Thursday, May 3, 2007

Conversations: Beauty in the Breakdown

As life moves inexorably forward, each of us is confronted with daily evidence of the breakdown of our physical selves. Below are some perspectives on the subject. What do you think? Is disease a cause for sadness...for urgent action...for calm reflection and acceptance? Your thoughts are welcome.

I Stay, I Go: Katie links to an extremely moving photo display in the Sacramento Bee. Thanks to my friend Nigel for drawing my attention to this.

Chattering Mind: Amy Cunningham highlights a potential Catch-22 of smoking. What if it is a part of your self-image; a pillar of your self esteem? It can seem like you are choosing between physical and mental health:
When I stopped smoking cigarettes some 25 years ago, someone told me this: "You have to learn to hug yourself."

When I heard that, I thought, "Oh, what an absurd thing to say. Hug myself! Ridiculous!" But that's because I was still smoking, still young enough to think I could beat the habit with ease. Once I quit, however, I felt I couldn't go out to parties; I believed I couldn't write articles as well, argue or even talk, since smoking was so incorporated into my self-image. I felt as though I'd gone back to my most insecure teenage years, the years when I started puffing, posturing, and looking around for ashtrays. Not a good feeling. So the "hug yourself" idea came back, and I did eventually learn to give myself psychologically soothing hugs of love by taking deep breaths and chanting calming mantras to myself.
Daily Om: A Buddhist slant on energy depletion (Thanks to Integral Options Cafe for this link):
There are times in our lives when it seems our bodies are running on empty. We are not sick, nor are we necessarily pushing ourselves to the limit-rather, the energy we typical enjoy has mysteriously dissipated, leaving only fatigue. Many people grow accustomed to feeling this way because they do not know that it is possible to exist in any other state. The body's natural state, however, is one of energy, clarity, and balance. Cultivating these virtues in our own bodies so that we can combat feelings of depletion is a matter of developing a refined awareness of the self and then making changes based on our observations.


carly said...

Most of what people know about Taoism comes from philosophical texts such as the I-Ching or the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tse. However, outside China virtually nothing is known of Lao Tse's living tradition of Taoism. Bruce Frantzis wrote The Water Method of Taoist Meditation Series so that this tradition, known as the Water Method, might reach a wider audience in the West.

Two Branches of Taoism
Most people are unaware that there are two main branches of living Taoism, the original Water Method, which is about 2500 years old, and the Neo-Taoist Fire Method from about 1000 years ago. Most books on Taoism available in the West are from the Fire tradition.

The Water Method
Unlike the Fire Method, the Water Method emphasizes effort without force, softness and flow. These are the characteristics of water. The entry point is the body rather than any beliefs or intellectual process.
Taoist Breathing Lessons

Relaxing into Your Being
ISBN 1-55643-407-3 Book Store Edition
Energy Arts/North Atlantic Books
Copyright B K. Frantzis, 1998, 2001zj

carly said...

The soul of a man does change, evolves,
can be realized, and finally dies with the body.
Michael P. Garofalo

The spirit is rooted in the cosmos, it doesn't change.