Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Listen to the Center

A friend brought up a phrase from push hands the other day - Listen to the Center. In push hands, you first try to find, identify the opponent's center, then apply a positive or negative force (push or pull, for example), to unbalance him. At the same time, you try to protect your own center. The highest form of defense being to 'hide' your center so your opponent can't find it at all.

I was thinking that this phrase applies at a higher level as well. I'm not writing in some dewy eyed, new age sense; but in a more practical matter.

Can you find, in any situation, it's center? Can you find those several attributes which constitutes it's center of gravity? If you can, then the application of a little force will yield great results. Conversely, if you can't, all your efforts will literally be on the periphery, and count for little.

Likewise, can you keep your own center protected and hidden? If you can, then nothing can harm you.

From the Dao De Jing, Chapter 50:

Men flow into life, and ebb into death.

Some are filled with life;
Some are empty with death;
Some hold fast to life, and thereby perish,
For life is an abstraction.

Those who are filled with life
Need not fear tigers and rhinos in the wilds,
Nor wear armour and shields in battle;
The rhinoceros finds no place in them for its horn,
The tiger no place for its claw,
The soldier no place for a weapon,
For death finds no place in them.


Compass360 Consulting Group said...

Listen to the center is the second stage of great IMA play.

1. Listen internally.
2. Listen externally.

Compass360 Consulting Group said...

One more point, Listening is about developing a strong sense of conscious awareness.

Compass360 Consulting Group said...

Q: So how do you protect your center?