Marblehead

Mair 19:3

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When Confucius was traveling in Ch'u, he passed through a woods and saw there a hunchback catching cicadas at the end of a long, sticky pole as easily as if he were gathering them up with his hands.

"That's quite a skill you have!" said Confucius.  "Is there a special way to do it?"

"I have a way.  For five or six months, I practice balancing two pellets at the end of my pole.  When I can keep them from falling down, then I'll only lose a small fraction of the cicadas.  When I can balance three balls and keep them from falling down, then I'll only lose one cicada in ten.  When I can balance five balls and keep them from falling down, then I can gather up the cicadas as easily as if I were using my hands.  I position my body as though it were an erect stump with twisted roots.  I hold my arms as though they were the branches of a withered tree.  The greatness of heaven and earth and the numerousness of the myriad things notwithstanding, I am aware only of the cicada's wings.  I neither turn around nor to the side and wouldn't exchange the wings of a cicada for all the myriad things.  How can I not succeed?"

Confucius turned to his disciples and said, "In exercising your will, do not let it be diverted; rather, concentrate your spirit.  This is the lesson of the hunchback gentleman."

Yen Yuan inquired of Confucius, saying, "When I was crossing the gulf of Goblet Deep, the ferryman handled the boat like a spirit.  I asked him about it, saying, 'Can handling a boat be learned?'  'Yes,' said he, 'good swimmers can learn quickly.  As for divers, they can handle a boat right away without ever having seen one.'  I asked him why this was so, but he didn't tell me.  I venture to ask what you think he meant."

"A good swimmer can learn quickly because he forgets about the water," said Confucius.  "As for a diver being able to handle a boat right away without ever having seen one, it's because he regards the watery depths as if they were a mound and the capsizing of a boat as if it were the rolling back of a carriage.  Capsizing and rolling back could unfold a myriad times before him without affecting his heart, so he is relaxed wherever he goes.  He who competes for a piece of tile displays all of his skill; he who competes for a belt buckle gets nervous; he who competes for gold gets flustered.  His skill is still the same, but there is something that distracts him and causes him to focus on externals.  Whoever focuses on externals will be clumsy inside."
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Posted (edited)

God, I do hope we can evolve beyond this rubbish.

 

"Concentrate !   Harder !   Pull Your Socks Up !   Don't Waver !"

 

Is that really it ?  Is that all you have got ?  A sort of self-hatred fighting with everything ?   Becoming coarse forceful and dumb ?   Concentrate focus push force !    Otherwise you are dumb and fall in the water like a girl !!!

 

Please, let us be a little more interested in living.

 

Do I wish to catch cicadas ?   Is that what I want ?   If so gain the experience, see what needs doing, and do easily, happily.   If I need more skill, more balance with a pole, then simply get experience.   That part of the story is true.    It's not about concentating like a M-F.   It's simply that you really wished to do it, and you got experience.   You trained and then you were able to.  Easy.
 

Knowing who you are, what you really wish, and doing what you wish .... this is a good way to stabilise your mind and be competent, to not be distracted.
Of course the other way, the traditional is what ?   Is fight, do things you hate, because somebody is goading you.   Then ..... yes then .... you need to concentrate focus force pressure .... because you do everything that you don't want to do.   Then you have kick yourself, smash yourself, ridicule yourself.

Isn't it time mankind tried to do something it actually wanted to do ?
We are so miserable, jumping through what we think other people want us to do.

CONCENTRATE !!!!

No.  I am just me.

 

When he says "focus your spirit", he means focus your will, but because it is ugly he disguise the words.
He doesn't really know his spirit or who he is.   When you are trying to force things .... you are in the background really thinking about how other people see you.   You live only through whether people will like you or hate you.   It is a slavery to the expectations of other idiots, it's a shame to live without knowing who you are and what you want : and that must be learnt through the courage to try and say what you wish, do what you want, and feel what you feel.   It does not come instantly, and can be uncomfortable, but necessary.

 

 

Edited by rideforever
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I think this quote from Chung tzu is very interesting as it clears up a fundamental problem in interpretation as regards the abilities of enlightened people. There are two aspects to becoming a master in any art, and those are: training of the fundamental techniques until they become second nature, and losing ones existential fear of failure that could debilitate any advancement reached by willful training.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/26/2018 at 6:05 AM, wandelaar said:

... aspects to becoming a master in any art, and those are: training of the fundamental ... and losing existential fear ...

 

Agree ... but would add to that. The frame of mind that one approaches any endeavor is important as well as understanding the environment in which one operates.

 

One cannont be a master boatman, swimmer or diver by simply rote learning. One needs to relinquish all preconceptions and be open to the learning experience. Then practice the fundamentals so they can be performed with grace and economy of effort.

 

The reason for pointing to the swimmer and diver is that they have intimate knowledge of the way water behaves through the experience of having been immersed in it. Knowing the environment in which you work will allow you to apply develop and apply skill to best advangage.

 

 

Edited by OldDog
Better word
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wow !   I have regretting not coming back more often to read these passages. I don't recall ever reading this and it was very thought provoking in the sense that I completely can feel this swimming every morning...  It is a little like 'being in the zone', when you cease to feel there is even water there.  I've struggled to explain this to my wife while we do laps but I just need to give her this passage !  :wub:

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