Posts Tagged ‘Zen’

Afraid of what?

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Awareness, Quotes, State of Mind,Tags: , , , , , ,
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You can do anything if you’re not afraid.  – from the movie “Daredevil” (2003)

Well almost anything.  Let us remember this is a quote from a movie.  And not a very good movie either starring Ben Affleck.  Regardless the quote bares further contemplation.

Everyone is afraid of something, unless they are insane.  Some are afraid of the dark, some water, some spiders or snakes.  Even the most fearless warrior is afraid of something, even if he never shows it.  There is a difference between being afraid and appearing afraid.  Each has its place.  Fear is a normal response to things that are new, unexpected or we have been conditioned to fear.  I’ll admit it, I am afraid of spiders.  My fear stems from being forced, by my parents, into a spiderweb filled storage crawl space under my childhood home 2-3 times a year.  I had to crawl into the 3 foot high, dirt floor space a good 4 feet to reach the chain on the light.  There were spiders everywhere.  Even though I know where my fear comes from and I can mostly control it, and I understand spiders aren’t usually the bad guys, the fear is still there.  You won’t know it if you throw one in my lap, but my pulse will elevate!

Controlling fear is the key to success.  When we spar we begin with a fear of being hit, this leads us to flinch and thereby typically lose the match.  As we train and gain more self-control we learn to control our fear and thereby our flinch, so we might begin to win a few matches.  The fear however is constant as hopefully no one likes to get hit.  The fear will lessen but that is because we are masters of the fear instead of the fear mastering us.  The path to self-control and controlling your fear starts with an act of sheer will, the decision that you are not going to flinch or run screaming like a girl!  (Sorry girls)

There you have it, boil it all down and fear is a decision.  Following the Sept 11th attack on the World Trade Centers, many of the people trapped in the buildings chose not to be afraid of what they knew was about to happen.  Instead a few of them called loved ones to share a final moment, one such caller was described as calm.  I am sure others were consumed by fear, for themselves or their loved ones.  None of us can say with honesty or certainty how we would react in a similar situation.  We react to fear based on the situation, on our state of mind, on so many factors, but if we train to control our fears beginning in the sparring ring we will be better equip to face and handle our fears when they catch us unaware.

If you are a person of faith I would add fear, like worry, is a lack of faith.

Great Looking Effort, No Real Accomplishment

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , ,
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Being busy does not always mean real work.
The object of all work is production or
accomplishment and to either of these ends
there must be Forethought, System, Planning,
Intelligence, and Honest Purpose, as well as
Perspiration.  Seeming to do is not doing”

– Thomas Edison

Given the measure of accomplishments Thomas Edison made in his lifetime his words bear listening to, in every arena of your life.  Many of us are simply robots going through the motions of life, busy like bees in a hive, yet what do we accomplish?  We approach everything in this manner.  We workout for 22 minutes because that is what someone told us, no forethought, no real goals.  Take a moment today and think about what you want to accomplish, meaning figure out what your goals are.  Look at how you are going to do this (system and planning).  Make sure your system and plan make sense, not a pie-in-the-sky unintelligent plan but one that is realistic.  Be honest with yourself and your abilities.  It doesn’t take that long to go through these steps!  Now all you need to add is perspiration!

Train Once, Train Often!

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.

A Different Mindset

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , ,
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“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” —Mark Twain

In life we are told and taught to be prepared.  Mark Twain’s quote states the obvious, no one knowingly gets up in front of a crowd to speak without preparing!  We prepare for everything from presentation to disasters.  But what about Karate?  Do you prepare to defend yourself?  Honestly, the best you can do is practice and practice some more.  Because unlike a test or a speech, a fight is dynamic, you must rely on instinct and the skills you have practice and hope they are enough.  I guess that is the reality we don’t like to admit, you can never be to prepared and you will never know if you are prepared enough!  Some would take that as license to never prepare, which of course is pure folly.  Some will try to prepare for every possible situation, again pure folly, since I am pretty sure the chances are pretty small I will be fighting a bus load of midget ninja’s any time soon!

The moral of the story is prepare, train, but relax.  If you are training well, when the time comes you will handle any situation with a grace and skill, that will surely surprise you; since I guarantee, you will not have trained or prepared for the situation you encounter!

Train hard, train often!

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…

 

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.