Wu Wei #1
Copyright: Pai Hui Ke Enterprises 1990
Wu Wei; Discussions Of Taoist Wise Guys
By: Shr Fu Mike Patterson
The purpose of this regular column will be to present, in fictitious form, the discussions of several Taoist "Wise Guys" of a bygone (?) age. These offerings of crazy wisdom and discussion are for the reader's entertainment and edification.
"Teacher, how can one learn to Fah Jing?" Stalking Shadow queried.
"To issue energy", the teacher said, "Three components or steps are required. First, you must harmonize the breathing. Second, you must relax all unnecessary muscle and allow the Chi to flow. Third, you must cultivate a pristine state of concentration, absolve all doubt, and know what is to be. If you can learn these three steps, your power will be unlimited."
Jade Fist questioned, "You have talked, Teacher, of the method of creating the matrix for transmission of energy, Fah Jing, at the moment of striking the opponent, and I have heard you refer to the state of mind that must be as glass. So then is it true that we must cultivate this glass-like mind state for all aspects of fighting?"
The Teacher, Cloud Mountain, replied, "No, you must cultivate an ability to switch in your mind. You see, the monkey mind, the mind of multiple awareness is necessary to see all of your surroundings while in battle, but, at the moment you strike, click, you must focus all of your mind, body and spirit into the blow."
Jade Fist continued to question, "So then, we must learn to, at the moment of strike, switch our focus, flip from one side of our mind to the other, jump across the glass so to speak into a focused state?"
"Yes." Cloud Mountain said.
"So, that switch is 'I' Intention?" said Stalking Shadow.
"Yes", said Cloud Mountain, "It is one manifestation of 'I' Intention. The switch is something that each person must build for himself or herself. This is why ritual is important as a matrix for building this switch. Each person's visualization and image will not necessarily be the same. I use the image because it suits me. You may pick something else."
"What about a still pond?" said Singing Water.
"Have you ever seen a completely still pond?" asked Cloud Mountain. "I don't thing so. Perhaps a still puddle, but certainly not a pond. This image may not be useful. For when you think of the image of the pond, you will perhaps see ripples in the pond. And so, you will have these same ripples in your mind."
Quiet Lake offered, "I have heard tell of an experiment in science, where a common cat was monitored for its brain response to different stimuli. Curiously, whenever a clock ticked, the cat registered a recognition brain response to the noise. But, when a mouse was placed into the cat's vision, the brain registered not a whisper. It was as if the cat were somewhere else."
"Yes," said Cloud Mountain "The Intention of the cat is solely to get the mouse. When he sees the mouse, his mind becomes like glass. This is true Intention. This is exactly the state of mind that a practitioner must cultivate for manifestation of power."
"Do you think that this practice is accumulative?" asked Quiet Lake, "I suspect that you will say yes. For example, let us say that a student is trying to learn to play the piano. When you first learn, you must think about every note. Then after many years of practice, you do not think any more, you have internalized it. So, would you then say that the accumulative effect of focusing your mind on the steps of creating the mind of glass over many years, likewise creates an ease of familiarity, so that it becomes progressively more natural, and hence easier to accomplish?"
"Yes," said Cloud Mountain, "In essence, that is a ritual. A repetitive ritual, which when performed, develops a prescribed series of events linked together to become one, initiated by an act of will. But, you must also be mindful that it is possible to go too far. It is possible for the human being, in all endeavors, to reach a level where the task has become easy for them, and herein lies the trap. There is a tendency to then turn off the Intention altogether and perform the task from an almost autonomic level. This we do not want. This will cause a separation from the proper state of mind and a premature lapse back into the Monkey mind. True Art, requires the Artist to be the Art."
Quiet Lake said, "This is what is meant by cooking with love, you can taste the difference."
"Exactly", said Cloud Mountain, "The cook manifests complete intent in the task, because he/she cares each and every step of the way in preparation, because they care about the person(s) who is sampling the food. Often, when you see novice students of the Martial Arts in practice, there is an obvious lack of Intent in their form. They are doing the form on autopilot. Contrast this to the Master Practitioner, their form exudes a quality of dynamics and power. Something at once intangible yet blatantly obvious. Even though the form may be slow in pace, the quality is there, undeniable and pervasive. This is Intention. This same quality of Intention can be manifest in any activity, whether cooking, music, carving, painting or any such matrix."
Jade Fist said, "I remember many times, teacher, marveling at the captivation effect when you would demonstrate a piece of the Arts to an uninitiate. I remember how the whole compound would stop to watch, transfixed, as you demonstrated. The energy was as a living thing, so tangible that all the pupils would be dumbstruck, until the demonstration was over."
"Yes, I remember the first time I was introduced to the family, teacher," said Quiet Lake. "I first was greeted by two of the Acolytes, Moon Thunder and Laughing Iron. They had much power, and I was impressed. But then I met you, and your power was such that the air fairly vibrated with intensity. I cannot describe it, but I could feel it."
Cloud Mountain replied, "The reason you cannot describe it is because The Tao That Can Be Named, Is Not The Eternal Tao. It is not possible to describe adequately with words, something that is not of the physical plane. The human condition has many such labels to describe any physical manifestation that may occur in the world. But language is nothing more than a barrier, when we try to discuss the subtle realm. Never the less, the human being can come to know these things intimately, through sensitivity, awareness and their own secret being. Therefore, all human beings can attain a state of pristine energetics in the body. It requires only two things, an active will, and training of that will, so that we may learn to manifest that will or intention into whatever form we wish it to take. The key is to not try too hard. It must be effortless, natural, without thought or predisposition, a simple act of will. So, what we are faced with as a task, by necessity, is to first train the mind to possess the ability to turn the switch on or off at will. To get to a point where we can easily manifest whatever ritual visualization you have created which spurs that chain of events into action. This, then, must be coupled with a state of mind no mind, so that the Intention of the Will is unfettered."
Jade Fist commented, "So, the Ego can become a tremendous hindrance to development of these abilities."
"Precisely." said Cloud Mountain.
Stalking Shadow questioned, "Teacher, may I ask about the ethereal plane?"
"You may, but you must wait until next we meet." Cloud Mountain said.
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