Destruction is Good
As I step forward, repeating the Lung Ying technique, I feel my confidence increase. I sense an inkling of power.. I move quicker, adding energy to my body.. Suddenly a voice from behind; ‘Hold on Mike.. it’s this, not this’ - Sifu stops me to correct the shape. My mind races - ‘What?.. But I thought I was getting better? This shape correction feels much more difficult.. Is it really right? and now I have to start again slowly? Can’t I just keep going?’ My mind sceptically tries to weigh up the effort I have already put in, comparing it to some unforeseen benefit the modification might make.
As westerners, we usually think of Creation as ‘good’ and Destruction as inherently ‘bad’.. but actually if you think about it, both are part of a duality .. both sides are required for true development. Nature is full of examples - the snake sheds its skin to grow. Ladybirds, spiders, starfish and jellyfish metamorphose. Caterpillars use enzymes triggered by hormones to literally digest themselves before waking sleeping stem cells to reconstruct the amazing new body. Deadly volcanoes sprew lava into the sky only to result in the most fertile soil. While in India, I was interested to learn that the Hindu deity Shiva is the god of destruction.. because destruction is required to make room for new creation. I propose this is also why children and sometimes adults must cry - to emotionally throw everything on the ground, and then pick it up piece by piece afterwards to form a new picture of the world.
Whatever the method, all of this requires a surrendering of the old. But this is hard for us. The ego doesn’t want to do it. We have to calm our chattering voices and let go of the past. This makes room and allows us to have new realisations without having to fit them into old structures.
I take a deep breath, silence my mind and awkwardly try the corrected shape.. after 30 minutes I’m starting to get the hang of it. I see the deeper meaning now. I know the technique now at a more fundamental level. I practice and practice feeling now the euphoria of having let go of the old shape which now seems so wrong to me. Energy rushes as I explore my new-found mastery. Finally, I know this technique!.
‘Hold on, Mike’, says a voice behind me.