There is a lot of truth in this short video. It is very easy to become so involved in our own ‘development’ that we lose sight of the bigger picture. Without compassion we are nothing. In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tsu said:
Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world
…… an important message to remember! Enjoy the video.
Our thanks to the wonderful animation work of Tom Long.
One of my favourite films is called ‘The Silent Flute’. Based on a script idea originally penned by Bruce Lee is tells the story of Cord (The Seeker) as he works through many trials and challenges on his path towards enlightenment. As a piece of cinema it probably isn’t the greatest film ever made but as a modern day parable it’s a very interesting piece of work. It’s one of those films that will resonate powerfully with certain people but leave others quite cold; a bit like Marmite, you’ll either love it or hate it!
Here’s the ‘Spoiler Alert’! At the end of the movie Cord visits a secret island where he is shown the book within which is supposedly written all the secrets of life, the universe and all that. His search is complete, he has mastered all the tasks he has faced and is about to discover the secret to enlightenment. In anticipation he opens the book only to find that each page contains a mirror reflecting his own image back to him!
There are many nuances of understanding to this imagery (and to the film as a whole, so please do watch it) but one thing is a clear takeaway message; the answer to all life’s mysteries lies within each of us. Turn your attention within and you will discover the true source of everything; including who you really are through a realisation of your true self!
Herein lies the problem though. Either by default or design our world teaches us to look outwards for answers and never inward. Humans are basically lazy and it is a lot easier to take on someone else’s view of how the world is, rather than to really think deeply about things and figure it out for ourselves. That involves real effort and means we might have to change pretty well everything that we have previously taken as ‘truth’! It means taking on board the possibility that the world is not as we have been taught by our parents, or by our teachers at school, or by our religious institutions, or by our politicians and leaders.
This is a hard path to tread. It takes courage and perseverance to follow; you very quickly realise that you are on your own, something of a lone wolf! The majority of people are just not interested in anything that would disturb their view of reality – however shitty that reality is for them! Henry David Thoreau said in Walden, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” So true, yet what an indictment on the world that we live in!
This process of separating people from their true nature seems to be accelerating too. There is a social media meme that sums it up beautifully:
So many Selfies, no knowledge of Self.
As a society we seem to have become obsessed with external images rather than the substance behind that image. The further we move away from connecting with our true nature the more shallow and uncaring we seem to become. In a world that has the ability to feed, clothe and home everyone on this planet we see divisions of wealth that are, quiet frankly, obscene.
Does it have to be like this? Of course not! But it does require that people take on their own personal quest by looking inward and really examining everything they find. A bit like a computer reboot, it may well be necessary to assume that everything you have been told is false and start again.
Some 30 years ago my instructor gave me a card with a short verse on. This was a teaching specifically aimed at me and designed to correct a tendency I had. I thanked him of course and then carried on doing exactly what I had been doing – clearly I wasn’t ready for that particular jump in my thinking just yet. It is only in recent years that the full impact of his words have become internalised and have now become my default thinking (most of the time anyway!). I share these words with you now in the hope that you’re quicker on the uptake than I was and you can find your own answers and understand how we are are all fundamentally connected.
The message Sensei had for me was:
Do not look for in others what you can only find in yourself.
The ancient sages and spiritual masters had a fundamental message for humanity. They taught that we are all part of the same energetic whole – everything in our universe emanates from this source and was formed directly from the same substance as the source. They spoke of the oneness of all creation and the flow of source energy that animated all life.
This ‘mystical’ understanding was gradually eroded as the deterministic scientific world view, with its cause-effect dogma, gradually took over. Everything could now be explained by a simple model of ‘if A happens then B must follow’ and we became nothing more than inconsequential cogs in a massive universal machine.
What science took away with one hand it now seems to be returning with the other! It is now acknowledging that the world is far stranger we have possibly ever thought. Quantum Physics is showing us that the spiritual masters may have been right all along. Matter itself, always thought of as the very building blocks of all that exists, seems to be nothing more than swirling energy vortexes when viewed at the quantum level. Everything it seems, is nothing more than energy at different levels of ‘solidness’!
This article goes into more detail on our weird quantum world and draws some very interesting and thought provoking conclusions. Please enjoy it and leave your thoughts below.
It has been written about before, over and over again, but cannot be emphasized enough. The world of quantum physics is an eerie one, one that sheds light on the truth about our world in ways that challenge the existing framework of accepted knowledge. What we perceive as our physical material world, is really not […]
People come to Tai Chi for many different reasons. Simply following the flowing movements of the form is an excellent way to relax and help maintain natural health. It really does make you feel good and, unlike many other fitness regimes, Tai Chi can be performed by anyone regardless of age or current physical condition.
At another level Tai Chi is a sophisticated martial art and system of self defence. Literally translated Tai Chi means ‘Supreme Ultimate Boxing’ – but it is a combat art with a difference. Unlike many of the other martial arts that rely on muscle power and physical strength Tai Chi seeks to develop and direct inner power, or Chi. This “softer’ approach should not be confused with weak or ineffectual – anyone who has felt the power of a Tai Chi master’s punch will know it is anything but soft!
One of the problems with so many martial arts today is their lack of a strong moral compass. Training the body in potentially lethal combat techniques without a corresponding development at an emotional level is like putting a loaded machine gun in the hands of a six year old and telling them to go and play in the park!
Within Tai Chi, the emphasis placed on correct body alignments, physical dynamics, and balance must be mirrored at an emotional level too. Practitioners of Tai Chi are expected to be well balanced individuals of peaceful nature and good intent. The art itself has remarkable powers of transformation. If you currently feel less than balanced, or are prone to being a little aggressive or hostile, practising Tai Chi will help you to develop a calmer and more even personality.
But the story does not end there. Tai Chi is most importantly an expression of the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism. This philosophy is characterised as a way of liberation, a pathway that will lead to certain spiritual insights into the nature of all existence.
It is for each student to determine the extent of their own interest in Tai Chi. It could be a wonderful aid to improved physical and mental health or an extremely effective system of personal self-defence. But it can also be a life long pursuit for those seeking spiritual development and a real understanding of the way the universe works.
It is up to each individual to practise their Tai Chi in harmony with their own personal development. Whatever your goals the most important thing is to enjoy your Tai Chi journey!
We have often alluded to the way that traditional people’s seemed to know something that we have lost in modern society. Native American Indians certainly worked with nature in a harmonious way and had an understanding of the oneness of all life, perhaps two lessons that we could certainly take to heart. See what you make of the wisdom of this Sioux Indian Chief and please leave your comment below.
Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of life of the Indigenous people of the Great Plains before, and during, the arrival and subsequent spread of the European pioneers.