What does the Heart tell us?

In martial arts, the heart, mind, and soul when in harmony produces power and durability. Much as previous civilization said “my strength is as the strength of ten, when my heart is pure”.

The heart or body, however, is a bit hard to conceptualize. Pain is easy to localize. Thoughts are simple to trace. Yet emotions are often ignored. They are so strong that it affects the human body’s heart, thus we speak of the heart when thinking of strong emotions, yet that is not the source. If emotions are so strong that it affects the heart, then either the spinal nerve clusters or the body’s very blood itself is affected. If that happens to be the case, then the entire body is being affected and changed. Thus the heart is another word for the body, and the body’s health reflects one’s own emotions. Hypercondriacs have been known to make themselves sick merely through the feeling that they are sick. Other patients have felt something in their stomach, whereas all medical scans show nothing there, but in fact the pen was there causing pain. Belief and feeling can often times be the absolute truth as well as humanity’s own fantasy fiction.

When your mind is not in conflict with your emotions, when your emotions and thoughts are not in conflict with your soul, you are able to eliminate waste and avoid conflict. Alternatively, your soul can fight your mind, your mind can fight your body, and your body can fight the world. Thus in this fashion, you can change the world through conflict. Improving yourself will be a distant memory, however. The internal arts focus almost exclusively on changing yourself for the better (whether one calls that Taiji’s immortality or not). Changing the world is at best, second or third. It is due to this philosophical focus that much of Chinese internal arts are either considered mystical magic or unrealistic on the field in practice.

The power of emotions, of the heart, is to give an intuitive answer as to what path you should seek, what justice means, without ever using logic in the process. In some ways this is superior, as fighting may not always have time for logic to prevail. Reacting correctly or acting correctly from one’s own intuition is often faster and more effective. There will often times be a moment when a leader or commander on the battlefield must make a decision now, without waiting for his logical mind to process all the data and make a considered judgment. He must decide now, using his heart and soul. Which is the right path to take? Which is the right decision to make? On the tactical level, intuition plays a more important role than chess thinking. On the strategic level, mind plays a greater role than heart.

For as much as Chinese internal arts are considered impractical for the battlefield, their very origins came from people who faced life and death struggles. And in overcoming those challenges, sought to answer life’s great questions.

In some ways, Calculus functions and equations only make sense when the student already knows how to add, multiply, subtract, and divide. For any other person, Calculus would seem rather impractical. Whether that is because the person is unable to utilize it, unable to comprehend it, or merely that the calculus is too specialized at a high level of human tasking, is hard to say.

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