Saturday, October 29, 2016

More Than Just a Rock

I have a keen interest in the subjects of somatics, somaesthetics, lived experience, sensations and perception, and consciousness.  The psychology and philosophy of these subject has stimulated my thinking and understanding for decades.  My practices of body-mind arts such as Tai Chi Chuan, Qigiong, walking, yoga, and gardening have provided insights and profound experiences related to these subjects.  


The Five Senses

I am now reading the following two books on the subject of how our experience is generated by our sensory relationship, interrelation, and participation with the manifold objects, beings and processes of the precious world.  

Phenomenology of Perception.  By Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961).  Translated by Donald Landes.  Foreword by Taylor Carman.  Routledge, 1st Edition, 2013.  Originally published in French in 1945.  696 pages.  ISBN: 978-0415834339.  VSCL.  

The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World.  By David Abram.  New York, Vintage, 1996.  Index, bibliography, notes, 326 pages.  ISBN: 978-0679776390.  VSCL. 


In our sacred circle garden, the outer edge of the circle is lined with stones we have collected from the mountains, canyons, rivers and sea shore of Northern California.  These stones are markers, signs, energies of our interactions with places that define and have enhanced our experiences.  I like to rest and reflect in their midst.  The are more than just rocks.  

David Abram (p.71) quotes a Lakota medicine person who addressed a stone  as "Tunkashila" - "Grandfather."

from time without
you rest
there in the midst of the paths
in the midst of the winds
you rest
covered with the droppings of birds
grass growing from you feet
you head decked with the down of birds
you rest
in the midst of the winds
you wait
Aged one." 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 21

Daodejing, Laozi
Chapter 21

"A virtuous person comes into being only according to the Tao.
Tao is something which is obscure and indistinct.
Indistinct and obscure —
yet there is an appearance.
Obscure and indistinct —
yet there is a substance.
Vague and dim —
yet there is an essence within it.
This essence is genuine.
There is truth within it.
Since ancient times until now, its name never forsaken,
it stands there to guard all the good deeds.
How do I know all the good deeds are guarded by this Tao?
I know.
-  Translated by Chao-Hsiu Chen, 2004, Chapter 21  

"The grandest aspects of producing force
Find Tao their energizing way and source;
In Tao things move unseen, impalpable,
Yet in it form and semblance brood and dwell;
Impalpable, invisible, yet things
Float forth within on transcendental wings;
Dark and profound, yet lo! within it there,
Are the pure essences which aeons bear;
It holds the truth, it keeps its ancient name,
And watches all that from the beginning came;
From the Beginning! How know I this is so?
By this, it is the Tao, by this I know!"
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 21

"The impression made by magnificent Te comes only from Tao.
Tao is a something but elusive, but evasive.
Evasive, elusive, inside it lies the mind's true form.
Elusive, evasive, inside it lies something substantial.
Shadowy, dim.
Inside it lies vital energy.
This energy is very strong inside it lies true genuineness.
From ancient times until today
Its name has not been forgotten allowing us to see the beginnings of everything.
How do I recognize the form of the beginnings of everything?
By this low in the cycle of Change, which is Love and Beauty.
How do I know this?
By my comprehension of the Dao."
-  Translated by Michael LaFargue, 1992, Chapter 21  

"The complete manifestation of things visible proceeds only from Life.
In its nature Life is always coming into activity, yet in itself it eludes our sight and tough.
Eluding sight! eluding touch!
Within it are hid the plane of created things.
Eluding touch! eluding sight!
Within it are hid all created beings.
It is profound! It is obscure!
Within it is hid pure Spirit.
It is pure Spirit, enfolding Truth!
Within it is hid an infallible witness.
Free of Old until Now
Its Name remains unchanged.
Through its Doorway comes the Universe into existence.
How do I know that the Universe is coming to full perfection through Life?
The witness is in Life itself."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 21 

孔德之容, 唯道是從.
道之為物, 唯恍唯惚.
惚兮恍兮, 其中有象.
恍兮忽兮, 其中有物.
窈兮冥兮, 其中有精.
其精甚,  其中有信.

-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 21

k'ung tê chih jung, wei tao shih ts'ung.
tao chih wei wu, wei huang wei hu.
hu hsi huang hsi, ch'i chung yu hsiang.
huang hsi hu hsi, ch'i chung yu wu.
yao hsi ming hsi, ch'i chung yu ching.
ch'i ching shên, chên ch'i chung yu hsin. 
tzu ku chi chin ch'i ming pu ch'ü.
yi yüeh chung fu.
wu ho yi chih chung fu chih jan tsai.
yi tz'u.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 21

"The great virtue as manifested is but following the Tao.
Tao is a thing that is both invisible and intangible.
Intangible and invisible, yet there are forms in it;
Invisible and intangible, yet there is substance to it;
Subtle and obscure, there is essence in it;
This essence being invariably true, there is faith in it.
From of old till now, it has never lost its nameless name,
Through which the origin of all things has passed.
How do I know it is so with the origin of all things?
By this Tao."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 21 

"One of deep virtue cherishes the subtle essence of the universe.
 The subtle essence of the universe is elusive and evasive.
 Though it is elusive and evasive,
 it unveils itself as images and forms.
 Evasive and elusive,
 it discloses itself as indefinable substance.
 Shadowy and indistinct,
 it reveals itself as impalpable subtle essence.
 This essence is so subtle, and yet so real.
 It is the subtle origin of the whole of creation and non-creation.
 It existed prior to the beginning of time as the single deep and subtle reality of the universe.
 It brings all into being."
 -  Translated by Ni Hua Ching, 1995, Chapter 21

"La virtud se expresa siguiendo al Tao.
Tao es evasivo e intengible
Pero expresa toda forma y sustancia;
Tao es oscuro y sútil
Pero expresa toda la Naturaleza;
La Naturaleza no cambia,
Pero expresa toda sensación.
Desde antes del conocimiento
El Tao ha expresado todas las cosas.
¿Cómo puedo saber?
Confiando en mis sentidos."
-  Translated by Antonio Rivas, 1998, Chapter 21 

"In his every movement a man of great virtue
Follows the way and the way only.
As a thing the way is
Shadowy and indistinct.
Indistinct and shadowy,
Yet within it is an image;
Shadowy and indistinct,
Yet within it is a substance.
Dim and dark,
Yet within it is an essence.
This essence is quite genuine
And within it is something that can be tested.
From the present back to antiquity,
Its name never deserted it.
It serves as a means for inspecting the fathers of the multitude.
How do I know that the fathers of the multitude are like that?
By means of this."
-  Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 21  

"The mightiest manifestations of active force flow solely from Tao.
Tao in itself is vague, impalpable, how impalpable, how vague!
Yet within it there is Form.
How vague, how impalpable!
Yet within it there is Substance.
How profound, how obscure!
Yet within it there is a Vital Principle.
This principle is the Quintessence of Reality, and out of it comes Truth.
From of old until now, its name has never passed away.
It watches over the beginning of all things.
How do I know this about the beginning of things?
Through Tao."
-  Translated by Lionel Giles, 1905, Chapter 21 

"The features (yung) of the vast (k'ung) Te,
Follows entirely (wei) from Tao.
Tao as a thing,
Is entirely illusive (huang) and evasive (hu).
Evasive and illusive,
In it there is image (hsiang).
Illusive and evasive,
In it there is thinghood (wu).
Dark and dim,
In it there is life seed (ching).
Its life seed being very genuine (chen),
In it there is growth power (hsin).
As it is today, so it was in the days of old (ku),
Its name goes not away (ch'ü),
So that we may survey (yüeh) the origins of the many (chung fu).
How do I know that the origins of the many are such?
Because of this."
-  Translated by Ellen Marie Chen, 1989, Chapter 21

"For effective contrast, this chapter is best read together with chapter 14.  Both chapters call Tao, the illusive and evasive (hu-huang), i.e., the primal Chaos or Hun-tun described in chapter 25.  In chapter 14, Tao recedes and becomes the nothing; here in chapter 21 the same illusive and evasive Tao moves forward to become the realm of beings.  There Tao is nameless; here Tao is the name that never goes away.  There Tao is the formless form, the image of nothing; here Tao contains the seeds and images of all beings that are to be.  The dominant character of Tao in chapter 14 is wu, nothing; in this chapter it is yu, being or having.  The conclusion of chapter 14 traces Tao to the beginning of old; this chapter arrives at the realm of the many in the now."
-  Ellen M. Chen, The Tao Te Ching: A New Translation with Commentary, 1989, p.107

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 up to 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 22, 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


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fostering Flourishing

“To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically.”
-  Henry David Thoreau


"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have suceeded."
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The focus of my life begins at home with family, loved ones and friends. I want to use my resources to create a secure environment that fosters love, learning, laughter and mutual success.  I will protect and value integrity.  I will admit and quickly correct my mistakes.  I will be a self-starter.  I will be a caring person.  I will be a good listener with an open mind.  I will continue to grow and learn.  I will facilitate and celebrate the success of others."
-  Merlin Olsen

How to Live a Good Life: Advice from Wise Persons

Virtue Ethics

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Home for Sale in Red Bluff, California

Karen retired in June of 2014.  I retired in June of 2016.

Karen and I have decided to sell our home in Red Bluff and move to Vancouver, Washington.  

This is well maintained 1909 square foot house, with 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, a large office area, and large screened back porch.  There are extensive gardens, beautiful landscaping, an orchard, and 5 acres of land.  There are two 125' wells and 2 ponds on the property.   

Here is the current Zillow listing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Advantages of Walking

"It engages your buttocks with the world
It modestly reduces fat
It improves glycemic control, especially after meals
It improves triglyceride levels and lowers blood pressure, especially after meals
It might help you live longer if you do it briskly
It is well tolerated by people with arthritis
It is good for your brain
It reduces stress
It boosts immune function
It helps prevent falls in the elderly
It gives you a chance to think
It can be a kind of meditation
It is in your blood, in your genes
It enables recognition of the felt presence of immediate experience."
-  Mark Sisson, Reasons to Walk this Year, 2014

"Sharpen your brain
Strengthen your bones
Boost your mood
Enhance your circulation
Reduce your risk of slipping and falling with age
Bolster your memory
Lessen the pain of conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia
Improve your blood glucose levels
Raise your immunity
Improve your sleep
-  Jessica Smith, Amazing Benefits of Walking, 2016


“We ought to take outdoor walks, to refresh and raise our spirits by deep breathing in the open air.”
 -  Seneca  

Ways of Walking Website:  Quotations, Information, Facts, Poetry, Inspiration

Benefits of Walking

Caloric Expenditures While Walking

Walking Meditation

Exercise Options for Older Persons

Aging Well

Monday, October 24, 2016

Using a Cane

Every time I take a long walk or hike I carry my cane with me.  A cane provides support to a walker (like a staff or trekking pole sticks), and a cane can be used effectively for self-defense.  Using various cane strikes and stretches while walking is an excellent way to exercise the upper torso.  

I practice the 8 Immortals Cane Form, Part 1.  The only martial arts weapon that I practice with is a cane. 

I use an Instructor's Walking Cane, 40" (103 cm) long and 1" (2.54 cm) in diameter, from Cane Masters.  This cane weights 1lb, 2 oz (510 gm).  This beautiful martial arts combat cane is made of pure hickory heartwood, has multiple notches at three key gripping points, has a rounded hooked horn, and has a rubber covered tip.  I also own the same Instructor's Walking Cane made of oak - a gift from my children.
Way of the Short Staff.  By Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.  A comprehensive guide to the practice of the short staff, cane, jo, walking stick, gunzhang, whip staff, 13 Hands Staff, and related wood short staff weapons.  A detailed and annotated guide, bibliographies, lists of links, resources, instructional media, online videos, and lessons.   Includes use of the short staff and cane in martial arts, self-defense, walking and hiking.  Separate sections on Aikido Jo, Cane, Taijiquan cane and staff, Jodo, exercises with a short staff, selected quotations, techniques, selecting and purchasing a short staff, tips and suggestions, and a long section on the lore, legends, and magick of the short staff.  Includes "Shifu Miao Zhang Points the Way."  Published by Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Red Bluff, California. Related to Mike's popular webpage on the Staff.

"The correct use of the bo (sai, tonfa, kama, naginata, sword) can produce a stimulating and practical means of "extension" training. It offers a means of martial arts training and discipline. Weapons training teaches the meaning of control, timing, distance, and flexibility as one unit. The practitioner is required to possess speed, coordination, strength, and endurance in utilizing the respective weapons."
History of the Bo Staff

"The jo can be used to strike like a sword, sweep like a naginata, thrust like a spear (yari). Its two ends can be used, unlike the single point of a sword, and its ma-ai (fighting distance) can be varied according to the hand grip you take. Because of its speed and changeable ma-ai, it is a formidable weapon."
Muso Shindo-Ryu Jodo   

"In Chinese shamanism, a staff represents the power of the universe. With a staff, a shaman had the power to pass on the universal knowledge to others. Later, when teachers took over part of the shaman's job, they always taught with a small staff in their hands like a shaman."
- Master Zhongxian Wu, Vital Breath of the Dao, p. 106

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sisters Reunited

Karen returned yesterday from her 10 day trip to Indiana.  Her sister, Betty, who lives in Las Vegas, traveled with Karen to Indiana.  They visited with their two sisters who live in Indiana.  Her sister Barbara and her husband Junior live in Alexandria, Indiana.  Her sister Ginger and her husband Sam live in Sullivan, Indiana.  Betty is a widow.  

They had an enjoyable visit with each other.  Betty is the oldest at 81 years of age, and Karen is the youngest at 68 years of age.  

My wife, Karen, lived in Alexandria, Indiana, from birth to the 4th grade.  Then, her parents, Delmer and Alice Eubanks, moved to California.  

In the picture below, from left to right, are: Karen, Ginger, Barbara, and Betty.  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Practicing Piano Again

One of my objectives is to play the piano every day for 60 minutes (2 sessions of 30 mintes, or 3 of 20 minutes).  
I play because it is enjoyable, challenging, and enriching.  
Currently, I am using the Casio LK 280 electronic keyboard with 61 keys.
I use a variety of instructional books and online UTube tutorials.
I like playing with chords.  

I played for one year when I was 41, and for two years when I was 63.
Being 70 years of age, and now recently retired, I have adequate time for renewed pleasures.

I intend to take lessons from a piano teacher when I move and get settled in Vancouver, Washington. Our home is currently for sale.
Lately, my favorite piano music is the Nocturnes by Chopin, performed by Maria Joao Pires.  

Chopin: The Nocturnes (2 CD's)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Commentary on the Tao Te Ching

Daodejing Commentary, Index, Concordance

Chapter Index to the Tao Te Ching

Concordance to the Tao Te Ching

English Language Versions of the Tao Te Ching - Translator's Index

Spanish Language Versions of the Dao De Jing

Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: A Bibliography

An Old Philosopher's Notebooks

Cloud Hands Blog Posts About the Daodejing

Tao Te Ching
 Chapter Number Index

Standard Traditional Chapter Arrangement of the Tao Te Ching
Chapter Order in Wang Bi's Daodejing Commentary in 246 CE
Chart by Mike Garofalo
Subject Index
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70
71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80

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 up to 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.   

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Temple Chi Kung

Nine Temple Qigong 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."

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.   

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why Do You Walk?

As I walk 3.6 miles in the morning, seven wdays each week, I enjoy the interplay of all the senses and the kinesthetic exuberance of the flowing movement.  The scenery along my safe rural walking path is beautiful and changing with the seasons.  While walking, I mostly am just walking, and sometimes thinking, reflecting, contemplating, or meditating.  These experiences are something I treasure.  Walking is beneficial for my heart, and helps me keep my diabetes under control.  Walking is an integral component of my regular Sadhana ... my "spiritual" practices.  

"If you want to know if your brain is flabby, feel your legs." 
-  Bruce Barton   

"Think with your whole body."
-  Taisen Deshimaru

”If you want to find the answers to the Big Questions about your soul, you’d best begin with the Little Answers about your body.”
-  George Sheehan

"Isn't it really quite extraordinary to see that, since man took his first step, no one has asked himself why he walks, how he walks, if he has ever walked, if he could walk better, what he achieves in walking .. questions that are tied to all the philosophical, psychological, and political systems which preoccupy the world."
-  Honoré de Balzac, Theorie de la Demarché   

"Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains of the moon.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
An horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known."
-  J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Walking Your Way to Better Health

"Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
Reduce your risk of breast and colon cancer
Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
Enhance mental well being
Reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes
Improve blood lipid profile
Reduce your risk of osteoporosis
Reduce the risk of stroke
Lessen the severity of COPD
Increase the chances of living longer
- Dr. Mercola, M.D., Daily Walk Can Add 7 Years to Your Life, 2016

"Your mood will improve 
Your creative juices will start flowing
Your jeans will get a little looser
You will slash your risk of chronic disease
You will keep your legs looking great
You will improve your bowel regularity
Your other goals will seem to be more reachable."
-  Prevention Magazine
7 Incredible Results You Will Get from Walking 30 Minutes Each Day, 2016

Ways of Walking Website:  Quotations, Information, Facts, Poetry, Inspiration

Benefits of Walking

Caloric Expenditures While Walking

Walking Meditation

Exercise Options for Older Persons

Aging Well

"The ideal aerobic exercise is walking. Virtually everyone can do it, almost anywhere. You should have little difficulty elevating your heart rate into your training range on a sustained basis, and it does not put undue strain on any of your joints."
- Terry Grossman, M.D., Fantastic Voyage 

I've been enjoying my long walks again as the injuries to my knees and hips last Spring have healed.  I now walk 90 minutes every day.  My pace is moderate and steady.  I usually listen to Classical and New Age music while walking.  I often take my dog, Bruno, with me on these long walks.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Taijiquan, Chen Style, 18 Movements Form

I have enjoyed practicing this short Chen Taijiquan form for the past seven years.  It was developed by Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei.

Chen Taijiquan Short 18 Movement Form Webpage   Bibliography, Links, Movements, Lists, Tips and Suggestions, UTube links.  Prepared by Mike Garofalo.

List of Movements of the Chen Taijiquan 18 Movement Short Form

Chen Taijiquan Old Frame First Form Laojia Yilu Webpage

Chen Style Tai Chi Essential 18 Postures with Patrick Martin.  Instructional DVD, 2 DVDs, 238 minutes.  Disk 1, 130 Minutes.  Jade Dragon Tai Chi International, Empty Circle Productions, 2008.  VSCL.  Patrick Martin is a student of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei, and has been practicing and teaching Chen style Tai Chi for the last 20 years.  Detailed instructions for each movement sequence.  This DVD would be my first choice for an excellent instructional DVD on the Chen 18 Form.  However, this excellent DVD may be difficult to obtain. An out of focus UTube demostration that does not do justice to his teaching.

I favor instructional DVDs where: 1) there is a menu to sections of instruction, 2) there are detailed and complete verbal and physical instructions on how to do each section of the form, 3) all instructions are in English only, 3) there is a recap of each section with both side and back views of a performance of the part of the form explained in that section, 4) there is a summary complete performance of the form taught from multiple views.  A good instructor helps you learn the form, and they may not be a "Master" or "Grand Master."  A demonstration of the form, as you might find on UTube, is useful after you have learned to perform the Taijiquan or Qigong form on your own.  Learning from DVD with a Chinese speaker, with English subtitles, is difficult for me to follow; and, voice-over translation can get confusing.  I favor instructional DVDs from Ken Jullette, Jesse Tsao, Yang Jwing-Ming, Paul Lam, and Jiang Jian-ye ... among others.  

Here is a beautifully performed version of the Chen Style Taijiquan 18 Form by Sifu Mark Ditcher from Poole, England.  Fantastic!!   I take this interpretation of the Chen Taijiquan 18 Form as my standard.  I look at this video quite often to refresh my memory and help me improve.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Standing in the Sensuous Present

    "There is a useful exercise that I devised to keep myself from falling completely into the civilized oblivion of linear time.  You are welcome to try it the next time you are out of doors.  I locate myself in a relatively open space─ a low hill is particularly good, or a wide field.  I relax at bit, take a few breaths, gaze around.  Then I close my eyes, and let myself begin to feel the whole bulk of my past─the whole mass of events leading up to this very moment.  And I call into awareness, as well, my whole future─all those projects and possibilities that lie waiting to be realized.  I imagine this past and this future as two vast balloons of time, separated from each other like the bulbs of an hourglass, yet linked together at the single moment where I stand pondering them.  And then, very slowly, I allow both of these immense bulbs of time to begin leaking their substance into this minute movement between them, into the present.  Slowly, imperceptibly at first, the present moment begins to grow.  Nourished by the leakage from the past and the future, the present moment swells in proportion as those other dimensions shrink.  Soon it is very large; and the past and future have dwindled down to mere knots on the edge of this huge expanse.  At this point I let the past and future dissolve entirely.  And, I open my eyes.  ...

    I find myself standing in the midst of an eternity, a vast and inexhaustible present.  The whole world rests within itself─the trees at the fields edge, the hum of crickets in the grass, cirrocumulus clouds rippling like wave across the sky, from horizon to horizon. ... I remain standing on this hill under rippled clouds, my skin tingling with sensations.  The expansiveness of the present holds my body enthralled.  My animal senses are all awake─my ears attuned to a multiplicity of minute sounds, the tine hairs on my face registering every lull and shift in the breeze.  I am embedded in this open moment, my muscles stretching and bending with the grass.  The present seems endless, inexhaustible.  What, then, has become of the past and future?"

-  David Abrams, The Spell of the Sensuous, Vintage, 1996, p. 202

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Doing Something in the Rain

The first rainstorm of our "rainy season" (October - May) settled in yesterday.  A refreshing light rain for a few days.   Cool, beautiful, and delightful.  I enjoyed walking outdoors when the rain let up a little.  

"Walked for half an hour in the garden.  A fine rain was falling, and the landscape was that of autumn.  The sky was hung with various shades of gray, and mists hovered about the distant mountains - a melancholy nature.  The leaves were falling on all sides like the last illusions of youth under the tears of irremediable grief.  A brood of chattering birds were chasing each other through the shrubberies, and playing games among the branches, like a knot of hiding schoolboys.  Every landscape is, as it were, a state of the soul, and whoever penetrates into both is astonished to find how much likeness there is in each detail."
-   Henri Frederic Amiel 

“Thinking is generally thought of as doing nothing in a production-oriented culture, and doing nothing is hard to do. It's best done by disguising it as doing something, and the something closest to doing nothing is walking.”
-  Rebecca Solnit   

Friday, October 14, 2016

Dao De Jing, Chapter 22

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 22

"In cultivating the Tao there are first the sprouts; then perfection.
First, there is perversion; then rectification.
First there is hollowness and receptivity; then plenitude.
First there is destruction of the old; then renovation.
First there is humility; then acquisition.
Self-sufficiency is followed by suspicion on the part of others.
Therefore, the Sage preserves unity in his heart and becomes a pattern to the whole world.
He does not say of himself that he can see, and therefore he is perspicacious.
He does not say of himself that he is right, and therefore he is manifested to all.
He does pot praise himself, and therefore his merit is recognized.
He is not self-conceited, and therefore he increases in knowledge.
And as he never strives with anybody, so the world does not strive with him.
Can that saying of the olden times—"First the sprouts, then perfection"—be called meaningless?
The attainment of genuine perfection implies a reversion to the original nature of man."
-  Translated by Frederic H. Balfour, 1884, Chapter 22     

"The imperfect is completed.
The crooked is straightened.
The empty is filled.
The old is renewed.
With few there is attainment.
With much there is confusion.
Therefore the sage grasps the one and becomes the model for all.
She does not show herself, and therefore is apparent.
She does not affirm herself, and therefore is acknowledged.
She does not boast and therefore has merit.
She does not strive and is therefore successful.
It is exactly because she does not contend, that nobody can contend with her.
How could the ancient saying, "The imperfect is completed" be regarded as empty talk?
Believe in the complete and return to it."
-  Translated by Charles Muller, 1891, Chapter 22

"Yield, and maintain integrity.
To bend is to be upright;
to be empty is to be full. 
Those who have little have much to gain, 
but those who have much 
may be confused by possessions.
The wise man embraces the all encompassing;
he is unaware of himself, and so has brilliance;
not defending himself, he gains distinction; 
not seeking fame, he receives recognition; 
not making false claims, he does not falter;
and not being quarrelsome, 
is in conflict with no one.
This is why it was said by the sages of old,
"Yield, and maintain integrity;
be whole, and all things come to you"."
-  Translated by Stan Rosenthal, 1984, Chapter 22 
"That which is incomplete becomes complete.
The crooked becomes straight,
The empty becomes full,
The worn-out becomes new.
He who obtains has little,
He who scatters has much.
That is why the self-controlled man holds to Unity and brings it into manifestation for men.
He looks not at self, therefore he sees clearly;
He asserts not himself, therefore he shines;
He boasts not of self, therefore he has merit;
He glorifies not himself, therefore he endures.
The Master indeed does not strive, yet no one in the world can strive against him.
The words of the Ancients were not empty words:
"That which is incomplete becomes complete."
Acquire completeness by returning it."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 22 

夫唯不爭, 故天下莫能與之爭.
古之所謂曲則全者, 豈虛言哉.
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 22

qu ze quan.
 wang ze zhi.
 wa ze ying.
 bi ze xin,
 shao ze de,
 duo ze huo.
 shi yi sheng ren bao yi wei tian xia shi.
 bu zi jian gu ming.
 bu zi shi gu zhang.
 bu zi fa.
 gu you gong bu zi jin gu zhang.
 fu wei bu zheng, gu tian xia mo neng yu zhi zheng.
 gu zhi suo wei qu ze quan zhe, qi xu yan zai.
 cheng quan er gui zhi.
 -  Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 22

"'Yield and you need not break:
 Bent you can straighten,
 Emptied you can hold,
 Torn you can mend;
 And as want can reward you
 So wealth can bewilder.
 Aware of this, a wise man has the simple return
 Which other men seek:
 Without inflaming himself
 He is kindled,
 Without explaining himself
 Is explained,
 Without taking credit
 Is accredited,
 Laying no claim
 Is acclaimed
 And, because he does not compete,
 Finds peaceful competence.
 How true is the old saying,
 'Yield and you need not break'!
 How completely it comes home!"
 -  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 22

"Acepta y serás completo,
Inclinate y serás recto,
Vacíate y quedarás lleno,
Decae, y te renovarás,
Desea, y conseguirás,
Buscando la satisfacción quedas confuso.

El Sabio acepta el Mundo
Como el Mundo acepta el Tao;
No se muestra a si mismo, y así es visto claramente,
No se justifica a si mismo, y por eso destaca,
No se empeña, y así realiza su obra,
No se glorifica, y por eso es excelso,
No busca la lucha, y por eso nadie lucha contra él.

Los Santos decían, "acepta y serás completo",
Una vez completo, el Mundo es tu hogar."
-  Translated by Antonio Rivas, 1998, Chapter 22 
"To yield is to be preserved whole.
To be bent is to become straight.
To be hollow is to be filled.
To be tattered is to be renewed.
To be in want is to possess.
To have plenty is to be confused.
Therefore the Sage embraces the One,
And becomes the model of the world.
He does not reveal himself,
   And is therefore luminous.
He does not justify himself,
   And is therefore far-famed.
He does not boast of himself,
   And therefore people give him credit.
He does not pride himself,
   And is therefore the chief among men.
Is it not indeed true, as the ancients say,
   "To yield is to be preserved whole?"
Thus he is preserved and the world does him homage."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1948, Chapter 22 

"Strength to the Humble
I Ch'ien

To be crooked is to become perfect;
To be bent is to become straight;
To be hollow is to become full;
To be worn out is to be renewed;
To have little is to receive more;
To have plenty is to be perplexed.
Therefore, the Sage embraces the One,
And serves as model for the world.
As he does not like to show off, he is enlightened;
As he is not prone to be self-righteous, he is distinguished;
As he does not blow his own horn, he acquires merit;
As he does not extol himself, he is fit to be a leader.
And it is precisely because he does not contend,
That no one under heaven can contend with him.
The ancient saying "To be crooked is to become perfect"
Surely is not an empty remark.
The world goes to him who is truly perfect."
- Translated by Henry Wei, 1982, Chapter 22

"If you want to become whole,
first let yourself become broken.
If you want to become straight,
first let yourself become twisted.
If you want to become full,
first let yourself become empty.
If you want to become new,
first let yourself become old.
Those whose desires are few get them,
those whose desires are great go astray.

For this reason the Master embraces the Tao,
as an example for the world to follow.
Because she isn't self centered,
people can see the light in her.
Because she does not boast of herself,
she becomes a shining example.
Because she does not glorify herself,
she becomes a person of merit.
Because she wants nothing from the world,
the world can not overcome her.

When the ancient Masters said,
"If you want to become whole,
then first let yourself be broken,"
they weren't using empty words.
All who do this will be made complete."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 22 

"Bend to not break.
Wrong leads to right,
Depletion to expansion,
Ruin to revival,
Deprivation to acquisition.
Thus the wise hold fast to oneness,
Their measure for this world below;
They make no display and thus shed light,
Put forward no claim and thus set patterns,
Do not advance and thus succeed,
Do not assert and thus preside.
By their refusal to contend
The world cannot with them contend.
Those ancient words “Bend to not break”
Have pith and point
Truly those unbroken credit them.
“Spare speech and let things be.” "
- Translated by Moss Roberts, 2001, Chapter 22

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 up to 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 22, 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