30 01 2010

In Taoist (pronounced Daoist) philosophy the yinyang symbol, represented by a backwards “S”, is centered on the theory that all opposing things are interconnected and interdependent of one another and through this, all things exist in the natural world. Without going into too much detail and to allow for you to do your own research, yinyang represents balance.

Everyday offers up an opportunity to practice this concept. Recently I’ve been on a grueling and most turbulent adventure in my life where I’ve needed to apply balance to damn near every hour of my day. When you lose your balance, you lose yourself. You become forceful and delusional.

Within the theory of yinyang, there is a term used by Taoists, “wu wei”. This is translated as, action through inaction. I find myself saying this in my head to remind me to calm myself and to not be so forceful. By forceful I mean deliberately trying to make change of something that is out of my control. This also is a reminder that we can only control things that we have power over, such as self.

The universe and other people and all things will fall into their rightful place without interference from me, you, or them. This leads to finding faith in balance. Faith that whatever hardship or joyous experience that one encounters will be evenly balanced in its end result. As vague and unexplainable as this concept may¬† be, the path still exists whether we want to accept it or not. So however you find balance in your daily lives, through God, the sun, a tree, or an animal, or whatever…understand that balance will keep all things moving and changing. If you have a hard day, balance it out with something soft. If your day is full of sadness balance it out by doing something that makes you happy.



29 11 2009

We’ve all seen it…the image of Buddha sitting legs crossed meditating. We even jokingly emulate this posture in conversation to suggest peace of mind or the notion of Zen. But what are we really witnessing when we see someone in a crossed legged sitting posture? That sitting position is one of the most traditional meditating poses in all of Buddhism and Taoism as passed down by generations of practitioners starting in India way back when.

The day of enlightenment. December 8, 596 BC Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. Image shows enlightened Gautama Buddha sitting under the Bodhi tree.

The deeper one gets into practicing meditation, more positions are revealed and the practitioner  begins to build a repertoire for meditating. Something to think about while building this list is that, people already have a short list to choose from to meditate. These are things that we do everyday. It could be something as simple as making coffee, mowing the lawn, jogging, listening to music, or riding a bike. There are a number of activities that can put our mind into the initiation process towards meditating. The point of meditating is to think about nothing, clear the mind of all thoughts.

In the world we live in, especially in the Western side of things, its very difficult to eliminate thoughts. So to begin the delete these thoughts, what better way to begin by doing something that requires you to focus on one thing…eventually that one thing becomes so second nature you don’t need to think about doing it.

Through muscle memory we are now just doing. Then the mind is free to erase. 3 thoughts become 2, 2 becomes 1, 1 becomes no thought at all. In time of course.

Here’s a little something from the Buddha himself to help redirect our pre-conceived ideas about meditating…or whatever you can apply it to:

“Do not accept anything on (mere) hearsay — (i.e., thinking that thus have we heard it for a long time). Do not accept anything by mere tradition — (i.e., thinking that it has thus been handed down through many generations). Do not accept anything on account of mere rumors — (i.e., by believing what others say without any investigation). Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures. Do not accept anything by mere suppositions. Do not accept anything by mere inference. Do not accept anything by merely considering the reasons. Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your pre-conceived notions. Do not accept anything merely because it seems acceptable — (i.e., thinking that as the speaker seems to be a good person his words should be accepted). Do not accept anything thinking that the ascetic is respected by us (therefore it is right to accept his word).

Big Buddha in Hong Kong

For anyone interested in starting a meditation regiment or just the occasional break from our noisy world, I would definitely suggest learning the basics first. Then apply those basics to your world. For the traditional martial artist, I think its important to understand that traditions are good but not absolute, especially in the world we live in today. Rethink old ways, new ideas.