It is a temperate spring day in Sydney. I went on my usual lockdown walk from Coogee to Kingsford. Something I was thinking about is how you can meet a master of a certain activity. You can learn the basics of the activity that they will show you. They will give you tips on diet and things to look out for. What you remember and practise every day is what you can do to at least keep on a certain path. When I was younger I thought primarily about mastering a style or approach but when an obstacle appeared it seemed to block my way forward. Maybe I expected too much from myself and wasn’t happy with the basics? Or I forgot that the basics were also beneficial. The master for example has had different experiences than you. They may have mastered multiple styles in particular circumstances. They have also developed their own philosophy based on their training. They may feel that only certain parts of what they learned are beneficial to their students.
If I can’t at least practise what I have learned then what is the point of having spent that much time learning what I have? I need to keep that connection and be happy to have had the experience of meeting the master and doing what I can. The act of doing an activity is a real job. You can talk about it as much as you want. You can debate about certain topics. You can talk about your master on a related forum. At the end of the day, people will only respect you if you put the work in yourself. It is actually much better if what you practise goes unnoticed. That is what I love about Taoism. The more you talk about it in day to day life the more people don’t hear anything. They won’t believe you if you say this or that about the master and his skills. You may have seen things with your own eyes but you can never share them. It is because some things belong in the background. They are like dark matter that not even science can see. It is just a hypothesis or explanation for what can’t be explained.
Even if people were to believe what you had described they will forget. Or say they said I want to meet the master. They may also see this or that phenomenon but that can also cloud the mind. You may simply forget the basics that you were taught. You may question the basic mechanics or be blinded by the master in that you may not know what is expected of you. At the end of the day, it isn’t what others can do. It is what you can learn and retain for your own benefit. You may never reach that level even if you do follow the masters every word. The best I can do is practise what I have been taught. I always have to remember though that I am on a separate journey. I can only retain what I can and if something seems to block the way I still have the basics as the guide.
There is a lot to talk about these days. Yet there is also a lot to do. I have a lot to vent about but I am holding off. Having a good walk can let you focus on what is important. There is a lot of natural energy at the moment as well. Something else that came to mind was my understanding of art and culture. I like art and culture but my own knowledge is a bit patchy. There is a lot that I do know or am aware of but I tend to forget things here and there or not really have a clear idea. Mainly because there is the art I may have learned in art school. There is a lot of new work that I could have seen but a lot that I haven’t. There is also stuff that has been hammered into my head since high school and I will never forget and probably wish I could. I like classical music and contemporary classical but I only know a little about that as well. I only tend to have a handful of musicians and artists that I keep coming back to and have a little bit of knowledge of.
I suppose that my overall interest in music is eclectic for example in that I cross a lot of styles and genres because I believe in almost any style there will be at least one song that is good. In saying that though I don’t listen to a lot of styles at the same time. Yet I don’t like death metal at all but I did hear one song I liked on a death metal album because it seemed to bend the rules of death metal and was quite different from most of the genre. So there you go. What happens though with art and culture is I actually forget a lot of it. I am not aware of the latest trends and practitioners in certain genres. Like I said to my young adult child some time ago is I have an old head on my shoulders. Also, I met a younger artist some time ago who reminded me of a lot of stuff I had forgotten about. I think a lot of my artist friends have been missing in action and are busy making a living to swap art knowledge with me. Some are finding inspiration in stuff that isn’t art. Some are hating on art. Some people think their own knowledge shouldn’t be shared at all.
Either way, I am due to do some Qi Gong in the next half an hour.