Excellence Reporter: Master Frantzis, what is the meaning of life?
Bruce Frantzis: The meaning of life within the old tradition of Taoism has several levels depending on how mundane or sublime your life becomes and goes beyond intellectual concepts. To quote the movie Forrest Gump: “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Initially, the mundane goal is seeking to arrive at a good balance between the yin and yang aspects of yourself and your worldly affairs. Be pragmatic and take advantage of opportunities to find how in any circumstance you can arrive at achieving a good balance between the infinite yin and yang aspects of yourself and the “red dust” of the world. That way, the potential “red dust,” or physical, emotional, and mental disturbances of life, will not overly disturb your potentially harmonious relationships in life. Central to this is also recognizing and developing Qi, the subtle energy that pervades our bodies, minds and external objects with which humans continuously interact.
The middle space of Taoism is to live from a place that is continuously aware of what is beyond the duality of yin and yang oppositions as well as the open space which gives birth to both of them; the Chinese call this “Taiji”. Recognizing these energies and their affect can enable us to avoid getting stuck and suffering from the seemingly endless conflicts derived from yin and yang oppositions. Pragmatically this requires the life-long energies within our physical bodies, emotions, thoughts, psychic intuitions, karma and individual essence be resolved and made smooth in all their variations including our energy channels and centers. The journey of arriving at these deep balances is the middle of the meaning of life journey.
The sublime purpose of life is to become fully aware of the spiritual forces both within you and the universe in such a way that they do not conflict with worldly life. In other words, to become one with the Tao by being aware and harmoniously integrated with what spiritually permeates all and everything in the universe in all times, conditions, places and circumstances including after physical death.
Above and beyond all of this is to enjoy all the trite things in life without getting particularly upset, so that even if you know things are bullshit, it’s fine; the universe goes on anyways and so do you. Before going to sleep I am grateful that I could live this day. Likewise, every morning I am grateful for another opportunity to correct my errors and spiritually awaken a bit more. Philosophically, Taoism believes life is best lived as fully, happily and as wisely as you can in the moment, regardless of opinions or religious beliefs you may have.
I’ll finish this with something I think is an important lesson in life that helps any individual find the meaning. My teacher in Beijing, Liu Hung Chieh, at a moment when I was having a particular self-righteous fit about communism said, “you know you have a choice that you will make millions of times in your life, try to get it right: You can be happy or you can have face (which in the West is to be right). When you find out how to be happy, for no reason except that it is, life starts get a hell of a lot better.”
~Bruce Frantzis is a Taoist Lineage Master with more than 40 years experience in Eastern healing systems. He is the first known Westerner to hold authentic lineages in qigong, bagua, tai chi, hsing-i and Taoist meditation.
Bruce trained for over a decade in China and also has extensive experience in Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, yoga, Kundalini, energy healing therapies and Taoist Fire and Water traditions of Taoism. Fluent in Chinese and Japanese, he has drawn on 16 years of intensive study in Asia to develop a systematic approach to teaching Taoist energy arts.
In 1981, Frantzis was accepted as one of only two disciples of the late Taoist Sage Liu Hung Chieh. Prior to becoming a Taoist Lineage Master, Liu had been declared enlightened by the Tien Tai School of Chinese Buddhism. For several years, Frantzis studied bagua, tai chi, hsing-i, qigong and Taoist meditation daily with Liu in Beijing.
In 1986, Liu formally passed his lineage to Frantzis, empowering him to teach bagua, tai chi and hsing-i, as well as Lao Tse’s Water method of Taoist meditation–a practice which had been virtually unavailable to Westerners. Frantzis created the Energy Arts System Frantzis based on teachings from the Water method of Taoist meditation, described by Lao Tse in the Tao Te Ching over 2,500 years ago. This sophisticated tradition has been transmitted for millennia from teacher to disciple in an unbroken lineage to the Taoist sage Liu Hung Chieh and from him to Frantzis.
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