The Seven Principles

All Material, Unless Otherwise Noted, Copyright Donald Lockwood 2007- 2009

Living in Harmony with:


Living in harmony with oneself would seem to be easy, but if we examine some pathological extremes such as arise in substance abuse, whether drugs or alcohol we can perhaps see how important this is.  Even if it were not the subject of art and literature many people know first hand about the difficulties which can arise when a spouse is locked in a inner struggle between an addiction and the needs of her family.  In many cases it is not only the needs of the family, but his needs for a spouse and family.  This brings up an important point, that disharmonies in oneself invariably spill over into disharmonies with others.  While we may make jokes like “I don’t have drinking problem, I drink, I get drunk, I pass out, I fall down, no problem”, this leaves out of the equation the other and the effect that it has on others who must now deal with this passed out drunk.  


On a spiritual level an interesting analysis can be made of the movie “Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger”, here it is possible to see multiple levels of personal and interpersonal disharmony leading to its final tragic conclusion or perhaps more precisely its tragic penultimate conclusion for its real conclusion is a mystery.  The following discussion contains plot details that reveal the outcome, if you have not seen the movie you may want to see it first, if you have seen the movie, I hope that you find the following discussion informative.


The discussion will be divided between this section and the next, because part of the plot involves the failure to work out personal disharmonies and some are disharmonies with others.  Disharmony with others not only includes purely personal relationship, but also disharmony with the society around you, sort of the collective other or others, but also many personal disharmonies arise because one has internalized socially conditioned values and they conflict either with yourself or with some other internalized social value.


In the film one of the major examples inner disharmony is that of Li Mu Bai, the great swordsman and martial artist.  The major conflict that arises early is between transcendence and immanence.  At the beginning of the film he arrives at the headquarters of his long time love, Sun Shu Lien, here he recounts an experience which has led him to break off his training in deep meditation and to give up the warrior’s life.  At the root of this decision is his love for Shu Lien, something which he felt he would have to give up if he had continued with his meditation.  He is not too clear in communicating his message to Shu Lien, or perhaps she is purposefully obtuse, in either case the matter is not made completely clear until nearly the end of the movie.


The disharmonies begin before the movie in the relationship of the male protagonist’s master and his concubine and work their way out in the movie.  The hero has returned from Wu Tang Shan the holy mountain of the Black Emperor of the North, this is the home of all Taoist Martial Arts and Military Magic.  He is behaving in a very strange fashion, for he is giving up his prized possession, the famous Green Dragon Sword.  Everyone is dismayed by his action and it only becomes clear later in the movie that his motive is the resolution of a disharmony within himself, but in the meantime the sword is stolen by a thief of remarkable martial arts accomplishment, and rumors of an old nemesis the Gray Fox emerge.  The Gray Fox is a notorious thief and the murderer of our hero’s master.  The Gray Fox is suspected of being the Green Dragon Sword’s thief, but as matters develop it is revealed to be the young female protege of the Gray Fox who is the real thief.  A the movie progresses we realize that she is the daughter of a wealthy and powerful Mandarin and the Gray Fox is her ostensibly retiring and servile governess.   The governess is the former concubine of our Hero’s master, who embittered by his treatment to a degree that only unrequited love can generate, poisoned him, stole an important secret document of Wu Tan Wu Shu and disappeared only to re-emerge as the Gray Fox.  Later the Gray Fox went into hiding as a governess in a wealthy family.  One of our behind the scenes disharmony arises here.  This “master” has real problems with women and discovers far too late that his bedmate rather than liking say Piña Colada’s likes Purple Yin poison with which she kills him.  As a person he was so unaware of what was happening around him that he was caught by surprise.  Being this out of touch with the people around you is usually an indication of a profound personal disharmony, not something one would expect from a real master, which brings up a theme that runs through the movie, when is a master really a Master?  And also a complex issue that runs through the movie of students surpassing their teachers and the gratitude owed an instructor which we will deal with in the next section.