4 Types of Practitioners

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I once heard a friend sharing his views about his religion. He mentioned there are 4 types of believers. The first category is that of a nominal believer, the second category is that of a blind follower, the third category is a good follower, and, finally, the fourth category is that of a mature believer.

So what is the difference among the four types of believers?

Well, the nominal believer, as the name suggests, is only a believer in name. In fact, he doesn’t believe! He could be claiming he is a follower of a certain faith, but his values and ways could actually be against what his religion preaches.

The blind believer is close follower to what the religion preaches. However he does not understand the reason behind each rule and regulation. He simply follows blindly. Such a believer does not really know what he believes in.

The good believer is one who understands why he is doing what he is doing. He knows he should not indulge in bad habits because they are harmful to himself and others around him. He leads a good lifestyle governed by his beliefs.

The mature believer is an extension to a good believer, except that he knows when to do it, how to do it. He becomes master of his own destiny.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? To become master of your own destiny.

Years later, after the above conversation with this “mature” believer, I heard that he became a bankrupt after years of gambling habits. So he who knows what to do and when to do it became a casualty of his own destiny. So does it mean that his theory about the four types of believers is flawed?

I would think that his theory, on its own, is actually quite profound. The problem lies with the “believer”. From a nominal believer, we would move on to become a blind believer. Thereafter, after years of maintaining a good lifestyle, we begin to understand the reasons behind the rules and regulations, and at the same time, cross referencing against our years of good lifestyle, we strengthen our beliefs and reinforce our faith. It is only after we truly understand that we attain wisdom. Moving on from there, with this wisdom, we begin to take control of our own destinies.

I think what happened most of the time is that we think we are mature believers, where the actual fact is that we are only believers in name.

I was guilty of falling into this common trap during my Taiji journey. I thought I have already “transcended” beyond the mundane routines. All these false impressions I had about my abilities were crushed, gestalt-style, when I pushed hands with the seemingly weak old men in the park. One touch of the hands and my lack of basic trainings and foundations were found out immediately.

There is no substitution for hard work and experiential wisdom. Wisdom takes time to mature. There is no accelerated learning that can propel us overnight from a beginner to a Taiji master.

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