得心應手 – “What the Heart Wishes, the Hand Accomplishes”

Long time readers may recognize the title of this piece as the tag line for this site. But only those who have deeply immersed themselves in the World of Martial Arts or the Philosophy of Zhuangzi, or some equivalent self-expression & cultivation skills, will truly grasp the significance of this phrase. You should spend a great deal of time reflecting on its meaning. To put it bluntly: it is the quintessential Human capability.

Creativity.

Atheism is fashionable these days, & has been for a few decades. It’s become so common that it’s assumed by bougie, run of the mill, poseur middle class types. They can’t believe it when they find out someone is spiritual. “But how can you think that?! You seem so smart!” Their identity is built on an assumption of their own intelligence, their own correctness. These people are everywhere in America now; the coastal cities, the suburbs, the rural towns. Everywhere. They worship Science, embodied in an exact recreation of their own bodily form.

Another common, possibly worse, creature is the “spiritual-but-not-religious” Soy Entity. They find traditional, organized religion repressive, mock the idea of a Personal God as childish. But they believe the felt pouch full of assorted stones that they always keep on their person has the power to attract “good vibes”, whatever that’s supposed to mean. Again, they worship a higher Creative Power embodied in their own image & likeness. Apparently, the Universe is a dork named Kyle, or a feminist who smells like sour milk named Riley, or Katie, or something awful that’s spelled phonetically.

In any case, both of these extremes share a faith based belief in something that amounts to pure creative potential. Religious folks do, too. They just call it “God”. All of these conceptions are centered on a supremely fertile & ingenious creativity. The difference is in where they locate this power & to what degree they anthropomorphize it. This is a crucial idea.

There was a time when the intellectual elite of most societies identified the best, highest expression of the human mind with this supreme creativity. We strove to attain it. Or we searched within ourselves for the seed of it. Or we unconsciously expressed it, albeit on a smaller scale. But, in some way, we could share in that power & be made better, be made more than we are.

I bring up this belief in something greater & it’s creative potential for a reason. Just as Humans are seen (by some) as the physical manifestation of a supreme power in the material world, the hand is the physical manifestation of the Mind in 3 dimensional space. The hand is literally the Mind’s Intent made manifest. The only real power in this world is the Hand & what you can do with it. That includes both constructive & destructive expression. Or, I should say requires at least the potential for both.

And that is exactly the larger point behind the phrase “What the Heart Wishes, the Hand Accomplishes”: in this World, you are only as powerful as you are capable of using your hands skillfully. It is exactly the idea that the Yinfujing has in mind when it says “The Universe lies in the palm of the hand”. This is a principle by which I live, one of my core values. You should meditate on this, my Kung Fu nieces & nephews.

得心應手

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