Engaging in a Personal Practice
THE TIME FOR ACTION IS NOW
The world is at a historical turning point, and our individual role is more important than ever.
No one is responsible for our own happiness except ourselves. We can make a difference in our daily lives and those around us by engaging in a daily practice to discover our hidden potentials and unconscious tendencies. In this time of great change, it is the responsibility of each of us to create a new world that suits us, free from the anxiety and distorted values that rule the world today.
In the midst of this historical crisis, the priority must be towards a strong vision of the ‘coming world’ where things need to change. Our way of working and producing, but also our need to better know ourselves, others, and the world; all of this must go through a deep shift in understanding in order for each of us to make the most conscious choices possible. If we continue conducting our lives without discovering and confronting the hidden aspects of ourselves, even with the best intentions we will simply continue down an inevitable path. It’s time to stop and study ourselves rather than running away from our discomforts or blaming others.
A practice gives us tools to apprehend the world, and a wisdom that supersedes the erroneous perceptions of our frightened mental mind. Fear, pessimism, or “reassurism” are all useless. What we need is to be responsible – responsible for acquiring better information about ourselves and the world, so we can make the best choices and build a better world for all.
The Da Xuan tradition is very clear on the movements of human evolution in the world. The large human evolutions begin in individual initiatives. It is by our personal construction, and by sharing our wisdom and leading by example, that we might influence the world of tomorrow. In this anxiety inducing and imperfect world, we must accept assuming the responsibility for our own evolution, before the world can evolve and resolve its present problems.
« You can’t escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. » – Abraham Lincoln
“Each of us, because we think and can act, is the only one responsible for the wisdom or folly of one’s life, meaning our destiny.” – Plato
It is no longer the time for hiding away and waiting for the right moment. We must act in the world, inspire others through our practice and our example, and accept that within a quest for personal spiritual elevation there is also a quest to build a better world for those who will come after us, one that is more stable and causes less suffering.
We must ask ourselves how to improve our lives, and see how our choices determine everything we do. Our way of perceiving the world, greatly influenced by a daily practice, will decide our behaviour in daily life. A stable practice will make us more resilient, capable of anything. The tradition gives us information on all aspects of our lives.
This knowledge gives us a deep freedom, even when faced with the chaotic changes of the world. The freer we feel, the more we feel that the quality of our lives is up to us, and the more we can act in the world, rather than simply reacting.
We need a lot of courage to admit that the only person who can save us is ourselves. This courage is necessary to accept doing the indispensable work within a daily practice. Even if we are not responsible for the behaviour of others, we are still responsible for the influence the actions of others can have on our lives. It is through example, and not proselytizing, that we can make the difference.
Our world is undergoing a real crisis, and the changes will amplify until 2023. However, it’s also an incredible chance to create a new world that can surprise and delight us.
Learn, assimilate and transform yourself, pushing towards the perfection you can feel within. The wisdom of the Tradition can help to lead us to this new world.
Knowing about it is not enough, we must do. Remember that the work is ours to do alone, no one can do it for us.
About Da Xuan Daoism
Daoism is a practice of self-cultivation and spiritual evolution that asks us to explore the way we function and our relationship with ourselves and the world around us. There are many different types of Daoism, and while the Da Xuan tradition shares similar origins to other Chinese traditions of religious or temple Daoism, the tradition is specifically non-cultural and non-religious. We are concerned with the development of human qualities, and as such our practices are open to anyone of any culture or belief.
In Da Xuan we are primarily interested in engaging in a personal daily practice that will progressively reveal more details about how we function, while simultaneously building an excess of personal resources and energy that will keep us full of vitality while we undergo our search. While there are various philosophies that frame what we do, students are not asked to take on particular beliefs, but rather to continue practicing so as to discover what the framing ideas are pointing to – through direct, personal experience. Practice leads to more information, more information leads to better decisions, and more energy helps us to confront the challenges of life with vitality.
We approach our practice in a balanced and centered way, and so we must consider the spectrum of opposites (Yin and Yang) in the human being – the physical body (Yin), the breath/circulation (Yin + Yang), and the mind (Yang). To achieve balance in ourselves, we treat each aspect as being of equal importance and as such give them the same amount of attention in our practice. We develop universal qualities and capacities related to each of these aspects, rather than choreographed performances, which allows us to discover the possibility of fully expressing our own individuality without becoming a mere copy of the teacher.
A simple overview gives us an idea of what this looks like:
PRACTICES OF THE MIND & SPIRIT (SHEN)
Train our mind to focus, help it to relax, understand how it functions and the various tricks it uses.
PRACTICES OF THE BREATH & CIRCULATION (QI)
Increase our breathing capacity for more vitality, improve the circulation, clear stagnations, develop the exchange with the environment.
PRACTICES OF THE PHYSICAL BODY (JING)
Build strength by training the weak points of the structure, improve alignment and coordination, help unwanted tension relax, learn how to use our structure and relaxation to hold our position and become grounded.
The cultivation of self through practices of body, breath and mind discussed above, symbolized by the image of the mountain, which sits firmly on the earth while it reaches up to touch the heavens.
The science of Destiny makes use of tools like Bazi and Zi Wei Du Shou to understand the way we each relate to fundamental archetypes. These tools allow us to understand the relationships we have with ourselves and the other more thoroughly so that we may discover our hidden potential and work with our innate traits rather than against them.
Divination is the study of the changes of the world allows us to understand the possibilities of a given situation and help us decide on the best course of action using the Yi Jing (the Classic of Changes detailing the 64 hexagrams) and Qi Men Dun Jia.
The arts of Feng Shui and Mian Xiang (Face Reading) teach us to observe how shapes, space and timing can be strategically used to help position ourselves skillfully in the world. These are precise arts that requires deep calculations and contextual understanding of the situation, and produce real measurable results while keeping our common sense alive.
Complete studies of Traditional Chinese Medicine and massage (Tui Na) as well as older studies of Daoist Medicine help us keep our health and assist others around us in keeping theirs. This allows practitioners to earn a living, help society in a positive way and also contribute towards their personal evolution within their vocation.