“A fish can’t whistle, and neither can I.” ~Winnie the Pooh
I’ve always believed that anything is possible; that no limits exist. But, even though I take these thoughts to heart, I do admit that natural law exists, and that some people are much more capable than others when it comes to performing certain duties or activities. This is a very real sphere; the sphere of personal limitations.
In the headline quote, Winnie the Pooh is admitting that he cannot whistle, nor can a fish. In this statement he is implying that natural abilities and non-abilities are innate within all beings; and this is perfectly fine for anyone to admit. This is the pure nature of P’U; the uncarved block; a Taoist idiom.
Some people just can’t whistle, while others whistle poorly, and others could whistle a beautiful melody. Some are not meant for performing certain duties. Many artists exist, but many more cannot draw a straight line whatsoever. All humans are capable of wielding a weapon, but only certain individuals are meant for becoming a soldier.
During a training exercise known as CAX, a Marine Corps Combined Arms Exercise, the battlefield is staged with numerous targets. The exercise combines ground forces, heavy artillery and weapons; air support and motorized assaults all converging on a field full of targets. This experience mimics a full front line assault in real battle. Live ammunition is used; it is fired from all directions. It is loud; deafening and heart pounding.
Being part of the ground force, our duty is to continuously move forward on the battlefield until all targets are neutralized. We do this by crawling and running in spurts, all the while with heavy gunfire above our heads; bullets snapping and whizzing past our helmets with nearby explosions rattling the brain and shaking the eyes to a blur.
During this exercise a fellow Marine and I were advancing side-by-side. A few minutes after the exercise commenced I realized that I could not see him any longer. I backtracked to the last point of cover and saw him crouching in a ball. He had removed his helmet and was covering his ears; the tears streaming from his eyes were brown with sand as they rolled across his face. He was more than frightened, he was nearly frozen with fear and gasping for breath; pure panic.
What this experience taught me was that we must know our abilities and our fears. We must understand and accept both our strengths and our weaknesses. We must know our place. Though anyone can learn, persevere and achieve goals, many things will remain out of grasp; out of our natural framework. Some are just not meant for whistling. Some are not meant for war, and I wish this were true of all beings.
Within the sphere of personal limitation, we must understand the pure nature of P’U. The block, uncarved, is simplistic and beautiful in its own rite. It contains its own natural power. When it is stripped away, it loses its simplistic power and beauty; it becomes spoiled. We must understand and smile at our own natural and beautiful attributes and abilities. Take care to mold these to greatness. In this sphere, anything is possible, but the possibilities hold hidden limits.
In knowing ourselves through heart and mind, we will know our gifts, our weaknesses, and where our true power dwells. In the light of the soul we will harness our power, cultivate compassion, and then begin to know each other in purity.