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Taoism In Modern China

Last month, Shanghai’s City God Temple played host to a solemn congregation assembled in celebration of the birth of Laozi, an ancient philosopher broadly called the founder of Chinese Taoism. The service has been held on the 15th day of the next month in the Chinese lunar calendar, an auspicious day which Taoists consider to be the birthday of the Highest Lord Lao, one of Taoism’s three greatest gods.

Lord Lao is the deified form of the same Laozi who apparently wrote the Tao Te Ching, a classic work of Chinese philosophy written around the sixth century B.C.. During the Eastern Han Dynasty, Lord Lao allegedly reappeared before the Taoist celestial master Zhang Daoling, bestowing upon him the teachings which afterwards came to shape the orthodox beliefs of the Zhengyi sect, one of the significant Taoist denominations in China now.

For followers of Taoism, the Highest Lord Lao is the embodiment of the Tao, or”Way,” and the Tao Te Ching is among the most important Taoist scriptures. During the Tang Dynasty, the emperor gave Laozi the venerable title of”Highest Emperor of Mysterious Origin,” and from 840 A.D. onward, his birthday was rigorously observed by the royal court, when the nation’s larger Taoist temples held burial ceremonies for followers to fast and preach scripture. Lord Lao’s birthday is, in nature, as close as Taoism gets to Christmas in the West. Nevertheless regardless of the current resurgence of religion in China, Lord Lao had not enjoyed a birthday celebration on this scale for quite a while.

Last month’s celebrations in Shanghai were so important for two reasons. For starters, it had been the first time in many years the City God Temple hosted a large scale Taoist festival. Although Taoism is China’s only indigenous religion, its sway now pales compared with its previous status. A lot of people know the City God Temple as a tourist milestone and business center, but few understand it as a significant Taoist religious site.

Secondly, the ceremony itself revealed Taoism is adapting its image to attract new converts. Within the course of the afternoon , organizers deftly mixed tradition, commerce, and technologies to create a welcoming atmosphere for new and lapsed Taoists alike.

During morning , the temple abbot started with a ritual preaching of the Tao. Afterwards, he conducted the tradition of natural audiences with Laozi, an extremely ritualized ceremony where followers proceed in slow procession around an altar, repenting of the sins and praying for blessings from heaven. In the day, two additional ceremonies were held which were significant for more pious followers who, after committing to longterm study and self-cultivation, want to eventually become”lay Taoists” — spiritual adepts who dedicate themselves to following the Tao, but aren’t members of the clergy.

The party was meant to expand the influence of Taoist culture, notably by bringing more young people to watch and take part in this traditional festival. Because of this, the thoroughly planned event was filled with fresh interpretations.

Among the most surprising innovations lay in the organizers’ repurposing of traditional iconography. In contrast to traditional images of Laozi — which tend to depict him as an elderly, ethereal, sage-like figure — the predominant image at the City God Temple was an anime-style illustration of Laozi as a baby, his hair drawn back into a bun, naked as the day he was born.

The icon’s artist, the Taoist priest Wang Minyuan, told me that the infant Laozi is, in fact, a very important part of Taoist iconography. It has its origins in the Eighty-One Transformations of Lord Lao — an illustrated religious text — in which it represents the beginning of the universe. In addition, the image of a child reflects the Tao Te Ching’s veneration of newborns, who symbolize the purity and sincerity of ancient times. Returning to a state of primordial communication with the Tao is the ultimate aim of those who practice Taoist self-cultivation — but that’s not to say representations of this ideal cannot also be updated for modern followers.

The event compellingly mixed modern-style iconography with much more traditional paraphernalia. Organizers erected a shrine to the Holy Infant and a further altar in honor of the Sovereign of the Void, a Taoist celestial worthy. The former harkened back to the tradition of sacrificing to Laozi during the Han Dynasty. The shrine was draped in a purple coverlet that joined together like curtains in the front, with a statue of the infant Laozi housed within.

The latter followed the ancient style of the Tang and Song dynasties, featuring outer, middle, and inner altars. Believers gathered to pay their respects at the outer alter, with a view of the religious accoutrements laid out on the middle altar. Finally, the inner altar was dedicated to spaces for the high priest, the abbot of the temple, and the other religious masters to perform Taoist rituals.

The planners’ intentions behind committing and constructing to these special altars were clarified by Taoist priest Tao Guanjing. The altars’ reappearance reflected the ongoing revival of the Taoist belief in spontaneity, he said. Taoist priests and adherents were invited to interact with one another during the ceremony, as a means of restoring the long-lapsed connection between the temple clergy and the congregation. Together, they gave free reign to the concept of universal salvation through communing with the Tao.

Interestingly, the entire event was broadcast live on internet giant Tencent’s Taoism channel, an online TV station that, alongside Buddhist and Confucian sister channels, aims to popularize Chinese traditional religion via the web. This was a historic first for a Shanghai-based Taoist ceremony. On the ground, three camera operators filmed the event in real time, beaming full, detailed coverage of the ceremony to audiences at home and abroad. Statistics showed that 630,000 viewers tuned in to watch the morning mass, a number that grew to 740,000 by the end of the day.

Throughout the broadcast, a senior Taoist of the Shanghai City God Temple, Li Daqian, offered commentary on the ceremonial happenings, explaining in exhaustive detail each stage of the event as it proceeded. The effect was to give audiences at home insight into the rituals playing out on their screens, challenging the idea that Taoism is impenetrable, irrelevant, or irreconcilable with modern life.

Outside of the specialized Taoist ceremonies, pilgrims and tourists to the City God Temple could hang talismans bearing their personal wishes for the future, as well as eat local pastries purportedly infused with the energy of the Tao. These activities reflected a deep-seated commercial aspect of Taoist festivals, many of which historically developed into temple fairs with distinct regional customs. The Laozi Fair at Chengdu’s Qingyang Palace, located in southwestern China’s Sichuan province, takes place alongside a local flower market; in the same vein, the treats on offer at the Shanghai temple fair added to the sense of community participation.

Combining the traditional with the modern has long been a challenge at the heart of Chinese Taoism; indeed, it is a difficulty that confronts practitioners of all forms of Chinese traditional culture. For me, the mass was largely successful: The organizers captured much of Taoism’s basic spirit through their adaptation of ancient classics, and revitalized the ceremonies of the Tang Dynasty — a golden age of Chinese culture — for a contemporary audience. They promoted orthodox Taoist culture while utilizing modern online media, keeping their eyes trained on the preferences of today’s young people and working hard to create a “Taoist Christmas” that everyone could enjoy.

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Spirituality

Scientists Say The Universe Itself Is Conscious

According to a scientific concept from scientists with the name of Panpsychism, the universe might be capable of consciousness. If it is, then everything could change.

Scientists Have Always Struggled To Understand the Universe

The universe has always been something scientists have struggled to understand with them asking questions of where it came from and more importantly why we are here.

Scientists have always fallen short of being able to truly understand the universe; that is until now. Scientist Gregory Matloff offered his ideas about the universe if proven right the scientific world will never look at the universe through the same eyes again.

Matloff is a physicist at the New York City College of Technology. He published a paper which revealed that humans might be like the rest of the universe when it came to spirit and substance. He said a “proto-consciousness field” might extend out in all of space. This means the whole of the cosmos might have self-awareness.

The Concept of Panpsychism Is Supported by Others

Matloff is not alone in his thoughts as Christof Koch from the Allen Institute for Brain Science also supports the concept of Panpsychism. He went on to say that biological organisms have a consciousness. Koch based this on the fact that when a new situation is approached they can alter their behavior to change a bad situation. Koch wants to measure the level of consciousness that beings display.

In order to do this, he is running experiments, with one that includes wiring brains from two mice together to find out if information flows between them as a fused integrated system would.

Koch said:

“The only dominant theory we have of consciousness says that it is associated with complexity — with a system’s ability to act upon its own state to determine its own fate. The theory states that it could go down to very simple systems. In principle, some purely physical systems that are not biological or organic may also be conscious.”

If the scientists can prove it is real, the science world would be shaken up while thoughts about the universe would never be the same again.

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Spirituality

Is The Power To Heal Ourselves Increasing?

IN BRIEF

  • The Facts: New studies are showing that placebos are becoming more effective in treating illness. Doctors are continually perplexed by these new understandings. But many of us have known intuitively for centuries.
  • Reflect On: How much do you believe in the possibility that you can heal yourself? Could you see this a new form of ‘medicine?’

Researchers are perplexed by recent studies that have placebos performing very well compared to new and experimental pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile the science of Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is echoing what mystics and shaman have been saying forever which is that we have untold powers to heal ourselves!

Spirit and Science Converging

This coming together between the spiritual and scientific communities shows an unprecedented opportunity for humans to embrace vibrant, healthy, thriving lives. Recent research on placebos comes from a McGill University and is published in Pain, the Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain. I first learned about this in a wonderful article by Carolyn Gregoire in Huffington Post titled, Placebo Effect Puzzle Has Scientists Scratching Their Heads.

I highly recommend reading the entire article which shows how the placebo effect is exploding in the United States, but nowhere else. This may have something to do with the fact that the United States has 5% of the worlds population yet consumes 75% of the worlds prescription drugs.

The ‘sugar pill’ is working.

The analysis revealed that in U.S. trials conducted in 1993, pain medications were rated to be an average of 27 percent more effective than placebo pills. In the 2013 trials, however, the pain medication was only 9 percent more effective than the placebo. The difference wasn’t attributed to decreased effectiveness of the medication, but instead to a greater response to the placebo. In other words, the sugar pill has become nearly as effective as medication in alleviating pain. – Carolyn Gregoire in Placebo Effect Puzzle Has Scientists Scratching Their Heads.

People are curing themselves through placebo.

The above study focused on pain-killers, but similar results have been observed for anti-depressants. With more than 1 in 5 Americans taking mental health drugs the number of people seeking alternatives and preventative measures continues to grow. Yoga, meditation, healthy diet, and exercise do not come in the form of a pill but tend to address the larger picture of wellbeing that is too often overlooked by the medical establishment.

Although placebo may not be a viable treatment option, there are other treatments that on average work as well as antidepressants, [such as] physical exercise and cognitive behavioral psychotherapy. As far as we know, these alternatives don’t make people worse. – Irving Kirsch, Time Magazine

Tuning Into Our Trauma

All of this points to the innate ability our bodies have to self-regulate, seek balance (homeostasis), and heal. You would think that we would be eager to listen to our own bodies when they speak to us through symptoms, yet we usually do the exact opposite by numbing the pain or ignoring what we feel. Peter Levine, author of Waking the Tiger, is an expert in trauma resolution and a lead voice in field of Somatic Experiencing, which invites us to tune in to our bodies as well as our emotions in order to reclaim our health.

Through hundreds of hours of client sessions, Levine began to witness how clients’ bodies told their stories of trauma, even if the clients had no specific memories. Once Levine guided them into the sensate experience of trauma, the body then took over and finished what was unprocessed, or incomplete. Clients receive the added gifts of increased body awareness, a stronger connection to self, a shift in deep-seated patterns, a more regulated nervous system, and a sense of mastery.

Why do humans need to be guided at all? The biggest obstacle is how inattentive and unfamiliar we are with our physical sensations. Our big, sophisticated brains constantly out-think and override our bodily needs. We are trained to ignore signs of hunger, pain, discomfort, injury, danger, as well as pleasure, saturation, and fulfillment. What’s astonishing is how forgiving and responsive the body is. As soon as we tune into it, shifts begin to happen. – Peter Levine

Prescription of The Future

The mind, our beliefs, emotions, and lifestyle play a much larger role in our wellbeing than we tend to recognize. While researchers are wondering how to avoid the dreaded monkey-wrench of the placebo effect in testing new drugs, the general public is recognizing that taking charge of ones health doesn’t need to always start with a call to the doctor or a new prescription.

As Carolyn Gregoire underscores in her Huffington Post article, “If the placebo effect continues on its current trajectory, American pharmaceutical companies may find it increasingly difficult to get consumers to buy new drugs.”

By learning the bodymind language of symptoms and illness you can learn what is being repressed or ignored in your psyche and emotions and the affect this is having on your physical body. – Deb Shapiro, author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind

Popular books like Your Body Speaks Your Mind are a significant indicator that a new paradigm in health is upon us. Science and spirituality, like the brain and body have lots to gain by embracing the wisdom that the other has to share. We are evolved enough to know that the answers we seek aren’t always either/or.

A balanced and holistic approach is a prescription for wellbeing. So keep your doctors number close by but also take the power of your health into your own hands. Your body will thank you for listening to it, your emotions will release freely when they feel welcome and your quality of life will increase. Placebos may not be the miracle cure after all, but what they might be showing us is that we already possess an untold capacity for self-healing.

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Army Remote Viewer Peers Into The Origins of Humanity To Find Out If Humans Were Created

IN BRIEF

  • The Facts: Joseph Mcmoneagle, one of the most successful Army-trained remote viewers, peered into the past to look into the possible origins of human history. He saw that we were created by intelligent beings in what he called a ‘laboratory.’
  • Reflect On: Why is the mainstream story of human history still limited to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution? Why have so many discoveries, like giants, and life on other planets, been completely concealed and brushed off as a conspiracy theory?

The true origins of human history remain a mystery, but that’s not what mainstream academia would have us believe. Since Darwin, human evolution and ‘the survival of the fittest’ has been pushed on the population as some sort of scientific truth, despite the fact that it remains a theory with multiple loopholes and ‘missing links.’ If you question it, in some circumstances, you are almost considered a nut.

This continues to happen in many different fields of knowledge; when you question beliefs that have been ingrained for so long you get a harsh response, and in some cases, you’re liable to be fined, put in jail or at the very least you receive tremendous amounts of hate and censorship.  What we don’t hear about is the fact that there are several hundred scientists, if not several thousand, who have spoken up against the scientific validity of the theory of evolution.  I recently wrote an article about more than 500 scientistscoming together to reject Darwin’s theory of evolution and explain why it’s not really valid at all.

Our DNA Originated Somewhere Else

Even one of the founding fathers of DNA, Francis Crick, believed that human DNA must have originated from somewhere else in the galaxy, whereby “organisms were deliberately transmitted to earth by intelligent beings on another planet.” You can read more about that here. I also recently wrote about a paper that was published by 33 scientists in the Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology Journal suggesting that the flourishing life during the Cambrian era (Cambrian Explosion) originated from the stars.

“With the rapidly increasing number of exoplanets that have been discovered in the habitable zones of long-lived red dwarf stars (Gillon et al., 2016), the prospects for genetic exchanges between life-bearing Earth-like planets cannot be ignored. ” (The study)

There is a great little blurb from Cosmos Magazine, one of the few outlets who is talking about the study.

Serious inquiry into the origins of human history are not encouraged in the mainstream. Yet as we dig a little on what’s being done, there is a lot to find out, with new theories and discoveries that seem to be popping up every single year.  Modern day education is hardly keeping up with this, and in fact continues to promulgate old theories and notions that have long been disproven. As a result, nobody beyond ardent self-motivated researchers are learning about new developments or have any knowledge of these viewpoints.

Opening Our Minds

The suppression of the discoveries of giant humanoid skeletons falls directly into this category, though the secrecy that wraps up the Smithsonian is a topic for another article. Suffice it to say that successful cover-ups of information are possible in part due to the phenomenon of ‘cognitive dissonance’, which speaks to the extreme discomfort that a piece of information that disrupts the worldview you grew up with can have on you. Many of us have and do experience this, including myself. In today’s day and age, it’s important to practice overcoming the discomfort to keep an open mind.

Consider entertaining new ideas without necessarily accepting them, just give them a chance to swirl in your mind a bit. With new information constantly emerging at a rapid pace in all fields, an open mind is what serves us best. If we stay closed and refuse to even look at or acknowledge evidence that contradicts what we believe, we will never advance towards actual truth, and simply be caught up in an agnostic state while never really getting to the bottom of the questions that are naturally on our mind.

The StarGate Program

The StarGate program was co-founded by Russell Targ (watch his banned TED talk about ESP here), Hal Puthoff, who is now a member of the ‘To The Stars Academy’ with Tom Delonge, and other notable names who have worked on Deep Black Budget programs within the U.S. government. They are currently spearheading an effort to let the American public know that UFOs are real and that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that, as Louis Elizondo says, “we are not alone, whatever that means.”

The StarGate program investigated parapsychological phenomenon like remote viewing, telepathy, telekinesis, and clairvoyance. The program yielded high statistically significant results and was used multiple times for intelligence gathering purposes. A lot of interesting information came out of the literature that was declassified in 1995 after the program ran for more than two decades.

It was a complete mystery why the program was shut down: remote viewing, for example, which is the ability to describe the physical characteristics at a given location irrespective of distance, was found to be repeatable, even more than findings in the hard sciences, with a success rate of over 80 percent. Remote viewing was how the rings around Jupiter were actually discovered by Ingo Swann before NASA was able to measure them. You can read more about that here.

To summarize, over the years, the back-and-forth criticism of protocols, refinement of methods and successful replication of this type of remote viewing in independent laboratories has yielded considerable scientific evidence for the reality of the [remote viewing] phenomenon. Adding to the strength of these results was the discovery that a growing number of individuals could be found to demonstrate high-quality remote viewing, often to their own surprise. . . . The development of this capability at SRI has evolved to the point where visiting CIA personnel with no previous exposure to such concepts have performed well under controlled laboratory conditions.” (source)

The Breadth Of Remote Viewing

There are examples in the literature, from remote viewers looking at classified Russian technology during the cold-war era, locating a lost spy plane in Africa and the prediction of future events. Yes, along with remote viewing comes the ability to view into the past, and view into the future. Obviously, this gets tricky, especially if we look at quantum physics, which works in tandem with parapsychology. In quantum physics, experiments have also shown how what happened in the past can change the future, and what happens in the future can change the past, on a quantum scale. You can read more about that here.

There were multiple people working within the Remote Viewing Program, which was conducted at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in conjunction with multiple intelligence agencies, and one of them was Joseph Mcmoneagle. Many of these people, after decades in the program, continued on with their research and experimentation long after the program was declassified. Joseph was one of the most successful Army-trained remote viewers, and one of the original members of project Stargate. He was actually awarded the Legion of Merit for “producing crucial and vital intelligence unavailable from any other source” to the intelligence community.

The Origins Of Humanity

In 1983, McMoneagle worked with Robert A. Monroe, founder of the Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia, which provided basic out-of-body orientation for many of the military remote viewers. There, he conducted a session seeking to discover the origin of humanity. As the late great author and researcher Jim Marrs points out in his best selling book Our Occulted History points out:

During the 129-minute session, he described a shoreline on what appeared to him to be a primitive Earth. He later estimated a time of about thirty million to fifty million years after the time of the dinosaurs. Cavorting on this shoreline was a large family of protohumans-hairy animals about four feet in height, walking upright and possessing eyes exhibiting a spark of intelligence despite a somewhat smaller cranial capacity. Two things surprised McMoneagle in this session. These creatures appeared to be aware of his psychic presence, and they did not originate at that location.

McMoneagle described his experience in his 1998 book, The Ultimate Time Machine:

This particular species of animal is put…specifically in that barrier place…called the meeting of the land and the sea…I also get the impression that they’re…ah…they were put there. They mysteriously appeared. They are not descended from an earlier species, they were put there (by a) seed ship…no, that’s not right. Keep wanting to say ship, but it’s not a ship. I keep seeing a…myself…I keep seeing…oh, hell, for lack of a better word, let’s call it a laboratory, where they are actually inventing these creatures. They are actually constructing animals from genes. Why would they be doing that? Can we do this yet…here and now? Like cutting up genes and then pasting them back together. You know, sort of like splicing plants…or grafting them, one to another…Interesting, it’s like they are building eggs by injecting stuff into them with a mixture of DNA or gene parts of pieces.

He described these creatures as delicate-looking aquiline-featured humanoids, unclothed, in possession of a prehensile tail and large “doe-like” eyes. They seemed to be using some sort of light that McMoneagle had a hard time describing, but eventually described it as a “grow light.”

Marrs got the impression that it was like someone tending to a garden, and planting seeds, but “there isn’t any concern about the seeds after they are planted…It’s simply like…well…put these seeds here and on to better and bigger business. No concern about backtracking and checking on the condition of the seeds. They can live or die, survive or perish.” The session ended with him moving closer in time and perceiving these beings growing in size and ability, eventually becoming herding humans.

The surveillance of and interference with humanity is documented in the lore of almost all civilizations that have roamed the planet. Although some have called this mere ‘interpretation,’ it reminds me of people referring to the confirmation of spiritual and metaphysical realms as a result of quantum physics. It is simply labelled as an interpretation due to the fact that it upsets so many belief systems and long-held preconceived ideas.

The Takeaway

The story of human history has a lot of holes. From the UFO extraterrestrial phenomena to the discovery of strange skeletal remains, to the rejection of Darwinism all the way to the existence of intelligence ancient civilizations like Atlantis, and others that thrived possibly millions of years ago, we are like, as author Graham Hancock coined, a species with amnesia. But perhaps we are starting to remember. Perhaps our only two explanations are incorrect, or perhaps they’re both correct, combined with other factors. The point is, what we’ve been told is not true, and the recognition of that fact will lead us on the path towards true discovery, and away from the concealment and manipulation of information and truth.

I’m not saying this is how humans are created, perhaps it is just some sort of glimpse into something much bigger that took place billions of years ago?

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