Tuesday, 12 February 2008
In The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff explains the meaning of Wu Wei to be without doing, causing, or making. In other words, without being meddlesome, combative, or egotistical—not going against the nature of things. Chuang-Tze tells a story about Confucius walking along the Gorge of Lu where a great waterfall plunges for thousands of feet. The waters churn violenlty below. He & his students had seen a man leap from the top into the foaming river below. They thought the man must be committing suicide, & Confucius’ students hurried to the river’s edge. When they arrived, the man was standing, shaking off the water, & beginning to sing. Confucius approached the man & asked him:

How did you manage to swim through such dangerous waters?
The man answered: I have no particular method of swimming, except that when I am in the water, I do not fight the water’s superior power. I float with it & sink with it instead of trying to force my way through it. I started my learning with what was given to me at birth, continued with what was natural for me to do, & completed by trusting what was meant to be.

Non-ado, no action, wu-wei. It means following the natural course of things and trusting what is meant to be. No effort. Control without control, coersion by letting go. A fight without a punch being thrown is nothing more than a dance afterall. Thus the confidence of rolling in storm surges & force winds will take you on a natural & extensive path of exploration, whatever the seas may throw at you. For me, it's a simple case of trusting & reading that enviroment, then calmly going with it. Oh I'm upside down, oh I'm the right way up, are just consequential elements of that process. Well, as the tuiliq drip dries by the burner & my shoulder recovers, I'm busy writing a wee review of Dubside's instructional dvd, which he simply entitled Rolling With Dubside, & it will be posted on here soon. It's also nearing planning time for the Fugloy/Faroe solo circ nav, which will doubtless see some upside down moments in the giant swell that patrols those outer reaches. First though, some more of this, over at Traigh na Beirigh... Take the box says Amy...

Black knives & white scythes - playing in the North Hebridean reeks. Rolling practise in gale driven swell.

How can you know what the edge looks like, if you don't look over it, if you're no prepared to jump or at least feel what it is to jump? - Dan Osman

posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 04:01:00 |

2 Retorts:

At 16 February 2008 at 14:29, Blogger Douglas Wilcox

Hello Si, do you wear a black helmet or do you hope the rocks will be gentle? :o)


At 18 February 2008 at 15:36, Blogger •≈ Sgian Dubh

Hi Douglas, hope you're doing well & always good reading onto your blog as ever. Well...rolling in Atlantic storm surges, the real danger lays beneath, especially where this photo was taken. The rocks you can't see are often much more a threat to your personal security & downside-up in the rip you often end up being towed quickly toward vague ominous black shapes...Stay under? Come up & be blind? I've had better success on occasion, using the Greenlandic stick as a kind of impromptu pole vault, or push-off, & staying inverted. Kayakers often panic for breath when failing at a single roll, let alone passive balancing sculls & performing roll sets in these conditions. It's a choice, yet your choices are always risky...like which malt loaf to take with you, etc...where to store your bananas... :o)

Banging my head on the ones I can see has no effect since it is empty of anything valuable...according to the female of the species.

But seriously, lightwieght head protection for submerged rocks should be carefully considered, if the arena you are intending to peform such stunts in, warrants it. One hefty contact without & it could easily be game over for good. Having said that it feels almost ironical to then tell you I am wearing no more protection against those very present elements than the tuliq & the kayak itself...