Cultivating the 9 Fields

Photograph of the Confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers by Young(2000)

Cultivating the 9 Taoist Fields
Every year people make New Year's resolutions and usually break them by the 2nd of January.  This year, do something different!  Take some time to contemplate the nine fields of cultivation encouraged by the Taoists.  Think about each of these items and let your higher Self do all the work.  Tell yourself how you would like to change the trends in each of these areas.  Drastic change almost never works, but if we can change the trend in each of the following areas, we will be moving in the right direction.  This is how change truly takes place in a person's life.  Have a great year!  Namaste!

1.  Nutrition
Try to identify negative trends here.  Do you skip breakfast?  Do you eat fried foods, fatty foods, processed foods, fast foods too much?  Are you drinking more than is good for you?   Look for ANY excesses...sugar, meat, vegetables, fruits, breads, high glycemic carbs, milk products and change the trend.  If you eat too few, move the trend in the other direction and vice versa.  Learn to eat like the French do .  Perhaps veganism is to your liking.  If so, make sure you are having balanced nutrition, especially B12.  Whatever you choose, look for variety, modest amounts, fewer toxins. and Dr. McDougall are excellent resources for healthy vegetarianism. Read about the benefits of SOY.  Read Andrew Weil's book on reducing cancer causing agents from your diet.  .

2.   Herbs/Supplements
The judicious use of supplements can make a difference in your energy level.  Study herbs but take nothing to excess.  Many of these products are unregulated and you don't know what you are getting.  A good multivitamin, some supplemental C and E.  Be very careful with the current trend in ingesting hormones like DHEA, Melatonin and some of the other 'Brain Drugs'....there really isn't a lot of long term data on these.  One of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves is ingest more fiber with fruits, grains, vegetables and nuts.  If you prefer you can utilize some of the wonderful fiber supplements on the market.  Try
Yerba Prima for all your fiber and herbal supplement needs.

3.  Exercise/Body
Increase your aerobic exercising whatever that might be.  Walking, Yoga, rollerblading, swimming, running, fitness classes are all fun.  Shoot for 3 days a week if you can.  If you haven't had a physical exam in the last 2-3 years, it is time for a general screening.  If you have ever been a sun worshiper, see a dermatologist this year for a general screening exam of all your skin.  Get a massage, manicure and pedicure this year (the feet are the most neglected part of the body).  Try to floss at least once every 36 hours.  Go to bed the same time every night.  Try to observe your body and determine where the stress is happening in your life and make an effort to change the trend no matter what it is.  What can you do to make it easier on YOU physically?

4.  Clothing/Persona
Dress modestly with natural fibers where possible.  Be conservative in your expenditures on clothing.  Do you project the image of your soul or do you have a contrived mask that you hide behind?  Move the trend here toward being more genuine, honest and truthful about yourself.  It is easier than maintaining the mask and attitude of defense.  Be more open and try not to hold yourself hostage to the "shoulds" of life.  Watch out and listen for the word "should".

Learn the value of silence.  Say nothing sometimes when you feel compelled to speak.  Take time to observe nature around you. Focus less on the materials of this, buildings, and all the illusions of this life.  Look at the sky, the trees, the day and the night, the moon and the sun.  Become a part of what is natural otherwise you will be in prison to the unnatural and contrived world we live in.  Your observation can become a prayer.
Take frequent dispassionate looks at yourself.  Check in on your feelings.  Ask yourself periodically: "Why am I doing this? What am I doing?  How am I feeling?"  Make your entire day a long meditation.  In our culture people spend a lot of money taking meditation classes which is fine, but most of us do not need ANOTHER JOB.   Having to meditate every day is yet one more thing to add to the do list and is destined to fail.  Stop whenever you think about it and check in with yourself.  This can become a very helpful meditation for your life and change the trend in the way you go about doing everything.  You will then become more conscious of those around you as well.  Some people enjoy building an archetypal altar where they place the images of archetypes they feel identified with at any given time.  These evolve and change and the images provide points of consciousness to help you work through these complexes and issues.

7.  Teaching/Work
Share information with others!  The world is only a jungle if we make it so.  Nurture others along in the work environment around you and seek teachers wherever you can.  Be a teacher and find a teacher this year.  Make yourself a conduit of information both into you and out of you.

8.  Creativity/Hobbies
Find more focus in your creative pursuits outside work in your hobbies.  Look for something where you can express another side of yourself.  If you do physical work for a living, do something nonphysical in your creative hobbies.  Seek balance in your pursuits.  Often these creative pursuits can become second careers later in life when we finish our jobs in the first half of life.

What do you do to affirm others?  Is your trend toward more isolation from the world or toward more involvement?  Engage others, put compassion into every interaction.  Find one new charity this year that moves you and get involved locally.  They are right when they say if you act locally, things will change globally.  The
Dalai Lama's writings are a good source for information about the cultivation of compassion. It is also very important to be conscious of what is happening in our World Family.  Read about Women's Issues in the "3rd World" , become informed and get involved.  Get involved where you feel a calling to get involved.

One thing you can do immediately involves this website.  If you link to AMAZON.COM through our site commissions will be paid to  We donate every commission earned on this site to Project Open Hand.  So you are just clicks away from making contributions to charity right here on our site!

Write down the trends as you see them now and put them in an envelope and seal it.  Next New Year's take the envelope out and read it and see where your higher Self has taken you.  Life WILL be better!  This is so much easier than resolutions and will ultimately change your life in the direction you want to go!

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