Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lunge Exercise

The common exercise called the "lunge" is used in many fitness programs.  Basically, one leg is positioned forward with the knee bent and the front foot flat on the floor.  The forward knee joint should be positioned directly over the center of the foot.  The forward kneecap should not go past the toes or behind the heel.  

The back leg is extended and positioned behind the body.  The back foot may face forward, or to the side at up to a 45 degree angle.  The back knee may be slightly bent, or bent quite a bit and lowered down nearly to the floor, depending upon the strength and knee flexibility of the exerciser.   

The upper torso is kept erect and centered over the hips.  Look straight forward and keep the head lifted.  The arms and hands may take a variety of positions.  

The lunge exercise works the muscles of the thighs, buttocks. hip flexors and extensors, calves, lower back, and the hamstrings.  All lunges primarily strengthen the muscles of the front of the thigh (quadriceps).   

The lunge exercise is often performed using one's bodyweight alone; however, many athletes hold dumbells, kettlebells, or barbells in their hands as they step forward into the lunge position and then back to a standing position.  

Yoga uses many lunge postures:  Warrior poses (Virabhadrasana), Cresent Moon (Anjaneyasana), Equestrain (Ashwa Sanchalanasana), etc.  The Equestrian pose also stretches the illio psoas muscle in the back leg side.  

Tai Chi Chuan uses many forward lunge postures:  Parting the Wild Horses Mane, Brush Knee, Single Whip, Ward Off, Fair Lady Works the Shuttles, etc.; and side lunge postures: Lazily Tying the Coat, etc.

Taijiquan and yoga lunge poses often do not drop the back knee so low the ground, tend to keep the back leg straighter with the knee slightly bend, and the back foot at an angle.  This position is much safer for older persons.  Bodybuilders, weightlifters and younger active athletes tend to keep both feet facing forward, dip the back knee closer to the floor, and hold dumbbells in their hands. 

Lunge Exercises: Videos, How To, Safety Tips and More.  By Mike Behnken.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Nothing is Blessed Forever

"Laetus in praesens animus quod ultra est oderit curare et amara lento temperet risu.
Nihil est ab omni parte beatum
Joyful let the soul be in the present, let it disdain to trouble about what is beyond and temper bitterness with a laugh.
Nothing is blessed forever."
-  Horace

"To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action.  Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course.  Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you.  Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude."
-  Albert Schweitzer  

"The clearest sign of wisdom is continued cheerfulness."
-  Michel Montaigne  

"All our moments are last moments.   We abide in the forever leaving of our own coming?  We can put our hands together, palm to palm, settling here on the last leaf of our brief flight, and bow to the wonder of it."
-  Jen Jensen, Bowing to Receive the Mountain, 1997 

Ten Positive Energy Prescriptions
"1.  Awaken intuition and rejuvenate yourself.
2.  Find a nurturing spiritual path.
3.  Design an energy-aware approach to diet, fitness and health.
4.  Generate positive emotional energy to counter negativity.
5.  Develop a heart-centered sexuality.
6.  Open yourself to the flow of inspiration and creativity. 
7.  Celebrate the sacredness of laughter, pampering, and the replenishment of retreat.
8.  Attract positive people and situations.
9.  Protect yourself from energy vampires.
10.  Create abundance."

-  Judith Orloff, M.D.. 
   Positive Energy,


Friday, March 27, 2015

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 19

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 19

"Abandon holiness,
discard your plans,
and the people will improve.
Let go of duty,
and the people will find devotion. 
Renounce learning and ceremony,
and the people will find peace.
Ditch your clever schemes and thirst for profit,
and thieves will disappear.
Better yet,
just return to the purity and simplicity,
of raw silk or unworked wood.
Lose your self-consciousness
and ease yourself away from desire."
-  Translated by Crispin Starwell, Chapter 19 

"Get rid of "holiness" and abandon "wisdom" and the people will benefit a hundredfold.
Get rid of "altruism" and abandon "Justice" and the people will return to filial piety and compassion.
Get rid of cleverness and abandon profit, and thieves and gangsters will not exist.
Since the above three are merely words, they are not sufficient.
Therefore there must be something to include them all. 
See the origin and keep the non-differentiated state.
Lessen selfishness and decrease desire."
-  Translated by Charles Muller, 1891, Chapter 19  

"Stop being learned and your troubles will end.
Give up wisdom, discard cleverness, and the people will benefit a hundredfold.
Give up benevolence, discard moral judgments, and the people will rediscover natural compassion.
Give up shrewdness, discard gain, and thieves and robbers will disappear.  
These three false adornments are not enough to live by.
They must give way to something more solid.
Look for what is simple and hold onto the Uncarved Block.
Diminish thoughts of self and restrain desires."
-  Translated by Tolbert McCarroll, 1982, Chapter 19 

"It is better merely to live one's life,
realizing one's potential,
rather than wishing 
for sanctification.
He who lives in filial piety and love 
has no need of ethical teaching. 
When cunning and profit are renounced, 
stealing and fraud will disappear. 
But ethics and kindness, and even wisdom, 
are insufficient in themselves. 
Better by far to see the simplicity
of raw silk's beauty
and the uncarved block;
to be one with oneself, 
and with one's brother.
It is better by far 
to be one with the Tao,
developing selflessness,
tempering desire,
removing the wish,
but being compassionate."
-  Translated by Stan Rosenthal, 1984, Chapter 19 
絕聖棄智, 民利百倍.
絕仁棄義, 民復孝慈.
絕巧棄利, 民有無賊.
絕巧棄利, 盜無 ?者
此三者以為文不足, 故令有所屬.

-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 19

chüeh shêng ch'i chih, min li pai pei.
chüeh jên ch'i yi, min fu hsiao tz'u.
chüeh hsüeh ch'i li, min yu wu yu.
chüeh ch'iao ch'i li, tao tsê wu yu. 
tz'u san chê yi wei wên pu tsu, ku ling yu so shu.
chien su pao p'u.
shao ssu kua yü.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 19  

"If the people renounce self-control and reject wisdom,
Let them gain simplicity and purity
If the people renounce duty to man and reject right conduct,
Let them return to filial piety deep, deep in the heart.
If they renounce skill and leave off search for profit,
Let them rob and by violence take possession of spiritual life.
These three things do not help our progress.
Therefore now let us seek
To perceive simplicity,
To conserve beauty in the heart,
To curb selfishness and to have few desires."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 19 

"Prescribe la sabiduría, descarta la santidad,
y el pueblo se beneficiará cien veces.
Prescribe la bondad humana, descarta la moralidad,
Y el pueblo será abnegado y compasivo.
Prescribe la habilidad, descarta el provecho,
y así bandidos y ladrones desaparecerán.
Pero estas tres normas no bastan.
Por esto, atiende a lo sencillo y genuino,
reduce tu egoísmo, y restringe los deseos."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 19   

"If men would lay aside their holiness
And wisdom, they would gain a hundred-fold,
And, if benevolence and righteousness,
Parental care and filial love would hold;
If they would drop their cleverness and gain,
Robbers would cease to trouble, as of old.   
Here are three things where decorating fails,
Let them again embrace reality,
Let them restore the purity of old,
Let them return to their simplicity,
Curb selfishness, diminish their desires,
And in the genuine find felicity."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 19 
"Terminate 'sageliness', junk 'wisdom'
the people will benefit a hundred-fold.
Terminate 'humanity', junk 'morality'
the people will respond with 'filiality' and 'affection.'
Terminate 'artistry', junk 'benefit'
thieves and robbers will lack 'existence'.
These three
taken as slogans are insufficient.
Hence, leads us to postulate that to which they belong.
Visualize simplicity and embrace uncarved wood.
Downgrade 'selfishness' and diminish 'desire.'
Terminate learning and you will lack irritation."
-  Translated by Chad Hansen, Chapter 19 

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

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes 20 different English translations or interpolations of each Chapter, 3 Spanish translations for each Chapter, the Chinese characters for each Chapter, and the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin Romanization of the Mandarin Chinese words for each Chapter; extensive indexing by key words and terms for each Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization is provided; recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, and other resources for each Chapter are included.  


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Learning Tai Chi Chuan - Semi-Independent Study

The most frequent question I am asked is "Where I live there are no Taijiquan teachers of the the Taijiquan style X that I want to learn.  How do I go about learning Taijiquan Style X?"

You always need to learn Tai Chi by observing someone doing the Taijiquan form you are studying, and listening carefully to their instructions.  Fortunately, in 2015, for most Taijiquan forms, you have from two to ten different choices of very knowledgeable instructors or Masters who teach the Taijiquan form that you are learning by means of good instructional DVDs or videos.  Also, for some popular Taijiquan forms there are excellent books or manuals available for the form you are learning, or very good online webpages on the form.  Sometimes there are VCDs that can be played on a home computer.  Finally, there are some online courses and UTube demonstrations of the form you are learning.  

You are learning the "basics" from a good live teacher and/or a good writer.  All Taijiquan is learned this way.  

My own webpages provide extensive bibliographies of these many learning resources.  I also provide many suggestions and remarks about learning specific forms using DVDs, videos, and books, e.g.,  Standard 24 Taijiquan Form.  

Instructional DVDs come in NTSC and PAL formats, with NTSC format being used on DVD players in the United States.  If you are purchasing your DVD from outside the United States it is most likely in the PAL format and will not work properly on your DVD player.  Caveat Emptor.  

I use a small desktop DVD player.  My Vzon model, playing the NTSC format, has a hand held DVD controller and controls on the machine.  I no longer use instructional VHS videos, because you can't as easily cue as with DVDs. 

You want to purchase a DVD that teaches the Taijiquan form.  You want an instructional DVD, not a demonstration DVD.  Advanced Tai Chi students can sometimes learn from a demonstration DVD, but not without much difficulty.  All Tai Chi learners can benefit from a good instructional DVD that breaks the form down into discrete sections (lessons, blocks) and provides detailed verbal instructions on how to perform the movements in each section.  Sometimes a section is called a "lesson" and might include three or four movements of the form.  The best instructional DVDs feature frequent repetition of a movement, clear voice over narration, the use of different camera angles for showing a movement sequence, sectional performance demonstrations, and complete demonstrations of the form from a front and back view.  It is essential to get the narration in the language you use, because it is very hard to read subtitles and carefully study the the movements visually at the same time.   

Study each DVD lesson carefully, make notes, memorize the names of the movements in that lesson, then immediately practice each lesson until you can perform the movement sequence in the lesson on your own.  Repeat, repeat, repeat!!  Don't move on to the next lesson until you can perform the movements in the lesson you are studying on your own.  Give yourself a little slack and accept being just "satisfactory" at performing each lesson.  Over time you will refine and perfect your performance.   

After learning the first lesson, then proceed in the same manner to learn the second lesson.  Then combine the first and second lesson and practice them together until you can perform them on your own.  Don't move on to lesson three until you can easily and smoothly perform lessons one and two combined.  To "learn" means to me to be able to remember and easily, consistently, and smoothly perform a sequence of movements on your own.  Study Lesson 1, practice and learn Lesson 1; study Lesson 2, practice and learn Lessons 1 + 2; study Lesson 3, practice and learn Lessons 1 + 2 + 3; study Lesson 4, practice and learn Lessons 1 + 2 + 3 +4, etc. 

As with all learning the keys are: daily study, careful study, paying attention, remembering, daily practice, patience, repetition, visualization, verbal cues, making notes, and confidence.  Take your time, don't rush, be patient.  The process of learning might take months. 

Here are some suggestions from Robert Chuckrow: 

"Whereas a form-instruction video is no substitute for a qualified teacher, those who live far from any teacher are still better off learning from a video than if they had no instruction at all. For those who have a teacher, a video can augment and accelerate the learning process. Finally, those who have had prior instruction in internal arts should be able to attain a substantial benefit from a video.

One method of learning a form from a video is to repeatedly do the entire form or blocks of the form along with the video. However, this method is not efficient because there is insufficient opportunity to reinforce each movement. A better way is to refrain from doing movement while watching the video. Rather, it is good to choose a small block of material, watch it a few times. Then, without any major physical action, visualize the sequence of movements as clearly as possible. Next, go back to the beginning of that block of material, and view and visualize it again a few times. Only after clear and complete visualization is achieved should the movements be attempted physically.

At first it will seem extremely difficult to work this way. With persistence, however, it is possible to achieve a level of visualization so intense that the imagined movements are almost as vivid as those seen on a TV screen. The dividends of the process of visualization are twofold: (1) By subduing the physical aspects of movement (e.g., balance, coordination, kinetic sense, timing), you can completely focus the mind on the details of the movement. (2) By cultivating the ability to visualize and mentally encompass complex details, you become increasingly able to observe and learn new movements quickly, especially in situations where it is not feasible to move while observing (e.g., dreams, teacher showing movements while the class watches). Referring to the dimension of self-defense, the more you can observe and mentally encompass the movements of the opponent, the greater the advantage achieved."
- Robert Chuckrow, The Tai Chi Book, YMAA Publication Center, Boston, MA, 1998, pp. 119–120

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sitting Becomes Tiresome

A typical American watches and average of 34 hours of television each week.  A few people don’t watch television and, of course, many people watch television more than 40 hours a week.  Neilsen surveys report that children aged 2-11 watch over 24 hours of TV per week, while adults aged 35-49 watch more than 33 hours a week. The average American watches more than five hours of television every day. Once we pass 65, the typical person watches more than seven hours a day.


Sitting and watching television for seven hours each day?? ... how tiresome.  And, sitting for long periods is very bad for your health.  Even more, most television programs and their incessant commercials are, for me, just boring, repetitious, and tiresome. 

So, a secret revealed:  You will get, on the average, 21 hours of “free” time every week by not sitting and watching more than 2 hours of television each day.  Even better, turn off your television for a month and you will get 136 hours of free time in that month.  And, another benefit is that by not sitting you will improve your health. 

"A monk asked Hsiang Lin, "What is the meaning of the Patriarch's coming from the West?"
Hsiang Lin said, "Sitting for a long time becomes tiresome."

-  The Blue Cliff Record, Case 17, Translated by Thomas Cleary and J. C. Cleary, 2005, p 110

Standing Meditation

Walking Meditation


Taijiquan Moving Meditation

Monday, March 23, 2015

Actualizing Emptiness in Standing Postures

"Great emphasis is paid by some practitioners in achieving Wuji (or obtaining emptiness or the void) at the beginning and/or end of any Taijiquan practice session.  Since Wuji means to embrace a limitless form of emptiness, some try to literally achieve an empty state and ignore their predisposition and position before they embark on practicing the Taijiquan form.  As such, this may be difficult for some who don't get the leap to nothingness, and cannot relax their breath or slow down their pulse enough to begin such contemplation.  Therefore, seeking equality throughout the practitioner's standing structure is one approach to achieving an "empty state." 
    At the onset, stand straight from the top of the head through the perineum point, with the feet parallel and separated one shoulder's width.  Suspend the top of the head, as if by a string.  Let the hands hand down at the sides.  Stand still and quiet.  The legs are straight but the knees are slightly bent, and an equal amount of weight is placed on both feet.  Let the chest be full, but relaxed, and allow the upper back to lift, but do no raise the shoulders or tighten the neck.  Release the tailbone, and sink the pubic region.  Center the tailbone under the length of the spine and relax in order to straighten, forming one vertical reference line from top to bottom.
    Look out and down on a 45 degree angle towards the earth, about 10 meters (approximately 30 feet) in front of you, and tuck the chin slightly.  As you stand, release any tension or stress, but remain erect.  As you stand quietly, balance the energies in you body without over exertion of thought.  Start by balancing left and right on both sides of the brain and what you hear in either ear, see in both eyes, and the quality of breath in the nostrils.  Relax the shoulders and balance their tensions.  Relax the ribs, elbows and hips and the stress in either side.  Carry this attenion all the way down through the soles of the feet, and in effect, "empty" while balancing the lateral aspects of the organism.  Taiji is finding substantiality within insubstantially (and vice-a-versa), while Wuji is emptying through actualizing equality, and, as much as one can accept (or let go of), dispelling any differentiation whatsoever.  If the practitioner wishes to be thorough, this process is then repeated through the ventral and dorsal, superior and inferior, and inner and outer aspects of the practitioner's standing structure. 
    Once the practitioner has counterbalanced all aspect of their organism, emptiness can be actualized.  Because there's less (or no) differentiation, there is nothing for the practitioner to hold onto.  The mind does not have to engage in any activity, because the practitioner has processed going though and releasing all that was pent up, all that was asymmetrical, and as such, the mind has nothing to grabble with─even minutely─and, therefore, the practitioner can let go and give way to emptiness."
Up and Down Hands": The Alpha and Omega of Taijiquan Practice.  By Gerald A. Sharp.  Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness, Volume 25, No. 1, Spring, 2015, pp. 18-24. 

Standing Meditation: Lessons, Guide, Bibliography, Quotations, and Research.  By Michael P. Garofalo.  Information about Wuji, Tadasana, Zhan Zhuang (Stance Keeping, Standing Post), San Ti Shi,  Embrace the One, Open Hands and Close Hands, Hold the Magic Pearl, Yi Quan, Hugging the Tree, Bear Posture, Empty State, and other Standing Meditation Postures.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lao Jia Yi Lu Taijiquan

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.  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 20

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 20

"Give up learning, and put an end to your troubles.
Is there a difference between yes and no?
Is there a difference between good and evil?
Must I fear what others fear? What nonsense!
Other people are contented, enjoying the sacrificial feast of the ox.
In spring some go to the park, and climb the terrace,
But I alone am drifting, not knowing where I am.
Like a newborn babe before it learns to smile,
I am alone, without a place to go.
Others have more than they need, but I alone have nothing.
I am a fool. Oh, yes! I am confused.
Others are clear and bright,
But I alone am dim and weak.
Others are sharp and clever,
But I alone am dull and stupid.
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea,
Without direction, like the restless wind.
Everyone else is busy,
But I alone am aimless and depressed.
I am different.
I am nourished by the great mother."
-  Translated by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English, 1989, Chapter 20  

"Get rid of "learning" and there will be no anxiety.
How much difference is there between "yes" and "no"?
How far removed from each other are "good" and "evil"?
Yet what the people are in awe of cannot be disregarded.
I am scattered, never having been in a comfortable center.
All the people enjoy themselves, as if they are at the festival of the great sacrifice,
Or climbing the Spring Platform.
I alone remain, not yet having shown myself.
Like an infant who has not yet laughed.
Weary, like one despairing of no home to return to.
All the people enjoy extra
While I have left everything behind.
I am ignorant of the minds of others.
So dull!
While average people are clear and bright, I alone am obscure.
Average people know everything.
To me alone all seems covered.
So flat!
Like the ocean.
Blowing around!
It seems there is no place to rest.
Everybody has a goal in mind.
I alone am as ignorant as a bumpkin.
I alone differ from people.
I enjoy being nourished by the mother."
-  Translated by Charles Muller, 1891, Chapter 20  

"Cease learning, no more worries
Respectful response and scornful response
How much is the difference?
Goodness and evil
How much do they differ?
What the people fear, I cannot be unafraid
So desolate! How limitless it is!
The people are excited
As if enjoying a great feast
As if climbing up to the terrace in spring
I alone am quiet and uninvolved
Like an infant not yet smiling
So weary, like having no place to return
The people all have surplus
While I alone seem lacking
I have the heart of a fool indeed so ignorant!
Ordinary people are bright
I alone am muddled
Ordinary people are scrutinizing
I alone am obtuse
Such tranquility, like the ocean
Such high wind, as if without limits
The people all have goals
And I alone am stubborn and lowly
I alone am different from them
And value the nourishing mother"
-  Translated by Derek Linn, 2006, Chapter 20 

唯之與阿, 相去幾何.
善之與惡, 相去若何.
人之所畏, 不可不畏.
我獨怕兮其未兆, 如嬰兒之未孩.
衆人皆有餘, 而我獨若遺.
我愚人之心也哉, 沌沌兮.
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 20

wei chih yü a, hsiang ch'ü chi ho.
 shan chih yü wu, hsiang ch'ü jo ho.
 jên chih so wei, pu k'o pu wei.
 huang hsi ch'i wei yang tsai.
 chung jên hsi hsi.
 ju hsiang ta lao.
 ju ch'un têng t'ai.
 wo tu p'o hsi ch'i wei chao, ju ying erh chih wei hai.
 lei lei hsi jo wu so kuei.
 chung jên chieh yu yü, erh wo tu jo yi.
 wo yü jên chih hsin yeh tsai, t'un t'un hsi.
 su jên chao chao.
 wo tu hun.
 hun su jên ch'a ch'a.
 wo tu mên mên.
 tan hsi ch'i jo hai.
 liu hsi jo wu chih.
 chung jên chieh yu yi.
 erh wo tu wan ssu pi.
 wo tu yi yü jên, erh kuei shih mu.
 -  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 20  

"Leave off fine learning! End the nuisance
Of saying yes to this and perhaps to that,
Distinctions with how little difference!
Categorical this, categorical that,
What slightest use are they!
If one man leads, another must follow,
How silly that is and how false!
Yet conventional men lead an easy life
With all their days feast days,
A constant spring visit to the Tall Tower,
While I am a simpleton, a do-nothing,
Not big enough yet to raise a hand,
Not grown enough to smile,
A homeless, worthless waif.
Men of the world have a surplus of goods,
While I am left out, owning nothing.
What a booby I must be
Not to know my way round,
What a fool!
The average man is so crisp and so confident
That I ought to be miserable
Going on and on like the sea,
Drifting nowhere.
All these people are making their mark in the world,
While I, pig-headed, awkward,
Different from the rest,
Am only a glorious infant still nursing at the breast."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 20 

"Renounce knowledge and your problems will end.
What is the difference between yes and no?
What is the difference between good and evil?
Must you fear what others fear?
Nonsense, look how far you have missed the mark!

Other people are joyous,
as though they were at a spring festival.
I alone am unconcerned and expressionless,
like an infant before it has learned to smile.

Other people have more than they need;
I alone seem to possess nothing.
I am lost and drift about with no place to go.
I am like a fool, my mind is in chaos.

Ordinary people are bright;
I alone am dark.
Ordinary people are clever;
I alone am dull.
Ordinary people seem discriminating;
I alone am muddled and confused.
I drift on the waves on the ocean,
blown at the mercy of the wind.
Other people have their goals,
I alone am dull and uncouth.

I am different from ordinary people.
I nurse from the Great Mother's breasts."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 20 

"Suprime el adoctrinamiento y no habrá preocupaciones.
¿Qué diferencia hay entre el sí y el no?
¿Qué diferencia hay entre el bien y el mal?
¡El dicho “lo que otros evitan, yo también deberé evitar”
cuán falso y superficial es!
No es posible abarcar todo el saber.
Todo el mundo se distrae y disfruta,
como cuando se presencia un gran sacrificio,
o como cuando se sube a los jardines de una torre en primavera.
Sólo yo doy cabida a la duda,
no copiando lo que otros hacen,
como un recién nacido que aún no sabe sonreír.
Como quien no sabe a dónde dirigirse,
como quien no tiene hogar.
Todo el mundo vive en la abundancia,
sólo yo parezco desprovisto.
Consideran mi mente como la de un loco
por sentir umbrías confusiones y críticas.
Todo el mundo brilla porque solo las luces buscan,
sólo yo me atrevo a transitar por las tinieblas.
Todo el mundo se conforma con su felicidad,
sólo yo me adentro en mi depresión.
Soy como quien deriva en alta mar,
voy contra la corriente sin un rumbo predestinado.
Todo el mundo es puesto en algún uso;
sólo yo soy un ermitaño intratable y aburrido.
Sólo yo soy diferente a todos los demás
porque aprecio a la Madre Naturaleza que me nutre."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 20  

"Give up learning, and you will be free from all your worries.
What is the difference between yes and no about which the rhetoricians have so much to say?
What is the difference between good and evil on which the critics never agree?
These are futilities that prevent the mind from being free.
Now freedom of mind is necessary to enter into relation with the Principle.
Without doubt, among the things which common people fear, there are things that should be feared; but not as they do, with a mind so troubled that they lose their mental equilibrium.
Neither should one permit oneself to lose equilibrium through pleasure, as happens to those who have a good meal or view the surrounding countryside in spring from the top of a tower with the accompaniment of wine, etc.).
I, the Sage, seem to be colourless and undefined; neutral as a new-born child that has not yet experienced any emotion; without design or aim.
The common people abound in varied knowledge, but I am poor having rid myself of all uselessness and seem ignorant, so much have I purified myself.
They seem full of light, I seem dull.
They seek and scrutinize, I remain concentrated in myself.
Indeterminate, like the immensity of the oceans, I float without stopping.
They are full of talent, whereas I seem limited and uncultured.
I differ thus from the common people, because I venerate and imitate the universal nourishing mother, the Principle."
-  Translated by Derek Bryce, 1999, Chapter 20 

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

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes 20 different translations or interpolations of each Chapter in English, 3 Spanish translations for each Chapter, the Chinese characters for each Chapter, and a Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin Romanization of the Mandarin Chinese words for each Chapter; indexing by key words and terms for each Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization; recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, and other resources for each Chapter. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Vernal Equinox Celebration

Spring Equinox Celebration, March 20, 2015

Karen is headed up today to visit a sacred location at a campground by the McCloud River, in the Shasta Lake area.  She is going with four members of her Reiki Group - a Metaphysical Club with New Age and Neo-pagan roots.  

"Oh, what a catastrophe for man when he cut himself off from the rhythm of the year, from his unison with the sun and the earth.  Oh, what a catastrophic ...  This is what is the matter with us.  We are bleeding at the roots, because we are cut off from the earth and sun and starts ...  We plucked it from its stem on the Tree of Life, and expected it to keep on blooming in our civilized vase on the table."
-  D. H. Lawrence 

March: Poetry, Quotes, Sayings

The Green Man: Myths, Legends, Lore

Seasons and Months

One Old Druid's Final Journey



Quinquatria, Roman Festival in honor of Minerva, March 19 - March 23.  Minerva is the Roman Goddess, and the Greek Goddess with similar attributes is Athena, Patron of Athens.  This ancient Goddess is associated with civilization, wisdom, strength, strategy, poetry, weaving, magic, music, crafts, justice, and skills.  Her totem is the owl.  She is a virgin goddess, Pallas Athena, where she is one of three virgin goddesses along with Artemis and Hestia, known by the Romans as Diana and Vesta.  Minerva/Athna is featured on the great seal of the State of California.