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The Ability To Shift Perspective
 I was listening to mike talking about his shoulder alignment at Wujifa class the other day. Rick was telling him not to focus directly on the shoulder but to get an over-all feeling of openness. This is after years of focus on the subtle adjustments and attention to detail that he has put into alignment. 

I went to a seminar that was held by a Qigong practitioner who had developed a way of healing eyesight. I took a friend of mine who wore glasses. The man stated that the single best practice for developing ones eyesight, and/or healing it completely, is to look at something very closely, as close as possible to where it almost hurts slightly, then fix the gaze on something as far away as possible, interchanging between the two views.

At class, Dan was asked by Rick to look out into the clouds, not focusing on anything in particular, but to see as far as the eye could see. This was an experiment in perception and Dan, when asked, said he was also able to notice much of the minute details in the foreground of his perception simultaneously. 

I was in china learning Yiquan under master Yao Chenguan. He told me that most styles of martial arts keep fajing or fali as a secret that is to be learned after many years of practice. In his system he said it is important that someone, from the very beginning, should learn fali even if they are not doing it correctly. He told me that practicing shili, moli, and a limited amount of fali helps one to get a better grasp and in turn speeds up the development of ones training. Fali helps to develop shili, and shili helps develop fali, as well as moli, all three practices he said help to support the other. 

I once read in a book that peoples desires to do hallucinogenic drugs is caused by the inability to shift one's perspective freely.

It seems clear that the ability to shift perspectives between the detailed and the 'broader scope' of things is an important part of the learning process, or at least that this is something to consider. So what is it that keeps us fixated or stuck in our perspective? Is it fear of letting go of something that we think we are? I notice that the very thing that causes frustration or friction when people, including myself of course, argue amongst one another is the association. When we associate ourselves with ideas we feel that they are us. And when someone questions what we think is ourselves, we naturally try and defend. We take it as an attack against what we think is us. This immediately initiates our survival mechanisms because we believe that we are being attacked or that we are in danger of being dismantled. Our blood pressure rises, maybe our adrenaline kicks in, we sweat slightly to keep the increased heat down thats caused by our increased heart rates, we tense up. Whether these effects are subtle or quite apparent, they are the result of us defending what we think is 'our' perspective. So can we put this question to ourselves... are we our opinions? Is it even possible? Is our association with various ideas, whether they be religious, intellectual, or otherwise; is that what makes us who we are? Is it possible to not associate with any ideas? Ask these questions yourself if you are simply just following along with what is typed here. I did not write this to entertain you, or to give you another perspective to associate with. This is not another idea to call your own, but a serious inquiry. We associate ourselves with so many things to tell the story of who we are, and i question choice. Can we choose who we are? We choose to associate with our music, our beliefs, our religions or non-religion, our groups.... see? We all have our little groups in life, our own little corners that we choose. Do we feel so insignificant inside? And if you can put this question to yourself... what need is there for these associations? If you have seen the trouble that associations have caused because you have been listening, and inquiring within, and you see the whole process of this association as futile and destructive then the question arises. The question comes as an inevitable result of inquiry, of attention, or listening. If you see the destructive nature of association the question is put to ones self; are associations necessary?

We have this tendency to get stuck, and its not until we are able to see that we are stuck that we are vulnerable to it. And in that vulnerability is freedom. Cause when we are vulnerable we are able to feel, to be hurt, to be happy, to live. And only by sensitivity are we able to respond, not respond with the known; not responding with a prefabricated perspective, but with intelligence. Intelligence is alive, not dead, it is not a result of putting forward the past to meet the present with. Intelligence is not something that is known, it is the uninvited result of listening with everything. It is alive. 


Noticing simple things

This was written on paper the other day for Ricks request for notes on our daily practice. I have been quite busy so i finally am able to get this on the computer.

The other day, i was at work and was practicing some things from class. Specifically i was focusing on feeling peng jin while doing various tasks such as carrying ladders and equipment around the job. He showed me a few things, such as using expansion to lift objects instead of contraction. I was beginning to get a good feeling for it as the week progressed when i saw someone walking close by that had a very sunken chest, and the head was quite forward and out of alignment. When i saw him i noticed a feeling of arrogance inside of myself.  I felt compassion for him, and noticed that my chest was held up. This led to the feeling of peng jin which remained but was relaxed, full and open; a contentment that included all things, and was able to.

The interesting thing was that i noticed the initial intention was blind. It was unchecked by awareness of my surroundings. For something to remain true to itself it is in rapport with its environment; kind of like sympathetic resonance. When we go inside of ourselves with the intention of developing, as opposed to noticing, we may be easily misguided by blind drive for our desired outcome. That is why i see the extreme importance of differentiating between desire and necessity. Desire is simply a matter of putting the cart in front of the horse. Necessity is like the hand being burned by fire, there is no choice, you dont need to strive to take the hand away, and there is no imitation. Only the confused mind chooses, only the confused mind desires, which is really accumulation. Now, when looking back at the simple and practical situation such as the one stated above, one can say that the desire for peng jin was leading my intention as opposed to an open awareness of the state of the body and the environment and even the activity of the mind. The latter is born of necessity, as a result of the mind being passively aware, sensitive. There is no strife in necessity, there is freedom. Strife is born of desire. The confused mind chooses.

This is what i have learned...

The views and opinions expressed in this blog represent only those of the particular author and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that may or may not be referenced, including but not limited to any and all content referencing any teachers, schools, religions, philosophies and/or entity. The views expressed in this blog are those of the individual author and may or may not reflect the official policy or position of the School of Cultivation and Practice, Wujifa and/or its supporters.

  I was at lunch the other day with my cousin when i asked what he thought compassion was. Him, being a priest, gave the typical answer, "love." Of course this was not satisfactory to me, cause it just traded one word for another.  These words are generally used interchangeably anyway.  So we went into it a bit.
  Ive often wondered how it is that when a child does something such as hitting or crying when they dont get their way we, as adults, are not provoked to anger, but instead have a sense of understanding, or what some might consider compassion. Yet, when the same situation arises in an adult we are provoked. Most of us feel the need in situations like these, to execute justice upon that person, if we feel that they 'should have' learned this lesson. Theres a sense of pain inside and we feel the need to make the other feel this as well.
  The child has nothing there to defend, unlike us, we have a feeling that we need to make others feel pain when we feel it. Its as if we are scared of feeling hurt, and so instead we feel anger, which is not necessarily a 'wrong' response, yet the desire to hurt the other in return can be the result of ones inability to feel pain (which is really their desires for happiness). The ego is competitive, we want to feel justice and satisfaction knowing that someone else is hurting worse or as bad as we are. I dont expect you to accept what i am saying. The question is, are you able to see this now, in your own life? 
   It can quite simply be stated that when we are able to 'eat bitter' , we are then able to feel that pain, that hurt. Im not talking of passivity. It is quite alive. Its not a matter of simply understanding that the child doesnt understand what he is doing; i can see that i may not understand exactly why the child is doing what he is doing. But when the child attacks its also not a matter of ones own sheer power, where his attack simply does not penetrate me cause i am so strong, that would simply mean that i am dull and insensitive. When the adult attacks, i meet that pain with all the 'shoulds' and 'should nots'. But what if i have no shoulds or should nots? What if i have no desire to control another? The adult attacks verbally, and there is nothing there to say whether he should, or should not; yet instead, there is an aliveness, a sensitivity that is able to listen to that without judgment. 
  Compassion, seems to not be something that we can strive for, because then we would be meeting that pain with a formula that we have so we still  dont have to feel that pain. Maybe you have seen this or you yourself have done this; there is this idea of being "compassionate" but really there is no compassion, one is simply trying to be compassionate because they feel they should, or they are trying to ascribe or adhere to a certain philosophy or religious ideal. When the shoulds and should nots are gone, what else is left but a mind that is able to listen.... listen without judgment. So what is eating bitter? Is it something that we can strive for to meet our pain and suffering with? Or is it something that comes uninvited, as the result of seeing the whole workings of this process? Is it another formula that we are going to meet our pain with, so that in turn we really arent eating bitter.... much like the 'insensitive holy roller' who is simply associating himself to an ideal in hopes of gain, or power. Or is it something that is alive, sensitive, and without a goal, but with an awakening to our pain and discomfort? Are we able to feel the fire that is burning our hand? Or are we accumulating ideals in hopes of covering our pain? 
Compassion is something that comes with a sensitive mind. A mind that is able to listen to another without our image that we may have of that person or group of people. And in that listening are we able to see our relationship with them? Are we able to see that we are that other person? The self is relationship. And in seeing this, is that not the end of the self? Is that not the ending of distance between you and me? We distance ourselves from others with images we have of them. We have our fear of being hurt, of being vulnerable, of being rejected, and so we look through images; we see through filters that we overlay in hopes of protecting ourselves. So when we look at our girlfriends, or our neighbors, or our enemies, we dont see them, but we see the images we have of them that we have placed there in order to 'protect' our 'selves' from seeing them, cause if i see them, then they may see me and all the weak and horrbileness that i believe i am. So i create this image of myself, and i try and build that image in others eyes. And then i have my image of them as well, and we go about meeting each other with these silly masks.
  The whole working of it is quite simple really, but we choose to hide. We choose to 'be' happy, heh, as if we can. We choose to 'be' noble, or just, or righteous, or brave.... but it is clearly not possible to become these things because the becoming is the image that we are meeting others with. We are meeting others through these desires of what we want to appear like in their eyes. Can  you see all of the workings of this; how the mind displays these images and then pretends as though it came from without instead of within? It must lie to itself to present itself as coherent because the mind demands wholeness. The conflict within is our reluctance to see, to feel... the mind feels pain and says, 'i dont want to feel that aweful thing again' and so it creates, it invents ideals, and associations with ideals and images it has, which are based on memories, of things that it believes are powerful, good, or noble, or whatever.... but it doesnt see that it is the past that it is really striving for; an invention it has created that is based upon memories of things it has experienced that it believes are good. So it is a dull mind, an imitating mind, not an alive, sensitive one.

Intention, Desire, and The Functions of the Mind
 Here is a small piece i wrote on the nature of intention and desire. 

The content of all of our experiences, our perceptions; whether conscious, or subconscious.... 'we' are that. The mind has a function which can mix memories, reorganize them cut them up, this is what we call thinking. The self mistakenly associates its self with these accumulations of memory. It simply doesn't know that it isn't an idea. For example, we desire to be like our rich uncle; he is funny, has charisma, everyone likes him. We may desire to be like a great kung fu master that we saw once; he is noble and brave, and everyone looks up to him. All these things, these ideas, we create from memory. We have the image of our uncle, or masters, or whatever; our assimilations of how they might act... all this is based upon memory, and the assimilations are simply rearrangements of those memories with other memories to create this image, this ideal based upon our desire to become like them, or not like them (which is the same thing). This is a very simple thing to understand. We can see this in our own lives, this process happening over and over. We therefore create these ideas of what we think happiness or freedom is based upon our experiences

This brings us to another function that the brain is capable of. It has a very basic function that it uses to do every day tasks. Its easy to understand through example. Lets say there is an apple tree on the other side of a river. We feel hunger and see the apple tree on the other side. The water is quite deep and so we go about devising a plan to get to the tree by building a raft. From memory we know that logs float, we know that vines can be used to bind things, so we go about the forest with these images kind of laid over our perceptions whilst searching for these components to build a raft. It is similar to a filter that is placed between the sensory information and the comprehension that fits our necessity to construct this idea, this image of this raft that is in the mind. This is a basic and necessary function of the mind. It uses this process to accomplish tasks and is completely sane and orderly. 

IPB Image
Picture i made describing the filter overlay of perception.

But there is a problem... at some point the mind mistakenly began to use this same function in the field of the purely subjective, psychologically. Here we can speculate how exactly that came about, but maybe if we go into it a bit further it will add some clues to our present state. What is our present state? The world is fucked up. We are killing each other senselessly, living in pain, fear, and so on. And in our fear, or maybe our ignorance, we use this function which overlays these filters into our perception (purposefully distorting our perception) in a manner that is fractional and divided. Let me explain, and maybe you can see it in your self. Like we said earlier, there is the image we have of the raft, of the right sized logs, of the vines and such, and this is a necessary function that is quite helpful in the process of constructing the raft. We use this same function now in a different realm, where it may soon become apparent that it leads to the mess of the ego and all the horrible things it has done in its quest for accumulation. I say accumulation because at some point the mind has mistakenly taken a self as association to these ideas. Like the memory of the correctly sized logs and vines, we have the image of the rich uncle, the master, the noble one, the compassionate one, and we go about our day using these images that come directly from experience, maybe mash them up a bit, jumble them around so it doesn't look so obvious that we are merely imitating instead of living, and we go about constructing our 'selves' (just as we construct the raft) according to all of our desires, our accumulations of images that we think will make us great (the objective; which is same as the goal of satisfying our hunger via the apple tree).

IPB Image

What we think we are is thought itself. Therefore, we accumulate, assimilate, and impose (almost literally super-impose) these memories in our perception; purposefully distorting our perception in order to assimilate our desires, or rather to cover our inadequacies and fear of the unknown. In assimilating these ideas, we warp our bodies accordingly, most of this is subconscious and shows up in our movements. When we are able to see this whole process is it not the end of it? Do you see our predicament? Any move towards happiness is only prolonging our suffering. We try and escape our suffering by running to the images of the uncle, of the master and so on. The running away is the accumulation, the desire. So we have a predicament. Maybe if you are with me, following along, seeing this whole process in your self, you now see this predicament. Any move towards happiness, or freedom is the self accumulating, imitating. It is fear. It sees what it is, well it doesn't truly see what it is or it would be over, but it has seen pain and hurt, and it doesn't want to experience that again, so it runs to these ideas it has so it doesn't have to feel that thing which it does not know. So really we are afraid of the unknown (but to our minds we are afraid of the known, which is the memories of pain), especially when the mind mistakes itself as known; the memories, the charismatic uncle, the ideas. My girlfriend breaks up with me so i go to the movies to feel good; i have the movies, like the logs, the goal of feeling good, and i strive for that. I dont feel the pain, or whatever it is that i believe is there. I dont know whats there, but im afraid.... so i run to the movies, to the rebound girlfriend or whatever. 

We talk of intention, but im not so sure that intention is something that is to be striven for. I think we are putting the cart before the horse. The question of aligning intention with spirit... i see this as a byproduct. Right now we are fragmented, broken, divided. We have all these images, these conflictions that are incoherent... this is misalignment. Strife, desire; this is the division. We associate ourselves with our styles of martial arts, our religions, or whatever ten thousand things it may be, and this is division.Intention is the byproduct of wholeness, and to understand the nature of wholeness is to understand the nature of division, the nature of strife. Im not talking about the perfectly natural goal of getting the apple from the tree on the other side of the river. Im talking about the nature of the goals, or the desire we have psychologically. If you see this whole process, isn't that the end of the process? Its like the hot stove, maybe when you are a child you touched the stove unknowingly, you felt the heat. You saw this clearly, after that, there was no questioning. If i place the hand over the stove there is no question. There is no choice, there is no time. I dont choose to take my hand away from the stove. Seen clearly, and pulled away. When i am walking and almost step off of a cliff, i jump back! There is no time for choice, i dont say, "hmm, well should i jump back?" I have seen the danger of things fallen, and the damage it can cause, i have no room for choice. The confused mind is the one that chooses. So can we see this whole process of the brain, the whole of it at once, the tricks it uses, and how it uses them... Can we stay with that thing, when we experience pain or whatever it may be... can we watch it without calling it something? Cause when we call it something we are really running. Can we watch it, feel it with everything? Alignment of intention and spirit isn't something that can be striven for. It comes uninvited. It comes as the result of watching, of sensing and feeling. If you are with me on this, and not accepting what i am saying, but instead with me... then is that thing happening?