Monday, December 9, 2013

It's inventory time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is another ancient science: the Feng Shui !

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Coordination: A training for detente

Coordination is a process of monitoring and regulating the movement with an adaptation to the situation . This is a very clear way to see the union between body and mind . Training coordination requires a specific training , but it is also an easy way to evolve in one's practice.

The gestures that we understand and that are in the spectrum of our physical abilities, we should be able to perform them. Oftentimes, we need a lot of time to copy or "master" a gesture , yet we understand intellectually : it is the manifestation of our internal "noises", our physical and mental tensions.

Analyzing too much, putting too much attention or just "trying" , are safe ways to waste time on learning a movement. The action , linking perception and physical capacities, should be sufficient .

To access a finer listening  of our body and mind levels, without going into complex practices, we have a whole arsenal of very subtle coordination exercises.

Our school uses coordination in the basic education and throughout the practice, this quality will allow a deeper understanding of oneself and one's evolution.

The development of coordination requires a precise progression in the exercises according to the student , and no one will develop its capacity for coordination in an identical manner , but everyone will achieve the same result.

To do this, the teaching must be accurate.

Let's look at the characteristics of coordination.

The coordination capacity allows to control actions in predictable situations ( stereotypes ) or unpredictable ones (adaptation).

Foreseeable situations will consolidate actions in connection with our usual activities, our everyday actions, our daily physical activities. Stereotypes are also our regular activities for which we have developed some mastery: sports, summer activities...

Unpredictable situations is our ability to adapt to a new situation, sometimes stressful, and our ability to respond in a global  way (body and mind) depends on our coordination. This is where we will understand best what is our real level of detente. The adaptation will be seen in a teaching ( Qigong, fighting arts ) and will evolve as the calming of our mind.

In all cases, coordination enables us to perform our actions with an economy of movement. We will realize, almost unconsciously, how to do more with less effort. Coordination allows us to conserve our body/mind by establishing reaction habits that are adaptable according to the capabilities of our body.

With the proper development of coordination, we can learn faster and deeper. We quickly learn new gestures and we integrate them early in a way that is "controlled" . It is possible to recall a gesture, but it takes time to know how to realize it without tension, without effort, without "mental commentary". A good level of coordination allows us to integrate the new movement in its most perfect form, with little work that remains to be done over time.

We can therefore speak of two coordination skills: one specific and one general .

The specific capacity is linked to a practice, to habits of the body. It is a good way to work the basics of the neuromuscular connection. But often , the specific capacity will be limited to a specific area that will spill very little on daily life.

The overall capacity is useful for all facets of life. This is the one that will feed the adaptability of our body/mind to life's stresses. Stress being the body of work that must be done consciously or not, to adapt to the movements of life, pleasants or not.

The specific coordination capacity is faster to acquire. It may affect the overall capacity of coordination , but it is rarely the case. When it relates to business activities which are too far from our everyday life (screw bolts, operate in surgery, stamp papers ... ) , we see almost no overflow in everyday life.

This is even more true if our profession is not really the result of own choice and if we do not really like it. In this case, the qualities that will be developed in it will often be obscured in life "outside of work ".

A balanced practice, the purpose of which is a transformation of self, is obviously going to specialize in specific coordination exercises that will quickly expand, in a soft and concealed way to our entire life .

Coordination will therefore allow us to acquire five important qualities :

· This is primarily a training capacity, an ability to learn. It is necessary to develop coordination to then be able to learn .... hummm, paradox, right?

· Coordination saves motion, which will allow us to achieve the same things with less effort and having removed all unwanted movements. This is a potentiation of the physical abilities through economy and not development. It is doing more with less ... very Taoist ...

· Well developed, coordination  is an ability to evolve all one's life towards a progression. In the elimination of physical and mental tensions, we see the subtle changes in the world and we adapt globally, without effort (stress).

· It is also the ability to understand every gesture and movement, a deep reconciliation of our perceptions and our physical abilities. The  "Xinyi" step, form and intellect, which allows us to combine what we see and what we can do.

· We also have in coordinating a relentless test of our deep state: the body / mind liaison which will tell us about our internal state of real relaxation. This manifestation of detente is workable and changes rapidly: we learn through a capacity of relaxed and attentive stability.

We can identify three aspects of the coordination capacity :

  • Listening to the body ,
  • Adaptability of the body,
  • Learning of the body.

The learning includes listening and adaptability, it requires a development of the other two aspects to evolve in synergy.

Listening to the body requires a certain mental silence and muscle relaxation which themselves require a developed coordination capacity. It is really hard to deal with relaxation or mental frontally . These are qualities that are difficult to access. However, coordination is easy to work on, if you are in a smart practice. Listening to the body includes four capabilities :

  •  Listening to the body is above all the ability to unite the body in action. The united body allows this economy of movement, this relaxation and this mental silence. The basic exercises that we work on within our school work a lot on the union of the body.
  •  The ability of perception is an important quality, it's pacing yourself according to your need . This is using just the right strength for the movement , learning the economy of energy expenditure.
  •  The ability of mobility, as its name does not suggest, includes stability and mobility. It is linked to proprioception (locating oneself in space by the kinesthetic) . It is an expression of our qualities of equilibrium, whether static or traveling. This is  what we call rooting, in place and moving. We also work on this very much.
  •  Proprioception and the vestibular system will allow the development of the ability of space management. These are qualities that are too often dormant and little covered with conscience. We will often work the rapport of ourselves  in space and of objects in space (weapons, others ... ) . Knowing where you are in space consciously is very important in the Taoist teachings.

Learning groups four abilities, two of which are common with listening to the body. Learning a gesture requires a regular exposure to the exercises, you need to repeat "once a hundred minutes rather than one hundred times one minute" to learn properly.

  • We find again mobility and space management .
  • The "timing" ability is not easy to grasp. It prompts to grasp an external rhythm or imposing one that is internal. In the first case, it is about a rhythm to perceive in action, in the other case you must give to external objects a pace of our own. Linking two parts of oneself as a function of a perceived action is in the ability of timing.
  •  We then  have the reaction ability which allows us to initiate movement on a given signal ( internal or external) . This allows us to act quickly on the basis of a perceived stimulus. In the acquisition of a gesture or the development of coordination, we need to grasp quickly and act accordingly.
  •  The ability to change allows us, when executing a gesture, to change it according to new requirements. In action, in a different understanding of the action, we have the opportunity to change the gesture. This is the changing force, a valuable by-product of coordination.
The practice of our school emphasizes coordination. We know that we want to work on the health of the body, the flow of energy and calming the mind. These three areas of self-development are concepts that are difficult to access, but all three require good coordination to flourish. The coordination ability is something easy to work on if you have the right exercises and a qualified teacher, so this is our first choice of training. This training  is on the way towards detente.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The entrance of Heaven has two doors to Hell

"Parcere subjectis and debellare superbos "

In classical Taoism, it is often referred to the "One", to this return recommended in Chapter 40 of the Dao De Jing .

The return to the Oneness requires a specific work that is diversified and falsely progressive.

We can however identify three main aspects to the various progressions on the Way : a work on oneself, on the world and on the mystery of Heaven.

This route between Heaven and Earth is specificity of Taoism.

This return to the Oneness demands to dissect our being, our life, our ways and our illusions, but also to transmute this crude into a light this is a Global Alchemy.

The training on the Way requires to realize two "Alchemies":

- From the inside to the outside
- Another from the outside inwards

Let's talk about what we know well, in the different schools of spiritual development, and which is the most practiced: the work from the inside to the outside.

By introspection, by research on ourselves, we develop a better understanding of ourselves.

This knowledge allows us to work on the different components that we understood and we will develop all the aspects that make us human, to enable ourselves to  bring out the "Zhen Ren 真人" the true human being , the achieved human being.

The danger of this step is to forget the purpose of all this, to forget the world, the others...

This training is intended to enable us to better integrate ourselves into the world, to live better with others... Unless we are in a practice of retreat from the world  (which is not the case of our school) .

Again, this part of Way is to go from inside, from the work on ourselves, to outside , to the world and others.

The trap is that in the development of oneself, our we allow our ego to "explode" , our individuality looks at the world with contempt, we feel superior... We let a part of the Way die, we stop at the point of contact with the world, on the edge of our perceptions.

It is true that the work on oneself enables us to better know ourselves, to function better in the world, to have a smoother and easier life .

Looking those who remain in the mundane, it is sometimes easy to criticize and judge: it is the opposite of what dictates the Practice.

This aspect of the Way asks us to exude the qualities of the Practice into the world, with the others, to illuminate our world, to make it more enjoyable.

It is therefore not a development from the inside towards the ego, but from oneself towards the world, from inside to outside: it is the path of the internal alchemy, the work of resolving my worries with myself to get to resolve my frustrations with others.

Thus, internal alchemy is a path that takes us out of our ego so that our refined individuality can lead by example in the world.

The techniques originate from the center of the body to rise in the middle of our being and go out towards the world: the test is not on ourselves but on our relationship to the world.

The concern is not really the practice time spent foolishly sitting on one's "foundations", but more how one's breath allows better interaction with one's neighbors .

The breath is energy, an energy that is required for me to accept different opinions, but breath is also linked to emotions, emotions that need to be stable to accommodate the stupidity of the uneducated.

So it's really a work from the inside to the outside.

But there is another way , the other door.

Neglected and distorted , often secret , the external Taoist alchemy allows you to change yourself from the outside towards the inside.

By manipulations and transformations taking place before our eyes, by the "miracles" that are carried out in clusters, through the time spent watching the world change and transform, we can radically change what was "me".

The wonders of the external alchemy have several aspects :

  • The elixirs
  • the Research of Jing
  • the "Kitchen"
  • the Taoist medicine
  • the Contemplation
  • the Dissolution
This practice requires that we note with bitterness that we are not perfect and that the work will be long: it exposes our need for reassurance, our inability to Presence, the impossibility of our ego to follow instructions or moreover our assumed superiority .

But then, if sometimes you can hide  your internal practice, filtering with cunning our fattest lies, the external practice does not lie: it does not work !

Indeed, by following the instructions, by indulging in a healthy dose of attention, by doing what we were told: it works, the result is before our eyes, realized.

Again, when we try the first times, having ignored many instructions, them being misunderstood or being too simple for us, or just not listened to sometimes, we are facing an overwhelming and intractable reality, a clear and real evidence, a certainty rooted in materiality: "Well, it does not work! "

Whatever may be the most spectacular beliefs that we can have on our evolution, whatever the majestic myths that we have built on on the greatness of our soul: the result is not there.

It is the strength of the external route, it brings us back to reality.

That this path is the main one or a support to the internal one, the two aspects of the practice help us not to succumb to the spiritual materialism and to keep our heads out of places where it should not be .

These two revealed aspects of the Way give us a full practice that save us from grandiose aspirations and obscene stupidity: we can not succumb to mediocrity with such safeguards.

What joy to know that we are forced to contemplate our incompetence to go towards a conscious sublimation: two doors to balance our search .

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Embracing the Infinite

Personal practice allows several things: it allows you to focus and develop listening by reducing the noise of our body and mind. Thus, we can reach different listening levels based on our commitment with the Practice.

One of the first manifestation of daily training is avoiding hurting our bodies with bad positions throughout the day. Through exercises that lead us to regain our natural alignment, we can no longer accept to take positions that are contrary to our structure. Being more aware, it is easier to feel the inconvenience and remedy it in order not to suffer the pain that is the result of adverse positions retained over a long period. This is a first level of achievement.

A little further in practice, we can familiarize ourselves with the internal changes that precede diseases and thus we can avoid them. In this state of listening, we can know when we are vulnerable to climatic conditions, but also because of fatigue. Too often, fatigue is fought (or denied) and hunted instead of being listened to. Thus in exhaustion, we are led to tap into our energy assets to function in life. Through an accurate and educated body listening, we know better when it is necessary to rest. This is the second level of listening.

If the practice becomes important in one's life, we can feel more finely our emotional functioning, during internal changes, for example. Before an emotion is perceived as such, there are a myriad of subtle changes in the body that can be "heard" in a relaxed listening. In this sensing of  the changes we can live, without being a victim of them, all the emotions of life. This is the third level of internal listening.

The discovery of this state of silence is impressive: we realize that we are not who we think we are. We are not this body / mind conditioned by our genetic heritage and our education, we are something else. What we are, our practice will present it to us through years of training.

It is difficult to practice, this is partly due to our deficiency of attention. We only manage to focus a little bit of time and not very often in the day. We prefer to operate in automatic mode, connected to our habits acquired during our formal or informal education. These automatism will immerse ourselves in the same joys and the same despair, whatever the circumstances. So we will not be really happy or sad, but we will only automatically respond appropriately. Often, after a few months of practice, our desires change and our appreciation of the world evolves. We leave the well-behaved "robot" mode which responds correctly to become a full-fledged human being. Things that mess us up are often linked to our past and our future projections, the reactions of our parents or our social environment, but our reactions are rarely ours. "The Awakening", a return to a natural state which is our true nature, allows us to focus on reality and not function on what we imagine is life.

Not only we are not what we believe, but also what we believe to perceive maybe is not real either. Our perception is almost always parasitized by our compulsive thoughts that feed on our ability to not be present. Through practice, we can learn to focus to be present to the reality of our perceptions. After discovering who we are not, we discover what is not: the world through our ego-filtered thoughts.

Another reason that separates us from the reality lies in the belief in our limitations. These are of all kinds and we impose them on ourselves. Whether one believes he is too old, too stupid or too weak, the practice will confront us with the reality that we do not have limits and the individual spirit that resides in us does not like this at all. Our ego, fierce guardian of our difference and our individuality can only survive with well-defined limits of what we are. The loss of these limits is a death sentence for it. With exercises that constitute the beginning of our practice, we will realize how we can do anything and that we are stronger than we thought. We have a capacity to embrace the infinite, free and light in the silence of our spontaneous state ... but we prefer to cower in a sickly rehashing of our past troubles and in the anxieties of our future. That's a good reason to start practicing if we neededed one!

In our way, we will overcome these limitations and meet ourselves. In the perception of who we are and the reality of the world we'll go back to ourselves in the merger with the changes of the world.

Pain, intellectual questions and emotions will be the weapons of the ego to take away the taste of "Totality". He will manage to make us doubt to lure us away from a practice that destroys him. We will resent the teacher and the world of working in such a conditioned manner. But the practice is within our reach, always ready to help us in our exploration efforts.

The practice requires only a simple action: "do." She also asked not to "think" or "believe", just "do." That is why a teacher is required. It is to bring the educational dose of confusion necessary to prevent the student from streamlining the way. In this blur, this lack of references, he must rely on his experience to get into the Way as we dive in a precipice. In this encounter with oneself, the Professor serves as matchmaker. The real work is ours, not his.

Making the practice the most important thing in one's life is not a requirement, as it is easy to live one's life without opening one's eyes to the world. Life is easier without practice, we ask ourselves fewer questions. Moreover, it is more comfortable in order  to blend in a daily routine  without relief, without flavor.

But do we have a choice?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The path of practice or "the usefulness of the practice of the Way"

It is intriguing to see that often people practice, even seriously, without being able to define what is "the Way."

It is possible to describe the Way by taking examples of achievements made by "advanced" students or by listing some selected exercises... but is it the Way?

"The way that can be expressed is not the Way"... says the Lao Zi.

But for us mere mortals, incorrigible Westerners, maybe it is useful for us to bribe us into an intellectual mess to understand what attracts and fascinates us.

I can say that the Way is a way to live our human condition fully, in the best possible way, respecting the evolution of the changes of the World.

We know the strength of our impulses, of our emotions, but do we know the way our bodies and our minds work?

When you purchase a new electronic marvel, several choices are available to you:

- You can use the basic functions, forgetting all the wonders that this futuristic machine offer. It's a waste compared to what you could do, but it's your choice.
- You can try to find all the useful functions for you and your life, and to make this machine do everything that it can to simplify your life. The time saved will bring you more in everyday life.

This comparison is only to realize that it is possible to live a fulfilling life without practicing, but without the knowledge of what the Way can bring...

With a better understanding of ourselves, of how our minds, of the principles of our physiology, we live a more conscious life, a fuller life. Less resignation, less fear and more ability to act positively on the important moments of our lives. This is true for us and our neighbors, the practice gives us the opportunity to learn to better live with each other in a self-knowledge.

In making our life more conscious, we meet better the chance to exist while recognizing the duty of deference towards the world.

Actively searching for who we are, how we work and the nature of our body, we are moving towards the unknown, beyond the limits of our horizontal knowledge.

Exiting the known means confronting the limits of our ego, challenging the boundaries of our character ... it is touching the realm of ​​Fear.

Our ego wants to control what is seen, it requires to bring everything back to what is known, to what is named and it feels unsafe in a probing introspection.

The practice is a permanent stimulation of the defenses of the ego through exercises designed to question our prejudices, weaken our defenses and eliminate our characters.

These exercises are the  Practice, but the practice does not exist without a space / time structure which means that thinking about all that is not enough, creating exercises is not the Way and patching pieces of Way that one has obtained on a discount is not a Practice.

A Practice has a non-linear logic that allows a development without growth, but in accordance with the development of human qualities. This practice is based on a solid line of practical experience and an incarnation of its concepts: the Professor.

The teacher should never be believed on his words, but always listened with availability and commitment: the experiences that will be experienced by applying the teachings construct the reality, the truth.

A creative "guy", cultivated and charismatic or dressed in orange, is not a serious guide if he does not have a coherent and comprehensive practice to offer.

The practice is based on a specific development that uses the human capacity to evolve naturally. The exercises, the concepts, and principles and even the "innocent" quips of the teacher, can have a role on the movements on the Way. However, all this requires a knowledge rooted in secular teachings.

You would not go in the Himalayan mountains with a good map and a compass. You would not go with a university teacher versed in the theories of mountain climbing either, but surely with a guide in the area.

The Way requires an exploration, a discovery, an adventure. It is in a contact with the unknown that it is possible, not in contact with the known. A way that is controlled by the ego will remain in the realm of what is comfortable and known.

However, whomever speaks of adventure and exploration, talks about specific techniques and real preparation. This is why a serious Way prepares us before sending us through the maze of our lies and our prejudices, our weaknesses and our lack of coordination, of the fifteen seconds of our poor attention.

To really take advantage of this adventure that allows us to go towards what we really are, we must prepare our bodies, calm our minds and develop our energy.

It would be a shame to walk in a dream scenery with a sore foot, a physical condition that forces us to focus on the pain and a mind that wines. The experience would be a waste!

The techniques of the Way lead us toward total freedom, toward an infinite ability to escape the limits of our ego mind and the pitfalls of our prejudices.

These techniques must be accurate and without question, without compromise.

Fuzzy techniques that do not rely on a solid structure will be grabbed by the mental: the fuzzy and the void will be filled by the known and the speculated, easy and the pretended.

We thus find ourselves believing that we practice when we are only distracting ourselves, with good conscience, in the climax of our character.

Through these practices, self-knowledge will bring out a deep freedom. This freedom is the foundation of our joy of living, and of our ability to share and of our just place in the changing world.

The reality of the perception of the world depends on my availability, my openness, to the loss of the limits of my character. I have to give myself permission to redefine myself every day if necessary, to seek without wishing to find, to "wander aimlessly".

This freedom, this "natural" comes from the practical accuracy of the Way, of the steps applied in the development of the self and of the ability of not lying to one's teacher.

This freedom abolishes Fear and allows to get a healthy body / mind. In the perception of reality, it is possible to locate oneself in the world and meet each other with candor and simplicity.

The sober becomes delectable and the mind reaches the silence, the body benefits from its relaxation and the energy expands.

The Way is not a set of exercises, it is not an opportunity to show off.

The Way is the ability to function fully in the manifestation that is Life.

Since most practitioners that we are are here (apart from a few tourists that there must be), and we that we spend time practicing, it is important to know what we do without producing an expectancy.

That is now done.

For a more succinct definition of the Way I could also say:

The Way is the direct perception of the "Great Secret".

Monday, May 20, 2013

The devil's greatest ruse

There is a danger in practice, a normal phenomenon, but one that is a source of wasted time. If our Way allows us to develop our body, our mind and our general circulation, it also develops the Ego. This swelling of our Ego will cause several problems, and can even stop us in our evolution.

The worst that can happen is for us to believe that we have understood, to feel that we've "got it". By definition, the Way is an endless journey, an evolution without limit.

It may be that in the perception of a growing strength, we become a silly and threatening idiot, as it is possible that in the minor understanding of some truth of the practice, we turns into a presumptuous chatterbox.

The Way is a school of life that enables us to better interact with each other, to go towards a happy life and to have a deep sense of the changes of the World ... it is not a "factory of pompous morons."

You, involved practitioners, do not let your ego take you to the dark side of the Way, do not let your mind take you to the trivial meanness of vanity, resist the "crass stupidity" which already has many recognized advocates.

It is possible to really feel different through practice, this difference is not always an accomplishment... It is a passage. These successive passages will lead you to a clearer understanding of yourself. This process is not to the liking of your mind, your ego, it directly threatens your characters and your worldly lies.

The best defense is to make you believe that you have arrived, that the Way has no secrets for you anymore, that you are nearing accomplishment...

Good news: total accomplishment does not exist!

We are often in our worldly cares and only sometimes in moments of partial consciousness, but sometimes we taste, through practice, moments of unity and wholeness. Accomplishment is a state where these proportions are reversed, that is to say that we always work with a residue of the "moron" we were once.

The more your practice settles in, the stronger you become, the more it is important to be aware of the importance of the relationship with others. It is in relation to the world that you express your ability of the Way in Life, not in your head or in your basement.

It is important in everyday life to enjoy the benefits of the Way and not to let the "simple minded" bother you. However, it is not necessary to be dismissive, pompous or imbued with yourself.

We practice a Way in Life, a practical education to better take advantage of the Changes of the World, with others. Without going into a search of unnecessary socializing, relationships with others is a review of the quality of our evolution.

In this time of spring in this strong and often poorly controlled energy, it is easier to see our misbehavior, vain and pedantic.

This anger, this frustration that we can feel towards everyone, this feeling of superiority or of difference, all these phenomena related to our persona "we the practitioner (or practitioner)," all this is based on our weaknesses and our Fear.

In this state of acute swelling of the ego, nothing can change, nothing can grow. One can spend several years in this state, but you can also decide that you are right once and for all... And then it is no longer possible to progress.

It is often very difficult to know where we are, to look at oneself without prejudice, however all others around us are aware of it. In the Way, it is the job of the Teacher, yet you must talk to him...

"The greatest trick the devil is to make us believe that he doesn't exist" Baudelaire said, let us not be fooled by this dark side of our mind.

Practice in an exemplary openness and relaxation, observe your relation to others, and the characters and the lies which are spread, the emotions projected into an often innocent world . Do not accept to be dominated by a jealous and fearful ego mind anymore, react and accept the long road that goes nowhere...

"The Way is practiced on a Cycle (of Jing) to be understood,

It is refined on the next cycle to be integrated

The third cycle enables to control one's destiny,

Finally disappeared, it is possible to live. "

That's it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Body, Energy, Emotion

All the concepts developed here come from Taoism. To facilitate the understanding of this text, these concepts will be explained in modern language without Chinese terms, or so little...

In our view, the universe operates according to three spheres: Earth, Man, Heaven (Sky). This worldview establishes this trilogy for a consistent cosmology. These three elements are, in Taoism, at the Man's level, the three treasures: jing (essence), chi (energy) and shen (spirit).

We, as human beings, are situated between heaven and earth. The earth is the nature but also the whole Yin, the manifested.

To address this question on the manifested versus the unmanifested, let's take an example: imagine that you hit a table with your hand. Faced with this possibility, several cases can occur; either you fear the pain it could create (without being sure that it's actually going to be painful). Either you think about everything but the pain, and are wondering what I'm talking about. The gesture, the possible pain, the full sensation of this action fall within the scope of "potential", everything is possible but we do not know what will be in the reality of action. We are in the unmanifested, the idea.

Now hit your hand on the table. Either it hurts you or it does not hurt you, but in both cases there is something going on in the physical reality. Part of the imagined action's potential is realized, felt. In the feeling, or on the feeling, is grafted a myriad of thoughts that have nothing to do with the planning  of the action, the action itself and its results. We are in the manifested, that in it's "birth", can be perceived. The original perception is hardly recognizable, because it is automatically tinted by thoughts that are only there to give vital limits to our ego, to reassure us.

The unmanifested does not exist in the field of perception of the five senses, in contrast, the manifested is perceived by the five senses and is constantly commented on by the mind.

Now let's get to the history of the ego. Very young, we do not disassociate ourselves from the things around us (before two / three years old), we are not separated from the world. Very soon, our entourage will explain that there is a difference between others and us, between us and the rest. After that, our perceptions will be slowly being invaded by thoughts, every action and perception will be "translated" by our thoughts for our mind. The reality will no longer be seen as what it is, but as what our mind makes it to grow our individuality, the difference between us and the world, this singular image to which we attach so much, the ego. This is the death of spontaneity. Being right, making discriminating choices to impose our thoughts are reinforcing mechanisms of the limited coherence that is our ego. The ego loves limits, rules, and what is understood by the intellect. He does not like the limitless, which can not only be understood by the five senses and what is not intellectual. The ego loves religion and can not love nondual spiritualities.

Now back to the three elements. On one side we have the Earth (yin manifested). On this yin is born the human being who will live in the world. On the other hand we have the Heaven that represents what is not of this earth (yang unmanifested).

In Man, we find the same three levels of understanding of the phenomena: body, energy and intellect. The body is our mechanical structure which operates in a global homeostasis, in a physiological balance. Hopefully, everything goes well, but if a part does not go well, a series of compensations will unbalance the body to compensate for what is not working perfectly. To put it simply, nothing really goes well in the body, but everything is done to make sure that the balance is held as a whole ... but consequently it is a delicate balance.

Energy is what allows us to enter into the world of perceptions of the body while already in the subtle. You can "feel" the energy, but most of the time you in fact only feel "manifestations" of this energy: heat, tingling, numbness ...

We can only feel the energy when we open the door to subtle senses, freed from the comments of the mind and  through the relaxation of the body.

Then there is the mind, the world of thoughts, which can not be seen and have no direct effect on the physical body.

It is the interaction between these three spheres that interests us. The body, in its tensions will cause the mind to comment and judge his own state. Thoughts will create an inner tension that results from the inability to move in the direction of all the comments that we do, of all the things that we imagine. These judgments and the non-acceptance of what is, these internal and external tensions, will manifestations that come from the mind and feed on energy: emotions.

Emotions are thoughts that will pass from the unmanifested to the manifested, through the energy of the mind to the body. Emotions are mental, created by our mind and source of new comments themselves. But they are also physical, as they are directly related to energy and body organs. Emotions are the bridge between the head and the body. They are the first cause of internal diseases in Chinese medicine. Mental stress, generated by repressed thoughts, will create a physical tension that will be underlying and emotion. This physical tension will be commented by the mind intellectually and become a source of rehashing that brings emotional stress. This vicious circle is the source of emotions that will last for months instead of a few seconds, of physical tension that will have no medical solution, sleep loss that can not be improved with chemicals ...

It should be understood that emotions, natural and inevitable, are the result of an internal tension and / or and external tension, just as fatigue is the result of the operation the being. Emotions are signs of disturbance of the peace in the functioning of the body / mind.

The etymology of the word "emotion" comes from the Latin "emovere" which means "shake, move". From Old French, the term emotion is used in the sense of "what is disturbing peace" rather than a sense of movement which will be the word "move."

Far be it from me to say that we should control, limit or suppress emotions, it would be silly! But in the understanding of their functioning, it is possible to "surf" on them, or with them, rather than being drowned in the roll of a wave that carries everything and makes us victims. This is the difference between someone who is witnessing an accident and who is the victim of this accident.

In the understanding of what we have just said, and from the Taoist school of ours, how can we go in this merger with the emotions, which allows us to live them without being their victim? We have three possible approaches: one by the body, the other by the mind and by the last one through energy.

We now understand why the mental approach, which is the source of emotion, seems complicated and difficult to use. Emotion is a feeling of the ego, good or bad, but that makes it alive and strong. Every strong emotion that overtakes us gives us limits and reasons to get into compulsive thoughts which make the happiness of the ego. Any attempt of release through the intellect forgets that 50% of emotions is physical. For all that is physical, it must go through the physical approach.

The physical approach seems interesting, but  we  are often simply wrong in our perceptions, mislead by our internal comments that develops interpretations of what we perceive. This solution still seems less dangerous than the mental approach.

In fact, emotions are primarily a manifestation between mind and body, we can use the term "energy." for them.  They are correspondence with the human sphere. The energy approach requires some education, an awareness, and real learning.

In our school, we will work with emotions in three stages:

-  feeling
- dissolving
-  waiting

Through a practice of the body, creating circulation and relaxation, we can feel better  the onset of emotion in its creation, even before its manifestation in the body.

We will experience areas of the body that are most affected by certain emotions and learn to let them relax in the acceptance and relaxation of the emotions. In a conscious expectation of all the mechanisms of our body / mind, we will enter a phase of silence where any mental or emotional event is obvious.

Not being "disturbed", but living fully with ourselves, this is our idea.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The role of the Master

Between the internet, the dvds, the vcds, most of the key information about the internal arts are almost public domain. If we are smart enough and if we are sufficiently investigative, there is no practice that can remain hidden. In a world where information is king, where knowledge is popularized and horizontal, where everyone knows just about everything about anything but nothing in depth, it is possible to believe that it is enough to become a great self-taught practitioner...

In the Taoist tradition, it is very important to have an initiation, a specific lineage to follow and to practice under the tutelage of a master.

It is only when the master endorses you that it is possible to teach the Way. There is no ambiguity, the teacher appoints the students and then they can teach. Before that, it is a decision of the student to pass on his knowledge before being invited to do so, thus separating from one's tradition and lineage.

This teaching without permission is the reason for the change in the quality of teaching.

We see more and more discussion forums where everyone spread their knowledge and their revolutionary mundane ideas and secrets for a perfect training based on magic machines or restorative or stimulating hormones. Exchanges are happening in a feint openness to reassure oneself on one's obvious superiority, on the strength of one's findings and his secret vcds (with less than 15 000 copies!).

On these forums, some publish their resume, other photos or videos, but why this need to talk about one's practice? Why spread the arts which once feasted on a comfortable discretion? Is this a need to reassure oneself or to check what is believed to be true? A desire for openness and sharing with the rest of the human beings or a way to get their hands on new recruits?

If these forums are not "traditional", they are our new tradition and we have to deal with it. I am the first to enjoy reading these "post" from practitioners, it is the same "voyeur" side that drives us to watch "American Idol". The vcds or dvds that reveal the secrets of ancient China are also from our time and they are sometimes useful, thus saving endangered arts. These media are often like a virus in a river: they poison everything in their path imposing death to life (but it is only a way of seeing it).

The movies are often a way of strengthening our illusions: the Chinese keep a sense of humor and remind us of a saying that is law in the middle kingdom: "You can always fool a foreigner".

What do we lack of in today's world of Chinese internal arts? There is a lack of teachers, guardians of traditions and who can advise about a road already traveled. However, there are more and more "coaches" that can lead to martial arts and combine one hundred disciplines to be able to answer any questions.

There are teachers, hustlers, artists, acrobats, practitioners, experts, thieves, historians, liars, psychotics, scholars and even humanists sometimes ... but where are the masters?

Without a master, we wander without answers, ready to do anything as long as we follow a direction or that we receive a validation of our practices that are cobbled together from Gandhi, Bruce Lee and the series "Kung Fu".

What is the definition of a Master?

A master is an expert who has trained everything everything he speaks of, he is the holder of a "global" style . This style, often old, is complete in itself and meets the life needs of the adept. He has no need to seek in other traditions that which he lacks, or to prove anything: he is the image of what he says. He is in his practice and in his life is an expression of his Way. He lives in the world and it does not wear pajamas to train. Each movement is a technique and everything is training for the master.

He is not older than 25, in general.

For us, in our tradition, an expert may have 10 years of practice, but a teacher must accumulate at least 30 years in a precise tradition.

We often hear in discussions that teachers are hard to find when it is so easy to go to a club on the corner of the street. It's true!

But if we reason this way, why work if you can steal? Why meditate if you can pray?

But if we remain locked up in a world that is not what we really want, the style is not one that we really like andthe teacher is not great for our taste but it is located not far from our couch, we should not be surprised to feel the need to rant on the internet at two o'clock in the morning.

Again, it is necessary to know what you really desire. Why choose a warrior path or a meditative path in an age like ours? Why take refuge in the energy work and meditative? What do we really seek through the excuse of a spiritual practice? Isn't it strange to practice? (as our 'colleagues' at work often remind us...). Are we in another reality or just a victim of a spiritualo-energetic-weird fad?

It is illusory to believe that our way is random and silly to think that this is a "hobby": who are we to be in this practice and how do we recognize ourselves in it?

It is the role of the teacher to guide us to find ourselves, sometimes to meet ourselves, in an ancient tradition, mirroring the identity of the human being. The same words and the same gestures that have released the masters of yesteryear are the practices of today.

It is certainly possible to name them differently, to make them evolve with machines and elastics, to save time by doing weight training, to use hypnosis or drugs, but the arts have been here for a long time, and they work in the same way as the tradition.

They are complete in themselves and do not need anything other than practice. Perhaps it is easier to hide one's ignorance in revolutionary innovations, but all that is acquired quickly and effortlessly is often suspect or even useless.

The master is the guardian of a tradition, often a road he is traveling, he can guide newcomers and put back on track those who are lost. He does only this: guiding and recognizing the best way for everyone when they come to him. He should not be "pleasant" or nice, he does not show what people want to see, but what they need. He must be in the image of what he teaches.

This is not a tourist guide, it is a mountain guide.

The teacher should not ask you to be like him, but to recognize you and meet you. Heoffers a return to yourself, by an illogical and tedious practice , without risk if only that of being successful. But he does not do the work, the responsibility is yours.

It is not necessary to dazzle the master, to flatter him, to become his friend (which can happen, but it has nothing to do with evolution). It is useless to talk too much or too tell too much, it is an illusion to hide. The only thing to do is practice. Do not overdo it, do not get locked into inaction or laziness: "If you do it, it works, if you do not, it does not work."

It is often easier to show off and lie (to oneself) than to seek the resistance of our ego, the difficulties of our body, but the master is here for that.

This implies that the master embodies what he speaks of, that he has your trust and that he is there when he should be.

If you do not follow the path you chose, if you do not follow the advice of the teachings, if you do not trust the practice, if you think you are right ... then it is better to learn forms on the internet and follow the advice of lights on the Minitel (it must still exist, a precursor to the French internet, NdT), but your place is not in a tradition.

Any intellectual research can feed the isolated mind, any physical practice without tradition is likely to strengthen the body, any discovery of energy causes changes in vitality, but only a way with a teacher can guide us to the changes that will the source of our "reversion".

Friday, February 15, 2013

Developing Coordination for a united body

It is important to understand that the coordination we are interested in is the one of a total union for a global movement. To do this, we will dissociate all the parts of the body to be able to unite them later. In this dissection of the movements and possibilities of the body, we will split our work in five steps:

- Dissociation of the joints joints
- Isolation of the muscle work
- Identification of the muscular chains
- Strengthening of the core muscles
-  Proprioception work

Strength work, coordination work or complex movements have no meaning without a general relaxation of the structure. For this coherent ensemble to be relaxed it must be "rooted". We will look primarily for a postural alignment to find this structure. The alignment of this structure will settle us down on earth and enable us to find our center. In this condition we can go in a more specific search. Without this structure, it will be difficult to do anything.

Upper limbs have several joints that each have their own functions. If each segment is used for its function, everything will go just fine. But often, for a given action, we use too much force because of tension and the lack of understanding of our structure. It may also happen that due to an imbalance or weakness, we compensate with muscles that should remain resting at this moment. This is the magic of the adaptability of our body but also a source of physical and emotional tension. To understand through the feeling and experience "who does what" in our body, we will separate each part to recognize the important work done by each segment. This is a fun step, although sometimes depressing, where we discover the limits of our sensations and the stiffness and weakness of our body.

For the limbs it happens without too many problems but everything changes when we go to the discovery of our spine which is actually mobile ... Yes, your back has an incredible mobility that can do many more things that you can imagine. I will cite for example, the ability to move each vertebral segment and the ability to emit a "wave" of the sacrum upward.

These exercises enable a relaxation by a more intimate relationship with your body.

When we have experimented the different moving parts of our body, it is time to see what muscles are doing a traction or expansion and contraction work for our daily movements. Again, a force we often misuse fatigue us without reason. Through identification exercises by muscle movements in common movements, we identify what should be used and what is useless. Through this direct personal experience we understand the body, under the direction of a teacher. The feeling of having more energy that then manifests itself is not that of a strength gain. In fact, at this stage, we spend less energy in wasted effort, so we're less tired.

For a given movement, we know at this stage what segment is used and what muscles are involved. If we move on to more complex gestures, moving in space, we see something very important: all movements can be improved in an overall synergy. Every movement, well understood and in an attentive relaxation, can be improved by the union of all the segments that can help this action. These muscle chains in given directions will transform a local action in a united action. In Chinese medicine, we know these lines, we call them the "muscle tendon meridians" . These lines of force are linked to unite the whole body. There are lines of force for all the movements of the six directions of space and their use greatly potentiates our actions. This is a first step in the union of the body in movement.

When the body acts, less "obvious" muscles are at work. These are the muscles that can not be controlled without deep listening to our body mechanics. Their study and conscious implementation is more complex. Often among the most powerful in the body, these muscles are buried at the heart of our structure and are a source of great power. Specific exercises will awaken the potential for a deeper union of the whole gesture.

The union of the body will have a feasibility only if it can exist in a stable movement. For this movement, we must know where we are and where we are going, it is necessary to identify one's center. Proprioception enables us to  locate ourselves in space by the kinesthetic sensation. If it is possible to know where we are through sensation, learning to situate ourselves at every moment, freedom of movement is possible. The body will exponentially amplify its effectiveness in a united movement with gesture. If the move is tense, unstable or opposite to the gesture, no union is possible.

Coordination for a united movement necessitates a specific practices but can take various forms. Any approach is correct if it leads to this union and if it does not require athletic accomplishment that limit the result to a fleeting youth.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Pissing into the wind

Teaching is a bit like wasting one's breath or giving a public lecture, therefore the possibility that someone perceives you are slim.

It is not out of malice or lack of interest that the student does not listen, since in general it is his own will which leads him to the teacher, and he hears him. However, it is necessary to pass through some filters:

- The acceptance of one's ego
- The limits of one's prejudices
- One's ability to understand,
- The quality of one's attention.

These four "Horsemen of the Apocalypse" will pose some problems with the fluidity of the flow of information.

If the information directly jeopardizes the omnipotence of one's ego, going against the basic values ​​of the person, the information is transformed or ignored.

If the teaching goes against what one had fantasized about practice, then the information does not pass or not much, one will transform what is heard.

The information that we receive penetrate through the filter of one's intellect. If it is limited or it is occupied by too much mental activity, the teaching can not penetrate.

With a mind constantly stimulated by the modern world, attention is often quite low. The "zapping" of information, the horizontal knowledge and the constant boredom can not develop an openness to the world.

The ability to really "get" the teaching is like flashing an object with a light beam, a flashlight:

It is necessary that the lamp operates (the intellect is available), it must be pointed in the right direction (teacher, professor), it is necessary that the lamp illuminates the same place long enough (focused attention) and the item that we study must not be concealed by an obstacle (wall of the ego).

If these elements are met, then getting the information is easy.

Teaching is often stealthily pointing an oil lamp to a wall that conceals an object buried in the maze of prejudices.

But if we stay the course, if we persevere, little by little, the same information becomes clear.

That is the joy of teaching: seeing the student gradually get what is obvious to you. It is to find one another in a common knowledge, observing that everyone joins in a real unity.

This communion is not of the realm of the intellect, but more generally of the human conscious experience.

We must accept that the understanding of a teaching is only a small part of the process. It is illusory to believe that what is known is understood. If it is not "digested" by experience, felt, visceral, knowledge is a only a collection of concepts without practical application ... as useful as a stamp collection.

Whoever, to better understand a subject, disperses himself in several Ways, this one will not go very far ... however it has a nice collection of stamps.

We should also be honest: some are happy to "know", but are not in the practice. This is honorable, but different from the practice. You just need to remember that only the practice transforms, not the knowledge of the practice.

This is not the acquisition of the diet pill that makes you lose weight, even if you know the diet, it is the effort associated with it.

Teaching is a wonderful way that requires not to be in a hurry.

The return of sunny days enables us to benefit from a high energy to enjoy to train ourselves to be more present in an alive and real daily practice.

To effectively manage one's practice, it is advisable not to forget the early lessons,  not to underestimate one's ability to transform and find some availability in the imbroglio of one's prejudices.

Good practice to all!

Friday, January 25, 2013

I think, but I practice

It is ironic to see all the information you need to perform a serious practice, and the large number of Taoist texts on the accumulation of knowledge.
In fact, for the student of a Way that incites to live fully the human condition, it is often difficult to manage the wealth of knowledge that piles up during his learning.

At the same time, the main obstacle to his development is often a kind of ignorance.

It must be the Taoist paradox...

In fact, in my tradition, we talk about two kinds of intellectual knowledge: the one which is changing the Way through the understanding of practical details, and the one which spreads like jam, which clutters the mind and inflates the ego.

But we'll see here, that it is possible to detail a little more.

In fact there are two classifications of knowledge, two levels of knowledge:

  • horizontal and vertical
  • intellectual and practical

Today, with the internet and the media, the globalization and the "Harper's Bazaar", the advice of our grandmother and the countertop discussions, everyone knows everything about anything.

This knowledge is horizontal knowledge.

It is combining the three nonsenses we heard on television to a theoretical knowledge applicable in life. This knowledge can sometimes help during a game of Trivial Pursuit, but rarely to change one's body or mind.

The main problem with this kind of knowledge is that it resides on top of a more subtle level of ignorance, which gives the impression to understand, but which is in fact just "knowing nothing about everything."

Vertical knowledge is useful knowledge, on a familiar topic, which allows you to live and apply the intellectual in reality. It is an alchemical work that turns yin the yang, that materializes the unmanifested.

This knowledge is useful to develop one's vision of the world , to better understand what is the "action", a stronger link between body and mind.

By the accumulation of details on a topic we study in depth, a vertical knowledge can lead an universal knowledge.

Indeed, if we focus far enough on  the vertical knowledge, in different subjects, we surprinsingly often fall back on big common underlying concepts.

The horizontal accumulation of facts, concepts and anecdotes only leads to a need for "more". It does not allow research or practical application, it does not change you, and proves to be distinguished way of wasting time.

However, it is good to know how to entertain oneself unimportant facts, just to be able to chat and relax one's mind with trivial pursuits.

The knowledge that is pointed at in the Daodejing is this intellectual knowledge, which is unimportant, this ability to remember, which is mistaken for an important phenomenon.

The knowledge that can improve the understanding of self and mind, the correct usage of one's body or the search of one's favorite subjects, for an evolution, is actually a part of the Way.

The way of the mind is the meditation, the shengong, but also the gymnastics of knowledge,  a vertical knowledge as you'll have understood.

There is nothing more precious than information that can transform us: objects become worn, get lost or are forgotten; assets change during the life without impacting our deepest self... Vertical knowledge can not be lost.

The information will digest itself and become ours. It will allow us to move towards a more refined version of ourselves ... As a distillation toward an intact, original self.

This is the alchemical process.

"Information is power"

Friday, January 18, 2013

The frequencies of practice

Sometimes, in discussions, we happen to talk about the frequencies of one's practice.

Regarding the Chinese internal arts, of Taoist inspiration or not, if the practice is not a daily one, then there is no practice. This may seem an exaggeration, but it is a reality.

It is not possible to practice "a little" from time to time, it cannot be an internal practice that leads somewhere.

I repeat here an image that is dear to me: the water must be boiling: the alternation of a fierce fire and then a time without fire will not allow the water to start boiling. There must be a continuity in the fire to sufficiently heat the liquid, which thus reaches the critical temperature change.

Practice is a reflection of this example. This transformation, this alchemy can only be done with a sustained and relaxed effort, otherwise either we burn the pot is burning or we do not heat the water enough... But that's another topic.

Participating in Tai Chi Chuan "sessions" two or three times a week or taking chi kung lessons is not practicing... There should be no confusion!Exercises learned during the lessons, the theory and the forms, serve only to discover the personal practice, which is the only source of change.

This new way of life, based on a constant awareness of one's actions, in accordance with the concepts of one's practice, has nothing to do with this entertaining session of "sport".It is not enough to make slow movements while breathing through the nose, or to dress up like a  Chinese, with the music that goes with it, to pretend to be in the Internal Arts. No, one must follow a very precise training protocol, on a significant duration.

It would be easy and unfair to throw things like that and then stop saying "You should not do that, it is not good ... Good bye now!". Since I have the opportunity, I would rather let you enjoy the vision of my tradition, so as to share.

This is not "the" truth (or it's a fluke ...), but it is close to "my" truth.

Daily work must follow a specific direction that requires a real continuity and an exclusivity in the consistency of the effort.

Deep understanding of each part enables us to free ourselves of  "what to do" and to go to a natural and personal way.

The fact of "changing" the training before getting to the bottom of it does not enable us to be on a solid foundation. Staying "stuck" in one's little concepts of "truth" is even sadder, it is a sign of lack of freedom.

Practice is clear and strict, but it must be "freed", sooner or later,  to unite to what we are. It should not get stuck on what is taught, but must grow and return to the natural.

The steps are often the same in Chinese internal arts:

- Relax the body
- Form the body
- Anchor the body
- Strengthen the body
- Coordinate breathing
- Unite breath and movement,
- Calm the mind and strengthen the intention,
- Unite and feel the energy

These steps are obviously a quick summary, but they give an idea of the work that is required.It is obvious that if, in the period when we relax the body, you practice the hard chi kung of the White Crane (for example), the contrary informations may not be absorbed by the neuromuscular system. Yes, you move and circulate the blood, but you do not learn, you do not build.

Similarly, if you practice American boxing exercises to relax, it will not be possible either. It will at most be a good external practice,  relaxed and fluid, but it will never be an internal practice.

It does not work with Thai boxing and sumo either...

The profound changes, that have a purpose other than simply being able to perform major stinging slaps, require a continuity and a presence to the work (no, we can not do the tree watching the news or a Jet Li movie! it is better than nothing, but the real work is not there, and anyway, "we will have to dig where we left the earth").

"Uniting" implies not dispersing.

One must, for an internal practice according to the traditions that I know, respect several steps that dictate the guidelines of work:

- Understand the work you have to do (thus requiring the details and supervision of a "qualified" teacher), not working in a vacuum, for nothing, or doing stupid things that ruin everything.
- Bring a comfort in the practice, both physical and mental. A practice that is too far from our availability, which goes against our culture, that we do not understand, which is too painful... It is not possible, you should arrange it to find that comfort, otherwise it leads to nothing. I did not say it would be easy ...
- Integrate your practice in your life ... or in fact, your life in your practice.
- Do not go "against" the changes that the practice brings ( whether professional, emotional, physical ...), it is a good example of "non action."
- Repeat the exercises tirelessly and without much questioning (well, knowing that it is impossible for the Westerners that we are not to ask questions...)
- The attention must be total but relaxed ... I know this is science fiction, but I share my teachings. Well, if you are present to what you do, it's not bad for starters.

Too often, concentration is an attention "stuck" on a topic, an image, a goal.

The intention may be "attentive" or "concentrated".The "yi" is a conceptualization that tends to want to realize itself through the "zhi", the strength of the kidneys. Basically, the "yi" says: "I will give him a good slap through the understanding of my body mechanics" but the "zhi" must do, or flee ("fight or flight" syndrome).

The mistake that is often made by practitioners who love martial arts intellectually, is to think much "how" and "why", through the "yi", but forget to feed the beast, strengthen the body, the primal force of the kidneys, the "zhi".

A body that feels weak, who does not trust itself, will have a "zhi" who will not go to actual combat.

If it is "concentrated" according to the terms defined here, we are less efficient than if we are "attentive", a bit like the muscle, which should be soft, not tight.

Again, daily practice, with its inevitable "tests" enables us to understand this better than worthless words.

- And, big secret if there is one, you must discover a "hidden treasure"; you must "enter" the Internal Arts through the discovery of enthusiasm, the pleasure of practice. It is the enthusiasm that will prevent us from having harmful distractions to our practice, because we will better understand the value of what we have.

This way of working has to be the same for the different aspects of the practice, which are not progressive, but mingled with each other.

There is no "half practice." If the internal practice is not "merged" with one's life, then you are on the doorstep, but you have not entered yet.

For those who pretend to want, but evoke false excuses such as logistical concerns for example, I would say that if the mental availability is real and clear, the physical availability will tend to establish herself.

Without enthusiasm, it is only possible to pretend or wish to want and try, but never do. Our entire practice is in action.

Discovering enthusiasm can not be learned, as the Tao can not be described, but we have the means to "feel" it through the practice.

Several styles of ancient Chinese internal boxes are called "men" and not "chuan" (fist) or "fa" (method) or "zang" (palm)... "Men" means door, entrance, portal, an entrance to the internal arts.

We speak of "practicing" Chinese boxing, but of "entering" in the internal arts, and we do so through a door: "men". It is obvious that many internal styles are not called "men"... This is an example.

I think if you practice 12 minutes per day, every day, without effort or questioning, then we can "enter". The constancy of the return to the body and to the  "shen", of this connection, this slow but durable fire, can gently lead to this subtle boiling... I think the problem is that we will surely have to return to this story of questioning, enthusiasm and effort.

However, to use the power of the internal arts in a physical confrontations, it will take more than 12 minutes per day, that's for sure!

For a good right to be closer to a "bong chuan" than a good right of a cowboy, we will have to work (me being the first...)!

An internal strike is penetrating, this requires a relaxed body and mind. The "united" body worked a split second, and everything breaks loose ... For that kind of result, I think we need to organize our lives around our practice so that it really works, but it is a difficult choice.

This is a vision of the practice in my tradition, the Taoist arts that I know follow this path and I give them to you as I received them.

Friday, January 11, 2013

One the Way, dragging one's feet

It is rare to dare to enter a Way, but it is even more rare to be able to stay on it.

The awareness that comes from the beginning of a practice can not be forgotten. Anyone who starts a search can not forget it. We can try to hide it, but it is still there.After assimilating an information, it stays in our knowledge... We can not forget it. We're talking about realization, not the details of daily life.

In the eyes of one's life,  body and mind, meeting a richer reality requires more intense introspection. We are all sufficiently attached to ourselves and our image to put this information into what is important.

Sometimes life takes us away from this practice, but the case remains open and the issues, pending.Despite this, and for various reasons, many beginning practitioners walk out of their Way, out of the education they receive. This return to the mundane, without practice, is often an abandonment, an escape. In addition, there are also those who will practice a thousand teachings at a time without really doing anything, reminding us of  the story of the little mouse ...

The issue of time is also often raised, but did not have an hour to spend in the day?Obviously, this requires to establish clear priorities.

There are two facets of the practitioner.In those who practice, there is the "good practitioner" and there's the other one.

The good practitioner is this self image, the "spiritual one", who is on a Way. Then their is the one who knows all, our ego, and everything that we hide from everybody else.

In this dark side, there is all the "dirty" and "nasty", everything that we try not to show in our personality, our public persona.It is difficult not to give in to the one who is right, who knows everything ... because it is the one that shows that  we are right, that we are superior, important.

As long as our practice doesn't enable us to give up these two facets of ourselves, as long as we hide behind our persona, as long as we believe we are important and intelligent, as long as we feel upset or defensive, then we are only in our illusion.In this ill being, the research will move from pleasure to pains, without stability, without root, without peace.In reality, we are not neither the good practitioner nor our compulsive thoughts, we are what is deep down, what we do not know is there.

This silent witness, this presence, this true spirit is our research.The Way allows us to go toward this meeting with ourselves, deeply and without compromise.Is the solution in the constant practice?

Yes, but it is in a practice that is fused to life and not in an  artificial practice that covers it.It is possible to practice to escape life, the mundane. It is not advisable to do this,we have to walking reality to go toward "who we really are".

A practice that escapes life is the source of "spiritual ego", a new facet of self, a spiritual persona. An Intelligent teaching leads to a practice that is designed to go in life, without ritual, without artifice.

With an understanding of the Way, we erase the limits of the practical and of life, we fuse the two, and only remains a life in the presence of a Way and a Way fused to life.We need a clear practice, aimless, but whose form is determined.

We need to work on areas that give rise to the "one we really are", whom is too often struggling  against our worldly character. It is therefore necessary to work on the body for relaxation, energy flow for health and our mind to stop taking ourselves seriously as soon as possible.

There is no question of calling it to "later" when "we will have time," when "I'm ready" ... We must begin now, while we can.

From that moment, it is possible to put one's attention on what we are doing, on the gaze we have on our actions, but also to ensure that we will practice our chi kung tonight ... The practice  exists now.

It is possible to go into a practice knowing the importance of it, but "dragging one's feet".

It is because we listen to our false importance, to our precious personality, to our desire to be right ... we just have to turn our attention to it.

Looking at ourselves, contorting ourselves in an often falsely complex daily life, in moments of painful illusions and useless brooding, we can observe and mock ourselves.

This healthy look on our ordinary madness opens a route towards our Way, a glimpse of reality.

In this simple Awakening, without fanfare or fireworks, we can stay in life and keep practicing every moment.

This relaxed but constant attention, enables us to put order in our lives every day.In case we think ourselves as being really relaxed and quiet, reaching the goal,  victorious of our ego... The teacher will be there.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Consciously Happy

Here are some simple concepts to go towards a pursuit of happiness. These concepts take into account both modern research and ancient writings.

Getting enough sleep regulates the mood


A sleep study of 7 years (Watson 2000-2007) shows that whatever our misfortunes, restful sleep "resets" us in the morning.

Basically, if we live a balanced and conscious life, negative moods and concerns are digested during the night and we have a new and neutral field of action after a good night's sleep.

It is relatively rare in industrialized societies to meet people who get enough sleep. This comes from the fact that sleep is of poor quality.

It takes several criteria for a good sleep:
  • you must go to bed relaxed and not go to bed to relax
  • you must have finished digesting
  • you must have a bed that requires no effort to relax
  • you must get enough sleep according to your needs

Exchange, share and have fun

True self-knowledge requires to work on interpersonal abilities and our relationship with others. It is therefore important to look at the way we act with each other.

Light sharing and openness to others allows honest self-understanding through action.

Being surrounded by the right people, sharing with selected friends is important.

All human groups that live the oldest and best know this need. Groups that share and trade within shared values have more stable emotions and stronger health.

We have already talked about this in the text about "Taoist Immortality."

Moving one's ass stabilises the mind

Numerous studies over 60 years show us the relationship between physical activity and depression, generalized anxiety and other forms of imbalanced mood.

The more the physical practice is conscious, the more it is beneficial.

In addition, it should not be violent or too tiring. If the heart goes too high or if the body is pushed too far, the mind is overwhelmed by endorphins and adrenaline that will develop an addiction that is contrary to happiness...

Daily practice must be conscious and soft.

That is to say, Wai Gong, Nei Gong, Qi gong...

Chapter 3 tells us: "Strengthening the bones", referring to the four qualities of the sage (a human that is happy and in his right place between heaven and earth).

"Strengthening the bones" is a term for the practice of "qigong" that forms the body from the outside to the inside.

The balance of the work of the body and the mind regulates the  yin / yang relationship: the force of the yin (body) roots the a more stable spirit (yang).

Feeding the body to kindle the yang

In the case the Yang, the lighthness, is missing from the system, everything is heavier.

We talk in Taoism and Chinese medicine of the "dampness" that douses the yang. The body is heavy and the mind foggy, we complain, we are lazy and emotions are out of control.

The food must be regulated when we are in this case, or when you are in an excess of dampness that will eventually douse the yang.

It is difficult here to go in detail what to eat or not, this is an important topic.

Sugar, wheat flour, fat are examples of dampness.

In our tradition, we have a system that strengthens the yang. This diet allows to reset one's body.

Money does not buy happiness ... but the lack thereof brings worries ...

In the Daodejing, it is repeatedly stressed that possessing too much, chasing goods too much, only brings worries.

Chapter 12 tells us to prefer that comes from the "gut" rather than from the "eyes" and what is "rare" makes creates envy in thieves ... But one's possessions can also be the source of resentment and jealousy .

Chapter 53 is even clearer: having too much 'outside' is of no use. It is a chapter that tells us about the too much, about the displacement of values that need to be more internal than external. Possessing needs are rooted in an internal imbalance that can not be relieved by external acquisition.

Serious studies (National Opinion Research Center 2005) gives us a current answer on the ratio money/happiness: from 1957 to 2005, regardless of resources and assets, the percentage of happy people remains almost the same.

More surveys from 2000 to 2007 gives a relationship between income and happiness (D. And 0, NYC) which shows the same percentage of happy people in all social classes (not taking into account people in survival situations).

Wealth is comparable to health in that its absence is a source of unhappiness, but its presence is often imperceptible to the individual.

A daily awareness of what we have in relation to our real needs, can enable us to realize that there is no need to whine...

Master one's schedule, control the pace of life

Chapter 37: "In the Tao, the non action (non resistance) enables us to regulate everything"

The realization of what must be done requires us to go more in the movement of the world than to bustle constantly. In a fluidity that comes from an understanding of the changes, it is possible to do 10,000 times more than in an endless struggle.

As we do not see clearly, the actions we undertake are closer to that of Sisyphus than Lazzi.

The feeling of mastery of one's time is a source of joy or tension (or even depression) in all. Daily struggle to do too much or the disappointment of not being able to do more is a real source of tension. This tension can not be resolved, it is a manifestation of an unbalanced perception of oneself in action. It is only possible to rebalance the work/rest ratio. In this equilibrium, we can understand without being agitated and finally live.

Misunderstanding of the passing of time, in a future projection and a past melancholy, only creates disappointment.

A shengong practice gives us a perception of the moment. This presence is the possible entry into a successful and balanced activity.

Assuming the form to accept the substance

It is now known that if we position ourselves as sad and unfortunate, the production of chemicals in the brain go in this direction. Anger, for example, produces very specific molecules that are produced when you feel really angry or if we are pretend to, in a constant whining...

The good thing is that it works in both directions: production due to joy and happiness also occur (in smaller doses, but still) when we smile, even if it is slightly "forced".

The most important is not the benefit of the smile, but that during that smile I can't whine and I can not get carried away in my emotional nonsense.

Chapter 54 tells us "when it is cultivated and practiced, the manifestation will be pure and true".

Accepting to be happy enables us to be.

Living the spiritual concretely

Rising above the archaic, magical and mythical stages, humans can live a spiritual relationship that is simple.

Research alone is not sufficient, but it can be a source of initiative towards a personal practice .

The shengong, initially a practice of the understanding of the workings of the mind, introduces us to the infinite possibilities, to the spiritual through direct experience.

Looking at the broadness of the mind and through accepting his death, the practitioner develops the spiritual in everyday life.

Introspection and consciousness of the moment enables us to feel like a part of something that floats smoothly in accordance with the changing world.

It is the practice in life, accepting the mundane in the search for infinity.

Happiness is internal, it may be found only through a practice on knowing oneself and the world.

These tips are one way to achieve an accurate perception of one's self, which allows a direct experience of Joy by the actuation of education.