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The texture of reality
Taoism and Zen encourage us to experience reality in its most direct form. They aim to transcend education, philosophy and thought. How? The senses are given precedence. We feel rather than think.
Tai chi works in much the same way.
Thought impedes our ability to experience. Instead of seeing what is actually there, we look for the things that please us or interest us and avoid unpleasant stimuli.
This is a form of blindness, and it must be left behind if we want to interact with existence without barriers.
Society believes that truth varies according to the individual. This is perception, not truth.
The world in mind
Tao and Zen may advocate a more sensory experience of the world, but is this actually possible? We do not experience the world through our senses, but via our mind.
Can you understand the difference? And the implications?
It is important for us to experience things first-hand, not through somebody else. Yet, if everything is biased by mind, what can we trust? Our minds have been shaped, educated and moulded since birth.
Do we see things for ourselves? Can we see without bias? Are we always prey to the past? Does first-hand exist?
Truth is not a matter of argumentation and conviction; it is not the outcome of opinion.
We see the world as we are, not as it is. This may seem odd, but is very much the case. Everyone has their own standpoint to some extent and they channel reality through their minds.
Nothing is experienced without interpretation. Meaning, values and judgements impede our ability to really see. We are hampered by the accretion of education, opinion, preconceptions and desires.
Only by losing the ever-present self and allowing the mind to become quiet can we hope to open our eyes.
Zen is grounded in empirical truth. It is not theoretical. It does not embrace symbolism. It is fact-based, as real as a slap. Our syllabus works on the same basis.
The tai chi is a practical experience that can be proved through experiment. Students are encouraged to learn about tai chi principles for themselves.
The exercises, drills and scenarios in our syllabus call upon the individual to explore the validity of the principles and put them into practice.
Your understanding and skill are pressure-tested so that you can see the truth for yourself.
Reality is often referred to as 'truth' because it is not subject to any form of interpretation. Existence or reality just is.
Interpretation, opinion, perspective have no bearing on reality because reality is too immense and complex to be contained by thought.
Realising that we cannot apprehend reality is the beginning of understanding.
This 'truth' is not something to be sought, nor is it the opposite of lies and illusions. It is just a word applied to the raw immediacy of the moment you are experiencing.
Every nuance that is happening right now around you and within you is 'the truth'; the humming of the computer, the flickering of the monitor, the feel of the clothing you wear, your thoughts, the bird in your garden, the dirt on your shoes...
Every miniscule detail that is happening simultaneously every minute of every day represents the truth. It has no beginning and no ending.
Telling the truth
In court, when somebody asks a person to tell the truth, they are not really asking for the truth. The truth is everything, all at once, and cannot be verbalised.
What is being asked for is a limited segment of events, a degree of truth, relevant to their specific interests. In court, a 'version' is required. Subjective. Biased. Incomplete.
There is no such thing as objectivity. We process our experience of reality in our minds. Everything is filtered and interpreted by our memories, experiences and personalities.
We are entirely incapable of being objective.
The quest for answers
The 'external' personality seeks answers outside of themselves. They go to exotic lengths in search of their idea of truth; visiting remote monasteries, undergoing retreats or travelling to far away lands.
Yet, the Tao Te Ching says that you can find the truth without even leaving your room. This is 'internal'. Find the answers within. Perhaps you may even discover that their are no answers.
Questions are projections of the self and seeing the truth requires the individual to be rid of self.
Cord: Who are you?
Blind man: Whoever you think I am or want me to be, I am.
(The Silent Flute)
18 March 1997
Last updated 27 April 2020