Saturday, 21 December 2013
Monstaville Book I. Appendix II
“But even through all this resistance we are facing, we are being told that there is, in fact, a door here...and that there IS a way through it...and at the risk of reusing some played-out platitudes...we just can't force it open with our hands, we can only will it open with our hearts…So each time you experience suffering, remember that all suffering is resistance to what-is. There is only one combination to the lock on that door we are all trying to fit through: surrender-acceptance-acceptance-let go. Each time you reach down and find the ability to embrace the uncertainty, to welcome the discomfort...Right, left, left, right, CLICK...you're in!” - Lauren C. Gorgo (‘Losing Hope: The Final Attachment,’ 16 August 2010,
‘Facing the abyss’ (excerpt) by Barefoot Doctor (Dear Barefoot. Taoist Wisdom For Everyday Living, Atlantic Books on behalf of Guardian Newspapers Ltd, London, U.K., 2004, p.228-230).
As I’m sure you’ve heard a thousand times in new-age circles, the Chinese character for crisis means danger and opportunity. The English word itself literally means cross or crossroads, a point of choice, in other words. And the choice is between the danger of sinking into the abyss or rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the past.
But before I drag us through the mire of excessive metaphor, let’s examine the Taoist view on the stages of, and the way of handling oneself during, crisis.
First stage is denial – I didn’t really just slip my disc, I don’t care if my partner did just leave me (I’ll be alright), it doesn’t really matter that I’ve just realised my entire cosmological map was completely wrong and it actually turns out I’m a raving fruitcake unfit for civilised society, etc.
The quicker you are at grasping reality, the less time you’re able to keep up the pretence and it soon gives way to anger – stupid me for getting in this mess, stupid life for doing this to me; damn, I’ll have to totally reorganise my schedule, etc. the less of a spoilt brat you are, however, the quicker you stop throwing your toys all over the nursery, and anger gives way to humiliation, shame and remorse for not being the flawless being who would have managed to avert this disaster.
The more resilient you are, though, the sooner you stop berating yourself and remorse gives way to terror. Terror because you suddenly realise how fragile your construct of reality is in the midst of this ferociously infinite universe. Fear that you might not pull out of the spin this time.
The less of a drama merchant you are, the sooner you stop shaking and your existential terror (that nasty underlying, recurring stuff) gives way to acceptance – the moment of grace where it’s just you and your maker. This is when you choose whether to languish in the pit of the old and die (one way or another, sooner or later) or climb out on the back of the new and create yourself afresh. Give up or give in.
Though it’s your call from start to finish, a Taoist would always advise you to go with the latter – surrender to the story, stop resisting the flow of events and ask yourself what can be learned or gained from this that you can use to empower yourself in order to start the next chapter of the book.
And according to that same Taoist, the most valuable asset acquirable at this stage is an increased capacity for compassionate detachment, which enables you to observe and even enjoy observing yourself handling life’s vicissitudes, as if watching your favourite hero in an adventure movie. The suspense and drama are just there to give the storyline a bit of edge, to keep you juiced up, but you know really that the hero (or heroine) will win out in the end and will be back starring in a new movie in the twinkling of an eye. This gives you space to relax in your seat and not become unnecessarily tense. This gives the details space to work themselves out.
‘Directing mind power’ (excerpt) by Barefoot Doctor (Dear Barefoot. Taoist Wisdom For Everyday Living, Atlantic Books on behalf of Guardian Newspapers Ltd, London, U.K., 2004, p.87-88).
As the unconscious mind tends to default to negative mode unless otherwise instructed, it is also cruel to insert positive commands along with the chi as this hones mind power. You may wish to inwardly command such sentiments as, ‘I am now restructuring my brain cells on an atomic level to enable me to respond more readily to positive input.’ Or you could simply say something like, ‘Heal, you buggers!’ It all depends on what kind of relationship you conduct with yourself.
In fact, the whole art of positive thinking, especially with regards to self-healing, depends entirely on forming a respectful, warm and loving relationship with your own mind and body. With that in mind, think of one body part that needs attention – any part will do – and with consciousness assembled in the centre of your brain, breathe out and feel the breath travel from centre brain to chosen body-part, along with the command to heal.
Adopting the holistic approach requires you make a choice between seeing yourself as a victim of circumstance or as a pro-active co-creator of your own reality. As a victim you say, ‘This is how I was born. My brain composition is such that I am a naturally negative, pessimistic person.’ As a pro-active co-creator you say, ‘Whatever occurs within my body is under direct command of part of my own mind, however apparently inaccessible, and is therefore susceptible to suggestion.’
It’s apparent to everyone by now that when you train yourself to meet the world with a positive attitude, the world treats you in a much more magnanimous way, and that those times that it doesn’t, you handle it better anyway.
Conversely, when you meet the world with a negative attitude, you’ll get a negative result. Which is why it’s so important that before even thinking about going out to meet the world every morning, you spend at least the minimum amount of time necessary to readjust your attitude towards the positive.
Tell your mind, ‘This is my day, and I intend to enjoy it no matter what the external conditions!’ (That’s the spirit).