Monthly Archives: June 2013

Newsletter Summer 2013 – Yin/Yang

The concept of yin and yang seems to be everywhere these days. In advertisements, spoken casually in conservation and even in articles such as this. But what are the underlying principles of yin and yang and how do they relate to everyday life? Yin and yang are opposite but inter-connected forces that encompass all that is.

Newsletter Summer 2013 – Modern Daoist

The Dao is everywhere, in all things, at all times. Some of these “things” help to illuminate it more clearly for me; the song “Be Still” by the Killers is one such thing. Following are the lyrics and my interpretation of the lines in which I so clearly hear the Way.

Be still
And go on to bed
Nobody knows what lies ahead
And life is short
To say the least
We’re in the belly of the beast
(signifying the dualistic view)

Be still
Wild and young
(free, clear, immortal)
Long may your innocence reign
(Meet every timeless moment anew, without the influence of the past or future.)
Like shells on the shore
And may your limits be unknown
(the limitless Dao)
And may your efforts be your own
If you ever feel you can’t take it anymore
(in times dominated by the delusions of the mind…)

Don’t break character
You’ve got a lot of heart (Be guided by your true heart. No need for good/bad, do’s/don’ts. Simply let the Dao shine through you – the Dao is your character.)
Is this real or just a dream?
(“He didn’t know if he was Zhuangzi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuangzi.”)
Rise up like the sun
Labor till the work is done
(Be diligent in your practice. Know and guard the One in every moment until Complete Perfection is achieved.)

Be still
One day you’ll leave
Fearlessness on your sleeve (Cultivate stillness until you know emptiness, void of all emotions.)
When you’ve come back, tell me what did you see
What did you see
Was there something out there for me?
(We can question, but the Dao can only be known through direct experience, not the intellect.)

Be still
Close your eyes
Soon enough you’ll be on your own
Steady and straight
And if they drag you through the mud (“They” = attachments and ego. It is not limited to external opinions, but any construct of the mind that creates suffering.)
It doesn’t change what’s in your blood
When they knock you down

Don’t break character
You’ve got a lot of heart
Is this real or just a dream?
Be still
Be still
Be still
Be still

Over rock and chain
Over sunset plain
Over trap and snare
When you’re in too deep
In your wildest dream
In your made up scheme (Take refuge in the Dao unceasingly, through all of life’s seemingly “ups” and “downs”; “True stillness is when a mountain crashes in front of you and you are not afraid”).
When they knock you down
When they knock you down

Don’t break character
You’ve got so much heart
Is this real or just a dream?
Oh Rise up like the sun
And labor till the work is done
Rise up like the sun
Labor till the work is

Rise up like the sun
And labor till the work is done (Not Two)

In Stillness,
Ashley Welikonich
Priest-in-Training 2013

Newsletter Summer 2013 – Chinese Medicine

The Chinese name sanbao originally refers to the Daoist microcosm that lies within Mankind known as the Three Treasures. These are the microcosm of the Daoist universal concept of Heaven, Man, and Earth.  In long-established Classical Chinese spiritual/medicinal traditions, the “Three Treasures” are the essential energies sustaining human life:

  • Jing “nutritive essence, essence; refined, perfected; extract; spirit; sperm, seed”
  • Qi “vitality, energy, force; air, vapor; breath; spirit, vigor; attitude”
  • Shen “spirit; soul, mind; god, deity “

Jing is often equated with the male sperm and hormonal system (especially the adrenal functions of Mineralocorticoids, Glucocorticoids, and Sexual Steroids {Testosterone & Progesterone}). Once Jing is replete (full & balanced) then it can be refined into Qi. Qi also known as vital breath and energy. Many ideas have been debated as to the exact nature of Qi, however the majority consensus is the free form use of available energy stores in the cellular matrix (Actin, ATP, and Mitochondrial stores) as well as the more subtle energetic properties that facilitate the more subtle processes of the mind/body connection. Finally, Shen is the unquantifiable sub-etheric concept for soul and spirit. When the Jing and Qi becomes full and harmonious the Shen can then rest and be at ease. This allows deeper access to our ‘Original Nature’. The completion of these three processes then allows the Shen to support greater amounts of Jing to be stored and the process to continue on at deeper levels. This process is also referred to as Nei Dan or ‘Internal Alchemy’.

Written by
Patrick Lovitt
Priest-in-Training 2013

Newsletter Summer 2013 – Pu

MICHAELANGELO’S VISION

It was said that Michaelangelo never took credit for carving out figures from marble, rather that he claimed to release the figures from within. When Taoism talks of Pu as the concept of the uncarved block, I am always transported back to this Italian Sculptor and his relationship with what, in many cases, still stand today. Pu is about the original state before experience shapes and creates new shapes. But the older I get and the more hours I spend in meditation the more I begin to see each one of us as the marble block, unshaped and unformed. For it is only when we can see ourselves as uncarved, like the marble, that our true nature, our original form has any chance at all of being released from such confines.

What if we stopped analyzing Pu and instead, in the same way Benjamin Hoff’s Pooh and Piglet accept and float on in a perpetual state of wu wei, we would be able to see ourselves apart from the sum of our experiences and our divine spark. In not worrying about the corners or texture of our marble, we could in fact, just enjoy the concept of our own block and within the simple of fact of existence of course, the fully formed most beautiful version of ourselves and our lives within. Synaptically of course, it is exceptionally possible to do and just requires patience to really believe it will change because in time, the marble statue within will be released and the job will have been done.

Written by
Jane Nash
ADGL Member

Newsletter Summer 2013 – WuWei

GOING WITH THE FLOW

It’s easy to see the meaning of Wu Wei as inaction when using direct translations from Chinese into English but in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The universe is a dynamic place and all its components, vibrant, progressing, moving forward and keeping to a natural rhythm. Everything evolves and changes and it is when we are able to hitch our ride on this heartbeat, which is the natural world, it is then we can feel and understand what wu wei is. With each step and movement we make within the sense of Tao, we discover ourselves becoming more and more responsive to the natural elements both inside us and surrounding us. Take for example the sense of being still and doing a Buddha qigong. The connection with all those around is absolute and unquestioning. We become part of nature and in our regular day to day lives, we can achieve wu wei by simply being true to ourselves within the natural world. What does this mean? It means to go with the flow. The flow is the natural order of life and it’s occurrences. “Wu wei occurs beyond the need for formal religious or secular moral precepts of any sort.” Think of action as something which requires great effort to perform beyond the norm. If we follow nature and our hearts and minds, if we dare to empty out that which we don’t need, then we might, we might just fall into the spring which leads into the stream, down through the river returning to the ocean of wu wei.

Written by
Jane Nash
ADGL Member