STATE OF THE DAO 2023: Year of the Water Rabbit

by | Jan 22, 2023 | Lunar New Year, Qigong, State of the Tao, Taoism | 0 comments

STATE OF THE DAO 2023: Year of the Water Rabbit

Very Happy Lunar New Year greetings to you all!

Officially the Lunar New Year begins Jan 22, 2023 but the ancient Daoists have always used the changes in seasons, lunar cycles, and celestial events to tune into the transformations that are constantly occurring within human beings, the earth, and the heavens. Sometimes these changes are sudden, sometimes they are gradual. These are energies you can work with throughout the entire year.

In keeping with our annual tradition at Energy Arts, I’d like to say a few words to reflect on the year that has passed and look ahead towards what is to come.

 

Transitioning from Tiger to Rabbit

2022 was a period of extreme ups and downs. Riding a Tiger is not an easy task and is fraught with sudden and rapid changes.

On a positive note, people began to emerge from the restrictions of the pandemic and started to interact and socialize again. Here at Energy Arts, our summer retreats and December workshops were full of students once again. We were very glad to see many old friends and to have so many new students joining our weekly classes in person and on EA Live. I look forward to spending more time training with all of you in the coming year.

On the other hand, world events have been tumultuous, including the war in Ukraine, worldwide inflation, and political unrest. I am certain that many of you may have experienced challenges on both a social and personal level.

At this time, it is worth remembering that constant change is the natural state of the Dao and the more we are able to accept that, the more balanced our lives will be and the better we will be able to intersect with everything around us and find our place within it.

The Chinese zodiac functions on a sixty-year cycle comprised of both animals and elements. Those intersections demand a deeper reading on a personal level but we all can benefit from tuning into the qualities of the year at hand.

The Year of the Rabbit brings an energetic shift and a new ability to focus on individual responsibilities and concerns.

 

Harness the Energy of the Rabbit

In many ways, the Rabbit is the most positive sign of the Chinese zodiac. It has three major qualities in particular: it is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity. This is a year in which many auspicious things can happen. But don’t think you can solve global issues on your own. Instead, look toward self-development and trust that improving oneself will contribute to the greater good. This is definitely a year for focusing on achieving personal goals and projects.

Qualities

  • Rabbits tends to be alert and perceptive. If you are prone to mental or physical sluggishness, this is a great time to get out of that trap. Do your best to stay sharp-minded and quick-witted. Try to find things that can make your mind work faster. This is a good year to work on thinking outside of the box.
  • This is also a good time to increase your sense of humor. Some people have a more natural affinity for this than others but regardless of your tendency, try to find a light-heartedness about situations and laugh a little more. This promotes a healthy psychological attitude and greater emotional well-being.
  • Rabbits are known to be energetically flexible animals: they are curious but will instinctively move away from something that doesn’t seem right to them, even though they may not understand why. Trust your impulses and go with what seems right to you in the moment.

Cautions

  • Rabbits have a tendency to jump away and escape reality. This translates into human terms as a tendency to “space out” and avoid situations, particularly emotionally laden ones. Be on the lookout for this, especially if you have a natural tendency to do so.
  • Avoid procrastination. Use the energy of the rabbit to spring into action and not get stuck in your old routines. This is a time to focus on goals and to take action toward achieving them. As the quote from Star Wars goes, “the force is with you.” This is the year to make those things to happen.

The Water Element

There’s a key component in qigong that is called “making the body wet”. This is an important aspect of knowing and feeling if you’re effectively moving qi inside your body. If you are doing so, one of the things that will start to happen is that you will feel the liquids of your body penetrating into all the cells. This is a major part of the water element and is something that rabbits have a natural talent for. The more you can do to encourage that to happen inside yourself, the better off you’ll be. This is a great time to do that.

Rabbits in the World

Rabbits have extremely acute senses and are tuned in quite well to their environment. To the best of your ability, use this year to realize the positive forces of the Water Rabbit. There will be challenges, but whatever obstacles you are facing, focus on what is right in front of you and you will have a better chance of overcoming them.

We live in a time of increasing acceleration. Certain ancient texts say that in the future: “Time will be cut in half, and cut in half again.” This is a perfect description of our digital age. Everything is speeding up. All you have to do is look at life in the past 10 years and you can see how numerous external factors have caused the speed of life to increase. And there is no foreseeable end to this process. In order to ground yourself and counter this, try to avoid projecting too far ahead too quickly. Tune into a sense of the energy of the earth, and you can take it year by year.

What to Practice

Daoism has a wide variety of practices including qigong, neigong, meditation, and the internal martial arts. The energy of the Rabbit tends toward self-improvement and individual development. So choose what works for you. This is a perfect time to tailor your practice to your individual situation.

If you’re the type of person who has trouble staying with something and focusing on it until you achieve a result, practice Xinyi. If your main goal is to stabilize your mind, Tai Chi is a very good thing to do. If your problem in life is that you tend to get stuck or to be stubborn, focus on bagua because life is always changing and if you don’t have the ability to change with it, life will pass you by.

Also focus on qigong, breathing, and meditation in order to improve your overall health and  individual balance. This will create an internal stability that will help you figure out how you fit into the larger picture.

 

Energy Arts Training Center Update

The Energy Arts Training Center is our physical school in Longmont, Colorado. This is our central hub. Think of it like the dantian of the entire Energy Arts community from which all of our activities emanate.

Our beautiful 20,000 square foot building includes places to gather and socialize, operational facilities, and a main training hall which has been sealed energetically to protect and promote the teaching of these ancient Daoist practices.

I chose this location here in Colorado partly due to the fact that my first school in the 1980’s was located nearby and partly due to the same reasons that many spiritual traditions have made this area their home for decades. The many lakes and rivers and, above all, the majestic Rocky Mountains with their tremendous energy are the reason it has been called the “Himalayas of the West.”

This past year, there have been questions about relocating the school and I’d like to take this moment to allay some concerns. After teaching in various locations all over the world for many years, my wish was to have a physical building in which I could teach in person on a sustained basis. As timing would have it, global restrictions caused us to go online for the majority of our teaching these past few years. While that has given many people the ability to study remotely from wherever they are, my primary goal has always been to teach in person. That is how these traditions have always been passed on and it is true to the essence of their nature. The best way to study has always been together in the same space, which allows me to give individual attention to students and for them to benefit from the Daoist tradition of learning through direct transmissions.

Even if I decide to relocate the school in the future, I will continue teaching. But I do not wish or intend to move away from here any time soon. This is our home.  But the success of that will rely upon students coming here to study. It is my hope that as restrictions ease and travel opens up, I will see many of you returning to the school and coming to study in person. As is the nature of the Dao, Energy Arts may see changes in the future, but for now I intend to hold this space for all of us to learn and study within and as a place for us to preserve and carry on these traditions.

 

Upcoming Events in 2023

More information and registration coming soon!

Spring Event: Fan Sung and Sung in Tai Chi and Qigong: March 11th-12th & 18th-19th

Going far beyond simple relaxation, these central tenants of Daoist practices involve releasing all of your tension right down to the bones. Classically, what is called Sung in Tai Chi is learned through a 4-part process, each one of which builds upon the previous stages. In all 4 stages, you must consciously put your mind inside your body until you can directly recognize what your mind is contacting.

Summer Retreat: Daoist Meditation in Tai Chi, Qigong, and Pushing Hands: June 10th-28th

In this retreat I will teach how to bring up and dissolve tensions and blockages inside the deepest part of your being. Each week will go further into the body and the mind, allowing increasingly greater release.  Special emphasis will be placed on using Push Hands to identify and eliminate contraction.

Stay tuned for specific details of these upcoming events.


New Publication: Dao De Jing

After many years of work, 2022 saw the release of my much-anticipated book: Dao De Jing: The Oral Tradition.

This book has been years in the making. It offers a comprehensive look at the Dao De Jing from the practitioner’s point of view through a series of dialogues between Dr. Alan Peatfield and myself. It goes beyond the usual interpretations and addresses the heart of what my teacher, Liu Hung Chieh, always told me: “These are the words, this is what they mean, and this is what you do with them.” My hope is that it will benefit all who read it and help them put these ancient teachings into practice.

The Year of the Tiger was an auspicious time to bring this book to fruition and the Year of the Rabbit is an ideal time to make it part of your individual study and practice.

Included are an introduction, a complete glossary of Chinese terms, and a new translation by Dr. Peatfield.

It is currently only available from Amazon kindle. We anticipate a printed copy sometime in the future, but get your e-book version now so you can start reading and absorbing these teachings.

 

Conclusion

I would like to thank everyone in the world-wide Energy Arts Community, especially those who continue to support this Daoist lineage by attending our events and by participating in our Energy Arts Live program.

I wish everyone a fruitful year of the Water Rabbit. May you work hard and make the best of the opportunities that come your way! I look forward to seeing and training with as many of you as I can in the New Year.

Do me a favor and please eat and enjoy a piece of lettuce for me!

Thank you very much and best wishes for 2023!

With appreciation,

Bruce Frantzis

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