Archive for February, 2010

i don’t want to be god

02/19/2010

And I would think any who would want that power to be somewhat sociopathic. Imagine it, and I mean really imagine it: immeasurable, unquantifiable power in the palm of your hand. Breathe and you kill thousands in a mudslide. Cough and you  have the baby boom. Turn your head and there’s genocide in Europe. You can’t let the whole world live forever. People have to die to make room for new life. How would you handle that responsibility?

i wish…

Whenever we say “I wish”, we essentially wish for the power of god (I may be taking this to an extreme, but stick with me on this one – there’s a point). We wish something wasn’t the way it was or something was the way it wasn’t. We wish for power. We wish for control. When the truth of the matter is that we have no control. And we never will. We are powerless. And we always will be. But why would we want that control? That power? What good would come from such predictability? Anything you wished for would just happen. Snap your fingers and the most beautiful person in the world is in your arms, enamored with you. Blink twice and your most hated enemy is dead. No effort is required for any notable achievement…not that killing someone is a notable achievement…but I digress.

we are but mere mortals

Imagine being immortal. Living forever. Would we honestly want that? Would we want to never die? This would inhibit us from truly living in the moment.

Think of it: as a god, you could see all the beauty of the world, knowing it would be there the next day because you would be and you could create it. Could control it. You would always be there the next day. You never have the inevitability of death to force your immediate appreciation. Hence why we must let death hang over our heads like a specter in waiting. We must realize that each day the possibility exists that a four-seat, single-engine plane could crash into our building and kill us. We could be shot on the street for the paper in our wallet. We could be diagnosed with cancer and realize our destructibility in a meeting with our doctor. Feel that mortality. Embrace it. And let your life shine all the brighter because of it! For this moment is your finest hour.

“gods envy us”

That entire movie was worth watching for the sake of that one scene and this one line: “You will never be lovelier than you are now.” Screw the fight scene between Achilles and Hector. Who cares about the love between Paris and and Helen. In this one interaction between Achilles and Briseis we can find more meaning than in all of the other battles and dramatic scenes combined.

Give me the unpredictability of mortality. Give me the freedom that is inherent in an impending doom. Give me liberty AND give me death…although preferably not for at least a few years! 🙂

For you will never be more free or more alive than you are now.

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act with intent

02/16/2010

Why do we take action? Why do we:

  • go to work
  • plant a garden
  • play video games
  • drink a beer
  • work out
  • chat with a friend

An underlying reason exists with every action we take, whether subconscious or conscious. The trick is to make yourself aware of each underlying reason, to make each action and reaction a conscious effort. This requires us to be more self-aware than we may be used to. Intentions may not always matter based on the outcome of an action, but they definitely count for something.

I think of this specifically in regard to the martial arts, as an appropriate comparison. When I’m sparring with an opponent, why do I move in on them? When I do line drills, moving up and down the floor performing the same moves over and over, why am I doing this? From a microcosmic perspective, I throw the punch to strike my imaginary target in the chin, solar plexus or other appropriate weak point. From a macrocosmic point-of-view, I throw that punch to train my body to be able to react appropriately in a situation that would require such an action. I throw that punch to better myself as a martial artist and, in turn, as a person.

Just in case you’re not a martial artist, apply this to more everyday situations. Think about your daily actions that you are probably doing for rote and examine how they reflect your intent:

  • go to work – save up for retirement? pay your child support? buy a ring?
  • plant a garden – to feed you and yours? aesthetics?
  • play video games – take your mind off life for a while? relax?
  • drink a beer – see above bullet reasons + socialize?
  • work out – marathon training? feel better about yourself? iron man training?
  • chat with a friend – catch up? the need for conversation/social interaction?

So don’t throw your punches just to throw your punches. Throw that punch at a target and with intent. Intent(ion) in itself is passive, though. So when you have intent, don’t forget to act on it.

Note that I did not label this post “live with intent.”

in the heat of the moment

02/13/2010

I find it ironic that a mantra of my worldview is to live in the moment. And I mean truly live in the moment. None of that cliche bullshit that people sing about in songs, but to literally be present through practiced meditation and being self-aware. The reason I find it ironic is that when I place myself in tense situations that require quick thinking, half the time my mind starts dry-heaving random thoughts and I can’t assemble a single coherent sentence.

Case in point: earlier this week I approached someone about something that made me incredibly nervous. I walked up to them, said one sentence, then proceeded to babble to the point where I don’t even remember what I said! The nerves start a-flyin’ and the shoulders tense and the next thing you know the interaction’s over and I’m not quite sure what was said except for how it made me feel. All the energy seems to accumulate in my head and I can’t focus or say the right thing.

I guess part of it originates in the fact that I tend not to plan ahead when I do things  that I consider crazy or ballsy. My mentality is that it will all take care of itself so long as, in action, I stay true to myself and trust my instincts. Most times it doesn’t always go according to plan. Either I’m falling down a waterfall (literally) or, in the above-mentioned case, I’m walking away when the other person isn’t even done talking. When I do a thing, I’m fully committed until it’s over. And though it may not always go according to plan, the end results tend to work themselves out. As long as you can tell yourself that it is what it is, life can never really be that bad.

But hey, hindsight’s 20/20, right? If I would have had that perfect vision going into the situation, all would have been well. But, alas, the imperfection of life and my own actions blindsided me yet again.

I’m going to end this post with a question (don’t expect this to happen too often, as normally I’ll just assume I know the answers to everything and tell you them). What do you do to calm yourself down in tense or awkward situations? Do you do any prep work beforehand if you can foresee the situation (shoulder shrugs, stretching, saying “unique new york” over and over)? I regulate my breathing and try to clear my head, but I’m open to new techniques.

Please – comment away.

time for a change

02/10/2010

I’m hitting a quarter-life crisis. And it’s a good thing.

I take private martial arts lessons with a 9th degree black belt every other week (there are 10 degrees). He is the best martial arts instructor I’ve ever had and helps me to realize the truths about how the body moves and its incredible capacity for speed, strength and fluidity. During these lessons, he tends to insert the occasional life lesson, which tends to put me in a quandary of sorts. This last one was a doozy.

investing in loss

My instructor referenced a Tai Chi master who once told him that he had to “invest in loss before you can invest in winning.” Humorously enough, my first thought went to Fight Club when Tyler Durden gave everyone a homework assignment to go and lose a fight. This phrase, “invest in loss,” clicked immediately with me, as I regard humility as the highest quality that man can demonstrate. If we can be humble, we can be anything.

Very rarely will anybody willingly lose. Everybody wants to win. Pride – the original sin from which all others arise. We need to invest in this loss that many of our lives are lacking. Fail at something. Fail miserably. And admit that failure – feel it to your core. Only then can we truly succeed. Yin and yang. In every hardness there is softness. In order for there to be shadows there must be light. If the pendulum swings too far one way, it will inevitably swing back just as far the other way. Balance.

time for a change

Bottom line: I need to evolve, both internally and externally. An ancient Japanese belief – and one that still resonates with their culture today – is that in order for you to change who you are inside, you must first begin with your actions. It contradicts a romantic western belief that who you are inside is what really counts.

Bullshit. You’re defined by your actions whether you want to admit it or not. I WANT to be a great writer. I have the DESIRE and the POTENTIAL to be an amazing martial artist. But these words do not translate into deeds. I must apply force.

So, for me and the crappy upkeep of my other blog (on the blogger platform), it’s time for a change. The beginning of this new blog and my renewed dedication to its consistent upkeep is the beginning of my change. This may take me places I fear to go, so we’ll just have to see if I have the courage to live life the way I want to live it.

me…

If you’ve never read my other blog before, let me preface the beginning of this with a few minor facts:

A few things I believe in:

  • Freedom
  • Karma
  • Chi
  • The inevitability of human stupidity
  • Enlightenment is the ultimate end-all
  • Your gut, or instinct, is right 98% of the time
  • You must accept the fact that one day you will die – only in this way can you truly live

Things I will be blogging about:

  • Philosophy (90% of the make-up)
  • Death
  • The Martial Arts
  • (Im)Morality
  • Sustainability
  • Politics (note the ‘inevitability of human stupidity’ reference above)

This will be similar to my last blog, but also different in that I’ll be bringing more contemporary topics to the table and throwing in a few political jabs here and there (with most probably directed at the almost-vice-president-of-the-2008-election).

So here we go, a new beginning. As this blog progresses, please…interact with it. Let the comments section be a living, breathing conversation. Our best philosophy and realizations come from interaction and debate. That’s what I want to happen here.