All posts by The Dixie Taoist

I'm just a fellow traveler on the path.

Listening

I opened a fortune cookie the other day. The fortune inside said “you can hear a lot just by listening”

A long time ago I heard a story about listening. The story goes that during his presidency, Franklin Roosevelt noted that few people were paying attention to what he said. To see how true it was, he decided to test his theory out during a white house gathering. As he greeted each person, he would say”I murdered my grandmother this morning.” Not hearing what he said most people just smiled, nodded and gave a courteous response such as “how nice” and “good for you”. Finally, he got a response when the Bolivian Ambassador responded with “Well she must have deserved it”.

To Listen; is to be present and give one’s attention to perception1

Communication Lets begin with the obvious.When we talk, we are not listening. Even when someone else is talking, we may not be listening.Even if you are hearing you may not be listening. On a deeper level, the listening is done with the mind, and hopefully, consciousness paying attention. You are looking at someone while they are telling something they feel is hugely compelling, only your mind is buried deep within your mind stream2. When something wakes you up and you pay attention outward, you realized that you haven’t heard a word of what was said because your attention was somewhere “upstream”.

Listening goes deeper than that. This chapter is about cultivating the skill to pay attention to what you hear. Or deeper yet, it is to pay attention to what you perceive3. It’s not just sound wave in the form of another person’s voice. It is “hearing” what the consciousness behind the words is conveying to you.

Intuition. Listening is a complement of Intuition. Deep listening leads to intuition. When you listen, you perceive. What you perceive, you can observe. The product of what you is what you hear. That is unless your attention is deeply in mindstreaming.

The anecdote to this is to be present and mindful. Being able to stay focused on hearing, listening and experiencing what you perceive is transforming.

Being able to stay focused and to listen requires not thinking at the same time. Recall what was discussed in the chapter on emptiness about it having functionality. Emptiness gives function to listening. Being empty in order to receive.The mind is still so it can observe. You cannot listen while you are thinking.

Contrary to how this may sound, this is the highest form of waking consciousness. Note the following words that are listed at the beginning of this chapter.

The function of the ear ends with hearing,
that of the mind, with symbols or ideas.
But the spirit is an emptiness ready to receive all things.

Excerpt from the Chuang Tzu Chapter 4

As I have mentioned many times in this and other books, the ability to wake up from mindstream and pay attention, hold focus is a spiritual ability cultivated through meditation. It is applied over and over in your waking life through continuously becoming mindful.

You are listening. Your mind drifts. Your consciousness realizes that your focus drifted and you refocus back to observing/listening (perceive/to pay attention). Listening with focused attention is a skill. When you practice it the same person enough, they will tell you that you are a good listener. The people in your life will regard you more favorably. They will also notice if you miss a lot because your mind is busy while they are talking to you. When you present some deep nuance that only you understand, then they will tell you that you ”think too much”.

So this focused attention is to be applied often but in a balanced way. The is a certain harmony that you must achieve where you observe/listen to each moment along with the need to think about what you are doing. It is best if you approach this with moderation. Just practice gently, giving yourself the rest of your life to cultivate it.

While you are reading this, notice how the “voice” will comment. Or notice how your mind will drift off when you perceive some interesting concept. Your eyes and mind will still be processing the material, yet the attention off in mindstream. Then you wake up and have to go back and reread the previous sentence. Sometimes the content can be so complex that it can provoke thinking, and you have to reread over a of bunch times. So stop right here. Raise your head up and think about this.

Spirit to spirit. If you did it, and now you are back. You went from listening to distraction, and now you are back listening. Interestingly, the information in my mind right now is taking a quantum leap and traveling through time and space. It is being perceived by your consciousness in some future date and in some other location. From my spirit essence to yours in the now continuum. Each spirit and mind still yet connected. Perhaps listening is a quantum event. This is the power of being present in the “now”. Such is the power of listening.

The final point is this; when you are present and still (out of mindstream), you are in the Tao. This is the Tao connection. When you listening and at one with the Tao, you are in the highest state of being. Your potential (what you are capable of) becomes unlimited when unified with the Tao. It is easier said than done. Yet you can transform your life with even the smallest connection. You connect every time you become still and listen. Listen with constancy4

The sovereign cultivates the ability of returning to the Tao and listening. With a bit of work, you can gain the ability listen to your own thoughts with a sense of detachment. Within your true nature is wisdom. Being able to remove your attention from ego mindstreaming and know your wisdom is a very effective skill. Work at it. Become a good listener.

1This definition was a composite from several sources.

2Mind stream, or mindstreaming is an ancient spiritual concept defined as the “moment to moment continuum. The focus of your consciousness is often deeply concentrated in thought. A type of ongoing distraction creating a loss of presence.

3 to perceive is the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. Or a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression

4See the Chapter on “constancy”. – returning to one’s true nature

Emptiness

The perfect man is like a mirror; it does not move with things, nor does it anticipate them; it receives but does not retain them. Therefore he is able to deal with things, but he is not affected by them.”

excerpt from Chuang Tzu (Chapter 7)1

Why Emptiness? At first look, you may wonder how the concept of emptiness can have any value. After all, by definition, it can be defined as nothingness. The wise sovereign looks beyond what may seem obvious to seek other perspectives. The concepts of non-absolute, inevitable change, and seeking multiple perspectives will give you a starting point.

If it is true that emptiness is not absolute, then there must be something more to emptiness. Empty and nothing are sometimes subjective and are relevant to the observer. Accepting that even emptiness is not absolute will give you a reason to look deeper. If at this point your are arguing in your mind about this, try relaxing your tight grip on that perspective and just see where it goes. A different point of view or perspective is not necessarily a threat, right?

Consider the void of outer space. For so long humanity has considered the nothingness between planetary bodies to be completely empty of anything. Perhaps this is because there was little to perceive through visual means. But when scientists use other instruments or devices to scan the void of space they find a lot of other phenomena going on. The human eye can only see light-energy in one area of its’ spectrum. So even though it may at first appear to be empty, with help we can see something where there appears to be nothing.

While it is not absolutely known what existed before the big bang, many theorize that there was only a void. From this void came the universe in a creative bang that is still in the creative process. From nothingness came everything. From the smallest cluster of wave packets to the largest galaxies, the expanding universe began from emptiness.

The stillness in stillness is not the real stillness.

Only the stillness in movement,

can the spiritual rhythm appear which pervades heaven and earth.

The Caigentan (Ts’ai-ken t’an)2

Another way to view emptiness is in the concept of stillness. Stillness of the mind as a state of being, is to be empty of the incessant mind-stream of thinking. Within the stillness, that gap between the episodes of thinking, you can gain insight. Stillness is the residence of the spiritual self.

Consider, who it is observing the mind? That alone should give you pause. This is the object of meditation. Realization of that which observes. It is pure consciousness. This is the true self, your spiritual core as a living being. Observing and realizing what is crossing over the mind, yet free from it, is the realization of true self-awareness. Sitting in stillness you return to calm abiding (meditative state).

Creative potential remains unseen in emptiness or where there seems to be nothing. Then some motive initiates the spark that unleashes change. As the sovereign, the ruler of your mind-kingdom, you hold the potential for creation. Consciousness, or spirit, observes and gives birth to thought. Thought becomes creative action that will manifest in the outer or external world. Consciousness is the stillness before thought. Each of us has enormous potential waiting in the stillness. When thinking arises it creates the reality we dwell in. When your spirit becomes sovereign over the rest of the external mind, (the ego), then choices are coordinated from a deeper intention. Choices can be aligned with wisdom to create a better world.

Emptiness gives function to form

Thirty spokes join in one hub

in its emptiness is the function of a vehicle

Mix clay to create a container

In its emptiness there is the function of a container

Cut open doors and windows to create a room

In its emptiness, there is the function of a room

Therefore, that which exists is used to create benefit

That which is empty is used to create functionality

Chapter 11 Tao Te Ching

wagon-wheel

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In chapter 11, Lao Tzu shares the concept that emptiness gives functionality to that which is solid.

  • It is the hole in the wagon wheel hub that allows an axle to be placed.
  • A coffee mug that is a solid cylinder has no space for coffee.
  • A room with no doors or windows has little function without a means to enter and exit. It also would have no way for air and light to enter. If a room were solid, there would be no place to dwell and thus have no relevant function.

From an abstract perspective, you may consider that an absolute and solid conviction about any subject leaves little room for possibility and discovery. When we can empty our minds from the ego and an entrenched perspective we allow:

  • Stillness (pure consciousness) to create space for spiritual insight.
  • Spiritual insight (intuition) to create space for possibility
  • Possibility to create space for hope
  • Hope to give rise to courage and willpower

Consider how the insight of emptiness overlaps with the first four steps listed in the previous chapters.

Sacred Journey

Your sacred journey “begins beneath your feet.” If you are without hope or are too bound up within the ego frame of perspective you may never take the first step. When open to possibility, hope will empower you to begin your journey of self-exploration.

The Way

If you are open-minded and empty of entrenched beliefs and views you allow yourself to consider the ancient wisdom of the Tao. This philosophical wisdom has matured over 4500 years and is as relevant today as it was back then.

Change

When you step back from absolutism you give function to potential by opening the door to possibility. Extremism is a room with no doors and windows which may only function as a mental-emotional prison cell. Change is the only absolute and is the creative force of nature.

Yin/Yang

Emptiness gave birth to the “myriad of things”3 that we can observe as the universe. Free of absolutism, you can accept impermanence and change is the process of creation. The complementary relationship between yin and yang can also be seen in another complementary relationship of empty becoming less empty, or nothing becoming something.

Karma

Cause and effect is a law of nature for both the internal and external aspect of reality. Your choices are seeds planted in the present moment that grows into a destiny realized in a later now. Thoughts become action through choice. Choice initiates change which results in your destiny. When you can be empty of a fixed perspective, you become open to a possibility. Realization of what is possible, you can allow inspiration and hope to enter your empty mind and guide you out of the prison of suffering.

Emptiness As A Source

Emptiness is the source by which possibility becomes reality through choice. Good choices create a more successful destiny. Emptiness, possibility, hope, inspiration, and intuition reveal the door to your mental prison and give you the courage to walk out of the darkness and into the light.

Mindfulness meditation is a way of cultivating the ability to observe what is on your mind. When you learn how to observe without judgment and reaction you can gain insight.

Insight meditation is a concentrated observation or reflecting on your life and being able to view it through multiple perspectives. This is a kind of openness or emptiness that can free a person from the prison of mental activity.

In cultivating sovereignty, you will work towards understanding and the implementation of the concept of emptiness as a source. Hopefully, by now, you realize the necessity of meditation as the awakening process from the ego-mind into pure being and spiritual awareness.

Contemplate the insight of how emptiness can give function to substance (form) for both the internal and the external. Being the sovereign of your mental kingdom (your mind), it becomes possible to make better choices that create your life. In stillness, the sovereign can be open and able to provide the space for hope, possibility, inspiration, intuition, and change.

1Paraphrase from several translations of the Chuang-tzu

2Ts’ai-ken t’an: a treatise written in the late 1500’s by Ming Dynasty philosopher Hong_Zicheng. A compiliation of teachings from Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.

3“myriad of things” This phrase is used in various chapters of the Tao Te Ching and means “all things” or “all under creation” (everything)

A Study Of Taiji and A Study Of Longevity

Hi everyone, and Happy New Year.

I am adding two new categories to the blog site; they are Taiji and Longevity.

Taiji also known as Tai Chi was founded by the legendary Chinese immortal Zhang Sanfeng (1247 – 1417). A Taoist priest Zhang is credited with founding this dynamic system of attaining the Tao. As the first Taiji Master, he is considered an enlightened immortal, sage, Master (if not founder) of Internal Kung Fu.

As you can see his lifespan stretched 170 years. At age 170 it said that he ascended into the Tao. So attaining the Tao has the important benefit of longevity. Since then there have been other “immortals” who have been documented as living even longer.

One such person is the renown  Li Ching Yuen, a Qigong Master who is thought to also have studied martial arts. Li Ching Yuen for slide

It is my intention to share my amazing discoveries of what Taoist Taiji can do for health and longevity. This blog is a study of these three elements of Tao cultivation.

What I will tell you will sometimes be hard to believe. However, your skepticism is welcome. You can read my story here. Years later I am getting stronger even though I am getting older. For someone who is devoted to “the way”, Tao cultivation and Taiji is a game changer. My duty is to share my experience and what I have learned so you too can live a much longer, healthier, fun, energetic, interesting and productive life of well-being.

These books that I have written and the ones I intend to write are steps along the path. You can take these steps with me. Free Your Self was my first book. It is meant to help cultivate self-awareness (realization of

“Free Your Self” was my first book. It is meant to help cultivate self-awareness (realization of true self)

The Dixie Taoist Handbook – How To Find Your True Path” [Volume 1]is my second book which is step by step guide to waking up, finding your true path and living your true purpose.

“The Dixie Taoist Handbook – Sovereignty” [Volume 2] is being written with an anticipated release summer of 2017. This book on Sovereignty is a how-to on taking your Tao cultivation to a much higher level ofattainment. Sovereignty is a discipline and way of life. It is an investment that pays off huge dividends such as longevity and wisdom.

Future books; A Study of Taiji, and “A study of Longevity” will share with you how to cultivate the crazy and wonderful power of Qi and development the “Seed Of Elixer” which was the alchemy that the immortals cultivated living a long, long time. But first steps first and that is working on the ‘self’.

More to come…

sam

 

Honesty

From Section Two – A Book Of Tao Virtues

Honesty

There are more fake guides, teachers in the world than stars. The real guide is the one who makes you see your inner beauty, not the one who wants to be admired and followed.

~ Shams Tabrizi1

The core of Sovereignty is truth. To be honest is to be truthful and to understand the underlying reality of your life. Truth is a key component for the person cultivating Sovereignty. Honesty is embracing truth and being free of deceit. For most of us, this is a work in progress, especially when it comes to self-honesty and how we deal with the problems in our life.

Self Honesty

Cultivating the Tao must include self-honesty. Realization that you are a spiritual being happens when you recognize that there is a part of you that avoids the truth of how things are. The ego-self can get you into trouble when it has complete control of your life. When mistakes are made, the ego is slow to admit fault because that is its nature. Yet, to develop wisdom, you must be able to admit the truth of what went wrong and make better choices. This cultivation begins with self-honesty. The virtue of honesty begins with being true to yourself. Self-honesty is a spiritual virtue that is the true-self is grounded in. The sovereign is one who has made this realization and controls the self-deception of the ego.

Integrity and Trust

Integrity, a complement of self-honesty, has two side that have relevance. Integrity plays an important role in healthy strong relationships. Without being true to yourself and others, integrity does not have a chance to grow. With integrity, trust can be built as part of the foundation for cooperation and good relationships. The sovereignty is careful to nurture relationships, friendship and teamwork by being honest and developing trust and integrity.

Honesty and Intentions

Your intentions become your actions. So it is important for you to be mindful of what your intentions are sourced from. An over simplified perspective would begin with discerning whether your intention is coming from the true-self or the ego-self. Is the rising intention sourced from virtue or desire? The answer to this requires self-honesty. When you are sovereign and in control over the ego, you will see quickly its trickery. This admission is self-honesty. Self-deception occurs when the ego is captivated by illusion. Rather than face the truth, it will deceive itself so it can justify its actions which almost always self-serving. The true-self, your spiritual core, recognizes the illusion and dispels it with being honest and then setting a virtuous intention. Others who are the recipients of your will recognize your honesty and will trust you as having integrity. This is the basis of true friendship and your word will have great merit.

Honesty, Karma and Mystic Virtue

There are several more considerations regarding the sovereign’s cultivation of honesty and truth. There is the principle of karma. Consider honesty and truth on a spectrum with deceit and cunningness. If you look at it as a vertical scale, honesty and truth would be at the top and dishonesty and deceit at the bottom. Moment by moment the average person will move up and down the scale depending on how they are reacting to life. Over the course of time, your level of honesty will result in the well-being you are experiencing right now. As discussed earlier in the chapter on karma, you learned that your views and actions are like seeds that get planted. These seeds or actions will mature and be realized in some future now. So if you are planting seeds of honesty, truth, and virtue, the result later down your path will one of harmony. If you are planting seeds of dishonesty, deceit, beguiling, and trickery to take advantage of others, the result will be the same. So in this sense, honesty and truth are just a more practical strategy of keeping life simple and filled with a sense of success and well-being.

This  principle is present several times in the Tao Te Ching. In this chapter see the concept of governing is a metaphor for you as the manager of your life which is referred to as the “state”. This is a key concept of sovereignty, being the sovereign ruler of your life.

Those of ancient times who were adept at the Tao

Used it not to make people brighter

But to keep them simple

The difficulty in governing people

Is due to their excessive cleverness

Therefore, using cleverness to govern the state

Is being a thief of the state

Not using cleverness to govern the state

Is being a blessing of the state

Know that these two are both standards

Always knowing these standards

Is called Mystic Virtue

Mystic Virtue is profound, so far-reaching

It goes opposite to material things

Then it reaches great congruence

Chapter 65 Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu tells us that knowing the “two [states: being a thief or being a blessing] Mystic Virtue “is profound, so far-reaching”. With regard to honesty and the simple truth as a means ruling your life and your personal interaction with others, Mystic Virtue is the karma result that will result down the path. The wisdom is to use honesty, truth, and simplicity in your actions. To benefit from Mystic Virtue in the best possible way is be mindful your mindset and choices with how you manage and govern your life.

There are two two important strategies to use to govern your life effectively.

  1. Be honest and keep things simple in your dealings
  2. Be aware of beguilement, trickery, cleverness and complexity from others.

This is not only managing your own ego and its tricks but to recognize the complexity and cleverness of others and their ego traits.

How have you been doing so far? To see the answer, you must be honest in your discerning of how your life is going. Here are some questions that can ask yourself to see where whether you are the “cunning thief” or a “blessing”.

Does it seem like the world if full of lies and deceit?

Are you constantly being ripped off?

Is your life overly complicated?

Do you feel like honest people always finish last?

Do you take advantage of people who seem less smart

Do you get a kick out of tricking children?

Are most people less clever than you are?

Do you pride yourself in being able to use your cleverness to take advantage of situations?

This is just a few to ask yourself. As the same time, you can consider how others you know may answer these.

Your Relationship With Need.

You can begin to see the complementary relationship between honesty and simplicity. You should reflect on times in your life when you feel a sense of need. There are basic needs that we all require to be met. But then there is a sense of need that rises up when life gets complicated. Complications in life create stress. Stress will generate a sense of needing relief and a means of coping. The more complex a situation is, the more complicated it becomes. The more complicated it is the more attention and energy it consumes. If you use the metaphor of juggling to view your life and all its complications, you can see how at some point, inevitably you will become tired and drop a ball or two.

Another good example is when we are not truthful (lying to yourself) with our self and others. The more complex the lie, the more complicated it is to maintain the illusion that we have created. The karma result can be very negative.

If you can cultivate mindfulness of need, this can be a barometer of whether you are keeping things in your life simple or too complicated. You will be able to realize how stressful and needy you are and implement virtue and wisdom by being honest, accepting and implementing a virtuous action.

Hopefully, you can see how important being self-honest and truthful with yourself and others is an important virtue in cultivating sovereignty. You will know that you are improving by how mystic virtue rewards you realize how loved you are. You will know that you are making progress when you realize how much better you feel when things are simple and you don’t need a lot to be happy and content. Remember what Lao Tzu said

Mystic Virtue is profound, so far-reaching,

It goes opposite to material things

Then it reaches great congruence[harmony]”

1 Source: unknown

In Times Like These…

morning-after-sunriseOpportunity within Catastrophe

This picture was taken a few days ago on Wednesday morning, the day the presidential election results were revealed. I use it to represent that as Tao cultivators we remain present and holding constancy. The beauty of life on our planet should not be lost in the distraction of social politics. This sunrise is the Tao in its ever-changing state and  its beauty is not effected by our emotional reactions to life as it is.

Like many of you, my candidate did not win. As a Tao cultivator, I turn to my training to maintain constancy (unity with the Tao ).

In the words of Zhuang Zhou (Chung Tzu) “the perfect man employs his mind as a mirror; it grasps nothing, it refuses nothing; it receives but does not keep.”

There are myriad of opportunities to practice the Tao teachings and personal growth in this situation. We can choose how we react and formulate a way forward. Here are just a few that come to mind.

Acceptance

…Not knowing constancy, one recklessly cause trouble

Knowing constancy is acceptance

Acceptance is impartiality

Impartiality is Sovereign

Sovereign is Heaven

Heaven is Tao

Tao is eternal

The Self is no more, without danger”

Excerpt from Chapter 16

You may not accept the candidate but you must accept that it happened. In the words of Eckhart Tolle, “it is what it is”. Not accepting the reality of the election is just going to generate unnecessary stress. You can avoid distraction and focus your efforts on a solution.

Be Like Water

the great Tao is like a flood

it can flow to the left or the right”

Excerpt from Chapter 34

This non-acceptance can become an obstacle in your path. If you resist and deny it, you become lodged against it, much like a log against a large rock in a river. By accepting that it happened, you can be like water and flow around it, moving towards a solution. Don’t let your ego get hung up with resentment or denial of what has happened.

Be Flexible and Yielding

Yield and remain whole

Bend and remain straight”

Excerpt from Chapter 22

Resistance to the reality is to become rigid in your perspective. This attitude can influence how you are viewing life, and most importantly the quality of your life in this moment. By yielding to the truth, you will weather the storm. By being able to bend, like a willow in the wind, you will return to being straight. By accepting and allowing what is, you will endure. This sunrise picture is a reminder to not any external issue take away the beauty in your life. Don’t let any politician take away your power.

On the other side of the coin, your candidate may have won. A Tao cultivator will remember the three treasure and act accordingly. Humility, Conservation, and Compassion are victorious guides to employ when you realize someone on your path is suffering because your side won. Remember Karma, “the great executioner” does not play favorites.

These are just a few of the many opportunities to be found in this political season for spiritual growth. These are opportunities to learn and develop strength and wisdom. Like water, flow around the obstacle and don’t get hung up in a self-induced misery. This too will pass.

Life, A Sacred Journey

sunrise-labor-day-2014

…”I’ve heard of those who are good at cultivating life
Traveling on the road, they do not encounter rhinos or tigers
Entering into an army, they are not harmed by weapons
Rhinos have nowhere to thrust their horns
Tigers have nowhere to clasp their claws
Soldiers have nowhere to lodge their blades
Why? Because they have no place for death”

Excerpt from Chapter 50, Tao Te Ching

Life is Sacred.

Life is a sacred journey.

It is a journey of experience.

It is a spiritual journey.

Life is experiencing.

We humans believe ourselves to be the highest order of intelligent life on this planet. Yet we are arguably the most distracted species when it comes to being alive and experiencing life. Here in the United States, I have observed our society become seduced into mental addictions that set a deep conditioning for long-term distraction. To sit mesmerized for hours on end with the mind absorbed into non-reality diverts and captivates your attention. Your attention becomes so immersed in illusion, that you can lose touch with reality. In this exclusionary state, you become disconnected from the real world. This is a disconnection with life and experiencing. Distraction is a reduction in the life experience. Experiencing life is a continuous journey, step by step, day by day. Through experience and learning, we can transcend the distracted life and live our true life.

A Moment of Truth

Take a moment. Can you remember how precious life is? When someone we love is taken from us, we remember in a primal way just how precious life is. In those moments we reach for a spiritual connection to help us keep on living. In these moments of truth, we wake up and realize where we are and what is happening. Sometimes it is painful, other times it can be a moment of bliss. Awareness is the conscious connection to life and experiencing. Life is a precious journey.

Not only is life precious, it is not as ordinary as the ego would have you believe. Any time you sense yourself judging something as ordinary, realize that this is the ego’s influence on your state of mind.

Here is an example.

Stop what you are doing and close your eyes. In your mind, look for a memory where you had a moment of truth. It may have been some big news, a discovery of profound meaning. Possibly it is bad news about a health condition or the loss of a loved one or friend. If you have witnessed the birth of a child time seems to stop. Any big moment where time slowed way down and your life came to a halt. When you are in a moment and fully experiencing the flow of reality around you, Life is anything but ordinary. It is the ego and its insatiable desire that finds life mundane. You must rise above this distracted state.

It is time for a self-awareness check. How distracted from life are you?

  • How many hours a day do you spend on social media?
  • How many hours a day do you spend watching TV
  • When was the last time you sat still and did nothing but observe a sunrise or sunset?
  • When was the last time you sat across from someone you love and looked into their eyes?
  • When was the last time you were consciously aware of each bite, each taste, of a meal?
  • When was the last time you gazed up at the clouds and sky and noticed what a beautiful day it is?

And the really big question: “When was the last time you stopped and realized how good it is to be alive?”

Life is a sacred experience. It is why we are all here. So wake up and pay attention to just how extra-ordinary it is.

 

Sovereignty

Sovereignty

Chapter 59 Tao Te Ching

In governing people and serving Heaven
There is nothing like conservation
Only with conservation is it called submitting early
Submitting early is called emphasis on accumulating virtues
Accumulating virtue means there is nothing one cannot overcome
When there is nothing that one cannot overcome
One’s limits are unknown
The limitations being unknown, one can possess sovereignty
With this mother principle of power, one can be everlasting
This is called deep roots and firm foundation
The Tao of longevity and lasting vision

Volume Two of The Dixie Taoist Handbook is underway. The topic is Sovereignty.

At the heart of Tao cultivation is the high virtue of Sovereignty. It is described above as the mother principle of power. And with it you can be everlasting. Sovereignty is the foundation for well-being and a long life.

It is with Sovereignty that you are able to find and follow your true path. Volume Two will define Sovereignty and give you step by step instructions on how to develop the deep roots and firm foundation.

The Tao or “The Way” is the a path of discovering insights about who you are and cultivating virtues. Discovering the way, your true path, is cultivated through self-awareness and mindfulness. This awakened consciousness is the true self.

Following the path is a step by step or moment by moment choice. Awake and self-aware, you are careful in with the direction your steps take you. Awake and present you are able to manage the ego and its distractions and illusions. In those moments you are no longer controlled by the ego, you are ruler of your kingdom (your life). This ruler or sovereign is the true self. The true self uses experience, wisdom, and virtue to choose the next step along the true path.

This awakening process is the subject of Volume One of the The Dixie Taoist Handbook. It is a what it is and how to do it handbook. Volume Two gives instructions on how to folllow the path once you are self-realized and mindful of choices. Choices plant the seeds for the future.

Life and reality are always changing. You cannot control everything that happens to you however you can control how you respond to life as it happens. When you are sovereign, you, the awakened and wise you, becomes the ruler over your destiny.

As I did before, I will be sharing some of the raw manuscript through the blog. I hope you will find the information useful.

Sam Beasley
The Dixie Taoist

Open The Door For Possibility: Be Flexible And Yielding (Strategy 12a)

The Strategy: Open the door to possibility by yielding and being flexible. Realize that with possibility comes opportunity. Accept that resistance to life is futile.

The Application: When we are too rigid in our thoughts, opinions and beliefs we box ourselves in. and block possibility. Free your self from ego, be self-aware and see opportunity that is not available for those who are stuck in stubbornness, anger, vanity, greed, fear, pride and ignorance.

Chapter 76

When alive the body is soft and pliant

When dead it is hard and rigid

All living things, grass and trees,

while alive are soft and supple

When dead become dry and brittle

Thus that which is hard and stiff

is the follower of death

That which is soft and yielding

is the follower of life

Therefore an inflexible army will not win

A strong tree will be cut down

The big and forceful occupy a lower position

While the soft and pliant occupy a higher place

In Taiji Qigong, being tense, rigid, and inflexible is the biggest obstacle to raising and increasing the flow of Qi. For most people the origin is in the mind. In a type of Taiji practice called pushing hands, we cultivate sensitivity development.

There is a story about a Taiji Master by the name of Yang Lu Chan (1799-1873). It is said that his skills were so acute that he was able to catch a bird and play with it. Yet the most extraordinary part of this story is that when the bird tried to take off, Master Yang prevented it by not giving the bird a perch from which to push. The Master was so sensitive to the energy in the push of the bird’s legs, that as the bird pushed to launch, the Master would become soft and flexible so the bird’s feet pushed into emptiness.
pushing handsPushing Hands is a Taiji exercise where each Taiji player cultivate sensitivity, flexibility and softness so that the opponent has to perch to push or grab. Being rigid and inflexible will cause the player to become easy to manipulate and lose coordination. Stiffness and hardness is not a good attribute in Taiji, and so it is the same in life. This insight is applicable to both the tangible and intangible. It is a training that begins with the internal and is manifest in the external.

Yielding and being flexible allows acceptance. Acceptance frees one from the immobility of ego and allows negotiation. Negotiation is a process of problem solving and reaching a goal. The target might be tangible or intangible. The rigidity, hardness, stiffness, stubbornness may be internal conflict with the self or it may be external and with another person, object or situation.

Consider how flexible an octopus is. Because it is able to be soft and pliable it can escape into a very small place to live, hide and ambush prey.
octipus in a bottle

When one is too rigid in a set belief, the inflexibility prevents the ability to see truth. In problem solving, we must be open to possibility. By yielding to possibility we can see other perspectives and viewpoints. Pride, stubbornness, vanity, greed, revenge, attachment, unrealistic goals and religious intolerance lead to failure.

Collective ego can divide itself and assume opposing intractable positions and then gridlock ensues. We can look at the tension in the Middle East; we can see our own congress here in the United States as examples of rigidity and inflexibility. Without yielding, flexibility, and negotiation, these situations end up in stagnation and a loss for all parties.

Flexibility in understanding and foresight allows teachers and leaders to bring students and trainees forward. Because the wise leader or teacher is not too rigidly focused on immediate gratification, they can allow students to try and fail. New employees must be allowed to make a few mistakes as they become acclimated to a new task. Any student must learn through practice and be allowed to make mistakes so that they know what they are doing wrong. Rigidity and inflexibility of attitude will hinder growth, inspiration and opportunity.

Everyone of us will encounter problems or obstacles in life. It is part of the living and learning experience. We only become stuck when we are not able to flow around those obstacles. Like water, we can just move around the object, the problem, and continue onward without becoming stuck or trapped. Like water, life is a flow of moments; each moment a snapshot of experience. In each moment we have choice. We can choose yielding and flexibility and continue forward or we can be too solid and rigid and become stuck.

The strategy is to pay attention (mindful) of our reactions as they happen so that we can be soft, flexible, yielding, open-minded, inspired. When we face a problem, we can seek wisdom because we are not stuck in ignorance (ego). Free of ego, we do not become hardened and entrenched. As the true self we are able to realize all sorts of possibilities, ideas and solutions.
This is the true path. This is the Tao.

The Ego and The True Self

Hey Y’all,

I am sharing an article that has a most useful explanation of The True Self and The Ego. As Tao cultivators, we work continuously on a Tao concept of “Sovereignty Over Self”. To realize and be the True Self, you must conquer and manage the The Ego. These concepts are crucial ones in the awakening process. Its one of the first big insights into Self Awareness (realization of the true self). You must discover who you are, and what you are not. It is important to contemplate the concept of lower consciousnesses that is called the ego so you can begin to transcend it. A good first question is “What is the Ego”.

This article covers the topic very well. This writer has that hit the mark in describing such a complex concept.

http://wakeup-world.com/2015/02/09/shedding-the-ego-moving-towards-the-soul/?utm_campaign=Wake+Up+World+e-Newsletter&utm_content=Latest+Headlines+inc.+Top+5+Foods+for+the+Pineal+Gland&utm_medium=email&utm_source=getresponse

Adopt A Child’s Sense Of Wonder (Chapter 32)

Chapter 32 (The Dixie Taoist Handbook – How To Find Your True Path)
Adopt A Child’s Sense of Wonder

(Authors Note: This is one of my favorite chapters. This bit of Tao wisdom is very important. I hope you can receive it with an open heart and let your spirit align with it.

The Virtue: Innocence, non judgment and awe.
Its Application: Remember how to feel joy and excitement by adopting a child’s sense of wonder. Before you became conditioned by so much life experience, as a child everything was new, fresh and possible. Children live in a now universe, they reside in the present. In this now you can choose to allow to let go of pessimism and boredom. You can remember to be in touch with the child within you and return to the Tao.

Tao Te Ching Chapter 20 (excerpt)
“like an infant not yet smile”
Tao Te Ching Chapter 28 (excerpt)
“Know the masculine, hold to the feminine
Be the watercourse of the world
Being the watercourse of the world
The eternal virtue does not depart
Return to the state of the infant”

Can you remember your childhood before life’s many experiences created the “me” that you are now?
Try this exercise. Get a picture of you when you were a child. If possible find a picture where you looked happy and if you can remember that period of your life. See if you can remember what it ws like to be a spontaneously happy child. Notice the “me” of then and compare with the “me” in this now. Life experience has a way of tainting our view of the world in many ways. As ego develops, so does the dark side of coping to life’s problems. For many us, years of dealing life’s problems causes us to forget how joy and happiness can be simple and arise spontaneously. Sometimes you can even suppress a rising sense of joy and wonder with a darker view of pessimism and skepticism. The opportunity for wonder is constant in your world but you can become conditioned with feelings of; skepticism, doubt, distrust, mistrust, suspicion and disbelief. Mindfulness practice can help you become aware of these feelings as they arise. Insight meditation can help you get to the root of these feelings. When you can discern the memory or memories that effect your perspective of this moment, you transcend it and create the space for spontaneous joy to come forth.

There is so much you can learn so much from children. There is treasure buried in your own memory. The treasure is how to play and have fun. So many of adults are so busy seeking the sense of joy and wonder in all the wrong places that you may not be able to see how simple it can be.

Returning to a innocent child like view of creation (reality) is cultivating a sense of awareness that is pure. Children enter the physical domain still connected with spirit and aligned with nature. As they grow older, they learn to be distracted and separate from source. But it does not have to be this way. To attain the Tao, you must return to the connection with spirit.
As you grow older and begin to experience life’s challenges, you also begin to cope with the stress . As your ego assumes control, your connection to spirit erodes away. The more you resist life, the more stress you feel. You settle into adulthood coping with a life filled with problems. The coping is the ego way of trying to escape life and its problems.
Our culture has become a collective of individuals addicted to entertainment. We have become addicted to television programming. The worst aspect is that we how over 60 years of cultivating distraction. Today, millions of children will have their natural joy of play superseded by the practice of distraction. Rather than being outside in the world, doing what children do best, learning and interacting through play, they will be sitting in front of a television screen having all sorts of content downloaded. There some There are psychologists who feel that long term watching of television creates a neural network for a distracted state of consciousness. Now this is just my opinion, but I believe that children who play a lot away from television develop a different ability of awareness than those who spend so many hours watching TV. By the time they are grown, they are programmed to seek distraction and are literally addicted to this mind state. So now our culture has 3 or 4 generations of this type of consciousness construct. I cannot help but wonder how we, as a species is evolving.

I used to travel in Mexico where I visited some poor areas that had little or no Television to speak of . I noticed how the children and the people were so connected to nature and the land. They seemed happier than my home environment, and even though they seemed poor, their lives were rich with community and just being alive.
Back here in the United States, our culture is shaped by elements something called “reality TV”. Our definition of happiness is being defined by sitcoms and commercial ads. If your real life outside of TV land does not measure up to the paradigm you are programmed with on TV, then you begin striving to get there. This is a cultivated ego state that just leads to a life of problems.

Your ego can dominate your view so that sensation seeking or distraction become all that you can know. This striving can become your purpose in life. And in this, the beauty wonder and awe of the natural world can become lost to us. The wisdom of the Tao encourages us to remember and adopt a child like sense of wonder at what is present. Being present is what children do.

As a Tao cultivator you can realizes the majesty of life and appreciates your world and the universe where life can be and should be experienced. As a Tao cultivator you are aware of your place in nature. As a spiritual beings you can be self aware of this physical experience. You as a spiritual being must awaken to experience and be appreciative of your form in a universe of forms. You are gifted with senses to appreciate this existence of form. Yet how often are you so distracted that you have lost your connection and oneness with them in distraction. The reawakening is when you first remember the sense perceived universe, and then enlightenment occurs when you realize that you are an integral part of it. “It” is the Tao. When you realize this, your spontaneous childlike sense of wonder will return.

This is something so basic and simple that it begins with just taking a moment be aware that you are alive. You can just stop and be present. You can just …be. After all you are a human-being. Yet when you become obsessed with being distracted, you are no longer aware of being … and being alive.
You must return to a path of simplicity. Simplicity is a path of that is uncluttered with coping elements. When you can become empty of striving for egoic values, you can access the Tao of infinite possibility.
As in all things, the Tao cultivator establishes balance. This is especially important in the basic of life experience. All creatures are involved with doing. Non sentient creatures stay busy supporting their existence, and who knows how much awareness and sentience they may have. Yet as a human “being” you have the ability to be self aware and sentient. Yet you may be allowing this state of consciousness to be out of balance. Distraction is when the mind is lost to something where you are not aware of being and being alive. Sometimes this is necessary as you focus on something you need to do. Yet you must not become so distracted that you remain disconnected to the world and your life experience. This moment by moment experience is where children excel at being full of wonder and joy.
The self aware Tao cultivator brings balance to the world of being and doing. In self awareness you can return and become at one with the universe and appreciate it through an innocent sense of wonder. A child’s sense of wonder. Children who have not yet learned to be disconnected from life, whose ego has not yet learned to be cynical and pessimistic can see everything as new and wondrous. Even though you grow older and accumulate experience, you do not have to lose touch with the childlike sense of wonder. Wisdom is learning from experience. You can treat your past experience as important for wisdom and remember the feeling of wonder you once felt with life. I encourage you to keep this as part of your wisdom. In this way life does not become mundane and boring. Each moment is not ordinary, it is special. When you adopt a child’s sense of wonder, there are no ordinary moments. Once again joy can be found in the simple view of a universe that is always new, always changing, yet somehow in a mysterious way remains interesting.

New Years Resolution

Here we are again. It is New Years Eve. You may have already been planning on a resolution for the new year. Perhaps it is a goal of some sort. Maybe it is to make more money, or to lose weight, or exercise more. If you are like the majority of people, your goal will fail by springtime. There are many reasons for failure in our resolution and goals. The one I am focused on in this post, the big one, is a lack of self control and the loss of will power. There is a way to overcome this. Notice in the excerpt below, the words “one’s limits are unknown” and “one can be everlasting”

Accumulating virtues means there is nothing one cannot overcome

When there is nothing that one cannot overcome One’s limits are unknown

The limitations being unknown, one can possess sovereignty

With this mother principle of power, one can be everlasting

This is called deep roots and firm foundation

The Tao of longevity and lasting visionOne of my Tao mentors told me that I should work on my “self” first and the goal will be realized automatically in an almost anti-climatic way. What he was talking about was what the Tao Te Ching calls “The Sovereignty of Self”. This terms means to control your ego and its constant undermining through desire and distraction. If you are following this blog, then you perhaps you have an interest in the wisdom of the Tao and the Tao Te Ching. The Tao Te Ching may seem enigmatic or may seem to be paradoxical, yet the implementation is pretty pragmatic and straightforward in its application. Its wisdom can only be applied, and the results can only be experienced when you wake up become the sovereign over your life and destiny. Being a dependent of materialism as a life purpose creates a downward spiral of self destruction. Take a look at how every new year we make resolutions to fix some imbalance in our life. Somewhere during the Christmas holidays many of us have a moment of truth and admit that we need to address some issue and we promise ourselves to start afresh and do this new thing. Yet, we all know that most people fail at the promise and new resolution. By March you are back in your old ways. You are back spending too much, eating too much, neglecting some issue too much and soon resume the same old behavior hoping that somehow things will end up alright. This is a definition of ignorance. This is ego. Right here, right now, is your moment of truth. Take control of your life and your destiny. Wake up and be. Be the true self. Realize that you are a spiritual being, and that you control your choices and actions. Get serious with your meditation and mindfulness ability. Cultivate your ability to stay awake and become sovereign over ego and its insatiable appetite of desire. Throughout your day be mindful of your choices and reactions. This is what is meant by working on the self. By working on remaining the true self, you are able to manage the ego. This is the cultivating of sovereignty. By remaining sovereign, not giving in to ego, you make the choices that take you closer to your goal. When you are awake and in “self” control you can ask and determine…

“does this choice take me closer to or further from my true destiny, my goal”.

In the beginning, it is easier to understand than it is to do. The difficulty lies in how grounded in ego you are. Accepting and letting go is the action of the true self. Succumbing to ego and seeking distraction and sensation as means of coping is the path of failure. This cultivation takes lots of practice. It MUST become a way of life. The reward is huge. You successfully create the life of fulfillment, happiness, well being and health. My friends, the invitation to return to true living awaits you. If you are living in a prison cell with the door wide open, yet cannot escape, you are a captive of ego. Become the sovereign of your life. Find and practice meditation and mindfulness as if your life depends on it. A life of  blessing and prosperity awaits you on the true path. Seek it and find it. Happy New Year

tdt

Chapter Twelve – Emptiness As The Source (an excerpt)

My editor liked this chapter and put a smiley face by the following paragraph. I hope you find it useful.

TDT

… You can begin to understand and appreciate emptiness when you realize that it is a necessary component for benefiting from the physical aspect of nature. Whereas you use material objects in your world of form, its functionality can only be created in the space for which it operates. In this way you can realize that importance of the space (emptiness) provided in the wheel hub so that the axle can slide into and turn. Thus the vehicle becomes functional with the turning and connection of the wheel with the axle. When you enjoy your next cup of tea or coffee, consider how the container you drink from can only hold the liquid in the space created by the sides of the container. It is the emptiness in the cup that makes room for the tea or coffee. Functionality is one thing, realizing emptiness as a source is at a deeper level. You may as well start with the cosmos which began with the big bang or so it is theorized. Just before the big bang, there was nothing but emptiness, then “BANG” the universe is unfolding. From emptiness came everything that we know… To attain the Tao, you must become empty from the control of the ego and its incessant thinking and pursuit of sensation seeking and distraction. In this way, the emptiness gives function as spirit. In spirit one aligns with source.

From Section Two, Chapter Twelve, Emptiness As The Source.

Keep It Simple And Effective

I am one of those Taoist that likes to keep things simple and therefore effective. Even the founder of Tai Chi felt the same way. (See Taiji Quan Treatise).  Find ways and simple techniques that work and you will be more inclined to practice frequently. I find this article to be useful.
http://time.com/3605299/meditation-tips-focus/

Please feel free to comment, share or question.
TDT

A Dixie Taoist True Path Workshop (Meditation)

dixie taoist workshop with book cover
My fellow Tao cultivators, we are offering some workshops next year to assist in the study of Tao cultivation.

The first is on January 10th, 2015. This workshop is titled “A Meditation Workshop”. It could also be called Beginners meditation for Tao Cultivators. This 6 hour workshop will cover the first Section of the upcoming book including chapters 1 through 5. This is a step by step process for finding your true path as described in the book, The Dixie Taoist Handbook which is in editing and due early next year.

The training will be in meditation, mindfulness, sovereignty of self, and the power of choice. It will include guided meditations, and some short lectures on how to develop the higher consciousness that we know as the true self.

In the video titled “Tai Chi As A Spiritual Path”, I give my personal story of how Tai Chi transformed my life. What I am calling “Tai Chi” is more correctly known as Taiji (Tie-gee) or Tao cultivation. The book and the upcoming workshop is the training on how to do what I have been discussing. It is how I was able to transform my life.

The video which sheds a little more light on my story can be viewed here: Taiji as a spiritual path.

This workshop and the meditation instruction is intended to be simple and straightforward. If you come looking for lots of dogma, you may be disappointed. However, what I will share with you will truly transform your life if you can follow the path.

Next year, we will take the training even deeper, with the energy cultivation of Qigong. For those who really want to cultivate the vital life energy, Qi Gong (aka chi kung) parts a and b are a must.

We will be post the dates for the other two workshops and their locations in January. Here is the information for the first workshop:

Saturday Jan 10, 2015 from 9 am to 2:30 pm
Location: Doctors Hospital H2U Building
1305 Interstate Parkway
Augusta, Ga 20909
Fee: $65 if registered and pay before Jan 1st. January 1st up until the workshop day will be $75
This is per person.
Lunch included.
If no lunch is desired, subtract $10

Please contact us with questions

Black Friday looms near – Hold To The One

Excerpt from Chapter 22

Yield and remain whole
Bend and remain straight
Be low and become filled
Be worn out and become renewed
Have little and receive
Have much and be confused
Therefore the sages hold to the one as an example for the world
Without flaunting themselves – and so are seen clearly
Without presuming themselves – and so are distinguished
Without praising themselves – and so have merit
Without boasting about themselves – and so are lasting

In the Dixie Taoist Handbook, you are informed of the process for realizing the Tao begins with meditation and the practices of mindfulness. This is to realize self awareness and pay attention. In this way, you can become mindful of your life experience, what you are choosing and how these choices create your destiny. I call to you all to hold to the one.

As we approach the holiday season, you will be challenged in holding the one, to stay present and self aware. Thanksgiving day is one where we can embrace gratitude and share our blessing with each other. There will be a lot to observe and there will be lots to distract us.

This year, try to stay present and mindful of those things that can trigger the ego into choices that do not hold us on our true path. Be mindful of rising drama tensions and emotions and people gather and bring their distractions with them. Be mindful of desire as it overwhelms the senses with sensation seeking. Be mindful of desire as you are overwhelmed by TV ads.

Each year, I use an app on my smart phone to chime every 20 minutes to remind me to wake up and become present. The sound penetrates the distraction and helps me to hold to the one. When the sound of the chime rings (Tibetan singing bowl sound), stop, find your breath, and return to now. Realize where your mind has gone, what you are doing and why. Then take charge of your mind again, and take charge of the power of choice

And most importantly, have the experience. Experience, the sounds, the smells, the wonderful tastes, and best of all, experience each other. When things get crazy, stay present and choose virtue over ignorance. Choose patience, understanding, empathy, humility, compassion and conservation. Be mindful of your stress levels and deal with it effectively. Take walks, sit quietly and listen to music. Read to a child. Play with a pet. Listen to someone as they talk.

Even if you choose to stand in line of a big box store, in the dark, in the cold at 4 am in the morning, you can still be mindful. Perhaps you will even contemplate why you are doing such a thing. This could be a really good learning experience for gaining insight. Perhaps when the sun comes up, it will create a beautiful sunrise. As you stand in line, notice what is going on around you and practice the three treasures. Notice others and use softness to overcome hardness. Be like water and flow around obstacles.

Holidays can be heaven or hell. We have the ability to create either. You can do this if you hold to the one.

Happy Holidays
TDT

Editing In Process (The Dixie Taoist Handbook)

Hi everyone, just a note to inform you all that we are still editing the manuscript “The Dixie Taoist Handbook”. Not being a writer, the editing staff has been quite challenged with tyring to make sense of my scribbling. But all agree that the while it is quite challenged grammatically, the message is sound and will be a big success.

It is my intention to resume with excerpts from the various chapters and share weekly strategies for staying on the true path. Thank you all for your support.

TDT