Why Our Training Must Be Direct, Must Be With Nature
[This excerpt comes from the viewpoint talk, “Food for Thought: Philosophy, Concepts, Principles” presented by GM Sam Chin 21 March 2020. The full talk is available in our on-demand video subscription library.]
Overview of The System
Let me give an overview of what the system is. Our system of Martial Art of Awareness (and Zhong Xin Dao approach to the I Liq Chuan curriculum) is based on the philosophy of Zen and Tao and given the Chinese acupuncture meridian points; it talks about the nature of things and about trying to understand what nature itself is. That is the philosophy we want to talk about.
What Is Nature?
First of all, to understand nature, what is the characteristic of nature?
The first is change–how nature itself is always changing. From this philosophy of understanding change, you must see what is happening, you must change with the change. The important thing here is how can you change with the change? You must be able to understand that to “be with” nature is “being with” the moment of change.
In Tao, yin and yang here must have one neutral point or line that both combines the two and separates the two. So the balance of the yin and yang is a complementary balance—it’s not balancing two of the same.
How To Change
We talk about ‘keep on changing,” yes, but HOW can we do that? We say ‘keep on balancing with the moment’—in order not to change.
Do you understand this concept: “Change with the change to maintain not to change?” This is the moment. The present point. That means you’re continually changing [puts his 2 index fingers together and moves them around in space together]. We are moving, but the point where they meet–here–that doesn’t change. It maintains the same here even as it keeps on changing.
So, maintaining is connecting, being with the moment. So—all training is about connection. To connect, to be together, then can we get the right information, to listen to what is happening.
Sometimes we talk about this as DIRECT KNOWING.
Just to ‘know’ must come from this directness. When we talk about knowing we have two references: know from the past or know from the present. Our training must be direct—knowing the moment. But the hardest part is how can you know the moment when it keeps on changing?
You must be able to change with the change—to flow along with it. But, first of all, how can you flow along with it?
“You must be able to understand that to be with nature is being with the moment of change.”
~GM Sam Chin
Knowing From The Tao: Standing On Top of Change
The flowing along means it always has the point of contact. The point of contact—you must keep on balancing it. That means you keep on balancing it with the flow: Balancing the point that you meet, balancing the pressure that you hold. But in order to do the balancing, you need attention to be there first—that means you need concentration to be there: to meet, to hold over there first—to maintain there.
“Maintain” means you have to change with the change to maintain.
To hold, you have to change with the change to hold. From the training, you always have to stand on top of the very base of change first—to maintain not to change. That means you have to keep on balancing, every moment, every second, constant balancing to be the same. Here is the present moment. And with that point, it turns into a stillness point—the stillness point is a steady point, constantly adjusting.
Stillness As The Reference
With this stillness point as a reference, you’ll see the difference.
But what is the difference? Under the Tao, we can observe difference as just “difference” without labeling it. If you label the things, “ok—the difference is because it’s red or black, etc.”—that means you’ve already gone beyond the difference—that means you’ve gone into the difference of judgment. That means you’re going beyond that difference to reference past experience.
That is not the Tao. The Tao, we say ‘it cannot be named.’ But then how can you know? It’s only knowing through the difference; through observing difference you can see the relationship—it has a change; the cause and effect. Knowing here is one, two, and three: because of separations and unifications—they have differences.
Our training is based on this kind of attention and the skill to connect.
When we talk about “connecting”, the reference has to be using the center point! If you say a ‘center’, what is the characteristic and quality, and function of that one center point?
A center must have up-down, left-right, forward, and backward. It must have all these that go out from the center to the circumference and come back to the center in order for it to be considered as a center point, so one center point is able to manifest this directional energy. To understand this concept of “center” directly, you must understand six directions and three dimensions.
Of course, the first center point must come from the feet, gravity, then the mass, then the alignment that has the six directions and three dimensions.