Monday, April 23, 2012

As Within, So Without

"One has to investigate the principle in one thing or one event exhaustively...Things and the self are governed by the same principle. If you understand one, you understand the other, for the truth within and the truth without are identical." -- Er Cheng Yishu, 11th century

For many years I have shared a similar perspective to the one expressed in this quote, but have struggled to put this philosophy into words. The idea that there are universal truths which can be applied to all areas of knowledge and to all circumstances of life. And the idea that these universal truths can be translated into both complicated theory and simple common sense.

That all things can be viewed from both a literal and a metaphorical perspective, and that all material truths, regarding the laws and processes of nature, have a corresponding psychological and philosophical truth. That the workings of nature, reflect the inner workings of the mind, and both the mind and the body reflect the workings of nature.

For instance, take constipation, having difficult or infrequent bowel movements. Constipation is essentially a blockage of energy. The bowel is like a river. Constipation is like a dammed up river. What prevents a river from flowing? Thick murky sediment. Pollution. Stagnation. Obstruction. An excessive narrowing or constriction of the channels. And what kills the fish in the river? Lack of food. Lack of oxygen. Lack of space. Starvation, dehydration, and asphyxiation. The inability to eat, breath, absorb nutrients, and expel waste.

Constipation is a physical ailment, but there is also a corresponding constipation of the mind, feeling mentally and emotionally and creatively blocked, being rigid and close minded, inflexible in your thinking. Having a closed heart full of hatred and prejudice is also much like a clogged pipe, or a damned, stagnant, dying river. Like having your blood circulation cut off. If it goes on for too long, you'll lose a limb, or you'll have a heart attack or stroke, or you'll die. The whole entire body is like a flowing river of water and blood. When it is healthy, it is in movement, flowing, recirculating, revitalizing energy.

Same is true of the quality of our life, whether we are happy, whether we are feeling vibrant, energetic, enthusiastic, optimal, or whether we feel like we are missing something, like we are stuck, all depend on whether the river of our life is flowing healthfully, or if its blocked and filled with muck. In other words, there are correspondences to be found by observing the laws of nature, that may be applied to our own lives, and to the systems and organizations that govern our lives.

Assuming that there are universal principles of truth that can be applied to all things, I'm thinking that in testing the validity of any system or theory, it helps to look at it through the perspective of different circumstances, and different fields of knowledge, to determine whether the principle still holds true, and whether it is equally valid within as it is without. If there is any incongruity between the two, between the inner and the outer, and the philosophy and practice, it suggests that there is an error somewhere in your system or theory, that is damming up your river, so to speak.

In other words, a universal truth must be true in both theory and practice, and it must be equally true when applied to any subject. So for instance, the conditions and underlying principles that contribute to health and disease, should be reflected in all things, not just the body, the mind, and nature, but also in society, technology, business, relationships, and the management and organization of systems of all kinds.

*Note: This is all very rough. I have more to say about this, and not sure if I said this as clearly as I could have. It's way too hot to write. The desert is killing me. I'll have to revisit this topic at a cooler time.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Magical Nature of Words

Writing is a form of solidified thinking. When you think a thought, unless you speak it to someone, it remains locked up in your own mind, invisible and intangible. But the moment you write it down, it becomes tangible, concrete and more real, perhaps even more so than the spoken word, whose message if not written down, may be as ephemeral as a passing breeze. The written word can be shared with millions of people. It can travel over vast expanses of time and space, surviving even your own death, surviving far away into the future. So the written word has longevity, a sort of immortality to it, where a thought may outlive the thinker.

How interesting words are. Probably one of the most noteworthy inventions ever. Where would we be without words, without language? What language would we have without words? Would instead are sole form of communication be through pictures, body language, pheromones, and touch? How about mental telepathy? If we could, how would we communicate telepathically without words? How is knowing dependent on words? Is there a certain knowing that transcends words and logic? Intuition? Is logic even possible without words or numbers? You may solve a logical puzzle in your mind, but without numbers or words, how would you communicate both the problem and the solution with others?

Without written language, human beings I think would still possibly be living like animals, like chimpanzees. So I think the invention of language, and specifically of writing, was probably the most decisive factor in contributing to the evolutionary advancement of the human race. Without language we would still be living like primitive cavemen.

What are words? A symbolic representation of reality. Words are formed by putting together strings of letters that are each associated with specific sounds. And each word represents a specific perceptual image, or value, whether concrete, representing something you can actually see and touch, or something abstract, representing values or ideas that exist purely in theory and abstraction, not having a concrete physical reality that you can actually see and touch. But the 'word' gives an abstract idea a sort of symbolic physical reality. Same could be said of numbers and musical notes. Same could be said of all symbols.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Creativity

Creativity is very much connected to health and confidence.

When I'm feeling creative, I'm feeling strong and confident in myself. I'm not looking to others to tell me what to do, or to give their approval of what I'm doing. When I am creative I am my own master, and whatever I do, no matter how unconventional or unpopular it may be, is done with a clear and confident resoluteness of purpose. When I am feeling creative it effects all spheres of my life. Not just a matter of doing this one creative thing, it effects everything that I do. And consequently, if I'm feeling creatively blocked, that too effects all spheres of my life, reducing my confidence, diminishing my energy, and negatively effecting my health.

To me, creativity is intrinsically connected to feeling healthy and confident. Not just a physical feeling of health and well being, but having a healthy mental outlook. To be creative is like always being in love with the art of creation, with the process of discovery and exploration of inspiration, and the sharing with others what you find in your meetings with the divine, the metaphysical ecstasies in your mind, like a prism reflecting the energies outside of time.

Potential creative energy is activated by a spark of heat and light, where the mind is like a prism and the creative inspiration is like the sun passing through that prism. Where the prism must be positioned in such a way that allows the light to pass through it, otherwise if the sun is obscured, or if the prism it out of alignment with this light, darkness ensues. So it is with creativity.

To create something on your own, developing an original idea, or reinventing an older idea, is very much about tapping into a certain potential energy that exists everywhere in the world at all times, as an invisible quality permeating the mind like air, always there, but not always recognized, but upon making the connection of recognition, it creates a spark that ignites a flame, a flash of insight making the invisible visible, creating an illuminated bridge between the world and the mind and the creative soul fire that lies outside of time.

What happens when this creative link is lost?

If you are a creative person, who suddenly finds yourself feeling creatively blocked, it can be a very disturbing situation to be in. You may feel like you are experiencing an identity crisis, like you have lost your sense of direction, that you no longer know who you are or where you are going. If for instance, you are an artist who paints, not just as a vocation, but whose entire life and sense of identity revolves around being inspired, thinking creatively, and creating art, but who has suddenly lost the inspiration and the ability to paint, what then, and how does such a person reclaim their creative inspiration?

What does a creative person do, who suddenly finds themselves unable to create?

Well from what I've learned of it, creativity, much like insight, cannot be forced. (See: Random Insight #2: Insight Cannot be Forced, and Creative Soul Fire.) All one can do, really, is to improve the conditions that make one more receptive to inspiration, removing any obstacles in the way to make it easier for you to see and to hear and to receive the gift of creative insight.

To create is to feel vibrantly alive, passionate, confident, like a flowing river unimpeded by nothing in its path. For myself, one of the main obstacles to creativity is illness. Feeling poorly, sick, depressed, in pain, too hot, too cold, weak, exhausted, uncomfortable, unable to relax, and unable to focus. If you are feeling sick, or depressed, your creatively will often be blocked. This is because you are distracted by these other concerns.

Therefore if you are feeling creatively blocked, the best way to reclaim your creativity, is to do everything within your power to make yourself feel better; take a vacation, rest, recuperate, detoxify your body, increase your strength and energy, and improving your overall mood and state of health.

That's all I have to offer about that. Improve your health and the creativity will follow.