Where Can We Find Our Strength in Such Disruptive Times?
To Dicipleship From Michael Guen
April 2, 1995
The break from our almost five years of regular Sunday classes last October set much change in motion in our lineage. The recent months from November through February when we held separate men’s and women’s classes brought out much which would not have been possible had we never deviated from Sundays. Since the beginning of March (actually initiated around the time of the January Lineage Party) energy for the separate men’s and women’s classes began to wane. Upon hindsight, I feel the drain in energy was not due to a decrease in enthusiasm, but that the schedulewise we were getting signs it was time to look for another wave to carry our surfboard a bit farther towards shore. My trip to Taiwan two weeks ago to see GongBaozhai not surprisingly provided the impetus to push the direction of this Teaching closer toward its final designation. At last, after five years of trial and error and uncertainty I believe the frame of the house has finally been completed. In martial arts it is said, “five years to establish a solid foundation in one’s basic rooting and power – the stance”. The men and women in your collective identities have succeeded in acquiring a foundation. Because of your greater clarity of self-purpose resulting from a strong group purpose, you should now find that a self-discipline to practice comes relatively easier. And with the proper enthusiasm and a peaceful mind you will now be able to train the basics quickly into your bodies.
It is only with your help that I have finally been able to identify our aim of establishing a personal connection with God as a reason above all reasons for our involvement together. All the learning we have been engaged in – character training, family style, relationship, martial arts, mysticism, systems of life practice, healing, nutrition, etc. – now make sense. For as we more fully embrace world history and see the relevance of our interests and activities to real world events around us, the learning will naturally be driven from the surface (our feelings, mind and body) deeper into the core of our souls – the place where unwavering commitment and life purpose comes from.
I would like to point out why your active contribution has been necessary for the Teaching to evolve to this point. Traditional systems such as Baguaquan were essentially methods to actualize only a single person’s potential. They are “personal systems” if you will. What we have been creating together upone the throes of evolving times has been still a direct yet higher expression of the personal system, the “community system”.
Therefore the reason Baguaquan, martial arts and life preactice (including many spiritual) disciplines in general in their traditional forms are not bringing followers to their complete fulfillment these days is because the “old reasons” for teaching and practicing are becoming less and less relevant to the actual needs of people. The “objective methods” of practice housed within the elaborate external systems of ritual and formality are still sound and if practiced with discipline can be extremely beneficial to our lives. One of the challenges of our generation is to get to know the concept of what is traditionally known as a “complete system of life practice” well enough to be able to pare away their outdated aspects and formalities, to preserve or to rework the useful, and to expand philosophy and perspective beyond the old monocultural blood race mentality to make way for the new multicultural spiritual values that are beginning to come through.
So while I have been doing my work, all of you by virtue of your willingness to inner-struggle have been doing yours. We have together I believe just over the past few weeks managed to free up a large bundle of creative energy. You may be experiencing this freeing as restlessness, or as a good or bad feelings depending on the bent of your disposition. But is is a creative potential waiting to be put to constructive use nevertheless. With the institution of the following class schedule changes and with the modification of my clinic activity(see memo), I believe we will have created the right external environment to support our present needs. By virtue of our greater collective clarity of purpose and commitment, we can expect Sunday classes to take on a different spirit. Furthermore, our interactions with each other should be quite naturally increasingly reflect the fact that we have not been brought together for just casual social friendships. Instead, the original reason for our coming together has been toward the furtherance of the higher cause and to Service to the Greater World Community. Projects such as the Women’s way Newsletter and Organization, the proposed Baguaquan Research Association, the Lesbian Way and Gay Men’s Way, represent our preliminary vehicles of outreach to the world. A greatly welcomed consequence of the new class schedule should be a general improvement in our lifestyles: less busy commuting around, more time at home with family to rest, practice and develop your projects and Teachings, and more time to quietly contemplate your relationships, future, etc…
Following from the stimulus of further personal clarity about my life (for instance, I can now foresee in the future trying to establish an institute of Healing and Higher Education in the Southwest), should be a response on your part. This response may entail a reassessment of your stance in relation to me as your Teacher. Ensuing from such a major change in emphasis in the teaching, from martial and healing art to the pursuit of enlightenment or God-connectedness, may be the conclusion of my teacher-student relationship with some of you and the beginning or renewal of this relationship with others. In any case, there should take place a deep consideration of the motives underlying your involvement in this work. Through out, you must all understand that only what is true to your heart is what is worthwhile to do. There cannot be a right or wrong regarding one’s decision to participate in any work. For teachings are nothing but vehicles to deliver one more expediently to one’s destination and not the destination itself. As I have recently said, our Teaching is a first to fourth chakra Teaching only. Any person who gets involved may use the Teaching to gain perspective on the real nature of their challenge, or to gain entrance into their particular “gateway” to spiritual sensitivity. That is why we cannot speak of spirituality or mysticism directly. These phenomenon happen merely as a consequence of our work in basic living. Our primary concern is thus to secure a fundamental orientation and skills for daily living in preparation for the spontaneous opening of one’s heart to Humanity (God). Yes God is nothing more than Humanity. When I say we are seeking our connection with God, I mean we are seeking to gain a genuine feeling of concern for the welfare of others. And of course this Love (Christian), expressed through our compassion (Buddhist) or Humanity (Confucian) and protectiveness toward our planet (Native American, Taoist) begins with the ability to relate to each other fully as human beings (Sufi, Hindu).
We are in a time of tremendous quickening and change on a Universal scale. On the social cultural level the change is being observed in the smashing to bits of the old ways and structures in preparation for ushering in the new. Where we may most likely falter would be in those areas where we are inflexible or unable to change (Baguaquan, Asana Yoga). Adaptability is survivability (physically, mentally, emotionally). This is the creed of the martial arts. In martial arts we inquire and train only to enable us to struggle. A warrior as Don Juan says is geared only to battle, not to reflect on one’s past deeds.
So in this age of disruption and uncertainty on all levels which tends to scatter our attention, making it very difficult to recruit the focus needed to hold power, we can well afford to pay particular attention to our reactions of fear, anger, confusion, anxiety and insecurity. Use the physical disciplines you are learning to help you bring your energy down to your belly and your feet. Keep breathing calm and your spirit will firmly consolidated within your core. If you can build your strength from the lower body you will find it infinitely easier to deal with unexpected or shocking events. Learn to face u to and not shy away from the threatening feelings. For running away scatters your attention and weakens the fabric of your will, casting you back into doubt and delusion. These ideas from the basis of our discipline. Sunday classes will be devoted to Teaching you a way to inculcate these qualities into your life and being.
Peace and Love