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Remaining Balanced in The 10 Thousand Conditions
There are some systems built over time that have a certain modularity in them, a pluggability. An essence, that can be extended upon, drawn on at any time, "bootstrapped" so to speak, with common assumptions and observations and beliefs. The Chinese systems of politics, philosophy, religion, medicine, health, divination, and astrology all share a single thread; they are observations of change. The study of how change changes, or what the process of change entails, has been mystifying human beings since the beginning of time. It seems like we have certain ideas, comforts, systems, and ways of being that seem to be working just fine, and then without any forewarning, it all begins to crumble, wither, change, or develop into its opposite. We know that we are born, and then we die one day. We have health and then we get sick. Apparent changes of opposites - but the exact reason they happen are still unknown, not to mention why we're here to undergo that process anyways.
What if there was a way to get a slight edge in this process, where we might know how to look at what's changing, observe patterns in it, and become slightly educated about how to carry ourselves and live our lives? Lets not create any lofty goals here at first - just touching base with, say, one thing, is going to take some effort.
The Chinese systems excel in this way. They can educate us about ourselves without directly slapping us on the face and saying that we're stupid or unenlightened, in fact they remind us we're just moving one step closer all the time to knowing a little more. One framework that will be introduced to participants in the upcoming workshop-weekend is how to create self-health through: community, tea, astrology, diet/herbs, and the practice of Qigong / Tai Chi. The emphasis, or crux, of this system is the ongoing practice of daily self-observation. There's really nothing to it, we just aren't necessarily in the habit of doing it. Trungpa said loosely that doing this is equivalent to not taking a shower because you're dirty, but taking a shower to have the opportunity to put on your clean clothes. What if our minds worked that way a little bit more, than say, being resistant and doing the least amount possible, ducking away from responsibility, hiding out so to speak. We've all done it, and will do it again!
One thing to share about these practices is that they don't produce any results. In fact, the practices of community, tea, astrology, diet/herbs and Tai Chi have never helped anyone in of themselves. This might be shocking, but its really an important point. Its all about how you, the person reading this, picks up and uses these tools on a daily basis that produces any sort of "result" at all. If you thought just learning a form or learning some new habits in life was going to do something for you all by itself, without any kind of change to the way you're perceiving things, you might be in for a disappointment. That's why so many people have forms, but aren't healthy. So many people change their diet to no effect. So many people go to heart circles but are never healed. So many people drink green tea because its good for you but don't know why. So many people read their daily astrology charts, but don't do anything differently. See the point? The fact that we have picked up some tools and collected them in our shed is nifty, we could do a lot of stuff potentially at some later date with them, but what about upping the ante, accessing our spirit and heart/mind and doing some of that right now?
Instead of just memorizing the frameworks, we use the frameworks to study ourselves, and because the frameworks were made in accordance with self-knowledge being related to all things, we gain more capacity to understand ourselves, others and the world. Liu Ming recently said in a talk that its good that we're human beings, because we have the powers of self-reflection and self-interest - if we were Gods or celestial beings hanging out in the aether's we wouldn't have the inclination to study this stuff. So really, this is all a huge gift. Imagine if we had to figure this all out ourselves, with nothing to guide us? Just the fact that we’re alive at all suggests we’re riding on “the shoulders of giants”, our thousands of ancestors that came before us. They all figured out bits and pieces of this puzzle, and then attempted to pass it down through the generations. If we were walking around and found a huge chunk of gold just sitting there with your name and a note that it was for you to take on it, would you pass it by?
So now is the time to commit to yourself for the first time, the second time, or the millionth time, to say you’re going to learn something, to do something a little different. Come spend some time with Transformation Arts this weekend and absorb some of a “different way” that will give you some tools to use whenever you need to or want to.