Archive for Zen

The Search; Steve Jobs

Posted in Health and Wellness, Strategy and Psychology with tags , , , on November 26, 2012 by ctkwingchun

Coming back to America was, for me, much more of a cultural shock than going to India.  The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do, they use their intuition instead, and their intuition is far more developed than in the rest of the world.  Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion.  That’s had a big impact on my work.

Western rational thought is not an innate human characteristic; it is learned and is the great achievement of Western civilization.  In the villages of India, they never learned it.  They learned something else, which is in some ways just as valuable but in other ways is not.  That’s the power of intuition and experiential wisdom.

Coming back after seven months in Indian villages, I saw the craziness of the Western world as well as its capacity for rational thought.  If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is.  If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more.  Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment.  You see so much more than you could see before.  It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.

Zen has been a deep influence in my life ever since.  At one point I was thinking about going to Japan and trying to get into the Eihei-ji monastery, but my spiritual advisor urged me to stay here.  He said there is nothing over there that isn’t here, and he was correct.  I learned the truth of the Zen saying that if you are willing to travel around the world to meet a teacher, one will appear next door.

-Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, Pgs. 48-49


Posted in Health and Wellness, Martial Arts and Training, Strategy and Psychology with tags , , on October 20, 2012 by ctkwingchun

So the secret is just to say ‘Yes!’ and jump off from here.

Then there is no problem.

It means to be yourself in the present moment, always yourself, without sticking to an old self.

You forget all about yourself and are refreshed.

You are a new self, and before that self becomes an old self, you say ‘Yes!’ and you walk to the kitchen for breakfast.

So the point of each moment is to forget the point and extend your practice.

Shunryu Suzuki

All The Gear

Posted in Martial Arts and Training with tags , , , , , , , on June 8, 2012 by ctkwingchun

Ran a trail race.  Felt under-dressed with my Nikes, Lululemon and Under Armour gear.  All of it is years old.

Cats had new, shiny shoes.  Camelbaks and waterbelts.  Bugspray on so thick, you’d think we were supposed to be walking.

Reminds me of meditation and spirituality magazines.  Reminds me of Kung-Fu.  Go buy this, it will help your practice.

If only we could remember that practice will help our practice.

And the only thing I need for that…is me.


Gung Fu; the Higher Order Skill

Posted in Martial Arts and Training, Strategy and Psychology with tags , , , , , , on January 3, 2012 by His Dark Side

Gung Fu: Health Warning (you will get punched and kicked)
Gung Fu is a singular, insular activity with limited real world value. I rarely get into fights and training martial arts is arguably dentrimental to health on a variety of levels; such as elevated cortisol levels and the obvious wear and tear on the body. Additionally, over the next few years I predict that the medical fraternity will publish further research regarding head trauma as a consequence of getting hit and long term brain damage.

Benefits of Gung Fu: Free Your Mind
So what are the benefits of Gung Fu, or any type of martial art training? Ultimately, training Gung Fu is about learning a life skill which will help us survive if we end up getting into a fight. Now that I’m in my eighteenth year in Gung Fu, I am beginning to recognize the fringe benefit, which can be said to be true of any vocation that is approached with a high degree of focus; self mastery.

In Gung Fu we are obviously learning to express our own bodies (e.g. proprioception) but by doing so, we are also creating a foundation which allows us to relate to the World and connect with nature, consciousness, or the divine. By striving for mastery we are forced to approach the subject matter from multiple and diverse angles, figuratively and literally and therefore we learn about the ACT of learning. For instance my Gung Fu training has been a segue into topics ranging from kinesiology, to body language and hypnosis.

Gung Fu as a Higher Order Skill
Mastery of Gung Fu is a higher-order skill as it covers critical thinking, experiential modes of learning as well as specific skills like anticipation, which instill a level of foresight. The latter being especially important in enabling us to predict the build up to potentially dangerous situations (awareness leads to avoidance).

Choose your passion. Mine is Gung Fu.

Death, Insomnia, Gung Fu and Coffee

Posted in Death and the Macabre, Strategy and Psychology with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2012 by His Dark Side

I spend an inordinate amount of time sipping black coffee at varying Starbucks locations. I once sat down with a warm cup and wrote about my visit to the death scene of a young man who slit his own throat. Perhaps some subconscious neural association attracts me to the coffee shops. Perhaps it my obsessive compulsion to contemplate death. For instance, even today I found myself reading some dark quotes by the late clothes designer Alexander McQueen. Or conversely, perhaps it just speaks to the more mundane aspects of my life. Whatever it is, the elevated levels of coffee in my body are at least a contributory factor for my insomnia.

I need to cut back on the coffee, focus on the fact that I am alive and practice more Gung Fu.

***click on the highlighted links above for further readings

Zen Cat; Ritual

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 8, 2011 by ctkwingchun

When the spiritual teacher and his disciples began their evening meditation, the cat who lived in the monastery made such noise that it distracted them. So the teacher ordered that the cat be tied up during the evening practice.

Years later, when the teacher died, the cat continued to be tied up during the meditation session. And when the cat eventually died, another cat was brought to the monastery and tied up.

Centuries later, learned descendants of the spiritual teacher wrote scholarly treatises about the religious significance of tying up a cat for meditation practice.

Practice; What Does it Really Mean?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 4, 2011 by His Dark Side

Willing To Die by Alan Watts

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 4, 2011 by His Dark Side

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. Gibran

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. Confucius

Beauty itself is but the sensible image of the Infinite.  Francis Bacon

The Edge

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 24, 2010 by ctkwingchun

A man, being chased by a tiger, ran to the edge of a cliff. As the tiger bore down on him, the man spotted a vine growing down the side of the precipice and climbed down it. At the bottom of the cliff, another tiger roared and licked his lips. Clinging to the vine, the man saw two mice, one black and one white, gnawing the vine at the point it sprung from the rock face. Two feet to his left grew a single strawberry. The man plucked the red fruit and popped it into his mouth, how sweet and fresh it tasted.


Peace, CTK

(Thanks to D.S. for the find)

Your Cup

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 28, 2010 by His Dark Side

The Japanese master Nan-in gave audience to a professor of philosophy. Serving tea, Nan-in filled his visitor’s cup, and kept pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could restrain himself no longer: “Stop! The cup is over full, no more will go in.” Nan-in said: “Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.

The ‘Emptying your cup’ parable suggests that one should keep an open mind, or at the very least one that is uncluttered. Opinions and beliefs should be replaced by a willingness to learn. I’ve often found that those needing the greatest help are the ones who promote themselves as having some special knowledge.  I recognize this fault in myself.

No Learning

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 2, 2010 by ctkwingchun

When what you have studied leaves your mind entirely, and practice also disappears, then, when you perform whatever art you are engaged in, you accomplish the techniques easily without being inhibited by concern over what you have learned, and yet without deviating from what you learned.  This is spontaneously conforming to learning without being consciously aware of doing so.  The science of the art of war can be understood through this.

This is the ultimate sense of the progressive transcendentalism of all the Zen arts.  Forgetting learning, relinquishing mind, harmonizing without any self-conscious knowledge thereof, is the ultimate consumation of the Way.

This stage is a matter of entering from learning into no learning.

-The Killing Sword (Book of Five Rings)


Posted in Uncategorized with tags on April 12, 2010 by ctkwingchun

“Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.” ~Shunryu Suzuki

Chinese Hermit Tradition – Documentary

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 15, 2010 by His Dark Side

Amongst White Clouds;

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