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The tuition of the Honourable Cat

Written by Huib, published Tuesday October 23rd, 2018

After eight years of working in Lyme Lands, I will be moving back to my actual profession and am finding new areas to apply it. The original meaning of ‘profession’ means a calling: ‘pro esse’. Mine is learning. Ever since I remember I’ve been finding ways to teach others how to learn. Which is what I have been doing for the last eight years as well, no matter how many people assumed I was either ill myself or fighting the system. Actually, I was playing a serious game, just like I did in the classroom of the business university. The only difference was that with Lyme the stakes were high and real.

If people wouldn’t learn how to empower themselves, how to rise from complaining to constructive action, how to use what we achieved with the United Nations, how to organise themselves effectively, how to document everything so that Child Protection Services could not take their ill children away, then they will suffer the predictable consequences. Suffering, often resulting in kidnapped children or even suicide.

Learning

The main conditions to learn are curiosity and relaxation. Without curiosity nobody will want to explore. Without relaxation you’ll be too tense to try anything new. I learned this myself while teaching kids to play soccer, after I wrecked my own knees out of too much ambition to play again on my old level. Applying aikido principles, they learned how to breath properly, to use strength rather than force and to use their whole body fluently. They were amazed by the result of NOT trying hard.

Kids learn much faster than adults. I love it when they start beaming after discovering how to deal with pressure and grades, simply by helping them discover how they learn, process information and can maintain their self-esteem, no matter how much nonsense adults try to tell them. So I will refocus on them and leave Lyme Land for what it is. I’ve done enough and have stopped learning myself, after getting far too much aggression towards me from the group I’ve been working for and with. If you ever find yourself within the dynamics of your own ‘workshop’, you’ll know it is time to move on.

I’ll be leaving at my own pace and will leave a farewell gift behind: my second book based on the best On Lyme interviews of the last five years, added with several new ones to complete the whole and give interested outsiders a complete overview of 25 years of medical dogma, social stereotyping, human rights abuses on a global scale and perspectives to move forward.

Fighting

Looking at the use of language on social media, blogs or newspaper articles, (nearly) everybody seems to assume that fighting actually leads to something. Does it? Should you fight against something or for it? What is that ‘it’ and is that really what you want? I’ve been practising Aikido for almost 20 years now and the first thing a proper teacher will show is to stop fighting. That is why we train with partners instead of ‘opponents’.

If everything is energy and we create our own reality, what are you actually fighting – either for or against? As an inspiration to those who are tired of fighting, yet not willing to roll over and die, here is a little story that I once used as a handout for my aikido-workshop for business leaders. Just remember that the language you use has magical powers: it will create the very thing you believe you’re fighting against. Enjoy the story.

The tuition of the Honourable Cat

Shoken, an expert in the art of sabre fighting, was being bothered by a rat, that had moved into his house a few days before. The fiercest cats in the neighbourhood were invited by Shoken at his house – his home had been transformed into an arena of sorts. To everyone’s surprise however, the fight always ended by the same scenario: the hunter ran away mewing in deadly fear of the rat. 

The sword master then decided out of despair to kill the animal. Armed with his sabre Shoken proceeded to attack. Yet the rat avoided, fast as lighting, all attacks aimed at him. The master doubled his efforts, yet the rat remained unscathed. And the master, sweating and out of breath, gave up. Should he surrender part of his house because of this cursed rat? This prospect depressed him more and more.

But one day he heard talk about a cat that had the greatest reputation in hunting in the entire province … However, when Shoken saw this infamous cat, his high hopes vanished into thin air – the already ancient animal was dreadful to even look at. Since he did not have anything to lose anymore, Shoken took the cat into his house and put him in the chamber that was being terrorized by the rat. The cat entered quietly, with calm steps, like nothing was the matter. When the rat appeared from out of his hiding place in the room however, it froze in deadly fear. The cat calmly walked towards it, caught it and walked out of the room with the rat in his mouth. 

That evening all cats that participated in the hunt gathered in Shoken’s house. The great Cat, hero of the day, was respectfully guided towards the place of honour. One of the cats got up to speak: “We were seen as the most experienced cats of the village. Yet none of us succeeded in dealing with this terrible rat, like you did. Your mastership really is exceptional. We burn with desire to learn your secret of success.”

The honourable Cat replied: “Before I will start the explain you the principles of the big Art, the direction of the Way, I would like to hear from you what you have already understood and where you enjoyed your education.”

The black cat stood up and said: “Because I am born in a famous family of rat hunters, I have been practicing this art since my early childhood. I can jump across two meters distance, I can wriggle myself into rat holes; well, I am champion on all kinds of acrobatics. Furthermore, I know all the schemes to attack and I have got quite a few tricks up my sleeve. I am ashamed that I retreated after facing this rat.”

The Great Cat explained: “You have only learned techniques. You are only occupied with planning the attack. The old masters only invented these techniques to teach us to perform a certain task in the most appropriate manner. The method of course is simple and accurate. All essential aspects of the Art are woven into it. Yet, all these technical tricks are not the aim of the Art. If one neglects the Way and only cultivates techniques, then the Art will degenerate and will be used arbitrarily. Don’t you ever forget that!”

Then the tiger cat stepped up and said: “According to me the most important aspect in the art of fighting is the ki, the energy, the mind. I have long worked to cultivate that aspect of the Art and now I have the most powerful mind of all cats, a mind that is capable of filling Heaven and Earth. As soon as I find myself in front of an opponent, my ki will take control of him. Which makes me certain of victory before the fight has even started. Even when a rat is walking over the rooftop, I manage to catch him: I only need to aim my ki on him to make him drop off. But his mysterious rat…. I could not handle him. And I still don’t understand why.”

The honourable Cat replied: “You are able to use a large part of your psychic energy, but the fact that you are so aware of that works against you. Confronting your opponent with your great psychic power is no solution, because you will always risk meeting an opponent with an even larger psychic power. You claim that your mind can fill Heaven and Earth, but there you are mistaken. This is not the mind itself, but only its shadow. Psychic power should not be confused with Spirit. True spirit is like an endless wave of energy flowing like a river, while a power like yours is dependent on circumstances, like a flood can only exist by grace of a downpour. That difference in origins implies a difference in results. A cornered rat is mostly more vigilant than the cat that attacks it. It is alert and drenched with the will to battle. Almost no cat can break that kind of resistance.” 

The grey cat then went on to say: “As you just mentioned, the mind is always accompanied by its shadow and however large its power may be, the enemy can always gain advantage by using this shadow. I have practised lengthy on this matter: to not resist the opponent, but to use his strength against him. By the grace of my fluent movements, even the mightiest rat cannot touch me. Still, this peculiar rat did not let itself be caught in my posture of non-resistance.”

The old Cat answered: “What you call the posture of non-resistance, is not in harmony with Nature: it is a trick of the mind. An artificial posture of non-resistance demands a psychic willpower that influences the quality of your observations and blocks the spontaneity of your movements. In order to let Nature manifests herself, you need to free yourself of all mental compulsions. When Nature proceeds in her own way and acts within and through you, there is no more Shadow, no error from which your opponent can profit …..

Even though I am just an ordinary cat that does not understand much about the matters of men, I want to draw a comparison to the Art of the Sabre – to express a deeper truth. In the art of the sabre the goal is not just to beat the opponent. It is foremost the art to be aware, at the crucial moment, of the cause of life and death. A samurai has to remember this constantly and focus as much on his spiritual practise as on the development of his battle techniques. He needs to penetrate the cause of life and death. When he reached this level of being, he is free to cherish whichever self-thought or to have whatever negative emotion – he does not waste time on calculations or reasoning. His spirit has become a mind of non-resistance that is in harmony with all that surrounds it. 

If one is advanced to this level of ‘no-desire’, there is no more object within the mind – which is shapeless by nature. The spiritual energy, the ki, will then spread in a balanced way, without limitations. If it is however attracted towards an object, the energy will fluctuate towards one side, while the other side will be deprived of energy. The side with too much energy floods and cannot be contained any longer. And the deprived side will not be nourished enough and shrinks. In both cases it is impossible to react adequate to the circumstances, that are after all always changing. But when ‘no-desire’ prevails in the mind, it is not pulled in just one direction, but transcends subject as well as object.”

Shoken then asked: “How should one understand ‘transcending subject as well as object’?” The Honourable Cat answered: “Because there is a self, there is also an enemy. If there is no self, there is also no enemy. When you label the things with a word and force them into fixed, artificial forms, they appear to exist in polarities. Male against female, fire against water. Yet if in your mind there is no judgment, there can be no conflict of opposites. Then there is absolutely no self or enemy. When the mind is transcended, one can taste a state of ‘non-acting’. Then one is in harmony with the universe, freed from the dualistic World that is created by the mind. When the tiniest piece of dust blows into our eyes, we can no longer see. The mind can be compared with the eye: once an object penetrates it, its power is lost.

Well, this is what I wanted to explain to you. It is up to you to taste the truth of it. True understanding is not found in written teachings. A special transfer from human to human is needed. However, one can only reach the truth by one’s own efforts. Teaching is not very difficult, neither is listening. It is difficult to become aware of what lives inside of you. Satori, the awakening, is nothing other than observing your own being, to look deep inside who you really are. Satori is the end of a dream. Awakening, self realisation, observing your own being are all synonyms for the same.” 

(Source: Fauliot & Random – Stories of budo in China and Japan.)

drs. Huib Kraaijeveld

In: Blog Philosophy Inspiration

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