Too often, under the cover of a daily practice, one can be having fun more than practicing. Indeed, the exercises that suit us are often those that amuse us, while those that bother us are forgotten. We take pleasure thus in a complexity and a confusion which occupies our mind.
But what are we doing here, in fact, in training?
What is the aim of the practice?
What do we do in it?
It goes without saying that a good discussion with your teacher can help…
There is no use in knowing the goal of the exercises that we practice, it does not make us progress more quickly, however the practice is simplified if one introduces spontaneity, naturalness.
This naturalness can only come into a relaxed body and a peaceful mind… achieved by training.
Training and practice
We cannot practice without learning. It is even impossible to practice properly without learning from a teacher. But we need to understand that neither the training nor the practice are the aim of the teaching.
With training, and then with practice, we aspire to get back freedom, spontaneity, naturalness.
The point of “learning” what is spontaneous and “natural” is a very Taoist paradox…
Always learning new things is meaningless if one is not practicing, it is a distraction. To practice without going to the bottom of our training limits the depth of the teaching. But to learn and practice without going towards a certain form of freedom is a waste of time.
This release, this “formlessness”, finds its root in the precision of a clear practice.
The spontaneity, the naturalness, which rely on our confused perception of things and of the world, are mere illusions. Perceptions only get to the consciousness once they have been through all the egotistic filters of our unexplored mind… perception of reality at its most afflicting stage.
These three parts of the training (training, practice and release) are the “three treasures”, and are in relation to the three internal treasures: Jing (essence), Qi (energy) and Shen (mind).
Simplicity of the practice: San Bao.
You have a collection of a thousand and one exercises; I, myself, have ten times more, but all this jumble follows a simple logic:
“The study of the Three Units allows union and complete consciousness, with the aim of perception of the Changes in Reality”.
In short, the understanding of the three parts will enable us to unify our body and mind.
What are the three parts to work on (for those who aren’t following at all…)?
The body: relaxed, strong and rooted.
The work of the body is mostly work on health. We can only work while in good health, especially as the practice requires time. The good health expresses itself through three aspects:
1. Relaxation: for a fluid circulation of the body liquids. It is tested and learnt mostly by coordination.
2. Strength: for a body resistant to external and internal aggressions. One can work on it through “wai gong”, external exercises.
3. Rooting: for a capacity to understand Reality. One can work on it in many ways…
Energy circulation: fluid exchanges
A fluid circulation is source of good physical and mental health, and requires us to go a little further than the relaxation of the body. We have three important steps in “nei gong”:
1. Realisation of internal feelings
2. Mobilisation by will
3. Natural and conscious exchanges.
The knowledge of the mind: present but not affected.
Not to know ourselves is the source of constant discomfort, however we are rarely the one we think we are. The exercises of the knowledge of the mind are there to identify and meet that which we are. We have, of course, three stages:
1. Self observation
2. Observation of the world
3. Global perception
It is pointless to want to understand everything now, but it is an advantage to examine one’s practice in order to see whether it contains these three parts.
Once again, honest exchange with your teacher will provide you with a clear practice.
The natural state: training, practice and freedom
In a complete and clear practice, gradually, precise exercises will be understood and, in this mastering, freedom will be able to emerge. Freedom requires a certain structure, a sustained spontaneity of educated relaxation, an intuition fed by knowledge… The whole of it, leading to Naturalness.
The practice is not locked up in a move or a breathing. Without the learning of this move or this breathing, there cannot be practice… there is a paradox.
1. The exercises of the arts of combat are not combat.
2. The exercises of coordination are not the relaxation.
3. The exercises of internal alchemy are not alchemy.
4. The exercises of Qigong are not the exchange.
5. The exercises of meditation have nothing to do with the meditative state.
One should not make the confusion.
To conclude, understand this:
“All the practical application of the teaching must go in the direction of relaxing the body, to allow energy to circulate or bring peace to the mind, sometimes all three together. You can only practice with that in mind. Without realising this, there is no practice. In this realisation, you are in the simplicity of the Way”.