A keen interest in martial arts brought me to the study of TaiChi in my early twenties. As my practice soon deepened to reveal TaiChi as a method of meditation, I began to also take the parallel principles of Chi Gong and Tao Gong very seriously. A few years later, I began to fundamentally change and attain access to levels of Being and perceiving that would drastically reshape my life and perspective. Ever since, something deeply profound has been at the heart of what became my foremost interest: the Way of Life — that is, who am I? What am I? Why am I here? And how am I to Live Rightly? I am interested in this Way of Life because I recognize it to be the central inquiry in distinguishing Reality from illusion; Being from non-being; Clarity from decent into outer darkness. My training in TaiChi, Chi Gong, Tao Gong and the esoteric study of Taoism has facilitated and fulfilled this interest immaculately, and continues to engender a path of resounding clarity and witness to the deep mystery.
I know that it is very hard to convince anyone — especially these days — that there is a Way that is Right, and many ways that are not, and yet that is what I seek to convey here. I am not saying that there is only one way “up the mountain;” of course there are others, and we each walk our respective paths — never mind which direction. However, it is appropriate to note that without a clear and reliable methodology and guidance (on various levels), resolute perseverance, and a consummate introspection into the nature of Being, and the Work toward the Realization of Right Relationship, it is not possible to attain Transformation of Being and to achieve one’s Work of the Spirit (Dharma).
[…] The Great Stillness is the Unchanging Source; the Unchanging Source is the Ceaseless Becoming.
Knowing this is the root of Wisdom; straying from this, you stumble into confusion and suffering.
Knowing the Ceaselessness of the Source, you enter into a natural impartiality and open-heartedness.
Open-hearted Being is Natural Sovereignty; Being Sovereign you will Ascend Heavenward.
Ascending Heavenward is the path to Integration in Tao; thus, just like Tao, the Selfless Being is Eternal — never tasting death.”
~Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Ch. 16:6-10
To varying degrees, every doctrinal system set before humankind as a way to salvation, ascension, or liberation has — by innate inexorability — been manipulated for the purpose of control and misunderstood, even by those of the best intentions. This has led to a loss of original efficacy within the mystical/esoteric Alchemy schools, which preceded these doctrinal versions of a much greater Work. A viable Alchemical Path is one beyond that of rigid systematization — although we must paradoxically “systematize” the method so to make it workable and accessible. Yet there is no magic template to follow, and no magic pill to swallow; we each have our respective things to achieve, “mistakes” to make, lessons to learn, people to encounter, and duties to fulfill.
That said, the path of TaiChi Tao is not a doctrinal system; it is not a religion or concrete set of rules to obey so to “achieve” some fixed, imperious goal. The TaiChi Tao path, like any True Way, is but a guiding methodology — so to facilitate the highest fulfillment of the particular duty within each individual, whatsoever that may be. We are not all here for the same reasons, heterogeneously speaking. And thus we must Work with what borrowed Energy we have, and accomplish the fruition of our respective karma; only then can we truly Ascend — which is really a direction rather than a goal. TaiChi Tao is a viable method of penetrating into that Energy and aligning to it so to achieve that Energy’s most natural path.
With this in mind, know that I have no political agenda or allegiance to any ideology, nor am I bound by any systematized mode of thinking or dogmatic theories (in fact, such things are that which a True Path aspires to eradicate). It is True, that old dictum: “God has no religion.” Again, I am interested in only one thing: the Truth of the Way of Life, and by extension the most direct path to its Compassionate Actualization for the sake of All Beings.
We take the Great Aim (sometimes called the “Great Work” or “Great Way”) as that of paramount importance. Within the TaiChi Tao practice we have an opportunity to come to our deepest understanding, to find who we truly are, and the True Value of Life. As such, the TaiChi Tao practice is primarily focused on the discipline of Meditation, its Energetic Dynamics and their Universal Functionality within Life and All Creation. And yet, TaiChi Tao is also about becoming comfortable in ordinary life — discovering who we are within the simplest moments of our lives. As such, in addition to intensive meditation, contemplation, devotional, and life-simplification practices, TaiChi Tao is also about how we structure the mundane levels of life: how we choose to make our living, how we face the stresses of life, how we eat our meals, how we raise our children, and how we care for ourselves and each other. Even more essential, what we call the “Great Aim” or “Great Tao” Practice (equivalent to the principle of Bodhisattva in Buddhism) is the highest aspiration of the TaiChi Tao practitioner — as its explicit purpose is the betterment of ourselves and our world in Service to All Beings. In this Great Aim, we Work toward Spiritual Realization, Transformation and Liberation — all of which are central components to the Ascension Process Lao Tzu outlined above — and, wherever possible, to advocate and assist in bringing about these conditions within others.
TaiChi Tao is a path deeply rooted within the Teachings of a long lineage of Realized Masters, most notably the Great Sage Lao Tzu, and furthermore enriched through the Universality in the Teachings of other Masters such as the Buddha, Jesus of Nazareth, Bodhidharma and the Zen Patriarchs, Rumi, Patanjali and others — as the Supreme-Boundless Way recognizes Universal Truth over tradition and piety to its founders. Therefore, the TaiChi Tao practice remains available and accessible to all who seek Truth regardless of gender, race, age, cultural upbringing, religious persuasion, social status, sexual orientation, level of education, or any other classification by which humans are thought to be distinct from one another.
In TaiChi Tao, our Awakening to the Great Reality has many names, each pointing beyond names: the Unborn State, the Uncarved Block, Beginner’s Mind, Enlightenment, Liberated Being, Transcendental Unity, etc. Regardless of what we name it, this Awakening to the True Nature is a possibility for each of us that exists before our first thought, as well as being the all-consuming reality of all our thoughts and actions. This True Nature is the deepest aspect of our human condition and is the Source of Wisdom and Compassion.
TaiChi Tao is both the experience of the Great Reality, and a Way toward that experience. As such, the TaiChi Tao practice is about Realization and its subsequent Transformation. There is great and mysterious Power inherent to this Transformation, because as we find ourselves changing, we notice that the world around us also begins to change. There is not life on one hand and “you” on the other; these are the same! This Way of Transformation of self and the world we regard as the Great Aim — it is the supreme actualization of the Dharma; it is the ushering of the Kingdom of Heaven within us and among us. This is the Way of Reconciliation wherein our Hearts and Minds and the very earth itself are discovered to be Holy, where the divisions of self and other become less distinct, and our every act becomes Sacred. This Awakening to the profound interweaving and interdependence of All Beings and Transformation into the True Nature of the Authentic “Self” is nothing less than our birthright as human beings. It must, however, be earned; this too is Universal Law.
Our Dharma (Spiritual Work)
Dharma is an ancient Sanskrit word (धर्म) used predominately in Buddhism and Hinduism, however, more recently employed in the TaiChi Tao practice for its multi-cultural comprehensibility (including within the modern Western World) in terms of basic definition. Dharma, most concisely, means Spiritual Work or persistent and attentive Spiritual Practice. However, Dharma, in the most complete understanding of its meaning pertains to the Universal Law that orders and governs the All, as well as individual conduct in assimilating and following this Universal Law. Dharma is not only our foremost Duty as spiritual practitioners, but also the essential-most function of our True Nature. It is the body and breath of the TaiChi Tao Teachings.
As previously explicated, TaiChi Tao is not a theology or set of beliefs; we have no specified rules to obey — only principles which are implicitly Universal. The practice of TaiChi Tao invites us to come into a deeper relationship with the Present Moment and its Dynamic Centeredness, to establish a lucid, experiential Connection to — and operate from within — a Natural Awareness of our multi-dimensional Being, and hereby learn how to fully participate in Life at our highest potential. We practice together and with the guidance of a Teacher and the Natural Grace, not just to receive the Great Esoteric Knowledge, but also to uncover the Wisdom, Compassion, Aliveness, and Completeness that is already present as the root of our Being. This is our Dharma — as this is the most effective Way to bring positive change to the world and to understand how to Be of Service to others, without interfering with their choice.
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