Opposites and wholeness


(From Shifu Damir’s ‘Desperately Seeking Yin: Tai Chi Chuan as the Masters-of-the-next-level-see it’)

Master Ananda: Everybody seeks happiness, right? But what does that mean? How can that abstract statement be translated into reality? What is happiness? Happiness is completeness. Happiness is wholeness. Happiness is a circle! And what do we find inside the circle? We find the opposites. How can people achieve happiness if they are acting in only one half of that circle, in a single aspect of that duality? Sooner or later the lacking opposite has to be introduced. One dedicated to family or society, to children or career, must learn solitude. The isolated being, the eccentric, the artist, must learn communication, how to function within society.

This is the task of the Master: to teach people to become complete. To achieve wholeness. Otherwise, there is no happiness.

Which is why we insist on duality. We start with the most obvious, talking about material/spiritual, work/rest, activity/passivity, action/meditation. These are all simple dichotomies, easy to understand regardless of one’s education or philosophical inclinations. As concepts they are as simple as day/night, life/death, quite obvious Then we broaden it out, seeing how this same rule of duality applies in all aspects of life. If there is a segment of life wherein earnings have priority, there must be a segment of life where money has no importance. If there is no such segment, one eventually feels unfulfilled, quite miserable. By achieving only wealth, nothing is achieved. But if the achievement of wealth is accompanied by complementary activities, we see true abundance.

So again we say everything is and is not, can be but does not have to be. Nothing is absolute, other than that there is no escape from duality. Duality is the basis for development. We can tolerate single-headed, one-aspected students for a short while – five years, seven years, eleven years. We give some time… But if they remain one-aspected, they are of no use to us. Immersed in one-track living, enjoying their successes at a single level, in a single aspect, in one half of the whole. We are, ultimately, interested in the whole only. In bringing about wholeness. In balancing and completion.

...What is it that people need? Some people do not need any logical explanation. To those who have faith, who feel the impulse, who are open, to them it is enough to say: Have faith. To those who need rational explanation we do not say: You are stupid, for not listening to your intuition. No, no, we play along, make allowances, understanding their hesitation and scepticism. We try to bring the Idea closer to them. We explain. We do not tell them: Meditate and you’ll see, all will be revealed… That works with open-minded aspirants, but not with reluctant, rigid beings, too rigid to be reached through intuition or related methods.

So to them we offer explanations in terms of mechanical laws, through logical illustrations. We say: There is no day without night, no life without death... When they nod and say: Of course, of course, then we can ask them to apply the same rule, which they see as obvious at the material level, to the next level, to their soul. This is when we introduce the soul, sneak it in (chuckle). Hoping they’ll remember they’ve got one!

Shifu Damir: If there is the temporal, there must be the eternal. If there is the horizontal, there must be the vertical.

Master Ananda: Everything has its opposite. If the opposite is ignored, a person cannot prosper. He can excel in his chosen area, but cannot round out his being, get closer to the happiness he aims for. Happiness is there only for people whose work is rounded, well-balanced, who have accepted duality, who have started working on a threefold Endeavour, in all four dimensions. For them, happiness is possible.

And to them, help is readily available. Those who feel as if help never reaches them are not unlucky, but have created a barrier, a resistance. When there is resistance, helpers cannot get through. But help is always there. It is up to a person to become accessible. We are trying to formulate it carefully, without resorting to a cliche such as: There is an angel at your shoulder, whispering in your ear, but you refuse to hear and its your own fault. We would never put it like that.

Shifu Damir: I remember one session several years ago, when it was said that people are creating shields or shells around themselves, erecting barriers, so no help can reach them, and that’s why we need skills such as these I teach, through which they learn to relax, so it’s easier for helpers to get through.

Master Ananda: We teach them this because we love people. That must be the guiding feeling.