“A long time ago there was a musician who could charm birds and fish into dancing with his music. A lute player named Wen . . . wanted to acquire the skill. So he left his family and went to study with the master musician Hsiang.
“For a long time Wen could not play anything. . . . After three years he had learned nothing. ‘You might as well go home,’ his teacher said. . . . [Wen thought] ‘I cannot play from my heart, so the music has never become a part of me’. . . .
“Not long afterward, Wen returned to his teacher. ‘How are you getting along with your music?’ his teacher asked. ‘I think I’ve experienced a breakthrough. Let me show you.’
“Wen took the lute and gently touched the string called Autumn. Although it was springtime, a cool wind blew, the leaves crackled in the autumn breeze, and the sky was bright and cloudless. Then in autumn, he touched the string called Spring, and a gentle wind came. Warm rains fell, and the flowers bloomed. In the middle of summer, Wen touched the string called Winter, and suddenly the snow fell and the rivers froze. When winter came, he touched the string called Summer. Immediately the sun shone fiercely, the snow disappeared, and the ice melted from the rivers.
“Finally, when he touched the last string and played all of them together, a refreshing wind blew, azure clouds floated overhead, sweet dew fell, and fragrant springs bubbled up from the ground. . . . Wen was already an accomplished musician by the time he went to study with Hsiang, but he realized that perfection in technique alone does not make great music .When he was finally able to dissolve the duality between himself and the music, the songs he played not only had the power to create moods but literally changed reality.”
(Lieh-Tsu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living by Eva Wong, pp. 144-145)
The Market Sings
The market sings but most traders can’t hear the song. Like Wen, they look to perfect their technique rather than change themselves. To be one with the market, traders need to merge with its song. But how can traders merge with the market’s song when they can’t even hear it?
Feelings are your Ears
When the market touches the winter string, do you feel fear? If you are in tune with the market, you should feel fear. How do you add your own melody to complement the market’s winter song? If you are long the market, you could reverse your position or hedge it. The different instruments you use (stocks, etfs, futures contracts, options, etc.) to alter your position to blend with the market’s song are the notes you add to the song, thus adding your own unique melody. You could even hedge your position intermarketly using relevant currency pairs on the forex or relevant commodities. This would create a complex melody that is distinctively your own.
Play with the ideas presented here. What if the market touching the spring string stimulated hope? Use your imagination by varying the emotions with the different seasons. Get used to playing along with the market’s song and not creating dissonant notes by going against it. Perhaps, someday, with insight, practice, and self-realization, you could be like Wen and “dissolve the duality between [yourself] and the [market’s] music” and literally change your trading reality.
Photo Credit: Photo by Leonid Tit.