Happy New Year!

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It is the Year of the Dog and that means we are on the brink of change from within. In the Daoist zodiac, the dog is an honorable member of the pack, a hunter and warrior, nurturer and scout. The Dog represents interdependence and the recognition of the whole. Its power lies in the understanding of oneself within the group. The true strength of the dog is not it’s teeth and claws or its muscles, but the understanding that she is not alone. The Dog is a member of a family that together carries a collective strength that can generate powerful realization.

Our country is struggling with new levels of polarization, and it's easy to look at everything around you and think the whole situation has spun out of control. But there is another way: 

Look to our canine friends and recognize that you are not alone, that your family is everywhere all around you. We are all connected by the very nature of living here on earth. We are all stardust.

As we work through the uncertainty generated by tragedies like Parkland and other senseless violence that occurs in our society and in the world at large, it can be overwhelming. When you look at the NRA lobby and the general fear running rampant through the country, it's easy to feel like everything is too big or too strong for you to make any real change. It feels that way because it is too big for you to change by yourself, but luckily you don’t have to, because you’re not alone.

 Be like water, my friend. 

One of the images for the Year of the Dog is the movement of water slowly smoothing and shaping the stones on a riverbed. When you look down at a river, the water appears soft and slow. You can see the grass swaying back and forth in a dance with the current and the reflected sunlight; but the soft water is also slowly and patiently acting in alignment with its nature until balance is achieved, gently changing the form of the stones.  

Slow is the fast way.

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Water appears soft when you see it in a river.

The Hexagram Bo “Splitting” is associated with the Year of the Dog and is a truly beautiful way to experience the energy of this sign. The hexagram symbol is an expression of the energy connected to the 11th lunar month of the year. This is normally a time when yin restorative energy is almost at its peak, winter is approaching and the energies of our body and spirit have moved to the deep interior. It's also a symbol of profound change from within, a change that has been growing slowly and deeply over many years of cultivation.

This hexagram comes around once every twelve years for the zodiac, so imagine how much can grow in a twelve year cycle! If you look at the hexagram, you can see the broken lines (representing the feminine yin energy) have been slowly rising until there is only one yang (masculine) line left at the top.

This is the brink—the place where potential becomes actualization.

We can easily connect to this space of cultivation by practicing stillness. Stillness is the most powerful tool you have to connect with the nature of yourself and your world. Still the mind. Do this by creating stillness in the body, then by creating stillness in the breath, then discover stillness in the mind. When these places are still, your consciousness will reflect the world clearly. Your heart will be polished like the surface of a lake on a quiet summer morning and the universe will be reflected within you.

  • Still the body through seated meditation practice
     
  • Soften the breath by removing all sound and effort from breathing
     
  • Quiet the mind by removing attachment to your thoughts and emotions
     
  • Observe the reflection of reality

 

With Love and QI,

Thomas