Self realization and training
Posted by Fredsvenn on June 22, 2016
Awareness is a dynamic factor and appears in two guises: a realisation that arrives as a gift, often unbidden; then it evolves into a practice that the person intentionally follows. This spiritual awareness works as an engine that moves these themes from being mere ideas to be motivating forces in one’s life: awareness ignites responsibility towards life and stirs to respond to events rather than resigning. By nourishing and cultivating (our) human nature, (we are) able to reach the final goal of unification of heaven and human spirit
Friedrich Nietzsche famously suggested that an ancient, metaphysical belief in the divinity of Truth lies at the heart of and has served as the foundation for the entire subsequent Western intellectual tradition: “But you will have gathered what I am getting at, namely, that it is still a metaphysical faith on which our faith in science rests–that even we knowers of today, we godless anti-metaphysicians still take our fire too, from the flame lit by the thousand-year old faith, the Christian faith which was also Plato’s faith, that God is Truth; that Truth is ‘Divine’…”
Closure or need for closure (NFC), used interchangeably with need for cognitive closure (NFCC), are psychological terms that describe an individual’s desire for a firm answer to a question and an aversion toward ambiguity. The term “need” denotes a motivated tendency to seek out information.
The need for closure is the motivation to find an answer to an ambiguous situation. This motivation is enhanced by the perceived benefits of obtaining closure, such as the increased ability to predict the world and a stronger basis for action.
Catharsis (meaning “purification” or “cleansing”) is the purification and purgation of emotions—especially pity and fear—through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration. It is a metaphor originally used by Aristotle in the Poetics, comparing the effects of tragedy on the mind of spectator to the effect of a cathartic on the body.
In mythology and fiction, a quest, a journey towards a goal, serves as a plot device and (frequently) as a symbol. In literature, the objects of quests require great exertion on the part of the hero and the overcoming of many obstacles, typically including much travel.
Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans.
Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity. He used the terms “physiological”, “safety”, “belongingness” and “love”, “esteem”, “self-actualization”, and “self-transcendence” to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization at the top. While the pyramid has become the de facto way to represent the hierarchy, Maslow himself never used a pyramid to describe these levels in any of his writings on the subject.
Self-actualization is a term that has been used in various psychology theories, often in slightly different ways. The term was originally introduced by the organismic theorist Kurt Goldstein for the motive to realize one’s full potential. Expressing one’s creativity, quest for spiritual enlightenment, pursuit of knowledge, and the desire to give to society are examples of self-actualization.
In Goldstein’s view, it is the organism’s master motive, the only real motive: “the tendency to actualize itself as fully as possible is the basic drive… the drive of self-actualization.” Carl Rogers similarly wrote of “the curative force in psychotherapy – man’s tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities… to express and activate all the capacities of the organism.”
The concept was brought most fully to prominence in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory as the final level of psychological development that can be achieved when all basic and mental needs are essentially fulfilled and the “actualization” of the full personal potential takes place, although he adapted this viewpoint later on in life, and saw it more flexibly.
As Abraham Maslow noted, the basic needs of humans must be met (e.g. food, shelter, warmth, security, sense of belonging) before a person can achieve self-actualization – the need to be good, to be fully alive and to find meaning in life.
Research shows that when people live lives that are different from their true nature and capabilities, they are less likely to be happy than those whose goals and lives match. For example, someone who has inherent potential to be a great artist or teacher may never realize his/her talents if their energy is focused on attaining the basic needs of humans.
In biology, an adaptation, also called an adaptive trait, is a trait with a current functional role in the life of an organism that is maintained and evolved by means of natural selection. Adaptation refers to both the current state of being adapted and to the dynamic evolutionary process that leads to the adaptation. Adaptations enhance the fitness and survival of individuals.
Organisms face a succession of environmental challenges as they grow and develop and are equipped with an adaptive plasticity as the phenotype of traits develop in response to the imposed conditions. The developmental norm of reaction for any given trait is essential to the correction of adaptation as it affords a kind of biological insurance or resilience to varying environments.
In philosophy, the adjective transcendental and the noun transcendence convey the basic ground concept from the word’s literal meaning (from Latin), of climbing or going beyond, albeit with varying connotations in its different historical and cultural stages.
The term transcendental philosophy includes philosophies, systems, and approaches that describe the fundamental structures of being, not as an ontology (Theory of Being), but as the framework of emergence and validation of knowledge of being.
In everyday language, “transcendence” means “going beyond”, and “self-transcendence” means going beyond a prior form or state of oneself. Mystical experience is thought of as a particularly advanced state of self-transcendence, in which the sense of a separate self is abandoned.
Hermeneutics is the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts. It started out as a theory of text interpretation but has been later broadened to questions of general interpretation.
A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing. Shamanism is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with a spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world.
Mother and father
Dyēus (also *Dyēus phter, alternatively spelled dyēws) is believed to have been the chief deity in the religious traditions of the prehistoric Proto-Indo-European societies. Part of a larger pantheon, he was the god of the daylight sky, and his position may have mirrored the position of the patriarch or monarch in society. In his aspect as a father god, his consort would have been Pltwih Méhter, “earth mother”.
In Greek and Roman mythology, Dyeus remained the chief god; however, in Vedic mythology, the etymological continuant of Dyeus became a very abstract god, and his original attributes and dominance over other gods appear to have been transferred to gods such as Agni or Indra.
Tyr and Hel
Rooted in the related but distinct Indo-European word *deiwos is the Latin word for deity, deus. The Latin word is also continued in English divine, “deity”, and the original Germanic word remains visible in “Tuesday” (“Day of Tīwaz”) and Old Norse tívar, which may be continued in the toponym Tiveden (“Wood of the Gods”, or of Týr).
Hel is the Norse queen of the underworld, a mother goddess in her underworld guise. She rules over a fiery womb of regeneration and is especially responsible for those who die of disease or old age. She is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim.
In the same source, her appearance is described as half blue and half flesh-coloured and further as having a gloomy, downcast appearance. Her underworld, unlike the Christian hell, which received its name from her, is simply an otherworld, a place of renewal rather than a place of punishment and misery. It represents the nine different stages of the transition the soul goes through after death.
When shamans visit her realm, they put on a helkappe, a magic mask (sometimes a helmet) that renders them invisible. Hel is an embodiment of the divine mystery, a challenge to look behind the mask of appearances to see things as they really are. she is a symbol of transformation, and may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani, Kali, and Mahakali, sometimes considered as a greater form of Kali, identified with the Ultimate reality of Brahman.
Satya is the Sanskrit word for truth. It also refers to a virtue in Indian religions, referring to being truthful in one’s thought, speech and action. In Yoga, satya is one of five yamas, the virtuous restraint from falsehood and distortion of reality in one’s expressions and actions.
In the Vedas and later sutras, the meaning of the word satya evolves into an ethical concept about truthfulness and is considered an important virtue. It means being true and consistent with reality in one’s thought, speech and action.
A related concept, sattva, also derived from “sat”, means true essence, nature, spiritual essence, character. Sattva is also a guṇa, a psychology concept particularly in the Samkhya school of philosophy, where it means goodness, purity, clean, positive, one that advances good true nature of self.
Yoga and Kundalini
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline which originated in ancient India. There is a broad variety of Yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Among the most well-known types of yoga are Hatha yoga and Rāja yoga.
Kundalini (“coiled one”), in yogic theory, is a primal energy, or shakti, located at the base of the spine. Different spiritual traditions teach methods of “awakening” kundalini for the purpose of reaching spiritual enlightenment. Kundalini is described as lying “coiled” at the base of the spine, represented as either a goddess or sleeping serpent waiting to be awakened. In modern commentaries, Kundalini has been called an unconscious, instinctive or libidinal force, or “mother energy or intelligence of complete maturation”.
Kundalini awakening is said to result in deep meditation, enlightenment and bliss. This awakening involves the Kundalini physically moving up the central channel to reach within the Sahasrara Chakra at the top of the head. Many systems of yoga focus on the awakening of Kundalini through meditation, pranayama breathing, the practice of asana and chanting of mantras. In physical terms, one commonly reports the Kundalini experience to be a feeling of electric current running along the spine.
Shiva and Kali
Shiva (Sanskrit: Śiva, meaning “The Auspicious One”), regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation and arts, is one of the three major deities of Hinduism. He is the chief deity within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. He is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta Tradition, and “the Transformer”.
At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless. Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms. In fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons, while in benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya.
Kālī, also known as Kālikā, is a Hindu goddess who is the mighty aspect of the goddess Durga. The name Kali is derived from the Sanskrit “Kālá”, or time – she therefore represents time, change, power, creation, preservation, and destruction. “Kali” also mean “the black one”, the feminine noun of the Sanskrit adjective Kālá. In union with Lord Shiva, she creates and destroys worlds.
The figure of Kāli conveys death, destruction, and the consuming aspects of reality. As such, she is also a “forbidden thing”, or even death itself. In the Pancatattva ritual, the sadhaka boldly seeks to confront Kali, and thereby assimilates and transforms her into a vehicle of salvation.
In Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism, a sādhaka is someone who follows a particular sādhanā, or a way of life designed to realize the goal of one’s ultimate ideal, whether it is merging with brahman or realization of one’s personal deity. The word is related to the Sanskrit sādhu, which is derived from the verb root sādh-, ‘to accomplish’. As long as one has yet to reach the goal, they are a sādhaka, while one who has reached the goal is called a siddha.
In modern usage, sadhaka is often applied as a generic term for any religious practitioner. In medieval times it was more narrowly used as a technical term for one who had gone through a specific initiation.
Tantra, also called Tantrism and Tantric religion, is an ancient Indian tradition of beliefs and meditation and ritual practices that seeks to channel the divine energy of the macrocosm or godhead into the human microcosm, to attain siddhis and moksha. It arose no later than the 5th century CE, and it had a strong influence on both Hinduism and Buddhism.
Goddesses play an important role in the study and practice of Tantra Yoga, and are affirmed to be as central to discerning the nature of reality as are the male deities. Although Parvati is often said to be the recipient and student of Shiva’s wisdom in the form of Tantras, it is Kali who seems to dominate much of the Tantric iconography, texts, and rituals.
In many sources Kāli is praised as the highest reality or greatest of all deities. The Nirvana-tantra says the gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva all arise from her like bubbles in the sea, ceaselessly arising and passing away, leaving their original source unchanged.
The Niruttara-tantra and the Picchila-tantra declare all of Kāli’s mantras to be the greatest and the Yogini-tantra, Kamakhya-tantra and the Niruttara-tantra all proclaim Kāli vidyas (manifestations of Mahadevi, or “divinity itself”). They declare her to be an essence of her own form (svarupa) of the Mahadevi.
Lingam and yoni
The lingam (also linga, ling, Shiva linga, Shiv ling, meaning sign, or symbol) is an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hindu deity, Shiva, used for worship in temples, smaller shrines, or as self-manifested natural objects. In traditional Indian society, the lingam is seen as a symbol of the energy and potential of Shiva himself.
The lingam is often represented alongside the yoni (Sanskrit word, literally “origin” or “source” or “womb”), a symbol of the goddess or of Shakti, female creative energy. The union of lingam and yoni represents the “indivisible two-in-oneness of male and female, the passive space and active time from which all life originates”.
Usha and Indra
Ushas, Sanskrit for “dawn”, is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well. She is portrayed as warding off evil spirits of the night, and as a beautifully adorned young woman riding in a golden chariot on her path across the sky. Due to her color she is often identified with the reddish cows, and both are released by Indra from the Vala cave at the beginning of time. The Puranic Shiva is a continuation of the Vedic Indra.
In one recent Hindu interpretation, Sri Aurobindo in his Secret of the Veda, described Ushas as “the medium of the awakening, the activity and the growth of the other gods; she is the first condition of the Vedic realisation. By her increasing illumination the whole nature of man is clarified; through her [mankind] arrives at the Truth, through her he enjoys [Truth’s] beatitude.”
Tao or Dao is a Chinese complex word which cannot specifically be fully explained except it signifies “way”, “path”, “route”, “channel”, or sometimes known as a “principle” laid down by Heaven to assist mankind back onto the righteous path.
Tao in the Tao Te Ching, Laozi explains that Tao is not a name for a thing but the underlying natural order of the Universe whose ultimate essence is difficult to circumscribe due to it being non conceptual yet evident’ in one’s being of aliveness. Cosmologically, Tao signifies the primordial essence or fundamental nature of the Universe.
Within the context of traditional Chinese philosophy and religion, Tao is the intuitive knowing of “life” that of which cannot be grasped full-heartedly as just a concept but known nonetheless through actual living experience of one’s everyday being.
Duality is found in many belief systems but Yin and Yang are parts of a Oneness that is also equated with the Dao. The yin yang (i.e. taijitu symbol) shows a balance between two opposites with a portion of the opposite element in each section.
Qigong (literally: “Life Energy Cultivation”) is a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for health, spirituality, and martial arts training. With roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy, and martial arts, qigong is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance qi (chi), translated as “life energy”.
According to Daoist, Buddhist, and Confucian philosophy, qigong allows access to higher realms of awareness, awakens one’s “true nature”, and helps develop human potential.
Qigong practice typically involves moving meditation, coordinating slow flowing movement, deep rhythmic breathing, and calm meditative state of mind. Qigong is now practiced throughout China and worldwide for recreation, exercise and relaxation, preventive medicine and self-healing, alternative medicine, meditation and self-cultivation, and training for martial arts.
T’ai chi ch’uan (Taijiquan) is a widely practiced Chinese internal martial style based on the theory of taiji (“grand ultimate”), closely associated with qigong, and typically involving more complex choreographed movement coordinated with breath, done slowly for health and training, or quickly for self-defense. Many scholars consider t’ai chi ch’uan to be a type of qigong, traced back to an origin in the 17th century.
In modern practice, qigong typically focuses more on health and meditation rather than martial applications, and plays an important role in training for t’ai chi ch’uan, in particular used to build strength, develop breath control, and increase vitality (“life energy”).
The concept of the taiji (“supreme ultimate”), in contrast with wuji (“without ultimate”), appears in both Taoist and Confucian Chinese philosophy, where it represents the fusion or mother of yin and yang into a single ultimate, represented by the taijitu symbol Taijitu.
T’ai chi ch’uan training involves five elements, taolu (solo hand and weapons routines/forms), neigong & qigong (breathing, movement and awareness exercises and meditation), tuishou (response drills) and sanshou (self defence techniques).
Wuji is a state of emptiness or simply a single point in space. There is no discrimination and there are no polarities (or poles). One possible example is the state of the universe before the big bang, a point of singularity. According to Yi Jing (i.e., Book of Change), originally the universe was in a Wuji state. Later, due to the pivotal action of Taiji, Two Polarities (Liang Yi) (i.e., Yin and Yang) were discriminated.
However, we should understand that Yin and Yang are not definite (or absolute) but relative according to specifically defined rules. From these rules, Four Phases (Si Xiang) are again derived. From different perspectives, the Yin-Yang two polarities can again be divided into Yin and Yang. For example, if you use your right hand to follow the Yin and Yang pattern, the clockwise cycling belongs to Yang while the counterclockwise cycling belongs to Yin.
Generally speaking, your right hand action is classified as Yang and your left hand action is classified as Yin. From this rule, the Yin-Yang cycling will be completely reversed if you use your left hand. These general rules are applied in Taijiquan and also in other internal styles such as Baguazhang.
There are some specific rules that apply when you manifest the Yin-Yang polarities into two dimensions. However, we exist in a universe of at least three dimensions. Therefore, the concept of two polarities should be adapted to three dimensions so we can comprehend the natural Dao thoroughly.
When this Yin-Yang derivation is manifested in three dimensions, then right spiral to advance forward is classified as Yang while left spiral to withdraw is classified as Yin. Similarly, the manifestation of the left hand is reversed. Once you add the third dimension to the Yin and Yang symbols, you can see that the energy patterns and derivation are spiral actions.
If we are able to comprehend the theory of great nature’s Yin-Yang spiral derivation, then we will be able to comprehend the function of the Dao and use this Dao to understand the theory of ceaseless recycling of millions of lives in nature, furthermore, to trace back the origin of our human and physical life.
The purpose of learning Taijiquan is to aim for the comprehension of Taiji and Yin-Yang so we are able to reach the Dao, therefore, allows us to protect our body, strengthen our body, and enjoy longevity.
When the nature loses its balance, the energy manifests in spirals and millions of lives are influenced, or even are created. All of these manifestations can be seen from galaxies in space, to tornados and other storms, to the formation of sea shells, and even the tiny, twisted strands of our DNA.
When Yin-Yang is manifested in two dimensions in Taijiquan, it is an action of coiling, and when it is acting in three dimensions, it is a spiraling maneuver. If you use your right hand to generate this spiral motion, then the clockwise and forward motion is classified as Yang while the counterclockwise and backward motion is classified as Yin. If you use your left hand, since the left is classified as Yin, all directions are reversed.
This is a method to practice the basic skills in Taijiquan for changing from insubstantial to substantial and back again. All action in Taijiquan originates from the Real Dan Tian (a point, center of gravity), where the Wuji is located. From this Wuji center, through Taiji (i.e., mind) the Qi is led, Yin and Yang spiraling actions are initiated, and Taijiquan movements are derived.
Rta – Asha / Arta
In the Vedic religion, Ṛta (Sanskrit ṛtaṃ “that which is properly, excellently joined; order, rule; truth”) is derived from the Sanskrit verb root ṛ- “to go, move, rise, tend upwards”, and the derivative noun ṛtam is defined as “fixed or settled order, rule, divine law or truth”.
The term can just as easily be translated literally as “that which has moved in a fitting manner”, abstractly as “universal law” or “cosmic order”, or simply as “truth”. The latter meaning dominates in the Avestan cognate to Ṛta, aša. It is the principle of natural order which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything within it.
In the hymns of the Vedas, Ṛta is described as that which is ultimately responsible for the proper functioning of the natural, moral and sacrificial orders. It is closely allied to the injunctions and ordinances thought to uphold it, collectively referred to as Dharma, and the action of the individual in relation to those ordinances, referred to as Karma – two terms which eventually eclipsed Ṛta in importance as signifying natural, religious and moral order in later Hinduism.
Asha or Arta is the Avestan language term corresponding to Vedic language ṛta for a concept of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine. In the moral sphere, aša/arta represents what has been called “the decisive confessional concept of Zoroastrianism.”
The significance of the term is complex, with a highly nuanced range of meaning. It is commonly summarized in accord with its contextual implications of ‘truth’ and ‘right(eousness)’, ‘order’ and ‘right working’. The opposite of Avestan aša is druj, “lie.
Maat or Ma’at was the ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice. Maat was also personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation.
Her ideological counterpart was Isfet (meaning “injustice”, “chaos”, or “violence”; as a verb, “to do evil”), an ancient Egyptian term from Egyptian mythology used in philosophy, which was built on a religious, social and political affected dualism.