Posts Tagged ‘cultural anthropology’


The Zookinesis “art of soaring” is one of its most powerful teachings.  A student learns to merge his system of internal energy (chi) and even his consciousness with those of other animals.  The effect is to radically transform the student to be able to “enter” the body of a patient, if he is a healer, and examine that patient from the inside.  In this way he can effect a much finer healing.  I have worked with several of my students to be able to do this and they are always astounded by the improvements in their healing ability.

Perhaps even more importantly, the training of soaring allows you to perceive a part of this world we live in, that remains hidden to most people.  We usually don’t realize that our chi and our consciousness (which I call “attention”) is constantly being captured and affected by forces around us. 

The student of Zookinesis or other Taoist practices perceives a world filled with attention, flowing in dynamic activity.  His own consciousness is completely connected to all others and it is easy to move the focal point of his attention anywhere along the “continuum of consciousness”.

Zookinesis shares this awareness with many other ancient training systems around the world.  The goal of these systems is to allow the student to experience this level of perception.  In working with live animals, Zookinesis is similar to some South American Indian spiritual systems in which you “journey” with an animal.  This means that you place your consciousness inside an animal and let it take your consciousness with it as it travels.

While this may seem a bizarre and primitive mythological belief, it is everyday reality when you perceive on this level.  We modern people may look down on this way of experiencing the world around us and pride ourselves in our isolation from nature.  But that isolation has led to the deterioration of the body and mind and the lack of inner peace in our times. 

The idea that only one way of perceiving the world around us is “correct” is itself, I believe, a very primitive and shallow belief. It deprives us of the fullness of human experience and of the biological vitality which is our birthright as biological beings.  It also blinds us to the very real dynamics of attention and the dynamics of internal energy.  Our inability to perceive these dynamics makes it impossible to organize our lives to maintain the health of these energy systems.

Our consciousness and chi are pulled, twisted, depleted and damaged every day without our knowing and then we wonder why we are tired at the end of the day. 

Many teachers of the modern versions of ancient training are completely unaware of the original purpose of those trainings, that is, to teach students to become aware of this level of perception.  That level of perception has been lost for the most part and only the shell of the teachings remain. 

Some of those teachers have privately admitted to me that they don’t even understand what they are teaching but they do it to earn a living.  I’m afraid that genuine teaching, in all of these systems, is in danger of dying out.  The main reason for this is that these teachings have become a form of entertainment.  Teachers have to become showmen and emphasize the hype and glitter in order to gain students. 

Without advanced students to practice with, their own abilities, which originally may have been genuine, gradually fade away.  In each generation, the students put in less and less effort to learn until the teachers have no real abilities or awareness. 

The culture stops valuing this awareness, this connection to nature.  Yet within each of us beats the heart of our original biological awareness, our original vitality, witnessing its own gradual death.  The place this awareness lives within us is a place of despair.  At every moment, it calls out to us like a prayer to God. But we don’t answer because we don’t understand what is going on.  Our culture denies the existence of our true nature and values us only as pieces of the great machine of the economy. 

When we wonder if we have the time or the energy to get involved in a practice that brings us back to ourselves, our dying vitality ask, “Why do you even have to ask?” 

We live in a rich world of life, filled with conscious energy.  Yet when we look at the world the only things we notice are the speeding cars and the exciting television screen.  We have lost the ability to see conscious life itself. 

I saw a comedian on television who complained that his children wanted a “3D” television.  He told them, “Go outside.  Everything is in 3D.”

We humans are designed to soar, in our own way, as the eagles above us.  The choice we have as individuals and as a culture is, what does it mean to be human.  You can decide that for your own life.