Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Time, Patience and Personality

Most westerners are no longer in a situation of daily survival that allows you to forget the diseases of the soul. With time in relative comfort, we find that little background noise that reminds us that we have not resolved: the emptiness inside that sometimes we seek to be filled by external accumulation. A deep separation between "me" and "I", between us and nature. This feeling is a pain, often dull pain, sometimes violent, which is there.

We are going to practice, the way, means that we promise more or less miracles.

But what to choose?

Today, in so much information that we bathe in some confusion, we do not know exactly what to choose. We are approaching the clairvoyance to know, the art of fighting for health and to aikido to defend themselves in the street, we learn transcendental meditation for flexibility and strength to relax ... and watch television for culture !

Not knowing really what we do, we cannot go towards whatever. The teachers appear with the gurus and everyone knows how all: "horizontal" knowledge, comparable to a thin layer of jam on a sandwich which is too big, cannot respond to our questions. Everything should go fast, everything must be fast, we must transform ourselves and understand everything in a hurry to catch the other things to do ... more! quickly!

We are surprised not to be a living entity within fifteen days and that the essence of knowledge is not integrated into our soul in a month: it takes years to go in the painful condition that we seek to change, it will be the same in the other direction.

In practices that are available, we need to make our choice.

How to make a choice in what we seek? Often we are attracted by the costume, the hat or the smile of a seller of spirituality and we forget to look twice. We are seduced by the packaging, as in the supermarket, but we do not look at the label (which is a pity!).

The form obscuring the merits, the blinding brilliance of the search, we are going where television tells us to go, so we've found the method of yoga, karate, Tibetan Buddhism (thank you Richard Gere), the ' aikido, tai chi (if only people knew that it was a boxing ...) and all the other wonderful things pre chewed by the United States and regurgitated by a bulimic reflex, on Europe.

But what do we want? What do we seek? (and who are we, anyway?)

If we take the time to discuss, to seek and choose, we are moving towards what we want. It is often better to investigate and believe in yourself than to follow the advice of women's magazines. Does the body "know"? Maybe, but it still must be sure not to pay attention to a "sick" body. Our habits are fueled by our thoughts and compulsive reacton, our frustrations and our tensions, our body is no longer the relaxed entity of body/spirit and mind of our origin. We react and defend against a world we do not understand. We must return to some quietude to listen.

Without good health, mental and physical, how can we take our internal compulsions as knowledge and feel right?

An alcoholic in the morning, feels very clearly that he needs a drink ... but he must follow his desire for that?

In a by product of a very pronounced new age, we have seen many practices that seek to follow the impulses and desires, on the pretext that the body "knows" everything ... yes and no.

If the body, by practice and repeated introspections, is relaxed and the flow energy is fluid, then it must be taken very seriously. Listening to his body, in this case, is always a priority to know the actual state of the self, what we really think. In this case again, it is wiser to believe the emotions than his mind. It is possible to lie with the mind, the ego, while emotions are visceral in the body.

The idea of a practice, if it exists in a tradition, is to guide us towards a goal. This goal can be spiritual, psychological, physical or otherwise. But if we do not know the idea of the track, the need and tradition, it is difficult to engage. It is also a good reason not to engage ...

Training will always seek to develop qualities that are necessary for the purpose of the style: for example the strength of mind for combat, the heart for sport and peace of mind for the spiritual. Again, be careful not to develop qualities that are not in keeping with our practice (cardiovascular capabilities in the spiritual way depending on the spiritual peace of mind for example) if we leave the priorities of our path we lose time.

We consume the path the same as hamburgers, sometimes "organic", but we're rarely at the heart of a way. Tradition takes time and courage. We know how we're eager to "change" and how the changes make us flee. A very Taoist paradox.

The practice is too close to what we do not want to see: the difference between "who we are and the person we are looking to sell to the world."

This fictional character, which derives from our first and last name, we shape for years and we are proud of polishing presentable. This "false self" is nurtured by our mental rumination and our compulsive thoughts, "we are because we believe" (thank you to Descartes). This character, personality, (from the Latin "persona", the mask!) Is unbearable when we have to look through. In the way we go beyond, dropping the mask we are moving towards the "natural", spontaneous.

If we go to ten ways at the same time, we accumulate instead of reducing and eventually avoid with meticulous care all that can help us, we do not move our condition.

Our suffering makes us feel alive, to take a strong individuality (personality) that stands out at all, an illusion of happiness in a further strengthening of his ego, a separation.

Pushed between anxious and depressive episodes, between past and future, we continuously repeat endless cycles calmly paving pleasure / suffering endlessly.

It is obvious that peace cannot be found in this alternating disease which depletes us and makes us question the seriousness of life: must we do this for the rest of our days? Is there another way to live life to reach real peace? Yes, in a spiritual practice in an "internal alchemy" we "transmute" and "sublime" in a search of peace and silence.

It is a long process, but which bears fruit ... "if we do it, it works, if you do not it does not."

Our perception into the future, where "everything is going well", or the constant reminder of our past, where "everything was so bad, we forget the reality that time does not exist!

Our perception of time is distorted by our minds prevailing in a mad dance, a wandering in a surreal space.

We do not live in the present moments in the unconsciousness more or less deep. I repeat: you do not live and that moments are more or less unconscious, in the present, it is impossible to speculate on it. We cannot realise our unconsciousness, our present moments are moments that are "invisible" in the changing world, moments where we "disappear." A party (us) of consciousness cannot achieve everything (global consciousness).

We are always aware of our unconscious ... hummmm.

The more we are unconscious and the changes in the world will be screened in a scary future or past depression. The more we are in dissociation with us / world, the more our discomfort. The more we are in the frame of time, we are less happy.

In this denial of this, we must never be aware each moment of presence reminds us that we are separated from the union sought.

In the moment, a presence accepted, we can not be unhappy.

If this is overwhelmed by emotions or thoughts, it is not possible to be in the moment.

The practice puts us in the presence of the moment, the way we leave the time frame. The cycles can be repeated, we are moving towards a non-conscious choice.

To lay the foundation of our practice we must move in the direction of the initiation of past, rites of passages forgotten. "Laythe basis" represents in a Taoist way 300 days we enter the path. This entry is an important change in life and can cause problems. Any change causes "friction", movements which produce sensations (often unpleasant). Often we prefer to escape the way, we hide what we know, from our character and our known bad habits reassure us. We find various excuses and complaints that we will affirm our escape.

Some suffering is real defence of our ego at risk. The more we go towards a union with the changes in the world, them more our ego loses its limits, its security. But if we continue without paying too much attention to these phenomena, we will see them lose their strength to finally disappear.

The most evident after a escape is a repetition of the process: there is a new direction, a new master, a new dress and a scent of different incense. Stuck in our time cycles that are repeated again and again, leaving the reality of the moment, we are wrong in a spiritual hypocrisy and passivity disguises. Oddly, the suffering, softened by an appreciation of the ego is still there.

In knowledge of the process, the acceptance of a desire to "return", we must commit ourselves to work in one direction only. Moments of presence will densify, repeat and take root in our lives. They will gently envelop us in acceptance of this, which has nothing to do with resignation which borrows sentimentality, and we slide into the changes in the world.

This union with the movement of universal energy, the ability to go "with" and not "against", the relaxation that follows, this is the Way.

But before this result, we need to follow the exercises every day, without frills, in a discovery of enthusiasm to practice.


How could we meditate, visualise, travel in the astral spheres without breathing properly?

Breathing is not only attached to physical spontaneity, it is also a fundamental technique for relaxation and meditation. No fighting technique would be effective without the controlled breathing, as no emotional control would be possible in situations of stress. We see four major parties on the subject of breathing:

* The mechanics of breathing,

* Conscious Breathing

* The energetic dimension of respiration,

* Taoist breathing ( accumulation of the breathing described above).

Above all it is important to remember that breathing is a fundamental process required for life. The movements of inhalation and exhalation are not only a way to produce energy and to allow gas exchange, but also a way to get in touch with the profound.

We begin by the respiratory system mechanicalyl and anatomically. It consists of upper and lower airways. The system provides respiratory gas exchange in the body and helps regulate the acidic / base balance of the body. If a change occurs in the respiratory system, it will have repercussions throughout the body affecting the other systems.

The upper airway consists of the nose, mouth and larynx (speaking only). These structures are involved in warming and humidifying the air we inhale, but also taste, smell, chewing and swallowing the food.

The lower airway consists of the trachea, bronchi and lungs. This is where we find membranes that are responsible for gas exchange. The lungs are free in their movement, except at the median level in which they are attached by lung ligaments.

The inhalation and exhalation take place as follows: during inhalation, the diaphragm, intercostal muscles and external muscles constrict, thus increasing the volume of the thorax vertically and horizontally. While the thorax is remote, the pressure inside the chest decreases and the lungs swell to fill the chest that increases in volume in turn. During exhalation, the diaphragm relaxes and the chest slowly returns passively to its volume and its position. During a forced exhalation, contraction of the intercostal muscles, internal abdominal and it reduces the volume of the rib cage. The compression of the thorax and lungs makes intra pulmonary pressure above atmospheric pressure. Most of us has two to four cycles of inhalations / exhalations per minute in the waking state, and six to eight per minute during sleep. One notes that it is possible to vary our breathing dramatically. In the event of stress or physical effort, we can achieve a rate of 100 cycles inhalations / exhalations per minute. For those who do serious work on respiration, the rate can drop to 4 or 6 per minute, knowing that gas exchange are always more accurate and deeper. We have a total lung capacity of 5000 ml. Most of the time, the average breath is only 500 ml. Even if we really used our lungs still hold a reserve of safety of 1000 ml of air. It is interesting that in our daily lives we have very rarely attention on our breathing process. However, in times of stress, the first thing we feel is the difficulty in breathing.

The process of respiration and its fundamental role in our survival, nature, in its wisdom, gave us only a partial and limited control of our breathing. The respiratory system is connected to most of the sensory nerves of the body. Therefore, any sudden or chronic stimulation from the senses can have a direct impact on the magnitude, speed or intensity of our breathing. Thus a shock, the perception of something very beautiful, intense thoughts are why we 'stop breathing. "

Of all the respiratory muscles, the more important to our overall health is the diaphragm. It is rare to meet people who use this muscle effectively. Yet it is the focus of the breath. Normally when we inhale, the diaphragm contracts. This movement of a diaphragm pumps in good health. Compared to normal, an increase, however slight, in movement of the diaphragm downwards not only has an influence on our internal organs, but it increases the volume of air in our lungs.

Upon exhalation, the diaphragm relaxes back with its elasticity that helps to expel the air from the lungs. If we exhale completely, strongly supporting the diaphragm against the heart and lungs, providing a massage the of internal organs.

Unfortunately there are few people who can enjoy this natural movement. Indeed, muscle tension (tendon or ligament) of the rib cage disrupts the motion of the diaphragm. Negative emotions, fears and stress reduce the possibility of movement of the diaphragm. This leads us to conclude that in most cases, poor muscle does not move easily. In addition, health and mobility of the spine and pelvis are directly related to the mobility of the diaphragm.

This means that a bad position, bad habits, weak back muscles, are all reasons why the breathing is not in good condition. To try to compensate for our tensions and disfunctions of our diaphragm, we tend to breathe more and more often than what is good for health. In this hyper ventilation will result from feelings of oppression and tension that will themselves make the movement of the diaphragm more difficult. This is a vicious circle which is not easy to leave.

The more the breathing is rapid, the more it is done by movement of the upper chest. The more we breathe through the upper chest the more the feelings and emotions will be at the surface. Again, this does not lead us to serene breathing.

As can be seen here, before returning energy in a very complex magic visualisation, the very fact of looking at the mechanics of breathing means we can already breathe better. Being closer to the conscious movement of inhalation and exhalation already calm our emotions. Only in those circumstances is when we can take the next step which is the sensation.

The first thing to do is sit down and breathe thinking about inhalation and exhalation.

I encourage you to try this exercise, to sit all day enjoying each inhalation and each exhalation.


For a long time meditation is in popular imagery as a practice that "calm" and "relaxes". One can imagine the yogi, half naked in the lotus position, the thumb and middle finger in contact, the look of relaxation in the absolute and in relation to the universe ... hummmm, it will not be easy ...

Any practice that is based on an illusion, easy imagery or reading fiction can not be serious. Any serious practice is based on a relationship with a teacher transmitted by a teacher. Over the past five years, it has been discovered in Chinese medicine a syndrome of a new disease: bad chi kung and bad "new age" practices . Without a master, for lectures and “advice ", people lock themselves in a harmful practice which they have neither the key nor the doors.

Above all, what will happen in the head of the yogi just now? He's sleeping?

If the practice is not part of a tradition, but is just a way to "relax", it is more profitable to make the relaxation or relaxation therapy. To "relax" with meditation is like taking a tank to crush an ant. Meditation is a spiritual relationship with the world, but this is not an exercise, not really.

Concentration, focus

The first thing we hear about in the "new age" books on meditation is concentration. The idea is good, but this is not a term. You must be attentive, present, but focus attention relaxed and steady. In the very idea of "concentration" is a concept of power which is obvious that its contrary to what we seek in meditation. We are seeking a relaxation that will make our attention lasting. We need to focus on practice in listening to our overall body and mind. And at that moment, we are only in the preparation, we are not in meditation.

Attention: relaxed and supported

Our entire practice is based on a relaxed attention of our internal and external world: "what is above is like what is below", said Hermes "The Three Times Great.” This looking inwards coupled with the knowledge of the world makes us present and conscious. We avoid wasting time in projecting into the future or mulling over memories of our past. In this search for the moment, we have an incredible weapon, daily and sometimes permanent meditation. Our spirit is too often driven by perceptions of the external world and sometimes we get lost in the analysis and compulsive sick with them. We see a beautiful tree and we squander this perception by a total idiotic comment: "It is a beautiful tree, but I have already seen a more beautiful, I think, but ....".

Every day, we can find a state of silence that gives us our Taoist practice, a "return" of all days. This state is meditation. Without it we can get lost in the mazes of our mind, escaping reality for our interpretation of what we perceive.

Not an exercise, a state

Meditation is not a practice, it is a state. It is a state of silence, return to oneself, to the "centre." This state is our "normal" state , but it is engulfed in our compulsive thoughts and different perceptions, it is there, but we don't see it for a long time, it is present, but not enough for us to realise . The exercises and practices allow us to find a new intimacy with our deepest nature, quiet and relaxed. But the exercises and practices are not "meditation," they are just the paths that lead to it: "they should not be confused." To stay on one exercise to seek the proceeds of it, is to carry his raft after reaching dry land: we are in a confusion based on the security aspect of the exercise and it allows not to confront the reality of a meditative state. In a meditative state, in meditation, we can not lie and we see the reality. This confrontation and vision of our "character" of our masks, can be fatal to our ego.

For most beginners, the state of peace and silence is so unknown that we must pass the only way possible: initiation.

How to find what is not known.

It is not possible to seek effectively what is not known. It is always dangerous to look for something from his mental theory and his imagination. The image people have of the object sought can direct our attention to anything else: the object imagined in our mind, the fruit of our mind, fed by our ego and supported by our phantasms. To not be wrong, just perceive what you are looking for with direct experience, then the search can begin. The teacher will be there to remind us of our perception, to help us not fall into the convenience of fantasy, the enrichment of our perception of our compulsive mental associations. Test and the teacher knows more than we do about this, otherwise he is not the teacher. This direct perception of a meditative state demands a retreat of daily life, often for several days, and immersion in practice. In our school, we are opposed to the idea of Spartan "no pain, no gain”, no pain without success. Instead, we seek a relaxation of body and mind through exercises in comfortable positions and a pleasant lifestyle and good nutrition. It is often easier to have visions when we are deprived of food and sleep, but these are only the phenomena of physiological origin that do not relate to spirituality. We want to hear from these experiences in full possession of our minds, our bodies and our critical thinking. This direct perception is the initiation.

The principle of the initiation

The initiation, has always been used in ancient Taoism, is the surest way to meet this meditative state, present but a little perceptive. We forget for a few days in our life, and practice totally we bring the silence within us. Our body and our mind communicate effectively and we are entering a peace without fear: we know for a few seconds, the meditative state, our true nature. The value of initiation depends on the experience of the teacher. He should not be a collector of knowledge, but a guide that is already past by the way you seek. A "self initiation" without a teacher or with beginners has no value and is a gaping abyss of illusions and lies fed by ego and fantasies. This is the initiation.

"The regime of fire"

After preparing the ingredients for his culinary preparation, we must now cook everything. For a dish to be successful, we need three major elements:

* The quality of raw ingredients,

* The order of preparation, steps to respect,

* The strength and duration of cooking.

The quality of ingredients depends on:

* Relaxation of body and mind,

* The transmission of practice by the teacher,

* And work accomplished by the novice.

It is unhelpful, and I will not therefore go further into detail.

We name the qualities of the base "ingredients of transformation."

For a good "sweet and sour chicken", it is not recommended to put the sauce on until you have fried chicken ... it is an order to respect. In addition, prepare the sauce along with the chicken so that it remains bound, without burning the chicken or spoil the sauce: The steps are important. These details are the heart of the practice, what you do as a practitioner, under the guidance of your teacher.

In alchemy, we speak of the "alchemical process."

If training is not daily, depending on your pace and your level of practice, we can compare it to a pot of water we are trying to boil over a fire intermittently, for if there is boiling , you need a constant and sufficiently strong fire. But if the practice is carried out without preparation, without a teacher or adjustments arising from your imagination (nourishing the ego that defends itself), then it can be compared to an empty pot on a fire: pressure and heat continuously emerge, everything is not healthy to achieve "taoist immortality”. If you do not practice, but you hope for an evolution, seeking that "boiling" without pot or fire, in the head may be ...

In internal alchemy, we speak of the "fire".

How to start?

The only thing to do is find a teacher.

To relax his body and mind, just make the first move and put in motion the second.

It is better to spend time to find a good guide rather than to practice lots simultaneously it confuses. The accumulation of lessons can blind the researcher in his quest.

If you sit from time to time on a hard cushion, back stiff and tight jaw. If you accumulate fasts and other harmful practices, and any sort of readings and lectures in "spiritual fairs", then drop this and go in search of a valid teaching, a true encounter.

How to Calm the Mind?

In the Taoist school to which I belong, there are five steps to calm the shen (spirit), to be happy but also available in a violent confrontation:

* The stage of "thought-form"

* Intentional regulation of respiration,

* Work intended to calm the emotional,

* Presence by the sensation of energy,

* "Balancing" of shen for the realisation of unity.

The stage of the thought-form is quite simple and does not require regular physical work. Any athlete can get to this stage without problems. We need to do this, to come to understand intellectually what is done with his body and be able to do with the body what we understand with the mind. It is a co-ordination pushed to the extreme with a conceptualisation "realised" or an action "conceptualised". In Taoism, we are talking about a union between the manifest and non manifest, which is (action) and what is not (thought). For specific exercises, we will bring the body and mind together, not to contradict oneself and not "think", but to do. Obviously I could not do with my body more than it is physically possible to complete: I can understand jumping before i do it, but I have to prepare the body to achieve it. In one year, as part of smart training, it is very possible to achieve this. To get to the bottom of this stage, it is useful to separate each body part, every joint, every muscle chain, to unite them into a global movement. The secret of this stage is the practice of the relaxation of the mind through the co-ordination of a calm body. It is not necessary to become "better", it is simply to relax the conditioning and relax your body-mind to "recover" a natural spontaneity. The limits of this stage are visualisations (very fashionable for some time) that reinforce too powerfully the mental. It will be possible to go faster in this stage through the visualisations, but it will cause problems later.

The regulation of breathing is a step that we could name the "conscious breathing". The game, or games that can be done with the mechanics of breathing are just that: games. These "toys" only serve to focus our dispersed minds and compulsions on our breath. If we remain prisoners of these breathing protocols, everything will be useless in a real situation. A breath trained under a strict form cannot adapt to a chaotic situation. If the breath isn't free and is without conscious intention on the present, it can not be relaxed in a situation and the intention will be occupied with something else. More concretely, if the work of breathing requires an image or a specific intent, it will be impossible to do that in a situation or thought is fixed on a escape or a fear. While it is important to "keep" the mind on the breath at the beginning of practice, it must be free to using it. In the relaxation of light intention, body and breath will be required to carry out increasingly complex things to unify without thoughts. With free gestures and the breathe united and difficulties disturbed ... its a reason to end unnecessary cardio-vascular work fighters in the internal arts: the combat for life or a walk in the moonlight does not disturb the rhythm of the heart ... its the ideal, of course ...

The thoughts disturb the breathing through their densification in emotions and the body will tighten with the altered breathing. It is therefore absolutely necessary to deal with some form of emotional regulation. In the Taoist internal alchemy, we have an important point: "calming the thoughts”, which is useful here. The thoughts are reactions "sick” perceptions of changes in the world. Although the use of the intellect to address the actions of everyday life is useful, this compulsive commentary of the perceptions is unnecessary most of the time. The thoughts will refer to our memory or our imagination, past or future, to build on the world of thoughts, what is the present. In the Taoist techniques, we will expand our relationship to these perceptions, in a relaxation of the mind and body and a connection to the breathing. For these exercises are very simple, but continuous, we will not feed the world of thoughts, and reduce the emotional disturbance to a minimum. The idea is certainly not to "control" or "delete" the emotions, but to live without suffering. Perceptions which will focus thoughts that will cause emotions which will manifest as a change in energy, physical and emotional. By relaxing the body, listening to our breath linked to our emotional state, we are in agreement with changes in our body and can live with our emotions. We believe we have emotions, we breathe, everything will pass without collision between these phenomena: the breath does not cause tension, that does not activate thoughts, that does not produce emotions, that do not tense the body and are not blocking the breath (all combinations are possible), Etc. ....

This work will be done through exercises that will maintain a slight but steady intention. Latter, The internal silence connects slowly, allowing us to better to listen and move in the direction of changes in the world.

In listening, the result of a relaxed body, of regulated breathing and a relatively silent interior, we can enter into a tangible energy perception. The vision of the world energy follows the Taoist cosmology, everything is a manifestation of a single reality, non manifest, which we call the Dao. By connecting to this energy, we leave thought and time. In a total listening, not commented on, our vibration is in resonance with the Tao, we leave the worldly and conditioning to restore the simplicity of the sensation. In this vibration, while remaining within the respect of the work, the mind is silent and the body available: par excellence, we are prepared to wait without anything, we are in a relaxed opportunity to react to perceived changes. This condition is also utilised in listening to a person, in walking in the fight for survival.

The work described so far is sufficient to be ready in the natural state of happiness that should amaze us every day ... it is not always the case. The world is in perpetual change, even in a very Taoist non resistance, we will undergo "life with good and bad sides”. The relaxation of the body-mind allows you to surf on our daily lives without "drowning", to be ready for any surprises that are revealed to us, with this sense of cosmic humour that life takes. We can also decide that we want life and our practice to merge to go to the heart of practice: the spiritual and initiatory phase of the path that exceeds the limits of the subject.