Tao of Buberville

Human life itself is the bearer and reality of all transcendence. Tao, ‘the way,’ is unity in change and transformation, and the perfect revelation of Tao is the man who combines the greatest change with the purest unity. Though Tao is the path, order, and unity of everything, it exists in things only potentially until it becomes living and manifest through its contact with the conscious being of the united man. Tao appears in men as the uniting force that overcomes all deviation from the ground of life, as the completing force that heals all that is sundered and broken. —Martin Buber

“Buberville/Palookaville” is a push hands exercise I use with some of my students. It is one of the most transformative arrows in my quiver. It came as a joke when working with Rabbi Andrew Hahn many years ago and developed into something pretty cool.

“Buberville” was used to describe functioning from a centered, energetically coherent body/mind state. Wholeness. “Palookaville” described a fragmented state based on muscular effort. “Palooka” is an old-time boxing term for a mediocre fighter. Since Andrew is an experienced martial artist, we were playing kinda rough. When he tried to muscle me I would slam him into the brick wall and announce “Palookaville”. That brought the point home. When he was functioning from a state of wholeness he could handle whatever I gave him. Buberville.

The principle that underlies the exercise is well-described in Martin Buber’s quote above, “Tao, ‘the way,’ is unity in change and transformation, and the perfect revelation of Tao is the man who combines the greatest change with the purest unity.” And that is the same principle that guides my healing work as well as my internal martial arts.

It has found a succinct expression in the EDGE exercise, and that provides the backbone for the LOVE OR FEAR seminar I will be presenting this Friday at the NY Open Center. It allows us to become familiar with operating from a state of wholeness while facing some gentle challenges. We return to wholeness again and again.

Each time you do the exercise it is a revelation. It is a chance to connect with our deeper Self while facing life’s challenges.

“Tao appears in men as the uniting force that overcomes all deviation from the ground of life, as the completing force that heals all that is sundered and broken.”