Monthly Archives: March 2014

Reflections on Dao De Jing, Chapter 16

Only in meditative states–of silence and emptiness–can we truly perceive the real nature of the 10,000 things. Only then will we understand that creation is destruction, that motion is stillness, that all energy is always there, forming and dissolving in various phases according to the flow.

Knowing this, feeling this, experiencing this keeps Not Two at the forefront. Not Two leads to non-attachment, since everything we need is here, we are all that is and ever was.

Missing the true nature of things creates dualities, which lead to cravings, desires, attachments, suffering.

In knowing the truth, we understand that though the body may break down and dissolve, the energy that is us is ever-lasting, existing beyond time and space as part of the Great Dao this is the essence of it all. Knowing the truth therefor leads to immortality–a vision of eternal oneness. Not knowing this leads to the illusion of perish.

Witness all things changing constantly, emerging, living, returning, dissolving
Like the seasons
Like Breath
Like life, like death
Awareness of this
the constant flux, brings realization of true nature
A vision of Not Two–all things endlessly pulsating
like the blood pumping from the heart of Dao
A vision of Not Two brings eternal love
which is Dao
which is infinite
There is no me
There is no now
There is only Tao
And this is enough

by Jeremy Pollack

From the Journal of Shifu Rinaldini: 1/20, 12:35pm

After I did my clean-up, I sat on the porch to do my goodbyes to the
silence and solitude of Sky Farm Hermitage. It was already warm but
with a slight hint of a cool breeze. I decided to practice some
stationary standing before I left and maybe to practice some of the
postures I wrote about yesterday. Something didn’t click for me though
and I knew what it was-the postures. I quickly realized that what I
practiced yesterday seemed a little too contrived, not natural for me.
And I knew what was to come-practice standing qigong while holding the
same postures as when I circle walk. BINGO. That was not a big
brainer. I thought of my local qigong students and the difficulties
they have with both the traditional ball-holding standing postures and
the postures while circle walking. Won’t it be nice if there were some
commonality between these closely related qigong practices. And now
there is.

Another thing that I realized was that I need to go back and teach and
practice myself standing qigong with the overall emphasis on
“RELAXATION.” While browsing through another article in the Qi Journal
on Zhan Zhuang I saw the author’s recommendation that relaxation
should be emphasized over the strict structural guidelines which seem
to be present in a lot of articles and books on standing qigong. It is
interesting to note that many of these stricter structure directions
are by younger western qigong teachers or martial artists. When I
first started reading about standing qigong by Chinese qigong masters
their emphasis was on relaxation and posture secondary? This is what I
remember but couldn’t swear to it. Anyway, stand like a tree, let your
roots sink deep into the earth, hold your posture of Lifting Palms To
Heaven, and attain the Qi and Dao.

From the Journal of Shifu Rinaldini: 1/19, 7pm

I’m now looking at a new book on Daoist studies by Louis Komjathy.
It’s called The Daoist Tradition: An Introduction. Honestly, I don’t
know why books like this are called “introduction” when there are so
many similar books on the same or similar topics. But with all respect
to the author, let’s move on.

There is a lot of information in this book and it is taking me time to
go deep into the book as a whole. At present, I am only digesting
parts of it as I find areas of concern to me.

One area of concern for me now is a deeper understanding of the Daoist
term “wuwei.” I’ve said elsewhere that I am frequently encountering
others who are using that term to describe their Daoist practices. And
I still say they are using it or understanding it incorrectly. They
sound like they are repeating phrases from the 1960’s and 1970’s when
it was in style to “go with the flow.” So let’s see how Komjathy
defines and talks about this important Daoist principle of
cultivation.

The practice of wuwei involves “effortless activity, non-interference,
and non-intervention.” It does make use of effort, though the effort
used is the least required for a situation. Komjathy says it is the
cessation of doing things that “prevents one from being attuned with
the Dao.” So, you see, wuwei still employs practices that require a
certain degree of effort as long as the intention or goal is ultimate
attunement or alignment with the Dao. Komjathy states clearly that
wuwei is “not ‘doing nothing,’ which is impossible.” Instead, wuwei is
about relaxation, ease, complete presence and conservation, or
non-dissipation. Wuwei is closely connected to the principle of ziran,
which is translated as “spontaneity or naturalness,” as well as
“suchness” and is the “state or condition realized when one returns to
one’s innate nature, which is the Dao.” This term is also confused in
modern culture as “following one’s own desires.” I like how Komjathy
sums up this discussion on wuwei and ziran by saying: “Practicing
wuwei and abiding in ziran requires the mastery of Daoist principles,
including decreasing desires.” P. 88 The Daoist Tradition

Thus to acquire “mastery” of any subject takes prolonged practice,
effort, discipline and commitment to a goal. This is far from simply
going with the flow, following one’s desires, and accepting things the
way they are. This is the “gong,” as in qigong or gongfu, that is, the
necessary work of perfecting a skill.