Posts Tagged ‘transformation’

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

April 18, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

Reality is what we take to be true.

What we take to be true is what we believe.

What we believe is based upon our perceptions.

What we perceive depends on what we look for.

What we look for depends on what we think.

What we think depends on what we perceive.

What we perceive determines what we believe.

What we believe determines what we take to be true.

What we take to be true is our reality.

Quantum Physicist David Bohm

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

March 14, 2017

Years ago, I helped edit Sifu’s first book (on Iron Palm training).  As I was passing along my comments to the team I said, “The description of the four strikes used in the exercise seems a bit thin to me.  I think they could be explained more.”

Sifu replied, “Ok.  Go ahead and write it.”

After mentally freaking out for a moment*, I agreed.  I wrote the expanded section, it was reviewed by others in the editing team, and into the book it went.  Boom, published, out into the world.

Fast forward a number of years.

We’re in class, having a conversation with Sifu, and the subject of Iron Palm and the training comes up.  “The palm strike is the most internal of the strikes,” Sifu says.  “Wait…” I interrupt, “isn’t the backhand the most internal?”  “No, it’s the palm strike.”

Cue more mentally freaking out.  This time because I was positive I had heard it was the backhand.  My understanding was that it was the backhand.  Which means… did I write it into the book wrong?  Did I screw up horribly, confuse and mislead everyone who bought the book (and maybe cause injury!), and above all that, make Sifu look bad?

I raced home as soon as class was finished, dropping all my stuff unceremoniously at the door to rush and grab the book from the shelf.  Flip, flip, flip, find the page and….

Sifu was, of course, right.  The palm is the most internal strike.  The backhand has more of an external component to it.  That’s exactly what it says in the book… and thus exactly what I wrote.

I was relieved.  And, at the same time, a whole mess of perplexed, angry, and weirded out.  How did I get it so wrong?

But in the next moment, I realized what a great example it was of just how fallible, of how malleable, of how downright unreliable our memories are.  I literally wrote (part of) the book on the darn thing!  And yet, somehow, somewhere, I’d twisted it around in my mind until I was rotely spouting something incorrect.  I let go the worry and laughed.

Ca-razy.

We like to think our memory operates just like a superdimensional audio/video recording system that perfectly and forever captures sights, sounds, our feelings, our views, and, if we really tell the truth to ourselves, we also think it captures other people’s moods, thoughts, and even intentions.  All accurately and that can play it back anytime with perfect fidelity.

Alas, no.

In that moment, book in hand, I got just how even something as straightforward as a simple piece of instruction or information could get miss-remembered so much that I’d built an entire body of understanding around it.  This freakout-inducing potential-mistake opened a whole world of inquiry for me, because if I was capable of doing that with such a simple event, what did that mean for my other well-held beliefs based on much more complicated events in my past… ?**

The answers to this question have been most fruitful, almost always leading me to greater freedom and peace of mind.

And, as a bonus, I now have a much deeper understanding of Iron Palm.

 

* I freaked out because I was still young at the school and didn’t expect to be brought into this important a project even as an editor, let alone asked to write what amounts to generations of distilled knowledge (and this was all before I got my start down my path of mindfulness, transformation, and ontology, so I was waaayyyyy more prone to freaking out).

** This has been made even more profound as modern neuroscience research continues to show us just how hilariously not-fixed our memory is

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

February 28, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

Our minds can so easily be hijacked.

Really, there are so many ways, avenues, and hooks out there that lead us astray that, when you can stand back and realize it, it’s actually kinda funny.

We have our righteousness buttons.  We have our biases and our views.  We have our pithy sayings.  We have our stories, both personal and those we’ve heard from others.   We have brains that automatically filter things.  We have our identities fighting tooth and nail to survive.  We have the sense that we are the centre of the universe.  We have that inner monologue that often goes for the most cliché write-up it can muster.

And it’s almost always completely unconscious to us.

We’re… really not, at most times, all that great at this.  Hilariously bad at keeping ourselves from being commandeered by some already always decided or automatic thing.  We might as well be sailing with blinders on and a big “hijack me” flag flapping in the breeze.

There’s a reason mindfulness – or being present – is at the heart of nearly all philosophical traditions, and a reason why it’s first practice to put in place.

Mindfulness and ontological inquiry is what gives us the awareness* to see just how eff’n easy and often it is that we get hijacked.

As we start to practice and develop our mindfulness, we get to recognize how much our perception of things shapes our experience of the moment, of who we are, and of how the world is.

Being present gives us the ability to reconnect to the present.

Being present lets us awaken to what’s so, that is, to what’s actually, physically happening in the universe.  It lets in the evidence.

It gives us access to making the best choices.

Through inquiry and being mindful we can avoid our brain being so easily hijacked.

We can see how crazy often it happens.

We can laugh at our foibles.

Gain control.

We can take stock of what’s so.

We can consult with our authentic core.

Listen, see with open eyes and heart, and choose.

And step boldly forward towards a future we truly want.

 

* And the visceral experience that comes with it.  There is a feeling that comes with realizing and recognizing that you’ve just hoodwinked yourself, that your own mind has taken you down some path that is far away from the truth of what’s actually so in reality.  The feeling is, really, quite shocking and disorienting, and maybe even sickening, at least at first.   Then, as you get settled with how silly we humans are, the shock and the uncomfortable feelings pass quickly, you shake your head at yourself with a smile, and you get to work in apologizing, adjusting, creating, and taking action.

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

February 14, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

“Standard social and business practices* are built on certain assumptions – shared understandings that have evolved from older beliefs and conditions.  And while circumstances may have changed since the start of these practices, their continued use feels right and true to us, regardless of whether they have evolved to keep up with the pace of change.  In just such a way a business culture arises and perpetuates itself, perhaps long after its usefulness has passed.”

Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander (emphasis mine)

 

* And personal practices too…

I really like the way they put it up there:  …their continued use feels right and true to us.  Because it just does, doesn’t it?  “This is how it’s done” or “this is how it is,” we think/say, and off we go on autopilot to follow down the same well worn, known, and comfortable path.

We’re born into a social world and inherit all this ‘common’ knowledge and ‘truths’, and we decide many more things as we go along, and soon things are chugging away quite handily on their own without our involvement or attention, carrying us for a ride.  We’ll even do things we know don’t produce the outcome we most desire because it’s comfortable and known (which is a wild topic for a whole other post).  And so on we all go, from our personal selves to society, through household to country to – for some things – the world.

When we roll our eyes at work for some perceived inanity we have to deal with, it’s birth was no different than the unseen and unexamined inanities we hold and act out in our own lives.  When we see them, we can slap an expiration date sticker on them, let them phase out, take stock of all aspects, and create anew from intentions.

It may be little tweaks.  It may be wholesale transformations.  But it will now be worthy of guiding our action.

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

January 24, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

PEACE

It does not mean to be in a place

where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.

It means to be in the midst of those things

and still be calm in your heart.

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

January 17, 2017

I was practicing Kung Fu with my friend Evan one day, working on one of the opening moves in our Xing Yi form.  He was testing my structure, and I was just not getting it.

He’d push, I’d collapse.

I’d reset, adjust my hips, and he’d push, I’d collapse.

Reset yet again, tweak the position of the arms, he’d push, no dice.

And so it went, over and over, for several minutes.

I was mostly calm about it, remaining present to the moment and letting go of frustration when it arose.  Yet that was not helping my structure at all.  No matter what I tried to correct, the same result would occur:  push, collapse.

Evan took a step back and looked at me as I held the pose once again.  After a moment, he said, “Your thumb is out of place.”

My left thumb, tucked under my right hand, was splayed outward by about an inch.

I chuckled, folded my thumb back into position, and said “Heh, so it was.  But it can’t be the thumb….”

Mid sentence, he pushed.  I held.

“It’s the thumb.  It’s the !@#$% thumb. I can’t believe it.  It’s the !@#$%  &*(@  *&@#$%) thumb!”

To which I proceeded to repeat “It’s the !@#$% thumb!” off and on for the next half hour as we continued to test and as my solidity continued to hold.

Sometimes, the smallest of fine-tuning can have the greatest of impacts.

In ways that are rarely or readily obvious.

We may ignore the little things in our lives, thinking they aren’t worth our attention or time.

We may avoid dealing with something that’s been hanging in our mental or spiritual space, thinking there are greater things we should deal with or work on first.

We may discount certain conversations or getting clarification or apologizing for something or seeking apology for something, thinking they are petty and minor.

We may distain from our little pleasures, or passions, or interests, thinking they are of secondary importance compared to the real, serious, bits of our lives like our jobs or our bank account.*

We may pass over assisting others and lending support, or participating in something, because what could we do, really?  Especially compared to others who have more time, money, knowledge, connections, education, etc…

We pass on, overlook, pooh-pooh, and pay attention to the big bits.

Yet – and this is a big yet – even that smallest bit can cause a profound shift in our lives and the lives of others, profound shifts that open up whole new realms of freedom, performance, and possibility.

Shifts we wouldn’t have seen or guessed before we took the seemingly small action.

In life we have many choices of where to aim ourselves and what to spend our precious time on, and it can become all too easy to become fixated on the large, shining, glamorous, prestigious, important, proper, worthy, momentous…

But there’s an opportunity in letting go of these rigid assessments to engage with all areas of our lives and the lives of those around us.  Within there we may find fourteen things that we can do, that we can take on, that we can transform, or that we can contribute towards, that will quickly lead us towards joy, relatedness, and peace of mind.  Little tweaks that will align our lives and give all of  us what we want.

It really pays to remember the thumb.

 

* Or worse, we pretend they are beneath us to fit in with everyone else…

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

January 10, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

Community is a creation.

There is nothing automatic about community.  There is no critical mass where gathering enough bodies together causes a chain reaction and BOOM! community appears in a preordained way.  There is no community in the cosmos.  Communities are declared into existence.  Communities are a stating that “lo, here there will be community.”

From that great nothing, everything is shaped.

And it does not stop there.

Every minute, of every day, in every action and every reaction, we are continually creating and re-created our community(ies).  Community persists only through this continual renewal.  Who we are being and how we act every day in our lives forms a part of the creation called our community, in all of the communities we participate in:  our cities, our families, our workplaces, our friendship circles, our fandoms, our countries, our fellow commuters, the people in the elevator… all of our communities.

How we treat one another, what we value, how we nurture our tribe, how we regard others, and the results and outcomes and fallout of our daily lives all derive from that created community.

Here’s the thing… even without intention, we are still creating.

Many of our views and actions on community, and how we operate, how we interact, how we live, are inherited, uncritically, from those around us.  They come from what we’ve heard.   They come from what we’ve observed.  We read between the lines and make decisions.  We take it in and, like the good social animals we are, we mould ourselves to fit the context around us.

And so we know how the world works, we think/say, and we act accordingly.  Without even thinking about it.  And we recreate and reinforce that very same inherited world.

Even if it’s not the world we would want to create for ourselves.

Yet, if community is a creation, and it is being recreated all the time, and we are the actors of that creation… then something quite remarkable is possible.

It begins by taking direction of that creation.  It takes intent and action.  It takes a conscious effort.  It cannot be passive.  It takes engagement.  It takes wielding the extreme power given to us through these continual acts of creation.

We have a say.  We have a huge say over who we are, what ways of being we wish to nurture, and how we will act in our community(ies).  We have a say what community can be, through our speaking of “this is how it is”, through our leading by example, and through the vibes we give off.  Our creation becomes part of the context of others.

The great news about community being a creation, and always being created on a moment to moment basis, is that we’re already, largely, doing the work.  We’re even good at it.  We’ve been doing it for a long time.  Maybe we haven’t been aware of it, but we have been.

With intention, we can step up, reach out, engage broadly, and work to work to inspire and mold the types of communities that our central, authentic, selves truly want.