Consider That Which is Insignificant

 

That which is still and at rest is easily kept quiet.

That which has not yet appeared is easily prevented.

What is still feeble and weak is easily broken.

What is still deficient is easily dispersed.

 

Treat things before they exist.

Regulate things before disorder begins.

The strong tree originated from a tiny root.

A tower of nine stories is built up brick by brick.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single footstep.

 

If one tries to improve a thing, one damages it;

if one grasps it, they lose it.

The wise one, therefore, not attempting to form things does not damage them, and not grasping after things, they do not lose them.

The people in their rush for completing a task are ever approaching success but continually failing.

 

One must be as careful in the end as in the beginning if they are to succeed.

 

Therefore the wise one desires to be free from desire,

they do not value the things that are difficult to attain.

 

Such a person learns to be unlearned,

they return to the One which all others ignore.

In that spirit such a one shall help all things toward their natural development,

yet they do not interfere.

~ Lao Tzu

 

Taoist Practice is a treasure from Ancient China like a cultural heritage.

Proper practice can strengthen the body,

heal disease, and make a long happy life.

There is an ancient saying about Taoist Practice: 'No Rules, No Success'.

Taoist Culture has it's own principles of practice, rules, and standards.

If you go against the rules and standards,

you will gain the opposite of what you seek.

Not only will no success be gained,

but you will put your own body and mind at risk.

Correct Systematic Practice will bring great results in health.

Incorrect Practice, or Careless Practice can cause great damage.

The ancients have taught us in detail the Way to Follow; we must have the mindfulness and wisdom to follow the path they have set for us.

The teaching of the 'Three Abstentions' ,

is a traditional teaching passed down from Teacher to Student.

This teaching is also called the 'Three Harms', or the 'Three Fatal Errors'.

The 'Three Abstentions' are:

1. First Abstention - Abstain from Throwing out the Chest and Lifting the Abdomen; also called Sticking out the Chest, and Pulling in the Belly.

2.  Second Abstention - Abstain from Angry Qi. We may also call this:

Abstain from 'Forcing the Breath', 'Holding the Breath with Force', or

'Oppressing the Breath'.

3. Third Abstention - Abstain from Awkward Force. We may also say, Abstain from 'Using Inappropriate Strength', 'Using Clumsy Force', or 'Labored use of Strength'.

As we practice we must understand we are working with and gaining 5 unique attributes from our practice and we may call this the '5 Developments' we gain from our efforts in practice.

The '5 Developments' are:

1. Method of Practice

2. Inner Skill

3. Building Qi Energy

4. Smooth Qi Flow

5. Develop Inner Force

If we do not pay attention to the Three Abstentions,

not only do we not gain the results from the '5 Developments'over time we may cause great harm to our body, mind and state of inner balance.

Perhaps with most people the common 'Three Abstention' that arises is the Use of Angry Qi, or we may also understand this as 'Forcing and Holding of the Breath' - using labored breathing when practice, or using strong strength in the breath during practice.

Training the breath to be fine, long, smooth, deep, balanced and gentle is a foundation skill, and very important. Without the proper use of breath, we shall never gain success and growth in practice.

Most beginning students can not feel or sense this problem internally,

and it quickly becomes a habit.

When something becomes a habit, it is very difficult to change.

It is very important to understand these points, and apply them to the practice from the start.

Be mindful, pay attention, be focused, and follow the guidelines.

When the student can avoid the Three Abstentions in Practice, they will quickly gain the habit of proper Method of Practice, Develop Inner Skill, Build up the Qi Energy, gain a Smooth Flow of Qi Energy, and Develop the Inner Force.

They will then realize the great progress they have gained,

and enjoy greater health, harmony and balance in life.

The Taoist Arts of Nourishing Life contain a great treasure and gift for those who follow the method, principle and technique

It is said that the beginning is the most important time;

with a good and proper beginning, we are sure to gain success, gain benefits, and prosper in achieving our goal in Self Cultivation.

 

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