Strength, Power, Emotion and Change
Happy Lunar New Year!
As much of the world celebrates the New Year according to the lunar calendar, which officially begins today and is often celebrated for a full two weeks following, it is an ideal time to look ahead at what is to come.
In Chinese astrology, 12 animals comprise the zodiac. Each represents one year and combines with the Five Elements—Water, Fire, Wood, Metal, and Earth—to create a complete cycle of 60 years. Taoists have used the zodiac as an ongoing, ever-changing cycle of universal transformation in order to become equipped to negotiate and take full advantage of the energies at play. Each year brings new characteristics, challenges, and opportunities.
This is the Year of the Water Tiger.
QUALITIES OF THE TIGER
The tiger represents strength, confidence, and decisiveness. Whether male or female, tigers have the ability to exude active, outgoing, yang energy. They are capable of tackling things much larger than themselves, just as tigers in the wild can take down the biggest of beasts.
WATER AND THE TIGER
Water is inherently yin, which can have the effect of tempering the fiercer qualities of the tiger and even bring out the emotional side. This is a year when emotions run high. The positive aspect of this alignment is that you can feel very alive. The downside is that emotions can override reason and become destructive.
The wise student will pay careful attention to keeping their emotions in check and not allowing them to swing out of control.
SUDDEN AND SWIFT CHANGE IS AFOOT
Not surprisingly, the Year of the Tiger can manifest rapid and big change. Sudden movements in career, romance and home life are more likely. Some people will thrive through making these great leaps while others could falter. This is not the time to step lightly. The tiger represents change that could prove to be life-altering. For example, you could start a long-lasting romance or meet the love of your life.
This is an ideal year to start a company, switch careers or express your creativity—unapologetically and without fear. Maybe you have held a set of beliefs for your whole life or lived by a certain philosophy, yet you might find yourself considering a whole new set of ideas.
Life is relatively short and cycles constantly repeat: this is the time to try for big change and take risks. This is not a year for “ho-hum” and upholding the status quo.
This is a year where your enthusiasm—if you can find it—can figure in a big way.
DO NOT BE SELFISH
Whatever your personal goals are for this year, strive to do what is best for everyone, not just yourself. If you wonder whether to be generous in any given situation, the Year of the Tiger compels you to say yes. Generosity has the potential to be at an all-time high—not only monetarily, but in other aspects too. This is a time for offering support, building teams and delving into creative group projects; it’s the time to nurture relationships. If approached in the right way, this is a year for families to become closer, and build the bonds that keep them together and strong.
Be especially attentive to keeping your ego in check though. Enthusiasm can serve you very well, but it can also lead to utterly dominating others, or over-the-top and exaggerated points of view and distorted impressions. The Year of the Tiger can lead people to want to do things their own way and hating to be told what to do.
Try to find ways to share your enthusiasm with others, and seek out ways to be encouraging to others and support their goals.
WHAT TO PRACTICE
Given the strong and fierce qualities of the tiger, this is a year when focusing on power makes a lot of sense. In martial arts training, the dedicated student must also focus on sensitivity, speed and presence—among other qualities—but this is a year for generating power.
Movement without power is certainly useful for a deer or a gazelle, for example, so it can run away from a predator. A tiger rarely cowers and scurries away; it takes on whatever is coming at it and applies a very directed type of power.
Being healthy is not the same thing as being strong and powerful. Of course, if you are unhealthy, you cannot be strong and you must focus on creating a healthy foundation. However, this is a year when focusing on building up strength in body and mind can support you in all your endeavors.
The San-ti posture of hsing-i (also xing yi along with any of the standing qigong postures, especially ones where the arms are held away from the body, are particularly recommended. Practicing Bagua Circle Walking while holding static energy postures would also be very valuable.
In terms of meditation, power is always a double-edged sword. The question becomes: Powerful at what? This is a good year to direct your mind toward resolving the deepest issues you find inside yourself. Just like a tiger can attack and subdue the largest of animals, hone in and focus on your biggest issues, and do not become distracted by small concerns. Ask yourself: What are the big hurdles in my life? Then take these agendas into your meditations, where they can be addressed.
Remember the tiger is agile and patient, yet ready to pounce at the right moment. You do not need to make anything happen, just wait with a relaxed intent and see what presents itself to you.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE
For my part, I have been working closely with Senior Instructors Paul Cavel and Craig Barnes to develop a new, eight-level learning progression and instructor-certification program. My aim has been to make clear the essential components and cycles inherent to studying neigong and training the Energy Arts System, so that each stage of practice is easier to understand and achieve.
With the revamped system in place and having a consecrated space in which to teach here at the Tao Space in Longmont, Colorado, I can now share the deeper inner teachings that my primary teacher, Grandmaster Liu Hung Chieh, passed down to me from the Water Tradition of Taoism.
I intend to continue delving into the Wu Tai Chi Long Form, Bagua Energy Postures and Eight Mother Palms, as well as Taoist Meditation throughout 2022 and the years that follow. One of my aims has always been to train up lineage disciples who have the capacity to take the teachings forward to future generations. After five decades of teaching, all of the elements are falling into place to make my teacher’s and my vision a reality.
I would like to thank everyone in the Energy Arts community for your support and willingness to overcome personal setbacks to create positive change in our realm. I send each of you a heartfelt invitation to visit me here at the Tao Space or via Tao Space Live.
Our collective engagement with and development of the practices is what keeps them alive and makes Taoism one of a handful of ancient living traditions that survives today. In this way, each one of us is involved in creating the path that will enable the teachings to serve people from around the world and future generations.
May this powerful and momentous Year of the Water Tiger find you able to embrace and enact the positive changes you seek!
Master Bruce Frantzis