Bringing the transitions from 2014 to 2015
2014 was a year with lots of ups and downs for many people. I would have thought it was the year of the Dragon, but it was the year of the Horse. I don’t know anything about Chinese zodiac, why am I making associations with it? Still, I believe in something that is revolving around us.
In my twenties, I fought hard to free myself from my Chinese-Hong Kong mentality and values, though I had never been someone traditional and conventional like the generation of my grandmother; or someone money-oriented or career-oriented; it’s still perturbing to be instilled in another world with another set of values, social codes and perception. The change over time was subtle but powerful.
Interestingly, after refusing my own culture and refreshing what I choose to assimilate for almost a decade. I am now digging in my roots hoping to catch a glimpse of Taoism. That had been my plan since the project Being Chinese in Quebec. In 2014, I gave myself a kick in the ass and finally got initiated in taichi. Taichi and Taoism are not only about the world, it’s about the cosmos! You can learn whatever you are inspired to learn: Physics, yin and yang, energy relationships, human relationships. Oh my Laozi! I can’t put these things in words yet.
In order to practice taichi of Chen style, you have to observe your body as well as listen to your opponent’s body.
At this time, I’m also reading Jiddu Krishnamurti’s Book of Life Daily Meditations, he writes about listening, it’s so beautifully said:
The noise of listening
‘’Listening is an art not easily come by, but in it there is beauty and great understanding. We listen with the various depths of our being, but our listening is always with a preconception or from a particular point of view. We do not listen simply; there is always the intervening screen of our own thoughts, conclusions, and prejudices....To listen there must be an inward quietness, a freedom from the strain of acquiring, a relaxed attention. This alert yet passive state is able to hear what is beyond the verbal conclusion. Words confuse; they are only the outward means of communication; but to commune beyond the noise of words, there must be in listening an alert passivity. Those who love may listen; but it is extremely rare to find a listener. Most of us are after results, achieving goals; we are forever overcoming and conquering, and so there is no listening. It is only in listening that one hears the song of the words.’’
Another book I read Free Yourself from the Known a few years back is still striking on me. He repeatedly stresses on the fact that we have to free ourselves from previous experiences, information and knowledge which shaped our prejudices and judgement in order to become lucid like a blank page day after day. Second after second.
That sounds like what I am searching for over the past decade. No matter it’s in terms of
body or mind, I think it’s the way to go, a process that is truly timeless.
Freeing oneself from our judgement and prejudice, how intriguing it is! In 2014, I began the journey by freeing myself from the mind of capitalism, the current world where most of us were born into. We are so bound to its values, it’s even impossible for some people to imagine a world without competition. Capitalism is about money, hierarchy, the survival of the fittest which is for me competition-based. It’s the societal system imposed on us and therefore shaping our mindset since we were born. I don’t like the idea of being bound to it. The idea of competition. Hierarchy. I started searching for something else including studying communism/ socialism in an attempt to understand the world. There are many ideas and values I buy into. People easily argue,’ Communism doesn’t work, it is too idealistic, people can make progress only by competition.’ Fighting for power. Fighting for social status. Fighting for wealth. Are we bound to these previously -set purposes by the governors since we were born? Are we that obedient to believe the world without competition would not work? Why were we taught all communist parties are dictators in this world? Is there another interpretation? Why are we so naïve to believe in what the governments give us in the guise of freedom? Freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of…bullshits.
Today, I am pretty sure that if my government were able to allow every citizen to activate and exercise their freedom of mind, while it might not be the ideal government, it would be a better one. This government just does not exist (in most major countries glamorizing freedom and democracy the most loudly). Do you know the French comedian Dieudonné who keeps questioning about the functioning of the occidental world- religions, distribution of wealth, democracy? His works are censored in France, the country whose motto is liberty, equality and fraternity. Looking around what is happening around the world, hypocrisy is omnipresent. Sadly or lucidly, at this moment, I have the thought that the only veritable freedom we could possess is not from the outside, it exists only in our inside.