Essay: The Tao of being a Master
Everyone has the potential to be a true master
By Craig Cormack
Previously published on June 3, 2020
There are many masters in society. We have been acquainted with them, especially in terms of martial arts. Master as a very word has an energy and different connotations for every individual. Let us work with the positive energy of this word for the purpose of this article.
A true master is comfortable where he or she is in the present time and maintains balance through discipline. A master may or not may teach this discipline directly to those seeking to learn, however, a master has an effect by being an example and living the teachings. Therefore, a true master is the master of oneself.
A true master is comfortable where he or she is in the present time and maintains balance through discipline.
By example, we are all teachers for our peers. The lessons we learn individually – or through others – are either pleasant or unpleasant. Nevertheless, lessons are important. The value of the lesson depends on where we are when the lesson happens. If we are not in the moment, we lose the lesson and very often never see the point of it in the first place.
If we react to the form of the lesson without understanding that the reflection is a part of us, we lose the lesson. The form may come in the shape of a person, place or experience. The key to understanding reflections or forms is acquired by being in the moment. A true master practices art to cultivate being in the now. This requires constant practice and discipline.
The true master understands how to create by thought. And, this is reflected to them by outward reality in form (positive people, places, and circumstances).
The true master lives without judgement of his or her peers and understands that releasing judgement of others helps one to release judgement of self.
The intention of a person’s training is the basis for the direction they take. If a person trains for peace, then peace results. The same can be said for the person who trains for war. Intention is the basis for creating form, and soft martial arts promote peaceful energy in a person, therefore the reflection of peace is given. The true master does not fear outward reality because he or she knows that they create it.
‘The true master knows there is no summit to learning because refinement of the moment through energy is never-ending and evolving at different levels of understanding.’
Balance is everything and the true masterworks with yin (mother earth) energy and yang (father sky) energy. Masters work with both energies to create balance within their bodies. They can then bring this balance outward to all they meet.
The true master knows there is no summit to learning because refinement of the moment through energy is never-ending and evolving at different levels of understanding. The true master is never complete in their training.
Training begins and resides in infinity. Tai-Chi represents this ever-changing ever-evolving reality, one step at a time – the form is refined, balance in motion, the evolution of energy and consciousness, power from above and below, refinement through the river of the body, the body and universe are inseparable.
The true master understands that balance within change is the answer. The Tao (the way) is an ever-changing situation with dips and peaks. The Tai-Chi or Yin and Yang symbol is not static even though it may appear so. It is in flux. Anything in a fixed position is dead and decomposing to another state of being. Yin and Yang are inseparable as long as we are alive. When they separate, we die physically and the Shen (or spirit) moves to greater things.
Belief comes with discipline in any system of training. Belief is another ingredient in manifesting outward reality. Training with positive belief results in positive outcomes. Belief in yourself and the universe and life are one and the same. They are as inseparable as yin and yang. The undisciplined person does not have this belief and he or she experiences an unrooted, disconnected life, caught in reaction to form with fear. This can be remedied by creating positive thoughts and releasing fear through training.
‘Harmony on all levels is necessary for balance and peace in life. Arts that help a person balance on all levels are the ones to seek.’
Clarity is an important ingredient of mastery. The true master is clear about what is being created. Clarity is also achieved through training.
There are many charlatans who call themselves masters, but they are cult leaders feeding on the energy of their students. A true master does not seek power from his or her students. True masters generate their own energy and teach their students to do this for themselves. True masters elevate their students and are happy to be surpassed by those they teach.
Every moment gives the opportunity to gain or lose energy. Accomplishment happens through the replenishment of the energy you expend. This energy is called the Qi or the vital life force. It is in our bodies, our world and our universe. Working with your energy is part of being a master.
Harmony on all levels is necessary for balance and peace in life. Arts that help a person balance on all levels are the ones to seek. Creativity also is another part of mastery. Everyone has the potential to be a true master; the question is whether one has the discipline to achieve this. It is up to everyone to decide for themselves.
Read also: other articles by Craig Cormack
Craig Cormack, BA, is a Chi Kung and Reiki master, a licensed Chinese massotherapist, and a senior Tai Chi instructor based in Montreal, Canada. He is presently working with seniors to help them stay healthy and keep their balance. He is a principal at Rising Tao Integrative – risingtao.ca