Knowledge Versus Wisdom
We have had several articles on various practice principles, all of which were giving you a good solid foundation for your practice. What these principles are really for, as you learned in the last article, is to help you in the process of letting go. This is all based on the Taoist principle that knowledge moves forward, wisdom moves backward. What we want to do in this article is take a closer look at this very important principle.
In order to understand this, you have to let go of a lot of your previous "programming". We live in a very technological society, where the accumulation of knowledge and technical expertise is held above everything else in our educational system. We are taught that all of this is what is referred to as "progress", and that we need to continue to update our knowledge to keep pace with the times. The problem is that this is a very focused and artificial type of learning, that results in a "missing the forest for the trees" point of view.
A good example of this can be seen in our so called health care system. You have a lot of doctors that see you as a heart, foot, liver, arm, or whatever area that they happen to specialize in. The body is a whole, complete, integrated system, not a collection of parts. You need to look at it this way in order to be able to diagnose the actual problem when an illness occurs, rather than just listing the symptoms and treating them. If you don’t get to the root cause, you can never cure the illness. Even worse, the focus is often so specific, that the side effects to other areas of the body become a bigger problem than the original illness.
We spend a lot of time concentrating on the Lower Dan Tian right from the beginning. We do this because we are trying to reconnect with our True Self, and that memory can only be found here. You start from a single cell which contains all that you are, and as you develop, you are connected to your mother in the Lower Dan Tian area. This is the area then, that we focus on to regain this memory. We are going backward, not forward in order to do this. As we get grow and get older, we get farther and farther away from our original, true, pure state, so to regain this wisdom, we must go back. By focusing on, and then locating this point, we regain this link to that original energy, and can then reconnect with our True Self.
When you look at the practice principles that make up your Taichi practice, you can see how these are all aimed at going back, not forward. The principle of letting go that we discussed last time is a good example. You are getting rid of tension and ego, products of all the piled on artificial ways of living that we take part in all our lives. You are getting rid of all the artificial thinking and concepts that you have been taught. You let go to return, to go back. This is true wisdom.
The principles of having a calm, concentrated, and clear mind also support this idea of moving back. You have to return your mind to a pure and natural state to progress in your Taichi practice. This is the way that your mind started out, before all the unnatural knowledge was introduced. You will do a lot of work to attain this kind of purity of mind. This is the real starting point that will allow you to focus on the Lower Dan Tian in a manner that will allow you to reconnect with that memory that leads you once again to your True Self.
Study the Taichi Classics, and see how all the concepts there address this going back. Look at all of the principles we have discussed in past articles, and try to see how these all point this same way "backward". It is very difficult at first for most people to do this, because there is so much outside resistance and pressure to do the opposite. Nevertheless, if you persevere in your practice, and keep going backward, you will achieve true wisdom, which is much more valuable than any knowledge that you will gain.