Referring back to our internal teaching materials, we talked about being a GUT CHEUNG 吉祥 disciple. Being GUT CHEUNG to your Sifu, your Sifu being Gut Cheung to the Tao, and being GUT CHEUNG to the Tao is basically like saying being with the power of nature and living a life in sync with how nature works. Being a Taoist also means being like nature.
Nature has its own way of operating, and you can see nature’s pattern by observing how time flows and how nature cycles. Day by day, and one year it cycles, from growth to death and back to a new cycle of life. Death is never just a blackout, just like evening comes and we expect the next day to be bright again. Who would believe that the Sun will not come back tomorrow? After this life is over, there is another; it just depends on where you are going to be born and what your future life will be like. Failure in life, or making mistakes, is just part of the journey. Look at how nature balances itself after some issues happen here and there? Nature will not care for the mistakes it has made, but it will balance out what is not right and try to regroup and realign itself again. Being a Taoist, we also do not keep sticking our feelings to what we have done wrong or failed to achieve. Instead, we always try to do better to make up for the bad time and bad things we did. No one can be perfect, yet we will still keep improving and do better every day, because that is how nature works too.
Nature makes use of time every day and it never stops. A Taoist should also do so, and never look at “when to stop” and just be “laid back and not move.” Doing things daily and making use of time, is the way of telling nature why you should still be here. Every day we need to breathe, which is a way we use our body to “work” for nature, processing the air and “giving back” something for nature to keep. If we just breathe in and not out, guess what will happen next?
The Tao and TE cycles, meaning that the Tao provides and then you give back to the Tao as TE, which is a form of virtue. The give back part is very naturally done and is always done just like how we have always given back some air while we intake. Being a disciple, you learn from your Sifu in the lineage, and your heart of appreciating is the giving back to your Sifu. Showing your Sifu that you love it, you like to learn, and you want more, is a way to give back to your Sifu and the lineage. If a disciple starts to show they don’t want to learn, or show that they don’t want to be alike with the Sifu and the lineage, then this is a sign of the relationship crippling, and the Taoist will fail soon.
Every day, we wake up and look at the nature’s energy flow, plan our day, and live a life that flows with nature’s pattern. Most people wake up and live a life based on how they feel only, and not how nature feels. Therefore, there will always be days where they think life is stuck, or some kind of obstructive forces are always holding them back from success. This is because they are not flowing with nature, and instead, they are going against the wind. Do you check the weather forecasts and plans your day in the morning? Or do you just walk out of the house and pretend nothing will happen later on? Taoists are the smarter ones, who know how to look at the fortune forecast and live a life based on how nature teaches them to do so. Being in sync with nature, flowing with nature, and knowing how to look for the nature’s energy flow pattern is the key to success.
Overcoming your own feelings is always the hardest thing to do, because most people are stuck with the propaganda of “freedom” in the Americanized world. When you are living a life based on nature’s flow, the flow might not be what you like or want to do. What if nature’s flow isn’t what you feel like doing? Then you will feel restrictions, or being controlled, just like if it is raining and you want to go out, then you will feel suppressed and controlled by the weather to stay home. Why don’t you just take an umbrella and go out? The feeling in the heart is hard to overcome, and it always wants to be rebellious at times to make you emotionally wrecked. Being a Taoist, you must first learn to fight this heart devil and be able to control yourself (your heart). Don’t let that little heart drive you crazy. Instead, you should take the wheel back.
Being able to force yourself to change, and submit yourself to nature, obey by nature, and live with nature’s flow, has nothing to do with freedom. Is freedom any good if it doesn’t lead to a good result? See how the farms are grown? Do you let the vegetable grown freely and just let them be? Or do you go chop them and upkeep the farm in an organized and systematic matter to ensure growth and productivity? By forcing things into a grid, you can control it better and make sure the result is going to be pleasant. Same to kids, if you don’t put some sort of restrictions and rules to them, then you will be spoiling them and they will be very free, yet spoiled, and you will see nothing but failures in life in their futures. Being a Taoist, we must know and learn from this. Freedom is not what you want - the result is what you want. As a Taoist, your grid is the way of nature. Nature doesn’t tell you about freedom, instead, you have been trapped in an enclosed environment, given rules and restrictions from the beginning of your life. Can you escape from the world here and go into space to have lunch? Can you fly? Can you live inside the water like a fish? Can you have a choice to not breathe and make up for it later? Please wake up; nature never taught us about freedom at all. Nature is about an extremely strict rule that holds the system together. When things are let loose, then the system cripples and falls apart. Being a good Taoist, you must have extremely strong self-control, and discipline. That’s why you are called a disciple.