Never too late.
“No truth is ever a lie. I stumble and fall but I give you it all.” Barry Gibb.
Late July and it’s raining fit to remake Blade Runner. This year is different. Back from trips to Singapore (twice) and Bangkok in search of wisdom, I’m teaching, drafting half-a-dozen ba zis at any given time and surveying houses as required but my objectives have changed. This can be attributed to a variety of influences including that I am a Dragon in a Dragon year. But there’s more.
Barbra Streisand’s A Woman in Love is on my writing playlist. Willy Russell, author of Educating Rita and Blood Brothers said he never had music playing when writing in case the emotional effect was due to the music rather than the writing. I play music while I write for exactly the same reason.
These very silly Bee Gee lyrics come with the usual great tune. La Streisand apparently arm wrestled Barry Gibb over the lyric “It’s a right I defend, over and over again” which he claimed was feminist but I think it’s just there to rhyme with “within.” Bless them. No one gave the world more fine tunes for longer than the Bee Gees. But a three-headed Cole Porter they were not.
Carl’s mother has been dying a long time. My attention has been repeatedly drawn to her over a period of years. On the 30th June he texts to tell me she’s gone. Bless him, bless her, bless his Dad who’s left behind. Many of those in God’s antechamber slip away when the chi peaks: at dung gee, the Winter Solstice, when the fabric between the worlds is thinnest and at ha gee, its Summer counterpart when the sheer power of chi can blow away those whose breath is short. Both my own parents died at mid-summer.
Carl is an enlightened man who expresses his feelings cleanly and completely.
“How are you?” I text him.
“Bereft,” he texts back succinctly.
He has lived with his Mother’s wasting with such dignity, never losing sight of his own responsibility and hers, his choice, her choice, their mutual choice. I know he cries but unlike almost all my clients, I’ve never seen him do it. It’s as if tears would be a betrayal of his truth. He has completed with her whatever he needed to complete and seen to his Dad’s well-being. And now he just has pain. And he knows his pain is both respectful of the treasure that was his mother’s life and a failure to accept that she is gone.
“At times like this,” I text, “It would be nice to know a little more or a little less.”
He sends me back a rueful colon and a bracket.
Hope and loose Change.
Traditionally Dragons (and Dogs) suffer in the Dragon year. But that’s just laziness. The clash of Elements is an opportunity to learn. Which is what the smarter Dragon does in a Dragon year. So mostly I are been travelling and studying. I’ve learned a great deal already and met some remarkable people and we’re only just entering August, that is the Monkey month.
My objective is to write a book of prophecy. The predictions will cover 2016 onwards so if it’s totally wrong I’ll have been paid long before I’m found out. The book will cover the likely events of the 21st century as indicated by the ancient Chinese gan zi cycle of time. This is the cycle of sixty year animals. The project is kind of ambitious and I may end up either making (more) of a fool of myself or get lost in feng shui surveys and ba zis, the various needs of my retainer clients, side projects, feeding my children, seeking nirvana or becoming ensnared in my personal demons (see 2010 for this).
In summary I remain open for business but I’ll be back and forth a bit.
Accordingly I’m also writing a book about how I did or didn’t achieve my aim which will be more in my usual style: cheap shots, jokes and mumbo jumbo with the odd poignant moment. We have tv lined up to film the search involving trips all over the World to quiz Chinese Masters. And I expect (budget sustaining) to go to (at least) Washington DC, Beijing and Hawaii in search of mystical stuff. This will take me well into 2013, the year of the Water Snake, the Snake on the Grass.
There is essentially no difference between forecast and creation, so I won’t be foreseeing wars, hideousness and plagues of boils which would be simply irresponsible. Prediction must be truthful, simple and healing. There’s always a way to look under and around events and see wholeness because there is no such thing as truth, simply what is or is not useful. This is the tao. No truth is ever a lie.
You see, every generation thinks the world is going to hell. The smarter ones know this. Which doesn’t stop them thinking they’re the exception and that this time it’s really going to happen. But it isn’t; it’s going to be alright. I have a duty to this truth.
We have four more years (by the oral tradition) of the 8 Fate which is about spirituality and self-discovery. Get it while it’s hot. Did you know there are currently at least four incarnate Buddha Matreyas? I know firsthand that at least one is a fraud but hey, the more the mudita.
After the 8 Fate we enter – guess what? – the 9 Fate until 2043. The 9 Fate is about Fire which means, among other things global warming. A critical mass of the world will not wake up to the fact that it’s burning its own boats until after 2016. Then we have 27 years (nine for each line of the Trigram Qian, the Father) in which we solve the problem, elegantly, safely, peacefully. Essentially when the smartest minds find they can make more money saving the world than ripping each other off, everything shifts. It will happen.
And no, that’s not it. There’ll be 80,000 odd more words
Spoiled for Chois.
We have wrongly- delivered mail, addressed to someone with an Irish name. It looks like a dvd and it belongs three doors away. I drop it in on my walk into the office two days before I break for the summer. A fit-looking middle-aged Chinese man answers the door and takes the package.
“For my stepson,” he says, looking at the name on the package..
I have seen this man before. He is a fabulous violinist who sometimes busks on the High Street.
“Cai,” he says, offering his hand.
“Richard. Cai…is that Choi?”
“Choi is my surname,” he tells me and rattles off his full name including a patronymic that I don’t catch.
How did I know that? I put it down to a confusion in my rudimentary Chinese between “Cai” and “Choi”. There are other words for a mistake that turns out to be right. Feng shui and ba zi are both essentially just reading the waking dream.
Time out of Mind.
As part of this process of discovery, Sheila and I attended a Chuck Spezzano weekend in July. We were well overdue for the sort of spiritual infusion that only Chuck delivers.
Lency, Chuck’s wife, is my son Joey’s godmother but for one reason or another I hadn’t seen Chuck or Lency for over ten years. Too long. No one delivers the simple message that love is the answer like Chuck. And that doesn’t mean he’s some sort of flower child. He’s an ex-quarterback for God’s sake, built like a brick one. His Psychology of Vision material is essentially the Course in Miracles delivered with enormous heart. Nothing heals like heart.
He has studied Hawaiian Kahuna. Some of his methods are sound feng shui and this may be a reason but what works is universal. He breaks a room up into numbered segments that are perfectly consistent with Chinese numerology and he divines from whatever is presented to him exactly as a Chinese Master would. At least one who had not been traumatised by the Cultural Revolution into claiming to be “scientific”. Science, schmience. Why limit ourselves this way?
It’s never too late to have a happy childhood, Chuck says. Time’s an illusion. It’s all now. Healing is retrospective, immediate, universe-wide. This idea alone is enough to change the world.
Chuck is monogamous, of high integrity and astonishingly perceptive which is not true of all New Age healers, teachers, gurus, what-have-you. And as I say he has a heart the size of Wembley. Click here. Accept no substitute.
Chancel Be a Fine Thing.
Now Carl is buying his Dad a new home.
“Slight hold-up with chancel costs,” he tells me matter-of-factly.
The origins of this impossibly English hitch are lost in time. It means that built into a freehold is the obligation to contribute to maintaining the parish church. A feudal thing.
“Could be expensive if the roofing lead gets nicked.”
He’s very conscious of the value of commodities and the coming change of investment paradigm which becomes inevitable in August and accelerates during the Dog month of October. This is what 2012 is about as I suggested in December. And it’s benevolent. Everyone even bankers, emerge happier if they have a mind to. Wait and see.
Today we’re looking at a potential office for him. Two actually. The building that houses both is on land that sags downwards to the North East. This is what a Chinese Master might call a yin feature and I’d call poor architecture. The previous occupants of the first office which sits on the sag appear to have been tipped out of the building.
“A great future behind them,” I say, noticing the desk backing onto the door.
The agent standing back speechless in case I blow his sale, confirms hesitantly that I’m right.
“They talked a good fight. They’d been successful before but yes, they went bust.”
Carl knows the simple (and very inexpensive) feng shui truism that what happened to the previous incumbents tends to happen to us unless we take positive action.
And the other office is much better. For one thing, it’s in the South of the building which suggests success over the next two years. This is because the South holds the 1 Star of distant good fortune; distant because the numbers of the Flying Stars or fei sin in each location, descend year by year and the current star of plenty is number 8. The previous occupants, we discover, expanded into bigger accommodation. His proposed roomie is a feng shui agnostic who doesn’t want to be bothered with nonsense like facing the right way so I suggest Carl bags the best spot for his own desk.
Merry Christmas Yaki Soba.
You can be fined $500 for importing chewing gum into Singapore. Frankly when my knee finds it on the underside of a table on a train I’m sympathetic to Lee Kuan Yuw on this. But what’s striking about Singapore, as Kuala Lumpur, as Bangkok, is how much building, how much commerce is going on. South East Asia is alive with acquisitive energy. Everywhere there are buildings going up, land being reclaimed from the sea.
I’m in Singapore to meet the magnificent maverick Master I shall refer to simply as Si Fu. Si Fu has a very individual take on ba zi. He has no time for Structures and Formations or even supporting Elements, dismissing these ideas with a flick of a nicotine-stained hand. I warm to his method and to him. He says he’s happy to be written about and filmed. He’s been in Brisbane for 40 years but still speaks quite fractured English. In Chinese, however he’s a poet. When I video him talking about the Chinese cycles, he first writes a long poem of his own composition up on the whiteboard.
Time after time as he analyses a ba zi, he talks about wayward children. He sees damage everywhere, apparently able to see what will happen and no more. It’s always too late to have a happy childhood appears to be the message; we can only deal with now. Every pessimist believes he’s a realist. Si Fu cares so much and he’s so Chinese.
Outside the hotel seated on a dwarf wall for a smoke, he shows me his model for predicting market movements. It’s like the biggest bingo card you’ve ever seen. There are patterns of numbers all over it, some I recognise, some I don’t: pairings that look familiar, sequences that repeat and some that seem not to.
“If there’s a pattern, I’ll find it,” he says. I don’t know how effective his system is but he holds meetings with a small group of investors and advisors every night. He’s not here often. Mostly these days he’s holed up in Hong Kong, teaching in Mandarin.
Between sessions with Si Fu I explore the Singapore Barrage where is sited the world’s silliest building, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel which houses the new casino complex. In Singapore now they have Formula One, the Singapore eye, amphibious Hippo boats and the fun resort of Sentosa Island. And the casino. They’ve bricked over most of what brought tourists; the once-grand Raffles Hotel is sandwiched between high rises and encroached by new roads. So they’ve introduced attractions to bring people here for reasons other than business.
Feng Shui Masters have argued for years over where the energy feeds into the casino. I take the MRT (Metro) out to inspect the flat reclaimed land beyond the bay and then climb to the top of the hotel itself. It must be three hundred feet high and it looks like three stumps topped by a surfboard. It dominates the Singapore skyline. The view is extraordinary; I can see all three contenders for the source of the energy from here. Knowing this is crucial to drawing prosperity into the casino. Two of them are clearly not it.
As it happens, Singapore’s Wan Li Feng Shui Book Shop is only one stop away by MRT. So I drop in and finance the jaunt by selling them copies of my book The Feng Shui Diaries (now available as a download btw just click here)
Si Fu’s not well. He coughs and takes medication several times a class. I don’t know how serious this is. I know he’s some sort of genius, I know he’s angry and I know he is returning to Hong Kong. And I think it’s because he can’t stand to speak English anymore.
He has little good to say about any other Masters. But that’s not unusual. Feng Shui Masters have big egos. They do compete as to whose luo pan has the most rings. They really do. If you go into Ricky Than’s Feng Shui Shop in Kowloon, there’s one so wide you can’t lift it.
On camera Si Fu rants about the turning of the energy that has put the West on the back foot. All around us in Singapore there is enterprise. In the UK only bankers are positive. Many Chinese think of 9/11 as the biggest break history has given them since the Ming. It took America out of the game. Si Fu sees a transfer of power. He locates it in 2003; Iraq, I guess. That fits the gan zi model. With the Chinese in the ascendant in Asia, in Africa, in Iran, it’s hard to argue with him. The photographs of the first floor escalator at Selfridges’ New Year Sale in London, apparently the biggest first day of a sale in history, show not a single indigenous face: Asians as far as the eye can see.
“The Americans have brought it upon themselves,” Si Fu says, almost spitting. And he says a great deal more, much of which we’ll probably use in the tv series. It’s heartfelt, it’s bitter and it’s brilliant.
After two weeks his ba zi method has reassured me that my own methods are sound as well as fast-tracking me into knowledge only a half-century of practice can bring.
We talk idly for a while. He puts down his cigarette. His wife passes and frowns. He ignores the disapproval. A passing student wags a finger at him.
“You know you shouldn’t,” she says.
There are no tears here. But I am deeply moved by this man. Carl and his respectful sensitivity are a million miles away. And the Psychology of Vision.
We part with a handshake. I say I hope I’ll see him again. I don’t know that I will. I keep remembering that it’s never too late and where the chewing gum came from.
© Richard Ashworth 2012.