18th February ‘11  (taken from my personal journal…)

It is so difficult to live The Way in this modern age in the manner in which the old masters would advocate.
Our lives are now so integrated with so many others, that to follow The Way in the way of the ancient masters would mean to remove yourself from society and live as a hermit. This would be to remove yourself in a far greater way they they did. Simply because living a modern life means that the integration is so much more intense than it was in ancient times.

However, what would one gain from doing this if enlightenment could only be reached in isolation from the modern world? When one returned to the world, he would be unlikely to fit in.

So, a new way must be sought; one that allows for the manic lives we now lead.

However, before that, one still needs to understand what Bruce Lee meant by the following:

Repose in nothing.

Establish nothing in regard to oneself.

Let things be what they are,

move like water, rest like a mirror, respond like an echo,

pass quickly like the non-existent, and be quiet as purity. 

Those who gain, lose. 

Do not precede others, always follow them.

What did he mean by this?
Bruce talks of the mind, and the way in which we allow ourselves to be distracted by the smallest thing. When we are distracted, our thoughts linger in one place and are no longer aware of other things.
So, if we train our mind to be like water flowing in a stream, it will encounter distractions to its natural course and instead of lingering at a distraction and having thoughts of the obstacle, it will simply acknowledge the existence of that obstacle and move around it. Like a rock in a stream, the water doesn’t pause to check and evaluate the best course of action, it simply flows around the rock because the rock is not an obstacle to the path, merely a point of diversion.

rest like a mirror
A mirror instantly reflects an image of whatever is placed in front of it without pause. This line demonstrates the value of being aware of all things in your surroundings at once. This is only possible if the mind is not allowed to stop at any one point. Like a camera that takes a photo, it sees all things in its field of vision; it doesn’t focus its efforts on any one thing.

A still, but open, aware mind will be capable of this as it will have no thoughts popping into existence in the way that random thoughts do. When one starts to learn how to meditate, he will at first, find that it is very difficult to still the mind to the point where thoughts do not keep popping into existence and distracting him from the task of mental stillness.

How to do this? Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism makes it clear in the following passage:

Who is there that can make muddy water clear?

But if allowed to remain still, it will gradually become clear of itself.

Who is there that can secure a state of absolute repose?

But let time go on and the state of repose will gradually arise.

In other words, when learning to meditate, one must simply accept that it will take time and practice.

respond like an echo
This is the same as the mirror. When a sound is uttered, the echo comes straight back. There is no time taken to analyse, review, then finally respond. That is the human way.
But we are not trying to become less human by trying to remove thought. Rather we are merely to find a way to transcend the human state that gets bogged down with thoughts that are borne of distractions.
Like a cat when playing with a mouse, it lets it go for a moment, then waits for the mouse to move. Its mental focus is one of a hunter; it will react to the necessary stimulus without pause for thought. It responds like a mirror, instantly reacting to the image in front of it.

However, have compassion for yourself and realise that when the above state cannot be attained, we are still human, and one of our attributes is to analyse situations and anticipate a future condition.
When this is required of us, then be human, allow the thought processes to occur. When that task is done, then attempt to return to the state of Mushin – complete awareness with no discerning thought.

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