Posts Tagged ‘Meditation’

The Way

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Religion, State of Mind, Video,Tags: , , , , , ,
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The Way we should live but usually don’t. As Martial Artists we are supposed to be role models, we usually are not.  Like so many we do things for selfish reasons.  We miss the multitude of opportunities God sends our way to do those small (and big) things and improve the lives of our fellow man.  Selfish.  Any discipline requires some denial of the self, be it diet to lose weight or not watching TV so you can practice that kata or technique a few more times.  If only we would apply that same sacrifice in our dealings with others.  The noise of the modern world seduces us so we can ignore those small important acts of kindness and love which help us grow and find internal peace.  What surprised me was the fact that it was a TVC Thai Life Insurance commercial/public service announcement that inspired me to reflect on this very fact…

Who did you help today?

What does your 2014 look like?

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Competition, Karate, Training notes,Tags: , , , , , ,
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Forget New Year resolutions, they don’t work for a litany of reasons. One of those reasons is you are taught through media and social engineering that you are OK the way you are. You are taught there is no ideal or perfect way or state of being. You are taught to be consumers not producers. Your kids are taught so too. There is a constant onslaught of relax, chill, you are fine, be happy with yourself, and a host of other new age bull crap messages. We are taught to look outward not inward. Not feeling well, buy something! Where is the proof? If you need proof you are blind, but here is a graphic of the average American that demonstrates what I am talking about:
1985-2013 how things have changed.

What was once uncommon has become common.  What was once sought after is now shunned.  We have let ourselves be led to an instant gratification society, we don’t want to work, we want it now, no pain, no sweat, no effort.  I see this every week no matter where I go.

This pertains to the Martial Arts because people don’t earn their belts anymore, they buy them (with rare exceptions).  The funny thing is they don’t even know they are doing it, buying their advancement.  Most Martial Arts schools know that in order for students to “stick” with their training, they have to keep them interested because if success doesn’t come quickly it will be abandon as too hard.

Today everyone gets a trophy!  There is no First place…it is disgusting.  The sad part is it is pervasive in every aspect of our society and like any cancer it is spreading.  The only solution is to push back, to push a culture of success and failure, to stress the importance of hard work and sweat, personal reflection and improvement.  Our greatest competitor should be ourselves, but that takes honesty, did you give it your all?  Was that your best?  No excuses, excuses are the slippery slope to mediocrity.

 

Unity, Truth, and Goodness

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes, State of Mind,Tags: , , , , ,
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What do Unity, Truth, and Goodness have to do with the Martial Arts?  That is perhaps hard for many to see, especially those new to the Martial Arts.  Here is a quote to start the conversation with:

Franciscan John Duns Scotus says that when the one, and the true, and the good are operating in unity, whatever is happening will always also be beautiful! This is his de facto definition of beauty: the harmony between unity, truth, and goodness. When you can see all three, or even one, you will always be delighted.  Beauty is experienced precisely in our ability to hold together the oneness, the truthfulness, and the goodness of things—despite all the seeming contrary evidence (which is always there!).  –Richard Rohr, Catholic Franciscan and Founder of the Center for Contemplation and Action

Now that may not seem to apply to the Martial Arts but I hope you will find that it actually does.  When we begin to train in the Martial Arts there is nothing beautiful about it!  We are awkward because we lack understanding and knowledge, we lack experience necessary to perform the basic movements of the Martial Arts.  Our mind and body do not have Unity, they both resist in relinquishing control to you, the student.  The more you practice the more Unity you gain, things begin to become natural and flow.

If you stop your training there, you have accomplished much and it will serve you well in every aspect of your life.  But you will be lacking.  As we continue to train the Unity of our practice becomes comfortable and smooth, but is missing something.  With continued training you will begin to experience moments of epiphany when you see the Truth of your perfect execution and the True uses of that particular technique.  You will even see the Truth of using a particular technique in ways you were never taught.  You will feel confidence and power swell in a type of calm pride.

If you stop your training at this point you will be a formidable opponent who can handle most situations that would call for Martial Arts skills.  But you would still be lacking.  Because at this point you have only seen the partial truth of your training.  You have the Truth of each technique but you have yet to assemble them to their true ending.  Goodness.  This training part of your training is difficult to be taught, because you feel your training is complete.  Your physical training is, but we are more than physical beings and the Martial Arts at every point recognizes that.  I will try to explain this next step in your training, most ignore it, few understand what they seek, and fewer discover it (I am not professing that I have).  Goodness comes from the picture and feeling of the Unity and Truth you have gained.  The Goodness comes from understanding that all your training, all your sweat was not leading where you thought.  You thought you were training to be a Master Warrior near indestructible!  Instead you start to see the Goodness, the Truth the Unity that in training and honing your body and mind to fight, you no longer desire to.  You seek Justice through peace not strength or will or power of what you could do.  Rather your skill and power is only meant to be used in a reflective manner, defensive only.

If you stop your training here, you have much to teach the world of students who await you.

This is the secret of the Martial Arts that most have forgotten or chosen to ignore for a multitude of reasons.  Live in Peace (Goodness).  Live in Awareness (Truth).  Live at Peace with yourself (Unity).  You will be the calm, unmovable Stone at the center of a raging river of life.

The Eleven Proverbs of Mas Oyama

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes, State of Mind,Tags: , , , ,
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  1. The Martial Way begins and ends with courtesy, therefore, be properly and genuinely courteous at all times.
  2. Following the Martial Way is like scaling a cliff – continue upwards without rest. It demands absolute and unfaltering devotion to the task at hand.hiji_oyama
  3. Strive to seize the initiative in all things, all the time guarding against actions stemming from selfish animosity or thoughtlessness.
  4. Even for the Martial Artist, the place of money cannot be ignored, yet one should be careful never to become attached to it.
  5. The Martial Way is centred in posture.  Strive to maintain correct posture at all times.
  6. The Martial Way begins with one thousand days and is mastered after ten thousand days of training.
  7. In the Martial Arts, introspection begets wisdom. Always see contemplation on your actions as an opportunity to improve.
  8. The nature and purpose of the Martial Way is universal. All selfish desires should be roasted in the tempering fires of hard training.
  9. The Martial Arts begins with a point and end in a circle. Straight lines stem from this principle.
  10. The true essence of the Martial Way can only be realized through experience. Knowing this, learn never to fear its demands.
  11. Always remember: In the Martial Arts the rewards of a confident and grateful heart are truly abundant.

Meditation Point #133 – Good v Evil

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes, State of Mind,Tags: , ,
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The best way to fight evil is with small acts of kindness.  — Gandlaf, The Hobbit

The actual quote is “…what I have found it is the small everyday deeds or ordinary folks that keep the darkness at bay.” but I like my version better.  And it holds true more often then we may like to consider.

It really is the little things in life that stay with us.  A sunrise, a smile from a passing stranger, someone stopping so you can cross the street in the rain, a kind word, a display of common decency, all of these thing recognize us and connect us as human beings, as equals.

Let me know what you think…

 

Meditation Point #132 – Crisis

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing,Tags: , , ,
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A friend of mine is going through a very difficult time.  It is hard watching someone deal with a crisis in their life when there isn’t a lot you can do for them but be there for them as a friend.  I’ve been thinking about this fact for the past week and wondering if there was something else I could do, sadly there doesn’t seem to be.  But maybe I can help them and others in a way by exploring my thoughts and feeling surrounding the word Crisis.

Our English word “crisis” comes from the Greek word krisis, which means “opportunity.”

No one wants to deal with a crisis in their life, it is never pleasant regardless of the cause.  Crisis’s come in many different forms, those we cause ourselves and those that are thrust upon us.  Some are the result of our own actions while others fault of our own.  The form and the cause mean little when you are dealing with a crisis.  When in crisis the only goal is to emerge from the crisis intact.  I think that is where the “opportunity” part comes in that the Greek root speaks to.  Many time we do not control any part of the crisis we are dealing with, what we do control is how we handle the crisis.  How we handle (or deal with) a crisis is the where the opportunity comes in, because in dealing with a big or small crisis we have a chance to grow.  A crisis can crush our self-worth and self-esteem, but it can equally impart a new belief in ourselves.

More to come…

 

No fanfare for you…

ktadmin Posted in Quotes,Tags: , ,
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The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world.  There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, now will there be monuments created in our honor.  This does not lessen our potential impact on the world and the people we share it with.

There are scores of people waiting for us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our encouragement, and who will need our unique talents.  Some one who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we have to give.

While these are thoughts typically reserved for the Holiday’s it is important to think of them every day, in every season.  The simple things in life, the smallest actions often have the biggest impact.  Take a moment and pay attention to those around you, someone may just need a helping hand or kind word, who knows, you may find you feel better too.

Meditation Point #131 – Grief

ktadmin Posted in Quotes,Tags: ,
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The tears I feel today
I’ll wait to shed tomorrow.
Though I’ll not sleep this night
Nor find surcease from sorrow.
My eyes must keep their sight:
I dare not be tear-blinded.
I must be free to talk
Not choked with grief, clear-minded.
My mouth cannot betray
The anguish that I know.
Yes, I’ll keep my tears til later:
But my grief will never go.

— Anne McCaffrey (Dragonsinger)

Grief is something we all must deal with eventually.  When I read any type of book I often find passages that provoke deeper thought, this is one example.  Often in times of grief we must stay strong and deny ourselves the act of grieving until another day.  But denied or not we still feel the grief.  It is funny how extreme emotions can change us and stay with us forever, like love or grief…

Meditation Point #8

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes,Tags: ,
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True Zen

Sitting quietly doing nothing,
Spring comes and the grass grows.

This is perhaps my favorite saying/quote mostly because of its simplicity.  In these ten words the essence of life is put into perspective.  Our worries, our stresses, all the little things we make important and all the things we want to do are put in perspective.  We are insignificant in the grand scheme of things, nothing we do will make the Spring come sooner, it happens without us.  Conversely anything we do will pass away as if it were never there with the passage of time.  We are insignificant.  As a matter of fact the more significant we think we are, the less significant we are.  Significance indicates a desire for recognition.  The desire for recognition is self-centered ego.  We make ourselves the center of the Universe when nothing could be further from the truth.

What to do then?  Do we simply sit and let the world pass through it’s natural cycles?  We should sit quietly occasionally to keep things in perspective, however that isn’t realistic for everyday practice, how would we eat, etc.  No, this quote is only practical if you were the only person on the planet, even then your existence would be short lived.  While this quote does point to a certain truth in life, it neglects the more abstract aspects of life.  The interactions of life, with life.  Our interactions with our fellow men (and women) our important, though if done correctly will also be soon forgotten but not soon erased.  If we keep the world in perspective as the quote tries to point out our interactions with others will be based in kindness and selflessness.  We will sleep peacefully at night and wake with anticipation of the day ahead.  No agenda.  Living in the world but not for the world.  Living in peace with the fact that you do not chase smoke and dreams but bask in the glory of every moment whether good or bad understanding that no one truly has any more power over you than they do to make the Spring come earlier than it will.