Saturday, August 12, 2006

MORE RULES

It seems that this subject really hits a chord. A few people have spoken to me privately about it. One person was especially interesting as he is one of my Tai Chi teachers. He pointed out that Tai Chi is a system with some pretty serious rules. In Tai Chi there is a very specific way of doing everything. All movements have precise forms and all postures are very defined. Even though one of the objectives of Tai Chi is total relaxation while moving it would seem that the ideal is extremely rigid in that the actual form is very specific So my friends point was that Tai Chi, which we are both very devoted to, is based on some pretty serious rules. I had to think about that for a few days.
One of my very first realizations when I started to kind of understand Tai Chi was that when you get a movement right it feels absolutely perfect, as if one has made a movement that completely corresponds to physical perfection. If that is so, and I am really only speculating, then it would seem that Tai Chi, or perhaps any martial art properly followed, is actually a state of perfection in movement. That would then seem to mean that Tai Chi is not about following rules but about discovering perfection. What we see as rules are really a means of entering into that perfection.
The physical universe has rules. Granted they change from time to time as physics gets ever more sophisticated but some things seem pretty firm. If someone drops a big rock it is best if you are not standing under it and other things like that. But let is see if there may be other things going on besides these physical laws.

There is a basic statement in Sufism that goes like this – The state of perfect freedom is a place of no choice. What this means, as I understand it, is that perfect freedom is really a state of always being in the NOW and always making the most perfect response to any given condition or situation. In the Now, with no thoughts of previous situations or psychological baggage to demand that a person react or respond in a particular way, a person is free to respond in the most perfect manner. Each situation, condition or event will be responded to solely on it’s own merits without recourse to any personal history. This does not mean that you do not use your intelligence but it does mean that you do not judge a situation on other than what it is in the moment. This is an ideal that people know about but tend to dismiss as not very realistic or attainable. And frankly, I can think of quite a few arguments against being in this state, just from a sense of self preservation. Never the less it is worth examining. As it applies to our current discussion it is very pertinent.
In Tai Chi, one of the ideals is to be totally in the Now, not anticipating, not moving from this position to that position. It takes some time to get to this state as a person first has to discover those perfect moves within the discipline. In other words, you have to learn the choreography. And then you have to get good at it. Decades they say. But so what? If you spend decades slowly developing a sense of the Now then that is what you are doing and, once the Now is discovered, even if for a nano-second, everything changes. That is when you begin to realize that there really are no rules. Tai Chi is in truth no different from any spiritual discipline in that it requires concentration and skill. The one difference that I can see is that, unlike most other forms of meditation, you are moving – so there is a deeper incorporation of the physical realm. Other forms of meditation require physical discipline, in that one is demanding that the body be still, relaxed but still. Another difference that occurs to me, though I am not at all sure if this is true, is that making the leap into the Void is probably not possible with Tai Chi. Maybe it is but, if it is so, I have seen none of the tell tale signs one senses just before you make the transition into the Void.
What is the Void? It is the place of no thought. Perhaps I will talk about that more in another blog. For now you can think of it as a state wherein a person is privy to the thinking of the universe. And the thinking of the Universe discovers you.

Love & Blessings, Musawwir

5 comments:

molly said...

Hi Musawwir,
I remember once you told me that each sphere has it's own rules and once 'you' (metaphysically and/or physically) move into a new sphere, it is advisable to learn the rules of that sphere. One of my favorite quotes from the Dalai Lama goes something like, "know the rules, so you know how to break them".

Nurelhuda said...

when the rules align with the real , they become unconscious competence . I am stdying coaching and doing coaching . All the soft skills are taken in sets of rules that become a fullproof structured methodology that produces results , You are given very many tools , more than one will ever need but it is in applying in the protocol that is defined very specifically that the tools work without fail . Learning how to maneuvre the tools is a learning process that takes one from memorizing and imitating the teacher, consciously doing it and then adding to it personal nuances that brings one to unconscious competence which seems to be freedom , it is freedom becaus there is alignment with al Haq,

Abi-Ru Shirzan said...

As Musawwir says, in the physical universe, there are some "laws" that appear to be pretty consistent, at least planet-wide and so far as we know. At what temperature does water freeze? If we trip, are we more likely to float up or fall down?

Outside the physical laws, rules look more like covenants or social contracts. I teach language and often cringe over apostrophes and hyphens and spelling. The problem becomes serious, though, when disregard for the rules of communication, or ignorance of them, prevents one person from getting through to another. A Chinese speaker who is consistently using "he" and "him" to refer to his mother is likely to confuse the listeners, who will probably miss the point of the speech in their misunderstanding or upset over the violated rules.

When I was a manager in a corporation, a young man once came in for a job interview in ratty shorts, a dirty Grateful Dead t-shirt, sandals, and white-boy dreadlocks. He looked at us in our suits and Business America get-up and just began laughing, then got up and said "I guess not." He didn't like the rules we had agreed to live by. He had some rules for himself that he was not willing to give up for the sake of a paycheck.

I like to say that I don't like rules--but I really hate traffic merges and busy intersections when the stoplights aren't functioning. Then I see the consequences of what happens when some social conventions that I choose to abide by are disregarded by others.

Courtesy isn't a rule--but it can be such a lovely social agreement. . . .

Abi-Ru Shirzan said...

As Musawwir says, in the physical universe, there are some "laws" that appear to be pretty consistent, at least planet-wide and so far as we know. At what temperature does water freeze? If we trip, are we more likely to float up or fall down?

Outside the physical laws, rules look more like covenants or social contracts. I teach language and often cringe over apostrophes and hyphens and spelling. The problem becomes serious, though, when disregard for the rules of communication, or ignorance of them, prevents one person from getting through to another. A Chinese speaker who is consistently using "he" and "him" to refer to his mother is likely to confuse the listeners, who will probably miss the point of the speech in their misunderstanding or upset over the violated rules.

When I was a manager in a corporation, a young man once came in for a job interview in ratty shorts, a dirty Grateful Dead t-shirt, sandals, and white-boy dreadlocks. He looked at us in our suits and Business America get-up and just began laughing, then got up and said "I guess not." He didn't like the rules we had agreed to live by. He had some rules for himself that he was not willing to give up for the sake of a paycheck.

I like to say that I don't like rules--but I really hate traffic merges and busy intersections when the stoplights aren't functioning. Then I see the consequences of what happens when some social conventions that I choose to abide by are disregarded by others.

Courtesy isn't a rule--but it can be such a lovely social agreement. . . .

Sarala said...

When I was a student at Kutztown State College - many decades before it became Kutztown University - there was a saying:
"West of Kutztown there is no law. West of Reading there is no god."
What it referred to was that the farmlands west of Kutztown were home to many people who had moved there seeking freedom from the structure and laws of towns and cities. It sort of worked. Until you reached farther west, to the city of Reading. There, the 'self governance' translated to chaos, crime and corruption.

I suppose a society can exist without laws if the population is sparse enought that wide open spaces absorb the chaos, or if the community is small enough to be close enough that individuals behave with concern for the affects their actions have on the world around them.