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  1. 27 points
    This is going to be a difficult thread to write, because something of the most profound nature happened to me last night. I can offer no proofs other than a re-telling of my experience. As DB's, we can inadvertently get a little competitive, as evidenced by the occasional spats on the threads - but I ask you to set ego aside as I relate this. I offer this as a glimpse into what we all want here - enlightenment. About 7 months ago I moved to the Palm Springs, CA area after my husband died. The grief I experienced for over a year seems to have honed me in some way; like going through a fire and having the extraneous burned off. In the complex that I live in, there is a place I go daily to walk the dogs. I met the people who live right there because they have a dog that looks exactly like mine. We struck up a friendship. Unknown to me, the man in the duo is a Bujinkan master. He goes to Japan regularly to hone his incredible skills under Masaaki Hatsumi. He is a well known teacher of this incredible ninja martial art in the U.S.. and other parts of the world. I asked if he had videos online, and he indicated that there were several on youtube. I starting watching his videos and those of Masaaki Hatsumi. What I saw in them amazed me. It is the Dao brought into the physical. I recognized it immediately and confirmed it with him. Captivated for some reason, I watched them over and over - couldn't get enough. He gave me a study manual (much spiritual and psychological as well) and I've been reading it carefully. For some reason, this tying together of the Dao as a philosophy and the Dao in form (Bujinkan) was what I needed to see. I've talked about self-realization on this forum for a long time. Apparently I didn't know what it really was. I've walked the path of AA for 38 years and in working the steps, one removes layer after layer of shadow within - both through acknowledgment of the flaw and making amends for things done in the past. I knew I was on the path to self-realization (I used to go to Manley Hall lectures in Hollywood and the seed was planted early in me, in the 1970's). My association with TDB's has been just about the most instrumental vehicle for furtherance of this path because we come from so many points of view, and yet there are truths that lie at the bottom of these points of views, or paths, that are universal. After a while, rough edges and firm opinions within us are eliminated here. In addition to the study of multiple religions to the point of transcendence of any particular path. So, last night. I was walking the dogs before going to bed and I stopped and looked at the stars for a few moments. I was hit by a jolt of energy, seemingly coming from the stars, that I've never experienced in my life. I immediately thought about Saul on the road to Damascus, how he was hit by a jolt, from my old Christian days. I felt a little snap in my heart or brain, like someone snapping a small twig. Something unblocked. Immediately after being hit by this jolt which felt like an inner gulp of realization - not anything of the brain - I heard a voice in my head that said 'I AM an enlightened being'. I immediately felt energy rushing out of me, going in all directions. I started to tremble. I have been a proponent of the I AM consciousness for 20 years, ever since studying The Impersonal Life by Anonymous. Within this consciousness we realize who we really Are. But I know today that I had never taken the actual inner gulp of self-realization that I took last night, where I actually experienced it. At once, my whole essence had no fear, no discomfort, radiating warmth, and an overall feeling of love for everything. The realizations continued when I got home. I jotted them down so I could tell you about them today. First realization: There is a responsibility with enlightenment. It is our purpose as enlightened beings to act like an enlightened being, in speech and deeds. It doesn't matter what we do with it, on how big or little a scale. We are the torch bearers, the frequency holders. - We are all enlightened beings. Every single one of us. But it's not until we get that gulp of realization that we really are that we truly feel the truth of the matter. No doubt remains. No questions, no measurement of yourself vs. some master or fellow poster on the Bums. You know in your entire persona. Today I woke up with the thought 'I am an enlightened being' on my mind, first thing on waking up. The glow remains with me. I offer this experience to hear from others who may have gone through this, or as a little roadmap for what is no doubt coming for you too.
  2. 24 points
    Just returned from a delightful evening exploring new perspectives of gender dynamics. From a general, simple perspective, each gender's foundational vibrational energies have a particular shape: The masculine energy has a thrusting virility, strong, linear, direct, active, cutting, unwound, and structural. The feminine energy is soft, receptive, nurturing, inviting, caring, round, circular, elastic, and seductive. What I've learned tonight, from a female perspective, is that often women walk a fine line in how much safe space they feel there is to expand their energy field. Because when they do expand, it is often perceived as an invitation from the masculine perspective. How are women supposed to feel safe expanding into their natural power when men think it means the woman wants to be a container for his thrusting energy? The women I've known who do expand, have been some of the most courageous and strong humans I have ever known, and they must navigate male projections with regularity. This inner strength they have is a type of divine masculine stability they have cultivated within as a pillar to support their expansion. From a masculine perspective, the energy expands naturally, ever seeking an outlet, an invitation, a place to call home in the outside world. Setting and accomplishing goals and fighting others over them. Winning and losing. Conquests of strength and skill. The energy wants to thrust forth so lets do something with it. When men sleep at night, finally returning to a still enough place for the jing energy to condense and/or come forth from ming-men, it courses through the penis to form a non-charged erection that easily may become charged and eject at the slightest traces of desire. Because of the increasing proclivity of this masculine virility to not be contained, it easily responds to any invitations of yin, be they sexual, recreational, business, aggression, competition, or otherwise. And yet, the best examples of the divine masculine I have met have the strength to contain their virility. They are pillars of stability, calmness, patience, and temperance. They are like this because they have cultivated divine femininity within themselves to form a yin container for their thrusting yang. This is rare, as men in the western culture are taught that feminine softness is not a quality to be nurtured. Is it any wonder that in a society that frowns upon nurturing masculine receptivity, that the masculine scoffs at the idea of containing itself? Even on these forums, for nearly a full year we had a main board specifically for masculine issues, that remained completely empty (until I started a topic there: "the men have gone"). This male forum was empty, despite the main forum areas being literally overflowing with topics about semen retention and ejaculation. It is not in the thrusting-yang's nature to think it should be contained, and even after it was suggested many times for these topics to find a home this was not thought necessary. For some months now, they have found their way home, and many thanks to our staff for this! Also on these forums, there is a space held for women's topics and discussions, where men are allowed to post, yet are requested to avoid dominating the flow of the conversation. Again and again we see topics about things that only women would know anything about, where men are posting with authoritative ideas. They tend to post more rapidly, not allowing space for the women to guide the flow of things. This is a perfect of example of how the masculine is so naturally inclined to project itself everywhere, with the effect that the feminine does not feel it has an easy time of expanding its receptive field unless it wishes to deal with a whole flood of entitled masculine projections. And the masculine, unless educated, is often completely oblivious to how it is affecting the feminine. The realization I arrive at, is that for both genders to awaken to their true power, they need each other. Not in the old way, were the female is expected to contain the male's power for him, however he wishes to wield it. Not in the old way, where two halves become one whole. In the new way, where each supports the other with what they need to become whole unto themselves. The male supports the female by providing the pillar of strength which she can trust him not to violate her expansion of yin energies by being expected to be a home to his yang energies. The vulnerable female who has been scared to stand up for herself on her own may not be very trusting of the masculine strength and may not understand how to utilize it to empower her own unfolding. And yet if this trust is cultivated, the contained masculine is able to hold the space to support the expansion of the feminine and help nurture the development of this strength within itself. He does this by doing more to hold stable space than to take any lead - the feminine requires this space and needs to take some time acclimating to it before she may feel willing to expand. In time, after using this stability to understand how to expand, she learns what it feels like and begins to cultivate the strength to do that on her own as well. First she needs to feel what it is like to be able to expand and take the lead, in any silly ways she may wish to explore, and, in time, she will be able to learn what it is like to work on consolidating those more yang expressions into a strength and stability so that she is not limited to relying on the male to hold space for her. Simultaneously, the female supports the male by being an example of how to contain virile energies. She does this through softness, acceptance, and unconditional receptivity. This yin energy, which is ever present within the Earth, must be cultivated within the masculine. The masculine will feel pulled and seduced by the receptivity of the feminine. Yet, in feeling this pull, it demonstrates the operation. The male needs to develop his own pull, his own seduction, and a good beginning place for this is by taking time to rooting energetically into the earth. Standing meditation is a great way to first cultivate what it feels like to sink into and draw in the the yin energies of the Earth so as to use it's enfolding powers to contain the thrusting-yang. Gaining understanding of how this works, when the male is in the presence of the female whom often presents an even more noticeable seductive pull, an opportunity is presented to feel the how this feminine pull operates. He can match that pull by rooting more deeply, using one's intention to wrap one's thrusting-yang in one's own seductive field before it rushes out into the feminine seductive field. As a parallel to this, the male should avoid responding to every female conversational invitation as well. As she is expanding and learning to explore this expanded space with her own yang expressions, she may be naturally less grounded and more expressive without any particular focus. As she is exploring this space, the male is learning to hold the stability for it by saying fewer words than many. He allows his stability to provide the space for the female to open and take the lead, without trying to match her. This can be very trying on the male's desire to ever be in the lead, but provides a great opportunity to practice developing a more inward focus to nurture his containment field. In this way, the masculine is able to develop an understanding of how to cultivate a flexible and nurturing container for his virility. This virility changes and grows over time, and exercise and qigong are important ways to absorb this energy as it grows - it is never good to simply contain it under pressure without doing anything else. And yet even as it is absorbed, the principle of the thrusting yang continues to build without the development of a yin container. In addition to this, the lunar cycle, especially after the full moon's ripe potency is no longer supported by sustained growth begins to dissipate. This waning following with full moon provides another strong, often volatile pull on the male virility, unless he is able to pay attention to the change and prepare his own yin receptivity first. Having a practice where the male is able to nurture sensitivity to how his container needs to be regulated is easily accomplished by spending deliberate time holding trusting space for the female to expand. This allows the male to navigate changing circumstances in every day life with the ability regulate his container as needed. In addition to spending time navigating these pulls together, it is also important for each to spend time apart to work on cultivating these strengths on their own. For women it can be very helpful to work in a group of women, where there are no masculine projections, but where the combined energies can be very supportive of practicing empowered expansion. For men it can be very helpful to develop a solo practice where the man is able to return within, through soft, flowing qigong movements, gentle touch of one's own body, spending time pampering one's self, and generally learning to seduce one's own yang in non-sexual, non-yang ways. The dao de jing says to know the male, but keep to the female. In this way we learn to cultivate the softness with which may contain our hardness. Currently in our western society, there is much bodily objectification in the media and internet. It is common for men to be expected to ejaculate whenever the feel they pressure building up, often by looking at porn. This simply encourages the tendency of the male to let off pressure through external means whenever any pressure builds up in physical, emotional and mental ways as well. Meanwhile, the feminine feels the air charged with projections of this masculine and is not excited about expanding into a field where their receptivity is expected to give a home to it all. This is why it is important for our society to begin to consciously recognize what is going on and understand how we also have the potential to work together as genders, for we each hold the key to strengthening the other. The gender energetics are complex, and each gender has their own yang and yin. What is important is the balance and temperance of these dynamic energies, and how we can support each other to accomplish this.
  3. 20 points
    Hard Light guru Mark Griffin took mahasamadhi October 24th, 2018. i don't know who hangs out around here these days, but i didn't see that anyone had posted the news, so i thought i might do so. Mark was a Godsend to me. here's a copy of something i shared on Facebook a week and a half ago: the first time i ever experienced true, deep spiritual intoxication was with this man. it was my first meditation intensive with him. i was late because of all the road blocks in San Francisco, and that made me frustrated. that wasn't the energy i wanted to walk in with, but i was already late. Lee Schwing was the lady sitting at the registration table (bless her!), and she just gave me a smile, checked my registration, and welcomed me in. my mind was scrambled. i HATED being one of the only black people there and having to be the late guy. i also hated feeling so agitated; it made me feel as if i had failed before i even arrived. so i walked into the room and the first meditation session had already begun. as i quietly made my way to where i was going to sit, Mark looked up at me, made brief eye-contact with me, smiled, then went right back into meditation. that was it. that was all he did. i had never met this man before, but with that small gesture, all of the tension left my body. all the agitated chatter in my mind just stopped. my shoulders relaxed and dropped, and feelings of love gently poured into me until i genuinely felt as if i was falling in love with this man. and the thing is, i was! it wasn't some romantic or sexual thing, but my experience of Mark was literally love at first sight. that day i reached a meditative depth i had never experienced before. a day or two later i was still processing what had occurred at the day-long intensive. confusion and doubt came flooding back in, wondering if some hypnotic trick had been played on me, trying to dispute that what had occurred that day was even possible. i was already familiar with subtle energy and healing transmission through the hands and whatnot, but the magnitude of what i had experienced, and the context (with it all beginning with a brief smile) was just on another level. so i just kept looking for reasons to doubt & dismiss it. that's when it happened. suddenly, like an eruption, i was overcome with with this incredible, intoxicating, energizing love-bliss. it was better than any mushrooms i had experimented with in my 20's. it was pure, no distortion or nausea, just heat radiating through my back, and electricity buzzing through my teeth. this lasted for about 3 days, rising and falling in waves, but present the entire time. the truly mystical events that occurred during all of this i will save for myself and my students. FB is not an appropriate place for my complete truth. i became a sincere student of Mark. i grew so quickly. so many spiritual teachings and beliefs that i thought were nonsense proved themselves to be legit. and that has been my approach: to believe only what i can experience or discern for myself to be true, reading through scriptures more for confirmation rather than information. checking my direct experiences with the writings of those who came before me. it has been an amazing journey! and it all really began with this man. thank you SO MUCH, Mark Griffin. i'll see you soon, Big Brother. Om Namah Shivaya.
  4. 20 points
  5. 20 points
    The earliest taoist meditations were concerned with establishing connections between the Inner Gods and the outer energies of the world, chiefly stars and constellations and their progenitors and derivatives, and were actually, in most cases, much more involved than later simplifications, bastardizations, and fusions with other systems. They were derived from pretty arcane shamanic/magical (wu 巫) practices whose roots are lost in prehistory and whose documented status as the direct source of early taoism dates back 3,000 years. One of the earliest taoist meditations known to date, e.g., is the Sacred Dance of Yu, which is incorporated into some of the internal MA to this day, forms the foundation of classical feng shui (as well as other taoist sciences concerned with patterns of movement of qi in the universe) and is based on the dynamics of the Big Dipper (including its two invisible stars that were still visible at the time of Yu the Great). It is an example of a rather typical taoist-proper meditation, which is always twofold, internal and external (yin and yang), although in some cases the continuous interchange of movement and stillness involving the whole body happens simultaneously (like with the Sacred Dance or high level taij neigong and neijia) while sometimes the practice itself is twofold, with sitting-immobile parts and moving parts, and further, the sitting part may be twofold, wuwei-type and alchemical-type practices interchanging, and the moving part may likewise be twofold... to give you a rough sketch. The type of meditation favored depends on the school, but if you move farther back in history to before schools and sects, that's what you will find: shamanic/magical practices of an idiosyncratic "scientifically slanted," systematized kind, with a unifying cosmology and a strong immortalist focus. Simply put, if it does not concern itself with the Big Dipper, the North Pole Star, and immortality, it's not taoist-proper.
  6. 18 points
    Over the years here at Daobums, I've interacted with a lot of people. All good people (even those who have argued with me most vehemently, and I with them). I've had what many would call an "awakening", but it is really a non-event really as there's no separate entity who wakes up. It is just a shift of perspective. This doesn't really make me a "special" individual, rather it makes it clear to me that I am nobody...nothing. The "I" that lived in the material world just dropped it's hold on my attention. And then I realized that I was never not that which supposedly was "realized" in this so-called "Waking up". It was an apparent waking up, like one wakes up from a dream into waking state. Similarly, we seemingly wake up from a waking state into an "awakened" state. But really, all these states are that "awakened" state, just as all the masters and texts state. It is just that the states of "dream and waking" lose their hold...suddenly things fall into "perspective" -- that all the things that we apparently experience are just happenings and have no hold on us, the root of our consciousness is free, empty (of objective nature), non-spatial and atemporal (i.e. space and time don't have any meaning for it). Call it "Atma jnana", Self-realization or realizing the Emptiness of the Self. There are many many insights that arise from this, for the mind-body complex to navigate the complex and suffering-ridden world. Wisdom (Jnana) that arises by just staying with the presence, that is the root of our consciousness. In the Advaita Vedanta tradition, we say that "the knowledge of the Self or Atma Jnana" and the realization of Oneness (Atman is Brahman or Brahma Jnana) are two distinct phases. There is the non-realization of emptiness of mind-body (staying in the ever-present now) and there is the expansion of the Self to everything-ness. We are taught that the "oneness" is a matter of grace, and eventually we get there, when the time is right. @Jeff and I started interacting a while back (a few years maybe) and our perspectives didn't match wrt. what the "end-game" is. I couldn't understand how what he terms "residing in non-local mind" and "expansion of mind beyond non-local" was any different from just the mind just seeing more objects. What I failed to understand that time is that the expansion that Jeff was referring to, is outside the domain of the local mind. Do I know that now? Yes. How do I know? By taking the plunge (sic. dive) and actually trusting the process and the individuals (all kind, loving and wonderful people). I will try to explain how the non-local mind expansion differs from the local-mind experience. The Local mind is very powerful. But it's primary function is to bind a series of stimuli from the sensory apparatus into a "story"...one that the individual seemingly experiences. The story is the story of our lives, that we are "born into" -- with a body, an ego, a sense of individuality and one that experiences pains and pleasures, emotions, thoughts, is inspired to create wonderful things, is driven to do things - good or bad. In a single word, "samsara". Towards this, I'm going to construct sentences that will imply some sort of "special" doing, but as I have explained before, it is not really "doing" in the sense that the local-mind/body is "doing" something. So, kindly bear with me as I elaborate... When we get to the root of consciousness (the ever-present Nowness aka pure Awareness), we realize that all the happenings of samsara (life as we normally refer to it) happens on its own. It has no bearing on any kind of "doing". Until we get to the root of consciousness, there is doing and there is causality (karma). But after, it is just happenings. Like a few here have expressed before, the old habits and patterns start to lose steam and eventually just stop. If you come from a Hindu (or Buddhist) background like myself, you might have encountered a colorful multi-verse that we pass off as mythology (Westerners seem to study this sort of thing with mild amusement in the form of Greek Mythology). In this mythology are references to gods (devas) and goddesses (devis) aka deities, their realms, different realms (lokas), different rules for different worlds, etc. Most of us modern people scoff at these as over-active imaginations of our relatively primitive superstititous ancestors. I am happy to inform you that, such an idea is abjectly untrue. These beings, realms indeed do exist, and there exist "higher" planes. These are accessible when consciousness expands beyond the "local mind" level. There are many things to learn from these planes and our work in these planes inform us in the local-mind state. It is not the emptiness of Self, but an expansion that starts to encompass many things, including things beyond this mundane samsaric existence of the local mind-body. This is the expansion of the mind from local-mind to Universal mind, to get to the "all is one" knowing. How do I know that these states are beyond the "local-mind"? It is because as the mind/consciousness expands, each of these "planes" are accessible simultaneously, while being rooted in the ever-present now. I will halt my post here. I welcome your thoughts and comments. P.S. -- I'm not the person Jeff was referring to in the post about levels of conscious mind residing BTW.
  7. 17 points
    Although his is not conventional Daoist usage of the term Zhenren (真人), there's much I like in these thoughts on authenticity from Scott Bradley...... Zhenren: The Authentic Person Zhenren, a term apparently coined by Zhuangzi himself, signifies the fully realized human being. It is variously translated as "True Man", "Genuine Man", or "Real Man". Roger Ames prefers "Authentic Person" (Wandering at Ease in the Zhuangzi; Introduction). Among his reasons, is his belief that it more faithfully conveys the root meaning of zhen which implies authorship and transformation. In other words, the Authentic Person is someone in the continual process of creative self-disclosure (ziran) in relation to the ever-transforming world. "That is", he writes, "whatever the exemplar might be, he or she is one who is able to express personal integrity and uniqueness in the context of a transforming world." If there were more than one Authentic Person in the world, they would be very different expressions of the same authenticity. This is because such a person would not have realized some pre-existent, fixed and ideal 'original nature' common to all, but the unique expression of her own particularity. And not only this, her expression would also be a consequence of her transforming along with her particular and unique environmental context. Human authenticity is not static, but ever-dynamic. It is not conformity to some ideal norm, but the creation of an absolutely unique, entirely self-specific norm. Nor is it accomplished in a self-contained vacuum, but in relation to the world of personal experience. We are called upon to emulate and aspire to Authentic Personhood. To do so is not to imagine being like someone else, but to apprehend the dynamic — creative and relational — that facilitates that transformation. The test of authenticity is integrity with respect to one's own particular expression of personhood. The Authentic Person, moreover, has not "arrived", but is ever-evolving. Authenticity is ever-dynamic; if we can speak of possession, then this person is in possession of this dynamic, not of some imagined, fixed 'state of being'. Yes, there are common, normative precipitants that manifest from this authenticity. Chief among these is freedom from the egoic identity, a presumption of a static, insular, and fixed self which must be protected from the transforming world at large. And this manifests as freedom from the fear of loss, there being nothing to lose, and freedom from the acquisitive desire for merit and name (thinking oneself and being thought to be someone special), there being no aspect of self requiring support. These are the signs of authenticity because they are also what make it possible. Authenticity is always possible just as and where we are. No ideal is required. To be honestly engaged with the mess that we are, to be sincerely at work in the process of self-cultivation, is itself authenticity. Being human is authenticity, where that humanity realizes itself as self-creative and dynamic. (from http://ramblingtaoist.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/zhenren-authentic-person.html )
  8. 17 points
    There are two alchemical traditions that I am aware of, the western one and the Daoist one. The word alchemy itself is usually thought to be derived for the Arabic al-chemy, which means 'of Egypt' since the old name for Egypt was Kham or Khemet, meaning the Black Land. There are alternative derivations including a Chinese one, but it is certainly true that western Alchemy began with Arabic scholars studying an interpreting Ancient Egyptian inscriptions and so on. The Daoist term is Dan which means ‘pill or elixir’ - and there were two forms Wei Dan (External Alchemy) and Nei Dan (Internal Alchemy) - the latter using the terminology of the external alchemy to apply to inner energy processes (jung, qi and shen and so on). Because of the language used it was natural for western scholars to assign the term alchemy to Wei Dan and Nei Dan especially as the goal of making the ‘pill or elixir’ was very suggestive of the ‘philosophers stone and elixir of immortality’ used in western alchemical schools. This transfer of terms from outer alchemy to internal alchemy is the traditional historical narrative - but I would suggest that this is a misreading. I think in more ancient times, in both Ancient China and Ancient Egypt the distinction between outer substances and spiritual energies and so on, didn’t exist. But at some time people began to make these distinctions which led to the idea that there was outer alchemy and inner alchemy - rather than just alchemy itself. So is alchemy a generic term for ‘energy stuff’? - well good choice of words (i.e. stuff) but I think no. There is a certain view of the the world and of the human being (especially the body) needed for alchemy. Nei Dan is a well defined process - although there are different schools of course - takes a particular view about the human makeup, how energy works and what to do with it (i.e. making the pill and so on) if you are not doing that then I don’t see how you could say you are doing Nei Dan (which is what most of us mean by alchemy). Of course you might work with the Dan Tiens, feel qi and so on - so if you are going to be very, very broad about what Nei Dan is then at a pinch you might claim to be doing it I suppose - but you would be doing no more than laying the foundations i.e. the stage before stage 1 . Western Alchemy is similarly specific and is one branch of Hermetic Science (the others being Astrology and Theurgy) - it relies on a world view based on elements, planetary forces and the combination, distillation, sublimation and transformation of substances in a psycho/spiritual process. Again you might say, well I’ve done some energy work with elementals and so on … but unless you have embarked on the ‘Great Work’ then you can hardly say you are an alchemist. But you could say that you have an alchemical approach perhaps. I don’t want to be prescriptive - cos this is DaoBums - but I do think to claim this word some certain basics have to be in place. I see the word ‘tantra’ has been tossed into the frame also - that also definitely does not mean ‘energy stuff’ - but perhaps it's going to get very confusing to address both at once. Anyway my thoughts.
  9. 16 points
    That was me too. I initially repatriated to the US for university and work after living in Hong Kong and Manila for some years. By the time I got through the first year of grad school, I got fed up with North America and moved to Indonesia, which in turn led me to a host of countries from Cambodia to Timor-Leste to Sri Lanka and Thailand, and now back in Manila. What I enjoy the most is actually what I like about The Dao Bums that I find sorely lacking elsewhere: a sense of community. It is a totally different thing to emigrate to a Third World Country than it is to go to London, New York, Singapore, or Hong Kong. The expats I meet in cities like those I have mentioned are part of one rat race or another. The expats and other denizens I meet in Manila, Siem Reap, Jakarta, and Dili are those who enjoy a new pace, and there's a wonderful kind of connection that starts off with one thing in common: we are all here for a reason and aren't here to be part of the rat race. Even if they aren't doing NGO or other types of development work, there's a lot more humility, openness, grit, and empathy. Someone hears my voice and they're another denizen who either went to international school or worked in a few countries here and there and suddenly, we're hanging out a few days later and training, getting drinks, playing board and video games, and meeting each other's friends while exploring new ideas and possible collaborations. We're exchanging books in our libraries and taking a bus to another province so that we can explore together. I can't get that when I visit my friends in North America or Singapore, especially in Los Angeles or San Francisco. It's a lot of "Hey cool, I was a voluntourist in Thailand for spring break" which is actually false equivalence. It's a lot of pissing about who saw more sites and took more buses instead of flying or working in the same place for a long time and developing a connection to the community. My time in Sri Lanka was up north where civilians weren't allowed anywhere near, so I don't think of beaches or temples and tourist debauchery, and the friends I made were a range of people from Lithuanian youth pastors in a Christian church to middle-aged Australian professionals who speak Sinhalese and Tamil fluently and have a vinyl collection as well as a stack of 1970s paperbacks that they were happy to share with me and a range of different nationalities and generations over Sunday brunch and a little cricket (which I still don't know how to play). During the Snowden affair in 2013, while living in Siem Reap, Cambodia, at the Russian restaurant while watching the news, the French, American, English, Australian, and Russian patrons all looked and said, "I guess we all hate each other again" and laughed because we no longer had any special love or attachment to our passport countries nor did we discriminate based on nationality anymore. If anything, we took jabs at each other for national stereotypes in jolly good fun, but our animosity was reserved for tourists who had no respect for this land, which was their Hangover Trip like Las Vegas, but to us? It was our home.
  10. 16 points
    Well said mate. Like was just posted in the great quotes thread, this very potent quote seems apropo. "if you really want it, you'll find a way, if not, you'll settle for an excuse." I was drawn to Master Zhou and to practice what he taught me diligently because I was crippled and absolutely had to find a way to be able to walk again normally. To be able to run and jump and play with my son, who was five at the time. Two surgeries saved my left foot from having to be amputated, but the trauma from the reconstructed the bone and the surrounding soft tissues left me hobbling with a cane on good days, and stuck in a chair on the not good days. I lived in pain for years before the procedures and for years afterwards. One healing session with Master Zhou had me able to start practicing daily with discomfort, but stable enough to really engage in the process. Daily practice, even for a short time each day at the same time, gathered inertia to the very subtle energetic matrix of the practice. Within months, I was walking normally again. Another few months and I noticed not just my ankle had healed, but all of my old nagging injuries from a lifetime of hard martial arts, rock climbing and construction work had vanished. Several more months and my desire for most social media was intolerable and I dropped broadcast tv and radio from my home life. My diet naturally changed, my blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure all stabilized. My emotions became more stable and now, six years later, approaching 50. I work 60+ hour weeks in construction with no pain, an even disposition and much humor and joy. I wake up with no discomfort in the morning. In the core of my being I absolutely had to find a way to heal and I knew it was possible, even though the dozens of doctors I went to for the years leading up to my surgeries all told me it was pointless. When my cousin mentioned Master Zhou was in California teaching Qi Gong and offering healings, it clicked in my core and I knew in that moment, I had found my way. That simple practice and one 45 minute transmission and healing session, opened a door within me to manifest healing in my own life. As Zhou told me... "You are not my patient. I don't have patients. I have students. I'm not healing you. I'm teaching you so you may manifest natural healing." Tears of gratitude even now as I consider what his wisdom and dedicated practice allowed me to experience through him. *deep bow* I sense great passion and desire from the Mo Pai group. But what I hear from them, is excuses. About why they can't listen to anyone. Why they can't trust anyone. Why everyone else is following some bullshit path of uselessness. But the only one in your way is you. And that's fine. It affects those of us with experience and a path, not a whit. Because we are living our practice. It is not just a practice, it is our very lifestyle. It's resonant in my bones and flesh in every action of my day now. It's shifted my thinking, my emotional triggers and respones and is reflected in the resonance of my relationships and my outlook on all of life. My entire life is transformed... again. And this is not the last transformation. Just another shift in the process. The ever fluid, flowing process of my life and my path. I'm reminded of the great quote by Calvin Coolidge 30th president of the US. "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." There was nothing wrong with my path when I couldn't walk, on the grand scale. But for me personally, on the relative scale it was torture and intolerably unacceptable. I simply had to manifest a way to be able to play with my son. So no excuse would stop me. And it didn't. Take a moment to connect with your breath. Release all the bullshit. Release every thought you have ever assumed to be true if you can and simply allow a few moments of emptiness to connect to your breath and your core. It's never separate from you. The one seeming impossible thing to me is for me, or any of us, to ever be separated from Source/Tao by even a hair's width for one moment... ever. This is why I now find it true that Taoist pursuits are not about adding stuff to my tool box, they're about losing things. Stripping away all the assumptions and energetic matrices built up by non real thought matrices over time. Thoughts of others that I was compelled to agree to, thoughts that come from my own illusions. Some of them from my very perceptual experiences, born of believing thoughts that aren't real, true or even important. It's not about knowing the path. I don't know my path. I am the path. I am the way. So try it... empty the self, be the breath and in that core. What is authentic cannot fall away... so release everything and be open to what remains and in my case, that which remains is unfailingly my core essence. This led me to Masters Zhou, Wang Li Ping. My wife of 28 years. My life's passions and my own innate natural power. And no argument or statement from anyone else can shake it, because I know their words are just reflections of their thoughts and this next point has been crystallized for me as vajra. A flash of insight that is unignorable which illuminates a truth as hard as diamond. Thoughts aren't real. They're just thoughts. We have 90,000 a day. Nothing about them is real, true or even important. I don't know my path. But I walk it. I am it. Simple being. most of my practice now has fallen away from forms, but has expanded into every step and moment of my life. Master Zhou shared this with me. Kind Heart Quiet Heart Sincere Heart. With these, all of life becomes practice. Without them, we're just waving our hands in the air. What do you Love? I guarantee your path is linked to that. and it's never even a hair's width away from you... ever.
  11. 16 points
    In the Indic spiritual traditions, there are many different paths to the proverbial spiritual "summit". But generally they are broken down into two main categories - Direct Method - This is the method of Jnana Yoga, direct inquiry into Self (Advaita Vedanta, Kashmir Shaivism) Indirect Method (various Yogas - Tantra, Kundalini, etc) In the direct method, one directly inquires into the nature of one's Self, realizing that each of the identities we associate ourselves with, are not our Self (social labels, name, body, mind, intellect, etc) till we get to that which cannot become an object of inquiry (and is therefore called the True Self, the true Beingness, the true knowingness, etc). I have been lucky to have travelled both paths myself. Direct Method purists would probably consider me a "spiritual mutt", and I'm glad I became one. There are so many treasures buried in various spiritual traditions in terms of both wisdom as well as practical methods, that the journey of this lifetime became richer for me as a result of these, thereof. My friend (who has recently embarked down the Direct Method) and I were discussing this. He knows I've been a taiji/Daoist practitioner for many years (getting close to two decades now), and also have undertaken studies of Siddhar Yoga, Hatha Yoga and vipasana style meditation as well. My Paternal Grandfather had taught me a lot of basics about pranayama when I was a young teenager and my Karate training later on helped with some of the meditation/breath-work. However, a lot of my early practice was really instinctive. I didn't have any teacher per se, but I had many teachers visit me and teach me during dream time. At that time, seated meditation was hard for me to do, still I was able to meditate after doing specific breath work (bhastrika, kapalabhati, bhramari pranayama). At the same time, I had started practicing Yang style 24-form taijiquan. Overtly unnknown to me, I was going through these transformations, the Qi sensitivity was developing, the Lower Dan Tien was formed, my 3rd eye was activating. At this time I was also doing a lot of dream yoga (lucid dreaming specifically) and perhaps that is why I remember Swamis and Daoist masters visiting me during dream state and providing me with instructions. Eventually I found Temple style taiji and my first teacher, Master George Bolger and I dived head-on into Taiji and Daoist cultivation. When I think back to the early days, I think a lot of stuff was "revealed" to me without my knowing much in terms of concepts that I know now (wrt. spirituality). I was given a specific mantra in a dream, by a Swami, when I was going through an excessively terrible time mentally and also financially (without a job for several months). That Mantra had become a mainstay of my practice until recently and helped me go through a lot of ups and downs in my journey since then (for almost 17 years). In course of my taiji practice, eventually I got a point where my witness self emerged quite distinctively. As "I" observed my mind-stream, first by starting to meditate in the gap between the thought (both during form practice as well as in seated meditation), I started to get alarmed and judgmental about patterns I observed in my mind. It took me many more years of silent anguish and finally my current teacher Master Jose Perez' "shaktipat", until I was able to come to a full realization that I was not my mind. The mind-stream is just a stream of objects that arise in consciousness. The underlying "me", i.e., the Pure Conscious Being is unaffected by the mind. My friend does not understand Energy, he doesn't understand all these "indirect methods" as he doesn't have a feel for energetics at all. One day, recently while discussing jnana yoga with him, when i was giving him analogies of how one can get to the same state of clear mind/no mind with energetic work and how any repetitive action can result in meditation, it seems I ran into a brick wall (For him, the direct method works best). Taijiquan and qigong are excellent practices to take what we get in seated meditation/contemplative practices and extend them into moving state. He was struggling to figure out how he can get on the "same page as me" wrt. energetics and cultivation and I think finally gave up. Thinking back about myself, for me the direct method was very hard initially. God knows I tried ... When I first read about Ramana Maharshi's "Who Am I?" type method, I was nonplussed as I had no "bearing" so to speak. I was deeply immersed in Samsara and my mind had not developed the clarity (not the same as intelligence) or the stillness to know where to even begin. Only after the constant witness had emerged (and after torturing the limited self over it) did Jnana path start to work. Don't get me wrong...I had the theory part sort of worked out. I had read my upanishads, yoga sutras, madhyamaka, among other texts, many times. I 'got it' intellectually, but it was not a experiential reality for me at that point. Right here on TDB, I've participated in many discussions (and some battles) over Buddhism, Vedanta, etc etc. At that time, I knew somethings "intuitively" and far less, experientially. Now when I see people torturing themselves like I have in the past, about effort vs no-effort, I mostly don't feel like sharing my thoughts. It is easy to talk about the simplicity of the "truth", after it has "clicked". Otherwise one has no way to gauge how simple it all really is. When Master Jose told me the first time I met him, "you will be surprised at how simple it all is", I knew instinctively, but really did not know. It is really simple, and yet almost all of us struggle over a "seeking", "a doing", in order to "achieve or attain some state or another". Yet in reality, it is something that is never apart from us. It cannot be found outside. Yeah, we've all heard the instructions of how we have to turn inward rather than outward, happiness/peace/God/Realization/Enlightenment/<Your favorite term here> can never be found in external objects. And yet, as part of our respective journeys, we seek objectively something that is the most intimate, most subjective of all experiences. It is always with us, never apart from us (Haha, and i also know how this type of platitude is bound to drive people angry, frustrated, plain bonkers with annoyance). Even in the inward turning, we try to turn the "within" into the "outside". As an object (or objects). This chakra, that nAdi, this Dan Tien, and so on. Until one day it becomes apparent...all of these are still objects to be experienced, but they do help point out the experiencer more definitely. Yes, Energy is nothing but consciousness. Everything rises out of consciousness, and sinks back into consciousness. The purpose of my writing this long post is to share my thoughts and also seek to hear about your journey, my TDB friends. And to say, that its okay to be a spiritual mutt. Sometimes the mutts are the most resilient, and eventually we have to realize that a raft is only a raft, no matter how beautiful and awesome it is. We need to use it for our travels, and that's all there is to it. Love and gratitude, Dwai
  12. 15 points
    I would love to hear any discussion from those who have experienced the death of a spouse, a long-term relationship. I just lost Joe maybe 6 weeks ago to an ischemic stroke from a brain bleed between operations. I am devastated. I am wanting to know more about this grief process from those who have experienced it. The first couple weeks, I was numb. I saw the death from a cerebral perspective; a few tears, but nothing devastating. I think I was still operating on adrenaline from all the trips to the hospital, cremation arrangements, a final ceremony to help him cross over. It wasn't until about the third week that I became devastated, crying at the drop of a hat. Anything at all reminds me of him. I know that it is myself that I am crying for, the loss of half of me, half of me that had been filled by Joe for 35 years. I am still projecting Joe into inanimate things; I keep a teddy bear on his side of the bed, pretend that it is him, and talk to it. I hug it. I cry from the depths of my soul. I awaken with my eyes red and swollen. I am crying as I write this. still I can smell his smell, feel his silky skin, look into his kind eyes. I see his eyes in the teddy bear. What is helpful is to remove myself from myself, and speak to myself from the Observer perspective. I did this just this morning. Laying in bed sobbing, I said "She is crying". That seemed to help. I am capable of slipping in and out of myself from the Ego to the Observer, but remembering to do so when I am in this state is rare. If anybody cares to respond to this from their own experience (Rene, I can't thank you enough for sticking with me as much as you have; I hate to burden you further) I would greatly appreciate it. I seem to be going through a 'stage' of suicide ideation. This morning, before slipping into the Observer state and saying 'She is crying', I was thinking that it would be preferable to slit my wrists along the length of the arteries rather than across. Please, no platitudes. No pity, please. Just help me get through this and let me know what to expect.
  13. 15 points
    In context of self-inquiry and self-realization, when one starts down this path, one is ignorant of their self-nature (this ignorance is called avidya). The ignorance is because one identifies as their "Self", the body and mind, and the various things that the body-mind allegedly possesses and does (profession, possessions, passions, talents, skills, so on and so forth). So one might say, they are blissfully unaware of the "reality" and live mired in drama of samsara. As one starts the journey of self-inquiry, eventually they will encounter the fact that all that they had previously thought of as being their "self" is not actually that at all. Not everyone gets there quickly. Some suffer and struggle as a result of the inherent lack of knowledge of the fact that, IT, that which observes the body, mind and the countless objects of the universe ebb and flow, is the Self. But this Self has no properties that can be really observed, as it is the very subject that is the source of all experience, and all objects. In the period between embarking on this path and realizing what one truly is, is a painful period (at least was for me). It is rife with suffering of a special kind (some call it the "dark night of the soul"). It really is a "trial by fire", a "rite of passage" and paying debts with "blood"...but I wouldn't have it any other way, in retrospect. However, what drives me to write about this, is the news of that poor kid who committed suicide after going to a vipasana retreat for a week. That was really tragic. But we know that karma has a role to play here. As I reflect upon my "suffering" during the period when I was clearly in witness state and yet did not know my real identity (or a lack thereof, in the common sense), it was a struggle. I was unable to stand crowded places, unable to look people in the eye as the contents of my mind would rise forth as I was having a conversation with them and "negative" thoughts involving them would fleet through my brain. I truly thought I was a bad person, as a result of the contents of my mind (and habits that were driven by the stuff I was living on - social, nutritional, etc). As a result of this (for almost 6 years), I struggled every day. I would still stubbornly do my taiji forms, my standing meditations, my yoga asanas, pranayama, etc. As much as I knew that if I stopped these things, I would probably over time go back to being blissfully more ignorant, or oblivious; still, I could not stop. Eventually, I entered a phase, where I grew numb and oblivious to the world around me. It didn't matter whether I had a job or not. Whether I was with my family or not. Even whether I did my practice or not. During this period, I would intermittently stop practice and then start again, when I felt like it. Maybe, I was comfortably numb. In retrospect, becoming numb actually helped me handle the energies and process the goings on. But then my first teacher moved (it was his guidance and twice a week of contact (for several years) that kept me sane during this period and kept me going), and introduced me to Master Jose. Even before meeting Master, I had met him in dreams and he worked on me (for stuff I had asked him to help me with). When I finally met him in person, and he transferred his consciousness to me with a touch of his index finger to my 3rd eye, he literally kicked my butt across the line and I spent about 15 days subsequent to that in a state of ecstasy/bliss. After that, for almost another year and a half, I stayed in a split state of being completely Self-aware and in the local-mind/ego state (Master calls it the Spiritual Mind and the local mind). During this period, for the most part, the Ego was unable to flex its muscles - it stayed a humble servant to the spiritual mind. And around 6 months after meeting master, my friend who had seemed like a died-in-wool materialist started practicing self-inquiry too, in the classical advaita vedanta mode. As he and I started discussing this, I started to try and articulate what was happening to me, to explain in words my "experiences". This started a process of categorization and rationalization, which resulted in my "dropping out of the split-state" eventually. There was a decay going on, as the old habits and grooves started to re-appear. I was rather depressed as I realized that, thinking "huh! I knew that it was too good to be true...". So I asked Master, to which he said "two things are happening. Your body is getting used to the energy and emptiness and old habits are re-appearing. But this is the opportunity for you to work through them and get back to the blissful state". And true to his word, the return to bliss is working, steadily and surely. The old "cold and indifferent" state (Stone Buddha?) has been replaced by awareness of the awareness of being, which is so completely ordinary, that I would have never even imagined that it is that way. We read so many glorified and idealized descriptions of this becoming "Self-aware" that it is almost anti-climactic when the realization occurs. And along with that realization the other thing that happens is the realization that there is no moment that one is not that (Self). Old habits and samskaras that used to bother me quite intensely, have become amusing. The "blissful" state is really a non-state. It is always there. It is just that before the mind-body identification had so total a hold on me, that it was constantly masked (except for those fleeting moments when the mind would stop). I won't even say that the mind stops completely. Just that, by being aware of the etherealness of the mind and not identifying with the body, the background looms large and it's ever-present nature is apparent. This too is a stage, I know now. The dive is going to keep getting deeper...
  14. 15 points
    Mid-Autumn Festival, aka the Moon Festival, the second most prominent Chinese holiday after the New Year, fell on October 4th this time around, which was yesterday. The moon, as always on this day, was spectacular. The most beautiful moon of the year, as usual. I bowed to Lady Chang-O and her rabbit, as usual. I believe I never told the story of the rabbit on the moon here although I did tell the story of Lady Chang-O. So here goes: Once upon a time, many moons ago, three taoist immortals were walking through the woods, pretending to be beggars, asking animals to give them some food so as to test their moral character. A wolf and a bear gladly gave them what they had. The rabbit, however, had nothing to offer them. He didn't want to come across as greedy, useless, or otherwise to lose face, so he exclaimed, "Well, since I have nothing else to offer, venerable sages, I offer myself!" -- and jumped into the fire to get roasted! (Yup, taoist immortals are not vegetarians.) The three sages, moved by his self-sacrifice, decided it would not be nice to eat such a selfless creature, so they made the rabbit immortal, conferred alchemical skills, and sent him to the moon to serve Lady Chang-O in and around her cinnamon palace. You can clearly see him grind herbs in a large mortar when the moon is particularly bright.
  15. 15 points
    The earth rotates on an axis, or pole that runs from goes from North to South, this is why the Sun and stars seem to rise and set in the East and West, thus the ends of the "Pole" were seen as unchanging and the East and West as change and transformation. Since these ideas developed in the Northern Hemisphere the part of the pole that is visible is the North Pole and at the time these ideas were being developed the North Star was almost exactly North and everything seemed to rotate around it as the "Center of Heaven", with the stars of the Dipper, or Bushel as the Chines call it permanently pointing in that direction. Later when the Chinese developed the Loshu, the magic square of nine, this became formalized with the number one in the North as the Origin, thus the North Star became the star of the Heavenly Center, the One and the origin, and was associated with the trigram Kan, water, the original element from which the others arose, as taught in the Taiyi Shenshui, the Great One gave birth to Water. Everything in traditional Chinese cosmology, not just Daoist cosmology, was built around these ideas.
  16. 15 points
    Just to be clear, these are part of the fundamental rules of the Dao Bums: and are the reasons why there will not be a "Grand Inquisitor" to "pontificate" on real or fake practices on Dao Bums staff, as far as the owner and staff are concerned, you all have to make up your own minds. I have been on The Dao Bums long enough to see several groups of people try to monopolize the Dao Bums, so far none have succeeded, and I personally hope that neither they nor anyone else ever does. ZYD
  17. 15 points
    I try to practice no-practice, but it ends up being practice. So then I stop practicing, and once I realize it's no-practice, I automatically start practicing and thus defeats the purpose. One day I'll give up all practices and achieve the elusive no-practice practice. But it takes practice...
  18. 15 points
    I practice no-practice. And that isn't as easy as it sounds.
  19. 14 points
    Qi Gong practiced properly is everything Indian Yoga is (as opposed to Western "Yoga"). The quality of the teacher and the practice is not nearly as important as the approach to it. If it is for personal power and health - the quality of the teacher and the practice are minor items - personal power and health are relatively easy things to come forward with in even the most mundane of these practices. If you think reading and studying will take you far - they will - they will at some point take you to the understanding that you need to put the books on the shelf and begin practice. In practice you will find that you misunderstood everything you read - but you will begin to see a glint of the real teaching. Hopefully you will not forget that you misunderstood a great deal initially - and begin to see that holding on to ones "understanding" is not helpful - it is willfulness. Initially it is difficult to fathom "years of practice" and hard to see an extra 2-4 hours to be found in ones day. Yet when you have tasted the way - time will lose its way with you. "years" are a projection There is no miraculous recounting of what is possible that is remotely capable of transmitting what IS - all the books on earth are simply a door mat that says Welcome.
  20. 14 points
  21. 14 points
    The purpose of this thread is really just to highlight the accomplishment (or reality) of what one of our members has done for an extended period. What people often call consciousness has a zero level, then many levels/layers of relative form and astral stuff, and then beyond that are the various formless realms. While this member is now back to residing more at the higher end of form layers (super guru stuff), the member spent over a year residing at what can only be described astronomically high (or fine) levels of formless realms. It is hard to describe, but this is way beyond what some traditions call “god realms”. And if you think of your favorite guru of maybe residing in comparison of a mountain top in height, this is like living on the moon in comparison. Just thought you might be interested.
  22. 14 points
  23. 14 points
    I am feeling the only thing I have no power over. The death of my spouse of 35 years. He has been gone for a month, and just yesterday I found myself hollering in the forest 'BUT I DON'T WANT YOU TO GO!!'. There is absolutely nothing I can do to bring him back. I cry from my soul daily, I wake up with red and swollen eyes. Every other thing in life that I think I have felt powerless about, I was not powerless. I always had a choice, even if I couldn't see it at the moment. Usually lack of courage was the problem. I see that so clearly from this position today. To feel powerless at the death of someone you have spent half your life with, every single day, is to feel like you are laying on the ground, flat, with absolutely no power. I have no options but to accept this. Which apparently I haven't done yet. Total surrender is my answer, and yet I fight it still. I don't want to believe he's gone. I feel like half of me has been amputated. Yes, I know there are Buddhist answers. and yet I still wallow in the pain of loss.
  24. 14 points
    Sorry no, actually it doesn't. The Chinese is: 知其雄,守其雌,為天下谿。 and 其, qí, is a possessive meaning his / her / its / their 雄 xióng, male / grand / imposing / powerful / mighty / person or state having great power and influence 雌 cí, female (yes, just female, or also Taiwan, but that doesn't seem relevant) So as close to "literally" as possible means: knowing, or being aware of (知) his or her, maleness (male aspect), “guarding” (守) his or her femaleness (female aspect). . . Where “guarding” can also mean: to keep watch / to abide by the law / to observe. The possessive, 其, means that the male and female are qualities of a person that are “active”, yang, and “passive, receptive”, yin, and are within the individual and related to conduct, not with whom you do, or do not have sex, or with what sex you identify while doing so. There is a complex Chinese cosmological and social background to this, which would require to much time to elucidate. The meanings and Chinese characters come from https://www.mdbg.net The text from http://ctext.org, Dao De Jing Chapter 28 These are good resources for every Dao Bum who, like most of us, is not that fluent in Chinese.
  25. 14 points
    In my experience (and I have not read the threat mentioned in the OP), the facing of inner demons has to be the most challenging part of my practice. As stillness grows, the contents of the mind (conscious as well as subconscious rising upward) tend to do a serious number on most people. A few years into serious practice it happened to me, so much so that I wanted to stop practice and give up on meditation and taiji altogether. But I am grateful that I stuck with it. When I was not judging and feeling guilty about the contents of my mind, the stillness and emptiness (and the falling into deeper and deeper levels of it) was absolutely the antidote for the suffering. We all have to go through the process (maybe some don't and if so, congrats :)), and come to the conclusion that who we are is independent of the mind and the body. We have always been the Te wrapped in a personality. The personality is artificial. The Te (Shen) is real. Dissolve the personality and uncover the Te. Slowly. The transformations we undergo are also artificial, just the dropping away of the personality...
  26. 13 points
    Been coming across old posts thought to make a place to recall some Bums who are wandering elsewhere and are missed. @gentlewind he and I joined same day I believe. He has published a couple ebooks of poetry since he left. @BaguaKicksAss her direct insights and pure manner always kicked my butt in the best way. @GrandmasterP we lost touch with him when he retired and moved to the coast. I imagine him watching the waves. @Brian I know he is thriving, but man I miss his unsight humor and his humor. And his humor.
  27. 13 points
    Jung’s observation puts me in mind of an insightful quote from Dag Hammarskjöld: “God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.” Spirituality for me means discovering who I am and allowing myself to manifest in the most spontaneous and authentic way possible.
  28. 13 points
    It's been about a month since my mother passed away. It was surreal. I almost got killed the day after by an angry semi truck driver that tried to drive me off the road as I drove up to get her belongings from the nursing home. I had grown distant from my mother over the last few years, but a couple months ago I found out she was dying from cancer and reached out to her to make my own amends. I was able to do all of that, which made it that much easier when she finally did pass. So this is the thing, I don't believe in heaven or an "after life", nor do I believe we can without a doubt prove that reincarnation exists. I'm agnostic at best, maybe I lean a bit more towards the atheist side, however, I don't grieve for her. The reason being that I know, regardless, she's not suffering and she was suffering. People can argue the "sanctity of human life" but until you see someone suffering immensely you don't realize how much of a blessing death can be. My greatest and only regret, was not being there at the end. I didn't want her to be alone in that moment, not because I wanted to spend those last minutes with her, but because I didn't want her to die suffering and alone, I wanted her to know she had people that loved her at that time. Again that's my only regret, and If I could've been there I would've, however I had surgery the week before she passed and was still suffering from complications. The night I found out she had passed there was an odd peace. It's hard to explain, a bit of sadness, but more of an emotional silence. I loved my mother, but my time as a Taoist/Buddhist/hindi/etc. has taught me that even though I think she's gone, she's not really gone. She may very well never have been here in the first place, so putting the time and energy into grieving for her does nothing to bring her back and does nothing to ease my own suffering, nor does it somehow quantify how much I cared for her, so if I am truly being compassionate towards her and myself, then learning to let her go and let myself move on should be my goal. So, how was this different from my father's passing? Well he passed when I was much younger (twenty-one) and I had only just begun to read about Taoism. Attachment was the norm and compassion, especially towards myself, wasn't something I really understood. I was devastated when he passed. I had been living with him at that time and had actually argued with him the night before. My greatest regret at that time was that I thought he had died thinking I was angry or hated him. In retrospect I realize that he knew better. However the memory of those emotions, of that feeling of loss, comes back even now, which is strange, because he was also dying from cancer, he just never told anyone, and you would think I would feel relieved for his passing. So the difference, I guess, is that knowing my place in this world and my relationship to other people has allowed me to accept this as not a loss, but a blessing for my mother. Whereas my still undeveloped mind was unable to accept the death of my father, due to my inability to understand the nature of death at that time. Both deaths were blessings, and if anyone suffered from those deaths, it was not my parents, but their loved ones, and of course, me. Oh that's the other thing, both my parents passed away from lung cancer. You can guess what habit I gave up. I just thought I'd share, because this is one of those universal experiences and I thought maybe these observations might help someone else.
  29. 13 points
    I have been having a conversation with another member in the bums chat. During the discussion, the question of what really constitutes "alchemy"? Is alchemy just a generic word for "energy stuff", maybe like the word "tantra"? Or, does taoist alchemy imply a specific approach or specific techniques that are some how different than other traditions? I would be interested in everyone's thoughts on the topic. Thanks.
  30. 13 points
    Look back at your day and find what might have triggered a strong negative emotional response in you. Odds are that is rooted in bad behavior you had to endure sometime in the course of your day. I was flying back from San Francisco to Chicago earlier this week and after the plane took off, an elderly gent sitting next to me, managed to cut a chunk of skin off his right wrist (caught on the seat somehow). The flight attendant was right behind us, and prepping to sell food items. The old gentleman was so frail (and later we found out taking a connecting flight from his long travel from Sydney Australia) and tired that he couldn’t even call the attendants for help. I called out to the attendant a few times and he turned around and snapped at me “wait your turn! I will be right with you!!”. I pointed out, it’s not for me, please attend to this gentleman’s injury. All was well but I realized the way the attendant reacted when first approached, left an imprint in my mind. I actually experienced pain from his aggressive reaction. I wonder then, how many times has an irritated retort from me had a similar effect on others? Did my words and manner of delivery negatively affect others? Odds are, yes. While we cannot undo what has passed, we can and should be mindful of our speech and manner of delivery. Approach the world around us with gentleness and loving kindness, for are we all not cut from the same cloth of awareness ?
  31. 13 points
    The gross physical is a bio electric mass. It is generally quite weak compared to what it can be with development. The overall field is in considerable flux and this is at the whim of the proclivities of the individual, diet and emotional strength and weaknesses. It is also cultural, weather related and certainly structured in many many ways by DNA. Yoga and Qi Gong are both paths that take into account the gross physical proactively with regard to a path of unfoldment of the highest forms of energetic Man. The following is with reference to a dedicated student of the Path of either form - with some mention of the different aspects to those who practice here and there primarily for health and longevity. the general energy level of a typical human is in great flux - and it is also cemented oddly by proclivities and habituations. Incorrect thinking and habituations in both emotional and lower mind positioned mind constrain the optimal natural energies for unfolding. The happenings of life also indent here and there constraints and often humans become very habituated to the indents and hold them over - bringing with them the shutting down of considerable other possibility. This is the general state of the human bio electric mass - primarily food related and a DNA propensity toward engagement with its perception of the happening. Qi Gong and Yoga work to both clear away energetically held structures from habituations of energetic avenues of energy movement within the system and to enhance or stimulate the natural essence or deep unencumbered agilities that would naturally bound forth from an unencumbered system. In very different words - most human systems typically do not utilize and enhance the great freeways within - they gravitate to the positioned ravines and small roads that their incorrect thinking and habituations of position hold them to and they cultivate these "channels". Meditation is the foundation of each of these paths. Again - i am only talking to those practitioners of the Path and not the health and longevity group of light practice. Meditation is the foundation for very good reason = the bio electric mass is in diss array in the holdings and position of habituation and incorrect thinking and emotional investments. It is easily seen and proven - if you hold your attention of a recent injury you will feel the pain more intensely than if someone has just told you a great joke and you have forgotten about your injury for the moment. Incorrect thinking and emotional holding/bending, focuses the bio electric mass upon that pattern. Constant habituations etch these pattens of energy constraints upon the bio electric mass. The bio electric mass is at the whim of frequencies that will elicit various habituated patterns like a tuning fork to sympathetic vibration. the typical human is a mass of sleeping reactions. Meditation at once begins to soften the overall habituations and give practice to non-reaction. Since the OP asked for this to be with regard to the gross physical I wont go into the higher natures and what is taking place. in the gross bio electric mass, meditation will appear as a very definite change in the overalll magnetic image of the subject. The edges will become more stable, all movements more rounded and well streamed and the energy will have a brighter clearish coloring with much less muddied areas or areas that are cold somewhat deadened zones. This happens as energies are allowed by practicing non-reaction non-held positioned attention to move from held distortion to natural unencumbered resonance and flow. Without this practice and to a fair extent its mastery Qi Gong and Yoga cannot proceed to accomplish the unfolding that is possible. The increase in energies would simply vent in distortions (again i am talking about high practice and not gym class) As the energies of the general bio mass increase and become whole again the postures in both Yoga and Qi Gong stretch these energies deeply within the mass and greatly increase the electrical associations within the entire mass. The movements very specificallly break up and brush aside the false held contractions of the reactionary positioned attentions that have congealed within it from unhealthy and incorrect habituations. Qi Gong also adds a dimension to this not seen in general Yoga though this is not entirely true: Beyond Qi Gong mediation, the movements/postures are not only deliberate meaning that they are not done in a flowing dance like way or done in trance, but they incorporate breathing techniques that contain and pressurize energies pushing them deeply within the framework of the bio mass. One breathes in and holds the breath in many twisting and held positions - as the twisting occurs the breath is held - not released. This moves localized energies to move from the more easily conducted liquid areas into the bones and marrow. The entire bio mass is bathed in more oxygen and other energies of light And it is held in compression in deliberate consciousness even if the practionioner is relatively unconscious. As the entire mass is electrified all of the positions/forms brush the various systems within against one another with the benifit of equilibriums of energetic resonance finding their highest natural essence while in closer natural association with all other systems. As these systems gain integrations and consistent charge the natural energies also pool and are able to germinate certain centers that cannot form/fruit until such time. If meditation and the overal tendency to incorrect thinking and emotive discord have been sufficiently dissolved the levels to which the energetic system can continue to germinate and establish new and incredible eneretic synthesis is completely beyond scientific consideration and far beyond words. At some point magnetic centers arise to the full consciousness of the human. Until such time the magnetic mass is roaming in a sense. As the great magnetic forms arise they will change and meld and become far more concrete and "physical" than the gross physical. (Gotta go)
  32. 13 points
  33. 13 points
    Here is the story of The Cucumber Sage; much can be learned from it. http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/C - Zen/Stories/The Cucumber Sage/The Cucumber Sage.htm This story is wonderful - and a perfect example of how others mis-interpret what they observe. Wu Ming, the unwitting Sage in this story, is one of my true heroes. 🥋 Enjoy!
  34. 13 points
    I had the privilege of meeting a great teacher in 1974 that was largely unknown. His name was Dave Harris out of Seattle, Washington. I was very young. Because of extensive boxing, wrestling, submission wrestling, Aikido, Karate (starting when I was 11 years old) I found many of the so called blackbelts in town to be mediocre. This made me a little full of myself. Then I met Dave Harris. His art was Tai Chi but, he liked to call it chop suey. My first sparring session at his home on 67th st. was a real eye opener as to what a true combat Tai Chi fighter at a very high level can do. I was totally helpless with this guy. Yet, he did it with amazing control, gentleness, kindness and openness. His wife, Gerry, came home during this and told us not to mess the place up. I told her not to worry, Dave had everything under control. He charged very little, he was more interested in your character and dedication. He did not self promote. He had studied under some of the great masters: Tchoung, Tohei, Raymond Chung, Pang, Woodcock, and Zhang Jie. Dave was very humble. All he wanted to do was teach anyone who was truly interested. (He also was a highly dedicated art teacher at North Seattle C.C.). Jesse Glover (of Bruce Lee fame) met Dave Harris when Jesse Glover was well known for his unique style of Sticking Hands. Afterwards, Jesse called Sifu Harris The Greatest Master no one has heard of. That is kind of the way Dave wanted it. The point I am getting to is: With all of these big name advertised masters all around, I would like to read about the tremendous teachers that have influenced your lives (in any discipline, martial or non-martial) and yet are largely unknown. A memorial of sorts. I am waxing nostalgic, please humor me:)
  35. 13 points
    I've studied this particular subject exhaustively. Probably wrote about it somewhere more than once, but don't remember where, so to OP's question, briefly: 1. Grains (and grain-like non-grains) that neither contain gluten nor provoke cross-sensitivities to same (in most cases -- see below) are rice, glutinous rice (yup -- despite the name, there's no gluten in it), millet, quinoa, buckwheat (yup -- despite the name, not related to wheat), teff. 2. Grains that do contain gluten, besides wheat, are rye, barley, oats, amaranth, spelt. 3. The grain that doesn't technically contain gluten but in many cases causes similar problems due to cross-sensitivity provoked by proteins in it similar enough to gluten is corn. 4. Cross-sensitivities in some gluten-intolerant people can manifest in response to all grains -- and strangely enough to dairy which also contains similar enough proteins. 5. Legumes were introduced into the human diet as a way to survive a catastrophic event in our history that wiped out many primate species (in particular, on the North American continent, 150 of them -- that is to say, all of them). We would never eat this if we weren't starving, because there's a plethora of antinutrients present in legumes, from enzyme inhibitors to highly reactive lectins (ricin, which folks may have heard about in conjunction with political murders, is one of them -- and one of the most toxic substances known) to digestive difficulties to brain damage (soy specifically -- according to a 30-year study of Japanese men in Hawaii eating tofu vs. those not eating it, the largest ever and mighty convincing). So, if you stick with (1), you have six grains and grain-alikes to choose from, and don't have to eat just rice all the time. I am very partial to teff. This African grain-alike is not very well-known, but worth discovering. I was very grateful when I did. Abstaining From Grains is ideal, IMO, but not easy to pull off. I fall off the wagon from time to time. Typically, I don't eat grains every day, and when I do, they are from the (1) list. But since I don't have any explicit symptoms of gluten-related difficulties, except I start losing my far-better-than-average flexibility if I eat gluten-containing grains, occasionally I yield to the temptation. Usually short term, then back to gluten free. My litmus test is the Chen taiji move that asks for all you've got in terms of flexibility, Snake Creeps Down. It requires open "unglued" joints and vertebrae, rather than stretched-out ligaments (which can work for the yogic kind of flexibility, but not for the taiji kind.) It's like night and day, Snake on gluten and off.
  36. 13 points
    Someone on Twitter posted, 'just start over'. To really begin anew, to really make a fresh start, I think we have to let go of the past and forgive ourselves for past mistakes. I've made a lot of mistakes and my past includes very much darkness and suffering, but I feel that it doesn't have to be difficult to know that it's okay, forgive yourself, and see today as a new beginning. If there is a God, He/She understands us and loves us unconditionally. I'm feeling good about letting go of the past and beginning my new life.
  37. 13 points
  38. 13 points
    For the sake of analysis, I like to divide bullshit into two piles: my own and other people`s. Other people`s I can`t do much about. Oh, I`ve made my complaints: I`ve stomped my feet and raised my voice; I`ve felt disgusted and contemptuous and superior and I`ve let people know just how much. And did said bullshitters clean up their act? No, they did not. (Well, sometimes a little but never in a timely manner nor to my satisfaction.) Errrr! My own bullshit, on the other hand, is my castle. I`m king of my bullshit and what I say goes. If I want to get rid of it, it`s entirely within my power -- though not easy -- to do so.
  39. 13 points
    In general, Buddhism neither denies nor affirms anything absolutely. This prevents any potential conflict from arising in the mind. I think is the key point when comparing it to other spiritual traditions. A devout Buddhist is free to incorporate all manner of authentic, helpful tools which the practitioner feels or believes will aid in the evolution of spiritual and mental development. In short, a devout Buddhist can also be a devout Christian, but a devout Christian will find it near impossible to practice Buddhism (due to misunderstandings only because they think its too conflicting when in fact its not). What some might not realise is that the condensed purpose of Buddhist practice is simply nothing more than reminding one that to attain lasting peace and contentment, there is effort and understanding required: ultimately, the aim is to dispel ignorance by raising one's awareness to the point of removing all subtle veils between the mind and reality. To this end, all things can be used for this expressed purpose. If a Buddhist adamantly clings to an idea that he or she is a Buddhist and begins to 'defend' that position, that in itself is an invitation for the arising of an obstacle to come between self and reality. As a side note.... The outer meanings of performing mudras, dances, taking care of one's altar, constructing mandalas, thangka paintings, making tormas, etc are basically aesthetic formulas that has many subtle benefits on all levels.
  40. 13 points
    Thoughts and prayers for the people of London tonight
  41. 13 points
    For me this is not so much about interaction with a partner (who has probably come to know and correctly interpret your "range") but more in social situations, where expanded energy frequently gets misinterpreted as a come on. When women suddenly notice the energetic dynamic has shifted, we try to "tuck it in," and often, if not usually, feel like we have done something wrong. Indeed women are often blamed for leading men on or even for being a tease, when they just have really big energy. How freeing to have this kind of discussion, to understand the gender dynamics, and then maybe find ways for women to effectively communicate that they just want the freedom to feel "big" without that being seen as an invitation. And for men to be able to take that at face value... which I think they often just don't. For many men, their interpretation of the energetic dynamics is way more real to them than anything the woman might say. Thinking about it, women who have felt the need to shut down to avoid unwanted attention often prefer to hang out with other women, who are less likely to misinterpret, and more likely to welcome and support a wider energetic range than male acquaintances... no strings attached. (Wrote that before your last post with the hermitizing bit in there, Dae: thinking along the same track ) Great topic, Dae, thanks for broaching it here.
  42. 12 points
    Maybe spiritual cultivation is a little like investing in the stock market. Everyone is trying to find the perfect system when most would be better off forgetting systems altogether and focusing instead on simple principles. Take virtue, for instance. While ethics can get unbelievably complicated, simply considering what the right thing to do is and doing it puts us way ahead of the curve. If we add a little kindness to basic decency, the foundation is set for spiritual development. Everything works better in a body that is relaxed and healthy so that`s something to work on too. Exercise, diet, some sort of strategy for dealing with stress. Positive relationships with friends and family. These kinds of things aren`t what`s usually meant when people talk about spiritual systems but the underpinnings of a good life are the underpinnings of good spiritual development. The best system in the world won`t take you very far if you`re a chain smoking criminal enmeshed in a hostile custody battle for your alienated kids. First things first. To me, the idea of a system implies component parts. First you do this, and then, when condition XYZ is reached, you do this other thing. Trying to follow instructions in a book like Taoist Yoga is harder than putting together modular furniture from IKEA. And that`s saying something. If the goal is enlightenment or immortality perhaps such complication is necessary. But most people would benefit greatly from taking one simple thing and exploring it in depth over a few decades. Take a basic standing practice like "standing like a tree." A practice like that deepens and develops over time. Who among us has taken standing like a tree all the way? Have any of us gotten all there is to get from simple standing? I doubt it. So many things are like that. The inner smile. Watching the breath. I suspect that getting to enlightenment or awakening doesn`t take great cognitive skill. What it may take is great endurance in the face of boredom. Many of us already know a system that could potentially take us to enlightenment. Some of us know many such systems. And yet we`re still looking because looking is fun. Spiritual development, as ultimately rewarding as it may be, is often physically and emotionally uncomfortable. Not fun. (Note: These are just my opinions as someone who claims no particular enlightenment or awakening. Fact is, I could do with a good deal more spiritual discipline myself. I do however like to share my thoughts and often do so instead of practicing. Take with salt.)
  43. 12 points
    ...so I propose picking a new banner for the coming Year of the Dog in advance. There's still plenty of time -- the real Chinese New Year falls on February 16th this time around -- but based on our prior experience, we may want to start nagging nudging the party/parties in charge of the task in advance. I like this one but apparently it's Japanese... well, I like the calligraphy, so posting for that, not for the banner proposal (which will probably be a cool surprise from Sean, as usual):
  44. 12 points
    In a way, group energetic practice is inescapable. We're together here on this planet and we all influence each other for better and for worse, and often in ways that go unperceived and unacknowledged. Purposefully engaging in such practices adds a level of intent which intensifies things considerably. Is this a good thing? I think it depends. Some people have energy which uplifts; others depress. Some people have very pure and loving intentions; others, not so much. I`m selective about who I do what with. Not everybody gets to come into my home, eat at my table, sleep in my bed. For much the same reasons, not everyone is welcome to muck around with my energy body.
  45. 12 points
    one monk leans over and whispers to another monk 'are you not thinking what I'm not thinking?'
  46. 12 points
    Here's something I wrote earlier today for another audience but I thought I'd share it here (BTW, the totality in Franklin was just over 2.5 minutes): So... Yesterday was "eclipse day." My home was in the 99% zone but I had been told by a friend who traveled halfway across the country to see the last one in the US that the difference between partial and total is like, pardon the pun, night and day. I put in a vacation request moths ago and studied the map. I wouldn't have to go far to reach totality but many of the roads around me are narrow two-lane roads which twist through the mountains with little to no shoulder and we were expecting tremendous crowds. I chose to take a divided highway to minimize the chance of complete gridlock and selected the town of Franklin, NC, in the Nantahala National Forest. I also decided to play it safe, since I was alone, and I planned to stop in a fast-food joint's parking lot right outside of downtown. The crowd which descended on Franklin was roughly three times larger than the town's population and it wasn't one of the most popular destinations! I knew traffic was going to be awful so I left WAY early and had nearly three hours to wait, by design. Even so, traffic started to back up about halfway there and I was relieved when it became apparent most of them were heading towards Sylva and points South of there. Things thinned out after the road split there and it was smooth sailing on into Franklin. I got something to eat (as much to justify sitting in their parking lot and using their restroom as anything) and then did a lot of sitting in stillness. As the partial eclipse approached, I maintained that "shifted" State and began looking for a few seconds periodically. More significantly, though, I was "listening" to the energy patterns. Until a few minutes before the totality began, I was popping on my glasses and checking the progress only a few seconds at a time. I then put my glasses on and watched constantly for maybe ten minutes -- about five or so leading up to totality, taking the glasses off and watching through totality and then putting them back off to watch the beginning of the transition out. At that point, I hopped in my car and hit the road to beat the worst of the crowd getting back out. Yes, the sun's energy was intense and strange. Something I hadn't expected, though, was the interplay between Heaven and Earth! Beginning a few minutes before totality, I started noticing a low frequency vibration -- more like an oscillation. The eclipse caused a shift in the balance between these two elemental forces (for lack of a better phrase) and it was like a spring bouncing or string vibrating in a musical instrument. It got slightly more intense but was most fascinating was that it became more complex -- more frequencies and higher harmonics being added in. During the totality, you can look directly at the sun and see the corona around it. At that point, it was like an immense energetic chord being played as Heaven and Earth sought equilibrium during this rapid transition between day and night and back again. Even more quickly than it began, the harmonics rapidly started diminishing and fading as the sun emerged and day returned. Words cannot describe the experience. I hope others had the opportunity to experience totality, too!
  47. 12 points
    Aletheia, good morning! Thanks for your concern, we all care about this place! You might be starting from an incorrect idea however: The Dao Bums is not a 'qigong forum'. There are indeed some here who practice qigong, and share their ideas about it, and some are more advanced than others - both in skills and concepts - but the primary purpose of TDB is to provide a place where we all can share ideas and heart about spiritual things - and how we approach life with the perspectives we embrace. The primary purpose of the Admin/Mods is to sustain this environment wherin that sharing is able to occur... always trying to balance between a heavy hand when personal threats etc occur - and a light hand enabling us bums to handle the chaff on our own lol. They, and we, are doing a pretty good job of it, imo. Perhaps a separate 'Qigong' sub-section could be added to TDB somewhere, for the bums so inclined, and all the Q-wars over who is more right could do battle there! I recall years ago when all the Buddhists we're given their own sections to keep all the Taoist threads from innundation. However things play out, I wish you well and peace on your path. warm regards
  48. 12 points
    Hi,I'm not entirely sure this is where I am supposed to post as a newcomer, but here goes. One of my old Students (Windwalker) sent me here. So, a quick biography: I was perhaps one of a handful of writers in the early 1970s writing about gongfu. I was a contributing editor for Inside Kung-Fu magazine, Karate Illustrated, Official Karate, and maybe another 5 magazines as well as Chinese Entries Editor for one of the first Encyclopedia's of Martial Arts, and the first Dictionary of Martial arts. My book "White Crane Gung-Fu" introduced that style to the west for the first time, as did my book "Hop-Gar Kung-Fu," and "Tibetan Kung-Fu." I wrote the first magazine articles on the Beijing Wushu Team, introducing them and a very young Li Lianjia (Jet Li) to the west, and wrote the first book introducing the Chang Chuan compulsorty routine used throughout the PRC for wushu competitions. I wrote maybe another hundred or so magazine articles about kung-fu, karate, judo... and so on. But above all, I was a gongfu practitioner... first in karate, then in White Crane, then in Hop Gar. I just finished another book entitled "Focusing Emptiness: A Mytho-Poetic Journey to the Lost Child." I thought I was writing a book about psychology. About half way through, I realized it was really a book about gongfu...but you have to look to see that. When I have time, I'm happy to correspond with anyone if I have anything to contribute. My email address is mpstaples@gmail.com. My website is www.focusingemptiness.com. If you buy my book (Amazon...if you look it up under my name, you have to type in Michael P. Staples), please leave a review. Every little bit helps. Michael
  49. 12 points
    Participating in this forum has helped me to see just how strongly I can identify with a particular view or opinion. It's pointed out when my ego is too engaged. It's helped me to let go of the need to be correct and the need to have the last word. I've still got a long way to go but this is a good place to study yourself.
  50. 12 points
    When younger, I read a lot of fiction, and could actually see the story. When asked if I had seen a movie of the book, I would not be sure until I saw an image from the movie.... and then I would realize "nope, not my movie. Must have just read the book."