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Total Solar Eclipse of 2024 and its Meaning

According to Ancient Taoism

By Dr. Mao Shing Ni

 

Million of Americans are expected to watch the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. Many are traveling to the path of totality, in which this eclipse runs diagonally across the country from Texas to Maine. While solar eclipses are natural phenomenons when the moon pass in front of the sun, partially or completely and as a result block out the sun; curiosity seekers have been warned by NASA to wear a protective eclipse glasses when viewing to protect against permanent eye damage.

 

Recently. I have fielded questions about the significance of solar eclipse, according to ancient Taoist perspective.

So here it is:

 

Total solar eclipses hold particular significance in Taoism, as they represent a momentary misalignment of cosmic energies. The ancient Chinese believed that heaven, earth and human are one and that various changes in heaven and nature will also be reflected in human affairs.

 

Total solar eclipse occurs when the sun’s yang energy is momentarily blocked by the moon’s yin energy. This disruption of normal yang energy may have more than a chilling effect on earth, leading to phenomenons in nature and human society that are greatly out of the ordinary patterns.

 

History informed us that China had set up an advanced astronomical observatory since ancient times and they first recorded a solar eclipse in 1948 B.C. It possessed the most complete and richest records of solar eclipses in the world numbering over 1,000 records of solar eclipses in ancient texts until the Qing Dynasty. Accordingly, in the years when solar eclipses occurred in history, major disasters often occurred before and after them; and the more consecutive times they occurred, the greater and more disasters there were.

 

An analysis of solar eclipses viewed in China, human events, and natural disasters revealed that in the years when solar eclipses occur in large numbers, the probability of civil unrest and war is 95%; and the probability of various natural disasters is also above 95%. Here are some examples in the last decade and all the way back to a century ago:

 

There were four consecutive solar eclipses from 2008 to 2012 when the Great Recession brought the world to its knees. The comparable periods in history are 1849-1857 (three times, the Taiping Rebellion, a major flood, a major earthquake, a major locust plague, and a foreign invasion), 1869-1875 (four times, a major flood, a major drought, a major plague, and a major earthquake), 1936-1943 (three times, the Sino-Japanese World War II, a major locust plague, and a major famine), and 1965-1968 (three times, the Cultural Revolution, and many major earthquakes).

 

In other words, while the 2024 total solar eclipse may be a curiosity, taoist wisdom is warning of social unrest, economic crisis and natural disasters like earthquakes, climate disasters like record heat and flooding. Worse, insurers are increasing pulling out of geographic markets leaving many homes uninsured or insured at astronomical and unsustainable premiums. Amidst this backdrop, here are some counsel for the Integral Way Community.

 

•  Internal Reflection: Total solar eclipses are often seen as opportunities for deep internal reflection and contemplation. You may want to use this time to delve into spiritual practices, meditation, and self-examination about your thoughts, action and purpose.

 

•  Energy Alignment: Practices like Qigong, Tai Chi, and meditation are utilized to balance and realign your qi with the unique cosmic forces at play during a total solar eclipse. This re-alignment is important to avoid the physical and emotional consequences of the misalignment of yin and yang energies of the universe

 

•  Avoidance of Major Activities: Similar to partial eclipses, you may want to avoid initiating major activities or decisions during a total solar eclipse. The period is regarded as energetically sensitive, and it's preferable to maintain a state of harmony and receptivity.

 

•  Rituals and Offerings: I would recommend that you engage in rituals or offer prayers and offerings during a total solar eclipse. These rituals are to seek blessings, protection, and spiritual insight from the celestial realms.

 

•  Nature's Harmony: The Tao teaches us to live in harmony with nature and its cycles. Total solar eclipses serve as reminders of the dynamic interplay of cosmic forces and the interconnectedness of all life. When there’s disruption to the natural cycles, we seek to stay vigilant, adaptive and observe the natural rhythms rather than chase the eclipse for momentary pleasure

 

•  Beginning at the hour of 12:30 pm local time in Texas, visualize the sun in your Crystal Palace of your upper dantian behind your forehead (do not gaze at the actual sun), hold your left hand in baby fist (enveloping your thumb), and draw with your right index and 3rd fingers as a sword hand the following protection and neutralizing symbols:

•  天  下  太  平

•  Then draw the tai chi symbol in the sky

          

•  Use this time until 4:40 pm local time in Maine for Solar Meditation (ITMI Level 1: symbiosis with Nature Meditation), practicing Eight Treasures Qi Gong (Move the Stars and Turning the Big Dipper, etc), harmony tai chi, ba gua cosmic tour and merry-go-round. Stay calm and serene.

 

In essence, total solar eclipses are viewed as powerful moments for spiritual growth, inner harmony, and opportunity for re-alignment with the Tao. Avoid chasing the eclipse and stay away from crowds. Use this time to engage in practices that are nurturing for your body, mind, and spirit in order to harmonize with the cosmic change.

Utilizing Principles and Teachings of Taoism

in Your Everyday Life

By Dr. Mao Shing Ni

 

A friend, Gary, who is an avid student of the I Ching said to to me recently that the I Ching has taught him “how to read the currents when swimming across the sea!”

 

It is an apt metaphor for navigating the challenges and uncertainties of life which is like a vast, unpredictable ocean. Just as a swimmer must read the currents to reach their destination safely, we can learn valuable lessons from Taoism to guide us on our journey.

 

Wisdom of the Tao

 

At the heart of Tao, often translated as "the Way" or "the path," it teaches us to flow with the natural rhythms of life, like water flowing effortlessly downstream. Taoist principles remind us to embrace the currents rather than fight against them. The concept of "Wu Wei, or "effortless action," is central to Taoism. It suggests that by aligning ourselves with the natural flow of events, we can achieve harmony and balance. Similarly, we conserve energy by moving with the currents of life instead of struggling against them.

 

The I Ching—A Guide for Life’s Changes

 

The I Ching, also called The Book of Changes and The Unchanging Truth is an ancient Chinese divination classic that offers profound insights into the ebb and flow of life. Through its hexagrams and commentary, the I Ching teaches us to understand and adapt to change, much like adjusting our course based on the shifting currents.

 

Each hexagram in the I Ching represents a unique situation offering guidance on how to navigate challenges and seize opportunities. Just as we learn to read the currents to choose the most favorable path, consulting the I Ching helps us make wise decisions and navigate life's complexities.

 

Incorporate Tai Chi Principles and Practice



Tai Chi is not just a physical exercise but a holistic practice that integrates mind, body, and spirit. By practicing Tai Chi, we cultivate balance and stability. Tai Chi emphasizes grounding and balance — essential qualities for navigating choppy waters both literally and metaphorically. Through Tai Chi practice, we develop physical stability and mental clarity.

 

Tai Chi also encourages mindfulness and present-moment awareness. By being fully attuned to the sea's currents, Tai Chi practice can help us learn to be fully present and responsive to our surroundings.

 

By drawing upon the principles and teachings of Taoism and the I Ching, we can cultivate resilience, adaptability, and wisdom in the face of life's challenges. I invite you to join us in College of Tao’s April retreat in North Carolina where you can immerse yourself in the ancient wisdom of Tao, practice Tai Chi in a pristine mountain setting and learn to better navigate your life’s journey, flow with the currents, and cultivate harmony within and without as you swim across the ever-changing sea of existence.

AI Revolution, the Five Healths

and Humanity’s Spiritual Well-being

by Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been in the news almost daily since the release of Chat-GPT over one year ago. The rapidly developing capabilities of AI is transforming many facets of our lives with its promise of increased efficiency, productivity and convenience. Recently, the AI driven stock-market bubble and euphoria has driven the market to record heights.

 

However, all powerful human inventions, like nuclear energy have their dark side just as there is plenty of opportunities for misuse of AI by malevolent actors. It is crucial to understand what its capabilities are and acknowledge the areas where human elements remain irreplaceable as we employ AI to promote well-being.

 

In this article i will explore what AI can and cannot do across the spectrum of the Five Healths—Physical, Mental/Emotional, Relationship, Financial, and Career Health.

 

Physical Health

What AI Can Do: AI excels in monitoring health data, aiding in diagnostics, and recommending personalized treatment plans. Its ability to process vast amounts of information contributes to optimized healthcare intervention and guidance.

What AI Cannot Do: AI falls short in providing direct physical care and genuine emotional support. The human touch, especially energetically whether it’s through insertion of acupuncture needles or emission of qi energy and empathetic understanding in healthcare remain indispensable.

 

Mental and Spiritual Health

What AI Can Do: AI can analyze patterns in behavior, detect mental health conditions, and provide virtual mental health tools for support. It complements traditional mental health care by offering insights and resources. AI contributes to spiritual health by offering mindfulness and meditation apps, as well as personalized spiritual content based on individual preferences.

 

What AI Cannot Do: Yet, AI cannot replace the genuine empathy of human therapists or address complex emotional nuances that require a uniquely human touch in mental health support. Genuine spiritual experiences and the understanding of complex belief systems lie beyond AI's capabilities, remaining profoundly personal and uniquely human. In other words, AI cannot meditate for you nor can it perform personal cultivation.

 

Relationship Health

What AI Can Do: AI can analyze communication patterns, offer insights into relationships, and provide advice through relationship platforms, contributing to better understanding and communication.

 

 What AI Cannot Do: However, forming genuine emotional connections and resolving deep interpersonal issues require the nuanced understanding and empathy that AI lacks.

 

Financial Health

What AI Can Do: AI supports financial health through budgeting, financial planning, and optimized investment strategies. It analyzes data to provide practical recommendations for individuals.

 

What AI Cannot Do: Personal financial decision-making, influenced by emotions and values, remains beyond AI's reach. It cannot address the human aspects crucial in financial choices.

 

Career Health

What AI Can Do: AI aids in job matching, skill development, and career guidance. It streamlines processes, helping individuals make informed decisions about their professional paths.

 

What AI Cannot Do: However, AI cannot navigate workplace dynamics or provide the mentorship essential for holistic career development, aspects that require human insight.

 

In the quest for well-being of the Five Healths in our lives, AI can be a powerful assistant, enhancing efficiency, providing insights from troves of data, and offering support across the Five Healths. However, it is essential to recognize its limitations and its role as a mere tool and not a new God to be surrendered to. It is critical that humanity recognizes the sanctity of the spirit, which is comprised of empathy, emotional and divine connection, and the multidimensional experiences of the complex human existence.

 

Join us at our annual spiritual well-being retreat in the mountains of North Carolina in April, 2024 as we connect with a wonderful community of gentle souls in pristine nature to share powerful practices to rejuvenate, revitalize and renew your spirit!

A collage of images about the Year of the dragon chinese new year

The Significance of Traditions of the Chinese Lunar New Year

                                                                                                                              By Dr. Mao Shing Ni

The 2024 Chinese Lunar New Year officially starts on February 10. It is also known as the Spring Festival, a lively and profoundly meaningful celebration observed by over one billion people around the world. Imbued with tradition and cultural symbolism, this celebration holds great significance, marking the beginning of a new lunar year based on the traditional Chinese calendar. The festivities last 15 days and are filled with rituals, actions, and special foods, each with special meanings reflecting aspirations, mindset, and cultural beliefs. Click here for my 2024 astrological forecast based on the traditional Chinese calendar. 

 

Renewal and Fresh Start

Fundamentally, Chinese New Year is the theme of renewal and fresh starts. Families gather to say goodbye to the old year, letting go of the past year’s negativities and welcoming the new one by inviting positive energy with optimism and excitement for the new year. Join us for a spiritual renewal ceremony live cast online on February 4 at 10 am. Here is the link: Annual Chinese New Year Celebration - Yo San University

 

Red, Red, and Red are Everywhere

Red is the prevalent color during Chinese New Year as it symbolizes joy, luck, and prosperity. Everywhere, you see homes, offices, and streets decorated with red posters adorned with calligraphy of blessings like health, good fortune, and peace. Lanterns and other ornaments attract positive and joyful energy while warding off negative, evil energy. Natural essential oil scents are also used to subtly reinforce positive Five Element energies in one’s life. These are in accordance with Feng Shui principles. Check out feng shui blessings for the new year for your home and office here. 

 

Special Foods with Their Meanings

The family reunion dinner on New Year's Eve is a feast featuring dishes with symbolic meanings:

 

  • A whole Fish with a head and tail represents prosperity and the proper beginning (head) and ending (tail) of a year. 

 

  • Dumplings are a prosperity symbol as they resemble the shape of ancient Chinese gold and silver ingots. They are usually filled with meat, vegetables, and shellfish.

 

  • Sticky Rice Cakes, made from glutinous rice (contains no gluten), signify growth, progress, and the promise of a better year because, in Chinese, Nian Gao literally means reaching new heights every year. 

 

  • Oranges and their golden color symbolize abundance, wholeness, and good luck and are usually served following meals. 

 

  • Sweet glutinous Rice Balls, called Tang Yuan, are a symbol of family unity and sticky bonds. They are often eaten during the Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

 

Lion and Dragon Dances

The spellbinding lion and dragon dances are essential to Chinese New Year celebrations. These performances, accompanied by the loud and rhythmic beats of drums and cymbals, are believed to bring good luck and prosperity and drive away evil spirits. Note that it is believed that the louder they are, the better to awaken the helpful spirits and ward off the negative ones. 

 

Giving and Receiving Red Envelopes

Red envelopes, or Hong Bao, are filled with money and exchanged as gifts, especially to children. The color red and the act of giving money symbolize good luck, prosperity, and the passing of positive energy from elders to the younger generation.

 

Honoring Ancestors and Deities

Families pay homage to their ancestors during the New Year celebration, offering prayers and food—usually fruits and incense at family altars. Traditional rituals are performed to ensure the well-being of departed loved ones as well as the honoring of deities. Join us for the ritual here.

 

In summary, the Chinese Lunar New Year is a celebration that is infused with cultural traditions with deep spiritual meanings. It serves as a reminder of the importance of family, the cyclical nature of life, and the collective hope for a brighter and more prosperous future. As the Year of the Dragon unfolds, may the festivities bring happiness, health, and prosperity to all who partake in this cherished universal celebration. Gong Xi Fa Cai, Shen Xing An Kang (恭喜發財,身心安康)!!

Dragon Arising 2024

By Dr. Mao Shing Ni

“Nothing in the world is more adaptable or flexible than water. Its gentle nature, when met with resilience and strength, proves to be a powerful force. The idea that adaptability triumphs over rigidity and flexibility prevails over hardness is widely recognized, though it is not always put into practice. As an ancient sage once wisely stated: A leader who empathizes with the challenges faced by the people is well-equipped to govern. The one who addresses crises with compassion for humanity is the ideal candidate to lead the world. Indeed, the truth often appears paradoxical." 
—Chapter 78, Tao Teh Ching (edited by Dr. Mao Shing Ni)
 
Even though the actual Chinese New Year doesn’t begin until February 10, 2024, the wisdom of Lao Tzu flickers like a lighthouse as we sail into an uncharted year.  Please join me in greeting the arrival of the Year of the Dragon, a time of transformation, growth, and renewed hope. May this celestial creature guide us toward positive developments in our lives, communities, and the world at large.
 
The dragon is a symbol of strength, vitality and good fortune. It invites us to embody its spirit as we navigate the currents of change. Let us, like water in the ocean adapting to the outlines of the shores, embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead with grace and wisdom. 
 
Just as the dragon soars through the heavens, may our collective efforts elevate humanity to new heights of understanding, compassion and cooperation. Let us strive for a world where differences are celebrated, where unity prevails over division, and where the well-being of everyone is our shared responsibility.
 
The Tao guides us to strive for balance, harmony, and interconnectedness in our lives. As we embrace the energy of the dragon, let it ignite the flames of love, peace, and health in our lives. May our hearts be filled with kindness, our minds with clarity, and our bodies with vitality. Let us nurture ourselves within, fostering the strength and resilience needed to face the sea of change that may arise.
 
Each of us plays a unique and vital role in the world that we live in. I invite you to share your joys, optimism and love with others, lead with empathy and compassion and be a catalyst for a more enlightened and harmonious world. 
 
Wishing you a New Year filled with health, happiness, prosperity, and the boundless possibilities that the dragon's spirit brings!
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