Friday, October 14, 2016

Shen Gong: The essence of Bitterness

The practice of the knowledge of the mind, the most yang part of training is often seen as an insurmountable obstacle.

The physical work is a long process, but you only have to repeat gestures with a firm attention and everything falls into place.

With fierce obstinacy, blockages of the body can not resist a daily practice, neither can weakness nor fatigue.

The energetic training, based on breath and posture, attention and body work, rests on a  kinesthetic part  that supports attention and sensation.

In Shen Gong, only the mind and its movements are observed, there is no edge to hang on to.Without leverage, without the ability to force, deprived of our usual cheating methods, the mind is not an easy subject for experimentation.

In addition, in our "passive-aggressive" resistance, our mind reveals all our tensions, our inconsistencies and our lies: the more we push it, the more we try to escape its control, the more it will show us our personal inconsistencies.

Thus, the more our lives are paved with egotistical characters, the more we live contrary to our values, the more we try to escape what we know is important, the more our mind will persecute us.

We will in turn be stuck in a salutary torpor, a headache or a redemptive nausea... Everything is good to not perceive the inconsistencies we implemented for many years.Shen Gong gives direct access to a deep happiness, a meeting with oneself, which will open the "Door of Wonders."

Let's see some broad guidelines to spend our Shen Gong time  doing more r than counting sheep on the carpet or reviewing the groceries list: the Eight Rules of the essence of Bitterness.

Do not expect anything: This is for fun!

Accepting that we always begin practice for the wrong reason, we must understand that expectation has  a special place on the Way (see the text on Expectation).

It is necessary for the beginning of a sustained practice but it is also the source of our most treacherous blockages .

It is not possible to drive expectation out of our minds, but it is possible to reposition our attention during the practice of Shen Gong to somewhat escape our expectations.

Each day, sit for your mind practice with a contract with yourself: "Today I practice for nothing, just for fun ... Tomorrow, I resume the search for a fulfillment that will make me the strongest in the world."

A little more seriously, sit in a total wantonness, in search of a moment for yourself, only for the pleasure of getting to know yourself better... Without expecting anything.

It is also interesting to know that nothing will happen if you start with having in mind any success, or the firm will to see lights or shining deities.

Sit in the appreciation of a luxury that you can afford, to take some time to watch one's mind without purpose, but with a direction (the daily Shen Gong exercise).

Do not force or want to do well: this is not a competition

Watching one's spirit, feeling one's emotions or focusing one's attention is not raising a dead donkey, it's just an observation of our inner workings.

Unlike body work, a sustained and tense effort will do nothing good.

The mind requires a firm attention, relaxed and enthusiastic, that must bring a  desire to smile in a relaxed manner, not grimace of pain.

You will not be judged on your performance or your efforts, there is nothing to gain by forcing ... except maybe a headache.

Do not try to do well or to stay longer than your school brother, instead try to find the pleasure of getting to know yourself.

Some days it will be difficult to do certain Shen Gong practices, do not resist, but look for other ways to work your mind: there is always a more pleasant to look at one self's thought process.

Do not bind yourself: a "trick" is not Mental Peace

Each Shen Gong practice should be a single event that repeats every day: none of your practices should be similar, none should be compared or planned.

It is important to sit in a total openness to the possible experiences, without searching or waiting for an accurate result.

If a moment is very pleasant, it will pass, if it is very painful, it too shall pass.

You should not seek to duplicate the experiences or to avoid certain sensations: let go, let go of all expectations and enjoy this unique moment ... daily.

When you find "tricks", tips to rush your mind work, do not get attached to them, agree to leave as new, without tools.

Look at your practice as unique and without technique, a moment where nothing else exists other than this great chance to spend some time with yourself.

The focus should be on the absence of technique, and on the goal of the day (which differs depending on the day).

Releasing: Motionless Body  and Fixed Thoughts

To find a state of mind conducive to the practice of Shen Gong, there is only to set oneself in a held stillness, proper alignment and relaxation due to the comfort of the meditation position.

On a high chair, a sofa, sometimes laying down (not nap, eh!), the comfort of the body must be the source of its relaxation.

 If the body suffers, in writhing or tension, it is not possible to keep a calm mind.

Align yourself, push your attention in this immobility and turn your attention to your mental productions: look now, without judging, what happens, then go to your practice of the day.

This letting go is the base of Shen Gong, the foundation of your temple, the white screen where you project the Manifestation: in this consciousness of Consciousness, still and  aligned, you can do anything.

Accept: Acknowledge your expectations, valorize your Gaps

If you could meet Buddha or Lao Zi, you would not accept being told "you're lucky, today it is in a good mood." No, you expect from the masters to be open and available.

You have your ideals (whether they are Gandhi, Winne the Pooh, William Munny or Jonas Blane ) of the desired qualities and a minimum fulfillment dream.

You would not accept a so-called teacher to be moody or biased.

It is not acceptable for one's hero to be stupid or malleable, weak or whiny.

You must therefore accept these ideal qualities for yourself.

You must accept to look for these qualities for yourself, your practice and your life: there is no reason for your ideals to only be fantasies, they are also values.

You must have an ideal of quality. "It is better to fail in trying to reach too high ideals than to manage to reach too low ideals" (Ali).

Now that you realize what you really want to aim at, accept to see where you are right now ... Look at the reality of what you need to do, of  what needs to change.

Look your pain in the eyes, the time of behaving like an ostrich is gone: it's time to accept.

Be indulgent with yourself: you do not need to suffer

We do not recognize the need to feel pain, to suffer for progress. No "no pain, no gain" for us.

This does not mean that we will not be faced with difficult times in our practice, but only what is necessary for our evolution.

If you practice every day, you are already in an introspective effort to understand tourself , which is laudable: recognize your values ​​in the same way as you became aware of your faults.

Do not judge yourself, practice.

Question: Ask for clarification on your Way 

You need a teacher to practice Shen Gong, those who practiced in "free style" will only do an active nap active.

The mind work is an exploration of the mind where a map (clear concepts) and a guide (competent teacher) are required.

Missing one or the other, it is not possible to go very far ... really!

Phenomena: Close Encounters of the Third Kind! 

In the sitting practices, the Shen Gong, a myriad of phenomena will manifest. Some are signs of a profound change in the Way, others are silly fabrications of the mind to distract you from the goal.

Some are more present than others, you know which ones. Do not be fooled, do not look for anything, ask and go in each sitting as the first time.

Phenomena are real and important, since you perceive them, but their usefulness or their messages may be worthless.

Take time to enjoy the vision of your mind, to know yourself, and live in an increased relaxation.

Have a good  Shen Gong.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Be sober, be vigilant

The Ultimate admonishment in Taoism, as in many Traditions of Spiritual evolution, is to stay Attentive, hence the admonishment to "awaken" in some currents.

This is also what is sought in the dream work, an activity in which one seeks to awaken in his dream without actually waking.

In order to allow the practitioner to always be attentive, be vigilant, we have many aspects of our reality that we want to study : therefore, every perception is associated with a knowledge of our Study .

We speak of the "Five Arts of our Study"

  • Mountain 山
  • Destiny 命
  • Divination卜
  • Medicine医
  • Observation相
These directing words, these characters, have a special meaning:

The mountain is the development of human qualities, our work for personal development, which involves the body, breath and mind.

We want to strengthen the body to survive the training, take root in the earth to accept the vagaries of our evolution and relax to manage our frustrations. These are the three traditional attributes of regulating physical health, stability and relaxation.

The breath work allows us to have a healthy relationship with our emotions and increase our overall vitality.

The exercises in the training of the mind allow us to approach true happiness, to really know and enjoy the immortality of the soul.

This is the action "Mountain", this vital research, but which may enclose ourselves on our little person ... And make us miss the rest of the universe.

The vigilance that we will develop with the understanding of "Destiny" is characterized by the recognition of oneself in others and the awareness of major structures of personalities.

Indeed, by learning the "Eight Pillars of Destiny ", BA ZI, we will identify personality types with specific behaviors to better interact with others.

If it is almost inevitable for a practitioner to know his Mandate of Heaven, it is also very useful to study this science to understand the people around you .

The search on personality types is a subject explored by many scientists and psychologists such as the Holland code, the Enneagram, the theory of psychological temperaments of Keirsey, the Kelly directory, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator...

This knowledge allows us to perceive the teachings of our Way in each recognized behavior : it is a very useful way to stay "awake" and streamline our daily lives.

Divination : under this somewhat esoteric term lies a living reality, the reality of probabilities. The richest teaching on this subject is the Yi Jing .

The "Book of Simplicity" teaches us the probability of changes based on the analysis of a situation. It is the most important teaching of our tradition.

This binary view of the world, with six levels of complexity, enables us to understand everything and to study everything, it is possible to translate everything in an alternating yin / yang structure. "A practitioner who knows the Yi Jing can not be surprised by changes in the world," he surfs on daily events, in accordance with the laws of nature.

This study has three levels and six aspects: it describes the judgments of the hexagrams, the law of numbers and time and keeps secret the use of Taoist Magic.

It is also a way of understanding the weather, emotions, close combat or armed conflict...

There are no limits to what the Yi Jing can teach, it is a real source of wisdom and understanding of the world. With the study of this book, it is possible to perceive anything with it's yin / yang components and always remain vigilant.

Chinese medicine and Taoist medicine allow us to understand the normal and pathological functions of our organization and to see the similarities with the movements of the universe. This study allows us to see each event in the body the Taoist theories in action, it is monitoring the teaching constantly.

One that understands the theories of these medicines is already advanced in the mastery of science and Taoist arts : indeed, they are the same associations and relationships that occurs in the other disciplines.

Traditional medicines concede a practical knowledge in the prevention of common diseases and lead to a successful healthy life : a good way to watch one's evolution over the years and live well one's senescence.

The observation has three distinct forms :

  • perceptible forms ( feng shui san ET)
  • temporal forms ( feng shui san yuan )
  • physical forms ( morphopsychology , Mian Xiang面相)
The feng shui "san he" is a study of the visible forms of one's environment, it is the science of the harmony of structures to capture energy as well as possible. It's like raising one's cell phone for better reception, we seek here to develop our environment to be the most receptive to the energy flux: it is the geomancy of ancient times .

The feng shui "san yuan" focuses on the rhythms and cycles as well as their perceptions. It is understing that the networks are more free at certain times and that it is best to avoid certain times of "rush ". It is the acceptance of natural cycles and the calculation of good dates.

The Mian Xiang, is a reading of faces to find specific psychological types, to read the emotional reactions in order to evaluate them based on the coherence of the discourse and discern certain pathologies on the body and face.

The overall Observation is a complete study on developing our world for a better life, an awakening to an awareness of forms and natural cycles, but also an education that allows to perceive others in the light of our practice, or to observe oneself to become aware of certain ignored behaviors.

That's it for  all of the arts of our school that enable us to stay awake, to make us see the world in a Practitioner's aspect and that does not leave room for servile torpor.

" Be sober, be watchful : your adversary the devil , as a roaring lion, walketh about , seeking whom he may devour . "

Peter 5:8

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Doing without trying

Intention plays an important role in the process that leads to a daily Practice.

Without desire, will or fantasy, it is difficult to go towards a Way or a  Practice.

Indeed, it is through personal research, to "change" that we go towards traditional exercises : for a better health, a certain vision of one's spirituality or even a martial research.

There is no right or wrong reason, but a conscious reason is a plus when starting on one's way .

These practical choices are uses of the egotistic mind, necessary to function in the world.

The choice of the style, of the teacher and of the practice time also depends on the use of the intellect and the mental, sometimes of the analysis.

But, in meeting a serious teaching, it is very useful, even essential, to know how to free oneself of it all. What was used for a specific action should be abandoned.

It is the story of the raft to cross the river : we do not keep with ourselves after going through... but yet ...

It is useful to remember the first few characters of Master Lu in his "100 characters"

养 气 忘 言 守
"Feed the Chi, Forget Talking, Keep"

What was useful to choose one's Way is often a problem in one's evolution : the mind, the ego, the monkey mind.

It will manifest itself in various forms, this compulsive mind, but mainly in three main types:

  • Imagination
  • Expectation,
  • Attachment.

The imagination, the mental fabrication fed by knowledge, surmises, plans, and predicts instead of letting us perceive.

We have an image of "we the practitioner" and we try to impose it to reality instead of letting go. We are thus  trying, in a silly way, to project to the world a fantasized image of ourselves. This can not really work and it  is all the more frustrating and generating lies, to others and to oneself. We are then blocked by our imagination in our fantasies.

With the habit of observing one's practice and one's life, we will have to distinguish between reality and imagination, this will allow us to actually enter the Way.

Expectation, linked to a projection into the future, stiffens us in an early conception of  "who we believe to be", our new "spiritual ego". This is obviously related to imagination, but stuck in a future representation.

We believe that everything will get better in a more or less near future, in a better life that is "going to happen ". We dream of an "improvement ", a transformation or progression, but later... In our minds, this can only happen "later", "when it will be different".

We can also put back the "serious" practice at a later date, more conducive to it, according to our mental mind.

However, we can only act in the present, we can only live instants, this idea of the future is an illusion.

Attachment is linked to the past, it is an unnecessary use of our memory, an inability to "let go" of the past to accommodate new experiences. This is directly related to our ability to grieve, to let go.

We love what we know, dread what is new... "In case it is not as good as before". We also have a false image of the past, idealized by an ego fleeing the present, this source of  it was better before", "I was better before"...

It is the same illusion as the illusion of the future, but turned towards the past .

To come back to this image of our self, linked to our attachment or to our expectation, we must surrender. We will seek to strengthen this false identity, to defend it and cherish it. All this will go against the teachings of the Way, but they are human reflexes against which we have to confront ourselves. In this context, there are three illusory choice that we can identify :

  • Want to do well,
  • Believing in one's intellect ,
  • Defending one's mental mind.

The idea of ​​wanting to do well is dangerous: it gives the illusion of doing what needs to be done, when we are against the current. We are opposed to the idea of ​​"non-resistance", so dear to the Taoists.

The Way should always be practiced in a clear perspective of one's research : presence , relaxation , perceptions ...

But wanting to "do well", we are victims of our imagination, forgetting what we are doing in the Way ; we find ourselves as tense as can be, stiffening the teaching. In a little period of time, we practice what we have made of the Practice, which is not really the Way. We interpret, we surmise, we create, imagine and move away from the essential.

While learning, it is possible to loose oneself in one's own interpretation of the Way, in a creativity that  strengths itself in the trust in its intellectual tool. We criticize, change and modify the Practices so that they are not too "disturbing", so that the Way is more comfortable ... the ego is a crafty one!

With a teaching that goes against one's prejudices, as it should be of any serious Way, the mind will defend itself : we will judge, criticize, discriminate. This "self-defense" of the ego, our strong compulsive thoughts, will relativize what we hear of the Way in order to make the Practice more convenient. This interpretation, often unconscious, is a way to hear what we want, which does not go against one's prejudices .

Whatever the obstacles, the fact of Practicing, even "wrongly", is already in the idea of the Way. It is important however to consciously look at one's research, discuss with one's teacher, to understand how to evolve. In the comfort of one's productive mental mind, believing in one's deep understanding, locked in irreconcilable prejudices, we remain prostrated in an ignorant stillness, but self-satisfied.

It is very easy to become a good student in forging a personality that is appealing on the outside, but the work is not that of pleasing or to reinforce one's egotistic state.

It is possible to downplay oneself, to play on a false modesty and criticize oneself constantly to hide one's enormous ego. This daily activity, semi conscious, enables us to get ourselves accepted by the world. Still officially discreet and modest, the ego knows the profound reality, everything happens inside. In this obvious dichotomy, the discomfort is often palpable and the Way becomes a showdown. It is often easy to see what is true , but always difficult to accept it. To practice the simplicity that we seek, we will have to let our guard down, to agree to show ourselves with our strengths and weaknesses.

In this new honesty, naked to the world, we can be born again.

This is the search of the Way, it is the "meeting" with oneself .

The teacher must know where the student is, if he does not, he can not make him benefit from the information contained in his Way. Old traditions have the answers for the blockages in the Practice. The expression of these solutions goes through the teacher. The teacher can not help unless he knows the concerns of the practitioner. The solution for an easy Practice, is a serious Way and a teacher who is primarily a practitioner with whom you communicate enough... it's simple.

In the learning phase, in accordance with the advice of the teacher, just follow the teaching.

Do not try to do well or to try stuff, you just have to do. This requires no judging, no criticizing, not speculating, just practicing.

It is not necessary to find the logic of the Way, to understand the structure of it, to know the lineage of the Professor... just practice.

Do not plan, analyze, wait , do not intellectualize, imagine or compare, do not talk, discuss or predict, do not be afraid or worse, have hope ... just practice.

When you do not know what or how to practice, you just have to go to your teacher.

The Natural ,自然, is a very interesting concept.

It is the emergence of what is already there, the realization of what has always been there, the waking of a conscious sleep.

This Natural has to be trained, it is not completely visible, it takes effort. It is not an accumulation towards an improvement, a progress or a development.

All these qualities are already there, present, but buried in the huge rubbish of an all powerful ego.

The Wath is not an accumulation, but eliminating the clutter.

"反 者 道 之 动"
"Return is the movement of the Dao"
says Lao Zi in Chapter 40, it's a return towards the simple.

The Practice must be the Natural, the Way and the Life must be united.

The simplicity of the practice is a requirement for the practitioner, this requirement depends on the communication with the teacher and the seriousness of the Way.

True relaxation, a clear perception and a quiet spirit are the qualities of the  Natural.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The changes of the Tao

Taoism is an ability to grasp the changes of the world and to blend with them in a "non action" necessary for a certain quality of relaxation.

The growth, the changes and the decline of phenomena and things, the natural cycles and the principles of creation / destruction , are in the image of the movement of the Tao.

This movement, Fan反, is a "reversion" , a "return " .

All that is necessary to know about the movements of the Tao is in Chapter 40.

This return to the spontaneous and natural, that existed before the attachment to one's self-image, is the Practice.

反 者 道 之 动,弱者 道 之 用
天下 万物 生于 有,有 生于 无

Reversion is the movement of Tao
Weakness is the expression of the Tao

All things under heaven come from the manifested ,
The manifested comes from the unmanifested .

"Fan", reversion , return movement, regression, in this context is similar to what we see in Chapter 25:
大 曰 逝
逝 曰 远
远 曰 反
Big therefore moving ( da shi yue )
Moving therefore at the origin ( yue shi yuan)
Antique therefore at the origin ( yue yuan fan)

You should see here a circular motion, endless, whose origin and end are the same.
It is the absence of progression, of addition. It's a search for simplicity, a willingness to do more than just learn.
This return leads back to the natural, what is already present, but demands to resurface .

The movement is a movement of return , not of evolution, in fact of evolution in the returning.

The fact of adding, of accumulating, can not go in the direction of a simplification.

The more you search, the more you find there is to search for.

It's an endless action that projects itself into the future, a linear representation.

The Return is a circular motion.

The weakness is that of the bamboo versus the oak, of water versus fire : a relative weakness that is a source of sustainability.

In chapter 43, it is said "What is soft overcomes what is hard ."

天下 之 至柔
驰骋 天下 之至
Under the sky, what is soft
Dominates what is hard (under Heaven)

This softness and apparent weakness can be found in the combat arts, armed or bare handed, in conflicting human relationships, in life in general.

Here, again we find the two terms "Wu " and " You" that we saw in Chapter 1.

无: Wu is what is not manifested, the origin of what is.
有: You is what is manifested, what is the domain of the ​​perceptible .

The manifestation takes its source in the "unmanifested absolute" unmanifested .

The world takes its source in the manifestation of Tao.
The Taiji symbol, the black and white circle with two points, is the representation of the movement of the Tao.

It is only about 500 years before JC that Zou Yan will shape this figure that we know so well... 1500 years after the beginning of the Yi Jing .

This representation is only interesting if we see the movement, the "return" of one of the absolute to the other, this dynamic interaction that defines the concepts of yin and yang.

This spiral, endless and onto itself, may contain this idea of reversion. It evolves and changes, but remains identical to itself, it is a representation of the cycles and changes the world.

This concise chapter gives us a lot of information on the practice :

The study is necessary, but it is not the practice
The basics are the most advanced practices
Returnning on what is "known" is a perpetual novelty
Attentive to life, everything is constantly changing in an idenical nature.
The movements and functions of the Tao are the sources of the change and transformations of the phenomena of the world.
Understanding this, in an enlightened observation, enables us to unite ourselves to the changes the world in an active non-action.

This understanding refers to the Yi Jing ( the Book of Changes ), the source of the Feng Shui (the geomancy).

This return to the roots is a human attempt to get as close as possible to the Tao without being able to reach it.

It is not possible to reach as it is in the unmanifested and the human is a manifestation of that.

As the eye can not see itself, what is created can not understand the creator.

After conception, the human being can only taste the De (德), the manifestation of the Tao and its expression in the world.

We can not see the true nature of what is not accessible to our understanding, on the contrary we can see its manifestations.

This chapter is a sublimation of the details of Chapters 25, more concise and precise while becoming more nebulous for the non-practicionner.

A wise man joked : " a non-practitioner has no more to do reading the Daodejing than a Japanese in a course of taijiquan ."

In the history of mankind, many phenomena have gone to their destruction after their heyday. We find the natural movement of reversion, creation / destruction dear to Lao Zi.

This is the principle of the natural cycles of our system.

It is interesting to note that in the Taoist idea of ​​changing phenomena, anyway, everything returns to the source. This return is the reason why we do not want a relationship to time (past and future), but an union with the present. This is the idea of the trip whose purpose is not the destination but getting there. The circular vision of Taoism as compared to the Western linear view.

Stillness , tranquility, relaxation and non-resistance will enable us to live in harmony with the changing world, to fully enjoy everything that comes in one's life, to return to the source without conflict. This active non-effort allows us to live in harmony with the Tao , unlike the mind that feeds on time and expectations, projections and questions , doubt and hope.

The weakness of the Tao is an apparent weakness: it is the concealed strength of water. Nothing is more fluid and seemingly weaker than water. In the techniques of martial arts, if the impact power is needed, the fluidity of movement is the source of the destruction of the enemy. This "natural " flow that is trainable is the power of water.

Furthermore, water has no form, it adapts to its container, as well as air. If the water is in a cup, it takes the shape of the cup, if the water is in the ocean, it takes the shape of the Earth. The air is the same. Water and air are the yin and yang of Feng Shui (Geomancy which means "Wind and Water" ). The Tao includes this yin and yang.

We see this in the study of the beginning of chapter 78 :

天下 莫 柔弱 于 水
而 攻坚 强者
莫 之 能 胜
以其 无 以 易 之

Under Heave, nothing is more adaptable and flexible than water
However, it erodes the strongest and stiffest
Nothing surpasses it for that

弱 之 胜 强
柔 之 胜 刚

The flexible surpasses the hard
The adaptable surpasses the rigid

The image of water is ideal to express this aspect of the Dao. If flexibility is important, the concept of adaptability is really the quality that leads to the return, to the simple. In the capacity of relaxation that is necessary to adapt oneself, there is already an beginning of return .

This is the "De" (manifestation of the Dao ) which is practiced and that points to the Dao, which can not be understood .

All this is interesting and demand something difficult, but essential : the Practice.

Everyone agrees that it is better to be relaxed, flexible and adaptable, but it is rare to see people practicing in this endeavor, which schedule their life in that direction.

Lao Zi already testifies of this fact in his time... and it remains valid nowadays.

In the remainder of chapter 78 :

天下 莫 不知
莫能 行

Under Heaven, everyone can understand that
Yet nobody does it practical

Chapter 78 ends with a sentence that contains a theme of Lao Zi :

正言 若 反

The expressed truth may appear paradoxical

We should not always believe what is expressed and not necessarily doubt either. We must not talk too much and not study too much, but we must acquire knowledge. What is perceived can be false, knowing this we must be attentive with our senses... all this has nothing paradoxical.

All that is said is consistent if it does not refer to an intellectual understanding, but to an understanding through direct experience, by one's personal practice .

This Taoist capacity that aims to blend in with the changes in the world demands for natural qualities to emerge, but they are dormant in every human being. It is therefore not about winning anything at all !

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Daodejing, the book that defines the « Dao »

Lao Zi was the first to define precisely the Tao, the Way and the De, the manifestation of the Way.

This path is rooted in the ancient China and the message of this teaching is found in many similar traditions even though they are geographically distant.

There is a shamanic aspect in the original Taoism, a non-dual vision that is far from the popular religious movement that we know today.

Therefore we'll see similar spiritual messages in the Shaiva Tantra of Cashmere, in some shamanism of North American Indians, or in some kabbalistic teachings.

Lao Zi will describe the essence of the Tao and the ways to touch it, live it, without really ever reaching it: we can not achieve perfection, we can only get close and perceive its manifestations (De) .

Changes in the Tao are described and they are in fact the essence of the Yi Jing, the books of changes, a treaty of the evolution of things in the world of perceptions, a work of internal alchemy : the Yi Jing is therefore the study of the changes of the world which are the expression of the Dao, the changes of the world are the "De" .

In its most manifested form, the most Yin, the Tao is at the origin of the creation of "things" and in its most yang form, it is not conceptualizable by our mind, too yang in regard to the absolute yang of the Tao.

In addition, there is a difference between the Way of Heaven, the set of phenomena that are beyond the understanding of man, but that are the search of the Taoist sage, and the way of Man, which is an expression of the discomfort of humans with themselves, fueled by competition, power and conflict .

You should know that the chapters are not part of the original text and the punctuation was also added well after it was written. Therefore, anything is possible with this text, nothing is wrong,  everything can be said... almost.

There are two fundamental concepts in the book of Lao Zi :

  • The Taoist cosmology, the understanding of the world, of its creation and its Changes
  • the practice of "Returning" to the Natural / Spontaneous

The only interest of a cosmology is to answer questions that our mind lays on the world.

Through an understanding of the world, useless, but necessary, we will be able to relax in a practice that goes beyond the conceptual mind, which complicates our lives with its compulsive thoughts.

By an intellectualization, so reassuring, we let ourselves fearlessly dive into the Practice, in the acceptance of our non-choice and non-resistance that goes without saying.

As understood here, the cosmology does nothing but helps us to practice, it gives us no answer apart from those which we do not care of, she decorates our universe of morbid thoughts, but it does not resolves our problem, a little... like a bouquet of flowers in a hospital room: it is useless, but it's nice; the drug drip, that is essential, but we do not think about it... as it should be of the Practice.

In this relative relaxation, we go to the Practice which is the one of  Returning (to the Natural).

The Return is the regression to our nature that is buried under layers of acquired reflexes, conditioned interpretations of a non-existing truth, of a mundane and trivial life that has distanced us from ourselves.

In addition, our ego and the importance that we give it will rebel against the teaching: we can not stand not being the center of the world and we prefer to flee the Way, rather than discovering ourselves in the horrible Truth.

By a "teaching in action", we will relax and make silence to listen to the world.

In this listening, the changes and phenomena will no longer be strangers to us and we will recognize them.

This recognition, while maintaining our cognition, enables us to return to a vital flow which brings us back to the spontaneous and the natural.

We are in the Way which unites us to the Way of Heaven, dear to Lao Zi.

It is obvious that all the book speaks of the Tao, but chapters 1, 4, 6 and 25 are the most expressive about the Essence thereof.

In Chinese, the Tao is a word that means "Way" or "Road", a person who follows the concepts of Taoism is a Practitioner, but only he who is Initiated is a Taoist .

Initiation is mandatory for being a "Taoist ", but being a Taoist linked to a lineage does not change one's practice... the initiation does not improve one's qualities.

But to be Taoist, one must be initiated and accepted by a lineage, otherwise, you are a practionner more or less engaged.

We can deduce that in ancient China , before Lao Zi , the "Tao" was a way of life, a course of action .

For Lao Zi, it is much deeper, thus he names the origin, all of which is visible and the rest.

Here we find an attempt to puts in concepts this possibility to conceive and merge in the changes and phenomena of the world, the return to the spontaneous and the natural.

We know this state, it is our origin.

Before we were born, but after our creation, we know that total union to the world through intrauterine life : after our arrival in the world, we continue to live in this "totality" during the first weeks.

After that we enter in a judgmental, discriminating and compulsive cognition that separates us more and more from the world, gradually but surely.

The "unique" image of ourselves that our immediate circle will impose us, will become our source of attachment, defended by our mind as a system of defense: the ego. The acquired will replace the innate and the conditioned will replace the spontaneous, we will do everything to be this image of ourselves that lives in our minds, but not the reality.

Compulsive thoughts will try to distract us, even to see us drown, in a flood that reassures us... that binds us to our image.

This attachment will give birth to the unique emotion that is the source of the others, the fear of disappearing, dissolving and not be "unique."

The state of peace and silence that is originally the "Te" from " Tao Te Ching ", this manifestation of the Tao, will be submerged by our worldly conditioning.

We can roughly define the essence of the Tao:
  • All the laws of nature
  • Eternity in space and time
  • Essence of all things, it can be " tasted " by the De, its manifestations
  • Origin of all the changes and all the phenomena
  • Everything in the Tao is moving, changing
  • Everything comes from the Tao so everything is One
  • unimaginable is still possible to get an idea of it by the intellect

It is interesting to see that it's a quest of the human being with himself, without Gods or Demons : we leave the traditional religious paths that give in this stifling duality (God Almighty and weak man), but we are entering a totality that gives the universe a unity.

My teacher said that Tao had five faces :
  • The Tao is the Space and Chaos
  • The Tao is the Origin of All Changes
  • The Tao is the Raw Material of the World
  • The Tao is invisible to the Spirit, but sensible by the Body
  • The Tao governs the laws of all phenomena

In 1973, in a tomb of the Han Dynasty (206 - . 180 BC) at Mawangdui (near Changsha, capital of Hunan), two copies on silk of  Lao Zi's text show differences and changes.

Chang Tao (Constant Tao) later turns in Heng Tao (Eternal Tao), but the difference is minimal in Chinese.

Whether it is "Chang" or "Heng", this description of Tao gives him eternal qualities, indescribable, deep, subtle, irreplaceable and unforgettable .

In the first chapter, there is in the first verse the whole doctrine of Lao Zi.

The most important here is this "You should not be confused !".

It is important not to confuse what we are talking about, the concept, and what is.

Only the Practice and the De, manifestation of the Tao, can be grasped and understood. In the text the Name is the Tao, in a more readable form, as a concept, the one we will discuss. It is possible to say that the difference between the Name and the Tao is the same as the difference between which doesn't have a form, which is not, and which has a form, which is.

Which takes a form takes it's origin in what does not, all things come of Heaven and Earth.

In the form and name, all things grows and "materialize" what did not have a form. The Tao is the source of what has no name or form, it is what can not even be explained.

"Wu" and "You" have no possible translation. Some say "what has no form" and "what has a form", others say "what is not" and " what is" or "non-being" and "being". We can use, in order to better understand it, the terms " manifested" and " unmanifested"... one is perceived by our senses, the other is a whole, a potential that is not in the world of human perceptions... or almost...

"Wu", in Lao Zi, is not the emptiness or the absence of things, it is the unlimited Space and Totality, which can not be grasped not our limited intellect. "Wu" is the domain of the Tao, the Way of Heaven, a totality which will include the world. "You" is the visible manifestation, by the senses, of things and their changes. These are two aspects of the Tao that can take the moments of Chaos of the Earth and Heaven before the creation of all things and the moment of creation itself.

The Taoist world according to Lao Zi is a non-dual and united world, manifestation the changing totality that is the Tao. This way to Heaven can be "touched" by a practice that follows the Taoist teachings. In a subtle and fleeting Communion at first, the Sage guides his life. The flow of the Tao carries the practitioner in an  existence without resistance to the natural changes such as Zhouang Zi's swimmer.

The terms "Heaven and Earth" are used in Chinese to describe Nature and the Universe as a whole. One is the playground of the man and the other the immensity that surrounds him.

The term "Wan", "10,000 things" should be understood as "all things ," "the myriad things." In ancient texts, "10000" is the way to express what is huge, what can not be counted. It was a source of much misinterpretation, the Chinese scriptures are full of figures that are symbolic and non-descriptive.

From the beginning of the text, Lao Zi does as Lu Dong Ping in its "hundred characters tablet" and says, " Shh! , Shut up and practice !".

The first concept is that the Tao can not be understood or expressed, so, you might as well shut up and practice. A remark of more than 2500 years which tells us not to believe what is said or written, but find ourselves the source of all things.

This understanding of silence leads to another error too often "new age", this modern idea of a teaching without a master.

The too present information, and work too rare, gives rise to intellectual and patched up arts that will strengthen the ego mind instead of dissolving it in a desirable silence. Without initiation, no Taoist, without master no disciple.

Those who practice alone a way of Taoist inspiration are a "prospective student", but are not yet "in" the Way.

But what can not be named, 5000 ideograms will be traced by Lao Zi to make us understand it.

There is a dynamic movement that emanates from the Tao, a "non- form" towards a "form", a manifestation of the invisible towards the visible, from totality to Unity. The Absolute manifests itself in a sensible world to which we belong. We find in it the inner duality between our buried natural and our bright conditioning.

The two faces of the same coin , "Wu" and "You" will interact as the name and its object or thought and action.

Before Lao Zi, in the ancient shamanistic China, two terms could be at the origin of  the Tao:

  • Tian Tao (Celestial Tao)
  • Tian Ming (Celeste Destiny)

It's fun to see how many philosophers try to understand the Tao.

Writings can not advance the understanding of what can not be named, only the practice of the "De" can touch the Tao.

But practitioners write too little, they are busy practicing.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tempus Fugit

"The fate of man on earth is that of a soldier,
    His days are those of a mercenary.
    As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow,
    As the worker looks for his wages ,
    So I have to possess months of pain , I have my lot of nights of suffering.
    I lie down, I say, When I get up to ? When finish the night ?
    And I am full of agitations until daybreak .
    My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust ,
    My skin is broken and dissolved.
    My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle ,
    They vanish : more hope !
    Remember that my life is a breath! My eyes do not see happiness. "

Job 7

We are in a period of change which requires to be particularly attentive to one's actions and values.

It's time to make the Way spill on the other, on the world : it is time to share and to engage in the positive evolution of our universe.

The evolution of all depends on the evolution of each: the profound change of the group must go through an awakening of the individual. 
The upheavals of the group, which reacts and is indignant can only bring a fragile change of society, the same cycles are constantly repeated. 
For a profound change, for a stable evolution of our world, we must go through a personal effort of self-transformation. 
The challenging our prejudices, the search for a better personal functioning, an increased knowledge of the other, an involvement in the world and a better observation of our world will allow this. 
Above all, we must accept to change, to evolve : let's recognize that we do not know everything and that we need to move towards a better and that we have to work on it.Our imperfections, our pathological ways, all this can go towards a better, a realization of our human potential. 
Let's accept that we can take care of ourselves better, that we can change certain behaviors with others, that our work can also be a source of joy, that nothing is fixed... we can change everything in our lives if we want to. 
We are human beings, we have physiological, respiratory and mental workings: insofar as we try to better understand its functions, we will know what to do to better function.Why not take advantage of our existence as human beings and have the best experience possible ? 
Let's enjoy our life fully, realizing ourselves and improving our consciousness: let's know our strengths and our weaknesses to highlight the first and fix the second. 
Let us not just settle down for what is, but let's tend toward the ideal of what we can be instead... and for that we need to work on the aspects of what makes us human. 
If we understand this need to work on ourselves, to try to improve, we have taken the first step . 
This first step is crucial, it determines our ability to seek evolution, it is our strength to change what does not suit us in our lives, in our interactions with others and in our daily lives . 
Without this awareness, we will not move away from our habits and we will remain in an imperfection seen as a punishment. 

We can not be perfect, it is also the beauty of our incarnation, but we have to go towards it and never stop evolving. 
Then comes the personal practice : it's pretty simple. 
We are an entity body/mind/vitality, an ensemble body/mind that has the breath of life . 
It is therefore possible to work one's body, breath and mind, to operate at our full potential. 
Nothing spiritual or new age here: if our body works better, if we know the rules of life to better take advantage of it, our life is easier. 
Much of our health problems come from our bad habits and our abandonment of our body... we just have to have the knowledge and do it, to solve this.

The practice of breathing is natural: without breathing, life is less fun ... 

But a practice of conscience in the breath allows a better understanding of it and a quickly increased vitality. 
Without mentioning the physiological effects that are a demonstrated reality, of a conscious breath work, the pleasure of spending time breathing calmly is a great opportunity. 
The work of the mind is not meditation, it is just the training of the functional components of our mind. 
Without going into deep detail, training the mind allows a more available spirit, more stable emotions and a better grip of the world. 
The clearer our perception of the world, the best it is possible to see the reality and the changes of the world, and to streamline one's life. 
The work on oneself combines all of these aspects : body, breath and mind. 
The work of one's profound qualities depends on this work. 
This evolution of our own nature will allow to better know the other : our relationships with others will result. 
In addition, learning specific lessons (bazi , for example), can allow us to understand how personality types work and to interact intelligently with them all. 

A better relationships with others, an effort of behavior even with people you do not understand, sharing with everyone, all this shapes a nicer world around us. 
In this relational effort, we act directly on the positive evolution of our universe . 
We are in a period where sharing is an obligation: we must be willing to give to those who need it. 
Selfishness is not acceptable, the times demand evolving and opening to others. 
We must give, especially the rest of us, the " lucky ones", we can not close our eyes to what can happen either in front of us or 5000 km away from home. 
Our commitment is needed to develop ourselves. 
Let's move towards each other, share, give... time is no longer to eyes wide shut, it is our duty as a human being to act now. 
All this confronts us to the need to properly observe the world : not staying focused on oneself, but reacting and reflecting on possible actions. 
Let's look at the realities of our world, it's injuries and evolution to act in the best sense : let us set to this important task for our next days. 
We are at the end of another year, in a cycle that accelerates, it's time to do more.Happy holiday season to all, in consciousness and measured excesses.
(Translator's note: this was published on Christmas originally).

    He who knows how to walk (in the Tao ) does not leave traces , one who speaks does not commit mistakes ;
    Those who can count do not use calculation tools ;
    He who knows how to close (something) does not use a lock, and it is impossible to open ;
    He who knows how to bind (something ) does not use ropes, and it is impossible to unbind.
    Hence the Holy constantly excels in saving men, which is why he does not abandon the men.
    He constantly excels in saving people , which is why he does not abandon beings.
    This is known to be doubly enlightened.
    That is why the accomplished man is the master of those who are not.
    The man who is not accomplished is the aide of the virtuous man .
    If one does not esteem his master, if the other one who is not fond of whom is his help, when we would give them great care, they are plunged into blindness.
    Here is what is most important and most subtle !

    Daodejing , Chapter 27

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's inventory time!

"What is it then, brethren? When you come together , everyone he has a hymn, or a statement, a foreign language, a revelation, an interpretation ? Let all things be done for edification. "
Corinthians 14 : 26

We live in an extraordinary world, in fact for the first time since the beginning of humanity all the traditions and all the teachings are at our disposal.

All this information at our disposal, it is also more confusion and a great temptation to be distracted rather than a maturing through a sincere practice.

Not only all the information is at our disposal, but the world itself is in a big change, at the end of a cycle, at a time when anything can happen, whether it is the best or the worst.

In this profound change in our environment, we are directly implicated, directly responsible, closely linked to the evolution of our world.

In this era where it has become difficult to take responsibility of one's actions, where it is fashionable to blame others for our sins, we have a role to play in choosing the world of tomorrow and become its active participants.

It is time to put aside the complaints and grievances and to shape together our immediate environment.

As practitioners of a spiritual path, researchers of the human condition, we have even more responsibility and more of a role to play.

Our way encourages us to know ourselves and go towards the other with more openness, with a developed empathy and a recognition of human qualities.

This interaction with the other will directly affect the quality of my environment, these relationships that weave my universe.

But we must go further, we need to work on our immediate environment, we need to seek to develop a greater harmony in our houses, our neighborhoods, our cities, our countries.

Some interactions are not chosen, they are related to my work and to the demands of my life, but through a better understanding of others, through the study of psychology and of the interaction between people, it is possible to go in the direction of non-resistance, to apply the way of Taoism to the least playful moments of my day.

For this purpose, what are the tools available to me?

Above all, there is the work on oneself, understanding one's qualities and defects, the path of introspection that allows us to know ourselves.

Through this work, over time, we will develop a deeper understanding of ourself and by extension of the other.

By learning and through the exercises of the Bazi, a precise science of the study of personality types and their interactions, we will know how to get our message across and how to appreciate the information provided by others.

This knowledge of the pillars of wisdom, of the pillars of destiny ,help us to see our blocks and limitations as well as those of the others.

We can thus understand how to convey information and how to assimilate another based on our common faults and using our known qualities.

The Bazi is the solution for an easier communication and the disappearance of misunderstandings between people who are struggling to understand each other: it is an essential tool for our relationship to the world.

In addition it is possible to arrange the world, one's apartment or office, one's house or garden, to be in line with who you really are, or what you want to do.

This is another ancient science: the Feng Shui !

The study of the influence of our immediate environment, of the forms of nature, of the movements around us, but also of the cycles of time, all this allows us to better integrate ourselves and to better find our place .

It is thus possible to perform one's work with greater ease, to boost the chances of one's success, but also to open up more opportunities.

It is therefore important to work on yourself, to strengthen his body and your mind clear, but also to develop your vitality.

To go further, you can also turn to the Taoist astrology, the  Ziwei Du Shu, which is a more esoteric study of which the practical aspects are harder to see.

In contrast, the art of selecting dates and the morphopsychology provides a major advantage in one's ability to interact with one's environment.

Non-resistance is primarily the subtle art of blending in the changes of the world and it has nothing to do with immobility or paralysis.

The Taoist teachings of our school are based on the principle of the Human being between Heaven and Earth, a work of the Body, of the Breath, and of the Spirit, but also a work of human qualities to be able to turn to the Heaven (astrology) and to the Earth (geomancy) .

Sometimes it is good to realize that the work on a path of spiritual evolution is not only a way to get stronger or healthier, to develop one's own merits, but also to take an active part in the responsibility of the construction of the world.

Today despite the proliferation of modern means of communication, the constant videos and the unnecessary and constant feedback, people have never had so much trouble to talk to each other.

Being on a Way, in a tradition or a personal research, it is trying to do better, to understand, to share.

Let's use every mean given by our tradition, all the results of the research we've done, everything that can help to shape a better world, everything that can encourage people to also enjoy the spiritual aspect of the human being.

Acedia is a disease of today more than ever and if the human being does not look at the Heavens he is amputated of half of his capabilities.

The spiritual is also the imagination, the dreams, the aspirations and this great capacity the human being has to move forward, whatever the conditions.

When we make a daily effort to better our behavior, when we try to share honestly with someone of our environment, it is impossible not to see a rapid evolution of our world.

The study of the spiritual paths should be practical, usable by all to enjoy a more fluid life and a profitable blending in the changes of the world .

Check what we study, analyze our research, let all this be practical and usable so as to not to fall into the trap of spiritual materialism or the futility of intellectual construction: a path of spiritual evolution must be practical and usable.

If today the form is in the spotlight, let's got back to the substance in order not to lose sight of the qualities that lead to happiness.

In the waning year, it is good to make an assessment and to reflect on what is being done and to think and plan the coming year: the winter introspection is the source of dynamism in the spring.

It is good as a practitioner to ensure that we have all the tools to advance in one's way and all of its knowledge remains practical and usable.

In the Taoist calendar, we have just finished the period at the beginning of winter, and we are now going into a particular period which is called the "small snow" : this is the beginning of the winter introspection where we must lay down the subject matter of our reflection for  for the winter solstice. (Note, this text was originally published on November 22 2013).

Learn about a practice, strengthen your research, think about your teaching or then again pray, but enjoy this time to prepare a year of dynamism and evolution.

"Once the Tao prevailed . The man followed the order of nature .
Then it happened a time when Tao was forgotten and it was then the era of human justice .
Then came the era of intelligence and skill and ambition knew no bounds.
Peace left families.
But it is in adversity that prove the dutiful son .
The state fell into disorder.
But it was during the anarchy that arise loyal servants.
Thus, the Tao is always close to the man to help him. "
Daodejing chapter 18