Strength. The production of strength. Produce. To produce. To create.
Strength: 1. the quality or state of being strong; bodily or muscular power; vigor. 2. mental power, force, vigor. 3. moral power, firmness, or courage.
Produce: 1. to bring into existence; to give rise to; cause. 2. to bring into existence by intellectual or creative ability.
OK. Now that we got that cleared up! Strength is a creative act. It is an art and a science. Like most things, strength lends itself well to the Yin and Yang. Positive and Negative. Male and Female. Black and White. Strong and Weak. Opposites that are symbiotic. You can't have one without the other.
This verse is about creation. In our case, we are searching the Tao for insights into our training of strength. What can Lao-Tzu teach us about tapping into the creative energy of the Tao to further enhance our practice of strength?
Why feminine? Because mother is the most creative. A mother brings life. A mother nurtures.
The spirit that never dies is called the mysterious feminine.
This mysterious feminine spirit that never dies is the foundation of force production. The production of force is a creative act. When you combine that with the science that develops the skill of strength, you have a one, two punch.
In Pavel Tsatsouline's book, Power to the People: Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American, Pavel teaches that Tension = Force. "Force and tension are essentially the same thing. That is why neurological, or 'bulk free', strength training can be summed up as acquiring the skill to generate more tension."
In Pavel's book, The Naked Warrior, he says, "The skill of tension generation is the most important variable in getting stronger-it is much more important than the building of muscle mass."
Although she becomes the whole universe, her immaculate purity is never lost.
Strength as a skill... Imagine an individual pressing a heavy Kettlebell overhead in a slow and controlled movement. Imagine one executing a perfect Deadlift. There is purity in that and for the lifter in the moment of pressing or pulling, there is a silence. The mind quites as it enters this Zen like state of focused tension and strength. In these moments, the lifter, whether they know it or not, is connected to the spirit of creation. In this instance, we're referring to the feminine nature of the Tao and the Tao itself. However, this connection can lend itself well to God, Buddha, Krishna, Allah or any higher power of your choosing. Case in point:
Although she assumes countless forms, her true identity remains intact.
This creative act of Tension to produce Force and then using the moment to connect with sprint is also a calling to see if you can carry that connection into other aspects of daily life.
The gateway to the mysterious female is called the root of creation.
For some reading this, it may pull at your ego strings a little bit as it does challenge how we look at and see the Higher Power. I contend that God is neither male nor female, but both. The Bible states, "Let us make man in our image." The "us" part usually refers back to God as a King and also lends itself well to the Holy Trinity. But what is the image of God? God made man and woman. Both are aspects of the image of God. Thus God created a whole person capable of experiencing body and soul and being a divine expression of the wondrous mystery that is God. This verse will perhaps offer us a chance to see God in a different light and connect with God on a different level.
The gateway for us is in the silence of the mind. That is where the creation starts and where strength of body, mind and spirit will begin to flourish.
Listen to her voice, hear it echo through creation. Without fail, she reveals her presence. Without fail, she brings us to our own perfection. Although it is invisible, it endures; it will never end.
In Wayne Dyer's Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life, he talks about creativity this way:
"Being creative means trusting your inner calling, ignoring criticism or judgment, and releasing resistance to your natural talents. Read the 6th Verse paying particular attention to these words: 'Without fail, she revels her presence. Without fail, she brings us to our own perfection.' Then choose to let go of the doubt and fear you've harbored within you regarding your capacity to harmonize with the creative power - a power that's not only greater than your individual life, but is life itself."
Next time you find yourself under a heavy weight, be it a Kettlebell, Barbell, or life issue, use the combined strength of yourself with the Higher Power to press on. Take advantage of the silent mind and feel the connection. For me, I have a little prayer/saying when I press a heavy weight overhead, I say, "OK, I'll press and You pull." It always feels a little lighter when I do that. The weight is always at it's heaviest when I try to do it by myself.