Shifu has said, “It takes 10,000 blows with the hammer to make the sword”. This is what it takes to go beyond the ordinary. With this mindset, the current depth of our happiness can go so far beyond anything we have ever known or even knew existed. The following relates two ways in which I am striking blows with the hammer. Shifu once told the following story. He was at his daughter’s school and heard a young person say "Life sucks". His emphatic response was, "It is not life that sucks, it is your mind that sucks". The image still brings a smile to my face.
Well, one day recently while engaging my daily standing meditation practice, I noticed over the 1/2 hour how my energy would frequently rise, which would be followed by my back and shoulders. Each time this would occur, I would use my mind intent to let the energy drop which would be followed by my body. At some point during this meditation I realized there was nothing going on around me. I was in the early morning quiet of my backyard and that it was my mind that was making the energy rise. The Qi was going where the mind was going. There was nothing happening that should be the cause of this rising energy. So this being the case, I could then no longer blame the goings on in my life for my energy rising. It is my own mind, not life that creates this. In turn this also gives me great control over my life, all I have to do is turn inward and change my mind and the energy will settle and center. Freedom.
One more refinement I would like to share that has had profound effect. A few weeks back I noticed that everyone around me spends a good part of their conversation speaking of others, many of these times is not in a positive way. I knew that if everyone else is doing this, then I am also doing it because I am part of everyone. So I made the conscious choice to "speak ill of no man". I would not look for something positive to say, I would simply go to silence if there was not something positive or constructive to say. I pay attention to this all the time, striking the hammer so to speak, and will do so until it becomes my natural state of being. The effect has been profound.
This is using the external to change the internal. By practicing at not speaking poorly of others, I also do not speak poorly of myself, no judgement. This practice allows me to remain silent, speaking much less, turning inward more often, which is conserving my energy and leading into a more peaceful state of being.
I will keep striking the sword with the hammer. Practice, practice, practice.