#111 The Three Faults

  1. The invention of an empirical self that observes itself
  2. Viewing one’s thoughts as a kind of object or possession, situating it in a separate, isolated part of itself – I “have” a mind
  3. The striving to wipe the mirror

These three faults are the mistakes and obstacles that we make in our search for expanded consciousness.

1. The invention of an empirical self that observes itself

This is when we cling to our outward personality; even though our ego is an invention we created ourselves. The empirical self is a mask that we have carefully cultivated to engage with the outside world. It is an ego-consciousness and our identification with our egos and our intelligence.

This does not mean we should have no personality, but instead to have an awareness that clinging to this personality can be an obstacle to enlightenment, consciousness, and expansion.

Have an awareness of your self-importance in the world. If you are seeking only to build yourself up in the world it can be isolating.

Take time to ask: who am I really? How do I want to be? If I drop all my masks I wear for different people and situations, who am I really?

It is good to have an awareness of your empirical self as a character and not as your entire being. We all have a cast of characters inside of us; we should not take a single character as our entire self.

2. Viewing one’s thoughts as a kind of object or possession, situating it in a separate, isolated part of itself – I “have” a mind

This is when we are giving too much power to our thoughts and our cleverness, ignoring our whole self. We do not want to get caught up in our thoughts as possessions.

Sometimes thoughts pop into our heads and we cannot place too much credibility to them. Ex: What if there is a mass murderer in my shower? Or what if I turned my steering wheel suddenly, veering into this wall?

Our thoughts can be prompted by things we encounter in everyday life, such as horror movies, and just because you think that there is a mass murderer in your shower does not make it true.

The mind is an analyzing machine; it wants to come up with a solution, even if the solution makes no sense and will not actually solve the problem. An example of this would be if you are sad and a thought pops into your head that you would be happy if you bought a new car. We cannot give too much credibility or power to these kinds of thoughts because they do not help us.

Every thought can become a reality if we put energy towards it.

Bruce Lee often called the Void or Emptiness the dynamic quality of the mind. Your imagination is limitless.

Bruce said that you should sense with your whole body. If your mind is too constricted you can feel the tightness physically.

“It is to see things as they are and not become attached. It is to be innocent of the working of a relative (empirical) mind.”

3. The striving to wipe the mirror

“Zen is not “attained” by mirror wiping mediation, but by “self-forgetfulness in the existential present of life here and now.””

“Don’t strive to “become”, but “be.””

Everything that we are striving so hard for we already possess, it is just a matter of a shift in perspective of our lives and our selves.

“This clinging and possessive ego-consciousness, seeking to affirm itself in liberation, craftily tries to outwit reality by rejecting the thoughts it “possesses” and emptying the mirror of the mind, which it also “possesses” – emptiness itself is regarded as a possession and an “attainment.””

We are striving to attain peace of mind when we already possess peace of mind.

Meditation is a practice to help achieve an expansive mind. We practice meditation so that our expansive mind can be a part of our everyday lives.

If traditional ways of meditation are not working for you, there are so many other ways to find that head space. Bruce Lee used to practice meditation through motion. He liked to meditate while running. The repetitive motion of his feet hitting the ground while his mind was open and free was a form of meditation for him.

Meditation is not the only way to discover your expanded mind, you have to find what works for you. For some people this can be going for a hike or spending time at the beach.

What is the experience or activity that gives you a respite from that chatty voice in your head or respite from the daily grind?

What gives you that mirror-wiping affect without the striving?

We’d love to hear about your journey! Write to us at hello@brucelee.com or tag us @brucelee on social media with #bruceleepodcast.

We get many emails requesting advice with “What would Bruce Lee do?” and would like to start a “What would Bruce Lee do?” section of the podcast where Shannon and Sharon respond to your emails for advice. If you need advice and are wondering, “What would Bruce Lee do?” write to us at hello@brucelee.com


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