Thursday, October 18, 2012

Taoist Nutrition - Eating Consciously

To facilitate the functioning of our body, the assimilation of food is important. It is a significant source of fatigue and our daily energy depends on a well functioning digestion.

In Chinese Medicine, the Three Furnaces - 三 膲 - (San Jiao) describe the functioning of the human body in its most important aspects: Breathing, Assimilation, Excretion.

Since the Huangdi Neijing - 黄帝内经 - (the Work of Internal Medicine of the Yellow Emperor), which is more than 2000 years old, the three furnaces are the source of acquired Qi: Breath and Food and waste disposal.

The training in our Way allows a daily breath work and  a good general circulation, it is still possible to refine further the production of Qi with a good understanding of nutrition.

Each food has a Nature, a Flavor and a way to be prepared to have the desired effect. This study enables us to mix with intelligence the products that we cook. The combination of the five elements can correct our imbalances and strengthen certain aspects of our being.

In addition, the food preparation can give even more choice effects and taste to the products in their meals. We can study the cutting technique, the tools and cooking methods to perfect our search for a better assimilation of our food. Each part of this study gives us the ability to transform or amplify the aliments in their nature or flavor.

After  the science of food association and how to prepare it, we still have to look exactly our way of cooking, the rhythms of our meals, our schedules and our bad habits.

In this understanding, we can learn to lighten the workload of our body and spare ourselves, saving a valuable energy that it is possible to invest in a more intense practice.

This study needs too many details to be presented here, but it will soon be possible to study it together.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Confusion sources

Because in May it is possible "to do as we please" (from the french: "En mai fais ce qu'il te plait"), it is not a reason to mess around.
You sometimes have to put some pieces back in the correct order so that you can go in the right direction.

Here are several areas of questioning that can help us on the Way.

Competition and the fight

For those who view the Way as a school of self-defense, which it is,  we must understand that we are talking about combat.

Survival combat, seen as a real situation of confrontation and not an ego competition, demands other qualities than those of combat sports.

The fantasies that we can have about violence, fed by Japanese movies and easy reading, orients us toward bad choices.

Combat sports of course develop qualities related to fighting for survival, but certain reflexes make the difference between reality and sport.

The qualities for survival in a physical confrontation are:

  •     Decision: to go or not to go (negotiation skills, dialogues)
  •     The impact force of our strikes: no techniques, just brute percussion force
  •     Realizing the distances of combat: far or close, but never in a sparring distance

Combat sports develop a sparring distance, a, exchange distance, that allows competition, not survival. Those who confuse the two are in front of a rude awakening.

The fault of the Way

It must be understood that the Way of spiritual development, of self-realization, is a tool.

It is a great and magnificent tool, but it's still a tool.

The teacher is the one that shows the use of tools, thanks to his experience and sometimes with his qualities as a teacher.

But like all tools, it can be used badly, If we listen to our prejudices and our ego more than what is said ... The result being that the tool does not do what it is supposed to do.

Does that undermine the tool? No, of course.

To evolve in the Way, to enjoy it fully , we sometimes may need to lose a lot of time to get rid of of sick behaviors, of our inability to listen, of our false superiority.

If we accept the work to be done in a clearer vision of our faults and our behaviors, changes take place.

And the tool is still  the tool. It  has not changed much since the beginning and it  will not change much after.

So if you feel that the Way "is hard", "it's not what we thought" or "it's not fair" ... if you feel any disappointment or injustice, if you see inconsistencies, shadows, if you feel lost, abandoned or in confusion ... if you see lights, hear voices and contemplate your superiority ... if you do not understand why not you, why it does not happen to you or why  you do not understand anything...

This is not the Way, it's you.

Work learning and practice

The teacher and the teaching are sources of wisdom who ask to be put into practice: we have to learn and then work on the subjects learned.

There are places to unwind, for sports or for tea with friends... These areas should not be confused with learning the Way.

In a traditional way, learning is done on bases learned during the lesson. This research is a solitary research first  and and then put into actions with other members of the school.

The teaching is shared with other members of the school, not anywhere, not in a mess. Respect of the teaching gives it its value and the importance of the changes it brings.

The place to learn the Way with the teacher is not a daycare or a branch of a gym, it is not the place of practice, it is the place to learn.

The confusion of it all gives the disappointment and confusion leading to criticism of the Way.
Practice should be a personal experience, if the changes are to be profound, metamorphosing.

The required commitment

The Way will give back what you put into it.

If you agree to engage yourself  from 8:21 p.m. to 8:34 p.m., watching FOX News, with a beer and a cigarette, you can imagine what will emerge.

The concern is also the opposite: if you engage in the Way for it to reveal your greatness and your uniqueness, if you ritualise your practice time in an exaggerated manner, if you practice all the while knowing that you are above all that ... Realization will be longer... Much longer.

Practice should be a daily time  where the teaching is put into action with a particular intention.

In addition, the concepts of the Way should accompany you throughout the day.

An indifferent glance, criticism or contempt towards the Way leads you to a guaranteed disappointment.

Practice should elevate you to a healthy body, an united body/mind and an awareness of your own spirituality.

If you do not feel in agreement with all this, it is necessary to clarify the practice, talk with the teacher and redefine your position in the engagement on your way.

Again, the Way will allow you to reap what you have sown into it.

Time for change

We are fortunate to live a great moment of change and global awareness, a time evolution of the human consciousness.

This period is a big wave on which we can surf with our personal practice, a personal achievement to help by example (not hollow concepts or crappy advice).

This is an ideal time to forge a body / mind that will inspire those around us.

Changes of our society, of the group, of the known world, require a dynamic individual to achieve a personal realization.

We are in a search, a practice that allows this understanding, this work of evolution.

We must forget that we practice taoism, buddhism or aikido and change in order to evolve towards the realization of our human condition.

This time of global change where awareness gets out of her garden and takes into account life on our planet is a great opportunity for introspection.

The microcosm and the macrocosm evolve in a similar way and in our daily practice we can help this movement.

The time is no longer for styles quarrels (knowing that we have the best), but it is for a personal work will lead to a universal sharing.

That's enough for fueling your questions.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Standing and Responsible: Upright between Heaven and Earth

There is areal need to be aware of our responsibilities in our lives, to not blame others and to project our weaknesses away from our fragile ego.

We live in a comfort that can sometimes make us forget the realities of the world.

Most people do some sport, for their health if not for something else, and some have a personal research, a questioning view on their lives.

Personal practice is not required to be a martial one, it is a personal choice.

Life is, for us in general, peaceful with no real dangers.

But today, in our world in turmoil, it is important to talk about violence: it is there, at the corner of our street and not wanting to talk about it does not make it disappear.

If we accept the need to protect ourselves, if we feel a certain insecurity, we have to educate ourselves on the subject, we must understand this banal violence of everyday life.

It is not to the liking of everyone to learn martial arts, but it is the duty of one who feels insecure to know about defending oneself, for ourselves and our loved ones.

It is not responsible to be aware of this discomfort, of this consuming anxiety without doing anything about it. 

The idea is not to become a MMA warrior or a paranoiac urbanite as there are too many of those already, but to learn the simple rules of urban violence.

We have, for the most part (unless suffering from severe handicaps) tools and means to defend ourselves, what we lack is the information that allows us to not be paralyzed in a situation of confrontation.

The technique of the ostrich, which consists in looking only at what does not bother us, does not work against violence and trouble in general.

It is essential to confront what can be resolved and accept what can not be.

Personal research in a comple practice provides the necessary information  to survive in urban violence.

If we do not have a personal practice, it is possible to easily find information and lessons that answer to this question.

The first approach is psychological:

What do I know about urban predators, violence and the resolution of conflicts?

Knowing the approach strategy of potential attackers, it is possible for me to avoid most conflicts and confrontations.

Verbal de-escalation methods and preparing my answers to possible aggressions help to avoid much of the worries.

A better observation of my environment, a better attention to my world, enables us to remain attentive to what happens: 100% violence victims admit they felt something wasn't right before the incident.

To react efficiently, you must have thought about what might happen, consider the possible strategy in several scenarios of aggression or even discuss it with victims.

No reaction is faster than a prepared one and it is not at the heart of the conflict situation that it is possible to think.

The second issue is physical:

How much can I count on my body in a stressful situation?

The understanding of the sensation of adrenaline, the overall preparation of my body for proper functioning are enough to live well and to defend myself just in case.

Regular training of my body (in the context of a health practice) may occasionally take a more combative aspect, just for the sake ofexperience (a little rowdy with partners, practicing push - pull in a  bit more competitive fashion... ).

The third issue is emotional:

Do I know my anxiety level and am I working on my fear in general?

We too often live in a state of anxiety accepted as normal, everyday, for no real reason.

Our mind works on a projection model of failure: we do ask our boss a raise for fear of a negative response (otherwise we would), we do not talking to the person who seduces us for fear of rejection (although it could work) and we avoid what is risky for fear of failure (rare ly thinking of being successful).

Thus, our vision of violence is a projection of possible failure for us, a succession of morbid speculation that leaves us no room for right choices.

Look how you do not give yourself permission to defend yourself while you defend your mother, father, lover or child, without thinking. You only see defeat and the danger for yourself.

It is time to accept to defend yourself, to refuse fear: you have the possibility to never feel like a victim again.

This requires education and taking responsibility of what can happen to you.

Strengthening your mind, in a body that you "handle" better, your emotions are more stable: whether you are confronted with violence or not, you better live your life, and your relations to others.

Again, this endeavor is ours: no one will do the job for us.

Having the chance to identify a problem before it is too late, why not try to solve this question, why not make sure to live without fear?

Nevertheless, it is possible to become aware of the work that has to be done, to know that we live in an anxiety of everyday violence, but to do nothing out of laziness, weakness or resignation.

In this case, no judgment is necessary, however it is not good taste to whine when things go wrong ...