Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Gentle Path of Spiritual Progress

"1.  Mellowness of mind
2.  A healthy, balanced life
3.  An unobstructed, undefeated spirit
4.  Loving people and rendering service
5.  Unifying the body and mind
6.  The rich emotion of enjoying simple relationships and things
7.  Frequent self-examination of one's personal and public life
8.  Avoidance of obsession or extravagance
9.  Humility
10.  Constantly collecting the floating emotions that take you out of your center"

-  Hua-Ching Ni, The Gentle Path of Spiritual Progress, 1990, p. 108 

I use two books by the noted Taoist Master Hua-Ching Ni with translations and commentary about the Tao Te Ching, and find them very useful.  

My Tao Te Ching Concordance has been useful to many people. 

Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons

The Good Life 

Chapter Index to the Tao Te Ching

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ask About a Truth You Should Seek

"Don't cling to your own understanding.  Even if you do understand something, you should ask yourself if there might be something you have not yet fully resolved, or if there may be some higher meaning yet.
Although a suspicious mind is bad, still it is wrong to cling to what you shouldn't believe in, or fail to ask about a truth you should seek.
Even if you have thoroughly studied the stories of the ancients and you sit constantly like iron or stone, as long as you are attached to yourself you cannot find the Way of the enlightened, ever.
Although the Way is complete in everyone, realization of the Way depends on a combination of conditions.
Tenacious opinionation is not transmitted by your parents; it is just that you have tacitly come to believe in opinions for no reason other than that over time you have picked up what people say.
Whether or not beginners are imbued with the spirit of the Way, they should carefully read and study the sagacious teachings of the scriptures and treatises.
Once having understood, you should read the teachings of the sages many times.
Truth is not greater or lesser, but people are shallow or deep."

-  Japanese Zen Grand Master Dogen, 1200-1253
   Translated by Thomas Cleary

"Do you want to study Zen?
You must let go.
Let go of what?
Let go of the four elements and five clusters,
Let go of consciousness conditioned over incalculable time.
Focus on right where you stand;
Try to figure our what the reason is.
Keep on pondering ...
Suddenly the flower of mind will bloom with enlightenment,
illuminating the whole universe."
-  Chien-ju, Studying Zen
The Pocket Zen Reader.  Edited and translated by Thomas Cleary.   p. 104

active3.gif (2786 bytes)

"Zen practice in the midst of activity
is superior to that pursued within tranquility."
Hakuin, 1688-1769

The Pocket Zen Reader.   Compiled and translated by Thomas Cleary.  Shambhala Pocket Classics.  Boston, Shambhala, 1999.  218 pages.  ISBN: 157062447X.  VSCL.  

Zen Buddhism: A Reading List

Friday, August 29, 2014

Daodejing, Laozi, Chapter 47

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 47

"No need to go outside a door
To see totality
Or look out of a window
For seeing what will always be
Going out you go astray
At home and center all is one
The seer doesn't have to do
To see that everything is done."
-  Translated by Jim Clatfelter, 2001, Chapter 47  

"Without going out the door, you can know Heaven below (the sacred body).
Without looking through a window, you can see Heaven’s Tao.
The more you go away from yourself, the less you perceive.
The sage does not go out, yet knows;
does not look, yet names;
does not do, yet finishes."
-  Translated by Barbara Tovey, 2002, Chapter 47

"Without opening your door,
 you can know the whole world.
 Without looking out your window,
 you can understand the way of the Tao.
  The more knowledge you seek,
 the less you will understand.
  The Master understands without leaving,
 sees clearly without looking,
 accomplishes much without doing anything."
 -  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 47  


"One need not pass his threshold to comprehend all that is under Heaven,
nor to look out from his lattice to behold the Tao Celestial.
Nay! but the farther a man goeth, the less he knoweth.
The sages acquired their knowledge without travel; they named all things
aright without beholding them; and, acting without aim, fulfilled their wills."
-  Translated by Aleister Crowley, 1918, Chapter 47   

不出戶, 知天下.
不闚牖, 見天道. 
其出彌遠, 其知彌少. 
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 47 

pu ch'u hu, chih t'ien hsia.
pu k'uei yu, chien t'ien tao.
ch'i ch'u mi yüan, ch'i chih mi shao. 
shih yi shêng jên pu hsing erh chih.
pu chien erh ming.
pu wei erh ch'êng. 
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 47 


"Without going out of the door
One can know the whole world;
Without peeping out of the window
One can see the Tao of heaven.
The further one travels
The less one knows.
Therefore the Sage knows everything without travelling;
He names everything without seeing it;
He accomplishes everything without doing it."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 47 

"Without leaving his door
He knows everything under heaven.
Without looking out of his window
He knows all the ways of heaven.
For the further one travels
The less one knows.
Therefore the Sage arrives without going,
Sees all without looking,
Does nothing, yet achieves everything."
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 47  

"Sin salir de la puerta
se conoce el mundo.
Sin mirar por la ventana
se ve el camino del cielo.
Cuanto más lejos se va,
menos se aprende.
Así, el sabio,
No da un paso y llega,
No mira y conoce,
No interfiere y cumple."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 47

"Without going out of my door I know the Universe.
Without opening my window I perceive Heavenly Tao.
The more I go abroad, the less I understand.
That is why the self-controlled man arrives without going,
names things without seeing them, perfects without activity."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 47 

"There is no need to run outside
For better seeing,
Nor to peer from a window. Rather abide
At the center of your being;
For the more you leave it, the less you learn.
Search your heart and see
If he is wise who takes each turn:
The way to do is to be."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 47

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Further Teachings of Lao-Tzu: Understanding the Mysteries (Wen Tzu)   By Thomas Cleary
The Lunar Tao: Meditations in Harmony with the Seasons   By Deng Ming-Dao
Awakening to the Tao   By Lui I-Ming (1780) and translated by Thomas Cleary Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices   By Mike Garofalo
Zhuangzi: The Essential Writings with Selections from Traditional Commentaries   Translation and commentary by Brook Ziporyn
The Inner Chapters of Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi)   Translated by A. C. Graham



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Yoga Postures Anatomy

I regularly use these two books in my study of yoga.  They are both well organized, well illustrated, and highly informative.  Both are excellent reference tools, and explain yoga postures from an anatomical and scientific perspective.

Yoga Anatomy  By Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews.  Published by Human Kinetics, Champain, Illinois, Second Edition, 2011.  Copyright by The Breathe Trust 2007, 2012.  Various indexes: by muscles, joints, position in English, position in Sanskrit, bibliography, 276 pages.  ISBN: 1450400248. VSCL.  An outstanding reference book on the anatomy of yoga!  

Hatha Yoga Illustrated: For Greater Strength, Flexibility and Focus  By Martin Kirk and Brooke Boon.  Photographs by Daniel DiTuro.  Champaign, Illinois, Human Kinetics, 2006.  Suggested readings, resources, index by Sanskrit name, index by English name, 233 pages.  ISBN: 0736062033.   VSCL.  Practical, informative and well organized information. 

My Hatha Yoga Postures List is in alphabetical order by both the English and Sanskrit names for many common Hatha Yoga postures for beginning and intermediate yoga students.  The list includes coding for the kind of yoga posture, e.g., balancing, standing, supine, backbend, etc.  For each posture, the list includes reference to descriptions in yoga textbooks, including the two books mentioned above.  The list also includes some Chi Kung postures that I teach in many of my yoga classes.  My Hatha Yoga Postures List is now 14 pages long, in a PDF format, print only, at Version 6, 10/1/2012.  I also have prepared numerous one page Study Lists that might be useful to yoga students and beginning teachers.   


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Old Age Keeps Calling

"In reality,
as in dreams,
I expect no visitor-
but old age
keeps calling."

- Ryokan, 1753-1831, Japanese Zen master, poet and eccentric hermit

Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan  Translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi.  Boston, Shambhala, c 2012. Bibliography, notes, 249 pages.  9781590309827.  VSCL. 

Yoga Grandmaster, B.K.S. Iyengar,
14 December 1918 – 20 August 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Singing Bird Will Come

About 20 wild Guineafowl visit our front yard every few days looking for food.  They are a noisy group of big birds.   

"Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come."
-  Chinese Proverb  

"I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs."
-  Joseph Addison   

Birds: Quotes and Sayings.  Compiled by Mike Garofalo.  

The Spirit of Gardening  Over 3,500 quotations arranged by over 150 topics. 


Monday, August 25, 2014

I am Telling You the Story She Is Thinking

"Take a deep breath of all the stories that live here. A re-ligious act, to be true to the origin of the word “re-ligios”- to re-tie, re-link - is to find ways to re-connect, re-turn, re-imagine.”

In the winter season, we are allowed to say,

“Ts' its' tsi' nako,
Thought-Woman, the Spider
named things and as she named them they appeared.
She is sitting in her room thinking of a story now
I'm telling you the story she is thinking.”
-  Keresan Pueblo introduction

Strings on Your Fingers by Mike Garofalo

Spider Grandmother weaves the Grand Cosmic Web and then spins off the planets and stars in the Navaho myths.  Zuni myths say the Spider Grandmother gave the art of string figures into the hands of the children.  Spider Grandmother is a powerful earth spirit being, the primary Creatrix of the cosmos and mind, a source of boundless imagination and the creation of the new.  An archaic Goddess of Weaving is essential to a pleasant life for all our people. 

Many Stars, Son-thlani, or Spider Grandmother’s Web is one of my favorite Navaho string figures to make.  I usually do the Spider Web (Jayne SF51) string figure first, for ritual purposes, to remind myself of my debt to all the people who have helped me learn to make string figures, everyone past and present are here symbolized as the Cosmic Web of Spider Grandmother.  

The image above is of the string figure called The Apache Door (Jayne SF12) known to many string players.  A different Navaho string figure, with a criss-crossing web pattern, is called Many Stars (Jayne SF51).    

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dao De Jing Concordance and Index

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Chapter Index and Electronic Concordance

Indexing and research by Michael P. Garofalo, Librarian of Gushen Grove, Valley Spirit Center, Red Bluff, California.  

All 81 Chapters of the Daodejing are Indexed

Searchable by English language terms, Spanish language terms, Romanized Chinese (Wade-Giles and Pinyin) terms.  I use the word 'terms' in my Chapter Index to loosely refer to: keywords, themes, phrases, chapter titles, subjects, topics, words, nouns, verbs, adverbs, or adjectives.  I tend to favor inclusiveness, related meanings, interrelated concepts, and generality when including Terms in this index; reflecting the fascinating complexity of translating and reinterpretation.  

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Catalyst for Deeper Awareness.

"Putting facts by the thousands,
into the world, the toes take off
with an appealing squeak which the thumping heel
follows confidentially, the way men greet men.
Sometimes walking is just such elated
-   Lyn Hejinian, Determination

"Every day, in the morning or evening, or both, take a walk in a safe and peaceful environment for less than an hour.  The can be a great fountain of youth.  Choose a place to walk that has no kind of disturbance.   Walking done in a work environment and when your mind is busy is different; it is not as nutritious as the walking you do for yourself in the morning or evening in a quiet, peaceful, and safe place."
-  Master Hua-Ching Ni, Entering the Tao, 1997, p. 135

"Walking is the natural recreation for a man who desires not absolutely to suppress his intellect but to turn it out to play for a season." 
-  Leslie Stephen  

"The interior solitude, along with the steady rhythm of walking mile after mile, served as a catalyst for deeper awareness.  The solitude I found and savored on the Camino had an amazing effect on me.  The busyness of my life slowly settled down as the miles went on.  For a good portion of my life I had longed for a fuller experience of contemplation, that peaceful prayer of the heart in which one is able to look intently and see each piece of life as sacred.  Ten days into the journey, totally unforeseen, the grace of seeing the world with startling lucidity came to me.  My eyes took in everything with wonder.  The experience was like looking through the lens of an inner camera – my heart was the photographer.  Colors and shapes took on nuances and depths never before noticed.  Each piece of beauty appeared to be framed: weeds along roadsides, hillsides of harvested fields with yellow and green stripes, layers of mountains with lines of thick mist stretching along their middle section, clumps of ripe grapes on healthy green vines, red berries on bushes, roses and vegetable gardens.  Everything revealed itself as something marvelous to behold.  Each was a work of art.  I noticed more and more details of light and shadow, lines and edges, shapes, softness, and texture.  I easily observed missed details on the path before me – skinny worms, worn pebbles, tiny flowers of various colors and shapes, black beetles, snails, and fat, grey slugs.  I became aware of the texture of everything under my feet – stones, slate, gravel, cement, dirt, sand, grass.  I responded with wonder and amazement.  Like the poet Tagore, I felt that everything “harsh and dissonant in my life” was melting into “one sweet harmony”."
-  Joyce Rupp  

Study Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung with Mike Garofalo

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 48

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 48

"In pursuing the study of Tao there will be daily increase; in acting out the Tao when learned, there will be daily diminution.
This marks the characteristics of the two stages.
In the first the man appears to make rapid progress in learning and philosophy, and so cuts a figure before the world; in the second, he becomes simple, humble, self-effacing, and thus may be said to diminish.
When this diminution is still further diminished, he will arrive at a state of inaction, or quiescence.
There is nothing that cannot be done by inaction. 
The Sage ever employs inaction in administering the Empire.
As for those who put themselves to trouble in the matter, they are inadequate to the task of government."
-  Translated by Frederic Henry Balfour, 1884, Chapter 48  

"By studying, every day one increases (useless and injurious particular notions, in one's memory);
By concentrating on the Principle, they are diminished every day.
Pushed to the limit, this diminution ends in non-action, (the consequence of the absence of particular ideas).
Now there is nothing that non-action (letting things go) cannot sort out.
It is through non-action that one wins the empire.
To act, in order to win it, results in failure."
-  Translated by Derek Bryce, 1999, Chapter 48  

"Bodily and mental distress is increased every day in the effort to get knowledge.
But this distress is daily diminished by the getting of Tao.
Do you continually curtail your effort till there be nothing left of it?
By non-action there is nothing which cannot be effected.
A man might, without the least distress, undertake the government of the world.
But those who distress themselves about governing the world are not fit for it."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 48  

"Striving for learning one gains a daily addition,
Using the Tao there follows a daily remission,
And as the work lessens and lessens there comes a condition
Of nothing doing, when nothing is left to do.
He who would take as his own all the realm under heaven,
Accomplishes it when no trouble is taken or given,
If trouble he use, by trouble itself he is driven,
And unfitted thereby to take what he seeks to pursue."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 48   

及其有事, 不足以取天下. 
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 48   

wei xue ri yi. 
wei dao ri sun. 
sun zhi you sun. 
yi zhi yu wu wei.
wu wei er wu bu wei.
qu tian xia chang yi wu shi.
ji qi you shi, bu zu yi qu tian xia.
-  Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 48 

"A man anxious for knowledge adds more to himself every minute;
 A man acquiring life loses himself in it,
 Has less and less to bear in mind,
 Less and less to do,
 Because life, he finds, is well inclined,
 Including himself too.
 Often a man sways the world like a wind
 But not by deed;
 And if there appear to you to be need
 Of motion to sway it, it has left you behind."
 -  Translation by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 48   

"Learning consists in adding to one's stock day by day;
The practice of Tao consists in “subtracting day by day,
Subtracting and yet again subtracting
Till one has reached inactivity.
But by this very inactivity
Everything can be activated.”
Those who of old won the adherence of all who live under heaven
All did so not interfering.
Had they interfered,
They would never have won this adherence."
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 48

"Al buscar conocimiento mediante el estudio,
cada día se adquiere algo.
Al buscar conocimiento mediante el Tao,
cada día hay que desprenderse de algo.
Desprendiendose de cada vez más
se llega al estado de la No-Interferencia.
Al No-Interferir
nada se deja sin hacer.
El mundo debe regirse dejando que las cosas fluyan.
Nada puede ser regido interfiriendo contra las cosas."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 48

"In pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things, until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.
True mastery can be gained by letting things go their own way.
It can't be gained by interfering."
-  Translation by Stephen Mitchell, Chapter 48   

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Tao Te Ching English Language Corncordance by Gerold Claser.  An excellent English language concordance providing terms, chapter and line references, and the proximal English language text.  No Chinese language characters or Wade-Giles or Pinyin Romanizations.  Based on the translation by John H. McDonald, available on the Internet in the public domain.  


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Drushti: Sensitive Awareness

"Simply speaking, drushti is sensitive awareness to that which you are doing. This has two aspects that are vital to every aspect of our practice. First it means bringing your mind to bear exactly on what you are doing. Not doing one thing while thinking another. This actually means learning not even to be thinking about what you are doing. Rather, just be doing it, feeling it. In the beginning we must think before we act. Then we act. Then think again. But we must learn to separate these two processes so that we can act with precision and clarity, without the distraction of thought. Eventually we will learn to trust the intelligence of the body and will be able to dispense with the thinking process more and more. Then our practice becomes meditation in action."

"The second aspect is to feel the effect of what we are doing. Not only at the point of the action itself, but throughout the whole structure of the body and the quality of the mind. We must feel its impact on the functioning of the body, breath and mind. We use this feedback to go deeper into the poses by making adjustments according to the four secondary techniques of asana, vinyasa, bandha and pranayama. Then through the dynamic created between our intention and our actions, a meditative awareness emerges."

- Godfrey Devereux, Dynamic Yoga, 1998, p. 24 

Yoga:  Posture Lists, Research, Reading Lists, Notes   By Mike Garofalo


Mike Garofalo's Yoga Classes in Red Bluff, California 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chen Taijiquan, Old Frame, First Form

Chen Style Taijiquan, Old Frame First Form, Lao Jia Yi Lu
By Michael P. Garofalo.  

This webpage includes a detailed bibliography of books, media, and articles.  Extensive selection of Internet links. 
List of movement names in English, Chinese characters, Chinese Pinyin, French, German, and Spanish; and citations for sources of the movement names. 
Detailed list of DVDs and videos available online.

Extensive notes on the author's learning the Old Frame, First Routine, Lao Jia Yi Lu; and on learning Chen Style Taijiquan. 
Record of performance times of this form by many masters. 
Breakdown by sections of the form, with separate lists for each section.  General information, history, facts, information, pointers, and quotations.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Work, Learning, Cultivating Mind-Body

I am now back working for the Corning Union Elementary School District.  I work 3 days each week as the Technology and Media Services Supervisor.  I enjoy helping students, teachers, and support staff in our five schools.  I manage school library services and supervise the staff working at our five school libraries, am an active member of the textbook and consumables curriculum materials management team, maintain websites, and have written and did budget management for many grants that have brought in $4,500,000.00 for our schools.  The work seems a worthwhile contribution to our communities.

School begins on Wednesday for our 2,200 students at six schools.  

I hope to remain employed for 4 more years and retire at the age of 72.  My home and car will be paid for in 3 years.

I now have somewhat less time for reading, mind-body practices, writing, gardening, etc.  My blog posts will decrease in size somewhat. 

Lately, I've been reading Zen Buddhist literature, mostly by the Japanese Zen Master Hakuin, and the Prajnaparamita Sutra.  I first read Zen literature when I was 14 years of age.  I am not a "religious believer."  However, I do enjoy Zen influenced poety, art, gardening, dialectics, practices, and literature.  The charming twisted, clever, and humorous manners of Zen Masters makes me smile, lifts my spirits, and sometimes even sends a thunderbolt of kensho through my dancing mind.

Essays in Zen Buddhism: Third Series  By D. T. Suzuki, 1870-1966.  Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki.  Foreword by Christmas Humphreys.  York Beach, Maine, Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1953, 1985.  Index, 396 pages.  ISBN: 0877280762.  VSCL.  Essays on Chinese Zen, Bodhisattva ideal, and a commentary on the the Prajnaparamita Sutra. 

Mother of the Buddhas: Meditation on the Prajnaparamita Sutra   Translation by Les Hixon.  Foreword by Robert A. F. Thurman.  Wheaton, Illinois, Quest Books, 1993.  Index, 265 pages.  ISBN:  0835606899.  VSCL.  

The Zen Doctrine of No Mind: The Significance of the Sutra of Hui-Neng (Wei-lang).  By D. T. Suzuki.  Edited by Christmas Humphreys.  Boston, Weiser Books, 1969, 1972.  Index, 160 pages.  ISBN: 0877281823.  VSCL.   

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sacred Circle Gardens

I've put together a webpage on the subject of Sacred Circles.

This webpage provides links, bibliographic citations, resources, quotations, notes, and comments on medicine wheels, henges, labyrinths, neopagan sacred circles, holy circles, the symbolism and myths about circles and spheres, sacred circle gardens, the four elements, and related topics.

This webpage includes information and photographs of our sacred circle garden at our home in Red Bluff, California.

Those folks who walk the circle in labyrinths, walking meditation or baguazhang might find some of the information in sacred circles to be of interest to them.

Here are a few pictures from our sacred circle garden.  They were all taken a few years ago.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Wisdom from the Goddess

Nine Heart Paths to Healing and Abundance


-  Karen Speerstra, "Sophia: The Feminine Face of God: Nine Heart Paths to Healing and Abundance," 2011

Last week, I began reading two books about the Goddess of Wisdom, Sophia.  In my spiritual imagination, I need both a Goddess and God, Yin and Yang, Earth and Sky.  The Dao is both feminine and masculine, and neither. 

Sophia: The Feminine Face of God: Nine Heart Paths to Healing and Abundance  By Karen Speerstra.  Nine Heart Paths to Healing and Abundance.  Studio City, California, Michael Wise Productions, 2011.  Index, bibliography, 340 pages.  ISBN: 9781611250046.  VSCL.  

Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom, Bride of God  By Caitlin Matthews.  New Revised Edition.  Wheaton, Illinois, Quest Books, Theosophical Publishing House, 2001.  Index, bibliography, notes, 430 pages.  ISBN:  0835608018.  VSCL. 

Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons

Goddess, Earth Mother, Devi, Tara, Sophia

One Old Druid's Final Journey 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Lugh's Day Gone By

“Under the summer sun,
thirty birds feeding
on figs.

Young tree branches
sagging so low -
ripe peaches.

Still in the shade,
on wet soil,
a black dragonfly. 

An old mind
surprised by seeing
a purple fairy at sunset,
dancing to the crickets’ tunes,
leaping as guinea hens screech,
wary of the bats,
hovering to say,
“Lugh’s Day, Lugh’s Day.”

Crackling fires
under the full moon.

Peace in the Valley.”
- Mike Garofalo, Lugh’s Fairy   

Lammas, Lughnasadth, Mid-Summer Festival: A NeoPagan Summer Celebration

Above the Fog: Short Poems by Mike Garofalo 

Cuttings:  Haiku by Mike Garofalo

"All paganism is at bottom a worship of nature in some form or other, and in all pagan religions the deepest and most awe-inspiring attribute of nature was its power of re-production. The mystery of birth and becoming was the deepest mystery of nature; it lay at the root of all thoughtful paganism, and appeared in various forms, some of a more innocent, others of a most debasing type. To ancient pagan thinkers, as well as to modern men of science, the key to the hidden secret of the origin and preservation of the universe lay in the mystery of sex. Two energies or agents, one an active and generative, other a feminine, passive, or susceptible one, were everywhere thought to combine for creative purposes; and heaven and earth sun and moon, day and night, were believed to co-operate to the production of being. Upon some such basis as this rested almost all the polytheistic worship of the old civilization; and to it may be traced back, by stage, the separation of divinity into male and female gods; the deification of distinct powers of nature, and the idealization of man's own faculties, desires, and lusts; where every power of his understanding was embodied as an object of adoration, and every impulse of his will became an incarnation of deity."
-   A.T. Jones, Ancient Sun Worship and Its Impact on Christianity

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 49

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 49

"The Wise Person has no Ego, he identify himself with the universe.
He is equally good with good or bad people.
His virtue is goodness.
He is equally honest with honest and dishonest people.
His virtue is honesty.
He sees everybody equally, living simply and in harmony.
He is like a mother with her children.
In his heart he keeps the whole world."
-  Translated by Octavian Sarbatoare, 2002, Chapter 49  

"The Sage has no decided opinions and feelings,
But regards the people's opinions and feelings as his own.
The good ones I declare good;
The bad ones I also declare good.
That is the goodness of Virtue.
The honest ones I believe;
The liars I also believe;
That is the faith of Virtue.
The Sage dwells in the world peacefully, harmoniously.
The people of the world are brought into a community of heart,
And the Sage regards them all as his own children."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, Chapter 49  

"The sage's heart is not unchangeable,
He makes his own the people' s heart and will,
To those who are good I, too, will be good,
To those who are not-good I will be good still,
Virtue is ever good;
Those who are faithful I will meet with faith,
The unfaithful also shall have my good will,
Virtue is our faithhood.
The sage dwells in the world, with thoughtfulness,
But his heart flows in sympathy with all,
The people turn their eyes and ears to him,
And are to him his children, great or small."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 49 

聖人在天下歙歙, 為天下渾其心.
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 49  

shêng jên wu ch'ang hsin. 
yi pai hsing hsin wei hsin.
shan chê wu shan chih. 
pu shan chê wu yi shan chih.
tê shan. 
hsin chê wu hsin chih.
pu hsin chê wu yi hsin chih.
tê hsin.
shêng jên tsai t'ien hsia hsi hsi, wei t'ien hsia hun ch'i hsin.
shêng jên chieh hai chih. 
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 49  

"The wise man has no fixed opinions to call his own.
He accommodates himself to the minds of others.
I would return good for good; I would also return evil for evil.
Virtue is good.
I would meet trust with trust; I would likewise meet suspicion with confidence.
Virtue is trustful.
The wise man lives in the world with modest restraint, and his heart goes out in sympathy to all men.
The people give him their confidence, and he regards them all as his children."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 49  

"The Sage has no interests of his own,
But takes the interests of the people as his own.
He is kind to the kind;
He is also kind to the unkind:
For Virtue is kind.
He is faithful to the faithful;
He is also faithful to the unfaithful:
For Virtue is faithful.
In the midst of the world, the Sage is shy and  self-effacing.
For the sake of the world he keeps his heart in its  nebulous state.
All the people strain their ears and eyes:
The Sage only smiles like an amused infant."
-  Translated by John C. H. Wu, Chapter 49  

"El Sabio no tiene intereses propios,
Hace suyos los intereses del pueblo.
Es bueno con los buenos
y también con los que no son buenos,
y así consigue que estos se tornen a la bondad.
Confía en el sincero
y también en los que no son sinceros,
y así consigue que estos se vuelvan dignos de confianza.
El Sabio vive en el respeto de todos.
Fusiona su mente con el mundo.
Las cien familias dirigen sus oídos y sus ojos hacia él,
Y él los educa como si fueran sus hijos." 
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 49

"The Sage has no self to call his own.
He makes the self of the people his self.
To the good I act with goodness;
To the bad I also act with godness:
Thus goodness is attained.
To the faithful I act with faith;
To the faithless I also act with faith:
Thus faith is attained.
The Sage lives in the world in concord, and rules ovet the world in simplicity.
Yet what all the people turn their eyes and ears to,
The Sage looks after as a mother does her children."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 49 

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Tao Te Ching English Language Corncordance by Gerold Claser.  An excellent English language concordance providing terms, chapter and line references, and the proximal English language text.  No Chinese language characters or Wade-Giles or Pinyin Romanizations.  Based on the translation by John H. McDonald, available on the Internet in the public domain. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Precious and Magical Water

Every morning I walk out in my back yard and check the irrigation ditch that runs through my property.  Every thirty or forty days or so in the dry months the ditch will be filled with flowing water.  The rancher to the southwest breeds horses and rancher to the northwest raises cattle.  They irrigate their large fields to raise wheat and other grains to feed their animals.  Some of the overflow runs through the ditch to a nearby creek.  

Numerous neighbors, including myself, have dug small ponds which capture this water and provide water for wildlife and for human enjoyment. 

I pump water out of this ditch and irrigate our trees and shrubs.  We will sometimes have six hoses running at the same time, and move them around every forty minutes or so.  Over the last fourteen years I have put in many white PVC pipes underground to bring this treasured water to where it is need. 

 "If there is magic on the planet, it is contained in the water."
-  Loren Eisley

"A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself."
- Laura Gilpin

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Nine Temple Chi Kung Exercises

The Temple Qigong (Chi Kung) form consists of nine exercises.  It was popularized by Grand Master Marshall Ho'o (1910-1993) of Los Angeles, California.  It is also referred to as the Nine Temple Exercises, or the Marshall Ho'o Temple Exercises.  

My webpage on Temple Qigong provides a bibliography, links, the names of the movements, and an explanation of each movement.  

Marshall Ho'o wrote a book 1968 which included an explanation with photographic illustrations of the Temple Qigong set.  The black and white photos in that book were of poor quality and the editing was unsatisfactory.  An instructional DVD also teaches this form.  

"Dr. Ho'o was instrumental in the certification of acupuncture in the State of California. He was the first Tai Chi Master to have been elected to the Black Belt Hall of Fame.  He was Dean of the Aspen Academy of Martial & Healing Arts, on the faculty of California Institute of the Arts, and taught Tai Chi and Acupressure at many educational institutions.  In 1973, he created a series for KCET public television, in Los Angeles, teaching Tai Chi.  He was a consultant to Prevention Magazine's The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies.  A Chinese American, Dr. Ho'o was America's first Tai Chi Chuan Grandmaster.  His influence is far-reaching in both the fields of healing and martial arts."
The Lineage, Teachers of Two Birds Tai Chi

Tai Chi Chuan  By Marshall Hoo.  Burbank, California, Ohara Publications, Inc., 1986, 1993.  111 pages.  ISBN: 0897501098.  VSCL.  The Nine Temple exercise set is briefly described in this book on pages 18-42.  Each movement is clearly illustrated by four to eight clear black and white photographs of a woman doing the form.  The Taijiquan is the Standard 24 Form in the Yang Style. 

Tai Chi Chuan: The 27 forms by Marshall Hoo .   Instructional DVD, released in 2005, by Marshall Ho'o.  Black Belt Videos, 90 minutes.  Includes the Nine Temple Qigong.   

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Love What Abides

"We that change,
Hate change.
And we that pass,
Love what abides.
R. H. Blyth (1898-1964), Mortality

I first read books by R. H. Blyth when I was fourteen years old.  He inspired me then; and, he inspires me when I read him at the ripe old age of 68.  I find his writing quirky, insightful, clever, down to earth, over-reaching at times, puzzling, disjointed, full of Zen, strong on comparisons between Western and Eastern poets, steeped in Japanese culture, and brilliant.  He was my first intellectual and literary contact with Zen, along with books by Alan Watts and D.T. Suzuki. 

Zen Poetry

Haiku and Short Poems by Mike Garofalo

Monday, August 11, 2014

Is Sitting Meditation the Best

"We're fooling ourselves a bit to think that we're meditating as we're gardening or waling or out on the golf course or volunteering or even reading "spiritual books."  Those are all cause and conditions that, with the right mindset - a mindset based on wise intention and anchored to a committed sitting practice - can enable us to relax, to be more at peace, to have some insights, to even have an occasional experience of oneness with all that is.  But those activities, in and of themselves, with anchoring in strong intention and committed sitting practice, are unable to transform and free our minds.  They are not in themselves, the necessary causes of awakening, let's not deceive ourselves in the time we have left.

We need the focused, concentrated energy of awareness that seems only to be cultivated with a daily practice if we wish to walk through the world with clarity and compassion.  We need to carve out the time to sit if we have not yet done so, , or carve out more time if we have already begun.  Sitting - the silent, noble stilling of the body and the mind for the purpose of liberating awareness into beyond-self, into deeper, more illuminated consciousness - allows an opening in the limited, limiting paradigm of separate self and only form.

Sitting practice is where transformation is effected, where neural connections are rewired.  Sitting practice is the launching pad for piercing insight, direct knowing, and the opening of the heart.  It is the base of operations."

-  Kathleen Dowling Singh, "The Grace in Aging: Awaken as You Grow Older," Wisdom Publications, 2014, p. 33.  A very good book about Buddhist theory and practices.  

Many Taijiquan, Qigong, and Yoga teachers strongly recommend seated meditation as part of a rigorous mind-body-spirit practice.

"Practice is the seedbed of miracles."
-  Michael Murphy

Undoubtedly, many people find the consistent, daily, and serious practice of seated meditation of great benefit to mind, body, and spirit.  Only practice and experience will reveal and bear fruit. 

I favor keeping the "mindset" Ms. Singh admirably describes while walking, gardening, practicing mind-body arts, reading, writing, and sitting.  There are many useful paths to enlightened awareness, mystical experiences, openness, cultivating loving kindness, or the Eightfold Path.  The practice of enlightened living is cultivated in our daily lives, relations with other beings, and in our understanding of the changing and impermanent circumstances of our being-in-the-world.  I find the desired "mindset" or "no-mind-set" while sitting in my garden, sometimes listening to music, sometimes reading poetry (see R. H. Blyth), or "spiritual books," sometimes just sitting and listening to bird songs and the rustling of leaves in the morning breeze.  It is my personal preference to not regard seated meditation as the highest and most effective and most superior pathway to enlightenment and whatever "enlightenment" means.  To each is own!  

Walking Meditation

Standing Meditation

Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons

Buddhism:  Reading List and Bibliography  

"Basho used to sit cross-legged from morning till night in constant meditation.  His master Nagaku saw him and asked: "Why are you sitting cross-legged in meditation?"  "I am trying to become a Buddha," he answered.  The master picked up a brick and began polishing it on a stone nearby.  "What are you doing, Master?asked Basho.  "I am trying to turn this brick into a mirror," was the answer.  "No amount of polishing will turn the brick into a mirror, sir."  "If so, no amount of sitting cross-legged will make you into a Buddha," retorted the master."
Games Zen Masters Play: The Writings of R. H. Blyth.,  p.13.   

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice there is."
-  Yogi Berra


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Family Fun

Our two granddaughters, Katelyn and Makenna, have been visiting at our home since July 27th.  Their mother, our daughter, Alicia, has been visiting since August 1st.  Their father, Sean, joined us all on August 8th.  All four return to Portland, Oregon, on Monday, August 11th.

We had many local trips and special activities with all of them.  For example, on Friday 8/8, we toured the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield and the State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.  Yesterday, we all we to Whiskeytown Lake near Redding.  Alicia and the girls attended three of my yoga classes.  Karen led crafts, garden play, coloring, swimming in a blow up pool in our yard, and other fun activities.

We had all camped together at South Beach State Park in Newport, Oregon, from 7/23 until 7/27.

Karen and I had a great time visiting with everyone.  

Saturday, August 09, 2014

A Yoga Routine for Diabetics

Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing  By Timothy McCall, M.D. and Yoga Journal.  Bantam, 2007.  592 pages.  ISBN: 0553384066.  VSCL.  Diabetes discussed on pages 281-298.  This sequence of asanas for diabetics was suggested by the Yoga Master Sandra Summerfield Kozak.  
1.  Kapalabhati Breathing 
2.  Alternate Nostril Breathing  (Nadi Shodhana) 
3.  Mindfulness Meditation
4.  Modified Sun Salutations
5.  Cobra Pose  (Bhujangasana) 
6.  Locust Pose  (Salabasana) 
7.  Seated Forward Bend  (Paschimottanasana) 
8.  Tree Pose  (Vrksasana) 
9.  Triangle Pose  (Trikonsasana) 
10.  Warrior I  (Virabhadrasana I) 
11.  Warrior II  (Virabhadrasana II) 
12.  Extended Side Angle Pose  (Utthita Parsvakonasana) 
13.  Standing Twist  (Marichyasana) 
14.  Bridge Pose  (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) 
15.  Seated Twist 
16.  Alligator Twist  (Jathara Parivartasana) 
17.  Relaxation Pose  (Savasana) 
Practice Karma Yoga (Serving, Volunteering, Helping, Giving, Sharing)   

My Diabetes Management Program for 2014