Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dependence and Slavery

Dependence and Slavery

Once you become dependent on anybody, you become enslaved.  If you depend on somebody for happiness, then this same person will have the power to make you unhappy.  They go together, this person has power and control over you. 

You see this dynamic in relationships many times.  Many relationships are a co-dependent.  Both individuals imprison one another; both individual’s enslave one another.  It is a mutual agreement to severe one another’s freedom and way of life. 

The wife tells the husband to have no friends but her, the husband tells the wife to have no friends but him.  The wife tells the husband what clothing to wear, the husband tells the wife what clothing she should wear.  The wife tells the husband where he should work, the husband tells the wife where she should work.  The wife tells the husband what he should spend his money on, the husband tells the wife what she should spend her money on.  The wife tells the husband not to go out late at night.  The husband tells the wife not to go out late at night. 

The restrictions keep compounding and compounding up to the point where husband and wife have locked each other in a small prison cell.  No longer free and open to the public.  A real relationship based on freedom and love has no prison cell.  Both man and woman, not “husband” and “wife”, but both man and woman are free individuals, there is no prison cell present.  There are just two human beings that have total freedom to be together or not be together.

They can leave, they can stay. 
They can spend, they can save. 
They can dress how they like.
They can spend time with whom they like.
They can go out late at night.
They can be together as if they are not together. 

They respect each other’s freedom. 

Neither is dependent on each other for happiness.  They have their happiness that comes from within and they share this happiness with one another in freedom. 

What Grabs Your Attention

What Grabs Your Attention

Imagine going to work as a trainer and you have client who is paying you $10/hr and you have another who is paying you $10,000/hr.  Whom will you give more attention to?  It is quite obvious that the high paying client has paid for your undivided attention.  Money is used as a way to divert our attention towards certain people over others. 

Imagine walking down the street and seeing a car that costs $5000 drive by and then moments later you see another car driving by worth $500,000.  Which car will you give more of your attention to?  It is quite obvious that you will give more of your undivided attention towards the vehicle that is $500,000. 

Imagine walking down the street and you see an old lady in her 80’s walking by and then moments later you see a young lady in her 20’s walking by that you are very much physically attracted to.  Which lady will you give more of your attention to?  It is quite obvious that you will give more of your undivided attention towards the younger lady. 

It is quite obvious that money and beauty grab our attention.  But these are examples of automated responses.  These are examples of very much predictable responses.  These are the common responses from the average man. 

Grabbing your attention, is essentially being aware.  Being present, being in the moment.  Not daydreaming, no dwelling in the past, not thinking about the future, but in the moment and aware of the entire experience and your surroundings.  This is Zen.  Zen teaches you to be aware.  Zen teaches you to be aware in every situation. 

Zen teaches you to be aware for both paying clients regardless of compensation.  Zen teaches you to be aware to both cars regardless of its monetary value.
Zen teaches you to be aware of both ladies regardless of their physical attractiveness or age. 

A master of Zen can bring awareness into any situation without discrimination.  Imagine a baby or an animal and how they are naturally very aware.  The baby knows nothing of money.  Give him $1 or $100 and it makes no difference.  Let the baby sit inside a $10,000 car or a $100,000 car and it will make no difference.  Have an old lady hug the baby or a young lady and it will make no difference.  The baby is naturally in the moment, naturally in Zen. 

The baby naturally holds no judgment of better or worse, of good or bad.  Even put a dead body in front of a baby and it will make no difference.  The baby has no fear of death; he naturally knows that death does not exist.  Not too long ago he was still connected to his mother in the womb, not too long ago he was connected to the source.  Not too long ago he didn’t have to worry about going to the washroom, he didn’t have to worry about eating or drinking, he didn’t have to worry about clothing or shelter.  He was just at one with the source, there were no worries, everything was being taken care of without effort on his part.  The baby is naturally like a Master of Zen. 

Can we be in Zen in nearly every situation, not just situations of which we are commonly expected to be attentive to?  The more we learn to bring awareness into every situation, the more beautiful life will be, the whole world we will see from a different perspective, we will be more filled with joy and ecstasy everywhere we go.  Every experience will be fulfilling and a joy unto itself.  The ordinary experiences will suddenly become extraordinary.  This is the power of Zen.

Thoughts on McDojangs/McDojos

In this blog, I will generalise about current trends in the Martial Art education systems that I have been observing in recent years. I recognise that what I have written below most certainly is not applicable to every individual case.

Yes we've all heard of them. Most of us have even seen them with our own eyes. McDojangs/McDojos are what many consider to be a disgraceful spectacle of the Martial Arts communities across the globe. The words McDojang and McDojo are blended neologisms (new word created via the blending of two already existing words) that have currently not been codified or denoted. The only difference being that a McDojang refers to schools that express the systems originating from Korea such as Taekwondo and Hapkido, and McDojo refers to schools that express systems from Japan such as Karate's subsystems, Aikido and Judo. The similarity between the two that puts the 'Mc' in front of Dojang and Dojo is that these schools focus primarily on making money. Money has nothing to do with Martial Art in essence. However, even good schools nowadays must generate a profit to keep the doors open. A school becomes a McDojang/McDojo when money becomes of more value to the instructor then providing good quality Martial Art tuition. This unfortunately is the case with many schools out there. Many people will train for 3 years (some horror stories even tell of 1 year) and obtain a thing that is 65% polyester and 35% cotton to rap around their waists. The fact that it is (most often) painted black inflates many people's egos. Once the black belt is obtained, many people leave with a sort of 'job done mindset. Do they have any idea that Martial Art in it's purest form was not what they received? No. Do they have any idea that Martial Art is a continuous life journey through life geared towards self observation and longevity? No. Do they care? No. What of the instructors? Do the instructors care that these are the sorts of people they are mass producing? Most often, no. Do they care about the profit they're making? Yes. What is even sadder is that many instructors themselves were trained in McDojangs/McDojos, hence they know nothing different.

At some point, one may begin to ask oneself; "How on Earth did the Martial Art community turn out to be this way?" I think it is largely due to the 1984 Karate Kid movie. Let me say right now that I think The Karate Kid is a brilliant movie. The writer of The Karate Kid, Robert Mark Kamen, was a Martial Art practitioner. In writing the movie, he wanted to alter the publics perception of what the practice of Martial Art was suppose to be geared towards. Prior to the release of The Karate Kid, people thought Martial Art was all about 'Beaten people up!'. Kamen set out to enlighten society that "The secret to Karate [Martial Art] lies in the mind and heart. Not in the hands." I think The Karate Kid did a very good job at illustrating this. For this reason, The Karate Kid is in my own opinion, far superior to Bruce Lee's films. Unfortunately however, broader society misinterpreted the message that Robert Mark Kamen was trying to educate people about. Parents started to think in ways such as; "Oh this Karate thing looks like a great place to leave little Johnny for an hour each day. I'll drop him off there and grab a coffee with Jone". And thus Martial Art schools were flooded with children. Through my experiences in teaching children, I have observed that they have many fine qualities of a Martial Artist that adults far too often lack. These qualities closely relate to the artistic side of the practice. They value physically expressing themselves but most of all, they just want to have fun. They LOVE fun. The qualities I have observed that are lacking are refined martial technique and realistic understandings of combat. Putting it basically; adults generally find it easer to express the Martial, whilst children find it easer to express the Art. The adults are yang and the children are yin. It is very rare to find individuals who are well associated with both aspects of the practice. As children became the main clients for Martial Art schools, instructors never had the opportunity to teach much of the martial wisdom and thus much of it has been forgotten by schools in the west.

It is sad that Martial Art is currently being represented by many in western countries in such undignified ways. I then ask myself, "does it really matter?". What I mean by this is that, through my own studies I have gained an understanding of what Martial Art is - something much deeper than what is being expressed in the commercial world. I train in private to limit my physical limitations and constantly express the wisdom I have read from books such as the Tao Te Ching with people in my daily life such as those at school. I know there are many people in this world who do this as well. So why should I be concerned about McDojangs/McDojos? Yes they are a thing in this world but they do not define me or my expression. I see that as long as I and others that I know of, regardless of commercial popularity, express the essence of Martial Art, it is not in danger of extinction. It seems that by its very nature, Martial Art is something that thrives in individuals who are often fairly unknown in the commercial world. But don't waist time being concerned about McDojangs/McDojos or any Martial Art school for that matter. This is because life is very limited and they are businesses. I say; bring the focus back to Tao, bring the focus back to Zen, bring the focus back to the self. You are your own universe and that's all that's important. I think it would be appropriate to finish this blog with a quote that I see much truth in.

"Commercialism does nothing to enhance the reality of truth, although it can lead one to the start of the path."  - Miyamoto Musashi, Book of Five Rings - Page 5

Thanks for Reading

Saturday, May 30, 2015

In Love With a Dead Spouse

In Love With a Dead Spouse

Imagine being in love with a dead spouse.  In order to be in love with anyone, it requires a lot of time and communication.  It requires special shared experiences.  It requires much affection and love.  Imagine being in love with this person, imagine being in bliss because of this love, and then suddenly, this special someone passes away.  The person did not leave you by choice; the person could have died in a car accident or a heart attack.  You cannot be upset at this person, because this person did not willfully leave you; this person was still in love with you before he/she passed. 

How to deal with this pain?  How to move on?  This is a difficult situation, but you can move on without having anger towards this dead lover.  There is no anger because you do not feel the pain of the spouse rejecting you, but there will be an immense amount of sadness.  Now how long shall this sadness last? 

10 seconds?
10 minutes? 
10 hours?
10 days?
10 weeks?
10 months?
10 years?
10 decades? 

Ultimately you decide how long you wish for this sadness to last.  If you are powerful in mediation you can end this sadness as quickly as you would like.  If you know nothing about meditation, the sadness and suffering can last a lifetime.  No matter how long you decide to be sad, it will not bring your spouse back from the dead.  If the sadness ends too quickly, relatives from the outside will start to question whether or not you really even loved your spouse.  If the sadness lasts a lifetime, your existence seems to be pointless. 

People think that the longer you are in sadness, the more in love that you were.  That is not true, love is living, love is in the moment.  You can be completely in love when that person is here breathing and living, but when this person passes, if you are powerful in meditation:

You can accept this passing with gratitude. 
You can accept this passing with a smile on your face. 
You can accept this passing with a celebration.

There is no funeral for this passing, there is a celebration.  You are celebrating the time you had with this person.  You are celebrating the end of the relationship as if you are celebrating a graduation.  You are celebrating a beautiful experience in the past and the beginning of a new experience.  It is an entirely different phenomenon than what we are commonly used to.  There is no anger, there is no sadness, there is just a deep inner feeling of gratitude and acceptance. 

Now if you are a Zen Master, you will be able to apply these principles to any separation in any relationship. 

No matter it be a separation by death.
No matter it be a separation by divorce.
No matter it be a separation by infidelity.
No matter it be a separation by lack of physical attraction.
No matter it be a separation by an emotional disconnect.
No matter it be a separation by lack of shared common interests.
No matter it be a separation by boredom.
No matter it be a separation by lack of connectivity.

What ever is the reason for the separation, a Zen Master can accept the separation with a deep feeling of gratitude.  When you are in the present moment, there is no such thing as suffering.  All suffering is caused by the mind, if you have no-mind, there is no suffering, there is only awareness. – SFL May 30 2015

Virgin Relationship

Virgin Relationship

“You meet a woman, you don’t think about sex at all.  Only pathological people thing about sex, healthy people don’t think about sex.  There is no need.  You enjoy the beauty of the woman – her face, her eyes, her proportion – you are simply thrilled by her being.  There is no idea to do anything to her, there is no idea to exploit, there is no idea to possess.  You are immensely interested, but very innocently.  There is no planning in your mind, there is no future, then it is a virgin relationship.  One day love can happen.  One day listening to music, dancing together, love can possess you both: you can make love to each other.  But even while making love, there is no idea – there is no mind in it.  It is innocent of mind, then it is a virgin relationship.” – Osho “I say unto you” pg. 40

A virgin relationship is very natural before you hit puberty, but once you hit puberty, it is a very rare phenomenon.  When you are a young adult, is very rare, as you age and gain wisdom, it becomes more of a possibility but still very rare.  As you gain greater skill in meditation, establishing a virgin relationship is more possible but not without great difficulty.  Because the masses of men cannot typically establish a virgin relationship, nearly all women feel used and sexually exploited.  It is a very difficult situation because it takes a man with great powers in meditation to establish a virgin relationship. – SFL May 30 2015