The Chinese Mind

Xin Heart-Mind-whtThose of you who have been practicing with me or following along with my work over the past decade or two have undoubtedly noticed that I have been going deeper and deeper into Chinese language.

I have often said if we are engaging a path of meditation & qi-cultivation with roots in ancient China, we need to study Chinese language at least a bit to get into the Chinese mind, which has a different way of conceptualizing the world, a different way of viewing what we are and what our practice is all about.

That Chinese mind – particularly that ancient mind expressed and reflected in the Chinese classics – is a kind of basic attitude underlying cultural, religious, and fitness arts that brings a different spirit to them than the ultra-focused, driven-for-results, inherently progressive Western mind.

But – as much as I have and am continuing to invest my life-energy into going deeper into this endeavor – I must recognize that Daoist meditation is really not about going into the Chinese mind – it’s not about replacing our before-practicing mind with a Chinese mind or any other kind of mind.

The treasure of Daoist meditation is that we are releasing into our original mind, the cosmic mind – this mind that is continuously present yet elusive, perpetually unborn and unformulated.  This mind is neither Western nor Chinese, and – as revealed in the Dao De Jing – it is not something we acquire through study and effort.

It is this mind that my Daoist teacher introduced me to.  Yes, I studied the Dao De Jing with him, but the text was really not the most important aspect of that transmission.  Nor was it about any kind of personal friendship or lineage affiliation.  When he passed away, there wasn’t any waning of the presence he had revealed, and there wasn’t any agenda dictating what to do next – just an admonition to stay with that which arises spontaneously of itself and to act appropriately in accordance with the situation.

In the context of this natural mind, this uncontrived quality we call wuwei, it can be inexpressibly enriching to engage the Chinese mind – its language & practices – and connect with others doing the same.

Author: Wuming Chuan