True or False

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing
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Things are not always as they may seem but there can only be one answer.  We just need to look at the problem from the right perspective…

True or False

 

Think about it…

Meditation Point #111

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing
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ice melts into waterWhen it’s cold, water freezes into ice;
when it’s warm, ice melts into water.
Similarly, when you’re confused, essence freezes into mind;
when you are enlightened, mind melts into essence.

– – Muso Kokushi

This is an interesting quote and one that can be read many different ways. Being a regular guy with a regular life I’m not going to delve into a lot of mumbo jumbo about our connection with the cosmos or how when we block that connection we enter an impure state. No, not going to go there. Instead I am going to quote my favorite movie, “The Replacements” starring Keanu Reeves. Yes really! There is a discussion in the movie about fear. The topic is quicksand, that state where you find yourself in over your head and you can find a way out no matter how hard you try…quicksand. What this quote and that scene were indirectly talking about was perfection. Those moments in our life when everything is so clear and feels so perfect that the feeling stays with us. Many times we experience that feeling just before we fall (fail). From my perspective we fall because of that feeling, we recognize our perfection and in recognizing it, ruin it. Perfection is a state of being without realization, it just happens. Parents will understand this quicker because we get to witness our children realize their moments of perfection.

This doesn’t mean that we can never attain perfection, to the contrary realizing we have and falling because of that realization is part of the learning process. The next time you won’t notice your perfection as much and will stay in that state for a longer period of time. Physical activities lend themselves to states of perfection with enough practice. But a state of perfection requires something more then just practice and that something is the mind. The mind needs to be quiet. Not quiet as in not thinking but quiet as in focused and trusting in the moment. Thinking outside the moment is folly though we all do it. So when you practice your Kata or Kumite, breath, relax and let perfection flow. When it happens you will know it and want to latch onto it. It will not return until you again relax and let it flow freely. Perfection isn’t yours to possess and control any more then you can control whether you take your next breath.

Meditation Point #110

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing
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If you’re not failing every now and again,
it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.
– – Woody Allen

O.K. I’m no Woody Allen fan but hit got this one right! If you aren’t falling down then you are playing it safe. We fall down so we can learn from our mistakes and get back up. Falling down or failure is part of growth. Unfortunately society shuns failure ignoring the fact that failing as a lesson is a positive thing not something to be ashamed of. This isn’t to say we should throw caution to the wind! Caution in moderation is a good thing and can protect us. But there comes a point when you have to take that leap of faith, to often our fear of failure keeps us from taking that leap. Listen to your heart, pursue your passion, fall down, get up and live life!

Meditation Point #109

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Articles of Interest, Quotes
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Edmund BurkeAll that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

– – Edmund Burke (Jan 12, 1729 – Jul 9, 1797)

This phrase seems increasingly relevant for me personally. For a number of years I have been silent mostly due to personal and medical problems but also because I had become complacent. Complacency I am finding is perhaps one of life’s biggest sins. There were reasons for my complacency but that doesn’t excuse my continued silence. I won’t detail the fights I am fighting here as it isn’t relevant, what is relevant is the need to stand up and be counted. Of course the above quote would leave many wondering at the term evil, for along with complacency comes acceptance. Our society has reached a critical point in its acceptance that I fear it has gone to far to repair. I fear this for the Nation but more importantly for the individuals I meet. We have been so socialized for so long that any stance other then one of acceptance is shunned.

Acceptance leads to ApathyDon’t believe me? The next time you are among friends try to bring up a socially unacceptable topic, but know your stuff so you can argue your point. You will quickly find your friends break into 4 distinct groups. The first group will argue with you against all logic and reason; these friends fight this way to preserve the world they have created around them. The second group will argue to a point and has two subgroups. One which upon seeing your logic will either shut down and ignore you (leave the room) or simply agree to disagree. The third group will within minutes of the discussion tune you out, they will enter a zone of non conflict where they can stay safe and unchallenged with their beliefs. The forth and last group will agree with you, some will do so silently for fear of becoming a target of the first group, others will agree openly even if they are not sure of their reasons.

This is increasingly hard in our world of personal morality since we each define our evil and good. Imagine the Chaos of a world where each of us define a good and evil based on our wants and desires! Now look around you and realize that Chaos is almost here. Look around you. Most people are like a ship without a rudder. This is the first step to the triumph of evil, Acceptance. Good men, silently moving on the wheels of the inevitability of their own inaction. The second step to the triumph of evil is Cowardice. In a state of acceptance good men fear retribution if they speak up and take a stance on counter to someone else’s actions or belief. Speaking up is only allowed in extreme cases where acceptance hasn’t been adopted yet. Acceptance and the following cowardice leads to change away from any social norms or structure. This leads to the third step to the triumph of evil, decadence. When we are all accepting and all resistance is removed because rampant cowardice stepping into a decadent lifestyle is easy, even comfortable.

People say that reality isn’t that simple. People believe there are shades of gray. Shades of gray makes the transition into Chaos almost comfortable, it just takes time.Liberty There is an increasingly short list of things that are unacceptable. Things that for centuries were taboo are suddenly vogue. We could learn much from Roman history but we will not, for those of us that read history, it tells us that much! Yes I believe in a much more black and white world, gray is either the exception or doesn’t exist, not the norm. This in itself is viewed as an extreme stance in today’s world. I’m comfortable with that. People that are comfortable with gray don’t think through the logic of their reasoning. Start with the extreme case and work your way back, the answer is usually very clear and never gray. You must train your mind to find the clear path of logic and reason. Basically continue to ask the question why until you fully understand the/your reasons. Our Pop culture mocks this type of thinking and will label you as the troublemaker.

Well, this turned into a rather bleak discussion of mans progression to evil if he isn’t vigilant. But then I think of another Edmund Burke quote, “Never despair; but if you do, work on in despair“. Freedom is never given voluntarily by the oppressor any more then the oppressed knowingly have their freedom taken. And so I will continue to fight against acceptance, cowardice and decadence in the hopes of stopping the progression of evil in this world. Perhaps I will inspire other to speak up and say no more! Perhaps you will join me in this fight?

Which of the four groups do you fall into?! To put a little different perspective to all this…

I’m not concerned about all Hell breaking loose, but that a part of Hell will break loose. It’ll be much harder to detect.

– – George Carlin

Live Life!

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing
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Live!

 

It just makes you feel better some times!

Meditation Point #108

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
Dorothy Nevill

To keep your mouth shut can be the hardest thing in the word for some people.  Everyone actually at one point or another seems to learn this lesson.  I don’t call this the art of conversation though I call it wisdom.  Often it isn’t even the threat of saying the wrong thing sometimes it is just that you can learn much more from listening then from speaking.  Silence can also speak louder then words in certain situations.  The spoken word is important too.   Wisdom comes from finding the perfect balance where your mouth is under the control of your brain!  Sometimes this is as simple as pausing before you speak, take a breath.  I think you will find that the words you do speak will carry more weight and have more meaning to others.  And never blurt out a wise crack or sarcastic comment unless it serves your purpose.

Meditation Point #107

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing
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You cannot make someone like you.

— Chinese Fortune Cookie

This is just plain common sense or so I thought at first… Obviously this is good advice for people who are always trying to please others in the hopes that they will be their friends. But could it possibly mean even more? Could there be a hidden meaning?? Could the Chinese fortune cookie writer decided to hide an even more important message in this seeming simple phrase… Perhaps the Chinese Fortune cookie writer was trying to tell us that everyone is different and that no matter how we try we cannot (nor should we) try to make them act or be just like us. We need to respect the different personalities of others and realize that while we may think we are the greatest variety is the spice of life! Just a thought but the whole you can’t make someone be your friend thing works too.

Meditation Point #106

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing
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He comes without lifting a foot,
Teaches without moving his tongue.
No matter how you lead the way,
There is always one you follow.
— Zen Commentary

This quote always reminds me a little of the ‘footsteps in the sand’ quote.   It is a reminder that no matter how hard we try to lead, to be on our own, we are never alone, never the best.  There is always someone better and someone who has gone before us in whose footsteps we follow.  Embracing this fact is to remove your own egotistical conceptions that you are so special.  The one thing I like about this saying more then the footsteps quote is that it does not draw a flowery picture but a realistic one.  In saying “There is always one you follow” it reminds us that our actions pay homage to any leader good or bad with each decision we make and step we take.

Meditation Point #105

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing
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Only one who makes no attempt to possess it cannot lose it.

– – Lao-Tsu

There is a double meaning in this saying whether Lao-Tsu intended it or not.  To understand this first we define Taoism.  Taoism advocates self-transcendence, integration with the Law of Nature, inaction and infinite frame of reference instead of social attainment, self-development, progressive endeavor and personal interpretation.  In that light the literal meaning is that only in possessing nothing can we begin to find the ultimate truth.

Nothing in life can be possessed, love, air, the sun, the flowers, life, death, nothing.  In realizing this the Taoist suggests a life devoid of possessions, even of thoughts for to hold onto your thoughts is to cloud your mind.  What is this interpretation is incorrect?  What if Lao-Tsu meant that we have to take chances?!

It is true that in making ‘no attempt’ then nothing will happen and in gaining nothing we have nothing to lose.  But if we do not possess things, if we make no attempt then we can never understand the nature of loss, of love, of life.

Perhaps we should read this quote as a warning?  If we live a life of inaction then we can never possess life.  This logic is a bit of a double-edged sword because if our entire focus is to possess life then we become selfish creatures.  Selfishness is the one thing that Lao-Tsu rightly warns against.  In selfishness we no longer possess life but are possessed by it.  There is the paradox.  Action without selfish intent, so we can possess the gifts of life without being possessed by them.

If we are not possessed by something then we can lose it with no (little) sense of loss.  When we see a beautiful sunset we do not feel a sense of loss at its passing, nor should we for other things in our life.  If we truly appreciate and savor our life this is possible.  This is the secret and difficulty of the Path.  The lesson here is personal and each person may find a slightly different meaning here.  From where I sit either Lao-Tsu was wrong or greatly misinterpreted in this quote.

Meditation Point #103

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past.
William Faulkner

Many people say there is no past or future only the present. I have said this myself. In some respects this is partially true, we only have the now in which to live. Then what can Faulkner possibly mean? There is no past in the sense that we can change things we have done or witnessed. We can effect the past no more then we can control the future. For us there is no past, but that does not mean it is dead. Hardly, in fact Faulkner says it best for it isn’t even the past, because you are the collection of your past ‘present’ moments. You are the collective of your time here on Earth which means that the past is always present in us, effecting our behavior and decisions in the present and path into the future. Thus without introspection and discipline we are doomed to repeat our mistakes and failures as we are largely creatures of habit, good or bad.

Only through introspection can we see the patterns of our past and with discipline change our path into the future. In many ways George Costanza on the television show Seinfeld was a genius when realizing that all of his past decisions were wrong made a conscious effort to “do the opposite”. In his genius he found that this approach did indeed work and in the genius of the show we saw the difficulty in maintaining this new approach to life. George lacked the discipline and in the lacking gave up to his nature the fruits of his introspection.