Saturday, June 19, 2021

A Lovely Quote

 Here is a quote for our age:

"To learn to transform conflict, we must let go of the notion that something or someone is wrong or bad.  This belief creates fundamental resistance, and it is the first obstacle to working with conflict.  We can shift our point of view to see that conflicts, like dreams, may possess an elegant intelligence that expresses truths we may not want to see clearly.  For example, an old pattern needs to be abandoned or a relationship needs to grow or change.  We can, with practice, learn to see this intelligence at work and respond creatively and constructively.  The conflict isn't the problem; our response to it is."  (Diane Musho Hamilton)

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)


Saturday, June 12, 2021

A Book That I'm Proud I Finished! Part 2

      Last week I was patting myself on the back for having finished B.K. Frantzis' The Great Stillness, the Water Method of Taoist Meditation.  In this book, Mr. Frantzis presents all the positions that a person might find themselves in, and still be able to meditate in the Taoist water method.

     These positions are:  sitting, lying down, standing, walking, and during sex.  For each, he offers some preparatory exercises and specific methods for meditating in those situations.

     Now, about the "during sex" part.  I'm no prude, but before I read the book, the idea seemed a little, well, unspiritual.  But Frantzis deals with this issue in a matter-of-fact, tasteful, and helpful way.  I did not feel a bit squeamish or put off.  Rather, his point is that no matter what we are doing, we can still meditate.  That seems like a whole new level of spirituality to me.  

     For that reason, I recommend this book.  

Saturday, June 5, 2021

A Book That I'm Proud I Finished!

      A while back, I wrote how I tried to get through B. K. Frantzis' first book (Relaxing Into Your Being, The Water Method of Taoist Meditation Series, Volume 1) on the Taoist water method of meditation, and it took three attempts, some months and years apart.  I was so proud of myself when I finally finished that book.

     Well, there is a second book in that series, and I am proud to say that I finished that one, too.  And I didn't have to stop and restart it three times!  The book I speak of is The Great Stillness, the Water Method of Taoist Meditation.  It starts where the first book ends, that is, the first book is considered preparatory, and this second book is for intermediate practitioners, along with hints about some advanced practices.

     Some people, in their reviews, complained that the book seemed disorganized and meandering.  To me, it felt like a one-on-one master's level course on Taoist meditation, with asides and forays into history or experiences that are relevant to the topic.  Yes, it does take patience, but Taoist meditation is a practice for life, and there is not point in rushing through.

     If this sort of meditation practice appeals to you, do yourself a favor and start with the first book first (Relaxing Into Your Being, The Water Method of Taoist Meditation Series, Volume 1) before going to this one.  Otherwise, many of the practices and references won't make any sense.  It is a book to treasure and refer to time and time again.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

A Couple More Great Quotes

 A couple more quotes to ponder:

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."  (Voltaire)

"No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society.  If  we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power."  (P.J. O'Rourke)



Saturday, May 22, 2021

A Couple of Great Quotes

 Here are some pithy quotes to chew on for the week:

"Possibly the heart of our humanity is to want something we cannot achieve by our own efforts."  (Tim Farrington)

"Our thoughts limit what we're capable of doing.  There are external forces arrayed against us, but there are also internal forces that sabotage us before we even get started.  Our mind is good at setting us up for failure and getting us to think small.  But I have found that we will do for love that which we don't think is possible.  So the question to ask ourselves is "What do I love?"  (Julia Butterfly Hill) 

(image courtesy of pixabay.com)


Saturday, May 15, 2021

A Great Book, a Second Review

      I am pretty sure that I've reviewed Sophy Burnham's book, The Ecstatic Journey: Walking the Mystical Path in Everyday Life, before, but I wanted to touch on some things again.  I think that re-reading some things, after having traveled farther along on the path of life, gives one a different perspective.  It's a bit like reading a travel guide before and after you've seen the sights.

     On my first reading, I felt like the author dwelled too much on her personal journey and emotional experiences, and that felt a little off-putting to me at the time.  On my second reading, however, I noticed how she would talk about her mystical insights and then refer to many mystic's writings and experiences from the past.  It helped to validate and explain what she lived.

     For that reason, I think this is a book worth reading twice, some years apart.  It will inform not only your own journey so far, but also the road and sights to come.  

Saturday, May 8, 2021

A Book for Specific Searchers, Part 2

      Last week, I was discussing my hesitancy to recommend B.K. Frantzis' Relaxing Into Your Being: The Water Method of Taoist Meditation Series, Vol. 1 [Paperback].  Yet, because of some results I experienced, I wanted to offer it to those who might find it useful.  

     First, I think it would be helpful to understand the author's view of meditation:

     A commonly overlooked point in some meditation traditions is that, if you wish to meditate solely to become physically and mentally relaxed, you run the risk of never gaining spiritually.  People use chi gung for relaxing and avoiding depression, as if it were an antidepressant drug.  Meditation can certainly calm or relax you, but its highest purpose in Taoism is to make you aware of the center of your being; that is, to find spirit and emptiness, the essential components of Consciousness itself.  This level is beyond states of physical and mental relaxation; rather it is relaxation into your being or "soul."

     The various exercises that Mr. Frantzis offers seek to address and eliminate the blockages we have that keep us from getting into a calm and relaxed state so that the meditator can directly experience the inner Oneness with Consciousness.  He shows the reader how to find these blockages  and dissolve them.  It's very powerful.

     How do I know it works?  A quick story.  As you know, I am almost never wrong.  I am wrong maybe as often as a third blue moon on the sixth Tuesday of the month during an odd-numbered leap year.  Well, I was frustrated at home trying to fix something that wasn't cooperating, got mad and said some hurtful things to my Significant Other.  I cooled off, thought about it, and very simply apologized to my Significant Other.  I mean, when you're never wrong, you never have to apologize, right?  Well, after my Significant Other got off the floor after a dead faint, we cleared the air and felt better.  I thought later that the dissolving practices that Mr. Frantzis' book taught me must have made that possible.  Any improvement is welcome.

     There is a second volume to this series.  I hope to report to you about it in three years or less.  Wish me luck.