Ritualsare a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed according to a set sequence. Rituals, like play, create “as if” worlds through the imaginative capacity of the mind.
The practice of ritual helps us to live together in a broken world. Ritual is work, endless work. But it is among the most important things we do.
Qi (pronounced chē) is the energy that fuels living – it’s the circulating life force whose existence and properties are the basis of much Chinese philosophy and medicine.
In Chinese philosophy, we are born with Qi, or prenatal energy, which we get from our mothers, and we receive energy from various outside sources such as the food we eat, our environments, and from rest.
Qiis Chinese — similar words and concepts can be found throughout a wide range of culture and history, including:
Prana in Hindu/Sanskrit
Ki in Japanese
Pneuma in ancient Greek
Lung in Tibetan
Mana in Hawaiian
Ruah in Hebrew
Bioelectricity in contemporary scientific language
The Force in the pop cultural language of Star Wars
Everything is happening right now. There is no other time. Freedom, peace, joy, suffering, sadness, birth, aging, sickness, and death are all found in this moment. In order to understand your life and yourself, you must first come to this understanding.
In the beginning was not the word; that much is clear. Not that the universe of the living was ever simple, quite the contrary. It was complex from its inception, four billion years ago. Life sailed forth without words or thoughts, without feelings or reasons, devoid of minds or consciousness. And yet living organisms sensed others like them and sensed their environments. By sensing I mean the detection of a “presence”—of another whole organism, of a molecule located on the surface of another organism or of a molecule secreted by another organism. Sensing is not perceiving, and it is not constructing a “pattern” based on something else to create a “representation” of that something else and produce an “image” in mind. On the other hand, sensing is the most elementary variety of cognition.
We can transform our mind by thinking on these four topics:
These attitudes are essential ingredients for our own happiness, peace of mind, and health, as well as for beneficial, satisfying relationships and interactions with others.
Cultivating these thoughts diminishes our habitual attitudes of self-grasping and self-centeredness, which disturb our peace of mind and lead to problems such as hatred for enemies, envy for rivals, and clinging to family and friends.