We gather tonight under the the dark moon. We’ll be exploring the Chong, the energetic womb, the inside of the inside, the source of undifferentiated wholeness, the vortex where the cosmos continuously gives birth to itself.Read More
To begin, that what we speak of, is not Tao.
That said, we can say this about Tao, if while saying this we understand that what we say is our words pointing to Tao, not Tao.
Tao may be viewed as the source and womb of creation. Unnamable, inexpressible, indefinable, Tao is the natural universe as a whole and the Way of nature as whole. Undifferentiated wholeness and the womb of the limitless manifest things.
Many people, spiritual seekers, are looking for some “major” experience of undifferentiated wholeness: Tao. Their seeking seems to often take them from the very Tao they are seeking.
It doesn’t have to be that Way. Deeply experiencing Tao can happen in the little moments. Any moment. This moment.
This moment we can experience Tao, be Taoing, by deeply witnessing a single breath, a single thought or a single embodied physical sensation we are experiencing as our emotional world.
When we experience Tao, this Way, the Tao of Taoing becomes limitless.
Just as we can experience “wetness” with a single drop of water we experience Tao with a single breath. This single breath is simultaneously all the Tao (as manifest in this moment, this now, Tao) and just one manifestation of Tao.
A single drop of water contains all that water contains.
Simultaneously, water is experienced and manifests limitlessly; a single drop, in a cup, as gentle rains to hurricanes, mists and dew and clouds, rivers from gentle to rough, oceans with all its tides and as sweat, blood and tears.
From its subtlest & unseen manifestation to its coarsest & most visible we are engulfed & embedded in the “sea” of Tao. An undifferentiated wholeness that is infinite, constantly in a state of transformation & change and forever (through what we call life and death) giving birth to itself.
This oneness, this Tao, enfolds within and holds us in her womb at all times …and beyond what we call time.
Completely and always accessible and well beyond the grasp of human experience and comprehension we are embedded in the cosmic womb: taoing.
Grateful for each breath and deeply blessed from the great unknowing. Alive in the cosmic womb limitlessly giving birth to herself.
1. Take a slow meandering walk around your neighborhood, without your phone.
2. Write, scribble, draw on a piece of paper with colored markers or crayons
3. Listen to birdsong
4. Look at the moon
5. Find your favorite flower… in your yard, garden or nearby park
6. Turn off the lights, light a candle and have a conversation by candlelight
7. Prepare and drink a cup of tea, slowly
8. Spend time talking or playing with a child
9. Sing a song you love, out loud, really loud, alone or with friends.
10. Write a list of 10 things you can do today to experience joy.
"The Extraordinary Vessels" are an integral part of a simple, profound, integrated, holistic worldview where the universe is viewed as constantly giving birth to itself. The extraordinary vessels are viewed as the primordial fields where this cosmic dance plays out. They are the foundation of one of the world’s oldest systems of healing and cultivation evolving originally in ancient China. The Extraordinary Vessels were used in cultivation practices (Shamanism, Alchemy, Qi Gong) long before they appeared as part of acupuncture, where they are the deepest, most primordial pathways.
Over the last thirty years, I have written thousands of words about the extraordinary vessels, invoked them daily in meditation more than ten thousand times, and used them in the clinic for treatments more than one hundred thousand times. Through all this I have only just begun to explore the limitless depth and breadth of what the extraordinary vessels encompass. It has been and is a humbling experience that has enriched my life in more ways than I could ever describe. I offer up this little movie of haiku/not haiku and hope it shares a taste of the extraordinary vessels.
It is my deepest belief that the world’s earliest meditation & cultivation practices grew out of and are deeply embedded in our ancient, primordial relationship with the moon.
Our brains are busier than ever before. We live in a time of information and sensory overload. Although we have more "time saving" devices than at any time in human history most modern people are experiencing time in a narrow, linear and quantitative way that is the source of much stress. But time is not linear. The world unfolds in cycles and in our deepest selves we know this. This dissonance between how we are living our lives "out there" and what we experience deep "in there" is the source of much of our modern angst. Cultivating our relationship to the moon revives and develops our instinctual and intuitive relationship to and understanding of the cyclical nature of time and the relationship between the mind/body/spirit and the undifferentiated cosmos.
When “hanging out “ with the moon, our vital functions are slowed and exterior inputs are subdued. This allows us to notice the flux at the center of the stillness, the universe giving birth to itself. It is here that we foster the primordial, undifferentiated wholeness that lies at the womb of our existence.
As we immerse in the moon and our deepest selves we explore, engage and cultivate our archaic consciousness and our relationship to our selves, to the world outside our selves and to our unique place in the time/space continuum.
With careful cultivation we can enhance mental clarity & imagination, ease emotional processing and expression & cultivate deep spiritual connection to our selves and the world in which we live
This cannot be accomplished by reading books or studied with equipment or measured or dissected.
When we cultivate with the moon as teacher and guide we enter the domain of devotion, compassion, passion and love. It is a descent into the slow, still dance of the Dao where one can notice the universe breathing as it gives births to itself. The deep pulse, flux, at the core of it all nourishes us.
Nurturing our relationship to the moon and deepening our meditation practice can assuage our modern neurosis and anxiety. As we listen carefully to the ancient wisdom people that still exist and dance on the deepest level of our consciousness we lay the basis for our understanding and knowing of our unity with the world.
Moon teaches us the beauty of constancy, the grace of the deep knowing that repetition brings. This is a genuine peace that comes with the celebration of cycles and experiencing the world in her truth as cosmic waves dancing,
Mother Moon connects us in the most conscious way possible to our own breath, our own heartbeat, our own constant falling and catching of our selves that is our moving through the world.
Moon comforts us and connects us to the continuous flux that is our human existence.
Moon plunges us deep: past our desperations, into our core, perfuming and permeating us with a positive awareness that is the foundation of a happy, holy existence.
Many believe keeping a positive attitude is an invitation to avoid all emotional processing and expression. This certainly is not the case. Yes, a positive attitude is at the very core of our being. Yes, a positive attitude is there to be dropped into at any moment. A "positive attitude" lives in the deep sea on which all human struggles occur. Our emotions, the anger, the fear, the grief, the worry that surge to the surface during our struggles provide an opportunity for expression and assimilation that when wholly engaged can be healing.
Our emotions are not demons to be slain nor are they demons to be avoided in pursuit of a positive attitude. Deep exploration of our emotions embraces the ride of ourselves and allows space and time for expression and processing. It is a genuine healing process.
Cultivating our relationship to the moon, our nearest celestial neighbor, shows us a unique way to engage & navigate our selves and the world with the greatest ease.
The healing process plays out simultaneously on the physical, mental and spiritual level. They are, in fact, three aspects of the same whole. Struggling with illness or challenging times is difficult but also allows us an accelerated opportunity for healing, growth and embracing the totality of the human experience in a heightened way.
Moon meditationallows a similar opportunity to engage this deep healing and growth process. Of course meditation immersion, is a conscious decision and under our control in a way an illness or challenging times are not.
But there is something to be said for the choosing as well. To consciously and intentionally retreat to a place, both internally and externally, with a shared group is a challenge to our ordinary selves that live our ordinary lives. The radical shift in our external environment, if only for a short while, allows for profound and deep internal exploration of all the processes that make us human. To collectively and individually explore and engage the moon and our deepest selves through a myriad of meditative and cultivation practices provides the grace and space for harmonious transformation of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual for each of us as individuals and for all of as an inseparable whole.
Differentiating the undifferentiated. Fashioning form out of the formless. Easing beyond the edge. Embodying the single cycle within the limitless swirl. Creating some-thing out of no-thing. Such is the work of the conscious life.
Consciously creating context out of the contextless. This is the primal & holy work of the Yangwei, our Outer Gate.
Existing boundaries are the pre-existing differentiating work of those who came before us. Moving beyond the existing boundary allows us to engage our own capacity for “boundary making,” our own capacity for the creation of context. An elegant and engaged and unpolluted Yangwei responds with innate intelligence to all manifest contexts within time and space.
Our Yangwei allows us to navigate gracefully beyond the edge of our existing, comfortable contexts into the less familiar, less differentiated world. A harmonious Yangwei moves confidently and quiescently into the undifferentiated wholeness that enfolds and embraces us all.The creative process (the process of creation) moves us and requires us to move from the direct experience of the world in its formless form of undifferentiated wholeness or less differentiated wholeness towards the making of form, the creation of context, of meaning.
To an extent, each “creating of form” is a re-creation of our original forming of ourselves.
To an extent, each “creating of context” is the re-creation of the original formation of our cosmos.
It is a process that must be expressed at its earliest stages symbolically, then metaphorically and finally, when at all possible, through the formation of structured language, structured process, structured institutions, and structured structures in the way of gates, roads, buildings and the world we “live” in.Each structuring, each making of a form out of the formlessness moves the edge and requires us to reach further into the depths of our undifferentiated space to move beyond the edge. The human capacity for doing so (stored in the Chong, Ren, Du) has become less fluid, less graceful, as we “settle into” and “settle for” the boundaries we have constructed.
Our capacity to meet and creatively define and construct our world has become calcified, rigid, tamed, more civilized.
We “know” what we “like” in advance of the experience. Our ideas are constructed and rigidly adhered to no matter the reality of the world as if flows at us.
We export our expertise to navigate the world to outside “experts.”
There is a comfort to be found in all of this to be sure. There is a sense of security, or order. The Way is mapped and therefore safer and more predictable.
But the Map is not the territory.
Our ever increasing reliance on Pre-Existing & Pre-Constructed maps of the Way have deeply constrained and contracted our capacity for expanding out into world and navigating our Way with grace and ease.
We are embodying this hyper-contraction and it manifests in our lives and bodies as deep sense of isolation, depression, stress, stiffness, pains, headaches and a loss of connection with the limitlessly gracious and giving world in which we live.
To be free of this “pain” we must engage our capacities for meeting the world with our senses literally touching, seeing, hearing, smelling, breathing in and eating all that is momentarily outside us with awareness and gratitude. The ordinary is the extraordinary. In this process we learn from the natural world outside of us, both from our successes and our failures. Along the Way, we gather a sense of confidence and ease as we navigate the magnificence that is our world.
Healing Explorations & Shared, Group Acupuncture is one of our greatest joys. NSEV acupuncturists are offering these type of events on a smaller scale at an ever increasing rate. It's hard to believe it's been five years since we ALL GATHERED TOGETHER and had an event of this magnitude. The last time we did the the Huffington Post called it, "a surprisingly spiritual experience".
For all of us in the NSEV Healing community it's a truly remarkable experience to gather together so many healthcare providers and healers from such diverse backgrounds all with the single intention of creating a genuinely fun and fantastic and HEALING EVENT for our beloved South Florida community.
We are once again honored to partner with University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine's iCamp program whose participation makes this event possible.
We are thrilled that ALL PROCEEDS will go to benefit the wonderful work of THE Wu Project
What is a Healing Exploration & Shared, Group Acupuncture
NSEV Healing Explorations combine practices from a variety of the worlds’ wisdom and healing traditions including music, art, movement, meditation, massage and more to provide a compelling & direct experience of acupuncture's extraordinary vessels. The experience is designed from a worldview inspired by a Chinese traditional healing paradigm. Acupuncture’sextraordinary vessels represent and engage the primordial fields that shape our external and internal realities and provide the core functions mandatory to human existence. .
A shared, group acupuncture experience engages the vessels to provide a deep exploration into our individual and collective selves. Each participant receives the identical four acupuncture points to access one of the eight extraordinary vessels. The vessel is then accessed in the individual and in the group as a whole. Our relationship to our selves and the world outside us, how we move through the world & receive the world and our connection to the world are cultivated when we engage the extraordinary vessels
Our Constantly Changing Cosmos
We tend to think of ourselves as a “permanent structure” to which change is occuring. Perhaps it would be more useful to view ourselves as a constantly, changing phenomena that is “structuring change” in particular and predictable ways.
We (the I part of we) are one of the 10,000 (limitless) things that emerge from this universal play of constant change. We are simultaneously acted on by this change and are the act of change itself.
Here we can see structuring as a swirling, spiraling dance between constructing and deconstructing, forming and unforming, gathering and letting go, birthing and dying.
The very nature of this changing dynamic is itself constantly changing in time and space.
What is perceived from one perspective, as a death, is from another perspective, a birth.
What is one moment a death is the next moment a birth.
As a particular structuring phenomena moving through time and space we interact with and are interacted on by an infinite number of other “change structuring phenomena”. We are simultaneously awash in and engorged with the structuring and destructuring universe that is the cosmos and beyond.
This constant change can be experienced in cycles. The breath cycle, the daily cycle, the monthly cycle, the yearly cycle, our life cycle. Our inhalation & exhalations, our rising from and going to sleep, the dark moon to the full moon, winter to summer and our birth to our death.
All & always the constant interplay that is our constantly changing cosmos.
We have this concept.
There is “us” (we call it “I”) and there is “outside of us”, i.e. the world.
The “I” in us has a drive to connect with the outside world. We are born with the desire and the capacity to fulfill this drive.
Our sense of connection to the outside world , (an outside of us we created or recognized, depending on your world view) is born with us, a gift from our ancestors.
How deep that sense of connection stays as adults is determined by the “world” or environment in which we grow and develop.
All of us, at one time, related to the world outside of us, in a robust and multi-textured way.
Our wisdom ancestors sensed and knew that the world that is beyond our selves is same and part of the world that manifests within us as well. The infinite gifts of the earthly and celestial landscapes, the moon, stars, sun, the coming and going of light, the sounds. The primary sensory experiences of the world: smell, touch, hearing, looking, conversing. This is the learning ground for our Yangwei: our Outer Gates. Here we develop our capacity to meet the world with elegance and grace and joy.
As adults, we can find our selfdialoguing with another human, whose perspective is deeply calcified and unchangeable, trying to convince them to come over to our entrenched and calcified view. This is “normal”.
We call a dialogue with a riveror cloud or bird, madness. Even though that river or bird or cloud is giving us the gift of openness and emptiness so that a genuine dialogue may occur. Dialogue, Dia: meaning across Speech that moves across, from one space to another. Across our boundaries. Across ourfixed positions . Our positions are our prison walls..Cultivating our Outer Gates, our capacity to meet the world with emptiness, leaves us truly open, not vulnerable, to the new.
How empty must one be to “see” or allow across the viewpoint of another?
To truly taste the opinion of another ? To feelall of itfully and safely within our selves? To let it dance right below our surface ? To see what where we can make value from even the most seemingly repugnant ofexternal influences.
To “get it” and then “let it go” allows you to understand where that opinion “lives” in others. What that “opinion” is made of ?
To taste the world outside of our selves in all its flavors and with joy.