The Flight of Icarus, From the ZXD Point of View

image of a feather

image of a feather

Stories of Awareness

by Instructor Jeffrey Wong

According to Greek mythology, there was this man named Icarus, whose father Daedalus was a very talented craftsman. Daedalus built the “Labyrinth” (a maze that no one could exit) for King Minos of Crete to imprison a half-man, half-bull monster called the “Minotaur”.
After the labyrinth was finished, King Minos then imprisoned Daedalus and Icarus inside because Daedalus gave the king’s enemy, Theseus, a clew (clue, a ball of string) to find his way out of the maze after defeating the Minotaur.
In order to escape the labyrinth, Daedalus caught many crows waiting for them to die inside the maze, and used their feathers to create two pairs of large wings for himself and his son Icarus.
Before escaping the labyrinth island, Daedalus warned his son to not fly too close to the sun because the wax he used to glue the wings together would melt, and not fly too close to the sea because the feathers would get wet.

Then, they started their flight to escape the island. As soon as Icarus got used to using the wings, he was eager to show off his newfound flying skills. As he kept soaring higher and higher and too far to hear his father’s calls, the wax on Icarus’s wings started to melt as he flew too close to the sun, and he fell into the ocean and drowned.

Lessons For Zhong Xin Dao Students

There are two lessons we can take from this legend and see them in our Zhong Xin Dao philosophy and practice:
  1. The most obvious lesson that is congruent to our philosophy, we should seek the center path. To not stray too high near the sun, nor too low near the water like Icarus, and we need to stay in the middle; not be blinded by our egos, or by our own preferences, and do not lose awareness of the neutral path.
  2. During the learning process, students need to first follow the path set forth by their teachers/instructors. However, instructors themselves are also never perfect, and they are also students for life. There is no reason to think a student cannot surpass a teacher.

    So when the students understand the principles further, the path set by the teachers may no longer seem the most efficient, then they can adjust it to be more precise to be in the center. But, was the teacher’s planned path not the best route because they are imperfect, or is the student’s view biased to think he/she has found a better way?

    I personally absolutely understood Icarus’s excitement once he felt he has achieved some success, and started thinking I have understood all that there is to know and I can fly my own path, only to be humbled by many failures in applications, and needed to retrace the principle which ultimately should be the most correct path and not according to any person’s opinion of the proper way. We then can start the process again, while hoping the next journey would be more precise. Luckily, our failures in training usually do not have fatal consequences like Icarus’s fall.