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Daily Tools for Transforming Anger, Depression, and Fear
By Mantak Chia, Dena Saxer
New World LibraryCopyright © 2009 Mantak Chia and Dena Saxer
All rights reserved.
THE VALUE OF EMOTIONS
WHY DO WE HAVE EMOTIONS IN THE FIRST PLACE? Many of us experience them as a disturbance, something out of our control. But they're not simply a thorn in our side. They are natural energy responses to what we experience through our senses. They're vital messages from our Soul, our higher self, to our personality or body.
Please note that many Western spiritual books use the terms Soul and Spirit as one and the same. However, in Taoism and some other esoteric writings, our Soul is the intermediary between our personality or body and our Spirit.
British spiritual teacher Ronald Beesley clarifies the distinction between Soul and Spirit. "The Spirit is of God [Tao]. Soul's one objective is to raise our consciousness to the level of Spirit. Soul is the active part of our being. It seeks out our fears and our inhibitions and makes us confront them. It supports us in facing and cleansing ourselves of these weaknesses. Our Soul is a loving parent and wise teacher."
All emotions are the raw materials of human life, and they function as the guidance system for our decisions and actions. They are the raw materials for music, painting, drawing, sculpture, theater, film, dance, poetry, and fiction. Our emotions are spiritual treasures.
What are the messages of the positive emotions? The softer, yin emotions of calmness, gentleness, appreciation, kindness, and tenderness tell us we 're in harmony with our higher selves, and so with Tao. The exciting, yang emotions of eagerness, enthusiasm, delight, happiness, ecstasy, and bliss tell us we're moving forward splendidly, also in harmony with Tao.
Negative Emotions: Catalysts for Growth
So, why do we have negative, painful emotions instead of just positive, pleasurable ones? Physical pain is a distress signal that some part of our body needs help. So, too, emotional pain is a distress signal that some aspect of our life needs help. The word emotion comes from the Latin word emovere, meaning to move out, move away. Despair, worry, fury, jealousy, and terror are marvelous teachers, motivating us with their sting to move out, move away and into harmony, joy, and courage.
The tragedy of modern life is that so many of us don't allow ourselves to feel the natural pain, and learn the lessons, of the turbulent emotions. We waste our precious time paralyzed by fear, denial, and repression. We self-medicate with food, alcohol, prescription and recreational drugs, electronic toys, entertainment, sex, overwork, and the media. Our bodies pay the price in discomfort, malfunction, and disease. Our minds pay the price in separation and alienation from our true selves. As Eckhart Tolle says: "Every addiction arises from an unconscious refusal to face and move through your own pain. ... You are using something or somebody to cover up your pain."
Reconnecting to Our True Feelings
If we are experiencing this alienation from our feelings, doing the Six Healing Sounds and Inner Smile daily will reconnect us to our internal organs; they, in turn, will restore our awareness of our true feelings. How long will this take? We can't give you a time frame, because each person is unique. However, most people feel calmer and more relaxed the first time they do these practices. Some people don't feel an obvious change for a few weeks or even a few months. But be assured, you will be changing your emotional and physical energy to a healthier state, even though the change may be subtle at first. Mantak Chia's forty-five years of practicing and teaching the Healing Sounds and Inner Smile, and Dena's twenty-six years, have convinced us of their benefit. Not one student has ever complained that they don't work. Those who use them as a daily tool always marvel at their healing power.
Facing, learning from, and transforming our negative feelings is an act of courage. It's a conscious choice that takes patience, selfhonesty, forgiveness, and determination. It requires a commitment of time — to untie those emotions that have bound us up. Ultimately, we will save time, by having greater happiness, greater health, and a longer life. This demanding process is the crucible that transmutes negative energies into happiness and harmony. Our suffering is no longer a tragedy. It becomes the fuel that molds us into better human beings. It's a form of purification. And having endured and transcended emotional pain, we have more compassion for others who are still lost in turmoil. Chi kung (qigong) gives us many powerful and practical methods for igniting the fire beneath the crucible of transformation. The SixHealing Sounds and the Inner Smile are two of the most basic and important ones.CHAPTER 2
A Natural, Gentle Way of Living
The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
LAO TZU, Tao Te Ching
YES, TAO IS BEYOND DEFINITION. However, it helps to have some idea of what it means. The Chinese word Tao literally means "way" or "path." Tao can be called the way of nature, the natural order of the universe. It may also be known as the Source of all that is, the ineffable, or God. It is infinite, eternal, and continually changing. The presence of Tao is within us and outside us. It is the unity of all beings and all things. It is the path of direct, divine experience. Unconditional love, harmony, and balance are its essence. Intuitive knowledge and spontaneous actions are its forms of expression. As the one force that governs the whole universe, Tao is not a religion, but it embraces all religions.
The Philosophy of Tao: Taoism
Tao will always be a mystery, greater than we can ever fathom. However, we can name, study, and practice the five-thousand-year-old Chinese philosophy Taoism, which has had a profound influence on Chinese culture. Taoism seeks to align us with the sacred in our daily lives. Its basic focus is on how to live long, happy, healthy, productive lives that are in harmony with nature, of benefit to humankind, and conducive to spiritual growth. Its principles are presented in the twenty-five-hundred-year-old classic spiritual book Tao Te Ching, written by Lao Tzu, who lived in about the sixth century BCE. This ancient treasure offers profound, succinct "poems" illustrating and inspiring wisdom in daily life. Written at a time of wars, materialism, and corrupt rulers, its lessons are especially relevant for our complex, turbulent society today.
Tao Te Ching is the most frequently translated book of all time. There are more than one hundred translations worldwide, and more than forty of these are in English. Lao Tzu's classic form of the Chinese language is enigmatic and evocative. One word can have many meanings and can be used as a noun, verb, or adjective, depending on the context. As a result, no single translation is the definitive one. We compared eight different translations of the book and chose selections from the three that we felt were clearest, were most relevant to our times, and which conveyed the poetic nature of the original.
A later Taoist philosopher, Chuang Tzu, who lived in about the fourth century BCE, supports and elaborates the ideas of Tao Te Ching in stories and parables. We've used references from The Essential Chuang Tzu, translated by Sam Hamill and J.P. Seaton.
The two practical branches of Taoism are chi kung — that is, meditations and physical exercises — and its offspring, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which includes acupuncture and herbology. Both chi kung and Chinese medicine work with refining, balancing, and raising a person's life-force energy for maximum health, happiness, creativity, longevity, and spirituality.
There is one small branch of Taoism that is an organized religion with rituals and hierarchy. However, at its core, Taoism is opposed to hierarchy and rigid structure. Our book does not deal with religious Taoism. Instead, it presents practical tools for self-healing painful emotions. Many practitioners of chi kung find it compatible with Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, as well as with agnosticism. Conversely, its celebration of individual experience, intuition, and freedom of expression make it incompatible with dogmatic religions or cults. In Taoism, no master or guru is set above others. Teachers are certainly respected, but everyone is equal before Tao. Universal Love is directly available to all.
The ancient Taoist masters were intuitive scientists of nature and of mystical states. They lived simply, patiently and carefully observing themselves, the animals, plants, and minerals, the moon, stars, and planets — and all without even a telescope. What they concluded was that there are definite patterns, rhythms, and cycles recurring in all forms of life: we humans are a microcosm of the macrocosm that is the universe. They discovered how to live in harmony with the patterns, rhythms, and cycles they observed, this natural order. They also created exercises and meditations to maximize their life-force energy by mimicking the movements or qualities of animals, trees, mountains, water, wind, and sun. And they chose to share their wisdom and knowledge with those who were receptive.
The intuitive, scientific investigations of Taoists created TCM, as well as the martial arts. Taoists also invented metal alloys, porcelain, dyes, the compass, and gunpowder. They had a major influence on Chinese cuisine, classical painting, and poetry.
Some Taoist masters lived as hermits; some lived in the thick of Chinese society. In a few enlightened regimes, Taoists were given responsible positions in the government, where they taught and advised the rulers. Lao Tzu himself was head of the national library of the Zhou dynasty. In despotic regimes, Taoists were feared as rebels and were persecuted. Regardless, at all times, Taoists were noted for living very long, extraordinary lives, remaining healthy and productive through their advanced years. Even in today's complex, turbulent, and polluted world, chi kung practitioners reap the same benefits.
Basic Principles of Taoism
Let's consider some of the basic principles of Taoism. Being aware of them can deepen the effects of the Emotional Wisdom techniques.
Our Divine Origin
For it [Tao] can act as the mother of all things.
For the Way gives them life;
its power nourishes them,
mothers and feeds them,
completes and matures them,
looks after them, protects them.
Tao Te Ching
The ancient Taoists believed that all life originated from the Primordial Void, or Wu Chi in Chinese, also known as Tao. Something stirred within the Wu Chi, creating the positive and negative poles of yin and yang. The interactions of yin and yang created all universal processes and all matter. Western science calls the stirrings of Wu Chi that created life the big bang, the cosmic explosion that occurred 15 to 20 billion years ago.
All beings are children of Tao, also called the Way. We all have a direct connection to Tao in our hearts: our Original Spirit, a spark of the divine, lives in our hearts. Original Spirit is our private line to the Source of all things. And it contains all the maternal qualities of Tao: unconditional love, devotion, patience, tenderness, gratitude, trust, generosity, intuition, and joy. These benevolent qualities match the position for the heart as perceived in Chinese medicine: it is the chief, or director, of the body. In other words, Tao, or the Divine, is not a separate, remote, superior being but is within our hearts, guiding, nourishing, protecting, and fulfilling us.
Life — Continual Self-Evolvement
So, if we all have a magnificent, powerful, loving heart, then why do we become aggravated, sad, or distressed? All these painful emotions are opportunities for growth, and they need to be addressed, to be learned from and transmuted. They are the result of being alienated from our Original Spirit and our Soul. In the process of becoming "civilized" and "mature," we learn to distrust, ignore, and harden our authentic selves and lose our childlike innocence and trust. We buy into society's promotion of materialism and the manipulation of others. We revere intellect, past knowledge, and authority more than our own intuitive wisdom. And in losing touch with our true selves, we lose a significant amount of our self-esteem. As author D.H. Lawrence recognizes, this alienation from our true divine nature is "the mistake" that makes us ill. He writes, "I am ill because of the wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self.... Only time can help, ... and the freeing oneself from the endless repetition of the mistake which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify."
A crucial goal of chi kung is to reopen the heart: to recognize and release the false idols of greed and egotism and reconnect to our Original Spirit and our Soul. It's fascinating that the Chinese word Shen means "heart" or "mind" or "spirit." Chi kung and many Chinese medicine texts locate the mind and the Spirit in the heart. True Taoists follow their heart-minds when making decisions. The Six Healing Sounds, Inner Smile, and Releasing One Emotion practices are extremely helpful in our lifelong self-evolvement. They return us to our true essence and our self-esteem.
Chi = Energy, Internal and External
The unique genius of Taoism lies in its understanding and management of chi (pronounced chee), or energy. No other spiritual system is as clear, comprehensive, and sophisticated in its use and enhancement of chi. Chi is the activating energy of all movement in the universe; it is the life force of all formations, creatures, and things. In Japanese, it's called ki; in Sanskrit, it's prana; in Hebrew, it's ruach; in Tibetan, it's lung; in Lakota Sioux, it's neyatoneyah; in Arabic, it's barraka.
The ancient Taoists recognized two main forms of chi that create and sustain life: internal and external.
Some in Western medicine call the energy inside us bioelectro-magnetic energy. Ancient Taoists classified this internal chi into five subcategories: Hereditary or Original Chi, Life Force Chi, Sexual Chi, Internal Organ Chi, and Emotional Chi. In performing the Six Healing Sounds and Inner Smile, we improve all five forms of chi. We directly balance and increase our Emotional and Internal Organ Chi; this increases our Life Force Chi and our Sexual Chi, and enhances our Hereditary Chi. The ancient masters also mapped out the energy routes of the body that are identified as the meridians in acupuncture. The arm movements in the Six Healing Sounds activate the meridians connected to specific internal organs.
Tao masters divided the external energy — the energy that occurs outside the body — into three forces: the Universal or Heavenly Force, Cosmic or Higher-Self Force, and Earth Force. Universal or Heavenly Force includes the presence of Universal Love and the energies of all the galaxies of planets and stars. We receive Universal Force through the crown point at the top of our skulls. Cosmic or Higher-Self Force is made of the dust particles of stars and planets. It forms our human bodies. It's received through the third eye, the point between our eyebrows, and through the nose. Earth Force includes the energies of Mother Earth: all animals, plants, minerals, and natural formations (oceans, mountains, and so on) on the planet. We receive this energy directly through the soles of our feet and our sacrum. We receive it indirectly as well, by eating plants and animals that have predigested Earth Force for us. All three forces, Universal or Heavenly, Cosmic or Higher-Self, and Earth, are regarded as sacred, and are called the Three Pure Ones. They work together harmoniously to sustain all life-forms. Humans receive some of these three external energies directly, in a limited way; meditation allows us to increase our supply of external energy and store it in our bodies. Chi kung teaches us how to store it safely, balancing it with Earth Force.
We lose much of our natural connection to these external forces when we hold on to negative emotions, eat a diet lacking sufficient nutrients, don't exercise regularly, deplete our Sexual Chi with excessive sexual intercourse, or are frequently exposed to environmental toxins. The Healing Sounds and Inner Smile can help to restore our connection to all three external forces — assuming we improve our emotions, our diet, and our environment, moderate our sexual activity, and exercise wisely and regularly.
Excerpted from Emotional Wisdom by Mantak Chia, Dena Saxer. Copyright © 2009 Mantak Chia and Dena Saxer. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
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