In this video, we take a look at the concept of the dichotomy of control, as explained by Epictetus. We learn that we can never completely control the outside world, but that it is instead about how we deal with the things that come from the outside and from the inside. We explore the connection between the internal and external, and how we can practice this connection in many different ways. We also look at how the world around us is a reflection of the internal world, and how, if we want to change something on the outside, we need to change something on the inside. Finally, we explore how Qigong can be the key to unlocking this connection. Join us as we explore the dichotomy of control and how we can use Qigong to create more energy and life force."
The next philosopher is Epictetus and he talks about the dichotomy of control, which is the understanding of the things that are outside of our control and what is inside of our control. And he says that we should not give, we should not worry or stress about things outside of our control. So I'd like to know your thoughts on this control. Let's take the word control, for example. Sometimes if I talk too fast, it also flops out of my words that I use control. But if I properly think about what is actually meant, I would rather replace it by a just.
And why is that? Because if you are controlling something, it still means that that's something you are trying to control. It's not a part of you. It's not a part of you because you control it. So we're talking about like two separate areas. I am here and this is what needs to be controlled. If I'm talking about adjustment, then what I mean is whatever you try to adjust, you have gathered an understanding for it. You have made it become a part of your perception. And because it has become a part of your perception, a part of your life, let's say, that's why it's one with you.
And if it is one with you, then it is something that we can now adjust. This is now just because of the wording of the control. And now this idea of outside world, inside world, outside influences or outside adjustment or outside control and internal adjustment. There was a time when I used to travel quite a lot here to different countries, visiting different, let's say, mainly businesses. It was because what they wanted our monastery or our organization to support with a bit was that all these employees, all these high managers, they were very stressed. Stressed because of work like the real heavy business environment.
So they asked us, so what is our advice? And sometimes when we went there, we asked them, OK, write please on a piece of paper. What is it actually that ultimately is stressing you so much? And so people always we had that small survey. And so at the end, we had a collection of a lot, a lot of different things written on the paper. What are the stressors that in this business world, for example, is stressing them? Yeah, sometimes people say it's the traffic jam in the morning. Sometimes people say it is the deadline. Other people say it is the colleagues at work. Other people say there is the construction site next to my office, which is.
Yes. So but at the end. There were some similarities, but at the same time, what also was just written there black on white was. Different people have different reasons why they are stressed. That is the one conclusion. So what it means is. It's not correct to say that. The traffic jam is stress. No, the traffic jam just triggers something inside of you. Why you feel stressed? Because other people are in the traffic jam. They don't feel stressed. Other people receive a message. They don't get stressed. Another one, he receives the same message, but he gets stressed. So what do I want to point out is that apparently if somebody feels stressed.
Is something very personal. So that automatically means it is not the external circumstances that are the stress that are causing the stress. They might be triggering something. They are triggering something that internally inside of you at the moment is not adjusted properly. Or maybe it's not aligned in the proper way to deal with that external impulse. Let's say it like this. And. Of course, there is this idea. Well, why I mentioned it, that the stress is not coming from the outside. This is like what is my conclusion? What I want to point out. I want to say everything that is disturbing to you. It's not because of this outside world.
It's because something inside of you is not properly aligned. But we can play this game. Meaning. Let's just say. Someone has all financial possibilities. So money is not an issue. And you are trying now to fix everything in the external world. Which is causing stress to you. Which means, for example, you use all of. Good. Yeah. You are using all of that money, for example, and try first of all, let's say. Exactly. You're trying to make a program that is filtering out all the emails that you are receiving in the inbox. With all the type of messages that you don't like to read.
Or actually that have a content that you already know would cause something to rise inside of you. So how will it be? What are you going to do? You're going to install some spam filters. You're going to have a blacklist. So you can do everything in order to try and control what message is going to arrive in your inbox. And now I ask you. Do you really think you can control with all of this technological advancements? Do you really think you can control who is going to send you which email with what content and at what time? I also don't think this is possible. Now, sometimes people say the people around me are stressing me.
OK, let's control the people around you. Let's take the best example. Think about the person that is the closest to you and that also knows you the best. Might be one of your brothers, might be one of your sisters, could be your parents, could be a good friend. Just think about that person. Does that person always say the things or do the things or behave in the way how you expect this person to behave or do? OK, so what is it that we are right now talking about? We're talking about the closest person in your life.
The closest one is even not in the 100%, not even 50% the way how you imagine him or expect him to be. Yeah, and now we're talking about a society where other people, you saw them for the first time. So why should they behave in a way how someone personally expects? Now it's not family, now it's getting farther. It's just colleagues that you work with in a certain time. Then maybe it is like the neighborhood that you are living in. Then sometimes you meet people from the city area. So the more far away we get, what does it mean? The less influence we have on them.
So the idea of trying to change a human being out there, I also think it's wasted energy. And so we were talking on the one side about trying to use technology to control the external world. Then we were talking about trying to control human beings in the external world. And in both cases I come to the conclusion it's not working. So there's now only one thing again that remains. Because apparently the stress and the worries and the fear, it arises somewhere. And that somewhere is individually always inside oneself. And this is that paradox part sometimes about this world that you know when you are sad, the sadness sits inside of you.
When you worry about something, it's your worry. Other people around you maybe see the issue too, but they don't worry. You worry. But nevertheless we try to fix this issue. We try to look for the solution. Not inside of you. You try to find it out there. And this is what I think is a little bit this idea that at least in our tradition, why we think this self-reflection is a very helpful method, let's say, in order to really reflect about yourself. And I think look inside yourself. Because all of these things, all of these emotional states, they all take place inside of you.
So if you want to adjust something about the way how you feel, the way how we feel, it's inside of us that we need to find the right points to trigger inside of me. Because there's that really nice saying. If there is something that you can to a hundred percent adjust and control in this life, it can only be yourself. If there is something which is a hundred percent in your control, it must be yourself. What else should it be? And so if you think there is a possibility to master something, to take responsibility of something, then I think it must be related first of all to your being.
And therefore, yes, we talk about internal world, external world, but this is so close related with each other that ultimately you can't live in only one of these. Let's put it like this. In the way how we talk, we say there's the internal world, there's the external world. The external causes me stress. So maybe some people now might think, yeah, and the one from Shaolin, he said, so you should take care of the internal, meaning not taking care of the external. This is not what I said. I said also look here from time to time. But ultimately, it is impossible to even separate those two from another.
Because whether something is internal or external only depends on where you are placing, let's say, the mind. Because while I'm sitting here, I can try and figure out what type of emotional state am I in right now. So it means while I'm looking at you while we drink tea, I can still with my mind actually do something else, you see, so be inside of me. But still our conversation is going on. At the same time, it can also mean that inside something is cultivating, I just don't pay attention to it. Instead, I pay more attention to the outside. I pay more attention to how the tea tastes.
So that means it still is always there, internal, external. It still is there all the time. It's just that we as humans have this ability to sometimes switch, to sometimes pay attention. Okay, now you want to pay attention to the external a little bit more? Okay, do it. Sometimes then I'll return back. Now the external, you let it stand still, you move internally. And then you find the balance that what you have on the inside reflects one on one on the outside. Because then there is no internal and external anymore. There is just that one state of being. You're not switching worlds anymore. It's just that one type of, let's say, experience.
And this is something that can be practiced. But in order to connect, you first must know what is there existing that can be connected. And that is an external world and an internal world. How would you practice that connection, getting the connection between the internal and the external? Now before already, maybe the people don't know, but when we did a little bit, when I showed you some of the training practices, there is something you are doing externally, let's say, of touching that back. It's an external movement.
It's something people on the outside can see, what they could not see, what only you know is how does that what you do there is connected to what you feel in there, what comes up inside of you. Yes. And this is already one expression of there is something you do externally, but it is affecting you on the inside. And no matter what it is, even if you start riding a bicycle, in order to ride the bicycle, you need the sense of balance. There is something that you are doing on the inside.
The question is, are you aware of what exactly it is you are doing? And so that's why we say there are so many different methods how to cultivate and how to slowly start establishing this type of connection. Also like doing only kitchen work, cutting vegetables. Also this, because how I say, if you would have closed eyes, you know when the knife is touching the vegetable, because it goes hand in hand with the perception of feeling. You know when it's touching. So let's just imagine you're really concentrated. You know when it's touching. And so now, at the same time, you know now how do you properly cut.
So you maybe slide a little bit to the front and then you do that one slide. Closed eyes. So what does it mean? It means that there is something where you connect feeling with action. Internal sensation with movement. Internal sensation with movement. This is what we mean when your internal energies are aligned with your action. Another way, and very typical now for this tradition where like we are coming from, is what we call Qigong. Qigong is that method to connect internal and external. Because, for example, literally translated that word of Qi, many people sometimes try to translate it as energy, which is not wrong, but another very simple expression of Qi is just breath.
The breath. The gong standing for exercise or for work, for exercising, for working, for increasing some skill. So Qigong is breathwork simplified. And why do we say that breathwork helps with the connection? It's because our breath is the only thing in this complete universe that is literally traveling always with every breath from inside world to outside world. Because the air, the oxygen comes from there and comes in and is then inside of you. So the air, we say, is that intermediate link between the internal world and the external world. This is why then on a later level, sometimes people become spiritual and say Qigong is the key.
Because it is that missing link between the external and the internal. And like I mentioned before, in some conversations, this is why there are existing spiritual Qigong practices. Practices to build up that link. It was in a conversation I had with your brother about what is it afterwards when this body is gone. Well, the body at the moment is a carrier, is a vessel through which this energy at the moment is flowing through. So what happens if that vessel falls apart? I don't know what happens. But if it falls apart, but that amount of energy that you have cultivated is still existing.
It might just search for another vessel to get into another exchange of internal and external. And this is why this Qigong, let's say, is something very, very well known as spiritual practice on the one side. But also to really just simply get in touch with this idea that you want to take more part in this life. You want to engage more in living a life. How do you do it? The easiest way. Learn how to breathe properly. Learn to use your breath as good as you can. Learn from resources that are available and learn the practices that go hand in hand with it.
Now, you know, sometimes I really get a lot of questions that are still based a lot like on philosophical level. But at the same time, me myself, when I was in school before, my favorite subjects in school was mathematics, physics, chemistry and sport. Because chemistry, physics, mathematics, this is not about imagining something. This is you have a formula and if you put one and one together, something comes out. If you make it a second time, same formula, same result comes out. So that means in a way it's very rational. It's very logic. So that means this type of thinking that one plus one is two, it's logic. I can follow that thought.
It makes sense to me. I have this inside of me, which means if somebody comes up and gives me a philosophical question or a philosophical opinion, I think about it. But I really try to get the part out that somehow has to do, let's say, with fantasy world, imagination, illusion. Yeah. So and why I mention this is because this Qigong, just think about it. From the moment on that we are born, our lungs start to breathe. Inhale, exhale. Until today, our lungs never made a mistake. You have never inhaled one time more than you have exhaled. So that means our lungs already keep a certain rhythm.
Looking at our heart, the heart keeps a certain rhythm. This earth never stopped turning. The moon never stopped turning. So one thing I can see is circular movement, repetitive movement, reoccurring movement is part of the world we're living in. And at the same time now, if I think about, OK, people mention Qigong, which is breast work. This breast work is very closely related to the quality of life. The more Qi you nourish, the more Qi you have, the more energy you have, the more you can do with it in this lifetime. And now I switch back and say, OK, Qi, breast, oxygen, breathing.
And now you just look at, yeah, you look at our oven down in the basement. If we want to create more heat, if you want to create something more than it is right now, it's not just we need more wood. We need to open the valve more, let more oxygen streams in. If you maybe heard about how people are, let's say, trying to increase the performance of an engine, it also means somewhere along the line you need to have more air intake, more air plus more fuel injection or however you put it in there. That equals more performance.
And so for us humans, it means you need to eat, you need to breathe that amount of necessary air inside of your body. And then the process of creating energy that you then can make useful with your body, then it can start. So you can see all of this Qi and energy as something like philosophical, esoteric. But for me, it's like it's just like real. It's very logic for me. So and this is one of my special moments where I actually don't even know anymore what the question was. But I think somehow we probably covered it. Yeah, you covered the combining the external and the internal made sense to me.
It is not things that harm us. It is our interpretation that harms us. It's very popular state quote, and I think it rings true and relates to what Master Xiang Yi is saying. Something I thought was interesting is his when he mentioned I thought this was very interesting. In fact, he's talking about expectations. He talks a lot about expectations, actually, just in general. But in this talk we had expectations, expecting people and things to happen or behave a certain way. Well, he said, imagine the person closest to your loved one, your spouse, your parents, your friends. This person have these expectations.
But even them, even these people that are closest to you, they surprise you. They do things out of these expectations. So then he says, then people that aren't close to you, people, random strangers, how can you have this expectation for them to behave a certain way? As Moxorilus says, when you wake up, understand that people may be meddling, may be rude, may be surly. We cannot expect people to fit into a mould for us. There are people that might annoy us, irritate us. There's things in life that happen, these obstacles, the circumstances that we are faced with that can be bad.
So when you expect these things in the morning, they don't surprise you and it builds you up to face these challenges. So I hope you enjoyed this talk with Master Xiang Ye. If you want to support these projects, what I'm doing, then head over to my website www. theeverdaysysteric. com where you can get the A More Fatty T-shirt, the Momentum A More T-shirt. And it just supports what I'm doing so I can do more projects like this. It takes a while, it takes a lot of manpower, time, money to go to these places like this one was in Germany, the Schallentemple. We stayed there for a while, had all the equipment filmed.
It takes a while but I love it, I love getting this message, I love sharing it with you all and I know you all enjoy it. So yeah, your support is greatly appreciated, especially those becoming a member or subscribing to the YouTube channel or even at the Instagram at The Everyday Stoke or my Instagram at William Wollongam River where everyone's joining in in a Stoke community, sharing their thoughts, their ideas, their beliefs. And I just think it's amazing so I hope anyone that's not part of that maybe head over to that and become part of it.
And let me know if you do, just leave a comment or a message and I'll try get back to you all. Thank you for watching, I hope you enjoy. .