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The Method

Heart and Wings  - Supporting your inner growth

We aim to support those who strive for inner growth in 3 very different ways:

- guided group sessions aimed at inner growth

- coaching in individual sessions

- providing solutions on a material level

Crossing the River

Trial Sessions

Heart and Wings  - Supporting your inner growth

Daoism - 19 januari 2024

We begin by focusing on the breath.

Feel the air going to your lungs.

Feel how your chest moves up and down to the rhythm of the breath

Feel your thoughts become still, a feeling as if you are falling asleep

Have the intention of going into a dreamy state

From that state, feel for your hands and feet at the same time.

Take a moment to become aware of all the sensations in your hands and feet.

Draw attention to your chest and feel in that area, feel the heart.

And from that state we are going to focus on a feeling of love

Imagine someone who is dear to you, someone you love.

Go back to a moment in time when you felt love for that person very strongly.

Take a moment to allow that feeling to grow stronger and stronger.

A bigger and bigger love, until it becomes some kind of perfect form of love.

Let that feeling of love expand to all that is.

Keep that feeling.

From that feeling, as you continue to feel love shift your main attention to harmony.

Visualize yourself walking outside. And wherever you walk you bring harmony.

Keep that as an ideal for you: you want to sense reality in such a way that you can bring everything into harmony.

Keep that intention.

Then focus your attention on beauty, inner beauty. 

Focus ons someone you consider to be a beautiful human being. Focus your attention completely on that.

Think of people you find beautiful, focus on the qualities you find beautiful in those people.

Start setting yourself as an ideal that you want to pursue that beauty, all qualities combined. You intend to become such a beautiful human being. 

And from that feeling of love, that ideal of harmony and that desire for inner beauty we are now going to start this session. In everything we do, behind what we do, we try to keep that motivation, keep that intention, keep that direction, that helps you live up to those ideals.

- What is Daoism? 

Dao is the path, way or method.

The Dao De Jing, the book in which the principles of Daoism are written down begins with:

the way that can be spoken of is not the way

That may sound very mysterious or strange, but it is actually very easy to understand.

If you just imagine that I would ask you to "play some music on your violin that reproduces the taste of French fries" you are going to understand immediately that that is not going to do much good.

In the same way, thinking is incapable of representing certain things.You can give direction with words, but you can only begin to understand what it is really about by experiencing it. And then if you have to put it into words.... - you do your best but it will only point to it.

 

* Taoism is primarily a way of self-development. People who are involved in that for a long time and are really committed to it all show a certain evolution. The evolution that you see in those people is that they become very powerful, stable people - sort of rock solid, people you don't easily unbalance.

* The tradition of Daoism is a spiritual tradition. But, a spiritual tradition is not the same as a religious tradition. Religion is about rules, and then somebody has to make sure that those rules are followed, and if you do well or do badly there are consequences attached to it, judgments attached to it. That's more or less the way of religion. The rules may point in a spiritual direction, or may lead you to fanaticism and bigotry. Spirituality has more to do with the search for yourself and the search for true happiness. That, of course, is a very different thing from external religion. Taoism also includes some form of physical training, such as Taiji. However, Taiji is only about 800 years old, whereas Taoism has been around much longer and has used a form of physical exercise. That physical exercise is not something in itself, it is used as a means of exercising the mind, a way of generating energy. As a side effect, it has the effect of keeping you healthy longer, which gives you more chances to develop longer. 

That is the approach of Taoism

- Origin of Daoism 

* The first person to put Taoism into a set of written principles was Lao Tsu. We are actually not sure if he really existed - Lao Tsu refers to the old man or the old child, and that may refer to some kind of master. In ancient China, someone who grew old was not someone to stick in the retirement home, so to speak, but someone with wisdom, someone to look up to. 

So it could be that that Lao Tsu is actually one or more masters who were given that nickname as an honoarary title.

That tradition, that knowledge is passed from master to disciple, who in turn becomes master, in a kind of chain in which the knowledge is refined. The master passes on his best understanding to the apprentice, and often those trainings of 20 years or more, before the apprentice begins to pass something on.

* The Dao De Jing is written, or Daoism originated, so to speak, around 500 BC, and so Daoism is about 2,500 years old. If you compare that to positive psychology: positive psychology is 20 to 40 years old, depending on where exactly you put the starting point. So it's not surprising that science, positive psychology has something to learn from those ancient traditions, where knowledge was built up over centuries, where it was always looking at what worked and what didn't work, how it could be improved. People who have been trained in such a tradition over a long period of time, they really do have something to offer, something that is fundamentally different and better than what you usually find in people, and that is also what positive psychology concludes in their research when they examine those people.

- focus on inner growth 

* Daoism also has a very strong focus on inner growth and has developed a kind of method for that.

You can develop inner if you want to follow the Taoist way, and the first thing to do is to distinguish between the deep part of your mind and the superficial part of your mind. How can you imagine that? For example: the moment someone dies, you may feel sad about that, not because that person can't give you things or take care of you anymore, but just because that person is gone. Or if someone is pregnant or if there is a baby you can be happy about it, have a positive feeling about it, without having anything to do with it. Those are deeper emotions. Another principle is that the deeper part of your mind can focus on different places at the same time. It can sense different things at the same time, like we focused on hands and feet at the same time for a while in the beginning of the session. That draws you to the deeper part of your mind. The superficial part of your mind can only process things one at a time. Focusing on different things at the same time pulls you out of your thinking and into the deeper part of your mind. 

Actually, a lot of it comes down to the fact that the methods taught teach you to listen unfiltered to what presents itself. That is, the information is more objective and complete than usual.

On the other hand, when you feel resistance, when you begin to find something annoying, you may assume that you are not in the deeper part of your mind.


And once you are in the deep part of your mind, you have to have a clear intention. Some meditations say that you have to quiet your mind and just be aware or just feel, but the tradition is very clear that you have to have a strong intention, pursue something. For example, if we try to visualize something, and you really try to do that, you are very intensely engaged in something. But you also have to keep doing that from the deeper part of the mind. There is a big difference, it has a totally different effect if you would just do the same thing from the mind. Even though it looks the same outwardly

 

The second thing is that to some extent you have to make effort, make effort. For example, if you suffer from tinnitus it can be very disturbing, is an extra difficulty, and if you have to make extra effort to go through it, the effect will also be greater once you succeed. Or, for example, if you have back pain and you are going to do taiji, you are not going to focus on the pain but focus on how you can move without feeling that pain and you are going to feel much more in that zone and therefore sometimes move much more accurately. For that you have to put in extra effort, but then you can turn that difficulty into an opportunity, into an advantage, into an opportunity to do better. Above all, it is very important to always try to do better, always reach out, try to do more than what you can.   


Then there is a third component that is very strongly related to this, and that is acceptance. Because you have a clear intention, you put a lot of effort but you are also trying something that is very difficult, and then there is a big chance that you will not succeed, not the first times anyway. And then it is very important that you can accept that. That you don't start seeing that as a mistake. You just understand that you are doing something difficult and that it is normal that it will not succeed from the first time, and you are understanding of yourself.

 

In positive psychology, that's called the "growth mindset.  

 

If you have that mindset, those three components in daily life - having a clear intention, making efforts and accepting that you don't succeed immediately but still persevere and learn from that - then that helps very much to get results, whatever you apply this to.

- method 

Another aspect of Daoism is that you want everything to be natural, not forced, that everything is in balance. This includes a balance between the physical, the emotional and the intellectual or mental aspect in us.

We have already mentioned that Daoism often uses movement, physical movement, and those movements have to be refined. That refinement is not for the movement itself, but that refinement causes your mind to be trained and to generate a certain kind of energy.

And you can then transform that energy, that energy can be refined to work on your emotions. That's one aspect of working on emotions. A second aspect is to keep your emotions quiet - because you are often trying extremely difficult things. If you go into your ego it will lead to frustration. The training then involves not going into your ego, staying deep, submitting your emotions to your will, to your deeper part of your mind and keeping quiet. And in that way you start working on your emotional part. On the one hand by refining your emotions, on the other hand by not letting the negative impressions weigh too heavily on your emotions.

 

If you want to do that, you almost cannot avoid to use your intelligence to refine and stay calm, start thinking - not from your head, but by using your intelligence at the layer, at the level, in the dimension you are working on. So for example, when you are working on emotions you have to try to understand it from your emotional level, and not from your thinking.

 

Crossing the River
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