THE DAOIST DAILY DIARY

12/31/2021

On this last day of 2021, we give this year’s last selection to the I Ching, Hexagram #22, Bi/Grace, via two excerpts of a commentary by Kari Hohne, CafeAuSoul.com leaving us with a message of Hope and Grace for a bright and resilient 2022 after a very difficult 2021.

“The greatest lesson Bi teaches you is that no amount of outward adorning will ever conceal what is going on inside of you. If you want to attract others to you, begin within. Loving the self makes one loving. Accepting the Way makes one accepting. When you have no preconceived expectations you will open to the beauty of Grace. Brilliant inner beauty is like a magnet that others can’t resist. If circumstances are less than favorable, turn within and release the expectations that are making your outlook hardened. Take a breath and return to the moment…

“Do not fall prey to believing that the projections you place on others are real. Open yourself to life’s Grace and benevolence. Celebrate your inner Grace and allow it to rise to the surface. Unleash any expectations and flow in the dazzling river of life. The greatest makeover begins within. If you want to be attractive adorn yourself with the Grace that resonates from the sincerity of trusting the Way.”

Have a wonderful 2022 and a joyful road to Cultivation by following the Way.

12/30/2021

As we head into the last day of 2021, we have a final thought from Chuang-tzu:

“The fact is that those who do not see themselves but who see others, who fail to get a grasp of themselves but who grasp others, take possession of what others have but fail to possess themselves. They are attracted to what others enjoy but fail to find enjoyment in themselves.”
― Zhuangzi, The Book of Chuang Tzu

Very good advice, indeed, from this perspicacious Sage. See if you can adopt it in your daily life and with regular practice you may become a Sage, too. Enjoy the practice and thanks for stopping by.

12/29/2021

I usually don’t go in for artificial visualizations or structured imagings especially in meditation. However, with 2022 fast approaching and all of 2021’s disharmonies and turmoils, both natural and man-made, about to be handed off to the New Year in the midst of a transition from a Magnetic Age into an Electrical Age, I think we could all use this visualization presented by Stephen Russell:

“For a few moments, attune your mind to the idea of harmony and peaceful coexistence flowing among all peoples and nations.
The source of this idea is deep within your heart.
As you calmly breathe in and out, picture it radiating from you like a fine, colored vapor gradually covering the face of the earth.
See it enter the hearts of everyone, especially those stuck in the mad zones.
Feel it circulate everywhere until it comes all the way round and back to you.
This is love in action.
The source of this love is the Tao.
Savor this.”
― Stephen Russell, Barefoot Doctor’s Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior

I hope you can enjoy these last couple of days of 2021 along with your last practices of the year. Best wishes and thanks for stopping by.

12/28/2021

As 2022 approaches, we can expect further divisiveness and radicalization as pitifully stupid minds pit their philosophy, their way of thinking, their beliefs against whomever they consider at best their counterparts and at worst their enemies. But way back in the Sixth Century, a Chinese philosopher wrote a poem describing what is causing this erratic behavior.

“Hsin Hsin Ming” aka “Xinxin Ming,” meaning “Faith in Mind”, is a poem attributed to the Third Chinese Chán Patriarch Jianzhi Sengcan. It is one of the earliest and most influential Zen writings, blending together Buddhist and Taoist teachings. Here is an excerpt:

“The Great Way is not difficult,
for those who have no preferences.
Let go of longing and aversion,
and it reveals itself.
Make the smallest distinction, however,
and you are as far from it as heaven is from earth.
If you want to realize the truth,
then hold no opinions for or against anything.
Like and dislike
is the disease of the mind.
When the deep meaning (of the Way) is not understood
the intrinsic peace of mind is disturbed”

Perhaps you can be aware of these thoughts as you move through your day and get ready for the new year. In any case, enjoy your practice, and thanks for stopping by.

12/27/2021

I received an email today from Stacey Abrams, who is campaigning to become the next Governor of Georgia in 2022. In that email, she told a personal anecdote that reminded me of this quote by Laozi in Chapter 77 of the Tao Te Ching:

“It is the way of Heaven to take away from those that have too much
And give to those that have not enough.
Not so with man’s way:
He takes from those that have not
And gives it as tribute to those that have too much.”

How true that is of many in government, who put their own self interests ahead of the true needs of all their people, especially those that have not. Here is Stacey Abrams’ anecdote from her email:

“I was my high school’s valedictorian and in Georgia, that meant being invited to a reception at the Governor’s Mansion.

My family didn’t have a car, so that morning, my parents and I took the bus from DeKalb to Buckhead. We arrived at the Governor’s Mansion and walked up the side of the driveway, next to the cars carrying valedictorians from across the state.

But when we reached the guard gate, a guard stepped out, looked at us and said, “You don’t belong here. This is a private event.”

He took one look at us walking up from the bus and assumed I couldn’t possibly be one of the valedictorians. My parents set him straight and we were eventually allowed in. But I don’t remember meeting the governor that day. What I remember is a man standing in front of the most powerful place in Georgia, telling me I didn’t belong.”

Ironically enough, now Stacey Abrams is campaigning for Governor. So, if you would like to contribute, I suggest you contact: StaceyAbrams.com

Enjoy your practicing, folks. Thanks for stopping by.

12/26/2021

During this holiday season many of us have traveled either near or far to be with family or friends. So, going back to that ancient Sage, Lieh-tzu we read his thoughts on travel as an experience. If you are stuck in an airport trying to return home but your flight has been cancelled due to the Omicron COVID-19 varient, I’m sure this is one experience you would rather forget.

“Travel is such a wonderful experience! Especially when you forget you are traveling. Then you will enjoy whatever you see and do. Those who look into themselves when they travel will not think about what they see. In fact, there is no distinction between the viewer and the seen. You experience everything with the totality of yourself, so that every blade of grass, every mountain, every lake is alive and is a part of you. When there is no division between you and what is other, this is the ultimate experience of traveling.”
― Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living

12/25/2021 – Christmas Day

Christmas is a time for joy. We can all appreciate the joyful gatherings with friends and loved ones, the gifts and sumptuous meals. But Christmas is also about seeing the silver lining for those who are alone or facing less than favorable circumstances. But who truly knows what is good or bad, favorable or unfavorable? So, here is a Taoist story exactly about that, seeing the silver lining in unfortunate times as well as remembering that favorable circumstances don’t last forever.

“There was a farmer whose horse ran away. That evening the neighbors gathered to commiserate with him since this was such bad luck. He said, “May be.” The next day the horse returned, but brought with it six wild horses, and the neighbors came exclaiming at his good fortune. He said, “May be.” And then, the following day, his son tried to saddle and ride one of the wild horses, was thrown, and broke his leg.

Again the neighbors came to offer their sympathy for the misfortune. He said, “May be.” The day after that, conscription officers came to the village to seize young men for the army, but because of the broken leg the farmer’s son was rejected. When the neighbors came in to say how fortunately everything had turned out, he said, “May be.”

Source: Tao: The Watercourse Way, by Alan Watts, story attributed to Huainantse Liu An, c. 178-122 BC,

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

12/24/2021 – Christmas Eve

On this Christmas Eve, honoring the birth of the Holy Infant, the words of Laozi comparing the qualities of a realized Sage with those of a newborn child seem appropriate. I offer them amid a confused and divisive world in the hope that all of its people can reacquire those qualities they had as newborn infants, and furthermore, I pray to end infant mortality throughout the world.

“He who is in harmony with the Tao
is like a newborn child.
Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak,
but its grip is powerful.
It doesn’t know about the union
of male and female,
yet its penis can stand erect,
so intense is its vital power.
It can scream its head off all day,
yet it never becomes hoarse,
so complete is its harmony.

The Master’s power is like this.
He lets all things come and go
effortlessly, without desire.
He never expects results;
thus he is never disappointed.
He is never disappointed;
thus his spirit never grows old.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Ch. 55

12/23/2021

In keeping with Christmas week, instead of the usual short Daoist quotes, I am posting longer ones that keep to the spirit of this time of the year. Next up is an excerpt from the very popular book, “The Tao of Pooh”

“…you’d be surprised how many people violate this simple principle every day of their lives and try to fit square pegs into round holes, ignoring the clear reality that Things Are As They Are. We will let a selection from the writings of Chuang-tse illustrate: Hui-tse said to Chuang-tse, “I have a large tree which no carpenter can cut into lumber. Its branches and trunk are crooked and tough, covered with bumps and depressions. No builder would turn his head to look at it. Your teachings are the same – useless, without value. Therefore, no one pays attention to them.”

“You complain that your tree is not valuable as lumber. But you could make use of the shade it provides, rest under its sheltering branches, and stroll beneath it, admiring its character and appearance. Since it would not be endangered by an axe, what could threaten its existence? It is useless to you only because you want to make it into something else and do not use it in its proper way.”
― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

Enjoy this Holiday Season and keep practicing, everyone. Thanks for stopping by.

12/22/2021

In keeping with Christmas week, instead of the usual short Daoist quotes, I am posting longer ones that keep to the spirit of this time of the year. Next up is Stephen Russell, the Barefoot Doctor.

“Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset. Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it. the new goodness that is coming to you, in the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable, i.e. open.”
― Stephen Russell, Barefoot Doctor’s Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior

12/21/2021

Being that it is Christmas week, instead of the usual short Daoist quotes, I am posting longer ones that keep to the spirit of this time of the year. First up, is Liezi, an Ancient Daoist Sage and Adept from the 5th Century B.C.

“Some people think they can find satisfaction in good food, fine clothes, lively music, and sexual pleasure. However, when they have all these things, they are not satisfied. They realize happiness is not simply having their material needs met. Thus, society has set up a system of rewards that go beyond material goods. These include titles, social recognition, status, and political power, all wrapped up in a package called self-fulfillment. Attracted by these prizes and goaded on by social pressure, people spend their short lives tiring body and mind to chase after these goals. Perhaps this gives them the feeling that they have achieved something in their lives, but in reality they have sacrificed a lot in life. They can no longer see, hear, act, feel, or think from their hearts. Everything they do is dictated by whether it can get them social gains. In the end, they’ve spent their lives following other people’s demands and never lived a life of their own. How different is this from the life of a slave or a prisoner?”
― Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living

Enjoy this Holiday Season and keep practicing, everyone. Thanks for stopping by.

12/20/2021

“Taoism has no rules. It`s a suggestion for perceiving life in its wholeness, without unnecessary categorization, yet enjoying the beauty of categorization.” – Frederick Lenz

Now that we have looked at “Song” in Tai Chi, we return to “Peng,” the next step in Tai Chi development. In today’s video from The Tai Chi Academy, we look at how utilizing ‘Peng’ in our structure can lead to the error of ‘forming up’ behind the point of contact. This is a very important point that corrects a common mistake that most tai chi practitioners make when pushing hands. (Click on link below.)

https://youtu.be/PwEfJsXh6nQ

12/18-19/2021

“You must let what happens happen. Everything must be equal in your eyes, good and evil, beautiful and ugly, foolish and wise.” – Michael Ende

Have a great weekend, everyone. Our exploration of “Song” and “Peng” in Tai Chi resumes on Monday. Meanwhile, enjoy your practice.

12/17/2021

“Taoism is simply the complete acceptance of yourself as you are right in this moment.” – Sheila M. Burke

Continuing our review of “Song,” the most important quality for Tai Chi practitioners to acquire, today we have a special exercise to enable the quality of “Song,” called “Song Gong,” designed by Grand Master Huang Xin Xian and presented by famous martial artist and tai chi master, Adam Mizner. This is one exercise you should put into your warmups whenever possible. Enjoy your practicing, folks, and thanks for stopping by.

12/16/2021

“Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you” – Lao Tzu

Continuing with the concept of “Song,” the most important quality for Tai Chi practitioners to acquire, today we Have Dan Kleiman explaining the difference between relaxation and true “Song,” where there is a balance between letting go and keeping a springy, buoyant structure.

If you haven’t already, you will definitely want to incorporate Dan’s focal points into your daily practice, which, by the way, I hope your are enjoying immensely, folks. Thanks for stopping by.

 

12/15/2021

“Great power is worry, and total power is boredom, such that even God renounces it and pretends, instead, that he is people and fish and insects and plants: the myth of the king who goes wandering among his subjects in disguise.” – Alan W. Watts

Currently, we are looking at the Number 1 quality for Tai Chi, namely, “Song.” Without being Song, your qi energy will not flow properly through your form. Without Song, you cannot expect to develop Peng Jin, which we looked at previously. Today, Tai Chi Instructor Susan Thompson teaches you how to “song” the joints during your Tai Chi movements, no matter which style you do. She also explains why it is important to song the joints and what it does for your Qi flow and physiology.

So, take a look. See if you can incorporate Susan’s points into your practice. And thanks for stopping by

12/14/2021

“But the basic Taoism that we are concerned with here is simply a particular way of appreciating, learning from, and working with whatever happens in everyday life.” – Benjamin Hoff

Today we continue with our exploration of the important Tai Chi quality of “Song,” presented by the Tai Chi Academy. In this 6-minute video, the diverse teachings on Song are broken down into a simple concept called ‘Relative Density.’ Take a look and see if this resonates with your practice. And, above all, enjoy practicing, folks.

12/13/2021

“Taoism is the way of water. The most frequent element or symbol referred to in Lao Tzu`s writings is the symbol of water.” – Frederick Lenz

Today we begin looking at one of the most important qualities in tai chi, namely “Song,” often mistranslated as “Relax.” Kieren Krygier, the Martial Man, returns again with Sifu Liang DeHua to discuss and demonstrate “Song.” This is really a quality you must develop not only tai chi but for your complete cultivation. So, enjoy, everyone, and keep practicing.

12/12/2021

“Embrace simplicity. Put others first. Desire little.” – Laozi

Chilly day in Los Angeles but sunny fortunately. I went to the park as usual for push hands. Not too many people at the first park. My former mentor showed up. We had an interesting discussion. Then I went to another park to meet with my training partner. We exchanged views on methods and exercises are teacher uses to condition our bodies for tai chi and neigong.

Don’t forget. We start our series on developing “Song” tomorrow, Monday; So, again, rest up and prepare for a full week of practice, everyone.

12/11/2021

“Taoism is the profoundest nonconformism that has ever been evolved anywhere in the world, at any time in history; essentially it is rebellion.” – Osho

Yesterday, Taoist Monk Yun Rou explained how Peng Jin and An Jin compliment one another. Today, he shows us how these two jins are used in partner work.

In Tai Chi, before one can develop Jin, one must have “Song,” often translated incorrectly as “relax.” We will begin a series abput the nature of “Song” and how to acquire it on Monday. Have a great weekend, and rest up for a full week of practicing, everyone.

12/10/2021

“Taoism means stretching your being, becoming both a man and a woman and joining within yourself, to be the heavens themselves, to stretch your awareness beyond the breaking point until all opposites are reconciled within yourself.” – Frederick Lenz

Daoist Monk Yun Rou is back again today continuing this series on Taiji Jin. In this short video Yun Rou adds An Jin to his demonstration of Peng Jin from yesterday thus completing a Vertical Energy Circle of Jin. Hope this material along with the other videos on Jin had added to your development. As always, enjoy practicing, everyone.

 

12/09/2021

“Some people think Taoism means not doing anything, just going on with your life. That has little or nothing to do with Taoism.” – Frederick Lenz

Today we are taking a look at the first quality of Jin, namely Peng Jin, with Daoist Monk Yun Rou. Unlike many, who believe Peng is simply a posture, Yun Rou points out the fact that Peng is actually a quality that encompasses a direction of movement. Hope you enjoy this short video, and, above all, enjoy your practicing. Thanks for stopping by, folks!

12/08/2021

“All of Chinese thinking – Confucianism, Taoism, as well as Buddhism – contains the idea that in the course of life, man will shape harmoniously those psychic and physical predispositions that he received as capital assets by unifying them and giving them form from within a center.” – Richard Wilhelm

Today Sifu Liang DeHua is back again with a discussion and demonstration of Nei Jin and Fa Jin. Tomorrow we will take a look at the most important Jin, namely Peng Jin. Thanks for watching, and enjoy your practice, people.

 

12/07/2021

“Taoists do not look upon meditation as `practice,` except in the sense that a doctor `practices` medicine. They have no design to subjugate or alter the universe by force or willpower, for their art is entirely to go along with the flow of things in an intelligent way.” – Alan W. Watts

Yesterday, we posted Part 1 of Sifu Liang De Hua’s explanation of Taiji Jin. Today, here is Part II, present by Kieren Krygier, the Martial Man. Enjoy. And keep practicing, folks.

12/06/2021

“Lao-tze`s Taoism is the exhibition of a way or method of living which men should cultivate as the highest and purest development of their nature.” – James Legge

There are many marvelous tai chi and qigong practitioners/instructors throughout Southeast Asia. So, continuing our series on Jin, today we have the first of will a two part video series on Jin with Sifu Liang De Hua presented by Kieren Krygier, the Martial Man. Hope you not only enjoy the video but learn something that you can practice. Tomorrow, we will have Part II. So, stay tuned and enjoy practicing, folks!

 

12/05/2021

“We may be floating on Tao, but there is nothing wrong with steering. If Tao is like a river, it is certainly good to know where the rocks are.” – Ming-Dao Deng

A cold mostly foggy Sunday in Los Angeles, at least in the morning. I went to the park to work with my friends on push hands and developing Jin. The sun popped out in the afternoon to warm things up a little. I was happy about that.

Although Zhan Zhuang is important, it is not as important to the early stages of developing jin as Wuji. So, I decided not to post Part 2 of Cain Yentzer’s Zhan Zhuang standing practice. Besides, there were a couple points that almost all Qigong and Tai Chi instructors teach, but they are not consistent with my practice of Nei Gong and Jin development for Taiji. Instead, Wuji standing should be done first to begin developing Jin. So, I will have a series on Wuji next.

However, continuing with this Jin series, I will have a two part video series on Jin with Sifu Liang De Hua starting tomorrow. Keep practicing and have a great week, everyone.

12/04/2021

“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” – Alan W. Watts

Yesterday, we listened to Adam Mizner explaining “What is Taichi Jin Power Really Like?” Continuing our series on Jin, today we have Cain Yentzer from Inner Court Tai-ji with a 9-minute lecture on how Zhan Zhuang (Post Standing) is the key to developing Jin and understanding taiji. Tomorrow, we will have Cain Yentzer with Part II, the actual practice of Zhan Zhuang with instructions on its focal points. So, get ready to do some serious standing and make sure you add it into your practice if you haven’t already. Thanks for stopping by, everyone.

12/03/2021

“When a not-doing comes upon you, and there is no reflection of yourself to be found, many things can and will be related back to you as knowledge, yet you have no way of knowing how you assimilated that wisdom.” – Lujan Matus

Today we start a new series on Jin and Fajin as they related to taiji and its practitioners. We begin with Sifu Adam Mizner explaining “What is Taichi Jin Power Really Like?” Again, you can slow the playback speed if there is anything you don’t understand and replay it as often as you like. And then, guess what? Go out and practice with a partner. Good luck and thanks for stopping by. We’ll have more on Jin and Fajin tomorrow.

12/02/2021

“Taoism shows us how to deal with life and death by realizing everything here is transitory but its substance is eternal.” – Frederick Lenz

Today we will look at the fourth and final Dao Yin Dragon, Drunken Dragon, sort of. Unfortunately, I could not find an individual track with the Drunken Dragon online. One would have to enroll in either Lotus Neigong or the Internal Arts Academy at DamoMitchell.com to view Damo Mitchell’s instructional videos. However, I did find a compilation video by Kit Raven, performing all four dragons. The last one is the Drunken Dragon, which starts at 8:55 in the video. It’s not completely correct, but if you use it as a stretching and balance sequence, you should be fine. As aways, enjoy practicing, folks. And thanks for stopping by.

12/01/2021

“Taoism extols the virtue of flexibility. What survives on earth is what effortlessly adapts to the changing environment and changing circumstances.” – Ernie J Zelinski

Previously we have looked at the first two of the Four Dao Yin Dragons, Soaring Dragon and Swimming Dragon. Today we look at the third Dao Yin Dragon in our series Awakening Dragon. Again, you can stop or rewind this short video as often as you like and play it back at a slower speed if you wish. Follow along and then practice it in 10 or 15-minute bursts. Good luck with it and enjoy your practice. Thanks for stopping by.

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