Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Dead and Dying Are About

Halloween, Samhain, Dad of the Dead, End of the Year Coming, Fall

In America, today, we enjoy Halloween festivities.  People dress up in costumes.  Candy is exchanged and given to children.  Activities and games are played: bobbing for apples, scaring people, pranks, walking in corn mazes, pumpkin carving and rolling, nighttime fires, pie making, harvest activities, etc.  Of course, many people in America do nothing unusual today; and could care less about Nature religion and "pagan" Samhain festivities.   

I shoveled up the rotting remains of four pumpkins on our front porch ... limp, blackened yuck.  
We accidentally killed a squirrel on Highway 99, North Main, when it ran from the Red Bluff River Park onto the roadway.
Karen's friend's dog died today.
224 people died today in an airplane crash in the Sinai, Egypt.
Millions are dying from diseases: malnutrition, malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, typhoid, poisoning, cholera, cancer, stroke ....
Many are dying today because of wars and fighting all around the world.
Somebody dying has always been news, everywhere. 

Memories of Ancestors.
Greco-Roman Hellenistic Era
Memories of Traditions, Customs, Religions. Rituals, Languages
Time.  Death or Renewal Rituals

El Dia de la Muerte.
Remember and celebrate our Ancestors.

Halloween Skeletons will walk on the streets tonight. 

Macabre.  Play acts and costumes.  

Reminding us of Darkness, Fears, Monsters, Fate, Death!

Happy Halloween!!! 

Just Walk

"Walking meditation means to enjoy walking without any intention to arrive. We don't need to arrive anywhere.  We just walk. We enjoy walking. That means walking is already stopping, and that needs some training.  Usually in our daily life we walk because we want to go somewhere. Walking is only a means to an end, and that is why we do not enjoy every step we take. Walking meditation is different. Walking is only for walking. You enjoy every step you take. So this is a kind of revolution in walking. You allow yourself to enjoy every step you take.
The Zen master Ling Chi said that the miracle is not to walk on burning charcoal or in the thin air or on the water; the miracle is just to walk on earth. You breathe in. You become aware of the fact that you are alive. You are still alive and you are walking on this beautiful planet. That is already performing a miracle. The greatest of all miracles is to be alive. We have to awaken ourselves to the truth that we are here, alive. We are here making steps on this beautiful planet. This is already performing a miracle.  But we have to be here in order for the miracle to be possible. We have to bring ourselves back to the here and the now."
-  Thich Nhat Hanh, Resting in the River

Walking Meditation:  Quotes, Bibliography, Links, Information, Methods 
Compiled by Mike Garofalo.

"Walking meditation is walking in full awareness of breath, body and everything the senses present.  It is not an aerobic exercise - though it would be a fine lead-in to aerobic walking.  Rather, walking meditation is done slowly and consciously, with each step fully feeling the earth.  During this precious time, body and mind come together, joined in the present moment.  Although the benefits of walking meditation will deepen over time, even from the start, you can experience some measure of the relaxation, balance and quiet energy that builds through this practice."
-  Ginny Whitelaw, Body Learning, p. 55.   

"Research conducted at Harvard Medical School’s Mind/Body Medical Institute has found that focused walking meditations are highly effective for reducing anxiety and producing  what’s called the “relaxation response.”
Borgess Health   

The Ways of Walking  Compiled by Mide Garofalo.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 73

Daodejing, Laozi
Chapter 73

"He whose boldness appears in his daring to do wrong, in defiance of the laws is put to death;
He whose boldness appears in his not daring to do so lives on.
Of these two cases the one appears to be advantageous, and the other to be injurious.
When Heaven's anger smites a man,
Who the cause shall truly scan?
On this account the sage feels a difficulty as to what to do in the former case.
It is the way of Heaven not to strive, and yet it skillfully overcomes;
Not to speak, and yet it is skilful in obtaining a reply;
Does not call, and yet men come to it of themselves.
Its demonstrations are quiet, and yet its plans are skilful and effective.
The meshes of the net of Heaven are large; far apart, but letting nothing escape."
-  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 73 

"Courage, if carried to daring, leads to death;
Courage, if not carried to daring, leads to life.
Either of these two things is sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful.
"Why is it by heaven rejected,
Who has the reason detected?"
Therefore the holy man also regards it as difficult.
The Heavenly Reason strives not, but it is sure to conquer.
It speaks not, but it is sure to respond.
It summons not, but it comes of itself.
It works patiently, but is sure in its designs.
Heaven's net is vast, so vast.
It is wide-meshed, but it loses nothing."
-  Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 73 

"He who is brave in daring will be killed.
He who is brave in not daring will live.
Of these two, one is advantageous and one is harmful.
Who knows why Heaven dislikes what it dislikes?
Even the sage considers it a difficult question.
The Way of Heaven does not compete, and yet is skillfully achieves victory.
It does not speak, and yet it skillfully responds to things.
It comes to you without your invitation.
It is not anxious about things and yet it plans well.
Heaven's net is indeed vast.
Though its meshes are wide, it misses nothing."
-  Translated by Chan Wing-Tsit, 1963, Chapter 73  

"A brave man who dares to, will kill;
A brave man who dares not, spares life;
And from them both come good and ill;
"God hates some folks, but who knows why?"
The Wise Man hesitates there too:
God's Way is bound to conquer all
But not by strife does it proceed.
Not by words does God get answers:
He calls them not and all things come.
Master plans unfold but slowly,
Like God's wide net enclosing all:
Its mesh is coarse but none are lost."
-  Translated by Raymond Blakney, 1955, Chapter 73  

-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 73  

yung yü kan tsê sha.
yung yü pu kan tsê huo.
tz'u liang chê huo li huo hai.
t'ien chih so wu shu chih ch'i ku.
shih yi shêng jên yu nan chih.
t'ien chih tao pu chêng erh shan shêng. 
pu yen erh shan ying. 
pu chao erh tzu lai. 
ch'an jan erh shan mou.
t'ien wang k'uei k'uei. 
shu erh pu shih. 
-  Wade-Giles Transliteration, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 73

"One who’s fearless in being brave will be killed.
One who’s fearless in being cautious remains alive.
One of these is useful, the other harmful.
Heaven disdains what it disdains
Who knows the reasons why?
Even the wise find these things difficult.
The way of heaven
Overcomes easily without contention,
Replies though it does not speak,
Invites though it does not summon,
Obeys the laws though it seems free.
The net of heaven is vast.
The mesh is wide
But nothing slips through."
-  Translated by A. S. Kline, 2003, Chapter 73 

"He who is brave in daring will meet an unnatural death.
He who is brave in gentleness will be preserved.
Of these two kinds of bravery, one is beneficial, while the other proves harmful.
The subtle truth of the universe does not support those who are brave in daring,
yet there are still many people who do not understand such apparent truth.
So, even the one who integrates his being with the subtle essence of the universe,
dares not make light of the subtle law of life.
The subtle Way of the universe gave birth to a world of peace and order.
It responds to the order and harmony of all beings and things without needing to talk to them.
Without your summoning it, it comes to you.
Without scheming, its plan is perfect.
Vast is the subtle energy network of the universe.
Sparsely meshed it is, yet nothing can slip through it!"
-  Translated by Hua-Ching Ni, 1995, Chapter 73    

"El valiente que se arriesga, muere.
El valiente que no se arriesga, vive.
De estos dos, el primero es perjudicial
mientras que el último es favorable.
Quién conoce la causa de lo que el Cielo aborrece?
Por lo tanto, con más razón el sabio lo encuentra difícil.

El Tao del Cielo,
sin luchar, es bueno venciendo,
sin hablar, es bueno respondiendo,
sin ser llamado, viene por sí solo,
sin prisa, es bueno planeando.
La red del Cielo es vasta,
ampliamente extendida, de nada carece."
-  Translated by Álex Ferrara, 2003, Capítulo 73  

"He whose courage is expressed in daring will soon meet death.
He whose courage is shown in self-restraint will be preserved.
There are, then, two kinds of courage; the one is injurious and the other of advantage.
But who is to say why one of them should incur the judgment of Heaven?
That is why the Sage finds it difficult to act.
The celestial Tao does not strive, and yet overcomes everything.
It does not speak, yet is skilful in replying.
It does not call, yet things come to it readily.
It is quiet in its methods, yet its plans are thoroughly effective.
The net of Heaven has large meshes, and yet nothing escapes it!"
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 73

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes over 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter.  Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization.  Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, a Google Translate drop down menu, and other resources for that Chapter.   

Chapter 73, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

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

English Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Spanish Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

One Old Daoist Druid's Final Journey  


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chen Tai Chi Chuan First Form

Chen Style Taijiquan, Old Frame First Form, Lao Jia Yi Lu
A hypertext notebook 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.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Crane Frolics Chi Kung Exercises

6.  The Crane Opens and Closes Its Wings

Begin in the basic Crane stance with the hands at the waist.  The legs are separated with a shoulder's width.  Stretch the fingers open.  Inhale as you lift both hands up the center of the body, fingers pointing forward, arms about 24" apart.

As the hands reach the neck begin to move both hands to the side, upwards, and backwards.  Spread the arms as far apart as you can and to either side of the body as you lift both arms high above the head.  Draw the arms up and back as you gently bend backwards.

At the same time as the arms are lifted up and back, try to lift both heels off the ground, and come up on your toes.  Look up at the sky with your head drawn back. 
As you begin to exhale, gently draw the arms forward and down, straighten the back, look forward, and move the arms down to the waist.  

Repeat for 4 to 8 repetitions in a gentle, slow, calm, deliberate, and smooth manner. 

This movement is found in the Wild Goose Qigong (Dayan Chi Kung) routine.  Refer to "Wild Goose Qigong" by Hong-Chao Zhang, pp.20-21.  

Back-bending while standing with the arms lifted above the head and with the hands touching is a commonly used hatha yoga posture called Anyvittasana.   
This exercise is a hyperextension of the back, stretching of the latissimus dorsi muscles of sides of the upper back, a stretching of the upper rectus abdominis, engaging the pectoralis major, and a tensing of the trapezius muscles in the upper back and neck. 
This movement opens and fills with Qi (Chi, Energy) the Middle Dan Tien (i.e., 中丹田, Zhong Dantian, middle elixir fields, cauldron) of the esoteric body system explained in Chinese Qigong (Yoga); or, analogously, opens the Heart Chakra (Anhata) of Hatha Yoga.  Exercise of this area in the front of the body helps heal disturbed emotions, calms the spirit, strengthens the heart and lungs, and opens the Heart-Soul to the grace of light energy. 
The wide-spread arms held up high help establish a feeling of opening up, freeing oneself, and uplifting one's mood and spirit.  

You often see this ritual body posture in Christian revival meetings as a kind of "Saying Hallelujah" posture.

If the movement was done forcefully and with power and quickly it would be the flapping of the wings of a powerful bird like a Crane or wild Goose or for a human bodybuilder the performance of incline dumbbell flys. 


Crane Frolic Qigong Exercise Set

Eight Animals Frolics Mind/Body Fitness Practices (Chi Kung) by Mike Garofalo

The webpages for the eight specific animals will also have photographs of me or others doing these exercises.  There are also five, eight or twelve animals in Shaolin Kung Fu, Ba Gua Zhang, Taijiquan, and Xing Yi Quan.  Movements or postures called a "crane" or "hawk" or "rooster" are found in most of these mind-body internal arts.   

Chinese exercises recommended for improving fitness, maintaining good health, overcoming diseases, increasing energy and vitality, contributing to good mental health, and improving one's chances for longevity have a very long documented history going back to as early as 160 BCE in the Daoyin Tu.    

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Good Mental Health Traits

Traits and Behaviors of Mental Heath

"Although no group of authorities fully agree on a definition of the term mental health, it seems seems to include several traits and behaviors that are frequently endorsed by leading theorists and therapists (e.g., Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Karen Horney, Erich Fromm, Rudolf Dreikurs, Fritz Perls, Abraham Maslow, Marie Jahoda, Carol Rodgers, Rollo May, Albert Ellis, etc.).  These include such traits as self-interest, self-direction, social interest, tolerance, acceptance of ambiguity and uncertainty, flexibility, acceptance of social reality, commitment, risk taking, self-acceptance, rationality and scientific thinking.  Not all mentally healthy individuals possess the highest degree of these traits at all times, but when people seriously lack them or when they have extreme opposing behaviors, we often consider them to be at least somewhat emotionally disturbed.  

Self Interest:  Emotionally healthy people are primarily true to themselves and do not subjugate themselves or unduly sacrifice themselves for others.  Realizing that if they do not primarily take care of themselves no one else will, they tend to put themselves first, a few selected others a close second, and the rest of the world not too far behind.

Self-Direction:  Mentally healthy people largely assume responsibility for their own lives, enjoy the independence of mainly working out their own problems, and, while at times wanting or preferring the help of others, do not think that they absolutely must have such support for their effectiveness and well-being.  
Social Interest:  Emotionally and mentally healthy people are normally gregarious and decide to try to live happily in a social group.  Because they want to live successfully with others, and usually to relate intimately to a few of these selected others, they work at feeling and displaying a considerable degree of social interest and interpersonal competence.  
Tolerance:  Emotionally healthy people tend to give other humans the right to be wrong.  While disliking or abhorring other's behavior, they refuse to condemn them as total persons for performing poor behavior.  They fully accept the fact that all humans seem to be remarkably fallible; they refrain from unrealistically demanding and commanding that any of them be perfect; and they desist from damning people in toto when they err.  

Acceptance of Ambiguity and Uncertainty:  Emotionally mature individuals accept the fact that, as far as has yet been discovered, we live in a world of probability and chance, where there are not, and probably ever will be, absolute necessities or complete certainties.  Living in such a world is not only tolerable but, in terms of adventure, learning and striving, can even be very exciting and pleasurable.  

Flexibility:  Emotionally sound people are intellectually flexible, tend to be open to change at all times, and are prone to take an unbigoted (or at least less bigoted) view of the infinitely varied people, ideas, and things in the world around them.  They can be firm and passionate in their thoughts and feelings, and they comfortably look at new evidence and often revise their notions of "reality" to conform with this evidence. 

Acceptance of Social Reality:  Emotionally healthy people, it almost goes without saying, accept was is going on in the world.  This means several important things: (1) they have a reasonably good perception of social reality and do not see things that do not exist and do not refuse to see things that do; (2) they find various aspects of life, in accordance with their own goals and inclination, "good" and certain aspects "bad" ─ but they accept both these aspects, without exaggerating the "good" ones and without denying or whining about the "bad" ones; (3) they do their best to work at changing those aspects of life they view as "bad," to accept those they cannot change, and to acknowledge the difference between the two. 

Commitment:  Emotionally healthy and happy people are usually absorbed in something outside of themselves, whether this be people, things, or ideas.  They seem to live better lives when they have at least one major creative interest, as well as some outstanding human involvement, which they make very important to themselves and around which the structure a good part of their lives.

Risk Taking:  Emotionally sound people are able to take risks.  They ask themselves what they would really like to do in life, and then try to do it, even though they have to risk defeat or failure.  They are reasonably adventurous (though not foolhardy); are will to try almost anything once, if only to see how they like it; and look forward to different or unusual breaks in their usual routines.  

Self-Acceptance:  People who are emotionally healthy are usually glad to be alive and to accept themselves as "deserving" of continued life and happiness just because they exist and because they have some present or future potential to enjoy themselves.  They fully or unconditionally accept themselves.  They try to perform competently in their affairs and win the approval and love of others; but they do so for enjoyment and not for ego gratification or self-deification.  

Rationality and Scientific Thinking:  Emotionally stable people are reasonably objective, rational, and scientific.  They not only construct reasonable and empirically substantiated theories relating to what goes on in the surrounding world (and with their fellow creatures who inhabit this world), but they are also able to supply the rules of logic and of the scientific method to their own lives and their interpersonal relationships. "

-  Albert Ellis, Ph.D.  The Albert Ellis Reader: A Guide to Well-Being Using Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, 1998, pp. 235-252.  Based on the 1962 essay titled "The Case Against Religion: A Psychotherapist's View."  

How to Live the Good Life: Advice from Wise Persons

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Falling Leaf

As I played with the Yang Long Form, each of my steps crunched leaves under my feet. As I reached down to pick up the needle from the bottom of the sea, I picked up a few leaves from the graying autumn grass. As I crossed hands in the horse stance, a fig leaf fell on my fingers.

"despite fascination
do not be concerned
that form is emptiness
and emptiness is form
It is All
a brown falling leaf
no different
- Michael McClure

"Last day of September,
dead leaves dropping--
form is emptiness.
First day of October,
ditch completely dry--
emptiness is form.
- Michael Garofalo, Above the Fog

Cloud Hands Taijiquan

Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores
Compiled by Mike Garofalo

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Like a Dragon Whirling in the Clouds

"It is easier to leave a circle than to enter it.
The emphasis is on the hip movement whether front or back.
The difficulty is to maintain the position without shifting the centre.
To analyze and understand the above situation is to do with movement and not with a stationary posture.
Advancing and retreating by turning sideways in line with the shoulders, one is capable of turning like a millstone, fast or slow, as if whirling like a dragon in the clouds or sensing the approach of a fierce tiger.
From this, one can learn the usage of the movement of the upper torso.
Through long practice, such movement will become natural."
- Yang Family Old Manual, The Coil Incense Kung

"The East Asian Dragons are often associated with water, rain, vapors, fog, springs, streams, waterfalls, rivers, swamps, lakes, and the ocean.  Water can take many shapes and states, and Dragons are shape shifters and linked with transformation, appearing and disappearing, changing into something new.  Water is found in three states, depending upon the surrounding temperature: a solid (ice, snow), a fluid (flowing liquid), and a gas (fog, vapor, steam).  Since rainfall is often accompanied by thunder and lightening (thunderstorms and typhoons), the Dragon is sometimes associated with fire; and, since hot water and steam are major sources of energy in human culture, this further links the Dragon with the essential energy of Fire.  The Dragon is thus linked with the chemical and alchemical transformative properties of two of the essential Elements, both Water and Fire.  Dragons are generally benign or helpful to humans in East Asia, but their powers can also be destructive (e.g., flooding, tsunami, typhoon, lightening, steam, drowning, etc.).  There are both male and female Dragons, kinds or species of Dragons, Dragons of different colors and sizes, and mostly good but some evil Dragons.  Some Dragons can fly, some cannot fly; most live in or near water, a few on land.  The body of a Dragon combines features from many animals, representing the many possibilities for existential presence.  The Dragon in the East has serpentine, snake, or eel like movement qualities: twisting, spiraling, sliding, circling, swimming, undulating, flowing freely like water."  [See: The Dragon in China and Japan by Marinus De Visser, 1913] 

Dragon Chi Kung features exercises that involve twisting, turning, screwing, spiraling, curving, wiggling, undulating, spinning, sinking down and rising up, swimming, circling, swinging, or twining movements are often associated with snakes, serpents and dragons.  There are many Qigong sets and specific Qigong movements that have been called "Dragon" forms, sets, or exercises.  Baguazhang martial arts feature much twisting, turning and circling; and, also include many "Dragon" sets and movements.  Silk Reeling exercises in Chen Style Taijiquan include twisting, twining, circling, and screwing kinds of movements. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

We Are Better Satisfied in Particulars

"Science and psychoanalysis apart, the most profound development in thought since Nietzsche, as far as we are concerned, is the phenomenological approach to the world.  Mallarmé sought "words without wrinkles," Baudelaire cherished his minutes heureuses and Valéry his "small worlds of order," as we have seen: Checkhov concentrated on the "concrete individual" and preferred "small scale and practical answers," Gide though the "systematizing is denaturing, distorting and impoverishing."  For Oliver Wendell Holmes, "all the pleasure of life is in general ideas, but all the use of life is in specific solutions."  Wallace Stevens considered that we are "better satisfied in particulars."  Thomas Nagel put it in this way: "Particulars things can have a noncompetitive completeness which is transparent to all aspects of the self.  This also helps to explain what the experience of great beauty tends to unify the self: the object engages us immediately and totally in a way that makes distinctions among points of view irrelevant."  Or, as Robert Nozick, who counseled us to make ourselves "vehicles" for beauty, said: "this is what poets and artists bring us―the immense and unsuspected reality of a small thing.  Everything has its own patient entityhood."  George Levine call for "a profound attention to the details of this world."  
-  Peter Watson, "The Age of Atheists: How We Have Sought to Live Since the Death of God," p.536

"The idea of one overbearing truth is exhausted."  
- Thomas Mann, translated by James Wood  

"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind."
-  Albert Einstein

"To study the self is to forget the self.  To forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things."
-  Zen Master Dogen

"The more we understand individual things, the more we understand God."
-  Benedict De Spinoza

"God is in the details."
-  Mies Van Der Rohe

"After appreciating and understanding thousands of the details, a common variety God is really superfluous."
-  Mike Garofalo

"Caress the detail, the divine detail." 
-  Vladimir Nabokov

"Details are all there are."
-  Maezumi Roshi

"We think in generalities, but we live in details."
-  W.H. Auden

Friday, October 23, 2015

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 74

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 74

"The people do not fear death,
 Why threaten them with death?
 Suppose the people always fear death,
 One who does strange things,
 I shall seize and kill,
 Then who dares to do strange things?
 Killing is carried out by the executioner.
 To replace the executioner and kill,
 Is like chopping wood in place of the master carpenter.
 To chop wood in place of the master carpenter,
 Rarely one does not hurt one's own hand."
 -  Translation by Ellen M. Chen, Chapter 74

"Subdue Delusion
Chih Huo

When the people are not afraid of death,
What avails it to scare them with death?
Assuming that they often do fear death,
And that any pervert can be seized and killed,
Who dares to do the killing?
It is the job of the Director of Death to kill.
To take over the job of the Director of Death
Is like wielding the hammer for the master-builder.
He who wields the hammer for the master-builder
Seldom escapes wounding himself in the hand."
-  Translated by Henry Wei, 1982, Chapter 74  

"If the people are not afraid to die,
How can you threaten them with death?
If the people are kept in constant fear of death,
And if it were possible to arrest and put to death the law-breakers,
Who would dare do this?
It is the master executioner who does the killing.
To assume the role of the master executioner and do the killing for oneself
Is like carving wood for oneself
Instead of leaving it to the master carpenter.
Those who carve wood for themselves
Instead of leaving it to the master carpenter
Rarely escape without cutting their own hands."
-  Translated by Keith H. Seddon, Chapter 74  

"If people are not afraid to die, what is the use of threatening them with the punishment of death?
On the other hand,
if people value their lives, and if outlaws are seized and killed or are killed by what they are doing,
who would dare risk a life of peace for the sake of an insecure future?
Yet it is always true that one who takes charge of killing is killed in turn.
To become the executioner of artificial righteousness is like the inexperienced lad who would brandish a sharp axe of a master carpenter.
He can seldom escape cutting himself."
-  Translated by Hua-Ching Ni, 1995, Chapter 74 

若使民常畏死, 而為奇者, 吾得執而殺之, 孰敢.
夫代大匠斲者, 希有不傷其手矣.

- Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 74

min pu wei ssu.
nai ho yi ssu chü chih.
jo shih min ch'ang wei ssu, erh wei ch'i chê, wu tê chih erh sha chih, shu kan.
ch'ang yu ssu sha chê sha.
fu tai ssu sha chê sha.
shi wei tai ta chiang cho.
fu tai ta chiang cho chê, hsi yu pu shang ch'i shou yi.
-  Wade-Giles (1892) Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 74

"When people are at one with Infinity,
they have no fear of death
and so they are indifferent to threats.
When people are confused
with the distinction of life and death,
they fear death.
If death is the penalty for breaking the law,
the vast majority will be law abiding.
There are always official executioners
and they are at one with killing.
If you try to take their place,
it is the same as trying to cut wood
in place of the master carpenter.
If you try to take the master carpenter's place,
you will only succeed in cutting
your hands."
-  Translated by John Worldpeace, Chapter 74 

"If people were content with their own deaths
You could not use force on them;  they would be immune
But this is not the way the world is
If you threaten them with death to make them behave
You must assign someone to kill them, or do it yourself
Who, then, kills:  you, or the executioner, or the state?
Someone must take the responsibility
Whoever is responsible for death has put his way above the tao
Yet though he can end a life, the tao will by its nature find a way to return
Any sane man would find in that cause for worry."
-  Translated by Ted Wrigley, Chapter 74  

"Si el pueblo no temiera la muerte, sería inútil atemorizarlocon ella.
Si teme morir, como siempre teme, y aún comete desmanes, puedo cogerlo y matarlo.
¿Quién se atreverá a continuar en el mal?
Debe matarlo el encargado para ello.
Si lo matara otro por él, sería usando el hacha ensustitución del maestro.
Raro será el que, sustituyendo almaestro, no hiera su propia mano."
-  Translated by Carmelo Elorduy, 2006, Capítulo 74

"Why use death as a deterrent, when the people have no fear of death?
Even supposing they shrank from death as from a monster, and by playing on their terror I could slay them, should I dare?
There is one who inflicts sentence of death.
To usurp his functions and to kill would be to assume the role of Master-Carpenter.
There are few who can act as Master-Carpenter without cutting their hands."
-  Translated by C. Spurgeon Medhurst, 1905, Chapter 74

"If you do not fear death,
then how can it intimidate you?
If you aren't afraid of dying,
there is nothing you can not do.
Those who harm others
are like inexperienced boys
trying to take the place of a great lumberjack.
Trying to fill his shoes will only get them seriously hurt."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 74   

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes over 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter.  Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization.  Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, a Google Translate drop down menu, and other resources for that Chapter.   

Chapter 74, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

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

English Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Spanish Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

One Old Daoist Druid's Final Journey  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mutually Reinforcing Interdependence

"You should meditate often on the connection of all things in the universe and their relationship to each other.  In a way all things are interwoven and therefore have a family feeling for each other: one thing follows another in due order through the tension of movement, the common spirit inspiring them, and the unity of all being."
Marcus Aurelius, 160 CE, Meditations, Book Six, C 75, Translated by Martin Hammond



Interdependence and the Web of Life

 "How can we fret and stew sub specie aeternitatis - under the calm gaze of ancient Tao? The salt of the sea is in our blood; the calcium of the rocks is in our bones; the genes of ten thousand generations of stalwart progenitors are in our cells. The sun shines and we smile. The winds rage and we bend before them. The blossoms open and we rejoice.  Earth is our long home."
-  Stewart W. Holmes  

"A spiritual sensibility encourages us to see ourselves as part of the fundamental unity of all being.  If the thrust of the market ethos has been to foster a competitive individualism, a major thrust of many traditional religious and spiritual sensibilities has been to help us see our connection with all other human beings."
-  Michael Lerner  

"We are seeking another basic outlook: the world as an organization.  This would profoundly change the categories of our thinking and influence our practical attitudes.  We must envision the biosphere as a whole with mutually reinforcing or mutually destructive interdependencies."
-  Ludwig Von Bertalanffy  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Medicine Ball Exercises

Martial Arts, physical culture, and Qigong enthusiasts can benefit from using a medicine ball when doing exercises.  There are many routines developed by Taijiquan and Qigong masters using a medicine ball.   Qigong Ball exercisers can get into a calm mode, mellow their mood, and go with the Flow. 

Medicine Ball Training and Exercises: Bibliography, Links, Resources .  Prepared by Mike Garofalo.  A general introduction to the use of medicine balls in exercise programs. 

I developed my own medicine ball routine called: Magic Pearl Qigong. 

Magic Pearl Qigong, Part I, Movements 1-8 .   Instructions, Bibliography, Links, Handouts, Resources, Mythological Associations, Lore.  Prepared by Mike Garofalo. 

The Magic Pearl Qigong can be a very vigorous physical culture routine if you increase the weight of the ball, lower the stances, and increase the number of repetitions of each movement.  Serious Qigong Ball enthusiasts use a very light wooden ball, move slowly, stay relaxed, sink, play.

In addition, upper body strength and athletic fitness is also be improved by practicing longer Taijiquan Forms using weapons like the saber, sword, cane, and staff.

Tai Chi Ball Qigong: for Health and Martial Arts.  By Yang Jwing-Ming and David Grantham.  Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, YMAA Publication Center, 2010.  Index, glossary, bibliography, appendices, 301 pages.  ISBN: 1594391998.  The best book on the subject.  Linked to the two instructional DVDs listed below.  VSCL.

Taji Ball Qigong Course.   By Yang, Jwing-Ming, Ph.D.  Courses 1 and 2.  YMAA Publication Center, 2006.  180 minutes.  1 DVD, NTSC.  Directed by Yang Jwing-Ming and David Silver.   ASIN:B000EHT3DY.   VSCL. 
    "Deepen Your Tai Chi Training with Taiji Ball Qigong. Taiji Ball training is common practice in both external and internal martial arts in China. It can strengthen the torso, condition the muscles, and increase physical power by using the mind to lead the Qi. In Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan), Taiji Ball Qigong training was once a major training tool to enhance Pushing Hands ability. However, due to its secrecy, fewer and fewer people have learned it. Today the art of Taiji Ball training is almost unknown. In Course 1, Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming teaches fundamental Taiji Ball breathing techniques, and 16 basic patterns of stationary and moving Taiji Ball Circling, both Vertical and Horizontal. Breathing patterns demonstrated: Wuji breathing Yongquan breathing Laogong breathing Four Gates breathing Taiji Grand Circulation breathing Course 2 focuses on 16 basic patterns of stationary and moving Taiji Ball Rotating, both Vertical and Horizontal. Dr. Yang offers detailed instruction as students demonstrate in the classroom, accompanied by an easy-to-follow demonstration of each pattern shown in a lush outdoor setting, with beautiful classical Chinese music. Regular Qigong practice accelerates the health benefits of Taiji. You'll enjoy reduced stress, a stronger immune system, and a deeper awareness of breath and body coordination. This authoritative guide can be used with any style of Taijiquan, and it is a great way for anyone to energize the body, raise the spirit, and deepen your understanding of Qigong and Taiji. DVD features: Over 100 Chapter Markers . Narration: English and French. Multi-Language Menus and Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish. Over 1 hour of additional DVD-only content. Hidden DVD-Outtakes bloopers Segment. Interactive YMAA Product catalog with Previews of All Other YMAA Video Titles."   


Taji Ball Qigong Course.   By Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming.  Courses 3 and 4.  YMAA Publication Center, 2007.  200 minutes.  1 DVD, NTSC.   ASIN:B000NVRONM.   Featuring: Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming, Ramel Rones, Aaron Damus, Kathy Yang, Ben Warner and Richard Krupp.  Directed by David Silver.  MGC.  "Deepen Your Taiji with Taiji Ball Qigong. Taiji Ball training can strengthen the torso, condition the muscles, and teach the practitioner to use the mind to lead the Qi. In Taijiquan, Taiji Ball training was once a major training tool to enhance Pushing Hands ability, but it is rarely taught in modern times. This multi-language DVD by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming contains two complete video courses, and builds upon the foundation taught in the Taiji Ball Qigong Courses 1 & 2 DVD. Dr. Yang offers you detailed instruction as you follow along with a YMAA class lesson. In Course 3, Dr Yang teaches 16 patterns of Taiji Ball Wrap-Coiling, both Vertical and Horizontal. Course 4 focuses on solo and partner applications, which help to develop coiling and neutralizing taiji skills. You will learn several Self-practice exercises: Flying Dragon Plays with the Ball. Taiji Ball Along the Edge. and 2-person Taiji Ball partner drills. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Over 100 Scene Selections. Narration: English. Multi-Language Menus and Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish. Interactive YMAA Product catalog with Previews of All Other YMAA Video Titles."   VSCL.  


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ideals Worth Pursuing

"Stoics want us to practice fortitude in the face of blows of fate; they want us to develop self-control especially over destructive and negative emotions; they want us to improve our moral and spiritual well-being; they want us to align our lives with the divine logos permeating all of creation.  They want us to be passionately an joyfully peaceful, as well as wise, courageous, disciplined and just.  They want us to examine our lives and practice daily disciplines ─ spiritual exercises ─ which will become habits of the heart to help us here and now.  They want us to be indifferent to indifferent things, and to concentrate on what we can control and what we can choose, and left go of the things we can't.  They want us to love in harmony and be in a state of happiness, to help each other, and live in love.  Because we are disturbed not by things but by the interpretations our minds put on things, by the views we take of things.  And aren't these ideals worth pursuing, worth having, worth being?  In short, they want us to live more meaningfully and less mindlessly."
Stoicism Today: Selected Writings, edited by Patrick Ussher, 2014, p. 16  




Virtues and a Good Life

How to Live a Good Life: Advice from Wise Persons

Monday, October 19, 2015

Cottonwood Leaves Blown Away in Due Season

"Have you ever noticed a tree standing naked against the sky,
How beautiful it is?
All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness
There is a poem, there is a song.
Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring.
When the spring comes, it again fills the tree with
The music of many leaves,
Which in due season fall and are blown away.
And this is the way of life."
-   Krishnamurti

Trees: Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Lore

Standing Meditation

One Old Daoist Druid's Final Journey

The Spirit of Gardening

October: Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Lore 

"Larger and finer meanings are read into the older legends of the plants, and the universality of certain myths is expressed in the concurrence of ideas in the  beginnings of the great religions.   One of the first figures in the leading cosmologies is a tree of life guarded by a serpent.  In the Judaic faith this was the tree in the garden of Eden; the Scandinavians made it an ash, Ygdrasil;  Christians usually specify the tree as an apple, Hindus as a soma, Persians as a homa, Cambodians as a talok; this early tree is the vine of Bacchus, the snake-entwined caduceus of Mercury, the twining creeper of the Eddas, the bohidruma of Buddha, the fig of Isaiah, the tree of Aesculapius with the serpent around his trunk." 
-   Charles M. Skinner, Myths and Legends of Flowers, Trees, Fruits and Plants, 1911    

"Because they are primeval, because they outlive us, because they are fixed, trees seem to emanate a sense of permanence.  And though rooted in earth, they seem to touch the sky.  For these reasons it is natural to feel we might learn wisdom from them, to haunt about them with the idea that if we could only read their silent riddle rightly we should learn some secret vital to our own lives; or even, more specifically, some secret vital to our real, our lasting and spiritual existence."
-  Kim Taplin,  Tongues in Trees, 1989, p. 14.     

I have been staying at home the last four days, no other employment duties.  I cleaned up our Sacred Circle Garden.  This involved pruning and raking and pickup.  Also, I had to replace three rotting posts inside the inner sacred circle.  Tammi, Karen, and I have all done painting at our home these days.  I completely redesigned the compost bin and moved partially composed materials into it.  A general outdoor cleanup.  We cleaned up, fertilized, roto-tilled, and then planted our winter garden crop.  The back porch is now clean with seating for 10.  Doing some serious standing meditation practices.  Reading and research on Stoicism and Hedonism.  Took a week off from strength training at the gym.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Dayan (Wild Goose) Chi Kung Exercises

Dayan (Wild Goose) Qigong Exercises

Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Notes, List of Movements
Research by Mike Garofalo

This Qigong form is one long continuous sequence of movements, much like a Taiji form.  There are many aspects of the Wild Goose Qigong system as presented by Dr. Bingkun Hu of San Francisco.  

I was practicing this Dayan form one winter morning in my
Sacred Circle Garden when a flock of Canadian Geese flew overhead.  The North Sacramento Valley is the winter home of birds from Canada.  Behold ... 'everything is holy now':

"A second Grandfather, he of the North, spoke again: 
"Take courage, younger brother," he said, "on earth a nation you shall make live, for yours shall be the power of the white giant's wing, the cleansing wing." 
Then he got up very tall and started running toward the north; and when he turned toward me, it was a white goose wheeling. I looked about me now, and the horses in the west were thunders and the horses of the north where geese. 
And the second Grandfather sang two songs that were like this:
"They are appearing, may you behold!
They are appearing , may you behold!
The thunder nation is appearing, behold!
They are appearing, may you behold!
They are appearing, may you behold!
The white geese nation is appearing, behold!"
- Black Elk Speaks, 1932, p. 22, as told to John G. Neihardt.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Path to Personal Growth

Twelve Gateways to Personal Growth

"1.  Preparation: Stairway to the Soul 
2.  Discover Your Worth: Opening to Life 
3.  Reclaim Your Will: The Power to Change 
4.  Energize Your Body: A Foundation for Life 
5.  Manage Your Money: Sufficiency and Spiritual Practice 
6.  Tame Your Mind: Inner Peace and Simple Reality 
7.  Trust Your Intuition: Accessing Inner Guidance 
8.  Accept Your Emotions: The Center of the Cyclone 
9.  Face Your Fears: Living as Peaceful Warriors 
10.  Illuminate Your Shadow: Cultivating Compassion and Authenticity 
11.  Embrace Your Sexuality: Celebrating Life 
12.  Awaken Your Heart: The Healing Power of Love 
13.  Serve Your World: Completing the Circle of Life"

-  Dan Millman
   Everyday Enlightenment: The Twelve Gateways to Personal Growth,

How to Live a Good Life: Advice from Wise Persons

Aging Well

Friday, October 16, 2015

Chapter 75, Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu

Daodejing, Laozi
Chapter 75

"When people are hungry,
It is because their rulers eat too much tax-grain.
Therefore the unruliness of hungry people
Is due to the interference of their rulers.
That is why they are unruly.
The people are not afraid of death,
Because they are anxious to make a living.
That is why they are not afraid of death.
It is those who interfere not with their living
That are wise in exalting life."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 75

"The people suffer from famine on account of the heavy taxation put upon them.
This is the cause of their need.
The people are difficult to govern because of the overbearing of their superiors.
This is the cause of their trouble.
The people make light of dying because of the great hardships of trying to live.
This is the reason for their indifference to death.
Therefore to keep living in obscurity is better than making overmuch of it."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 75

"The taxes eaten by the ruling class
Left nothing to be eaten by the mass,
And that is why through famine they must pass.
The ruling class made such a great ado
In ruling men, that these made trouble, too,
and that is why their difficulties grew.
People make light of death in their turmoil,
And, seeking life s excess, thereby beguile
Themselves till death, made light of, claims his spoil.  
On life to set less store is therefore best,
It thus becomes a far more worthy quest
Than when  tis made one s ruling interest."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 75  

"When taxes are too heavy, hunger lays the people low.
When those who govern interfere too much, the people become rebellious.
When those who govern demand too much of people's lives, death is taken lightly.
When the people are starving in the land, life is of little value,
and so is more easily sacrificed by them in overthrowing government."
-  Translated by Stan Rosenthal, 1984, Chapter 75    

民之飢, 以其上食稅之多, 是以飢.
民之難治, 以其上之有為, 是以難治.
民之輕死, 以其求生之厚, 是以輕死.
夫唯無以生為者, 是賢於貴生.
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 75

min chih chi, yi ch'i shang shih shui chih, to shih yi chi.
min chih nan chih, yi ch'i shang chih yu wei, shih yi nan chih. 
min chih ch'ing ssu, yi ch'i ch'iu shêng chih hou, shih yi ch'ing ssu. 
fu wei wu yi shêng wei chê, shih hsien yü kuei shêng. 
-  Wade-Giles (1892) Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 75

"When the nation is in want of food, it can be seen that the government officials are eating too much of the grain in excessive taxes.
And why are the people restive and hard to govern?
They are in a state of near rebellion due to the intrusive machinations of the government.
The people learn to make light of death when they strive to obtain goods and extravagant items.
They are relentlessly working to acquire more, and look to death as a release from pursuit of material gain.
In this wise it is easy to not place too high a price on life."
-  Translated by John Dicus, 2002, Chapter 75  

"The people suffer from famine because of the multitude of taxes consumed by their superiors.
It is through this that they suffer famine.
The people are difficult to govern because of the excessive agency of their superiors in governing them.
It is through this that they are difficult to govern.
The people make light of dying because of the greatness of their labours in seeking for the means of living.
It is this which makes them think light of dying.
Thus it is that to leave the subject of living altogether out of view is better that to set a high value on it."
-  Translated by Andre von Gauthier, Chapter 75 

"El pueblo tiene hambre.
Como sus gobernantes le imponen un impuesto al grano demasiao alto,
entonces tiene hambre.

El pueblo es difícil de gobernar.
Como sus gobernantes gobiernan mediante la acción,
entonces es difícil de gobernar.

El pueblo toma la muerte a la ligera.
Como se la pasan persiguiendo a la vida,
entonces toman la muerte a la ligera.

El que no tiene tiene nada que perseguir en la vida,
es más sabio que aquél que valora la vida."
-  Translated by Álex Ferrara, 2003, Capítulo 75  

"People go hungry because taxes eat their food.
Therefore, the people go hungry.

People are hard to manage because they are oppressed.
Therefore, they are hard to manage.

People laugh at death because their lives are cheapened
With the weight of expectation.
This is why they laugh at death.

Who could value life
When food is scarce, and freedom repressed?"
-  Translated by Brian Donohue, 2005, Chapter 75 

"The hunger of the people
Is from their superiors eating up so much of their tax grain
This is behind the hunger
The difficulties in governing the people
Are due to their superiors having to take action
This is behind the difficulties in government
The people come to take death lightly
Because they pursue life’s riches
This is behind their taking death lightly
Only when one does not think life a performance
Will there be skill in valuing life."
-  Translated by Bradford Hatcher, 2005, Chapter 75  

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes over 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter.  Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization.  Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, a Google Translate drop down menu, and other resources for that Chapter.   

Chapter 75, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

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

English Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Spanish Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

One Old Daoist Druid's Final Journey