“Simple truth: fast and busy are a choice. We choose to go fast and be busy because we think it’ll get us what we want. All too often, it doesn’t. Fast and busy makes life brittle. It makes us feel like every inch of space in life is locked in and there’s no room to move. Instead of unlocking productivity and potential, it throttles both. It deludes us into feeling like we’re getting more done faster, but in reality, we could get the same done in the same or less time with more grace by dialing it back, not forward. In the end, we’re left feeling dissatisfied and helpless to extract ourselves from the process. Except we’re not. It’s all an illusion.” ~ Jonathan Fields, How To Live A Good Life
“Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard, via How To Live A Good Life
The following is an excerpt from Budo Secrets – Teachings of the Martial Arts Masters by John Stevens
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1 – Observe the Fundamental Rules
There is an etiquette to sitting meditation. One can sit either in seiza (formal Jamanese style on the knees, in the lotus posture, or in a straight-backed chair. One first needs to learn the rules for a proper meditation posture.
2 – Breathe from the Belly
The breath should be centered in the kikai tanden, a point about two inches beneath the navel. Breathing should be slow, rhythmic, and calm.
3 – Soothe the Spirit
As one settles down, petty thoughts, distracting emotions, and mental agitation should gradually melt away.
4 – Fulfillment
As worldly thoughts dissipate, one should fill the body with ki (life force) from the top of one’s head to the bottom of one’s feet. There should be a sense of completeness.
5 – Natural Wisdom
If one is calm, undisturbed, and unagitated, things can be seen in their true light, and this leads to the development of natural wisdom.
6 – Liberation
This means to to get caught up or snared by any particular object, physical or mental. It is a state of freedom.
7 – True Void
Just like a cloudless sky, the mind is clear and bright – its true state. Usually the limitless sky is obscured by clouds, sometimes very dark and thick, and this makes human beings downcast. Penetrate the clouds, however, and the light can be seen in full glory.
8 – Marvelous Function
For a realization to be authentic, one must be able to apply it in the actual world. True understanding is reflected in one’s technique and also in one’s daily life. This is the real battlefield where one’s enlightenment is constantly tested.
9 – Perfection
The Japanese term for this final “view” is enso, the “circle of Zen.” The circle is both perfectly empty and perfectly full; it is simultaneously transcendent and immanent.
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Proper understanding of these “Nine Views” leads to the insight that “the way of heaven is to achieve victory without fighting.”
By: Pico Iyer
Book Overview: Why might a lifelong traveler like Pico Iyer, who has journeyed from Easter Island to Ethiopia, Cuba to Kathmandu, think that sitting quietly in a room might be the ultimate adventure? Because in our madly accelerating world, our lives are crowded, chaotic and noisy. There’s never been a greater need to slow down, tune out and give ourselves permission to be still.
“In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating that going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still. You can go on vacation to Hawaii or New Orleans three months from now, and you’ll have a tremendous time, I’m sure. But if you want to come back feeling new – alive and full of fresh hope and in love with the world – I think the place to visit may be Nowhere.” ~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness