New Life Style, New Civilization
Wang Dan Jin
“Like birds are born to fly,
“Humans come to the world for happiness.”
Seeking happiness is the nature of human beings.
But what is true happiness?
As we enter the 21st century, many concerned souls are asking this question: is mankind near the apocalypse? We have come to a critical point where the choices we are make today determine our survival tomorrow.
There are intricate connections between the life styles of individuals and the global crises we have today. If we don’t make fundamental changes in our thoughts, actions and life styles, we will not be able to find the solutions to the various challenges the world face today.
The main purpose and the basic meaning of life for an individual are to satisfy his physical and spiritual needs. Therefore, human activities in economics, politics, science, technology and production, etc. are derivative in nature and are services to an end. There are merely means to an end and cannot be the end itself. Unfortunately, the values existing today, including the orientation in our education systems, focus on the means and neglect the end which these means serve.
In other words, our urgent task is to re-evaluate our life values and cultivate a clear understanding of the meaning and purpose of life on this earth that is more accurate and more suited for present challenges. More important than teaching children and adults alike mathematics, physics, chemistry, geography and other subjects is to teach them the habit and awareness of a healthy life style, including correct ways of dieting, breathing and exercise; mastery of thoughts and emotions; development of aesthetics; and healthy desires.
Our life experience has proved that great works of literature and arts are not enough for spiritual and ethics education. We are at a turning point of world history and evolution. Humanity will step on a new level of the quality of life. It has become an extremely important and urgent task for us to select the most efficient methods and systems of physical exercise and the mental cultivation.
Ancient Chinese sages discovered the omnipotent laws of the universe thousands of years ago. They believed that Yin and Yang can be in conditions of contradiction and opposition and also in conditions of harmony and the unity. This covers the polar relationships in everything and every phenomenon, including the male and female relationship.
During the formation a person's soul and the body, sex education plays an important role. The qigong theory emphasizes “Jing - - Qi - - Shen”, as well as “transform Jing into Qi, and Qi into Shen.” It implies that sex energy is a fundamental form of human energy, which produces other forms of energy, physiological, psychological and emotional. The ancient discourse has been confirmed by modern science: sex hormones play the dominating roles in the functions of all the human organs and systems.
Sexual love is always an exciting topic. When people are in love, both men and women undergo substantial change, so much so that people regard love as the source of joy and inspiration. Love helps people see a higher quality of life and spiritual awareness. Living in the contemporary time, we face the challenge of truly understanding the meaning of love, because the evolution of the human spirit and body is closely tied with the evolution of love.
The world we live in is filled with beauty, harmony, love and happiness, and at the same time with conflicts, deconstruction, disasters and death.
Many crises in the modern society have to do with the discordance between men and women. Conflict between individuals can lead to family, society and even international disorders. People who cannot achieve harmony in their private lives tend to cause disputes and hatred around them. Violence and terrorism occur continuously in the world at the beginning of the third millennium, coming from the long-time accumulation of contradictions and conflicts.
People have been passing the fable of a new era: It might be a calamity or a promising world. There are many reasons for us to predict that our civilization can be destroyed if we don’t transition into a higher consciousness and healthier life style in the foreseeable future. People with insight and vision believe that it is a vital mission for mankind to spiritually and physically improve itself to a new state of consciousness and civilization.
In this process the relationship between men and women plays an important role. There won’t be true transformation of mankind before this relationship reaches a higher state. Sexuality affects human beings physiologically, spiritually and mentally. Many ancient mind and body training systems, such as the Chinese Taoism and Indian Yoga teachings, pay great attention to this matter. The Taoist practice is established upon the foundation of sexual energy trainings. The perfection of the spirit and physique is impossible to accomplish without the correct application of the sexual energy.
In light that the global crises are deepening since the end of the 20th century, this topic becomes more imperative and urgent. However, it is not wise to simply imitate the ancient philosophy and practice. We must consider the life style and mentality of the modern man and his needs and common practice. On the other hand, we also have to consider the special demand of contemporary society.
The era we are is an ear of global calamity and crisis. It is also an era of a fundamental transformation. The new era requires people to have ultra sensitivity and discernment and the mastery of new and creative methods and means. Only then can the numerous global issues in the fields of spirituality, morality, ecology and population control, etc., find solutions.
Under these circumstances, then, how do we understand true happiness?
In a general sense, happiness is the pleasant sensations and satisfactions one feels. However, happiness is different from the ordinary sense of satisfaction. Rather, it has brighter ‘colours.’ Therefore, not all pleasant sensations or sense of satisfaction in daily life can be called ‘happiness.’
In addition, happiness appears to be a subjective feeling and it is impossible to gauge someone else’s emotional state with objective criteria. On the other hand, the feelings of satisfaction, joy and enjoyment people feel in daily life do not always bring positive outcomes.
For example, many people keep eating sweets without control although they know it might cause them health problems. Furthermore, ‘individual penchant’ of alcohol and drugs has become a world wide disaster.
Many kinds of daily life satisfactions and enjoyments cannot bring people physical the psychological benefits. Quite often, they bring harm. There are too many such examples in real life.
The foundation of modern civilization (including production, business and advertisement etc) is almost completely based on the constant stimulation and satisfaction of people’s ever increasing demands and expectations. This is the essence of the so-called “material and cultural demands of the modern society” which appear to want to be “unceasingly satisfied”.
Now, how do we define true happiness?
Obviously, it is that which can bring benefits rather than detriment, that which strengthens the body, increases the potential of life(more energetic) and promotes the development of talents and caliber, that which adds beauty to one’s body and spirit and youth and longevity to his life, and that which helps one see goodness and light. True happiness lifts one’s spirit and gives rise to a deep feeling of contentment and inspires self-perfection. Ultimately, it leads one to feel his true Self (the highest state of ‘Self’ or ‘Heavenly Essence’).
The best of all, one reaches the state of true Self or the realization of one’s ‘Heavenly Essence’ in the state of true happiness. This is not achieved through abstract concepts and logical thinking, but through real living experience.
Although true happiness is an individual’s subjective feeling, it has clear and objectively discernable characteristics. For instance, genuinely happy people don’t have envy, stinginess and greed. On the contrary, they have a sense of joy and harmony with others, with the world, and with the infinite universe. In moments like this, people become aware of their true nature, which is one with the universe. It is the forces of love and joy that tie all things in the universe together. Without these forces, everything in the world would become completely tasteless.
How can we have the true happiness? This will mainly depend on people's individual endeavors, through unceasing inner practice (or the exercise of spirit and body) to achieve the inner balance and harmony. In the modern society, most people are trapped in their uncontrollable desires and lose the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood. In other words, they lose the yardstick of truth or direction of life. Living in a notorious material world like ours, some people become slaves of their innumerable desires and habits and would do anything to get what they want. However, we know that people can be educated. They can also be guided in distinguishing true happiness from certain “enjoyments” and “satisfaction” in daily life. That is, we must learn the ability to discriminate between truth and falsehood.
In order to achieve true happiness, we must not do anything that harms others, nature or the ecological environment. Nor should we do anything that would affect other’s spiritual practice and perfection. Only after this can one achieve harmony with other people’s purpose of life. Then everyone’s goals and needs of life are in harmony with everyone else’s, and the dream of a beautiful life of all humanity becomes a reality.
I hope I have made clear what kind of yardstick I mean for distinguishing truth from falsehood, or the compass for directions.
To conclude, let me to make a bold assumption: in the face of all kinds of contradictions and crises that could lead our modern civilization to destruction, mankind will, relying on this compass, find the correct direction of development in the near future, thereby break a path toward a new civilization.