Sunday, December 30, 2012

Systems of Thought Comparison

Pat Finger
Tuscon, AZ
In Principles of Effortless Power, you talk about Cheng's levels of t'ai chi ch'uan. . . . I looked back on notes that I have from your Art of Effortless Power from page 16: Feeling-attention "energy work."
You talk about Outreaching as being the bridge between Listening and Joining. Outreaching: Being 'in-touch' with the present and ever-shifting state of interaction; and "Psychic work: awareness beyond what is normally considered objective human perception"

... Are these two "principles" related?
And Is the "heaven level- Degrees 1, 2, and 3:
1. T'ing Chin (Listening Strength"),
2 Comprehension of Chin, and
3. Omnipotence Level, the same as this feeling-attention?

My response to this and the next letter require I spend a moment promoting some clarity on our relationship with beliefs. Whenever we learn anything or hear about something, it is based in a structure of beliefs and assumptions. Any system that is created (and remember, all systems are inventions, not observations) must have a structure with particular distinctions that become its reality. This is what we learn. These almost always lead to a particular use of words; and labels and names peculiar to this system are assigned to the various aspects of the invented structure.

Are you following this so far? I imagine you'd rather hear an answer to the question, but as you will quickly find, that's not the way I work. I prefer to facilitate some real understanding and encourage a direction of authentic undertaking, rather than toss out handy information that will be taken pretty much at the same level of the request, as such we really won't progress in our dialogue, we'll simply banter.

To foreshorten a probably lengthier response, let me say that these words (heaven level, T'ing Chin, fajing, short energy, long energy, etc.) are pretty meaningless to me.

Do you understand why?

To what are they referring? And more importantly, what is YOUR experience regarding these words? We are programmed to think of systems of knowledge as something universally so. Unfortunately, I never got the Universal Text Book that the other masters must have gotten, so I have no ground from which to understand all hearsay. It is best to speak in terms of your own experience, as honestly as you can. What one teacher asserts another will not. And both may well be speaking of what they in turn heard from someone else. How can we progress in this way? Your questions are important to me, but I need to grasp what it is you're actually asking. For this, I need to know your experience (I don't mean how long you've studied, but what you see, feel, think is the case that leads to your question), and what it is you areactually wondering.

Now let me respond in some small way to the question asked.

Outreaching is simply feeling and being connected to another's whole body, so it seems to me that it can be seen as a bridge between listening and joining, since listening is perceiving what's there and joining is action taken in relation to what's there. When we join we want to join the whole body and action of the partner/opponent; ergo outreaching is a component of that effort.

Are outreaching and "psychic" work related? Really depends on how we structure our cosmology. 
Regarding: Is the "heaven level - Degrees 1, 2, and 3:
1. T'ing Chin (Listening Strength),
2 Comprehension of Chin, and
3. Omnipotence Level, the same as this feeling-attention? 
I don't know. Have never really tried to match what I experience with what others say. Well, not much anyway. Grandiose titles don't mean squat; only an experience is important.

I'm not a fan of the way the Chinese tradition has made so much into important sounding names, for then people tend to fear soiling these lofty ideals with their bumbling ignorance and all too often prefer instead to build up a fantasy around them, and pretend to stand importantly on that fantasy as a "knower" of this thing. It is a damaging position to take. I'm not saying this is true of you, I simply support freedom from this entrapment; and since many teachers do not, preferring instead the above position, I feel for the students who are pressed into a role of believing and following dogma. Certainly there is value in what others can teach, especially the giants that have come before us. Our task, however, is to move beyond the giants, and in so doing, honor them. Reciting dogma does no one honor.

Another way of answering your question is, no. The feeling-attention is just that, a sense with which we have awareness and feeling. This sense-perception should not be confused with emotion, but is the stuff with which we move our feeling sense around. Or at least that's the way it seems to me. But this is not listening, compression, or Omnipotent anything. We use our feeling-attention to assist in all of these (well I'm not sure what the Omnipotent thing is about, except that it's not true. I've never met anyone who is actually omnipotent, so why would we use such a term?). Does that help?

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