State of the Tao 2019
Welcome to The Year of the Earth Pig which is the end of the 12-year Lunar Zodiac cycle. In this State of the Tao, we will focus on one of Earth Pig’s important qualities: stability.
This year offers an excellent opportunity to increase your sense of internal stability in mind, emotion, and body. This will both benefit your current life and make your next 12-year cycle more fruitful and successful in every area of your life.
The Global Energetic Landscape
Politics, local and worldwide, are creating all sorts of angst and anxiety within many. In the United States, President Trump continues to disrupt the long-established American-European NATO alliance, whose main purpose is to ensure Europe does not revert to large-scale warfare as it has for centuries. Brexit and a near continuous refugee influx, as well as illegal immigrants worldwide, are making people nervous in Europe and America.
On top of geopolitical issues, there also are extreme ecological changes on our doorstep. Global climate change and environmental pollution seem to have accelerated and are manifesting now, rather than in the distant future. It remains to be seen how this will unfold or what humanity can do about it even with the right intention.
Massive change is in the air, and on all fronts. Unless an individual can hold a sense of internal stability within, these rapid and uncontrollable changes will make many people prone to becoming upset, anxious, and unsettled. Each new bump in the road has the potential to make us wonder if the sky is metaphorically going to fall, or if the ground beneath our feet will shift.
Maintaining Your Personal Center for the Collective
The less we are able to maintain stability within ourselves, the more internally unbalanced and potentially disturbed we may become. Conversely, the more we are able to remain stable and sure inside, then the more we can clearly recognize what’s going on around us without descending into anxiety or paralysis.
Once you can see the situation around you more clearly and recognize the way it could impact you, you will be less affected by those who are not as aware. Then you can place your attention on finding your center so that you can move seamlessly through life’s changes.
Also if you can find practical ways to make your personal life, or the larger geopolitical landscape better then you will have the internal strength to steadfastly work toward positive solutions. You can be a beacon and role model for others by doing so.
This is in contrast to continuously starting and stopping aimlessly, or just giving up. Much of what is occurring in the outside world is beyond the personal ability of most of us to realistically effect. What we do have is the power to affect how our internal world handles the external world’s stimuli. As such, this next year is a good time to further increase your sense of internal stability, so you can do something about the problems you perceive rather than just drift, shut down, or complain about them.
New Energy Arts Training Center in Colorado
As many of you already know I will soon be moving to Boulder, Colorado and opening a large school. It is my intention to download the entire Taoist lineage I was fortunate enough to receive in China over decades of training. Having an ongoing, permanent space to teach regular and continuing courses will make this possible, and because the space is ours it will have stability, something that is not possible in rented spaces. Taoism, Buddhism and Hatha Yoga all share this perspective.
In Hatha Yoga, the primary purpose of all the Asanas or postures is to create a stable sitting platform where the mind and the body’s energy channels are stable. The purpose of the Asana’s is to allow the practitioner to sit for long periods of time from which the higher spiritual aspects of Raja Yoga could be actualized.
Chogyam Trungpa was one of the major spiritual figures who, in Boulder during the 1970s & 1980s, helped establish Tibetan Buddhism in America. After trying to instruct others on the higher teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, he recognized his students were not getting it.
The story goes that the lack of progress by Western students reminded him of how, back home, the more basic meditation was first taught to young monks in his monastery. In other words, before any intellectual, energetic or deeper meditation practices were taught, the monks were made to just sit, observe and be present to what was inside of them. They would do this until they could be stable and comfortable with what was inside them.
Only after this ability to sit, be present and aware was established were they then taught the stillness or calm-abiding methods of Buddhism. In Boulder, I was told that this is how Trungpa had his students initially enter their Buddhist practices, so that they would have the best chance to realistically advance to higher levels in the future.
In Taoism they call this calm stability of mind and body, Jing or stillness. It forms the foundation for the higher-level meditation methods of Taoism. Usually, the training in Taoism is first done through standing practices, which initially develop physical health faster than sitting practices.
This is usually done first through the standing practices of Qigong, or by holding the postures of the internal martial arts of which Hsing-i’s Santi is particularly effective. Even for those learning Tai Chi, traditionally students hold different static postures before progressing into the movements. When I was initially learning qigong and the internal martial arts (Tai Chi, Bagua and Hsing-i) in Japan and Taiwan, we would stand for some period of time before we got into the moving practices.
Grounding Stillness into Movement
From a meditation perspective, it is far more difficult to establish stillness of mind and body in moving practices than it is during a standing or sitting session. However, if you can train yourself to develop stillness while sitting or standing first, then you can slowly integrate it into movements. Over time you can be moving very fast and maintain the same calm and stillness that you had sitting. This is not well understood in the West, yet it is a major key to learning in Taoism.
In our new school in Colorado, because the space is ours and we don’t have a rental time clock ticking, my intent is to show and teach others how these stillness practices get implemented, as well as all the higher teachings that follow for those who are ready and committed. As an example, to start a practice session people will stand together for a while before instructions in the Tai Chi or Bagua classes even begin. We will also work to help students bring the practice into everyday activities, so life itself becomes a practice.
For the Year of the Earth Pig, especially if you have a strong interest in meditation and spirituality, I highly recommend you stand for at least 20 minutes before you do any qigong, internal meditation or meditation practice. Or, if you do any kind of Yoga, Taoist or Hatha, then just sit for 20 minutes before you begin to do the physical postures.
Now, in our new facility, we will teach both beginner and intermediate students. The space will also give me an opportunity to go deeper with students that are willing and ready. For years, I have rarely taught the Taoist practices related to the 5th, 6th, and 7th Energy Bodies (Psychic, Karmic, and Essence) because to do so safely requires a building that is sealed against the negative forces which could possibly harm the students learning that higher level material. The new training site in Boulder, Colorado will be sealed and I will begin teaching the lineage as I have promised for many years.
Summer Events 2019
We are planning to hold our Summer events in the new Colorado training center. To kick off my first summer training in Boulder County, I will be covering some very exciting topics.
For the first time in more than a decade, I will offer a certification program in Opening the Energy Gates Qigong. In terms of finding stability, you won’t find a more efficient qigong set for going internal, releasing your nerves and boosting your energy, than what Energy Gates Qigong offers in just a few core exercises.
To finish off my summer training I will also be offering a meditation-intensive workshop focusing on a topic I have shied away from teaching in the past. For the first time ever, I will introduce psychic body practices into inner dissolving practices. The 5th Energy Body practices can help you navigate the invisible forces that strongly affect our lives, but which are normally hidden from our awareness.
I’m very excited to be teaching in Colorado! Stay tuned for more information and find out the exact dates here!
Finally, in the current online Training Circle, I will be teaching one of the jewels in the Taoist system, Gods Playing in the Clouds Qigong. This is an advanced Taoist Shengong, or spiritual qigong, method which acts as a bridge between Qi and Spirit. Its foundation practices are the subject of this year’s training circle, the filming of which was planned over a year before the school in Colorado came on the radar. Seems like a very auspicious way for the year of the Earth Pig to begin.
I look forward to working with many of you online or in person at our school, and thank you for being part of our community and the collective evolution of the planet.
Founder, Energy Arts
5 February 2019
P.S. If you missed my State of Tao video address you can check it out here.