Meditation Point #29

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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I am what is around me.
— Wallace Stevens

This seemed to be an appropriate quote given yesterday’s post.

Meditation Point #28

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
2

There is no reality except the one contained within us.
That is why so many people live such an unreal life.
They take the images outside of them for reality and
never allow the world within to assert itself.
Hermann Hesse

This is an interesting quote which I fear most people will not understand, even if it is explained to them! This is true because people do not like to be introspective. Very few people can define themselves, whether in high school or college they feel lost in the masses, not sure of who they are or want to be. This lack of self-confidence and awareness leads to a multitude of sins, most of all the sin of being a follower, one easily led by others. Those who do not buckle to peer pressure typically know who they are and are not looking for group or societal recognition. The next time you go to the Mall (at least in the Northeast) you will see the lost masses, the people who constantly look outward to establish their identity. The body piercing, mutilations, tattoos, and general presentation of people screams of their desire to define themselves as different or to call attention to themselves. There are few exceptions to this rule. I see this as an increasing trend in the martial arts. Look at most tournament posters or ads, predominantly represented is a figure tattooed and tough looking. To me this is no different then watching a prison fight with some added skills. Why do prisoners get tattoos? They do it for one of two reasons, to define themselves thereby affiliating themselves to a group or to make themselves look tough and scary so others will leave them alone. The same can be said for most civilians. I know I will receive a lot of hate mail over this, but bear in mind I don’t care if you have tattoos or body modifications or not. I am not saying there is anything wrong with these things, I am merely observing the culture and mindset surrounding these activities in relation to today’s meditation point. Think of it this way, in the Martial Arts we are supposed to maintain the element of surprise, this is the martial way. How can we surprise our enemy if we display our affiliations all over our body? Who is the more difficult opponent to stand against, one with a dragon tattooed across his chest/arm with several piercing or one with no markings or piercing (“clean cut”)? Which opponent tells you more about themselves by their appearance? Which leaves you wondering what they know and what to expect next?

Meditation Point #27

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,
but sometimes your smile is the source of your joy!
— Thich Nhat Hahn

We can extend this saying, Sometimes someone elses smile is the source of your joy,
but sometimes your smile is the source of someone else’s joy!
…Remember this as you greet others today and always.

Meditation Point #26

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
1

Nothing is worth more than this day.
— Goethe

It is hard to argue with this even though we often get caught up in problems of the past or hopes and fears of the future. In the Martial Arts our training should help us to live in the moment, to enjoy and savor each second. As we train we should learn to absorb every facet of the moment, in doing this we increase our situational awareness and there is little time for thoughts of the past or future!

Meditation Point #25

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends. — Japanese Proverb

This another way of saying Actions speak louder then words. Think about it, who do you hang with? And what does that say about you?

Meditation Point #24

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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There are two Japanese proverbs that I want to share that help me when I am training or facing some difficult or painful task. The first thing I always find myself repeating is “This too shall pass“. This of course is not a Japanese proverb but is an important introduction (in my way of thinking 😉 ). If you think about this phrase and the simple truth it holds it may help when you least expect it.

The two Japanese proverbs are Beginning is easy – Continuing is hard. and Fall seven times, stand up eight. When we train we must keep these in mind or we will never conquer ourselves and thus never attain anything of worth in this life. I was going to say more but I think that about sums it up. Think about it and keep on training!

Meditation Point #23

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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Come back to square one, just the minimum bare bones. Relaxing with the present moment, relaxing with hopelessness, relaxing with death, not resisting the fact that thigs end, that things pass, that things have no lasting substance, that everything is changing all the time — that is the basic message.
Pema Chodron

Meditation Point #22

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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All of us are watchers — of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway — but few are observers. Everyone is looking, not many are seeing.
Peter M. Leschak

Meditation Point #21

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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It is like Archers. If they start out competing, they’ll never become marksmen. It is only long after practice, with no thought of winning or losing, that they can hit the target. Same with the study of the Way. If even a single thought of winning or losing appears, you will be chained by winning and losing.
— Ying-an

Take a minute and think about this one, there is an important lesson here. While on the surface it seems like we should have no goals that is not the case. The real message here is that we have to appreciate life. No one knows how long they will live or if they will even finish their current project so the importance should not be put on the end goal but the process, the task. If we attain the goal that is great, if we fail, great because even in our failures we suceed. It sounds corny, hell it sounds like the type of philosophy that a loser would adopt to explain away their failures!! While there are some people who use this thinking to explain away their failures they are easy to spot, they are the ones who have never suceeded at anything. This is sound advice. As you approach your next task or goal, seek not the ends but the means, it is here in the process from nothingness to perfection that we find joy in what we do.

Meditation Point #20

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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Life shrinks or expands according to one’s courage.
— Anais Nin

I have posted this for a friend of mine who is fighting terminal cancer. He doesn’t capitlize cancer because he doesn’t want to show it that kind of respect! In all he is a courageous man, fighting a battle we all shudder to think of. When I read this I thought of him, his daily struggle and how our time and space in this life can be so effected by our actions and emotions. Courage is up there with Love, it is both an action and an emotion. So take a moment and think of those who are truely courageous, those who shoulder the burdens life presents them with and who keep on living!