Monday, 15 December 2014

Monstaville Book II. Chapter 45


“If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”
- Will Rogers (American humorist and entertainer, 1879-1935).

Liberation. The perfect holistic antidote to stress, depression and other unhealthy states of mind by Barefoot Doctor (Element, London, U.K., 2002).

Liberation from oppression.

p.177. People treat you according to what you unconsciously project from within. If you’re feeling oppressed by others, someone in particular, a group or the world in general, it is because you’re oppressing yourself and projecting the resulting oppressive energy on to them. As soon as you stop oppressing yourself, others will stop oppressing or stop appearing to oppress you. When you stop oppressing yourself, no matter how oppressive the situation may currently find yourself in, you will no longer feel oppressed by it. When you begin to allow yourself the limitless internal expansion your spirit yearns for and which is after all your birthright, you will unconsciously project from within the energy of limitless expanse and your external circumstances, including all those that people those circumstances, will automatically begin to reflect that back at you.

[My pencilled note in the margin of the page reads: ‘Unless they’re just being selfish and aggressive by nature!].

p.178. In respect of you feeling oppressed, literally pushed against by others, this implies being supple (of mind and body), not resisting the pressure by holding a stiff upper jaw and general posture in a vain attempt to be stronger than the pressure, but to yield to it gracefully instead, while remaining poised around your centre at all times. Maintain a low centre of gravity by letting your mind and energy settle in your lower abdomen and pelvic region. If your centre of gravity is in your upper body and head instead, you’ll be unable to yield, roll and right yourself when pressure is applied. You’ll be easily toppled to the floor, your dignity (uprightness) lost and forced into an awkward set of manoeuvres in order to regain it (unless, of course, you happen to be a wobbly doll who’s been trained how to tumble).

p.179. When your centre of gravity is held low, when you allow your mind to be supple and your chi to settle in your belly, you yield with grace to oncoming force - rolling away from the force without losing your dignity. The stronger the force comes at you, the stronger it is repelled by its own momentum, while your inner being remains unscathed and intact. The level of external oppression you feel reflects the limitations you impose on yourself. The more you stop limiting your own self, the less oppressed by others you’ll feel. When you have finally managed to stop limiting yourself internally altogether, the impact of outside oppression will no longer impinge on your person at all.
                Up till now you’ve probably thought of having a wobble (in relation to strong external pressure causing you to lose your balance) in a negative light, like walking a tightrope and falling off - the linear model. But now you can see the wobbles as a positive event, a yielding, a rolling and a righting, a bit of a game you play with life, a dance you do with oncoming pressure - the circular model.
                Now you’ve seen how wobbling in the face of oppression can be a fun thing to do, theoretically, get into training immediately by imbuing yourself with the spirit of the wobbly doll. [Details of the exercise follow].

Liberation from suffering.

p.261-262. I, like you, can dwell upon the pain, or dwell upon the pleasure. Every moment has its fair share of potential tragedy as well as its fair share of potential triumph. Focus on the tragedy and it will grow until it takes the moment and you’re suffering (again). Focus on the triumph and it will grow, until it overtakes the moment and you’re liberated from suffering. This holds true, no matter how extreme the circumstances, providing you don’t panic so much you can’t see the wood for the trees.
                Suffering in the abstract sense has been passed down (mostly unconsciously) from generation to generation and adopted (most unquestioningly) as a habitual response (to life). Adopted (mostly unconsciously) as a perceived obligation, as if to perpetuate it would somehow alleviate the suffering of those who have gone before. But no matter how much your ancestors (and especially parents) may have suffered in their lives, no amount of suffering will take that away. On the contrary, suffering only adds to suffering, while triumph inspires triumph.
                But the time has now (surely) come, for us to choose to break the mould and drop suffering from our agendas. And as we do, as you do, one by one, faster and faster, others will be inspired to do so too and then maybe, just maybe, with suffering off the agenda, we, as a species, will finally learn to leave each other be in peace.

Even if we only succeed in doing this sometimes it might be what keeps us afloat and saves us in the end. Such discipline and awareness constitute a conscious practise, however, and that can be difficult to develop into an unconscious habit. When we receive the opposite of what we want, what we desire or need - karma or whatever - our will and our feelings are suffering. Yet, in our minds, we have a choice and can detach ourselves from it.

“Effort is like struggling to get out of quicksand - it only pulls you in deeper.” - Deepak Chopra (The Way of the Wizard. 20 Spiritual Lessons For Creating The Life You Want, Rider Books, London, U.K., 1995, p.6).

“Picking and choosing isn’t wrong, but it takes effort. Although we have all been taught that effort is good, that nothing is achieved without work, this isn’t so. Being cannot be achieved by effort; love cannot be achieved by effort.
                On a more subtle level, picking and choosing also involved rejection. The mind focuses on one thing at a time. Before you can say, ‘I like that,’ you have to reject all other choices. The things we reject tend to be coloured by fear. The mind and emotions don’t regard pain and suffering neutrally; they fear and reject them. This habit of picking a choosing winds up expending a lot of energy, because your mind is constantly vigilant, constantly watching out to make sure that hurt, disappointment, loneliness, and a great many other painful experiences don’t happen again. What room is left for silence?
                Without silence, there is no room for the wizard. Without silence, there cannot be any real appreciation of life, which is as delicate in its inner fabrics as a closed rosebud. When mortals came to ask advice from the wizards, they did so because they noticed that wizards don’t live in fear. Whatever happens to wizards is accepted, even embraced. ‘How do you manage this peace of mind?’ mortals asked. And the wizards’ answer was ‘Look within, where there is only peace.’”
                (ibid. p.21-22).

“‘Now sit beside me,’ said Merlin. ‘What did you think of the work you did?’
                ‘It was pointless,’ Arthur blurted out.
                ‘Exactly, and so is most human effort. But the pointlessness isn’t discovered until too late, after the work has been done. If you lived backward in time, you would have seen ditch digging as pointless and not begun in the first place.’”
                (ibid. p.42).

The Inner Structure of Tai Chi. Tai Chi Chi Kung I by Mantak Chia and Juan Li (Healing Tao Books, Healing Tao Books, New York, U.S., 1996).

Mantak Chia explains that, “a person with a high centre of gravity lives disconnected from the ground.” (p.24).

p.22.Tai Chi practice integrates physical rooting into the very way one moves through life. The practice of psychic rooting is cultivated through meditation. Physical and energetic rooting is developed through Iron Shirt and Tai Chi, as a support to the mental and emotional changes that take place via meditation. One reflects the other. The grounding cultivated through Tai Chi manifests as stability in movements. Emotionally, it manifests as a stable personality with clarity of purpose and full command of the willpower. As an aspect of spiritual cultivation in the Tao, rooting is very important...

p.22-23. For optimum stability, in Tai Chi one trains to keep the centre of gravity low in the body, in the area between the navel, the Door of Life, and the sexual centre - the approximate midpoint of the body. This area is known as the lower Tan Tien. Keeping the centre of gravity in the lower Tan Tien is relatively easy as long as one is sitting the moment one stands up and begins to move, the centre of gravity adjusts itself to the particular movement one is doing...As one grows older, one’s centre of gravity rises to a fluctuating point in the torso. As one experiences negative emotions, the centre of gravity begins to travel farther upward into the torso. When a person becomes angry, the centre of gravity can rise up to the chest, causing enough energetic pressure to produce a heart attack. In extreme fright, the centre of gravity may rise all the way to the throat, making the person unable to utter a sound. By the time a person reaches adulthood, the centre of gravity may be permanently based somewhere in the upper chest, making the person top heavy. Thus elderly people tend to fall easily and often need the assistance of walking sticks. The process of relearning to become centred is easier at first while sitting or standing in one place than it is in movement.

It has occurred to me, since reading this, that my centre might be too high as a result of emotional traumas during childhood. Taiji helps to pull it down to the abdomen so energy can flow in a more balanced, and more grounded and centred, way (which aids the release of emotions as stated in the earlier quote from this book. See Chapter II).

Retrospective insert.

‘Regina Brett's 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on’ (by Regina Brett, columnist for The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, 28 May 2006,

“The single most popular column ever written by Regina was ‘50 Life Lessons,’ written for The Plain Dealer when she turned 50 years old in 2006. So, despite what you may have read on the Internet, Regina is NOT 90 years old!!”

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My oldometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here's an update:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheque.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don't ask, you don't get.
49. Yield.
50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

"Today you have cause for celebration. Today, you should celebrate what an unbelievable life you have had so far: the accomplishments, the many blessings, and, yes, even the hardships because they have served to make you stronger. Just as a gem cannot be polished without friction, nor can a life be perfected...without trials. Take time to acknowledge your life and to praise yourself." – Unknown.

“The universe is a complete unique entity. Everything and everyone is bound together with some invisible strings. Do not break anyone’s heart; do not look down on weaker than you. One’s sorrow at the other side of the world can make the entire world suffer; one’s happiness can make the entire world smile.” - Shams Tabrizi.

“An Italian, a Scotsman and a Chinese fellow are hired at a construction site.
The foreman points out a huge pile of sand and says to the Italian guy, 'You're in charge of sweeping.'
To the Scotsman he says, 'You're in charge of shovelling.'
And to the Chinese guy, 'You're in charge of supplies.'
He then says, 'Now, I have to leave for a little while. I expect you guys to make a dent in that there pile.'
So the foreman goes away for a couple hours and when he returns, the pile of sand is untouched.
He asks the Italian, 'Why didn't you sweep any of it?'
The Italian replies, 'I no hava no broom. You saida to the Chinese a fella that he a wasa in a charge of supplies, but he hasa disappeared and I no coulda finda him nowhere.'
Then the foreman turns to the Scotsman and says, 'And you, I thought I told you to shovel this pile.'
The Scotsman replies, 'Aye, ye did lad, boot ah couldnay get meself a shoovel! Ye left th' Chinese gadgie in chairge of supplies, boot ah couldnayfin' him either.'
The foreman is really angry now and storms off toward the pile of sand to look for the Chinese guy...Just then, the Chinese guy leaps out from behind the pile of sand and yells...

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