The Ways: Through the Spirit
The final level of the Ways of Wudang is the way through the spirit. This part of the Ways is modeled after the most intangible aspects of our training. However, this is the piece that drives us and can be expressed through art to each other. Art is the medium that can transcend language. The artform that the Ways takes is through music. Music always has its place in any culture and Daoism and Chinese culture is no different. In fact, musical education is often a pillar of a complete practice. Just as we need to condition our bodies with physical practice and enlighten our minds with discourse, we should also have an art practice to express ourselves. This way is the truest form of our inner selves and through practice we can find balance within each and every moment.
In Confucian classics, it is said that by listening to one play music, you can glimpse a piece of their true self. Whether it is our attuned mind using music as a brush to paint the broad strokes of our experience through the color of sound or if it is simply our subconscious spilling over and influencing the piece of music that we are playing is different depending on the person or culture that you ask. Either way, if it originates internally and expresses through the external or if it is cultivated externally in order to better translate the internal is second to the fact that there is a link between the two. In Daoist practice, music is a means to influence this pairing, no matter the belief pattern that you uphold.
Within the Spirit section of the Ways you will find a wealth of information on musical practice specifically centered around playing the Xiao (Chinese vertical bamboo flute) and the Guqin (Chinese zither). With these two instruments we have a new practice that offers another method of bringing balance to our Shen. With the practices learned in previous sections, we find our vital energy improved and our heart-mind finds clarity. Now, this clarity can be directed inwards as we find the right language to connect with ourselves and those around us.
Of course, to do so we begin with the basics. On the following pages you can find all of the following resources to get started on your own self study:
►Wudao Music - introduction to the Wudao Music channel on Youtube
►Xiao Instruction - everything to get started with learning the Xiao
►Xiao & Jian Pu - a how to for learning how to read Chinese numbered notation and practice
►Xiao Sheet Music - directory for all levels of Xiao music tracks
►Guqin - introduction to the coming tutorials on the Guqin
►More Resources - collected database of more online study material
The Goal of the Way: Through the Spirit
Becoming a student in this part of the Ways has been one of my favorite parts of training. Music has always been a part of my life and it is one of the ways that we deeply connect to each other. One goal of this part of the Ways is of course to create more players and spread these beautiful art forms to more people. Although, besides just creating more musicians in the world, it is the goal of this Way to create more listeners as well. This path is one that is unique to each individual. What is included through the Ways of Wudang is simply one of the many rivers that lead to the ocean. Though we often say that we have goals and destinations in mind during practice, at this point we should understand that the journey comes first and the goals are only pauses along the way. Though the song may come to a conclusion, the last note forever rings on within our hearts.