Winter is the season corresponding to the yin Kidney/yang Urinary Bladder systems in Oriental Medicine. In the Five Phase doctrine describing interrelationships in the natural world, our present position in the solar cycle (sign of Aquarius) corresponds to the Water phase and the day-night movement of withdrawal/rest/sleep, preceded by Metal (autumn, Lung-Large Intestine, decline, dusk) and followed by Wood (spring, Liver-Gallbladder, awakening, dawn).
Today’s post is an invitation to meditate on, contemplate, revisit, reconsider the deeper motivations of how, where, why we direct the mental faculty of our will.
Will, willpower, ambition, drive are the mental faculties related to the Water Organs. Fear and fright/shock are its emotional correspondences. In English we have the phrase “unbridled ambition”, which nods to the notion that harm accrues to a situation wherein the will is not properly controlled, like a person atop an untrained horse with neither bridle nor reins to steer the animal. Interestingly, the western inner tradition appears to share a similar idea: in the Bible, the kidneys are referred to as the reins–compare reins with the medical term renal–an adjective describing that which pertains to the kidneys.
An image from the ancient Indian text Katha Upanishad likewise links the mind with the concept of reins:
Know that the Atman (soul) is the rider in the chariot,
and the body is the chariot,
Know that the Buddhi (intelligence, ability to reason) is the charioteer,
and Manas (mind) is the reins.
The senses are called the horses,
the objects of the senses are their paths…
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All of Life is interwoven and thus interconnected, like the intersecting strands of the spider’s web. Tap any section of the web, and that vibratory input is registered by the entirety.
Power tripping is relished by the mind insecure about itself. The mind insecure about itself needs others to make it happy, and thus it is utterly dependent and disempowered. Dependent, we are frequently angst-ridden; frequently angst-ridden, the mind and body become sick, debilitated.
When sufficiently awake to the truth, we have no need to “power-over” others. Awake to the truth, we recognize our own power, and our responsibility to wield that power in ways that uplift the collective. Flowing thusly, we are empowered and non-dependent. Empowered, we are seldom angst-ridden; seldom angst-ridden, the mind and body do not become sick, debilitated.
To uplift ourselves while downputting others, clouded by ambition sourced in some ego-image, is not really uplifting at all. Flowing in such theses, we experience in the core of our being fear, shame, and guilt knowing we are in violation of the truth.
If we are in the habit of belittling others, then are we not belittling ourselves with those same attitudes? Belittling ourselves, how could we ever flow in our best?
And putting into the web of Life such vibes, do we not contribute to the collective suffering?
For those who incline toward the Christian scriptures, we have Romans 2:1:
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
In my own life, having abided in non-truth, I contributed to deep suffering in my own family–thinking erroneously that others were servants here to do my bidding and using my position as father to force my will–while projecting a virtuous Mr. Nice Guy appearance in public.
Now the flip side of this scenario is that we have the option to recognize these things, to change our ways, to pivot, to put goodness into the life weave by properly cultivating the will and integrity-checking our ambitions. Uplifting ourselves, we uplift others.
Learning from my errors, leveling-up into right ways (with no shortage of bitter, cleansing tears shed in the process), I’ve come to know both the taste of happiness and of unhappiness and their respective effects on my own health and on the family dynamic. Knowing virtuous from vicious, and aspiring to flow in the virtuous, thoughts-words-acts naturally gravitate in a certain direction.
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>> create the space and time for meditation daily, even if only for shorter periods. One of the fruits of consistent practice is deepening self-awareness. Need a guiding practice? This blog post outlines the instructions for a simple, safe meditation program you can get into most anywhere.
>> cultivate the attitude of sincerely wanting to know the truth of oneself, both the light/virtuous and the dark/vicious. Impress onto the mind at regular/sufficient intervals the benefits of practice, which we might summarize as durable happiness non-dependent on external circumstances. Impress onto the mind at regular/sufficient intervals the harm of non-practice, which we might summarize as near-constant unhappiness dependent on external circumstances. The fruit of durable happiness is good health in mind and body; the fruit of near-constant unhappiness is ill health in mind and body
>> practice actively hunting for, sniffing out where within your relationships (self, time, energy, children, spouse, parents, work peers, work superiors, work inferiors, friends, adversaries) you willfully have imposed, presently impose, or desire to impose in the future theses of “my way”, however right it may seem on the surface
>> celebrate yourself as a being with the Divine Light indwelling, able with right practice to relinquish pride- and fear-based control and abide in the consciousness of trust
>> create the space and time daily to work on yourself, cultivating virtue and purifying non-virtue. Purifying non-virtue involves surrendering your position to Life and coming to terms with the harm that you’ve caused; in the words of the Bhagavad Gita, it’s like poison in the beginning but nectar in the end. If remorse and compunction are notably absent in this practice, it’s a hint that you are not looking deep enough.
>> in your mind and heart, ask Life to teach you the right ways and render yourself teachable
>> recognize the responsibility to cultivate and direct the faculty of the will properly; create space and time to inquire into, explore, examine what motivates the will and ambition to achieve certain goals; sift carefully to identify virtuous from non-virtuous
>> let conscience be your guide; where urgency and impatience thrive, there we have fear and thus a hint of misapplication of will/ambition; where non-urgency and patience thrive, there we have no fear and thus a hint of proper application of will/ambition
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Hope this helps you in your quest for health, wholeness, and fulfillment. Love within, J*
Copyright (c) 2019, Justin Jaucian