Welcome to Through the Western Gate. This blog picks up on some of the themes I Introduced in Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate and integrates them into all forms of internal martial arts, nei gung, and energy medicine. I’ll be offering practical suggestions about health, healing, meditation, and martial arts as well as thoughts about consciousness research, philosophy, and the gongfu of life.
I came up with the idea of “Western Gate” as a shorthand description for the philosophical and scientific assumptions that have dominated our interpretation of phenomena since the Age of Enlightenment. In short, the perspective that is generally given the most credence is that which can be proven scientifically. This way of thinking is a huge step forward in the evolution of human consciousness because it demands that our ideas about life should actually conform to that which can actually be experienced. It frees us from the tyranny of “authority” and superstition. Lofty arguments based on the opinions of thinkers of the past were replaced by observations of what is actually occurring. Galileo got into a peck of trouble with the arbiter of “acceptable” knowledge of his time, the Church, by insisting that scientific knowledge be based on such observations. The success of the scientific method speaks for itself, providing us with unparalleled advancement in science and technology.
We run into trouble, however, when we try to apply a rational analytical approach to aspects of life where it’s not suited. Reductionism is a valuable tool for distilling the important parts of anything we’re studying, but is only part of the story. To “study” anything, we must objectify it—reduce it to an object—which can then be contrasted and compared to other objects. But my ideas about something are NEVER the thing itself. They are merely surface impressions. (My thoughts about my dog can never add up to the spotty guy himself.) Unfortunately, this is the source of much confusion. We become so entrenched in objectifying life that we forget how to BE in the world. Our ideas become more “real” than the things they represent.
The successes of the Western Gate have made it the default mode of explaining the world for all “educated” people, even allowing them to scorn all other approaches. What makes the rational scientific approach a gate for me is that it takes us to the edge of an expanded way of seeing the world that transcends and includes it. That gate is locked to those who can only see with the “eye of mind”, but opens to those willing to perceive trans-rationally.
There are many ways to open the Western Gate into the vast territory beyond, but they all demand that we gradually wean ourselves off our dependence on a narrow band of consciousness. Never in human history have so many opportunities been available to ordinary folks like you and me to explore the terra incognito of consciousness, while also living in the world. This is a pivotal point in human evolution and how this plays out probably depends on each of us raising our personal vibration to embrace Love and Light.
I look forward to reading your thoughts on the subjects posted.
In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.