What is Cheng Hsin?

The Chinese characters cheng and hsin (pronounced “cheng shin”) offer us images which communicate the nature of “truth” and “being” — an appropriate title for a body of work that involves increasing consciousness on all levels of “being.”

Cheng Hsin was founded by Peter Ralston in 1975 and is grounded in both the practical study of skillful interaction and the open-ended inquiry that contemplative disciplines offer. After making deep breakthroughs in Consciousness, Ralston entered and won the full-contact World Championships in China, becoming the first non-Asian ever to win that tournament.

His goal was to create powerful evidence for the effectiveness of what he has been teaching and sharing ever since–the unique body of work known as Cheng Hsin, which unifies the studies of consciousness with studies of mixed “internal” martial arts, effective interaction, skill and mastery.

Zen Consciousness directs our focus beyond the reality that we take for granted, while physical disciplines offer unique possibilities for grounding our consciousness in skillful interaction, providing feedback about our level of awareness and our ability to learn, which is applicable to a diverse range of activities.

The steady background objective is to learn about ourselves and life; to observe how our minds, emotions, and bodies currently operate; and to discover new, more effective and freeing possibilities in how to think, feel, move, and interact.

When we take on this consideration as a whole, we are speaking of the entire event in which we appear and live. To approach and study such a primary and inclusive consideration, we need a purposeful and multi-dimensional investigation, grounded in what is at hand and yet open to possibilities beyond our convictions and assumptions. This is the Cheng Hsin endeavor.

Because we don’t want to leave out any vital aspect of the event that we are, nor deny the obvious range in which we appear and live, several distinct domains of study have been developed.

Each area and method of study or work of Cheng Hsin is designed to be an integral part of the whole investigation. Each empowers the others, allowing growth and breakthroughs in areas that are just not possible within only one limited concern, approach, or development.

In the Body-Being Studies we address body awareness, structure and design, moving towards becoming effortlessly effective.

In the Interactive Studies we address functional relationship and effective interaction and the principles on which these are founded.

In the Consciousness Studies we consider “mind” and our mental-emotional makeup, as well as our true nature, and the entire event of Being.

We look into metaphysics, mind, consciousness, communication, effective principles of body movement and relating – any avenue that empowers our investigation into what is truly going on here.

In the decades since its inception a considerable body of knowledge and communication has emerged. All of it shares a unique depth and character. Check out Cornerstone Principles, Spirit and Essence for a sense of the character and depth of this work. Check out Pursuits and Goals for an overview of the specific practices.