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Posts Tagged ‘Ancient Wisdom’

Love is Health

July 5, 2016 Leave a comment

I am reading Martín Prechtel’s most recent book, “The Smell of Rain on Dust.”

Martín is one of my most revered teachers. When the world is fortunate enough to receive another of his gifts of writing, I immediately acquire the book, and then I savor it, sometime putting off reading for a time knowing I have it, but delaying the incredible gratification I get when I read his lovely words.

I studied with Martín for a few years almost a decade ago now; I sat with him in his Bolad’s Kitchen, cooking in the soup of his stories, his character and his wisdom. Now whenever I get to read one of his books, new or old, I can hear his voice, the cadence and timber, the melody, the harmonies as he speaks with reverence for life, nature, the indigenous soul of humanity.

I am in the middle of this current book, published in 2015 but current to me. When I am finished I’ll post a complete review here. But for now I want to quote the end of Chapter 6: “Paddles of Tears, Canoes Made Out of Old Songs”. This short quote summarizes in a tidy nugget where I am right now in life and what continues to carry me forward into my 8th decade:

The eloquence of our own affection for one another keeps the world healthy. Praise and the depth of our grief expressed for one another keeps the world in love. Love is health.

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Words from The Way

June 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Yes, I’m coming “alive” again! Welcome to this magical time of maximum Yang, Summer Solstice; and Full Moon on the same day, yesterday. We are still in this powerful energy so be sure to make good use of it.

I have been absent from this blog for a bit; maybe hiding out from myself and getting familiar with this new and transforming energy 2016 has brought to us. Do you feel it? It is palpable. And we are experiencing it as at no other time; just take a peek at current affairs and this wacky presidential election time.

So, with all of this in mind I read a passage from my latest “medical Qigong” book I was “given” for Fathers’ Day (I ordered it with Rosemary’s blessing!). Here’s the passage:

If chaos is eternal, the order introduced into chaos of the universe has an end, as it has a beginning. This is because slowly names given cease to fit; political systems invented in simpler times cease to function; old irrigation ditches get choked with new vegetation; the waters of chaos begin to mount.

–from J. Lagerwey, Taoist Ritual in Chinese Society and History (1987) as quoted by Lonny S. Jarrett in Nourishing Destiny, The Inner Tradition of Chinese Medicine (1998)

Maybe you get the idea of why I became motivated to post this today. With maximum Yang energy pouring down on us from Heaven, both from Sun  and Moon, the “waters of chaos” seem to be mounting. I don’t have to innumerate all the crazy events we are in the midst of or name them – “names given cease to fit”! But I do want to consider this quote from the perspective of growing up in the ’60s, another time of chaos, anguish, but also hope and dreams.

We were ready for change in the 60s. Some of us worked hard to bring it on. And I believe we did to a degree. And then the “waters of chaos” seemed to subside.

Now the waters are rising again. There is a new movement for change in these ‘teens’ – the “ditches” began to fill in 2012. And now it almost feels like “political systems invented in simpler times” are beginning to come apart, “cease to function.” How will the “revolution” end this time?

I don’t pretend to have answers. I only hope to pass along some wisdom from ancient China. Can we find some answers in the lessons once learned long ago and far away?

Or, “when will we ever learn?”

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NEW MOON IN SAGITTARIUS I CHING GUA: SHI-MULTITUDE

November 24, 2014 Leave a comment

The New Moon in Sagittarius appeared on Saturday morning, November 22, 2014 at 7:32 AM EST. That morning, shortly after the Moon was exactly conjunct with the Sun and newly in the sign of Sagittarius, I sat with my yarrow stalks and cast an I Ching Gua (a six line hexagram) to determine the energies for the coming month. And the result is an interesting one that I’ve been giving a lot of thought to.Shi-Multitude

It’s pictured here: only one Yang line at the 2nd position. All the rest are Yin lines. And there are no changing lines; this is a stable, some might say “stagnant” energy for the month.

My primary source for interpreting my I Ching practice is Taoist Master Alfred Huang’s The Complete I Ching. While most English translations of the Shi is “Army” Master Huang goes back to the older meaning, “Multitude.” In ancient China there were no standing armies. If there was a need for an army – only two reasons required one: defense against invasion and to overthrow a tyrant – military units were assembled from among the peasants who had some training in military action while they were idle during inactive farming seasons. I too prefer the older interpretation of the word and this Gua.

For me this hexagram represents a community. Rosemary and I both have been writing and thinking a lot about community, how important it is for human evolution. Humans are social beings. We have survived and evolved through gathering together in groups of mutual support and aid. In our modern world we seem to have lost this concept. We have turned to a “dog-eat-dog” world of competition, everyone for themselves, “whoever dies with the most wins.” We also seem to have lost any recognition or respect for leadership. With the “me first” attitude so prevalent there is no trust of anyone who might propose a movement toward progress.

This Gua, Multitude, speaks to this modern social dilemma. Note the second line is the only solid, Yang, or strong line in the hexagram. The Yin lines seem to pivot about this second line, the leader of the multitude. “He” derives his authority from the Yin line at the fifth position, a line representing feminine energy. There is excellent balance between masculine and feminine power in this Gua and the other Yin lines represent the community.

It is time for all of us to find our communities. If we are not in community we can either find one to join or build one. There is stability in this Gua, no changing lines, to emphasize this message. The key meaning is in Confucius’ Commentary on the Decision:

Shi is a multitude.
Persistence is for righteousness.

One who is able to lead the multitude
To persist for righteousness
Is able to bring peace to the world.

Firm and central,
He obtains a response.
Taking the risk of dangerous action,
He confronts no hindrance.
Relying on this,
He maintains public order,
And people follow him.
Good fortune.
What mistake should there be?

Fu-Turning BackThis month I also want to offer the Mutual Gua to shed more light on this energy of “Multitude.” This Gua is formed by taking the inner lines to form a new one: the second through fourth lines form the bottom trigram and the third through the fifth lines form the top trigram. This yields Fu which means “Turning Back.”

Master Huang says we should always look at the Mutual Gua: “The hidden meaning of any Gua lies in it’s mutual Gua; it should not be ignored.”

Turning back means to return to the beginning; to repeat a cycle. The Gua is said to represent the eleventh month in the Chinese Lunar calendar and the bottom Yang line can represent the Winter Solstice and return of the Sun. The Decision for this Gua says it all:

Turning back.
Prosperous and smooth.
Going out and coming in.

No harm.
Friends arrive.
No fault.
The Tao of falling away and turning back,
In seven days comes the return.
Favorable to have somewhere to go.

We look now toward Thanksgiving and the holiday season. Enjoy community. Find community. Build community. Thrive and evolve. The energies of this time support you!

Many blessings and gratitude for you, kind readers!

PS: Sorry to increase the length of this already long post, but I wanted to add this from Rosemary about the energies of Sagittarius:

According to The Mountain Astrologer magazine, ‘Sagittarius is the sign most associated with discovering the meaning of life and our role in it.’ Are you ready to begin a new cycle of living your purpose? Can you commit to evolving your consciousness and shining your light more brightly?

New Moon in Scorpio I Ching

October 24, 2014 Leave a comment

This New Moon yesterday evening (here on the East Coast at 5:56 pm) was a powerful one and brought with it a solar eclipse. We had western clouds obscuring it here but here’s a picture of the eclipse from Griffith Observatory:

And the New Moon signals me to bring out the yarrow stalks and sit with them to cast a I Ching Gua (hexagram of yin and yang lines) to “read” the energies brought in with this New Moon in the Astrological sign of Scorpio.Yi-Increasing

Here is the resulting Gua:

I am please to report that this is an auspicious sign for the coming month (moonth) and it is a steady one, i.e. there are no changing lines in the cast so we can expect “steady increasing” through the month.

My main reference for the I Ching  is The Complete I Ching by Taoist Master Alfred Huang. His book is deep, thorough and clear. My favorite segment of the text for this Gua, Yi, is the last verse of Confucius’ Commentary on King Wen’s Decision:

Increase means with gentleness and mildness.
It proceeds daily without limits.
Heaven bestows and Earth accepts.
Thereby things increase without restriction.
The Tao of increasing always proceeds in harmony with the time.

The picture here is Wind over Thunder. The gentleness comes from above, from the Wind trigram. And the power, the “daily without limits” comes from below, Thunder. The image of “Heaven bestows and Earth accepts” suggests this receiving of gifts without restraint – gifts from Heaven!

This interpretation comes from a transformation of another Gua formed by the Heaven trigram (three solid, Yang lines) above and the Earth trigram (thee open, Yin lines) below. By moving the fourth line in this hexagram (which is Pi-Hindrance)  to the bottom we get our new hexagram, Increasing. The gift flows down from Heaven offering increase to the Earth!

We are in a period of change, rapid for some. Rosemary and I have been writing about this all week; the theme has been “change, transformation, transition.” Today’s I Ching divination supports this with good news! The transition phase we are in is bringing increase, steady increase that is both gentle and mild. Let’s enjoy this period of positive growth!

This Gua does come with a warning in the form of that top Yang line; the Yao text says: “No increase, but a strike. Not keeping the heart steady: misfortune.” The top line is at the extreme end of the Gua and is Yang. From here it is likely to shift unless close attention is given – “keeping the heart steady”! If we are consistent in our approach, remain aware of our purpose and proceed accordingly, steady increase is our reward!

PS: The Astrology supports the I ChingMy friend, Gloria Hesseloff offers a New Moon newsletter each month and I am always tickeled (not surprised) with the mutual support between what the Yarrow Stalks tell me and the Astrology tells Gloria. Here’s a snippet from her MAGNETIC MOON NEWSLETTER month:

This month take the Pluto/Scorpio Path of Self-Empowerment. This is a vital part of this Great Shift. Be part of the movement where folks like us, seeking higher consciousness, are practicing right use of power for the higher good. Be especially diligent about what you are thinking and feeling. What are you broadcasting to the Field and what are you praying for through your thoughts and feelings?

Be aware that we are also experiencing a Solar Eclipse which is offering us the opportunity to jumpstart our consciousness, asks us the question, “Are you ready to move to a higher octave?”

Thanks, Gloria!

 

Are You the Director or the Actor in the Play that is Your Life? – Richard’s Commentary

October 16, 2014 Leave a comment

This is such a wonderful question Rosemary asks. It’s one of those questions that makes you go “hmmm”! It stops me and makes me think. And, it’s another one of those questions that take me inside, to examine, to evaluate, and maybe, just maybe to shift!

Here’s the key to Rosemary’s Exploration:

What did you used to believe about yourself, life, the world around you that might be holding you back today? Is it your unconscious mind that is the Director while you and your conscious mind are merely the Actors on the stage?

It’s those old beliefs, those old programs that run on automatic when our attention strays, when “unforeseen situations arise,” or when we simply get caught off guard in a moment of weakness.

Here’s a simple example that is trite but true, a cliché of our times: driving in traffic I still find myself getting upset by unconscious drivers who are in some way impeding my progress! Then I realize I am being unconscious myself in my angry reactions. I take a breath, go briefly inside to remember my impatience is getting in my own way, release frustration and then move along more smoothly – until the next inattentive driver annoys me!

This is a life-long habit. I probably learned it from my father, even though in rural Wisconsin he did not face the driving difficulties we have here in the East! I know I am being the Actor in my little stage play about driving in traffic and my unconscious mind is the Director in this play. It is a hard habit to break and I get plenty of opportunities to practice!

I find my breath work, as part of my Qigong and Yoga practices help me overcome, or at least recover from habits of a lifetime. As long as I remember to breathe intentionally I can short-circuit the old programming and my conscious mind can recover control and direct my life.

Here’s how that works: one of my practices is to employ the Hamsa mantra as taught by Swami Muktananda (ref: I Am That The Science of HAMSA from the Vignana Bhairava). This is probably the simplest yet most profound mantra in the Yogic tradition. “Ham” means “I am” and Sa means “that.” It may also be seen and pronounced or read as So’ham “that I am” depending on personal preference and breath flow.

Ham is the sound of the breath as you inhale. Sa or So is the sound of the breath as you exhale. My natural breath includes a more lengthy pause after exhaling so I use Hamsa as my breath mantra; in other words it seems more natural for me to inhale before I exhale. Practice both ways; if it seems more natural for you to exhale first then So’ham may be the better way for you to use this key mantra.

For that matter you can even use English here inhaling on the “I Am” and exhaling on the “That.” The real key is to become aware of the breath and then become intentional about breathing through the recovery from habitual action and reaction you are working to reprogram. As Rosemary writes:

You can’t just decide to do things differently and have your unconscious mind let go of those old beliefs. They are programs that are running all the time. They are beliefs that trump conscious decisions many times. 

The work is to go inside and uncover the programs and reprogram your mind.

Breath work is an excellent tool to aid you in the reprogramming effort.

FRIDAY’S POEM FROM “RHYTHMS AND CYCLES” – All our Relations

October 10, 2014 Leave a comment

I dug in the archives for this one – back to 2010. I think the Full Moon and eclipse Wednesday morning (I got a good glimpse of it as the Moon was setting) shifted a few things. I am feeling more connected. And this poem is about that. When the Native Americans use this expression, “and All our Relations” they are offering prayers for everyone and everything; they feel connected because they are. And whether we feel it or not we are!

All our Relations

Connections, Relations,
There is a difference.

Sure, we are all connected.
The air you breathe, I breathe.

The atoms of Adam’s body
Are in your body, my body.

We are of the Earth;
These are connections.

We are all connected.

And your DNA is my DNA.

Your Mother is my Mother
A thousand generations back.

Your Father is my Father’s cousin
Not so long ago.

The blood of the Buddha,
Blood of Christ

Flows in your veins, my veins,
And all our Relations’.

©2010 Richard W. Bredeson. All rights reserved.

New Moon in Libra I Ching Divination

September 29, 2014 Leave a comment

For each new moon I cast an I Ching Gua – a six line hexagram of solid and broken lines (Yang and Yin) lines. I use the yarrow stalk method to derive the Gua. And I use The Complete I Ching by Taoist Master Alfred Huang as my main source to interpret the Gua.

I Ching Gua-HuanThe new moon in the sign of Libra occurred last Wednesday, September 24, at 2:14 am EDT. I cast the Gua on that day to get an idea of the energies coming in for the month. The initial Gua is pictured here. It is Huan which means “dispersing.” Huan is composed of two trigrams, Wind over Water (Xun over Kun). Wind can also mean Wood. The picture I get is of a wooden bridge spanning a large river. It is favorable to proceed, to cross the river.

Notice there are two changing lines in this initial Gua. The second line (from the bottom) is a 9 (a weak yang line) and the third line is a 6 (a weak yin line). Master Huang suggests reading the yin line so the 6 changes to a nine yielding a new, accomplished Gua pictured here.

I Ching Gua-XunThe accomplished Gua is a double trigram, Wind over Wind, Xun, which means Proceeding Humbly. This means proceeding like a gentle breeze, which can go everywhere. It suggests using caution as we move forward.

Proceeding with humility does not mean moving forward from a position of weakness, but from one of balance. There is no need to feel superior, nor is there a need to feel weak.

Overall there is good movement forward after a period of dispersing of some energy. The changing line at the third position signifies a release of self-centeredness, selfish pursuits. When this third line changes to a nine it signifies it is auspicious to proceed from a position of both humility and strength.

Now that we are moving beyond the Autumnal Equinox and into the sign of Libra, a time of balance, it is good to keep this balance in mind. Move into autumn gently, like a fall breeze blowing through the trees.

And remember, there is nothing static about balance!