Bio: Aaron Hoopes is a native of Vermont and the founder of the Art of Zen Yoga. He has studied the martial arts, Eastern philosophy, ancient history and alternative medicine in the United States, Australia, and Japan for over twenty-eight years. He has a degree in Asian History and Japanese Culture from Tulane University and spent a number of years in Japan studying under the chief instructor at the headquarters of the Japan Karate Association. He holds a third degree black belt in Japanese Shotokan Karate and is a certified instructor and one of the Hoitsugan Instructors. He is also certified as an instructor of Shanti Yoga and Meditation as well as Tamashii Tai Chi. He has trained for many years in Qigong Energy Healing and studied Zen Shiatsu in Japan. In addition, he has extensive knowledge of Hatha and Iyengar Yoga, White Crane Qigong, Tong Long Kung-Fu (Praying Mantis style), Southern Fist Kung-Fu, XingYiQuan, Wing Chun Kung-Fu, Okinawan Karate, Shorinji Kenpo, and Zen Meditation. He maintains a deep respect for and connection with the Earth.
Problem: There has been a fundamental shift in the world that we can no longer turn a blind eye to. It is starting to affect the daily lives of more and more people. The circus-like distractions of the mainstream media are no longer able to divert the attention from what is happening. The basic tenets of fairness and rule of law have been broken by greed and selfishness. Free market Capitalism is failing, the climate is a wreck, and the already-scarce resources of the planet are shrinking every day. Hubris and fear threaten to tip the world into chaos. The world is much in need of correcting.
Solution: There is an old Chinese proverb that states if you want to correct the world, correct the state; if you want to correct the state, correct the family; if you want to correct the family, correct yourself.
It is time to correct ourselves. It is the only way we are going to make it through this. We can no longer live in distraction and fear. We must now turn towards what is good, and right and just. This means taking responsibility for our self and owning what is ours. It means we must start working on being present in every moment of every day and maintaining balance along our path.
Staying present can be a challenge for yogis who live in the mountains and meditate all day. For the rest of us in today’s crazy world it is downright impossible. But we must now do the impossible if we want to avoid the inevitable. Yes, there is too much going on and it may often feel like we are one inch from the edge, however, if we are to continue on this journey and bring peace, love and light into the world, staying present is vital. Staying present provides a solid ground from which to focus on difficulties as they arise. It is a way to take control of things and get your life in order. It is no longer an option to spend our time distracting ourselves as we try to escape from being present.
We must now let things happen by allowing to be guided by the present moment. It is time to focus only on that which is before us and cultivate an attitude that is concerned with what is essential and correct. Leave the rest be.
The force of inner truth influences us. No matter the darkness we find before us, going through it is the only path to reach the light. We must be simple in our needs. Be sincere in our interactions with others. Be serene in our state of mind. It is the only way forward.