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Friday, April 21, 2017

Paying attention


For those who have a daily practice, 
it is useful to think about refining their time spent on the Way

In concentration, which is useful early on to avoid distractions, a "tunnel" type of focus is created, nothing else exists except the object of our concentration, even though it only lasts two or three seconds.

This "confinement" over our action automatically reduces our other perceptions: for example, a motion will be the focused center of all our perceptions, and of our compulsive thinking, during the time of our effort.

This works fairly well, but in general, the concentration can not hold for a long time ... and when it stops, everything disappears. The explosion of distractions can even make us forget the original object of our concentration.

Although it is important, concentration is a "tension", a way of doing by "strength." No way of doing by duress has sustainability, it is impossible to live in these conditions because it is not "natural."

When we learn a physical movement, without having gone through the acquisition of the "gong fu", we need to focus not to forget. We also need to repeat the gesture often enough to make it "enter" in us. For most people, a movement done with a certain amount of tension will be felt more easily: the tension gives a stronger feeling.

In general, an unknown movement will create a tension and ask us an effort that is not really related to the required physical demand: we push to successfully copy the gesture, in resistance against our problems of flexibility and of coordination. When the motion is acquired, we should normally use the right "amount" of strength for the required effort.

If we keep the same physical tension at each execution of the learned movement, we hurt ourselves, we tense ourselves. But it will never actually happen because the physical pain calls us to order and we fear it enough to avoid it and not to push ourselves too far.

For the mental, emotional and intellectual part of learning, we use a form of "tension" to acquire the gesture: it is concentration.

Moreover, it is easier to stay "focused" throughout our practices, throughout our lives, while injuring ourselves, as internal difficulty creates another form of pain than physical pain. It's a pain that we are able to keep and accumulate precisely because it is less physical and at the same time seemingly less serious.

Concentration, while useful for the entry into a practice, can become a source of tension and stiffness in the Shen (mind) and even be harmful for the health (at least it can prevent from reaping the benefits of a practice oriented towards health...).

A practice that requires too many details at the same time, that seeks the perfection of the gesture, can not bring relaxation. In the learning phase, it is very important to make progress slowly but constantly. If the research is that of perfection, that does not exist, we work in a vacuum: it never bring anything, except a certain morbid rigidity.

On the other hand, unable to focus, feel and reproduce a movement, the tendency is to seek  a mental satisfaction for compensation: we watch videos, we search for the "advanced levels" and the secrets of the hidden arts... forgetting at the same time the most important: distinguishing right from left.

This text is not an encouragement to say that you just have to relax (do nothing!) And that "it" will come by itself (well of course!) ... This is not the case. No confusion possible with the beginning of this text "For those who have a daily practice, it is useful to think about refining their time spent in the Way."

"Attention" is relaxed concentration

We find in "attention" the benefits of concentration, but in a more open way than in a "tunnel vision". It is obvious that in the beginning the problem lies in this opening which is likely distracting.

In a daily practice, the learned gesture requires a minimum effort. It requires concentration to "understand" and a certain amount of tension for the first executions. By contrast, it must quickly take less effort, and to enjoy our practice we have to stay in this economy.

We must do the same for our practice: it must be integrated into our daily lives, but must reside in the usual attentive than in the concentration. And we reduce the adding of tensions to gain relaxation.

It's easy to wallow in tension, because it allows to better feel. It is a form of laziness of the senses that develops easily. Strong feelings, strong emotions, buggy jumping, weight lifting ... all these ways to "feel alive" can prevent us from enjoying the simple perceptions of everyday life.

In our Taoist approach, relaxation in practice leads to a kind of mental silence and physical relaxation that allows us to really enjoy our life. The simplest perceptions amaze us, the constant attention is growing and we really live.

Training in concentration, in an overall stiffness, annihilates the benefits of our physical practice and condemns us to flatter our ego to receive an intellectual satisfaction: but we are here in a illusory and harmful practice.

Attentive to what we have learned and accepting the need for concentration necessary for our growth, we must move towards relaxation and the simple: body and mind can not remain under tension under penalty of increased suffering. We have to accept the structured letting go of the Way and practice.

If we can not resonate with the Practice, 
isn't there most likely a chance that the problem 
comes from our understanding of the Way
rather than from the Way itself?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The importance of Reality in the Immorality of the Mundane

The Practice is the search for self, in the world, in relation to others.

Wether it is religious, mystical, philosophical or atheist, the process of introspection, observation and interaction is based on a work on the self. 

In observing oneself in action, in our daily lives, it is possible to improve our behavior every day.

It is too rare to question the value and importance of this type of teaching and research. 

The Practice we are talking about here is a Way of Life, adapted to humans of yesterday as well as today, a Way that finds its place in the world by living as close as possible to the ideal we have of ourselves.

This conscious approach must be done daily, it is a work of every second.

Many people find it boring, oppressive, to have  to practice every day, they want more freedom and flexibility.

They want to do what they want, when they want, without pressure.These "free" practitioners are often those who complain of the way, those who criticize the effectiveness of the tradition, such as the ignoramuses with a piece of technology that surpasses them.

And there are those who work and are silent, those who do: they do not complain, they practice.

The Sacred you give to the Practice, the importance that you attach to it, is the source of what you will reap.

The more you treat this research with serious and discipline, the more you'll get back. Let's be honest: you'll get what you put into it.

In case you are engaged in a way that does not suit you, a tradition that is not what you want, be strong:

STOP EVERYTHING! 

 If you are not really honest with yourself and with your choice of practice what do you believe that this Way will offer you?

You  must also see that you should not look at the teacher as an example of the practice, he is the vector of it: the more he practices himself, the more you see the Way through him. 

The experience of the teacher only concern him, his experiences are his own and copying them will be of no use to you.Your search is on yourself, on the profound discovery of your reality and the observation of your life: what do think you'll learn by mimicking and pretending?

Be engaged in a personal and sincere research with other members of your group, move without worrying about others and without comparing to each other.

The discipline you put in the withholding of judgment; in personal commitment, and in managing the priorities of your life, will give you the result you'll get from your Way.

Obviously this is difficult, of course it is not easy, and fortunately it requires a genuine effort: what do you learn without effort? 

What is results of nothing...? Not much! 

In this time of change and upheaval, in this time of questioning and questioning of values, only introspection and healthy interaction with each other can bring lasting happiness.

You know what does not work, you can try lying to yourself, but you know.

Let's clarify our attitude, rectify our actions, agree to be responsible for them and let's walk on a Way that changes our lives.

Again, if we pretend, mimic or lie, practice will only bring frustration and wasted time. 

This search for understanding of self, others and the world is a natural tendency of our nature, a desire to go further for an invigorating conscience of living. 

Again, you'll get from your practice what you put in, you will change depending on your efforts, there's no magic for the couch potato, no transformation for the tourist.

Choose, but apply your choice: it is not advisable to complain if we are behind our deficiencies, behind our ills. 

There is something transcendent in the Practice, it can profoundly change who you are and how you live your life, but it must be given a place of choice. 

It's like a mover who is not allowed space to work or who is not allow access to all the rooms: he'll clean and clear only that which is available.

Involvement in a Way is a choice, but also an opportunity: serious Practices are rare.

If you are in a personal quest to know yourself and allow yourself to better interact with others and the world, are you aware of the importance of it?

In this new year, it is time to realize the importance that one wants to give his path, his life, not by ad hoc research of ephemeral pleasures, but the attempt to live better by building a better world.

However, it is possible to do nothing and be led by the worldly, to seek the bright, without going any further ... 

But then we must accept what life sends us.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Well … What do we do, then?


The path we try to follow demands to pass by precise stages if we want to be able to evolve, without being stopped in our run-up by blockings from diverse origins.
We have three big stages, which can be decomposed into five small ones:

   It is necessary to regulate and to make the body work, this with the aim of strengthening     it, relaxing it and grounding it.
   It is necessary to regulate and to calm the spirit so that its tendency to scatter is transformed into a tendency to concentrate.
   It is necessary to identify and to regulate the energy, allowing it to circulate freely, to be unlimited.

Regulate the body demands to unify two groups of practices: the work on the body and the one on the breath:

Work on the body

Strengthening the body
The strengthening of the body is made by methods of chi kung (dao yin) or by the arts of fight. There are the same movements which will serve in any levels of practice.

Relaxing the body
The same exercises of strengthening allow, done differently, to relax the body. This relaxation is at first superficial, then it settles down in the everyday life.

Grounding the body
By the practice of the static postures, holding the tree, we are going to be able to verify its relaxation and its strength in an unequalled method of grounding.

Work on the breath

Identify the breath
Before going further into the breath work and because of our crazy city-dweller's life, it is necessary for us to look at our breath before being able to play with. Most of us live in half an apnea as soon as we go out in the street.

Conscious abdominal breath
By this abdominal, natural and original movement, we find little by little young the usage of our lungs. The exchange with the universe finds itself slowly and an incredible energy brushes us.

Conscious inverted abdominal breath
It is the breath of the action, the active movements and the exercises yang. It is a natural way to exchange and to generate more energy with the outside of the body.

Work on the spirit

In the work of regulation of the mind we shall include the listening, emotion and the 
intention:

Observing the functioning of the mind
To calm the mind it is necessary to go out of our capacity to produce thoughts in chain, for that it is necessary to observe it before being able to regulate it.

Regulation of the emotion by internal alchemy
It is the exercises which allow to take and to understand the emotions as a demonstration of the energy and to sublimate them.

Work on the intention
After regulating the spirit and being able to understand our emotional functioning, we feed our intention of this energy "recycled".

Work on the energy

The energy exercises bring a free circulation of the energy in the body, but also offer a possibility of a free exchange between the inside and the outside.

Opening of the small energetic circulation
The usage of the energy is exhausting if it does not circulate freely in the whole body. Thanks to the small circulation, our energy becomes fluid, but we are Limited to play only with our own energy.

Opening of the big energetic circulation
By this practice, we establish the communication between the outside energy and the energy of our complex body/spirit. It is an inexhaustible source of energy, usable or to store.

Return has a global and free energetic circulation
After having practicing the previous exercises, and by internal processes, we are going to allow this exchange without the intervention of the will, but naturally.

The spiritual practices

The continuation of the training concerns spiritual practices which all use what we studied before. But we shall see that somewhere else 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Three Doors to Scrutinize the Frame of Existence

In traditional Taoism, Luck is a complex issue, which may require a study.

We talk of a luck that is given to us, one that we need to understand and a last one to be cultivated.

The fact is that all this can be a deep work to understanding the world and it's existence.

Why "work" on our luck chance when in our glittering West says "you have it, or not"?

The Taoist vision of the human being between heaven and earth is clear, it asks us  to look at the Heaven, the Earth and Ourselves, the filling of the "Cosmic Sandwich".

We will see that even if the vision of luck may seem uneven or frozen, every aspect that we understand can be used to better live one's life: once again, we are responsible for our lives.

There is no need to hide or lie, shirk or sulk, pretend or cheat... Our life and its complexity remains the same, our work to be happy too.

The only way to be truly happy comes from within, from our gaze and our perceptions of the world, but it is possible to give a sense to it all, to use Luck in its three aspects.

The concept of Luck in Taoism is threefold:
  •     The Luck of Heaven
  •     The Luck of Man
  •     The Luck of the Earth

The Luck of Heaven is what we have been given, a subtle mixture of a forgotten choices, of family mixtures and of an heavenly destiny.

This luck we can understand through being delivered one's Celestial Mandate and through understanding it.

Learning how to computing one's Celestial Mandate allows us to see the mechanisms of what was given to us, and the means to interact with this given.

From this work, it is possible to attain a better coordination with the Universe and a better timing for our actions... The calculation of beneficial dates, the Forecasts and other practical work.

This is the ultimate understanding of non-resistance, Wu Wei, the ability to work actively with the fluidity of one's existence in the world changes.

What is our responsibility through our family, everything you wear without having chosen it, is one aspect of our Luck of Heaven: indeed, we only deserve an incarnation by accepting to carry it's weight.

It is often difficult to accept what is forced on us, but it is the fairest and most perfect way for our lives. That does not mean it's a party every day ...

Exceeding our innate family burden is the base of a work on the Celestial Mandate: how can I pretend to understand the Way of Heaven if I can not even overcome its earthly manifestations?

The delivery of the Mandate of Heaven is an important moment, which can be done several times, and that requires much thought and a good deal of acceptance.

It is then possible to calculate or ask for Rectification of it, a series of very specific traditional councils, depending on the structure of one's personality, to go directly confront the disappointments of one's incarnation.

Rectifying this is a provisional draft of what the Judge of Feng Du will present us before the Mirror of Contemplation: a precise work to do now or later in the workshops planned for this purpose...

The forgotten choice does not really concern us here

The Luck of the Earth is the Feng Shui and the complex attributes of the "dragon veins".

In understanding the flow of energy, the harmony of forms and the relationship of certain individuals with certain places, we can learn to live in places that suit us and adjust those that annoy us.

The classic appearance and meticulous science of Xuan Kan Yu, the classical Feng Shui, will allow us to study the four aspects of traditional geomancy

  •     The compass and its advice
  •     Time and space according to one's mandate
  •     Adaptation to natural forms
  •     The flow of Qi according to the other three aspects.

This will explain why we always train in the same place, why we always fight in some places and why people should avoid living together.

Accepting our life imperfections, the Luck of the Earth, merges us in the "post natal" world changes, but tries to teach us about unification.

This work on the world around us is by far the most complex, but also the most systematic and the most structured: by just applying the rules, it is surprisingly feasible.

But what remains within our reach, is obviously the Luck of Man, it is our practice, our search of knowledge of ourselves.

This practice must be global and be perfectly aligned with the other two Lucks, Heavenly and Earthly.

The full vision of our presence in the world, of the facets of our incarnation, of the world around us, of the complexity of the changes of the world and the shadow of our immortality, all this is the subject of our study.

It is a breath of sustainability that leads us in this daunting task, a desire to overcome our worldly simplicity and to aspire to something else than what is bright and sweet.

This work is the encounter with what is Greater, with what makes the world works, with the origin of our willpower.

This traditional view is really suited to today's world,  it just asks to remain open and available to the teachings and to searching.

As my understanding of my various Lucks is assimilated, the more I know what I need to do, the more my corrections are active in this life, the more my days are fluid: I consciously go toward my own happiness and it is possible for me to irradiate that on my loved ones.

These Lucks are potentials, it is possible for me to unlock, exceed and enjoy

Again, responsible for my happiness and the happiness of my family, it is possible to shape one's world: brighter and more free.

    "Act as free men, not as men who make freedom as a pretext for evil"
    Epistle of St. Peter

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"Monkey Mind" : Tourment of our Perceptions

We are constantly in connection with a noisy part of our mind that comments, judges and compares everything that we perceive.

This internal "little judge" prevents us from living fully our senses, as a negative filter in front of a camera lens.

This "integrated" commentator  is a sure way to always continue to "fabricate thought."Our mind is a tool that can be useful, but unfortunately it is often we that are in the service of the tyrant.

It is not useful to think our perceptions, it is very tiring to do so, it is a serious waste of energy

"This is normal" you will tell me, it is absolutely normal to think constantly, it is what makes us human. And yet, many people in different cultures and living on this earth at this moment do not think the same thing.It is normal for us Westerners, to think all the time, just as it was normal for the inhabitants of Easter Island to fell trees in order to worship their gods or for the Inca to sacrifice young women.In the moment it seems to be the only "right" way to live, but that's because we do not know anything else. And well, the Taoist Way offers us return to the perception, to silence and relaxation.

We have different "facets" that we present to others, we have our inner voice that comments our every move and we have something else ... this Observer can sometimes realize our conduct, before being himself commented by our mind and its compulsive thoughts.

The Daoist give a name to this "sicko" who speaks constantly in our minds: the Monkey Mind. As a young insane ape, this entity will pounce on every perception and every thought to make a little more of it, like a treat.

We have all already seen a madman in the street or the subway, speaking to himself. We often tell ourselves "... it's sad." Well, at the bottom  of it, we're not so different from him...We do not do it loudly, but we are in the same dynamic.

We can even sometimes think so strongly that the body, deprived of energy and attention, remains paralyzed, dazed.

Motionless, we dedicate all our attention and force to the frenzied character that saturates our mind with noise.

Many traditions speak of this, some call this part of the mind: ego.What is the ego? It is the attachment to the character that we believe to be.

The ego is the strength of our individuality that wants to be important, it is the way we capture the world.Einstein, who was clairvoyant, said that the ego is the "optical illusion of the mind". We need the mind to act in everyday life, but much less than what we think.

One could even go further by assuming that the ego is only useful at the beginning of our evolution only in order to be overcome.

We have obviously been stuck in this stage of evolution for some time, knowing that the Daoists already talked about this 4000 years ago...

For some years now, the rebirth of spiritual movements has given us the opportunity to have the information to do the job: getting rid of our ego mind and going to a different ethical life.

The source of our ego is our "box", a set of concepts and prejudices that accrues from moment we start being aware of our name. Around the child's development, people will qualify, criticize or praise the little one who will take a good portion of the information as "valid and serious".

In agreement or reaction, in the need to be important and different, the rest of the development of the psyche (mind) will be done by accumulating and adding information.

This conceptual morass, federated by the importance of our name, will create us a nice ego that wants to survive ... for that,  it has at his disposal the mind.

The creation of compulsive thinking will help to keep the ego in a noisy well being by setting the clear limits of an "acceptable" personality.The desire to be right, to be important, to shine and win are ways to strengthen our ego and to make sure of its strength.

The confrontation with what has no limits, the infinite, or non-duality or to the fact of not being the most important thing in the universe ... All this is a threat to our ego.

Spiritual paths seek this freedom in the acceptance of a union with world and the ephemeral nature of the human being... it's not going to please our Monkey Mind.We all experienced an "empty mind", a silence when seeing something beautiful, a pleasure which short-circuited the mental mind...

But that was commented in the following second not to lose foot, not to lose our limits.

The Practice seeks to install these moments in place of our alienated mind and use our mind in the framework of  its function: thinking.

Here you are for an introduction to this madman that dominates our minds

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Building the Internal, Stalked by Shadows

According to Taoist theory, we are searching for three profound realizations that will transform us to take us back to our natural "Unity" : we will discuss here one of these three realizations.

During the creation of the individual, according to Taoist theory, the "gate of life" (ming men) is the first point in space that the human being will occupy.

Upon the meeting of the jing (essence) of the parents, and through the presence of a spark of the Universal Spirit (yuan shen), there is creation of a new living being.

From this "gate of life", the axes of existence are created: first the "high - low" axis (chong), then the "front - rear" axle (ren and du) and finally the horizontal division of the belt (dai).

The projection of this "gate of life" on the front of our body is the center of our lower "elixir field" (dan tien), a few inches below the navel.

This center is a gift of our humanity, a rapport to earth, to our manifestation and it constitutes the ability to vitalize our body by the force of the Yang that energizes our mind / body.

Like it or not, whether one is aware of it or not, 
this center is there,  perfectly developed and available.

If you put your attention on it, without superhuman efforts, the sensation of this center is available to all, at every moment.Just being aware of this center of cinnabar enables a multiplication of the vitality of the body, of our being's energy, a realization of our true way of functioning, often blocked by sick behaviors.

This center is perfect from the beginning of our lives and will remain perfectly opened until our death. On the other hand, by conscious attention to it, it is possible to understand and realize this perfection.

The awareness of the perfection of the bottom center, by direct experience of internal alchemy, gives what is called "the achievement of water and fire" (kan - li): there are 9 steps to work on, the first being conscious breathing with a sensation of this center (embryonic respiration).

This is a precise job that is prepared as a fine dining dish, where technique must be learned with details and in a precise order.

Within a serene and full of love family atmosphere, the second center, the heart, may develop.

This middle center, contrary to the bottom one, is not formed without internal and external actions.

It will depend on the love that we will be given and the ability to perceive that love: it is possible not to feel the positive emotions around us if certain other emotions overwhelm us (fear, anger ...).

Our relationship with our emotions and our balance in our relationship 
with others will depend on this middle center.

If the bottom center determines our basic operation, the fluidity of our physiological functioning, the middle center will be responsible for our emotional life.

In the case that we have an emotional center handicapped by a heavy family history or a bad perception of emotions due to heavy childish emotions, it must be built with an introspection of our internal functioning.

This is the basis of our character and of our ability to establish rapport to one another.

The third center in the sphere of of the unknown for us, the spirit being in our hearts, it is the rapport to our realization, to the infinite and mysterious.

This center does not really exist if it is not built, it has the name "Purple Palace".

Our goal is to build this center, which gives us a taste of the infinite, but also a connection with the mysterious, before returning to earth.

In the "Magic Annals of the Slayers of Demons," an old story about Zhong Kui describes the practice as a race: the luminous goal in front of us and death that is never that far behind.

It depends on the awareness of the bottom center, through the water and fire realization, but also on the balance of the parts of the mind by opening the middle center.

This center enables us to have  a clear vision of the real world 
and a glimpse of the invisible world.

This process is called "internal alchemy," the "Ling Tai" (spiritual embryo) birthing that will grow along with our worldly life, according to our practice.

This profound realization of our total nature is an important goal of the esoteric Way, but it relies directly on the core work of the body and the ability to live a decent life in the necessary alignment.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"DO NOT ASK WHAT THE WAY CAN DO FOR YOU, ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THE TRADITION"


We will live a beautiful life, filled with diverse and varied experiences. 
But what will we leave in this world, at the end of our Incarnation?
The chance we had to experience a Tradition of Spiritual Evolution is also the the chance to know what to bequeath to the World: by example and continuity.
It is often useless to talk about the Way to try to convince others, but the example that you incarnate in your daily life will persuade others without saying anything. 
Thus, by respecting the concepts of Practice you are the showcase of the Way in your life, you are at the origin of the construction of the world of tomorrow.
By following the notions of the Way, empathic and in the World, you show others that there is a different way of living one's life, of behaving according to the Values of Humanity, more than of the questionable values of our dying World.
This example which you incarnate, which produces the Future of our History, will give envy to others: they may laugh a little or criticise but they will always end up being intrigued and interested.
The continuity of The Daoist Tradition which gently approaches its Fifth millennium, comes from the example followed by intrigued people who wanted to live better.
Know with reality the depth of the Way, the interest of this Knowledge of the human in its environment and see how vital it is in our Corrupted World.
We are useful for the world of tomorrow and our "lost time" in which we train is a little in the Light in the Darkness of the Collective Unconsciousness.
Know yourself, understand the world and discover others with all the facets of the Daoist Tradition ... so Tomorrow will go in the right direction!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Fighting Arts in the Way

Often enough in  Gong Fu or Tai Ji Quan classes we talk about fighting, personal defense, we learn to respond to possible attacks ... But is it really that necessary?

Today the probabilities are not so high, unless we are ask for it, that we have to apply all these techniques in such conditions.

There is no need to fight, to collect self-defense techniques to achieve an evolution and to feel better in one's life. 

Depending on individual needs, be more present in one's actions and succeeding in fighting against stress are sufficient.

There are many techniques, teachings and a multitude of spiritual ways that can meet these expectations.

One way or another, all paths lead to the same thing: feeling better, closer to one's real self, being a better person and sharing this relaxed state with other people.

But in this case, there is no need to seek fighting arts: to practice them, violence must be understood in a practical and real manner. If we study any form of combat without being clear about what we do, without really knowing the thrust of the teaching we follow, staying in a nebulous position for years, we just lose time.

With urban life we meet hundreds of people every day, and although some are just silhouettes for us, it is necessary to have a better understanding of the relationship with the others. One facet of it, and we can see that every day, is the possibility of confrontation. This relationship can go from a simple exchange of looks to a real violent conflict: of course it is exaggerated!

Even in this exaggeration, we can realize just how often it is difficult to say what we think, we don't want to disturb, we are afraid ... The fear of the other is as unfounded than the need to practice martial arts.

The two-person training, in martial disciplines, allows for once to go after a contact with the other, directly through the body, as less intellectually as possible. Through a better physical understanding of the other person, trough a better feeling of the center and the axis of the body, we understand ourself a little better. This relationship to the other in the exercise allows to feel more than to think, it is par excellence an honest relationship.

I often have people telling me about their practice in clubs, which are often "sport" clubs, where the whole teaching implied to come once to five times a week to dress up, to bow in fornt of portraits of old masters that they don't know, to lock themselves in a ritual which is  far from everyday life, and then return to their life. A majority of these people got no benefit from these sometimes long years of practice.

First, we have to learn what practice really is: 

It is a work that is done alone, only for ourself, 
and where the teacher has little significance.

Besides, a bad teacher who passes a corrupt practice, can bring us the desired results if we practice honestly.

The moment our practice is the most important is never a peaceful moment: if we need Qi Gong it is because we need energy, and because we are rarely in a quiet state of mind. The moments when meditation, when the meditative state, are most needed, are moments of breakdown. Once again, the fighting arts give us the best example: the only times we have to use what we know to defend ourself, we are rarely ready, and almost never in the right mindset.

If the practice is a ritual, separated from everyday life, it is unlikely that it can be useful.

The first thing that keeps from using the knowledge of our practice is fear. The best way to go against fear is to confront it in a gradual yet regular manner: the fighting arts are one of the healthiest ways to do so.

How many people feel this need to drive fast, to throw themselves in the sheer drop only attach to a spring, to drink or eat too much, to have all these behaviors which are kind of a way to defy death? In this challenge is the need to cross swords with fear, a bit like when watching horror movies or reading scaring stories.

The primordial energy of the body, which in chinese medicine comes from the kidneys, is related to fear. If the general energy of the body is weak, we feel afraid of all things, we sleep poorly, we have trouble digesting food...

In the animal kingdom, deep into the heart of one given species, there are the peaceful ones and the fearful ones. When you look closer, the fearful ones are often those who are sick, injured, easy preys for potential predators. They are not better nor worse than the others, they are just in a moment of weakness and they know it's dangerous. Few animals remain in this state, either because they heal and become strong again, or because they get killed by a predator.

In humans, it is not uncommon for this condition to persist, to become a way of life. We have no predators, or at least this is what we often believe. Someone who is always afraid will be a victim at work, in relationships with abusive people, perhaps even in the couple relationship. We are not talking about panic here, but this little anxiety which is pointless and prevents us from expressing ourself honestly about our feelings and wishes.

This is obviously not by beating people up that we will feel better, but through fighting arts we can more easily assert our personality, develop our place in the world.

This can be achieved in many ways, and all of them are good. But if instead of choosing the steep path, full of traps, that we will take by crawling, we could choose a sunny glade that we will walk across with the head up, why would we do without it?

Meditation is a difficult practice, and still so simple. It takes two things to meditate correctly:  a practical and sufficient concentration ability to do this practice. Concentration is not necessarily filled with a stiff intent, but it's simply the ability to stay focused on something. It is possible to do this only with a peaceful and relaxed mind. This relaxation state is difficult to achieve when one is afraid of everyone, of everything and all the rest.

Qi Gong is an even simpler practice than meditation, but still so complicated. The body has to be relaxed, breathing has to be refined, emotions have to be calmed and energy has to flow freely. The first manifestation of fear is a tension in the body, a speeded up breathing rythm, an unceasing production of ideas and it is quite clear that energy cannot flow in a tensed body. Once again, we can not practice properly if we are scared.

The martial arts simply ask to be here and now, to accept the training, and to be honest in their daily practice. The ancient practice of chinese fighting arts include many exercises for mind and body, two-person exercises, methods for the training and the usage of the breath. Few exercises are physically tough, yet we clearly feel the work.

In my view, to have a real access to Qi Gong or meditation, one needs a physical practice that will help to strengthen the body and calm the mind. It is not necessary, but it is a priceless shortcut. Many physical practices meet this expectation, but to my knowledge, none does it as well as fighting arts.

It is really important to forget the idea that fighting arts are a workout session with a warm up, a codified routine practice, a little sparring at the end, and perhaps pus-ups or abs-gluts workout to finish. It is not a Gym Club!

The practice is to be learnt with the teacher and is achieved by yourself.

Every week, every month, we face a little problem: a detail on coordination, on a physical exercise, on our connection with our body...

Everyday this relationship can go further in our intimacy to ourself, to realize how much we underestimate what we really are. Within months, if we practice daily, our body changes. In a few years, we come closer to the person we really are.

The Taoist Way of Chinese internal arts is not the best way nor the worst, it is the way I know. This road leads to a transformation on people who practice, and that, quickly and every time. So I think it's a good way, a teaching of value, anchored with deep roots.

In a world where everyone knows a little of everything about everything, where the teachings are like fast-food, where horizontal knowledge has no depth, we have to look deeper into one thing. We have to renounce patchwork practices , chakra taichi, and bring a fusion between our way and our life.

Practice, action is the Way, whereas intellectual knowledge is just one more obstacle to the liberation of the mind. We should not learn more things, read more books, attend more conferences, we just have to put some effort, some discipline and to start working.

A majority of the beginner's practices are things he already knows, and most of the time he will let you know. But if the beginner knows intellectually these practices, he has not worked on them so far, so they are of no use to him.

Think for one second about all the wonderful practices that you have met in your researches, how much do you practice every day?

Do you see what I mean?

Before sitting still to merge our soul with the stars, to make our mind travel in the subtle spheres, before connecting the power of our body with universal energies, to exchange our breath with the earth elements, to emit energy to treat diseases, we must first be able to stand still without thinking too much.

Before thinking about meditation, to the wonders of Qi Gong, we have to work. This is rarely the funniest thing, except for those who have sought for a long time and who understand that.

Again, and according to the teachings of my school, the easiest way is first to go through the fighting arts which will work on presence and fear, in order to move on to the rest after. Before touching all the subtle things, it is good to have a healthy body and a calm mind.

This is why the fighting arts are so important in our teaching, it is our tool to go and look for further things, the door opening to new horizons. That's all, but this requires honesty in practice. If we speak about fighting arts, we must understand violence. It is not possible in a practice based on rituals, a social relationship and the concern of other people's opinion. It is impossible to have belts, to compete or to dress up. We just have to relax and share with the others a simple yet hard training, and to do a daily training for ourself.

Martial arts are not really for fighting, the fighting methods based on rituals, and all these fake warrior practices allow to unwind, to have fun, or even to get stuck in a stupid violence, and they surely have their place too. 

But they will rarely be of a substantial help in the discovery of ourself and in the evolution of breathing, meditative and spiritual practices. It is just a choice.

In our Tradition, we say that we need to cultivate 2 topics for actual self defense :

- Mind Intent : to Go or not Go
- Impact Power : Really Hitting Hard

And if you have time, all the rest : Speed, Stamina, Stepping....

But the Martial Arts mostly teach the rest :)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

I thought it was going to be a Beautiful Day

Our mind (mental) continually bases itself on beliefs that if finds reassuring.

This information is stored in memory and becomes the basis of what we think we know. To form itself the ego assimilates what is perceived like a neurotic eater. Everything is taken, stolen from the world, to become "his" or "her."

By appropriating itself what is seen, somehow, the ego builds himself comfortable limits by eliminating "what is not known" and what is a source of anxiety.

Thus, a new experience, when it is possible, will be likened to another that we already have in memory. What is new, different or too far from what we know, will be transformed to be acceptable. This phenomenon, invisible and concealed, is of an incredible finesse that makes it difficult to consciously experience.

The practice is often paved by attempts of news, direct experience, that can enable us to get our head out of our prejudices, to see things differently.

From our childhood, we record information that shape our ego. This "box" will become "what we believe." Environment, education and our genetics define this "character". With all this, we lay the ground for the prejudices that allow the ego to take over the world.

Reality, "what is", is interpreted by our perception and becomes "what appears to be." We perceive, this is matched with our personal database, the ego takes it over, and it is stored in a familiar form so as not to disturb the stability of our character. So we do not see a tree, a sunset or our companion, but just a reminiscence of what is already in memory. No novelty, therefore we get bored, so we start thinking.

If we try to explain to someone what we believe we perceived it often becomes "what we tell (ourselves)"... and then a deep divide creates itself over the initial perception.

What was already interpreted by our mental assimilation suffers another ego interpretation through the regurgitation: it is the photocopy syndrome, the more copies, the further away from the original the copy is.

When referencing to what we have in stock (memories and beliefs), and not to what we see, we cut ourselves off from reality. Moreover, by this habit of always referring to the known, we get to the culmination of prejudice: the guesstimation.

Knowing "what we believe" we offer the world a few sorted possibilities based on the acceptable things we deign to perceive. We project so much about the universe that we perceive only what strengthens us mentally, what flatters our ego.

We put in this jumble our moods, our hopes, our brooding and all this "obscures the light."

We can summarize by saying that the source of all this pathological functioning is Fear.

This operation will spread to the world and especially to others. Thus, we expect from our relationships and from our exchanges that everything goes in the direction of our ego. If this is not the case, we will filter the collected information enough to keep only what reinforces our sweet madness.

We also have the ability to avoid certain situations, more or less consciously, in order not to perceive what bothers us.

The Practice tends to eliminate prejudices, in order to perceive clearly. It will go in the opposite direction of everything that has been listed.

We will discover "presence" and confront us with our fear, if we can bear it, to wake up a little and go from a viscous unconsciousness to a light version of it.

In this state of "waking", we will have, through the teaching, moments of clear perceptions that will be a new basis for the beginning of the rest of our lives.

Traditionally, we start with ourselves. We will look beyond what we believe and we will try to know ourselves. This encounter with our mental functioning and our dissociation with it, will be a first approach.

Then, through specific exercises in a gradual evolution, we will go towards a liberation of perception.

This ability to perceive is incredibly pleasant, the benefits are numerous, for example, the disappearance of boredom and the ability to continuously discover what is already know...

After this groundwork, we are surprised to see that there is something else than we: the World. After having developed this ability of self-discovery, we will apply it to "this that is not us."

We have a series of exercises that will enable us to perceive the world and others with this acquired freedom. Exchanges with others, our ability to communicate and respect the world will change because of these practices.

In an opening where I do not take my mental mind as a reference, in this release of a new perception every second, all of my practice will "crystallize" to get a coherence.

It is tedious and unrealistic to believe that a spontaneous work without structure can free the mind. In most cases, those who work without a teacher only manage to reinforce their already suffering ego.

How can we reduce the power of the mind if we can not even rely on tradition and alleviate the organ of thought?

Some speak of a fear of being manipulated, but in reality, it is often just Fear

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Si Xiang : The four aspects of the spiritual path


Training of the four spiritual aspects is a traditional method of explaining the Kan-Li Accomplishment, one of the three stages of Taoist spiritual enlightenment.

The four aspects are :

Initiation Purification Rebirth Accomplishment

Training implies the presence of  Nei Gong (internal training) or a « Weapons Path » (a serious combat practice, not ritual) as part of any practitioner's practice.

This training comes after working on Nei Dan (Internal Alchemy), the final stage of developing the qualities of the mind.

In the reality of training, it is often more practical to incorporate everything at once, time being a pressing factor.

The stage of the Shadow Warrior


This is the moment of becoming aware of the Way or of a need to follow a path.  A contact, or meeting, anything could potentially generate this need to go further, to understand one's life.

But having realized the need, few among us will go on to practice: we are stuck in our prejudices and our habits, our confidence and the size of our ego.

It is the start of a battle, a fight between your desire to go through with it and the refusal to become a « student », to accept learning. 

We are going to fight against the shadows, the most restless and  heaviest aspects of our being. There are high chances of losing oneself, of staying in our comfort and our illusion of satisfaction.

This aspect of the practice is under the sign of the Black Tortoise, sign of the land and of our morbid calculations.

Only one thing can get us out of this state : passing through the Door, the start of a Way, the Initiation.

After practicing for some time, it will be possible to go further by truly committing oneself to a chosen tradition. It is not an obligation, the Way is also a path to health and a martial path which do not require an opening into the spiritual.

The purification brought by the White Tiger


The problem with our mind, is that it is restless and has long since escaped from our control: the tool has become the master and the master now takes orders from the tool.

Even the idea of the origin of all things, the Wu Ji, is stillness and the perfect availability towards creative manifestation.

To have access to this stillness, to this particular quality which is at the center of our profound nature, we must clarify and align our day to day life.

Somewhat like a device which no longer functions properly, and of which we are unable to understand the dysfunction, it is preferable to take everything apart, clean everything and put it all back in place.

We are there at the stage of dissecting our life : our actions, our thoughts and our emotions are going to have to bathe in the benevolent luminosity of our attention.

The White Tiger appears only in the face of perfection, therefore we are going to clean everything, reformat everything, study everything to head towards this perfection.

It is really written to examine oneself and to make corrections of oneself, not to become the little judge of the world around you, to give your opinion about everything and criticize others.

In destroying our habits and in observing our behavior, we clarify our life.

Immobility and tranquility will be able to transform us.

Riding the azure Dragon to be Reborn


Thanks to the preceding efforts, an availability and a tranquility set in, which will allow the energy from Heaven into our life.

This exposure to the « Way of the Heavens » will gradually transform us and allow us to dissolve the remnants of our old way of functioning.

Through this training, we will experience on a regular basis states which unify us with the Greater, that transcend our humanity.

Riding the Dragon, we move towards the Heavens, but always come back to the mundane. after having glimpsed superior states, pulled back toward the Earth by our habits and our beliefs to which we cling so much.

Incapable of renouncing my self-importance and accepting another way of seeing the world, it is impossible for me to be reborn without first dying.

That is the catch to riding the Dragon, that to be reborn as something else, one must first overcome this way of living.

The trouble of being reborn, is that one must die.

Accomplishment : Glory of the Vermilion Phoenix


In the case that I accept death and that my exposure to my maintained awareness is continued, due to bathing in and sensing constant energy, it will be possible to live in a new way.

Rising up from my ashes, in an availability to a balanced energy, with a water – fire balance in my body/mind, there is the Kan – Li realization .

At that point we live in a different state, permanently, but without being absent from the world.

There we are, present for our loved ones and working with others, yet conscious of the different aspects of the world unified with the way of the Heavens.