Gaining Perspective

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Video,

This video may be a little sappy for some people but it makes a great point about perspective and compassion.


More info on video clip available here.

We could all learn a little more about ourselves and others by simply taking the time to be more observant to those around us. It is amazing how a simple smile or common courtesy can change a persons day. Too often we forget the good times and focus on the bad, some become consumed by the bad moments, a moment of kindness could break that cycle for them. As we train we need to consider the perspective of our fellow students, people we meet and even our enemies. The more we master (equals defeat) our egos the more second nature this state of being becomes.

But the guy with the cookie, him I’d give a quick hit to the kidney, collapse his knee and then say excuse me…but that’s just me! πŸ˜‰ I say that because, sometimes even people down and out need to be reminded to offer common courtesy and use decent manners.

Our Deepest Fear…

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes,

Meditation Point #126

There isn’t much that I can add to this so I will not.

Thanks to Michele and Ellen for correcting me in the comments section.Β  They are indeed correct.Β  Ellen thank you for the link.Β  I followed it up and the quote is actually from the novel, A Return to Love, it is still a great quote!

What do you Believe?

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes,

Meditation Point #125

It is true that a little philosophy inclineth Man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion. For while the mind of Man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no farther; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity. …

The fool hath thought in his heart; so as he rather saith it by rote to himself, as that he would have, than that he can thoroughly believe it, or be persuaded of it; for none deny there is a God, but those whom interest it serve that there were no God. It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this, that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if fainted in themselves, and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others. Nay, more you shall have atheists strive to get disciples, as it fareth with other sects. And, which is most of all, you shall have of them that will suffer for atheism, and not recant; whereas, if they did truly think that there were no such thing as God, why would they trouble themselves? …

The causes of atheism are, divisions in religion, if there be many; another is, scandal of priests, …; a third is, a custom of profane scoffing in holy matters, which doth by little and little deface the reverence of religion; and lastly, learned times, especially with peace and prosperity; for troubles and adversity do more bow men’s minds to religion.

They that deny a God destroy Man’s nobility, for certainly Man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature. It destroys likewise magnanimity, and the raising of human nature. For take an example of a dog, and mark what a generosity and courage he will put on when he finds himself maintained by a man, who to him is instead of a God, or melior natura; which courage is manifestly such as that creature, without confidence of a better nature than his own, could never attain. So Man, when he resteth and assureth himself upon divine protection and favour, garthereth a force and faith which human nature itself could not obtain; therefore as atheism is in all respects hateful, so in this, that it depriveth human nature of the means to exalt itself above human frailty.

– – “The Essays of Lord Bacon” published 1888

I collect old and antique books, it is a passion. Recently I decided I had to many books (hard to believe) and started to thin the collection a little. Some are beyond repair, some I will never read, but a few I have decided to read to help me decide the fate. The above passage is from such a book. Written in Olde English it can take a moment longer to read but to me it provides significant insight.

What surprises me as I read through many of these books that were written 100-200 years ago is how in touch the authors were of our current social and political struggles. This perspective helps me to see that we are unique but timeless in our struggles, we are egotistical enough to think that only our generation has dealt with such things. We view the past through filters that lead us to believe that problems were different and certain issues didn’t exist. While extreme topics may have been tempered throughout time they seem to rise and fall like the tides of the sea from my readings. What is interesting is the presentation of their thoughts.

In the above passage I find the example of the dog in the last paragraph the most poignant. Whether you believe in God or not this example should give pause to deeper thought. It is a calling to a higher order, an illustration of the limitless bounds of the human spirit given aspirations of heavenly targets. Perhaps that is to flowery for most, I tend to talk in extremes to make my points. I do not say these things or ponder these topics here to convert, that isn’t my concern. I ponder them because it helps me to better understand those whom I run into daily. The vast majority of people I meet do not know what they believe. If they profess to know what they believe often they do not understand what or why they believe it. God, no God, darkness and dirt, or heavenly fields, these are after all the reasons we pursue knowledge and enlightenment, we wish to know the unknown, we wish to feel some ounce of control over our path. Not all of us ponder these thoughts but for those us that do, what do you know? To know is indicative of knowledge but how can we profess knowledge of things near impossible to prove? There is the gem, there is no need to prove anything! Oh we want to convince others that we have the secret, many out of compassion for others, more out of a need for validation, very few because they have clarity of truth.

Clarity of truth is a funny thing, when you have it (and I’m not saying I do) you are unaffected by the scorn of others, because you know. This is that state of calm where you know in your gut what is and isn’t. There is peace there, yet it can make others very uncomfortable even in their calm silence. To many people are evangelical about their causes. In my opinion evangelical people are simply looking for others to validate them, they are like the 3 monkeys who hear no “opposing views”, speak no “opposing views” and see no “opposing views”! Perhaps that is the only way they can support the reality they have built. This applies to every topic from religion to relationships and politics to pollution! They over simplify the world to make it easy to explain away anything that is uncomfortable. Yes these words are a double edge sword, it cuts both ways, but that isn’t my concern because I am not worried about you.

We need to spend more time looking inwards and less time getting upset with others. Whoever said, “Know thyself and to thy own self be true” was on target. This was somewhat of a free form, stream of consciousness post but hopefully you found something useful in the reading.

— — — — — — — — — — —

Before you bring it up let me close by saying this passage is not meant to bash anyones beliefs or lack there of, but to provoke thought and introspection. Some of my previous posts on similar topics have been the subject of positive and negative discussions on other blogs. These posts are what they are presented for, meditation points, points of reflection, to stimulate thought and interospection. If you are adverse to critically examining your own beliefs and thoughts on any topic, then you have little hope for growth.

Often those that disagree with us (the global us encompassing all views) seem to feel we are simply misguided or at a lower stage of enlightenment. From where I stand my perspective on most controversial issues is clear, but to many I may seem delusional! That is their right and I respectfully support that right. Of course attacking my point of view irrationally would point to your stage… πŸ˜‰ Perhaps some of the words I have used are to strong, misguided, dillusional, etc, for not everyone feels that strongly, regardless I intend no offense but do not apologize for any made.

Village Idiots

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Articles of Interest, OffTopic,

Give Mercedes a Chance!The other day I went to the local video store and rented Pride. I will write another post about that because it is an awesome movie. But as I checked out the clerk began to engage me in a conversation about the economy, the bad times ahead and the evils of the American empire and the current President. He began this conversation like so many people never considering that I may not share his world view, that in itself always amuses me. Not considering someone may have a counterpoint means your intellect can’t comprehend someone not agreeing with you. If you follow that thinking this leads to one of two conclusions. One the person feels they have the inside scoop on all legitimate knowledge and therefore are smarter then you, ego. Or, they their view of the world is so narrow they cannot comprehend that any perspective other then their own can exist, ignorance and ego. In either case pretty much they are the Village Idiot. I do not say that because I disagree with them, I label a lot of people who agree with me as Village Idiots too. These are people who grab a hold of the first point of view they hear and cling to it like the Gospel without question or rational thought. What I love about the Village Idiot is that they fall prey to the very thing they profess you have fallen prey to. Case and point he began explaining that America was evil and that the ONLY thing America was good at was convincing the rest of the world to do that which was bad. Then followed the classic explanation of the propaganda and misinformation the “right” put forth to keep us down. The conversation quickly degraded when I pointed out some historical facts that countered many of his beliefs. He changed course and endorsed Obama stating that there was still hope for all of us! I asked him why he felt Obama was worthy of his loyalty. He started talking about change without saying anything. I reminded him that Obama was as much a part of the establishment he loathes as the other candidates, being an multi-millionaire and current Senator with zero record of fighting the system. He immediately suggested I read a book written by someone he held in high regard feeling this would remove the blindfold from my eyes so that I could see the world as clearly as he. I didn’t have the heart or the time to tell him that I had already read the book he suggested! You see I like to understand my enemies better then my friends.

This conversation got me to thinking about the current plight of the world and my responsibility to it. Sadly I do feel responsible. I say sadly because I would like to be like so many other Americans and bury my head in the sand and focus on my family. But then I would be like so many Colonists who were willing to give England their due until their backs were against the wall. Unfortunately I am not nearly as wise or learned as our Founding Fathers. What I do do is attempt to get people to think, even the Village Idiots. Most people do not like to confront their beliefs or face confrontation. It is easier to just go along thinking that you can just get along. Unfortunately history teaches us that that just isn’t the case. The Martial Arts also teaches us that this is not the case. How many Instructors will counsel a student confronted with a Bully that they should just give them what they want and perhaps they’ll want to be their friend? If you answer yes to that then you need to either get a new instructor or send me a check for $1,000.00 a month…or else! Seriously you instruct the student to stand up for themselves. Depending on the situation that may include going to the authorities or punching them in the nose!

Why is it that the above example is so clear to almost everyone? Because it is almost common sense. For those that have never faced a conflict like that though the answer is not clear. Mostly people assume if they just give them what they want they will be left alone…wrong…they will want more. I need to say this though, many people will say fighting doesn’t solve anything. I agree but often you have no option to fight and if you wait to long you may not even have the option to fight having given so much ground that your opponent has complete power over you. Why should the bully be the only one with a voice? What does this have to do with the Village Idiot? Most of us just quietly give them voice. Perhaps I will use my voice by no longer patronizing that business, I’m not sure. But one thing that I do know and I told the Village Idiot this. Change doesn’t come from a movement for a movement is nothing more then a new establishment and you never know if an establishment will be good or bad until it is in power. Change comes from the people, not as a mob but as thoughtful individuals. The only country where that type of power still exists is in America, socialism is quickly sweeping the world into a new era of modern communism and if we aren’t careful it could be hundreds or thousands of years before our children have a voice again.

What is a Sensei?

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Styles,

SenseiBad Sensei

Sen means “before”, Sei means “life, birth, living or lived”. Thus a Sensei is someone who has experienced something before you. He has walked the path you are planning to follow before you, he can tell you what to do. In more general terms, it’s a teacher, normally the head instructor of the Dojo you are attending.

A Sensei should be a person you can take inspiration from, whom you respect but feel comfortable enough turning to in a time of need. A Sensei should not use their students as tools for their egos to prove how superior they are. To the contrary the Sensei should lead their students to discover their strengths and weaknesses so they may grow and florist in the Martial Arts and life.

Find the answers to this and many more questions in the New Frequently Asked Questions section!


Depend Upon It…

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing,

Meditation Point #124

Spring has come.
A thousand flowers are in bloom?
for what?
for whom?

– – A ZEN Saying

What a great question upon which to reflect. Many would say for nothing. Would a Zen Master? More importantly, would you? Spring is a glorious time of year, I always wondered why we don’t set our new year resolutions now when there is an air for new beginnings and fresh possibilities. But I digress. Do the flowers bloom for the glory of the hummingbird? If there is such a thing as evolution why would a plant or animal evolve to make itself dependent on another species? Why would the flowers not all learn to self pollinate? Why worry about the Bees and Butterflies? I’ve never heard that questions answered with any satisfaction. Or is it just possible that it makes more sense that things are this way to serve as lessons? Is it possible we are supposed to realize that like so many codependents in nature we are not meant to rely solely upon ourselves? Are we supposed to look closely at nature as an example of our need to depend on things outside our control? Are we supposed to learn to have faith, not worry, that the flowers will come again next Spring? What would a Zen master say? More importantly, what do you say?

Political Personal Responsibility

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Articles of Interest, News, OffTopic,

For the first time in my adult life I publicly endorsed a candidate, Fred Thompson. Well it is now old news that he withdrew his bid for President. From my perspective this was a sad day for Conservative, Federalists who want to preserve our country and stop the march to Socialism and Communism. That one sentence probably alienated 90% of my visitors but so be it. The point is that in the process of reflecting on why my candidate falter, I had an epiphany. Regardless of the candidate we elect to any given office, WE are responsible.Β  Personal ResponsibilityI say this because myself and others who support(ed) Fred Thompson felt hope was lost when he stepped down. Our choices are standard politicians (on both sides) that stand on long records of lying and pandering to every special interest group. The very people our fore fathers fought to overcome have taken over the system they created!

What does this have to do with personal responsibility? In thinking this over it hit me that we do not need Fred Thompson, we need, ‘We the People‘. Regardless of who is elected locally or Federally we the people have the power to make sure they do their jobs and follow the law. The problem is it is hard, very hard. But if I am going to be part of the solution then I need to take some responsibility. So do you! The responsibility to be willing to spill some tea into the harbor. The responsibility to make sure our laws are followed by all government officials. The responsibility to argue and be involved. These are Conservative ideals. No longer can I remain silent, nor can you, Conservative or Not. To be dramatic, these may very well be the final days of this Republic and I’d hate to think I could have stopped the end if only I had acted. This is a call to action for all Americans who are interested in saving this country from politicians, foreign interests, lawyers and worse. I call you to rally not behind me but behind the American Flag, the Constitution and the ideals of our founding fathers.

Good Luck.

Fear, the Great Demotivator

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Training notes,

Meditation Point #123

Everyone always asks about your goals and motivations. What do you want? Where do you want to be? Very few people will ask what are you afraid of… Mostly because this is an intimate and person question that requires us to expose our weaknesses. But I am asking it now, what are you afraid of?

The reason I am asking this question is simple, fear is usually what motivates us to do things. But the title said demotivator? I don’t understand? Most people operate with underlying fears, spiders, heights, etc. These are not the types of fears that I am talking about. The types of fears I am talking about deal with risk and in some cases danger. Fear can handicap us from taking chances, which is a survival thing so not all bad. But what happens when fear of risks become an obstical to our goals? Some people simply pick new goals. Often they don’t realize that is why they changed their goals, who wants to admit they took the safety? No, people rationalize they are good rational reasons for “changing” our goals! But is that living? I am not sure. Being a Father I find that my decision process has changed greatly, there are so many new variable to consider. It’s not just me anymore. But that doesn’t mean fear needs to rule. The hard part is telling good judgment from fear.

FearFear becomes a demotivator when we stop taking chances or always look to take the safest path. It makes us predictable and limits our growth. The real problem occurs when we fall into a pattern where we would rather choose inaction (failure) then to risk anything. We enter into a falling pattern of failing. This is the danger that isn’t written or talked about often enough. Why do we do these things? More times then not we allow our fears surrounding personal security to rule us. This isn’t always a bad thing as it often keeps us from being homeless! But reasonableness dictates that we need to take risks occasionally. Otherwise we would never change jobs, homes, make an investment or make a large purchase.

The two greatest facilitators of our fears are the word’s Can’t and Don’t Know. When we say we can’t do something what we are really saying is, I quit. The truth is 90% of the time we just aren’t trying hard enough. Children seem to fall prey to this one very often, unfortunately adults do not properly correct this when they can. Adults are more adept at avoiding things they feel they can’t do. Adults like to say they don’t understand or even better to transfer their fear onto other with blame.

Just because things aren’t clear to us doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Some of the most important lessons I’ve learned were in situations where I didn’t understand what I was learning. In the Martial Arts I see this very often in students; they get frustrated in their training or with their instructor and all to often they quit. They do not want to continue without understanding the lesson, so they choose failure and quit.

Other then talking about this problem and attempting to educate people I am not sure how we correct it. I do know that in our fast reward society where everything should come quickly and easily it is easy to camouflage our fears so we do not have to deal with them. Anything worth attaining takes hard work and time; anything worth knowing isn’t simple to comprehend. The most important thing to realize is if we do not face our fears then we will never grow towards perfection. Are you ready to face your fears?

I will ask again, what are you afraid of? And if you dare how do you avoid your fears?

Grasp it more loosely

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing,

Meditation Point #122

How shall I grasp it?
Do not grasp it.
That which remains when there is no more grasping is the Self.

Think of water here, or Love. Most things in life can not be forced like grasping water or making another love you. Grasping WaterMatter of fact the best things in life come naturally when we do not expect them. Relax. Our desire to grasp things and force them is our desire to control that which is outside of ourselves. Even if you are successful, your success is an illusion. The only thing we can ever hope to control is ourselves. Even here we cannot control everything about ourselves because so much is controlled by the environment around us. But we can control our reaction to that controlling environment.

The lessons of Life and the Martial Arts share much in common. In both we strive to achieve perfection (hopefully). In both we work very hard to achieve success. In both we must learn that which we can control and that which we cannot. But perhaps the most important lesson they both share is that in relaxing, trusting, breathing and not grasping for our goals can we hasten our path to their achievement.

Success is a relative thing and most forget this lesson. To some success is a big house with long list of material things that often sadly includes a spouse and children. To other success is finding their next meal. So keep things in perspective and realize things could always be worse, then relax and enjoy the moment before it is gone. You will find that life comes more easily to you since you will expend so little energy on worrying about and grasping that which you cannot control. Perhaps it is easier because you will be living life instead of attempting to control it.

Don’t Fight It…Breath

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Training notes,

Meditation Point #121

Breath Inverted

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