Posts Tagged ‘Taoism’

Who is Your WHO? – Richard’s Commentary

May 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Rosemary’s question this week is:

WHO is it that you are serving?

My first reaction to this question is to think about my Qigong students; they are my clients and I do feel that I am serving them when we are in class together, when I am leading them through a form, focusing on breath, gathering and storing Qi for health, well-being, and peace. The beauty of my “who” is I am serving myself as well. I am doing the research into Taoism, the basis for the effectiveness of Qigong. I am going through the form with my students, leading myself to health, well-being and peace. And I am working with the forms on my own as well, practicing the forms every day. I continue my research and reading on the subject to go deeper so I can take my students deeper.

In response to Rosemary’s statement:

If you don’t take care of your own health, no one else can do it. You know this. You accept this. But what about your spiritual and psychological health? Your emotional health? Your mental health? Are you serving yourself by taking care of yourself in those areas?

I can feel pretty good, right? Qigong covers all these aspects of my life. Qigong contributes to my health. And the study of Taoism supports my spiritual and psychological health. Reflection on the Five Elements, the basis for Traditional Chinese Medicine, helps me work through my emotional and mental issues. Through all these levels I am serving my students and I am serving myself at the same time!

If only it were that simple!

Everything I’ve written above is true. And Qigong does help my students and me work through issues. But what about others I serve?

What about Rosemary? She is my client as well. I support her business,TheScientificMystic.comthrough managing the technology to operate the business, handling the finances, and helping her with the messaging and marketing of her services. How am I doing with that?

Here I can’t be quite as glib with my answers! Sometimes I grow impatient that Rosemary doesn’t work to my schedule! Whose business is this? Sometimes I get frustrated with the procrastination. But I am a great procrastinator! And too often I get bogged down with the technology rather than focusing on what drives the business – Rosemary’s talent!

So, I need to take Rosemary’s advice here:

My work is to build a relationship in which I support them.

My work with Rosemary is to create the best possible business relationship we can have in order to best serve her, as my client!

And I need to do this analysis for all of my relationships. Everyone is a “client” of everyone else. It is important to nurture client relationships and it is vital to nurture all of our inter-relationships.

Who are your clients? Are you nurturing them? Are you nurturing every relationship with others as if they were your client? Are you nurturing the relationship with yourself?

What a world it would be if this were the case!

Stand Up or Stand Out?

April 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Yesterday I posted a comment on Rosemary’s message from The Divine Feminine about living into the greater vision the Universe has in mind for us. And I challenged you and me to “stand up” and live that bigger vision, no matter how scary it might be!

Then I came across a story in an old favorite little book by Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu, that I’m re-reading to refresh my mind and spirit about the Way, the Tao that Chuang Tzu so eloquently and deeply explored. Here is that story, The Man with One Foot and the Marsh Pheasant. I believe it speaks loudly to this theme of living into a greater vision of ourselves:

Kung Wen Hsien saw a maimed official
Whose left foot had been cut off–
A penalty in the political game!

“What kind of man,” he cried, “is this one-footed oddity?
How did he get that way? Shall we say
Man did this, or heaven?”

“Heaven,” he said, “this comes from
Heaven, not from man.
When heaven gave this man life, it willed
He should stand out from others
And sent him into politics
To get himself distinguished.
See! One foot! This man is

The little marsh pheasant
Must hop ten times
To get a bite of grain.

She must run a hundred steps
Before she takes a sip of water.
Yet she does not ask
To be kept in a hen run
Though she might have all she desired
Set before her.

She would rather run
And seek her own little living

As is so often the case with these stories from Taoism or Zen Buddhism, there is no clear cut moral to the story! On the surface we seem to hear that the Man with One Foot lived up to his charge from heaven – to “stand out.” But perhaps he over-reached his destiny, the “vision the Universe had in mind for him”! (Maybe this is a simple commentary on the “political game” as it was played then—a more dangerous one than today’s!).

Then there is the comparative lesson of the little marsh pheasant who sought her “little living uncaged.” I can presume that she is living in accordance with heaven’s will, nature’s choice. So often these Taoist stories urge a natural way of life, to go with the flow of the Tao.

For me the point of this story is not at all contradictory with the message from The Divine Feminine. The Universe (heaven) has big plans for us. We are standing on the backs of several thousand generations of human ancestry not to live small, to live caged, to live unnaturally with one foot. We are to stand up, not out. And yet, even if we are to lose a foot to the greater cause of living into our vision, is that too much?

There is a polarity to this story that seems to call for balance. We are called to stand up, but not out. We are called to live free as nature intended. And yet we are “called” by the Universe to live big. The story presents us with contrasts, the duality we so often face in daily routine. There is no right or wrong in this story of opposites. The story presents both sides. This complimentary nature of the Tao is a favorite theme of Chuang Tzu. And as Lao Tzu says in the Taoteching, Chapter 2:

All the world knows good
But if that becomes good
This becomes bad.

Follow your nature. And follow the Universe’s call. Stand up and be counted. And yes, there will be both good and bad consequences when you do. The “free” choice is yours!

What do you make of Chuang Tzu’s story?


Men and Emotional Health

November 2, 2012 Leave a comment

The recent videos by Rosemary and our commentaries have been about health and balance. Balance is achieved by bringing all four of our bodies, Spiritual, Mental, Emotional and Physical into both a healthy state and into balance across them.

Examining Emotional Health and Balance I have presented how Taoist Chinese sages work with emotions by transforming them into virtues. I have previously addressed Anger and its counterpart virtue, Creativity (Resourcefulness). And I have looked at Anxiety and how it might be transformed into Connection and Joy. Today I address two additional emotions: Fear and Worry.

Working with Fear is to transform it to Wisdom. Fear is probably the most primitive, instinctual emotion, therefore most deeply seated. It is an emotion of the ego and the ego’s job is survival. Fear triggers the fight or flight response, the reptilian brain component designed to keep us alive. Through inner work it is important to transform Fear into Wisdom and Empowerment. We move from the primitive, instinctual response to an Enlightened response. Frank Herbert, author of the Dune science fiction series, wrote that “fear is the mind-killer.” Exactly! When faced with survival it is easy for the mind to shut down and move into automatic response mode.

The trick here is to catch our reaction to an event or an object which triggers fear, to pause and  breathe into the fear, and then to examine if this thing or occurrence is truly something to fear. These days we rarely encounter saber-toothed tigers to which the flight/fear response is appropriate!

There is a Korean Koan practice that helps me in these potentially fearsome situations. The practice is very simple: pause and ask “What is this?” Go inside to find an answer. And then ask the question again, this time of the first answer that comes to mind. Continue the practice until the questioning comes to a satisfying conclusion. This is a way to transform Fear to Wisdom.

Worry is often a wasted expenditure of emotional energy. I prefer to transform it to Centeredness. Next to Anger, Worry may be the next biggest emotion Western Men have to deal with. While Anxiety is about our place in society, Worry is more about our place in the Cosmos. Who are we; why are we here; what is life all about anyway; and is there any purpose to any of this, to my life? And these questions extend to health, security, and general lack of well-being. To counter Worry it is good to go into our stories for insight into this emotion. How has Worry affected us, influenced our decisions, guided our choices? How does Worry feel on the inside? What color does it have?

Worry transforms to Centeredness and Ecology. When we sink into our own Inner Space, our Wisdom, we become grounded and wholly present. We connect here with the All, the Universe. And from this deep place of wisdom we begin to understand our connectedness to everything and everyone; this is different from the transformation of Anxiety to Connection which is more about our human connections. This is broader and deeper. And the result is a deep appreciation of everything, all of creation, including ourselves! Within this context there is no room for Worry. We are part of something so much bigger. And we begin to see where we fit in the overall Ecology of the Cosmos. We see ourselves at the microcosmic level fitting neatly into the overall picture of the Macrocosm. There is great peace here and the beginning of balance.

Wisdom and Centeredness. These seem so much more appropriate responses than Fear and Worry! Try them on. Pause and ask: “What is this?” Breathe and move inside; find your Center. Everything in the Universe radiates outward from that Center. You are a key piece in that Universe!




PS: for my next post I will examine one more emotion that men need to pay particular attention to: Grief. Stay tuned!