Monthly Archives: October 2012

Be Not A Slave To Anything

by Michelle Maynard Koenig

Be not a slave to anything:

fear,

thoughts,

notoriety,

being right,

wrong,

or of insatiable greed.

Within the Corinthians’ text of old,

I am allowed to do anything, I’m told,

Yet,  not every indulgence, you see,

is conducive to nurturing the essence within me.

Attachment is the shackles that binds,

A mind, heart, and soul, it does blind,

“Be not a slave to anything,”

Is simply the song my soul doth sing.

 

Perspective

Through eyes of peace,
I see all life a gift.

Through eyes of fear,
I see myself captive.

Through eyes of forgiveness,
I see humanity soar.

Through eyes of anger,
I see darkness roar.

Through eyes of serenity,
I see the power of stillness.

Through eyes of intolerance,
I see with blindness.

Through eyes of shame,
I see not my purpose.

Through eyes of clarity,
I see honesty courageous.

Through eyes of hate,
I see the soul bleed.

Through eyes of love,
I find everything I need.

Chung Fu: Inner Truth

 

Nine at the beginning [yang at bottom] means:
Being prepared brings good fortune.
If there are secret designs, it is disquieting.

Nine in the second place means:
A crane calling in the shade.
Its young answers it.
I have a good goblet.
I will share it with you.

Six in the third place means:
He finds a comrade.
Now he beats the drum, now he stops.
Now he sobs, now he sings.

Six in the fourth place means:
The moon nearly at the full.
The team horse goes astray.
No blame.

Nine in the fifth place means:
He possesses truth, which links together.
No blame.

Nine at the top means:
Cockcrow penetrating to heaven.
Perseverance brings misfortune.
(Chung Fu [I Ching])


The wind blows over the lake and stirs the surface of the water. Thus visible effects of the invisible manifest themselves. The hexagram consists of firm lines above and below, while it is open in the center. This indicates a heart free of prejudices and therefore open to truth. On the other hand, each of the two trigrams has a firm line in the middle; this indicates the force of inner truth in the influences they present.

 

 

The attributes of the two trigrams are: above, gentleness, forbearance toward inferiors; below, joyousness in obeying superiors. Such conditions create the basis of a mutual confidence that makes achievements possible. The character of fu (“truth”) is actually the picture of a bird’s foot over a fledgling. It suggests the idea of brooding. An egg is hollow. The light-giving power must work to quicken it from outside, but there must be a germ of life within, if life is to be awakened.

 

THE LINES

Nine at the beginning means:
Being prepared brings good fortune.
If there are secret designs, it is disquieting.

The force of inner truth depends chiefly on inner stability and preparedness. From this state of mind springs the correct attitude toward the outer world. But if a man should try to cultivate secret relationships of a special sort, it would deprive him of his inner independence. The more reliance he places on the support of others, the more uneasy and anxious he will become as to whether these secret ties are really tenable. In this way inner peace and the force of inner truth are lost.

Nine in the second place means:
A crane calling in the shade.
Its young answers it.
I have a good goblet.
I will share it with you.

This refers to the involuntary influence of a man’s inner being upon persons of kindred spirit. The crane need not show itself on a high hill. It may be quite hidden when it sounds its call; yet its young will hear its not, will recognize it and give answer. Where there is a joyous mood, there a comrade will appear to share a glass of wine.

This is the echo awakened in men through spiritual attraction. Whenever a feeling is voiced with truth and frankness, whenever a deed is the clear expression of sentiment, a mysterious and far-reaching influence is exerted. At first it acts on those who are inwardly receptive. But the circle grows larger and larger. The root of all influence lies in one’s own inner being: given true and vigorous expression in word and deed, its effect is great. The effect is but the reflection of something that emanates from one’s own heart. Any deliberate intention of an effect would only destroy the possibility of producing it. Confucius says about this line:

The superior man abides in his room. If his words are well spoken, he meets
with assent at a distance of more than a thousand miles. How much more
then from near by! If the superior man abides in his room and his words are
not well spoken, he meets with contradiction at a distance of more than a
thousand miles. How much more then from near by! Words go forth from
one’s own person and exert their influence on men. Deeds are born close at
hand and become visible far away. Words and deeds are the hinge and
bowspring of the superior man. As hinge and bowspring move, they bring
honor or disgrace. Through words and deeds the superior man moves
heaven and earth . Must one not, then, be cautious?

Six in the third place means:
He finds a comrade.
Now he beats the drum, now he stops.
Now he sobs, now he sings.

Here the source of a man’s strength lies not in himself but in his relation to other people. No matter how close to them he may be, if his center of gravity depends on them, he is inevitably tossed to and fro between joy and sorrow. Rejoicing to high heaven, then sad unto death-this is the fate of those who depend upon an inner accord with other persons whom they love. Here we have only the statement of the law that this is so. Whether this condition is felt to be an affliction of the supreme happiness of love, is left to the subjective verdict of the person concerned.

Six in the fourth place means:
The moon nearly at the full.
The team horse goes astray.
No blame.

To intensify the power of inner truth, a man must always turn to his superior, from whom he can receive enlightenment as the moon receives light form the sun. However, this requires a certain humility, like that of the moon when it is not yet quite full. At the moment when the moon becomes full and stands directly opposite the sun, it begins to wane. Just as on the one hand we must be humble and reverent when face to face with the source of enlightenment, so likewise must we on the other renounce factionalism among men. Only be pursuing one’s course like a horse that goes straight ahead without looking sidewise at its mate, can one retain the inner freedom that helps one onward.

Nine in the fifth place means:
He possesses truth, which links together.
No blame.

This describes the ruler who holds all elements together by the power of his personality. Only when the strength of his character is so ample that he can influence all who are subject to him, is he as he needs to be. The power of suggestion must emanate from the ruler. It will firmly knit together and unite all his adherents. Without this central force, all  external unity is only deception and breaks down at the decisive moment.

Nine at the top means:
Cockcrow penetrating to heaven.
Perseverance brings misfortune.

The cock is dependable. It crows at dawn. But it cannot itself fly to heaven. It just crows. A man may count on mere words to awaken faith. This may succeed now and then, but if persisted in, it will have bad consequences.

(The source of the above commentary can be found at http://deoxy.org/iching/61.  For more information on I Ching, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Ching.)

The Beauty In Honesty

The beauty in honesty:
authentic, yet imperfect
courageous, yet unknowing
everything, yet nothing
sourced in love.
~Michelle Maynard Koenig

Once upon a time, there was a li tree so spectacular, which was a rare sight to behold.

So huge it could shade a herd of several thousand cattle. So enormous it could have a dozen boats cut out from it. It towered eighty feet over the hilltop, before branching out.

Crowds stood by gazing, murmuring disbelief. But when a carpenter walked past the tree with his apprentice, he went on without casting a look.

Curiously the apprentice asked, “I have never seen such a splendid piece of timber, Master. How was it that you did not care to stop and look at it?”

“It’s not worth talking about,” replied the carpenter. “It’s good for nothing! Made into a boat, it would sink; into a coffin, it would rot; into furniture, it would break easily; into a door, it would secrete; into a pillar, it would be worm-eaten. It is wood of no quality, and of no use. That is why it has lived so long.”

Is the tree useless?

Late that night, the tree visited the carpenter in his dream. “You said that I am of no use, what you compare me with?” asked the tree.

“Do you compare me with the fine-grained wood? Or cherry-apple and other fruit bearers, who would be stripped of their indignity as soon as their fruit ripens? Their boughs are snapped off, the branches scattered around. These trees, by their own value, injure their own lives. They cannot fulfill their life span, and perish prematurely because they destroy themselves for the admiration of the world. “

The carpenter woke up from his dream. He knew he had wronged the tree.

Had the tree not been useless for the small purposes, how could it have survived for the bigger value — allowing the world to have a sacred tree so huge?  (A fable of Chuang Tzu.)

 

The beauty in honesty promotes the examination of one’s true self from a distance; to inquire. “Who am I? What am I doing? Why am I doing this?” By bathing self in honesty, one can find the spectacular li tree’s existence within.

Knowing not knowing is true knowledge.
Not knowing yet presuming to know is sickness.
The Sage is not sick because he sees the sickness as sickness,
By seeing the sickness as sickness, you are free from sickness.
~Laozi, Dao De Jing

7 Benefits Of Silence

by Helena Medena

Silence is a true friend who never betrays. ~Confucius

Even a talkative person can blend into the silence easily and smoothly and bask in the benefits that are very enriching to the soul.

1. Practicing Silence is easier than you think
If you are doubtful wether you can do it or not, start small. Choose to be present and still just for few hours (from wake up time till 12 noon, or from 4pm till next morning). Just that simple choice to go inward will give you external power to do so. Your desire, however, has to be genuine and true.

Turn off your phone, computer, email, social media and other distractions. Just be.

2. Your thoughts are temporary
In our regular life, everything appears so important, because it makes so much noise. As you go into silence, you will see how many “important” thoughts come and go. Thoughts of problems, stress, drama. Even seemingly happy thoughts. Do not get hooked on any one of them, just watch them. They will fade away. You are not your thoughts, you are not even the thinker of them. You are way beyond that. Silence will give you deeper glimpse of who you are.

3. Creative ideas rise from silence
Creativity is not found in the known. It’s not on the level where the problems are. Ideas are of different quality vibration. Silent, peaceful, calm and serene mind can access them gracefully. Go in deeply, visit your inner idea-craft-shop. Everyone has one. Some people, however, never visit.

4. Silence preserves energy
It is a scientific fact that thinking burns calories and oxygen. Worrying, dwelling upon past or fearing the future stresses the nervous system. Silence repairs it. Heart rate normalises. Breathing slows down. The rhythm of the body slows. Silence is restful and nourishing, for during the quiet time neural pathways are formed and windows of opportunities open.

5. Silence deepens your communication
There are many silent retreats that offer residential weekends (or weeks) where everyone is silent together and food is provided. (Check out Vipassana meditation) If you, however, choose to do it by yourself, at home, for more than 24-48 hours, you will soon be faced with at “real” world. Perhaps you will want to go for a walk in the nature or to a market, where people are likely to talk to you and your reciprocation is expected.

Silent mind is more aware. Silent mind can filter between important and distractive conversations. Trust your silence and you will notice that quite often, words are not necessary. It is enough for you to just be. Sweet smile of acknowledgment or a present nod of your head often completes the conversation much better than any word.

6. Silence refines your senses
By the end of day 2, you will start hearing sounds you never heard before. The sound of silence is quite crisp and noticeable. Your senses will become more subtle, purified and refreshed. Tune into those sounds and play with them. As you sit in the nature feel the silent sound of insects walking around or even a leaf growing. When shallow noise is tuned out of your awareness, new awareness are presented to you.

7. Your enjoyment capacity increases
If you need a radio and TV on at all times, if your mind is unable to focus on one task (before it has to check an email), your capacity to deep enjoyment is quite low. Practicing silence allows you to feel it, to be it to own it, and of course, to enjoy it.

Even if you are lover of words (I am!), you very well know that there are no word adequate enough to express the beauty of a breath-taking sunset. How can you explain the taste of mango by using words? Or the depth of love that you have for your child? That magic outweighs the power of any word.

Imagine you and your lover, flirting with words. Fun, isn’t it?
Now, imagine you and your lover, if words are not allowed, flirting with your eyes. Flirting with smiles. Flirting with your presence. Flirting with feather-like touch. Breathing each other in.

Practicing silence will bring many different ways of enjoyment and you will became a better lover of life. Lover of your truth. Lover of present moment. …

Question for you – have you been consciously silent for a longer period of time? What were your experiences? Would you do it again? Would you recommend it and why?

Enjoy the silence.