When dad teaches he really does articulate what he is feeling. All of his teachings stem from his feelings and he just flows with it. There is nothing more he means from what he says, when he says something it just is what he says, that’s it.
Keeping it simple is how he flows and sometimes I am the translator of his simplicity.
I had a private student today mention that she would need me to “translate” for dad. I never quite realized that this is really important for some. I do this automatically in class when I sometimes get that “Help me understand” look from students or when I can sense the perfume of confusion that suddenly hits the air.
By the way, you really can ask dad what it is that he means when he says something you don’t understand. It’s not rude, it’s not disrespectful. You know what, he likes it when you ask him questions. Dad enjoys being challenged and he really wants you to understand what he is trying to teach you. If you ever have a question for him, just ask. He always says he is constantly learning and it his students that facilitate his learning process and he doesn’t want anyone to feel they can’t ask him questions.
“Here’s your coffee. Here’s your tea.” – William C.C. Chen
This is one of his simple phrases that I have heard from the beginning of my time. I’ve always heard this and I know exactly how dad says it with his sweet smile and sincere meaning for exactly what he just does mean by this. Exactly what he says, is what he means. What he is trying to convey with this simple description, is the simplicity of the natural movement from this action.
Let me share what he is trying to un-program in you.
When we think of an action and showing physical movement our mind distracts the brain from it’s organic movement. When this happens, to do a simple movement like handing someone a cup of tea or coffee turns into an exaggerated movement where your mind separates the natural flow of the brain’s action, breaking down the fluidity of the intended action into a series of physical movements. The minute you stop and think about a natural action our minds naturally dissect and compartmentalize each stage of movement, instead of how the action would naturally flow from the intended action of the brain.
Handing someone a cup of coffee or tea is a naturally fluid response from the body, initiated by the action of the brain. This is what dad means to say when he uses this phrase. He means to just get to the intended destination without having to direct each body part. Allow your body to follow the intended action of the brain, that’s it.
Now, when we think about the action of handing a cup of something to someone, many of us will start to break down the action into separate actions, eliminating the one action it takes to get from brain, to cup. It becomes a conscious physical movement, instead of an action. When an action gets broken down into physical movement we do things unnaturally, all the time wondering how unnatural it all feels, searching for what feels natural. Using the language that dad does is also a way of attempting to returning your mind to your brain, trying to restore what you naturally know, so that you stop breaking down an action into separate steps for individual body parts. This is called head Tai Chi, this is when you are trying to do everything with the body from above the shoulders, when you should be releasing to settle into your body so you can flow.
When dad says things you don’t think you understand, you’re right, you don’t, because you are searching for a deeper meaning when what simply says, is actually all he means.
The next time you don’t understand what dad says, ask yourself if you’re overthinking it.
Or feel free to always just ask!