?
How about the earthquake-generated tsunami in Indonesia, 230,000 lives lost.
And the death toll in Haiti is estimated at 230,000?

The eruption of the Volcano in Iceland puts more CO2 into the air in one day than the entire population of Europe did in the last 100 years.  And did you know that CO2 is a scant 0.033% of the atmosphere; and it is the only source of life for all the green plants on the Earth?

Did you also know 250 million people each year get malaria resulting in between one to 2.7 million deaths? In addition, did you know that environmentalists, through the EPA banned DDT, and yet DDT was heralded as having saved over 500 million lives in the two decades before it was banned?

The bottom line is: we cannot “save the planet” and conversely we cannot destroy the planet. Are we so arrogant that we think we can destroy the planet when we are only a minuscule drop in an ocean of planetary history?  Everything here is from here….whatever we dig up, or burn or eat or whatever, came from here and it is going to stay here. The planet will adapt and evolve. We may not adapt however, and so life goes on. The planet will be fine.

Yin/Yang, Taoist thought understands these things, sure, we all want a clean environment, and we also don’t want millions to die from malaria or perish in cheaply made lightweight vehicles.  Nature always works things out.  If we are not meant to survive then, we will not. Perhaps we need war and disease to teach us what to do, or what not to do. These things are all part of nature, even our strange lifestyle is part of nature, as are we. There are those people that will not eat meat and consider it wrong for people to eat meat, do they protest the tiger, fighting extinction, and begrudge him his last meal?

Heaven and Earth are eternal, our physical selves, not so much. The Human experience for an individual is all we have here and now. Do not fret or worry about mother Earth, she will survive. Our only challenge is to deal with each moment correctly, enjoy what we have and let nature take its course.

If we are going to live full and joyous lives, we need to live in harmony with the way things are, adapt and overcome. To change with change is the way of nature; to be discontent is the greatest misfortune.

Happy Earth Day

Qigong Attitude   3 comments

First, gain an understanding of your energy system.
Align the body correctly to facilitate energy flow.
Relax the muscles to encourage energy flow.
Learn to dissolve your mind and body together.

Develop an emotional connection to the energy within.
Become intimate with your energy.
Practice until you know what is right in your heart.
Let go of your silly ego needs.

Gain freedom from your thoughts,
Become as open as Heaven,
Be as firm as the Earth,
Shine brightly like a star,
Be as flexible as water,
Gain inspiration from all things,
Know the truth that will set you free.

There are many paths to freedom yet only those who learn the truth will be truly free.  The real you is often hidden behind layers of physical and egocentric defenses.  Physical obstructions, thinking, and emotions, all inhibit your true self from shining through.

Spiritual qigong? Medical qigong? Martial qigong? Meditation? Internal, external, standing, sitting, moving, stillness, Taiji, whatever…. It makes very little difference; they are essentially the same thing. Don’t get confused by esoteric teachings. Do not be distracted from the truth by thinking too much about it.

Do not make your journey complicated; just follow the simple methods outlined in your training.  Adding too much just takes you farther away from the truth.  Practice “Wu Wei“; practice with diligence, yet keep it simple and you will gain profound awareness.

The truth is simple:
Love your energy as though it was the most valuable substance in the universe….in time you will discover the creator of all things.

Go to Qigong on Maui web site

Wu Wei…Non-Striving   Leave a comment

There is no "try" only do, or not do (Master Yoda)

Recently someone said to me, “I need to learn to relax”, after apologizing for laughing at the remark, I poised the comment, “Realize that you can’t learn to relax, you need to un-learn being discontent.”

When things are going well, they just flow correctly. A pro athlete never forces anything; neither does a pro musician, or an artist.  If they did, you could tell it was not quite right. When things flow from your heart it is true and correct and it shows. When we are balanced within and we are in harmony with our surroundings there is no “effort”

Every time I “try real hard” in life, I usually mess things up. So will you if you don’t understand the principle of “Non Striving”

Among the basic Taoist principles that can improve our lives “Wu Wei” is the most important and pervasive concept of all.  Not forcing things seems like an obvious concept to most of us and yet our competitive nature often encourages us to do so.  It’s not that “force” is a bad thing but unnaturally forcing things usually is.  Make things right with the universe and effortlessness is an indication that you “get it”.
Any feeling of “forcing”, “striving” or “contrivance” tells you that you do not get “it”.

The “it” I am referring to is the understanding that you are (or not) coming from your heart.  Do not think this is easy however, I’m no Pollyanna; you might say “It’s simple, it’s just not easy”.  The Tao Te Ching is full of commentary on this subject in fact almost every one of the 81 verses contains a statement about Wu Wei.

“The sage does nothing and yet nothing remains undone”
“My way is simple, yet no one can follow it”
“An infant can follow the way. But can an eighty year old?”
“To manage a large country is like frying a small fish, the less you poke it the better.”
“The sage leads by following”
“Water is the softest thing in the universe yet it overcomes the hardest things”
“The greatest misfortune is discontentment.”
“The sage never contrives greatness that is why he is truly great”

The other day someone said to me, “I was told (by a qigong teacher) to force the qi downward during qigong”, holding back a laugh I smiled and went on to explain “Wu Wei” a guiding principle.

When we relax, the qi will flow effortlessly, using “force” causes muscle tension that uses up more qi then it allows to pass through, resulting in less movement of the qi.

Again I recommend getting your very own copy of the Tao Te Ching (see my reading list) the philosophy of Taoism provides a foundation for understanding reality.

First, learn all you can; then forget it all. Learning is prejudice and contrived and will limit you. Having expectations can lead one to disaster. Knowledge is only a starting point, when we apply the principle of “Wu Wei” we turn knowledge into something far more valuable…Understanding

Posted February 13, 2010 by The Maui Taoist in Qigong, Taiji Principles, Tao, Taoist Meditation

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Understanding Reality: Balance and Harmony   1 comment

Part 1 Balance

Align with Heaven and Earth,
Relax and discover the truth about balance
Move with dignity and grace through life,
And harmony will be your companion.

Balance is a function of aligning with Heaven and Earth, relaxing into our roots and exploring the confidence of equilibrium within the self.

Harmony is a function of remaining balanced as we move through time and space, remaining content, while interacting with the forces of nature that act upon us.

Balance is always first, only then can we harmonize well.

In life, there are many ways we can discuss balance and harmony…..
If you think about the opening words, it is apparent that I could be talking about many different aspects of balance and harmony; be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, they all share the same principles.

In fact, if we learn the hierarchy of achieving balance and harmony in one realm we can apply the formula to any of the four realms mentioned. Understanding reality is one of the goals of Taoist praxis, and understanding balance and harmony is paramount to that goal.

For Taiji practitioners as well as in all aspects of life this is a fundamental principle. For example, “aligning with Heaven and Earth” could mean, to know your values and morals and align to them, this could help you relax in a relationship, feeling secure and confident about yourself. The balance gained will allow you to compassionately harmonize with your partner and remain content.

Taiji (the supreme ultimate) teaches us how to achieve balance and harmony in all things through the understanding of the simplest of methods. I have written blog posts about this topic that can be found elsewhere on this site.

To review, the most basic is the physical then as we move inward the next level of understanding is the mental, then the emotional and at the center is our spiritual core.  Each level feeding its energy into the next one and each level is more complex than the one before it.  As we move up through the layers in quantum leaps, the understanding of the principles reinforces the reality of the truth of the hierarchy of our personal growth.

In regards to transformational improvement of our lives then, all we need to do is start with the simple, external physical methods and understanding will emerge with practice over time and through space…

Back to Taijiquan…..and balance and harmony….

When we move in Taijiquan we first need to balance, then we can harmonize with things as we move.  Now reread the opening lines and see what you can glean from the simple instructions.

In class, when we are transitioning to one leg, I say repeatedly…. Align, relax, and move.  There are two alignments. First, there is “rotational” where you align your nose, navel, knee and toes.  Secondly, there is the “Taiji Pole” where you align your Crown Point, perineum, and ankle, actually the bottom of your foot about 1 inch in front of the ankle.

After you are aligned with Heaven and Earth just relax into your leg and explore some counterbalancing with your arms and legs until you find that one spot where you feel confident. When you move (step) maintain a moving counterbalance to harmonize with your movement.

The Taoist sees the simple in the complex and the complex within the simple, achieving balance and understanding all things trough harmonizing with the principles of nature.

Know the Workings of Heaven   6 comments

Galaxy M-81

The sage sees the universe without looking out his window
The sage understands the workings of the universe without going out the door.

He does this by knowing that universe that lives within him, and that he is a microcosm made from Heaven and Earth, created by celestial design.

Little did you realize that all the wonders of the “modern science” of astrophysics reside within you…Like a pulsar within a nebula, our spiritual star powers layers of energy that radiate out into our personal world and merge into the universe around us!

Our star of spiritual energy, contained within our nebulous body floats in a galaxy of others within our communities.  The collections of community galaxies live within a universe we call “life on earth”

Cultivate your energy. Refresh your star center with the flux of the universe that flows to you. Shine brightly, replenish your body and let the light of heaven shine out through you.

Taoist Meditation Lesson #5 (Practice Part 2)   2 comments

The Cat's Eye Nebula

First no form. Then form. Then no form…….

In the first three articles on basics and the first article on practice, I laid out the foundation for our actual cultivation procedures. Please read these previous articles until the concept of “dissolving the mind into the body” makes sense to you.  Keeping in mind, we are on an inward journey when we do Taoist meditation.

We pass from an external-centric universe to an internal one.  Along the way, we go through different layers of ourselves.  From a completely external world, through the body and mind, revealing our emotions and ultimately our spiritual center. From that perspective, we continue back through the layers and return to the external.

Always remember we are working with energy and when we do so we need to adhere to basic energetic principles. Also, know as we move inward we encounter different energies at each layer each combining and adding to the previous energies.  I am talking about quantum physics here. As we move inward and the energy level increases, it requires more training to control it.

The first step in the actual process of the “Transformational Tao of spiritual alchemy” is a basic understanding of what we are going to do… so up until now we have been looking at a kind of map of our journey.  On the path, so far you could say we have “opened the door” now it is time to step through it.

First, we need to align and relax our physical bodies. Next, we train an awareness of our energy allowing it to permeate the entire body. We start externally and as we become more aware, we move internally, melting away the boundaries between the layers as we progress.

When this is completed, we achieve a freedom from our bodies.  By utilizing our minds to become aware of the energy within us, we meld the two together essentially dissolving the mind into the body.  After we acquire this skill, we are able to get freedom from our thoughts as well.

Before starting, I suggest you Tune your Breath

Stand or sit in proper wuji, focus initially on your alignments.

After you are aligned and relaxed, close you eyes and let your arms hang down at your sides. Bring your awareness to your hands.  Just notice that you actually have hands….become aware of each finger or pairs of fingers one at a time. Just do this for a couple of minutes. Let them fill with blood and energy and feel them tingle.

In your mind’s eye, have an image of yourself standing or sitting there.  An image of you aligned to perfection, symmetrical and relaxed.

The only imagery we use in the Taoist method is that of reality.
Your “energy you” is a projection of your energy, that is what we see here. Now out of the corner of your mind’s eye notice your hands. As though you can actually see them, and as you do feel the tingling sensation therein.

This tingling sensation of energy is a manifestation of the only thing of any real importance that you have. Work on getting in touch with the pureness of your energy. Repeat this process until you can restrict your thoughts and body movements to the method outlined above.

This is the first step to dissolving your mind and body together, a skill known as sublimation.  Just work on this for now… do not think of “stuff”, do not allow imagery to invade your mind’s eye.

Eventually we will even dissolve away the image of yourself as separate from the energy that creates you…anything but pure energy is just an illusion….

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Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!   2 comments

Each year we start anew…
Building on lessons learned
If we can only make one small improvement in our lives,
What an amazing transformation will we become…

We are the future manifest…
Each unfolding moment is there just for you…
It is no one else’s… it is yours…
We flow into each moment

Through the years, if we acquire virtues we become stronger
And if  we shed vices we become clearer…
Stronger and clearer we move with the way of Heaven
Go through life with dignity and grace.

Stronger and clearer each day,
Watch closely and you will see the future,
As each moment guides you into it…
Know that the truth lives within you.

Posted December 31, 2009 by The Maui Taoist in Philosophy, Tao, Uncategorized