Tag Archives: Experience

Wuji – No Limits

Wuji – No Limits, by Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

I wasn’t far from the Firepit, sharing time at a primordial level.  A visit with the Ancestors.  A Community in the Void.  To find answers? 

Or perhaps just to realize which questions to ask?

The fire crackled as the Earthly aroma permeated the crisp night air.  Whorling upward, coiling with widening arms like that of our spiral galaxy, the Milky Way.  Norma-Cygnus, Sagittarius, Scutum-Crux, and Perseus all reaching outward, embracing you, inebriating you with the release of GrandFather Sun’s stored energy.  Burning as brightly as our Dantians within, our Seas of Qi.  A dynamism unmatched.  A gift from the Great Star Nation.   

Where would these forces of Nature take me? 

My intuition instructed me to focus on the flames, the smoke, the forming coals, the glowing embers. They took on their characteristic checkered pattern, those coals, the weaving of flames through wood.  A braiding down the length of each limb as they wrapped themselves in reverse spirals from the smoke. 

But then, something else.

I began seeing symbols etched into these glowing branches.  Hieroglyphics, pictographs, petroglyphs, but not carved or drawn in caves, or on stone walls, or in high temples.  No these were living, breathing messages from beyond.  Ever changing and vanishing with the smoke.

I made mental notes, my own snapshots in time, hoping to recall this mysterious language later.  And suddenly two words in English appeared, embedded in those coals.

“No Limits.”

And then they were gone.  Charred ash fallen to the ground.  Reduced to the same Stardust of their original carbon composition.  Of what we are all hewn from.

I took this as a literal meaning.  There are “no limits” to this lifetime.  Only limitations we place on ourselves. 

But as with all messages of this type, it takes time to solidify, to integrate, to release hidden meanings.  Or perhaps synchronous ones.

***

Present day.  I was running through a QiGong routine and one of the standing meditation poses is called Wuji, or the Bear Pose. 

As you settle into this position, you are elongating your spine, the Crown of your head is pulled up by an imaginary Golden Thread drawing it up towards the Heavens.  You tuck your chin but relax your jaw.  Legs are squared off shoulder-length apart, knees in line over feet that are parallel to each other.  You bend your knees slightly but don’t lock them. Relax your shoulders and your chest. Your hands are held down in front of you dropping to full arm’s-length, wrists bent at 90 degrees with the palms facing upward.  And you sit down [Barely or Bearly 😊],* rolling the end of your sacrum – imagining being connected to a Cord running deep within the Earth’s core – opening “The Gate of Life” or “Power” or the “Point of Origin” [the ‘Mingmen’ point].

You are weightless.

This is also called the “emptiness posture.” 

Later in the day, after finishing practicing some Tai Chi forms, I sit in front of my computer looking for a file about the same.  And what should I stumble upon, but a file outlining the meaning of Wuji or “Wu Chi.”**  I had saved it.  For this very day apparently.

***

Now I’m sure you’ve had days like mine where I start out with an idea of how the day will go, but I diverge from that path.  I mean, I already have a scattered thought pattern, and it is more so lately as I have multiple things on my plate.

But today was different.  Different in the sense of how I circled back to that moment before the Fire, and a message from six months ago, and how that message ties into absolutely everything. 

The file I had saved explained that Wuji or “Wu Chi” refers to the “Unmanifest Aspect of the Tao.”  But what is this “Aspect?”  It is the “state of non-distinction prior to the differentiation into the Yin and Yang,” which in turn, gave birth to “all of the phenomena of the manifest world.”

Wuji or Wu Chi is subject to several literal translations but, ultimately, they all lead to the words “no” or “none” and “limits” or “extreme boundaries.”  Thus, “No Limits.”  Emptiness in any movement or activity.  In this state of mind and body, “Nothing separates me from my surroundings.”

Or yet another way of looking at that would be nothing separates me from “All My Relations.”

There are many translations of Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching.  Turning to Johnathan Star’s translation of Chapter 28, we find this concept of “No Limits.”

Hold your male side with your female side

Hold your bright side with your dull side

Hold your high side with your low side

Then you will be able to hold the whole world.

When the opposing forces unite within

there comes a power abundant in its giving

and unerring in its effect.

Flowing through everything

It returns one to the First Breath.

Guiding everything

It returns one to No Limits.

Embracing everything

It returns one to the Uncarved Block.***

When the Block is divided

it becomes something useful

and leaders can rule with just a few pieces.

But the Sage holds the Block complete

Holding all things within himself

he preserves the Great Unity

which cannot be ruled or divided.

There is indeed a state of “No Limits,” but it’s not quite the message as I had originally surmised.  It is a return to that infinite, unlimited, boundless, timeless, undifferentiated state of existence. 

As I return to the Fire, now blazing in my household, I stare into those flames holding tight to what cannot be held, the limitless state of non-duality.  Looking to hold all things within myself, “which cannot be ruled or divided.”

In Metta

* Rabbit Hole # 1:  A note from my Ag School days, I had taken a class in Animal Sanitation and Disease Prevention that was taught by a Veterinarian.  This Doctor had served in the Air Force and had assisted with the development of the ejection seat for pilots.  Of course, they could not use skilled pilots to test this mechanism out, so they looked for an animal with the same hip structure that could sit down like us humans.  You guessed it, they used Bears.  They sedated them and sent them, seated in a jet-fueled contraption mimicking the cockpit of a plane, down a railroad track and, at the right moment, blew them up into the sky in their chair hoping the parachute would open.  The Vet did not report any Bears getting injured.  Just an interesting aside from the so-labeled “Bear Pose” or position, where you sit down, Bearly. 😊

** Rabbit Hole # 2: If you want further reading, you can find this article on the Web, titled, “The Meaning of Wuji (Wu Chi), the Un-manifest Aspect of the Tao.

*** Rabbit Hole #3: Various translations of the Tao refer to it as an Uncarved Block of Wood and use this in various descriptive manners.  I’ve seen it in Stephen Mitchell’s translation, but I don’t believe I saw it mentioned at all in Witter Bynner’s translation.  Mitchell’s is, perhaps, a bit more pragmatic, while Bynner’s is very poetic. Whatever translation of the Tao you may find, enjoy. 

An Accidental Transpersonal Experience

By Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

Warning: This post is about mystical stuff. If you don’t like that kind of stuff you can stop reading now. 🙂

***

Quite a few years back in my undergrad days, I had access to the biofeedback lab at the university.  The goal was using their machines to lower my heart rate and respirations.  To achieve a state of complete relaxation. 

The little tones beeping from the machine you wired yourself up to weren’t a distraction but were an adjunct to assist you with hitting the set goals.  The rate of the beeping reflected the rate of your heart rate and respirations until you were able to lower them to the desired parameters. Thus, heart rate lowered, respirations decreased, no more beeping. 

I would be laying on a mat on the floor. My head on a pillow.  The temperature of the room was warm and comfortable. 

But while I was relaxing in the lab one day, I experienced a “side effect.”  I guess you could call it that.  I had a spontaneous vision, or experience, or a visualization; whatever you wish to call it.  I discovered, just recently, a term for these experiences – transpersonal.

Continue reading An Accidental Transpersonal Experience

The Cape

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I pulled into this Washington State Park.  I wanted to spend a couple of relaxing days on the Ocean.  Rejuvenate my body.  It’s not that my Mind or Spirit needed rest.  My senses had been flooded this trip with such a continual string of breathtaking sights that I was on a natural high.  But I had been punishing my Body.  Pushing myself to my physical limits and beyond.  On the road an average of every six to seven days, without pause, and hiking continuously.  I even needed to do some sewing before hiking again, repair my daypack, as I had managed to tear a few holes in it.

Yeah, a few days on a Pacific beach sounded wonderful.  And besides, I’d have a new experience of staying in a Yurt. 

Continue reading The Cape

COVID the Career Buster – Thoughts?

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

So, I’ve kept my articles that might be classified as political to a minimum, because, let’s face it, people are pretty wound up now days about politics and not speaking very objectively. COVID, however should have never become politicized as it is a public health issue. Nevertheless, people have become polarized over this disease, while many many, many, many bodies pile up.

I was on LinkedIn the other day and a fellow RN had posted that she was seriously considering changing her career because of the stress of yet another wave of full ICUs, all COVID patients, and most beds filled with the unvaccinated. Beside patient census and acuity, she’s dealing with short staffing, and with just plain witnessing too much death.

Most of the replies were very supportive, but a few went off the rails in my view and actually started attacking her. The attacks accused her of abandoning her chosen profession and with providing inferior care to patients that were unvaccinated. Now nowhere in her post did she say she was delivering different or an inferior quality of care to any class of patients so those comments came from nowhere other than bizarrioland.

As for abandoning her career, I mean anyone can change a career or job at any point in time. Who’s business is that? Only the person who is changing their source of livelihood.

One gentleman tried to make a comparison to his military career, saying he fought for his country and would never abandon his fellow soldiers. Ok, so? That’s not apples to apples at all. That’s strawberries to hand-grenades.

So what do you think? Should we be trying to dictate people’s career choices? Should we deny there is such a thing as burn out and force people who have RN degrees back into service? I hope not because I’m an RN and I’m happily retired. I’m also an attorney so don’t start talking about rights unless you’ve consulted one or actually know something about Constitutional Law 🙂

Thoughts? Perspectives? Fire away. I can dodge bullets pretty well.

In Metta

Feature Photo: I chose one of my wildflower pics for this post. A field of Red Poppies lines this road in Washington State. I enameled them to make them look more like an oil painting.

Flowers are always soothing and the poppy has been symbolically associated with military veterans – specifically the sacrifice made by those who served and died in all of our wars. It does seem like we’re at war right now. With a disease and with each other.

I wish everyone peace.

And here are a few articles for fun:

Where are Hospitals Overwhelmed by COVID-19 Patients? Look Up Your State

Nurse Workforce Decline During COVID ‘Unprecedented’: Study

Almost All U.S. COVID-19 Deaths Now in the Unvaccinated

Covid-19: US surpasses 800,000 pandemic deaths

Published15 December 2021 BBC News

A man in a mask walks among flags representing those that died from Covid
Image caption, White flags represent each life lost in the US to Covid

More than 800,000 Americans have now died from the coronavirus, the highest recorded national death toll from the global pandemic.

It comes as the US reached 50 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Monday.

Most deaths have been recorded among the unvaccinated and the elderly, and more Americans died in 2021 than in 2020.

The US is again seeing deaths rising at an alarming rate.

The last 100,000 deaths came in just the past 11 weeks, a quicker pace than any at other point aside from last winter’s surge.

“The waves of illness that we’re seeing will continue until the population-level immunity is high enough to prevent them. Quite simply, we’re not there yet,” said Dr Keri Althoff, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

It has been more than 650 days since the first American patient dying from Covid-19 was reported in Seattle, Washington (public health officials have since attributed earlier deaths to the virus).

Since the Pfizer vaccine – the first jab to be approved in the US – was rolled out last winter, nearly 300,000 more fatalities have been recorded.

Graphic

In April 2021, two more vaccines – Moderna and single-dose Johnson & Johnson – were approved, and all three vaccines were made available to adults of all ages.

The 800,000 total exceeds the populations of cities such as Boston or Washington DC. The milestone means nearly twice as many Americans have died during the pandemic as in World War 2.

The US death toll far exceeds the official tally of any other country, but experts believe many recorded death counts are under-reporting the true scale of the tragedy.

The next highest are Brazil, with more than 616,000 deaths, and India, which has had over 475,000 deaths.

In terms of deaths per capita, the US currently ranks 20th in the world, trailing several South American and European countries, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Each country in the chart below – except the UK – was initially slower to roll out vaccines than the US. Vaccinations levels in all have since surpassed the US where 61.6% of the population is fully vaccinated.

Reported deaths in selected countries

Deaths from Covid-19 have come in three main waves.

The first – which hit New York City especially hard – peaked in April 2020, before lower rates of infection in the summer and autumn.

A massive spike then occurred last winter after people had travelled and gathered during the holiday season. At its peak in January 2021, more than 3,000 deaths were confirmed a day.

Daily reported Covid-19 deaths in the US

The number of deaths fell significantly last spring as vaccines became widely available, but it soared again by July and through the summer as the highly contagious Delta variant spread.

The elderly have always been the most vulnerable, and despite being the most vaccinated group one in 100 Americans over the age of 65 has died during the pandemic.

Breakthrough cases aside, unvaccinated Americans have made up the vast majority of deaths over the past few months (trends identified in the chart below come from health departments in 24 of 50 US states).

President Joe Biden began calling Covid-19 in the US “a pandemic of the unvaccinated”.

Weekly Covid-19 death rates per capita, vaccinated vs unvaccinated

Dr Althoff contends that the US had “a lot of barriers” to overcome.

“Trust in science has waned, trust in government has waned, vaccine hesitancy is a powerful force, misinformation is rampant,” she told the BBC.

“We have to do more than just trying to educate; we have to try and understand. That takes conversation and trust-building.

With death rates rising once again in much of the country, she said Delta remained a serious problem,

Public health experts are still figuring out what impact the new Omicron variant may have this winter, but officials are urging Americans to get booster shots to combat waning protection.

Milestones . . .

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

While I’m not addicted to the stats on our blogs, I do find them interesting at times.  I recently passed my 4-year mark of being on WordPress and I was notified that the blog had received over 50,000 all-times views.  While I’m sure that those who blog more regularly than me have far exceed that number, it does have a nice ring to it.  And viewers came from 135 different countries.

I currently have 306 “published” posts, and I’ve taken down some 200 or so.  All-in-all, not bad for four years, but not particularly excellent in terms of numbers comparing that total to those who blog more consistently. 

I’ve generally written about the things that inspire me, where the writing feels more like channeling, and there are definite periods where the well has run dry.  Particularly in 2021, when I got a bit ticked off at social media plundering, and I found myself residing more in my COVID cave rather than being out in my usual mode of exploration.  

Like I say, I’m sure many of you have long passed these milestones but for me, it’s new.  And I plan on kicking off this new year with something I don’t usually do at all – a book review.  I’m not quite finished reading it so I can’t give you an exact date when I will post, but it will be coming soon. 

I feel compelled to write about this book, not because of its wonderful quality, but because of its profound racism and the author’s apparent inability to see it as such.  A story of epic proportions for sure, but I don’t believe I’ve seen an author so oblivious to this undercurrent.  In fact, at one point he tries to explain it away in a manner that can only be described as face-palm worthy. 

So onward into the new year . . .

In Metta

Feature Photo: This is a pic of a Marina I came upon in Blaine, Washington, right on the border with Canada.  The year I arrived, I had intended to cross the border to visit Vancouver Island, but alas, the border was closed, COVID and all.  I ran the photo through the editor and enameled it to make it appear more as an oil painting.  And I guess I chose this one for this post because, well, I liked it, but also because it can represent that nebulous line between true art, say a painting by a renowned artist, and myself playing about on a computer.  It is pleasing to the eye no doubt, but it does lack the painstaking work that a painter must engage in to produce a masterpiece.  It serves as the contrast I’ll be exploring in the upcoming book review.

I had to cut the pic way down to get it to fit somewhat with WordPress’s formatting, so here is the full image.

Rabbit-hole: You may have noticed that I put the term “published” in quotes, like I just did now.  That is because I find this term very loosely used throughout social media.  When I think of being published, I think of a publishing entity, not of our own design and ownership, finding something we have written worthy of being included in said entity’s publication.  I don’t think of self-publishing as being the same as being “published.”  I see many folks out here identifying with the term “author” and they use this term in conjunction with that word “published,” whereas I would choose the word “writer.”  Although I do recognize that the definition of “author” is loose enough to cover virtually anything we pen, thus: “a person who writes a novel, poem, essay, etc.; the composer of a literary work, as distinguished from a compiler, translator, editor, or copyist.”  Using these terms loosely means we are all distinguished “published authors,” even if our work is but one line scribbled on a piece of toilet paper.  😊 I guess I’m in my critical judge mode today so I will have a nice belly laugh at myself, pet-peeves and all, while it’s time to hit the “publish” button😊

The Wrong Lens

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

Radiance Sutras

There is a Place in the Heart where Everything meets.
Go there if you want to find me.
Mind, Senses, Soul, Eternity – All are there.

Are you there?

Enter the Bowl of Vastness that is the Heart.
Give yourself to it with Total Abandon
Quiet Ecstasy is there,
And a steady, regal Sense
Of Resting in a Perfect Spot.

Once you know the Way,
The Nature of Attention will call you to Return.
Again and Again,
And be saturated with Knowing,

I belong here, I am at Home here. 

***

As I attempt to understand the Nature of our Existence, Our Essence, I naturally try to define it with terminology.  And I then end up chasing other terminology to define that terminology.  This process repeats and stretches on into infinity . . .

At least it does for me. 

So, do we really get an answer to those time-worn phrases?  Terminology dissects and divides, which is one of the basic problems with understanding just who and what we are. 

Continue reading The Wrong Lens

Gray Days – Again and Again

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

I began a tradition a couple of years back. A tradition of repeating words. Words that I had written to describe the day and the season we were entering into. I’m a bit late this year as November slipped by, and that’s when I usually re-post this. This November wasn’t as Gray as last, but December is pulling that cloak over this Northern Hemisphere.

While Winter is not officially upon us yet, the days of Autumn have definitely past. Grandfather Sun is still moving South. And the atmosphere is shifting into Gray.

I wrote about this “Gray.” It’s “color.” It’s feel. It’s taste. It’s sounds. It’s moods. And eventually, it’s brightness and it’s “Inner Fire.”

So as we enter this season of hibernation, before the awakening and emerging from the Dream Lodge into the new life of Spring, I share these words again.

I hope you will enjoy them.

Continue reading Gray Days – Again and Again

Rainer, The Elk – Stamina and Community

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

Wakan Tanka, Great Mystery,

Teach me how to trust My Heart, My Mind, My Intuition, My Inner Knowing, The Senses of my Body, The Blessings of my Spirit. Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my Sacred Space And Love Beyond my Fear, And thus, Walk in Balance With the passing of each glorious Sun.

– Lakota Prayer

***

Rainer, The Elk – Stamina and Community by Harold Stearley

Long before Sunrise.  Route 431.  Leaving Tahoe.  Headed North.  Some say it’s the direction of Manifestation, others the Coldness and Darkness of Winter. 

It was indeed pitch black at 2 am.

Continue reading Rainer, The Elk – Stamina and Community

Wisdom, Love and Life

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,

Love is knowing I am everything,

and between the two my Life moves.”

– Wayne W. Dyer

As per usual, I stumbled upon this fine quote today while I was working on another post. Lovely words, and the picture I chose was from Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.

As you ascend the Ridge, you must pass through these clouds. It is actually raining in there. And when you emerge, you find yourself above the clouds feeling Grandfather Sun’s rays warming you as you peer back through the valleys. It appears that you could simply walk across these clouds, as is the nature of Love . . .

A Walk About In My Mind

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

Who, then, is “animate” and who “inanimate”? Within the assembly of the Lotus, all are present without division. In the case of grass, trees and the soil . . . whether they merely lift their feet or energetically traverse the long path, they will all reach Nirvana.

— Zhanran the Sixth Patriarch of Tendai Buddhism (1711-82)

*****

As I was walking along the creek’s bank, my head was in a swirl.  So much internal noise, while the outside world remained placid.  Utterly calm and quiet.  The only noises came from the trickling, crystal-clear, emerald water.  The hum of seventeen-year cicadas.  The occasional bee, wearing a cloak of pollen and having a belly full of sweet nectar, barely able to carry its own weight on its flight path back to the hive.  And from the trees swaying, or rather dancing, in time with the Chief Western Wind. 

A Black Swallowtail fritters past, in complete silence.  Not a care in the world.

But, oh so much internal clatter.  An orchestra of out-of-tune instruments each playing a different symphony.  Does this tumult of turbulence comprise what we’ve come to call our Consciousness?  Does all of this internal noise make us “Aware?”  And “Aware” of what exactly?

>>>>><<<<< 

Continue reading A Walk About In My Mind

Moving On – The Medicine of the Deer

Moving On – The Medicine of the Deer

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

I was unlacing my boots at the end of a long day.  As I zig-zagged the laces in reverse to free them from their hooks down towards my ankles, I could feel the heat escaping, the pressure lifting. 

Loosening the remaining half of the laces that extended through the half dozen grommets to the boot’s toe, I then lifted them, one at a time, off my feet and let them drop to the floor with an oh-so familiar thud. 

My right ankle throbbed. 

Ten hours on the road wasn’t that bad because I love being in motion, but I was in Bear country now.  Absolutely everything had to be emptied out of my car and carried to my room.  And I had packed for four months.  More than I needed on a daily basis, but I was prepared.  As were the Bears.

Bears are smart. 

They’ll tear up a car trying to get to a cooler, even if it’s empty.  Nothing that emits an odor can be left behind.  Leave a tube of sunscreen in the glove compartment and you’ll awaken to one ugly mess of an automobile.

Continue reading Moving On – The Medicine of the Deer

Reconfiguring My Blog . . . And My Reality?

Reconfiguring My Blog . . . And My Reality?

By Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

So, I took a short break from writing after my most recent experience in having my words ripped off.  That sounds funny, almost literal, as though the page I had written upon had been torn from my journal and pasted into another’s.  I suppose that’s as literal a vision as it gets here in this digital world.  One of mysterious computer languages.  Encrypted hieroglyphics.  Translated.  Captured.

And Manipulated.

As of the day of this writing, I had actually begun working on another travel story but my mind was pulled in multiple different directions. 

Continue reading Reconfiguring My Blog . . . And My Reality?

Cyberworld Etiquette And Kleptoparasitism

By Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

Kleptoparasitism. I really love this word. And in the world of the written word, I will equate it with misappropriation and copyright infringement.

I started out writing a long and intricate post about this topic, a problem for my legal mind, and I decided that it was way too much. So I boiled it all down to this:

It is not proper, courteous, or lawful to “borrow” someone else’s work unless you have permission and provide a proper attribution. Without those, the “borrowing” becomes an illegal theft. And even if someone has our permission, if our materials are used in a manner to create a “false light” appearance of ourselves, then that too is prohibited.

Not surprisingly, I have written about this subject before. See my post Lighthouses and Kleptoparasitism .

Below are some links offering suggestions for how to protect your work.

Copyright Infringement – What to Do

How I Dealt With the Theft of My Intellectual Property

What to do When Your Content is Stolen

Prevent Content Theft

Perspectives on Watermarks

This last link, below, appears to be fake. I could be wrong, but it is full of typos, bad grammar, poor usage – highly suspicious – I don’t recommend using it.  It seems to me to be a mimic that looks like a real WP product.

Beware! 

WP Content Copy Protection & No Right Click

And please feel free to share your experiences or insights on this topic.

In Metta

Photo: An Indian Paintbrush (the plant), with a bit of editing fun, and then my giant logo superimposed upon it. Is this what we need to do to protect our work from theft?

Kelptoparasitism, is simply where one animal steals another animal’s food or prey after that animal caught, collected, prepared, or stored that food source in some fashion. It’s a common trait, even exercised by this country’s national symbol – the Eagle.

You can see the analogy here. We writers capture words, collect them, prepare them by arranging them and putting our heart into them, and then store them on paper or digitalize them on electronic media to share with others. And then the scavengers show up.