Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Spiritual Cultivation is Not Just "Follow Your Passion"

One of my students had a question regarding a new-age author who suggested the following advice, not uncommon in our modern culture:
"He says that if in your work you are being distracted with something else, then maybe you should do what you are being distracted with, i.e. follow your passion. Which is common sense of course."

Note that this was even noted as "common sense".

But in fact, this is terribly bad advice to give people; as 'distraction' and 'passion' are not the same thing.

Most people don't have any idea what their passion is.

If they do know, and follow it, they will find that there are all kinds of "distractions" that try to drive them AWAY from those passions, because it turns out that following one's passion requires enormous discipline and very hard and often boring work and many sacrifices and lots of other things that aren't fun.

And your passion requires CHANGE.

It requires that you be almost a completely different person when you come out of the process than when you started, and if you are not willing to make that kind of change, the no-longer-being your existing conception of self, then many of the 'distractions' are likely to be things that are also tempting to you precisely in order to try to get you to keep being who you are right now.

They're saying "look, you find this really interesting, right? Come follow this wild goose chase of things you find interesting instead of that one really hard thing you're trying to do".
And before you know it, years have gone by and you've started ten thousand things and finished none of them.

You need to find out what you actually love (as in, what is your actual will), not the lies that you tell yourself about the type of person you'd like to be because you hope other people will see you that way, or because someone else told you its what you have to be like, but what you are actually want to accomplish, above all else. As precisely as possible.

And then you have to follow that thing you love no matter how hard it is or how much struggle and suffering and sacrifice you go through in it, until it kills you.

Monday, June 22, 2020

The I Ching: Hexagram 15 - Humility

An analysis of the 15th hexagram of the I Ching, in the latest video in the I Ching series:

If you want more teachings on the deeper mysteries of the I Ching, as part of a program of cultivation and spiritual self-development including meditation and Qi Gong practices, please consider applying to the Yi Fa Society!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Why Do People Hide In Their Own Fake Realities?

Q: why do people try to stay in the center of their own little universes?

 We stay in little universes, that we can pretend we're in the center of. At first glance, this might seem to be a way to get something, to gain some fantasies we have. But it's more about trying not to lose.
We fear being vulnerable, so we shut ourselves up in our own little universes, separating ourselves from reality, as a way to create the illusion of greater control in our lives. If we can be at the center of things that means that we are in control and can avoid dangers and can justify anything we do; of course that's all just delusion, but that's how we imagine it'll work. Instead of accomplishing what you want it to, you become trapped in your own tiny box.

Making yourself NOT the center of your own universe means Losing Control, and having to trust: first of all, to trust yourself, that you won't fail without total control. Most people don't believe in their own abilities, so they create this tiny little box-world where they can feel like the big fish of it (what Reich called the "little man").

Second, trust other people.

And third, trust reality itself.

And those are very hard because what we want is not to be harmed and of course all those things WILL harm us. We will fail (sometimes), we will be hurt by people (sometimes) and life will definitely kill us, eventually.

But the expansion of our fears of those things happening, our failure to go ahead and trust anyways and therefore have a chance of creating purpose for our lives, leads us instead to hide away in that fantasy of self-referencing where ultimately all the things we fear will happen anyways, and on top of that we will have failed to have purpose.

And absolutely, through cultivating Virtue, we grow to understand the pointlessness of trying to put ourselves in the center of our own little universe instead of diving into our corner of the great big one and getting to be one precious part of that.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

"Positive Affirmations" are the Opposite of Real Spiritual Positivity

In this video, I talk about how the notion of trying to force the Tao to give you what you think you desire or magically make you who you imagine you want to be is not real "positive affirmation", but the opposite of true positive spiritual perspective!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Flaws in Virtue

The following is an excerpt from a Level 4 text of the Yi Fa Society:

If a practitioner tries to cultivate without Union, he will only be cultivating for himself. His successes might strengthen him, but only reinforce his narcissism. He will start to feel disconnected from the rest of reality around him, and will reinforce the petty interests of his Inferior Person as if these were significant. He will develop a sense of greatness he will not be able to apply to his actual surroundings. In this way, he will eventually subvert all his own progress.

If a practitioner tries to cultivate without Discipline, he will practice in starts and stops. He may at times seek to overcompensate, even practicing in unhealthy ways. He will fall into excuses for why his irregular practice is not a problem, or even how it is unnecessary for him to practice. He may hide in intellect or in emotion, making pretensions of great spiritual feelings or thoughts, while disdaining simple and basic practice. This will eventually mean that he loses all his momentum.

If a practitioner tries to cultivate without Harmony, he will be afraid of his weaknesses, and will put all his focus on his strengths. He will work with great effort at things he's already good at, while neglecting anything he is bad at. He will make a great show of his best qualities, while trying to deny existence of his worst qualities. In this way he will be unable to continue generating Virtue, or receive Gong.

If a practitioner tries to cultivate without Truth, he will delude himself with any fantasy. He may do the physical exercises, but they will exist in his own little bubble. He will interpret Virtue as anything he feels like. He will be unable to receive insight into how to manifest the Superior Individual. He will be unable to manifest Virtue in the world.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Time and the I Ching

What is the nature of Time? The I Ching seeks to explain that.

This is important for understanding your own spiritual cultivation, as well as to understanding how Divination works, and why!