Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | December 3, 2009

My Day Off

So, 2nd day off in a row. What do I do with my time? yesterday, it was a few chores, some tai chi, blogging. The Catholic Channel is on the TV most of the time. The Rosary is done many times throughout the day, sometimes harshly, actually, but most of the time, it is what it is, a fruitful meditation. I can’t get Christ out of my life! Oh, I’ve had the crisis of faith, and the Sunday mass is so intolerable to me. But the question haunts, do I need a savior? And if I don’t, then the whole Jesus thing goes out the window. How could I have lost my faith, having once felt I had a vocation to the monastic life or to the priesthood? How, after 2,000 years of church history, of the revelation of the Bible, how could I not believe? How is it that I have to question in the very depths of my being whether I am created in the Image and likeness of God? Why can’t I say with confidence, I am created in the Image and Likeness of God.

I am journeying in the great Unknown. I have glimpses of the Divine, but it is not apparent to me. I am called to holiness, purity, sacredness, love, compassion, innoc ence, humility, kindness, modesty, self improvement and development. I am called to the contemplative life, in tai chi, in seated meditation, in walking, in work, in life. My life is a bit out of balance because when I do work, it’s usually a ten hour day, and while I have a great boss nd the company is ok, I have no illusions that I am indeed working for a corporation and it’s about corporate rules of life. The other foot will inevitably drop.

Thinking the last two days about Mike Murdoch’s 7 laws, and applying them to myself, doing a bit of self work.
1. I have discerned for myself difference, what makes me different. I am a contemplative practitioner of tai chi chuan. I try to pursue character traits I mentioned above, holiness, purity, humility, etc.

2. I have worked on my mind. I am always learning and improving, and I practice visualization. I see myself in my hermitage in the mountains somewhere being a taoist monk. I just don’t want to give up smoking and socialization and heat!

3. The Law of Recognition–I need to ruminate more on this. If there is something missing–I need to determine what that is, and if it’s right in front of me, I’m still not seeing it. Where the hell is Waldo!

4. The Law of 2–my seasons have changed, and there have been a lot of what I would call minor seasons. The people in my work life, like my current boss, have been important in changing my season, but I see it as minor in reference to my real life. I do not have a sifu or teacher. I probably need one. I have had special students. But who is that special person, that one person that Mike Murdoch suggests can change my life like that(snap fingers)?

5. The Law of Place–Living where I am feels realy right. Where I’m working, I feel like I’m in hiding. In fact, most of my life in Newark, I felt like I was in hiding. Even my new apartment I’ve been in the past four years, it’s like being in the Batcave or at least flying under the radar. No one knows I’m there and it’s good(people know I’m there, I’m not out of contact with friends and family), I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s a bit like being in a hermitage already and it feels like a safe haven. But if I have visions of myself being a monk in the mountains, maybe that’s where I need to get myself in order to let my genius emerge.

6. The Law of Honor–I’ve honored my mother and father and have a strong moral code of honor. I do not have a taoist or tai chi sifu in my life right now, a mentor, to who I show honor. I need one.

7. The Law of Seed. I have chosen to seed by helping friends in need. I have also seeded by learning tai chi, by practicing. Sitting zazen is a seed, doing tai chi is a seed, teaching is a seed, this blog is a seed, my youtube videos is a seed, and if the online course website ever gets up and running, that will be a seed also. Writing the book will also be a seed if I ever carve out the time and I’ve been waiting to start in earnest on that til after the website goes live. But, there are a lot of seeds, and I’ll have to learn how to reap the harvest.

I made a list last night of the things I feel are holding me back:
–my credit card debt
–my smoking
–not having a mentor
–having to work to live as I’m living
–fleshly desires(is there a better way to say that)
–a clearer vision of what I want



  1. How much of this is focused on who you are, and how much is looking ahead at what you are becoming? The philosophical outlook of the ancient Greeks, brilliant as it was, tended to negelect the phenomenon of time (Plato’s unchanging Forms and Euclid’s geometry were both utterly static), and Western thought has tripped over this issue ever since. Judaism is very conscious of time– they saw God in historical events, and wrote their holy book accordingly. Christianity completed what Judaism started by looking to the future, but in both there is a central role of time.

    The I Ching, as you surely are aware, is a book of changes. It describes not static forms and figures, but patterns of change. This too gives time a central place, because time and change are thoroughly intertwined.

    Many of the most important breakthroughs in science have come about through a better appreciation of time. Newton was the first to appreciate the difference between velocity and acceleration (one is a rate per unit time, the other a rate per unit time squared), and from that came calculus and the law of gravitation. Einstein, by recognizing the proper relationship between time and space, brought us the theory of Relativity.

    So– I am not familiar with the works of Mike Murdoch, but it sounds as though his focus is on who you are– as though you are some perfectable static thing, timeless and unchanging. Similar is your bewilderment that a person who once considered monasticism could ever have a crisis of faith. These conception come about through a Platonic/Euclidian neglect of time.

    So, how much of this is focused on who you are, and how much is looking ahead at what you are becoming?

    • Hey! Good to hear from you. I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a great 2010.

      Yes, time plays a central role in the equation, as demonstarted in the i ching and even in the tai chi forms. I would suggest that there is, however, in both, archetypal images that might relate to a “form.” Archetypes is a great subject, and they exist in Carl Jung’s works, in the 64 hexagrams of the i ching, in the tai chi forms. I’m not developing this idea well here, but I hope you see the connection.

      As for me, the process of visualization, seeing in my mind what it is I want to become, living my life as if I already am what I want to be, are important aspects. If you were to pin me down, I would say the meaning to life is development and evolution, which necessarily include time and movement in the equation.

      What are we evolving to? Is it a master plan or are we just evolving willy nilly? I believe we are evolving to better things, both as a human race, and as individuals, here, and hereafter. I see myself, perhaps billions of years from now, earth time, as a master in some spiritual realm several rungs up the concentric ladder. Of course, I’m taking concepts here from different people hoping you might be familiar with them as I don’t have access to the books to quote directly. But becoming a nyorai or an enlightened one is a cool idea.

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