Tag Archives: relationships

The Tower of Babel Dilemma

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There was quite a while when I didn’t speak with people, other than to exchange empty greetings and conduct routine business. I was so disillusioned, attempts to communicate about anything of substance seemed futile.

During this time, working with the Book of Change kept me in touch with the deeper, better side of myself and the universe. As this work led me to reestablish meaningful connection with others, my aspirations turned towards seeking ways to share this life-saving gift with others.

If the best I had to offer humanity was the same book which had served to keep me whole, how could I persuade others of its value? Whether intentionally or not, what I have come to call “The Tower of Babel Dilemma” – the degeneration and fragmentation of the English language – is a formidable obstacle to effective communication. Glib labels and false assumptions associated with the book led to out-of-hand rejection. “Foreign.” “Ancient.” “Unscientific.” “Unchristian.” “Pagan.” “Superstitious.” “Difficult.”

It seems to me that language has devolved into quite the opposite of the English I’d learned to love and respect in high school. There, we were taught to regard language as the premier tool of logic. When used with Sherlock-like diligence, applied the powers of keen observation and heightened awareness, it could solve mysteries — not only to detect the crimes of evil-doers and the nefarious plots of national enemies, but to unravel the mysteries of life and the universe.

Turned inwards, used with self-honesty, language is essential to cultivating self-awareness. For the truth-seeker, language is a necessary vehicle of information both on the inward quest and on the return journey outwards to share results.

But even people with the best of intentions use the same words to mean very different things. They miss each other coming and going, only vaguely aware of the disconnect.

Tracking the meanings of words, I was fascinated to find that their devolution is systematic. In some cases, the same word actually means not only one thing, but its exact opposite as well.The “positive” word is an important example. Webster’s dictionary lists seventeen (!) contradictory uses.

Instead of being used as a means for unifying human beings, language is often degraded into chaotic paralyzing noise – a weapon for stirring up animosities, division and confusion.

So I set about to build the all-important groundwork for communicating about The Book of Change. I needed to rescue the language – restore it from its debased status as a smoke screen spun to camouflage self-serving intent. To this end, I outlined chapters for The Yoga Dictionary: Answering the Tower of Babel Dilemma.

As a reminder, the biblical story describes defiant humanity’s fall from unity into confusion and separation:

In Genesis, a united humanity speaking a single language and migrating eastward, came to the land of Shinar שנער‎‎. There they wanted to build a city and a tower “tall enough to reach heaven;” God, however, disapproved of such behavior as disrespectful, scrambled their speech so they could no longer understand each other and scattered them throughout the world.

The Sixty-Four Essays found in Part Two of Conscience are an off-shoot of this project. They’re meant to be used, as is the Book of Change itself, to cultivate mindfulness. They bring attention to the complexity of basic words we too often take take for granted and the critical importance of establishing a shared common ground of understanding.

Three-Part Format

Like the 64 images of the I Ching, each of the 64 Essays in Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide is self-contained – a miniature world complete. Each invites the reader to slow down and think carefully, taking the time to examine current beliefs and apply timeless wisdom to immediate personal experience.

There’s a method to the order of the Essays. Originally they were placed in a logical progression that seemed to tell a story. However, there’s no need to read them in sequential order. Using the Alphabetical Table of Contents is another option. If a particular subject stands out as immediately relevant or interesting, choose that one.

A three-part format gives each Essay structure-within-structure:

Part One. Though the Book of Change is dismissed as inaccessible and rarely taught in public schools, the number of influential thinkers whose ideas intuitively resonate with its timeless wisdom aren’t limited by either time or place. Quotes from the work of well-known figures serve as a springboard and bridge linking the familiar with the new.

Contrasting voices speaking to the same universal concerns highlight the yin-yang, old-new, East-West dynamic which everyone everywhere, deeper than deep, share in common.

Quotes from Chinese philosophers inspired by working directly with the I Ching include Confucius, Lao Tzu (The Tao Te Ching) and Sun Tzu (The Art of War).

Quotes from the Old and New Testament which resonate with I Ching wisdom include the Psalms of the musician/poet/ healer/warrior King David and the words of his direct descendant, Jesus Christ.

The Muslim tradition is represented, as are modern day medical practitioners, healers and teachers. Countless martial arts disciplines are based on I Ching science and philosophy, as are Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong. Bruce Lee‘s Jeet Kune Do is one well-known example.

Also included are voices of Westerners in synch with I Ching wisdom, from Plato and Christopher Columbus to William Shakespeare and Albert Einstein; from Abraham Lincoln and Sir Winston Churchill to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela; from Norman Vincent Peale to Peter Drucker, Scott Peck, Steven Covey, Jim Loehr, Norman Cousins, and Tony Robbins.

Voices of creative women in harmony with I Ching wisdom include those of Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Naomi Judd and Oprah Winfrey.

Part Two. “The Front” examines a specific word’s meaning in depth, giving examples with emphasis on its use in I Ching context, elaborating on implications of the quotes. Quite often changes in meaning correlate with the evolutionary path of the chakra system, reflecting an increasing level of maturity and self-awareness.

Part Three. Just as the coins sometimes used to derive I Ching readings have two sides, every idea has its shadow, opposite side. Accordingly, a brief section called “The Back” balances The Front side of each Essay to round out the picture. It briefly describes each universal idea’s mirror opposite, as well as inversions and perversions.

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Revisiting these concepts at this particularly dangerous window of time would be a particularly helpful investment of energy and attention, as the gap between an historical election and projected inauguration stands in the balance.

Let those with an ear to hear and heart to understand take heed.

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Unity & Diversity Are Necessary Compliments

AXIOM THREE of the Positive Paradigm of Change is now “Unity and Diversity are Necessary Compliments.” Although the idea isn’t necessarily fun or sexy, understanding this essential relationship will significantly improve the quality of both your personal and professional life.

Taken out of context, the second axiom is subject to distortions and misunderstandings. Resulting confusion can generate conflict in family relationships and on, all the way up the life chain to conflict amongst nations. That’s why Axiom Three is an such important extension of the second.

According to Axiom Two, “We are Each a World Complete, Containing the Potentials of the Universe.” This inherent inner similarity is the realistic foundation of common understanding. However, the fact that we each have the same inner structure does not mean that everyone is identical and that we should act as if we’re all the same.

Like snowflakes, humans are identical in their basic structure. Each, however, is a unique expression of the universal pattern. Personal abilities and needs are the result of an infinitely complex set of variables.

And just as an integrated balance of energy centers is necessary to the overall health of an individual, a balance of complimentary abilities and interests promotes the general health of society at large.

We share the potential for perfection in common. However, in balance, innate potentials are filtered by cultural conditioning. Each of us has an overlay of education and personal experience which tends to distort and even mask that common core.

Each of us has a long history of decisions, not all of them good. We live with the consequences of past actions as well as our hopes for the future.

Further, while our inherent structure is identical, within the evolutionary chakra scale, at any given time and place, most individuals are narrowly focused on only one or a small combination of the seven centers and their specific issues. The roles which meet our immediate learning needs and simultaneously best serve the whole are the outcome of these combined influences.

Bottom line: diversity on the surface is an inevitable, necessary and beneficial compliment to unity at the center. So long as the levels of the perfect pattern are understood and correctly prioritized, there is no conflict between unity and diversity.

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When the levels are not prioritized, problems follow. Unity at the surface — meaning regimentation, uniformity and coerced one-size-fits-all thinking — is antithetical to life, just as diversity is at the center is impossible.

So it’s essential to prioritize the levels correctly. Be clear and correct about what is absolute and unchanging. Conversely, worldly success depends on accepting what is ephemeral, non-essential, subject to change and short-lived for what it is . . . and is not. Recognizing the difference is critically important to maintaining both personal and institutional stability.

For example, when alliances are formed on the basis of surface appearances — whether it be immediate self-interest, perceived attractiveness, race, gender, age or other biological markers — the connection is weak and likely to be short-lived.

In contrast, relationships remain stable when they’re based on a personal connection with the unchanging, universal center – that which everyone shares in common and upon which everyone depends. They withstand the tests of time and prove to be mutually beneficial.

For eight-thousand years and counting, Chinese sages operated on an understanding of how the world really works based on The Book of Change. This explains the longevity of dynasties which were steered in alignment with the fundamental axioms of change.

To the extent that ancient societies understood and were governed in accordance with the universal pattern, their leadership choices mirrored this organization. At the family level, the leadership role of the biological father was regarded as a natural reflection of the divine pattern.

In increasingly larger levels of organization, in each case the greatest among the group was designated as its natural leader, seated at its center, and entrusted with the grave responsibility of maintaining stability and balance in the best interests of the whole.

Although rarely honored and only imperfectly implemented, the universal pattern pictured in the Positive Paradigm Wheel remains the organizational model which best accords with reality, and has the most likely chance of generating beneficial results.

Just as we dearly need to depend on the center of our personal lives for inspiration, wisdom and stability, we need to be able to look to the leaders in our lives – families, schools, business, and governments – as stewards of our trust.

When leaders at every level, worldwide cannot be trusted to maintain stability or protect the common good, the times grow exceedingly dangerous. In such times, personal balance and ultimately survival depends ever more greatly upon an unshakable connection with the unchanging center within.

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Corollary A: The levels of the Positive Paradigm Wheel are interrelated and interdependent. But they are qualitatively different and should be prioritized accordingly.

The surface is transient. Hurt it, and it can heal. Have a bad day, and there’s always tomorrow. This is “the small stuff.” The center, however is absolute and absolutely necessary. “With God, all is possible.” But without a conscious connection to the center, nothing of enduring value can be accomplished. Violate this connection with impunity long enough, and eventually there will not be another tomorrow.

Corollary B: Looking for completion and stability on the surface, where none exist, is a sure formula for disappointment. Creating false expectations and failing to teach realistic attitudes towards inevitable changes on the surface of the life wheel (as well as where to turn for wisdom and solace in the face of life’s disappointments) is bad for mental health and long-term relationships.

Corollary C: Unrealistic, dysfunctional paradigms are the root cause of addictions. When people are cut off from their center or deny their emotional/physical needs, they feel starved. Not knowing why, they turn to substitutes which don’t truly satisfy. When mental escapes aren’t an option, self-destructive alternatives present themselves.

Corollary D: Bigotry, discrimination and violence of every stripe are a function of ignorance in regard to Axiom Three. We are different on the outside, but eternally the same on the inside. Look past appearances which are often deceptive for the foundation of enduring relationships of value.

Corollary E: Reason is necessary but not sufficient. When used to link the material surface with the middle and inner levels of the Wheel, it is a powerful tool. When turned against the life force, elevating itself as if it were the exclusive way of knowing, it presumes to judge what is beyond it. This is hubris, the catalyst of tragedy. Rationality in the extreme changes into its opposite, producing desperately irrational results.

Corollary F: Forgetting (or denying) the existence of a nucleus at the center of our personal atomic structure along with fighting over the illusion of superiority and possession of ephemeral assets is a sure recipe for personal suffering, relationship problems and professional failure. On an international level, it leads to atrocities and genocidal wars.

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Rethinking SEX & TANTRA

Today is a tongue in cheek test of the SEO factor, to find out who is visiting this blog and why. Visitors, are you there? What do you think? Your comments are welcome!

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9. SEX

“Sexual union is physical enactment of the virtue/power, the te of Taoism. It is the resolution of the physical dichotomy of male and female, of self and not-self. Man enters woman while woman receives man. Two bodies become one. Physical separateness is transcended. Each is the completion of the other.” — Ray Grigg, The Tao of Relationships

“Everybody affected by feelings of guilt and shame will have negative feelings about their sexuality. These feelings block the flow of primal life force through-out the entire body. Equally, at a physical level, any negativity toward your sexuality or parts of your body leads to chronic tension in muscles throughout the body. This means that your energy can no longer flow between your Tan T’iens, or centres of Divine Energy. ” — Russell & Kolb, The Tao of Sexual Massage

“If we want to reach our boys and help them develop mature and responsible attitudes towards sex, we need to understand their motivations. As a culture we are much more aware of and sympathetic to the pressures around sexuality girls feel. The confusion boys feel is hidden, hidden under their own masks of macho posturing and under the weight of our misconceptions of toxicity about boys.” — William Pollack, Real Boys

THE FRONT

Roots of sex, discrimination and science all mean to divide. Webster’s definition of sex includes either of the two divisions, male or female, into which persons, animals or plants are separated, with reference to their reproductive functions. Sex refers to the character of being male or female, all the attributes by which males and females are distinguished. It can refer to anything connected with sexual gratification or reproduction, or the attraction of those of one sex for those of the other. It can also refer to sexual intercourse.

The dictionary does not differentiate between sex and gender stereotypes. While the biological differences between human males and females remain constant, their roles and prescribed behavior varies from culture to culture, and within cultures over time.

For example, Margaret Mead, a pioneering anthropologist, challenged the stereotypes of her day both in the moral conduct of her personal life and in the conclusions of her published research. In Coming of Age in Samoa, she reported that the many different ways boy and girl children can be raised will shape their attitudes and relationships into very different patterns.

She described one tribe that taught their children easy-going, accepting attitudes towards sex and raised contented, peaceable adults. In contrast, a cannibal tribe raised fierce warriors by systematically frustrating their infants, hanging them on tree branches to swing unattended, withholding basic touch and caring. Current civilizations resemble the cannibals more often than the peaceable, contented tribe, both in training and results.

Tantric yoga is a discipline which trains students to change sexual impulses from a culturally conditioned detriment to intentional accelerator of personal growth. Its premise is that forbidding people to think about sex has the opposite of intended effect. For centuries it’s been know that if you tell people not to think of white elephants, they’ll think of nothing else.

Slamming the lid on libido drives it into the inaccessible “unconscious.”

While publicly feigning compliance, people thus repressed indulge compulsive sexuality in extreme. Perhaps intentionally, perhaps not, sexual deviance has been systematically programmed into the world’s highly educated elite for centuries, making them vulnerable to blackmail and/or public humiliation for their inevitable discretions, placing them at the mercy of puppet masters who wield secret powers behind the scenes.

To prevent such personal/political undoing, energy science trains students to be wise, skillful and practical in sexual matters, fulfilling intimate needs without tearing the fabric of their emotional, family and professional lives apart.

As with communication, power and peace, the purpose and expression of sex evolves as awareness grows. For humans, the sex act begins and ends in the mind, the body’s most erogenous zone. Depending on attitude, it can be experienced as debasing or pure bliss. Sex can be a mating for the purpose of reproduction. It can be a one-sided expression of lust or will to dominate, motivated by insecurity, cruelty or even revenge. It can also be a source of healing, an expression of compassionate love. Comprehensive sex is practiced with reverent understanding that the individual act mirrors the sacred union of opposites.

THE BACK

An inversion of sexuality is frigidity or impotence, the lack of attraction to the opposite sex or incapacity to reproduce. It implies rejection of the creative, reproductive process. Negative role models, unfortunate experiences, inhibiting education or poor health are possible contributing factors.

In mythology, an androgynous person balances male and female aspects from within. If used as an excuse to shun the challenge of relationships, aspiring to this perfect state forfeits the learning opportunities associated with being human. There’s time enough in the hereafter for the even harder lessons reserved for angels.

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Ray Grigg, The Tao of Relationships: A Balancing of Man and Woman. (Humanics New Age: Atlanta, GA, 1988.) p. xiii.

Russels & Kolb, The Tao of Sexual Massage. (Fireside Books: New York, 1992.) p. 55.

William Pollack, Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood. (Random House: New York, 1998.) p. 151.