Below are excerpts from The Miracle of Stress - Thriving in the New Millennium, by World Tai Chi & Qigong Day Founder, Bill Douglas.
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A book called Flat Land described a one-dimensional world where a flat line of a worm could only move in one direction and its entire world was filled only with the sight of the butt of the worm before it. Then one day this worm turned left, and was amazed to discover an entire two-dimensional reality opening around it. It could turn left and right, go back and forward. Then its journey expanded further, discovering it could actually lift up from the plane of reality into a three-dimensional world and see out over this two-dimensional land. It observed vast possibility beyond what its compatriots could see from below, for the first time observing how unnecessarily constrained their one-dimensional lives had been all along. It could now go up, down, left, right, front and back, turning loops and corkscrews through a seemingly limitless three-dimensional space. When it returned to Flat Land’s one-dimensional world and described what it had seen, it was thought to be insane.
This book takes a risk and lifts beyond the limiting constraints of accepted thought. However, this expansion of possibility is the only frontier left. Our world, once defined by industrial and physical development has now paved the world and linked all of humanity. There is nowhere to expand to, except for that expansion which is within our consciousness. The oil is drilled, the wild lands tamed, and humanity has completely infested the planet. We have all the physical resources tapped, and our imagination is all the frontier we have left, however . . . we have barely begun to tap the limitless resource of imagination.
An example of the potential of imagination's power is our simple desktop computer which can process more information than an entire company could have in the past, saving untold energy and time. It solves problems and retrieves information scurrying at light speed through what once would have required warehouses of files and countless clerks, yet it accomplishes these tasks in a relatively tiny space and in a matter of nanoseconds. These technological advances are only precursors of what is possible, and this book explores how creativity can lift each of us, and all of humanity, beyond our current flatland to begin to corkscrew and freefall into an uncharted future, pregnant with endless possibility.
All the problems of modern life have solutions that can be viewed by each of us, at the moment we lift up beyond the one-dimensional physical reality we define our world with. This book doesn't pretend to have all the answers, but seeks to unleash imagination by describing tiny slivers of insight, tiny hors d'oeuvres to whet your appetite for more, while providing tools to discover the exquisite entrée's of wisdom and pure creativity attempting to expand throughout your own being, from deep within you. This stretch may cause you to feel stressed. Awakening can be stressful. But ultimately only as stressful as we decide it has to be.
For as we'll see, that discomfort of stress is actually helping humanity lift up to see that we are stuck, and unable to realize the true potential of our visions, even as technology is developed to a point where our grandest visions could now be realized. Technology's potential explodes around us, but our vision, our consciousness, is limited. Stuck in times that no longer exist, thinking and operating in 20th century ways in a 21st century world, we are paralyzed with stress. Bill Joy, Chief Scientist for Sun Microsystems, explained precisely why our consciousness can not keep up, when he said, "Life evolved at a biological rate until the advent of humanity. Then human beings accelerated evolution by 1,000 times in the form of social evolution. However, the information age has sped up change exponentially far beyond the rapid change of social evolution, in fact, the speed of technological evolution is doubling every eighteen months."
Humanity's inability to flow with this bone-jarring level of change is not only blocking our passage to the future, but also creating a modern stress plague responsible for nearly all illness and most death. Using the same synergistic view of reality that enabled him to create a worldwide effort towards personal empowerment, author Bill Douglas weaves a powerful vision that integrates modern physics, metaphysics, environmentalism, sociology, psychology, economics and medicine into . . . a unified theory of hope. Douglas paints a panoramic vision of how this stress crisis is merely a wake up call to enable humanity to evolve into what may be its greatest transformation an ascent of consciousness.
I was recently riding the automatic walkway through Denver International Airport's state of the art gleaming white expanse, absorbing the breathtaking mountain scene pouring in through the vast windows that paralleled the smooth auto-walkway. When an announcement came through of a flight's boarding call, while another electronic announcement warned of the approaching end of the walkway, and yet another announcement was being made concerning airport protocol. The result was an incoherent barrage of stress producing noise.
I realized that this airport information overload was a metaphor for modern society. All this information was important and helpful, but it was coming so loud and so fast and so simultaneously that I heard nothing, and was stressed by my inability to comprehend. This mirrors the way the exploding information age holds so much promise for us all to use this information to heal ourselves, our lives, and our world in many exciting ways. Yet, the deafening roar of information, however helpful, is becoming almost incoherent and is causing us massive stress disease in epidemic numbers.
The quote at the beginning of this chapter, by Dr. Pribram, explained that a science that can enable the human spirit to be a part of its equation for understanding the world, will likely be the most important discovery of humanity. This time we are living in, more than any other time, makes that true. For all of our vast scientific and technological promise, which is enormous at this exciting time of human progression, will fall so very very flat, if we cannot find a way for the human spirit to open to and be able to use this promise in a healthy and healing way. The challenge we face in opening to the promise of the modern world is the stress that it is causing. Yet, the stress that it is causing may also hold within it the seeds of our solution to modern problems, as the pressure of the stress directs us to fully utilize modern technology’s promise in more healthful ways. Like some cosmic burrito the problems, solutions, and expanding promise are again and again found to be all rolled up together. You will find this a very tasty way of looking at life as you clearly see the pattern and learn to allow it to happen with less and less resistence.
Therefore, this book must begin by dealing with the most important issue on the public's mind today, which of course is stress. Modern stress is responsible for approximately 70% of all illness by many estimates. Drawing on quotes from respected minds such as Forrester at MIT, and modern visionary and Sun Micro System's Chief Scientist, Bill Joy, the reasons for our modern stress plague will be explained in following pages.
We'll go far beyond cataloguing the how and why of modern stress in these pages. The real premise of this book is one of elation and absolute hope for our unfolding future, as we taste the cosmic burrito again and again, with solutions enfolding in problems, and limitless promise expanding throughout like a cool and luscious combination oozing out onto our mind's pallet flowing from the pressure of enfolding problems and solutions.
By learning how our intensifying modern stress may actually be the birthing pains of our emergence into a human renaissance of unimaginable proportions, we can be more soothed through this inevitable process. Just as we may have felt a pressure that we thought was killing us when we traversed the birth canal from our mother’s womb, we are now feeling a pressure that is carrying us into a new world, but here we have a chance to understand it better making it less traumatic.
The light we saw during our emergence from our mother was likely terrifying, just as this new world exploding around us has terrifying qualities as everything seems to be happening all at once, and so absolutely out of control. But remember that it is cataclysmic pressure that transforms coal into diamonds. All the dark gritty particles are pressed together so tightly that a transformation occurs that is both exquisitely beautiful and forever strong.
In a uniquely holistic and multidisciplinary way, we’ll explore how all aspects of human existence are being squeezed together by the intensity of the times we live in. To survive the future our economics will have to embrace our human compassion, and our human spirit will have to be woven into our sciences to lift us rather than crushing us with relentless development.
Just as this book weaves insights of art, physics, mathematics, and even economics, together to create this unified theory of hope, the mind/body sciences detailed in this book, only beginning to be known to mass society, may help us weave all aspects of human discovery and consciousness into our unfolding lives. These mind/body sciences that once were considered simply “spiritual” practices, may interweave modern science and personal discovery to lead us out of the wilderness of the overwhelming complexity of modern life, to a calming, simplifying way, to proceed into the future in a way that will usher in a higher level of order. A simplifying order that will bloom both in people and in the physical (scientific) world we create, as these ancient/cutting edge tools of transformation are taught through corporations, universities, hospitals, and even prisons worldwide.
A paradigm shift in human consciousness is expanding across the globe, in backyards, boardrooms, health care, government institutions, and society at all levels. This new science, once solely used by prophets and holy men and women for spiritual growth, is being taught globally, now being woven into the fabric of humanity, quietly, profoundly, and extremely quickly. Its rapid expanse is fueled by modern research that is validating the profound assertions of this ancient science, proving to a world desperately in need of what it offers, that it is not simply a “spiritual” art, but more an immense science of evolution.
The timing of this new science’s development and current availability may be one of a series of seeming miracles that can ease humanity through the intensifying vortex of stress that is the gateway to an unstoppable evolutionary future. We must walk through the gates of this modern stress to be enabled to handle the excoriating change and challenges the future holds. To handle the change of the future we may need to be changed on a cellular level, like coal to a diamond, to ascend to a new paradigm of discovering the simplicity of the eye of the storm while everything we know and hold to be true is redefined and expanded within and around us at the pace of a screaming futuristic hurricane intensifies.
As modern science and technology meet with ancient wisdom this perfect storm may be navigable as we find our center, our simplicity, in an age of bone wrenching complexity. And this ability to alter our very being and consciousness to accommodate the limitless expanse of the future may prove to be the single most important scientific discovery of humanity. The blinding speed of change occurring now is only a glimmer of what will be. We will soon see computers that will use the fields of an atom as their hard drive, and will be hundreds and thousands of times faster than current computers.
Therefore, the purpose of this book, and the new mind/body evolutionary science itself, is to create a fundamental shift in thinking, to simplify our world, even in an age of accelerating complexity. Humanity is suffering tremendous difficulty evolving into the growing complexity of modern life, and paradoxically millions are turning to this “simplifying” technology as a way to embrace, and thrive within, the intensifying complexity of a new age.
Following pages explain how this new human science simplifies the myriad of human problems by showing how the human central nervous system is the source of all human creation (and problems), and therefore by simply learning to cleanse and heal our individual central nervous systems, we may shift our world toward a coherence and clarity that’s achievement has remained just beyond modern society’s nervous grasp even in an age of seemingly limitless information.
My first book on this subject, a nuts and bolts “how to”, quickly became the best selling book of it’s kind, because it lovingly encouraged readers to be “with” their feelings, and use the tools the book introduced to become enabled and challenged by the changes rushing at them, rather than unwitting victims of that change. Frank Putnam, M.D. and Karen Shanor, Ph.D., in their groundbreaking book The Emerging Mind, explain how past trauma actually physiologically changes the mind and body to respond in survival mode, which can leave our personal growth and social development retarded. Again, my first book, now used worldwide, taught “how” ancient mind/body tools can be effectively used by everyone to help us “re-form” on a cellular level. So that we could let go of generations of fear based “survival mode” responses to challenge, response patterns that are literally “imprinted” on our cellular structure, and that are killing most of us with stress disease, and holding back the world’s much needed social evolution to meet the demands of the future. This cleansing of the source, the central nervous system, vastly simplifies the challenge of modern life, by going to the very root of our problem.
As will be explained in detail later, some modern physicists now believe that there may be up to 25 dimensions curled up tightly within the 3 spatial dimensions and 1 time dimension we consider finite reality. This supports theories that within each of us there are deeper realities of the past or delusional fears of the future, such as prejudices, etc. that limit our ability to evolve into the demands of the future. The tools discussed in this book were created over centuries of research to shake up and break up the rigidity collected in the cells of our body, and the atomic fields of our consciousness, by elevating their vibratory rate. This enables these internal prisons of the past held within our very structure to begin to evaporate out, however in order for them to evaporate out of us their vapor must pass through our consciousness and perception. Herein lies the problem society faces, because we are currently geared to “run away” from discomfort, rather than “being with it.”
Later chapters will explain how pain medication abuse, mood altering drug abuse, and obsessive consumerism are all leading us farther and farther away from our feelings. Again, the tools this book discusses are designed to do just the opposite, to bring us back to the center of our realness, our authenticity. This includes absolute joy, but that cannot be had without the rest, which is being with our fear and pain. Only by “being with” these feelings, can we allow them to escape from their imprisonment in the cellular structure of our body. But, beyond this hurdle lies such splendor for us all.
In this book we’ll take the promise of the mind/body tools taught in my first book and expand the possibility those tools offer to limitless realms for ourselves and our society. By actually “using” the tools or exercises in this and in my first “how to” book, your neurological, physiological, and psychological structures are expanded and enabled to handle increasing complexity through a “simplifying” technology. So, this book takes the next step from not only “how to” but to “where to.” This emerging human science was created to support our evolution of consciousness toward the horizon line of a constantly recreating future, and is itself evolving at an accelerated rate as it helps to propel humanity’s evolution forward.
The impending crisis and solution enfolded within it, is a solution that’s import could affect each of our lives and humanity’s future, perhaps as much as the splitting of the atom has. It’s essence is simplicity and elegance. Therein lies a problem. This human science/solution is so elegant and beautiful that it is often dismissed as only a beautiful art form, and therefore passed by by millions of people who could benefit from it profoundly. Yet, beyond its beauty and profound health benefits, it also offers an internal compass to chart our way through the frontier of the future which shifts before us like a hazy vanishing point continually re-forming as we dream it. In this unstable ever-changing world, we need an internal reference, a touchstone, which can give us a lifeline to authenticity and purpose even as the world around us liquefies into bone-jarring ceaseless transformation. In fact the elegant physical beauty of this mind/body health art may be a mirror image of how it fosters an elegance of consciousness in the practitioner that is sorely needed in these raw tumultuous times.
Mathematician and physicist, Brian Greene, in his profound book The Elegant Universe, states, “Some decisions made by theoretical physicists are founded upon an aesthetic sense a sense of which theories have an elegance and beauty of structure.” Increasingly the state of our world depends on the state of our consciousness. Our modern world is filled with technological miracles, yet it lacks elegance. Modern life doesn’t feel right. Which is illustrated by the United Nation’s World Health Organization’s warning of a rapid increase in the incidence of stress induced depression in coming years. The raw acceleration of everything all the time, feels like cosmic nails scratching across the chalkboard of our souls, as we struggle to “keep up” and die in epidemic numbers from stress disease, and stress related ailments. Einstein once said that with modern man's dilemma, "Everything has changed, save our way of thinking."
The stress crisis is a gift, if it spurs us to change the way we think. The great philosopher, Jesuit Priest, and paleontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, suggested to a great degree our physical world is a product of our consciousness.
Many visionaries have been observing the approach of a paradigm shift in consciousness, and feel our world will be massively changed by it. Marilyn Ferguson, author of the groundbreaking book, The Aquarian Conspiracy, suggests that the next evolutionary leap will be, not a physical evolution, but a shift in human consciousness. Needed at this time of exploding technological advances carrying us headlong to an uncharted future, meaning we can no longer just rely on rampant technological development and assume “everything will turn out fine.” In the past, this “religion of unbridled development” has often been the “end all and be all” of progress, and it has put us in danger. For example, the world has tons of extremely toxic nuclear waste from nuclear power plants, with not a clue as to how to eliminate it, or to even store it safely for the tens of thousands of years it takes to degrade.
So, it is imperative as the technological revolution accelerates with breakthroughs in genetic bio-engineering, weapons, communications, etc., we must increasingly turn to an internal awareness of what is “elegant” and feels “beautiful” within, as we develop our technology. The sheer weight of information available is staggering and drives us to attune to an internal “sense” of what is important to focus on. We are approaching a point population and technology wise, where we will be less and less able to afford to make thoughtless errors as we develop. Contemplation will become a greater strength than rabid action.
Between 1961 and 1981 more information was recorded than throughout humankind’s entire history! Imagine how much has been recorded since 1981! And it will only expand and accelerate throughout our future. Therefore, using our internal sense of “elegance” is no longer poetic metaphor reserved for frivolous cocktail conversation or to be pulled out only at art museums or concerts. In our increasingly frenetic world, the search for elegance becomes our only compass to creating a livable world, that we can enjoy living in. We are beginning to understand that the mantra of ever increasing productivity simply does not guarantee survival or happiness. We are in dire need of a technology that can facilitate an
The technology to ascend consciousness exists, an elegant human science that was quietly developed with very little fanfare for centuries in China. It was subtle, and did not enable men to destroy cities, made no one rich, and therefore would not really become fully appreciated for thousands of years. Yet, in our modern world, with all its issues, it may now become the most powerful tool modern man/woman has, to deal with the onslaught of the future. This ancient science’s goal was to enable it’s practitioners to become aware of discord at the most subtle levels of consciousness, so that that disharmony could be felt, dealt with and released, allowing one to re-attune with an effortless elegance of being. Its foundation is that the most elemental aspect of our being and the entire universe is a harmonic elegance, and that elegance could be experienced through the receiver/transmitter of human consciousness. It was learned that “feelings” within us had purpose, and were there to be “listened” to. Growing medical and psychological research shows the absolute brilliance of the ancient creators of this art (or science), as a host of maladies are relieved or even eliminated as practitioners learn to “listen” to what their internal awareness tells them about their physical health or their external lives. Although this book offers dozens of pages of collected medical and scientific research that validates the power of these tools, far beyond their health applications the technology offers humanity ways to help us attune to the ethereal elegance that permeates existence, if we can but “listen,” thereby leading our technological development in humane directions.
These ancient sciences of “self-consciousness” are T’ai Chi and Qigong (pronounced Tie-chee and Chee-kung). I’ve waited until now to name them, because they are too often dismissed by the media and others who have not truly experienced their potential deeply. They have been widely misunderstood as only a martial art, or just another exercise, while the breadth of possibility these tools portend is largely ignored, even by some who practice and teach the tools.
For the understanding of the tools themselves are evolving at an accelerated rate, just as society is. Though they have been evolving over millennia, something new, profound, and extremely exciting is occurring. With the explosion of the information age and rapid global travel, during the last two decades T’ai Chi & Qigong have rapidly spread around the globe, and been embraced by millions in need of re-discovering their essential nature of harmonic elegance, or in other words “managing their stress.” This rapid expansion has seen this ancient “Chinese science” of consciousness evolved rapidly into a “world science,” being studied in medical universities worldwide. There are other valuable and effective mind/body sciences contributing to this exciting shift in human consciousness. Among them are Yoga, Transcendental Meditation, and other mind/body sciences, however, T’ai Chi & Qigong are the focus of this book because of my own background with them, and for other reasons that will become apparent as you read on.
As T’ai Chi & Qigong expand into hospitals, schools, corporations, prisons and scientific laboratories throughout the world, a “new science of consciousness” is being created -- an American, German, Brazilian, Israeli, French, Australian, etc. etc. science. Furthermore, as scientists, physicians, psychologists, and sociologists worldwide continue to rapidly embrace these powerful tools as root therapies in their practices, they evolve the tools and their potential into something even greater. They are evolving a template for modern men and women to use to survive the tidal wave of the future coming with a force unlike humanity has ever seen.
As described at the beginning of this book, the Chinese character for “crisis” is actually made from two other characters, “danger” and “opportunity.” Our technological age has enabled us to develop ways, opportunities, to end hunger, clean our environment, and create a world we could once only envision. But instead of living the vision of our potential that technology makes possible, modern change is crushing us as a stress disease crisis reaches epidemic proportions. The stress is from knowing the answers exist, but are not being realized. We all know on some deep level that opportunity, vast and limitless, exists just on the tip of our consciousness like an old song tune we just can’t quite get a hold of . . .