Book of the Day #5: The Art of Peace

IMG_0479The creator of Aikido ‘Morihei Ueshiba’ brings us the Art of Peace. Translated and published in 1992, this book is a little martial gem. Only 121 short pages long, the philosophies laid out by the master warrior are that from which the martial art of ‘Aikido’ was born.

This book is the perfect counterpart to ‘The art of war’, approaching the same topics but where the art of war approaches the topic from an intent of inflicting wounds, the art of peace comes at it with the intent of overcoming anger with passion.

It is said that Ueshiba was sparring with an opponent in the finals of a sword-fighting tournament when he become disarmed. He proceeded to beat his opponent unarmed and without hurting the man.

Where this book lacks in specific technicalities as to fighting and strategy, it makes up for in soul. Regardless of the mentions of ‘Oneness’ and ‘The way’ that may not appeal to everyone, this book does contain advice that is applicable to martial arts and life universally,

This book presents a more loving way for the warrior to see the world, and how to make one’s impact. Loving does not mean weak.


-Ben

Watch out for the next book of the day! Here is the last book recommendation.

Putting Information into Practice. Information Wounds and Remedies.

For those of us who read many books and are curious about many things. There becomes a point at which there is so much information in our heads that we do not know where to start. Sometimes we lose sight of where to go, but we have so many ways to approach it! Whatever it is!

Obviously the first and most important trick here is to understand where you are trying to get to. If you do not have a vision of place, then you are purely wandering.
Once you understand this, you are faced with a multitude of options as to how to be getting there.

The first thing that I and many others have done, logically, is to read as much around the topic as possible. For it comes logically that the more one knows about the subject, the more one will know as to how to approach it; however this is rarely the case. For what happens is that now that you believe that you know so much about the subject, there are so many entry points and things to do (all of which could possibly go wrong) that you are now paralysed as to where to begin. You have shot yourself in the foot with information, and are now immobile.

The longer you leave this information wound, the longer it festers and becomes infected. As with any infection, the first thing to do is to wash it and attempt to disinfect it. The way of doing this in regards to information is to order it. Write down the key points and principles regarding what you have learned, and compare these principles to the goals that you are trying to achieve, the place that you are trying to get to. Now in awareness the incongruence between the two you have a path.
The next thing to do is to put one step in front of the other and move towards it. This is going to take the use of your full faculties, body included. One needs to understand which steps to take in which order, and then put one foot in front of the other. This is the way of moving towards a destination without getting your feet tangled or lost along the way. Write down a step-by-step, actionable list, and apply yourself to each of the steps with true focus and application.

If the information wound becomes truly and irreversibly effective, the fastest way of becoming mobile again, so that the infection does not spread into other areas of your life is to cut of the information for good. Once you have done this, you may start over, or you may decide to begin walking again, without a map, but yet with a sense of direction purpose under your belt. No worries your foot will grow back, this is merely a hypothetical blog post. Cutting off a part of that which you are attached to is sometimes the only way to free you up, in order that something new and fresh can fill the empty vacuum.

Tend to your information wounds, stay vigilant of infection, and most of all take action towards your destination. Nobody ever got to any place merely by thinking about it.  An awareness of balance is necessary in order to stay upright.

‘Information is not knowledge.’ -Albert Einstein


-Ben

If you liked this post then do check this out also. Bless.

Photography by eberhard grossteiger

Is it that can’t you do it, or is it Laziness? Living at your edge.

Is it that you really can’t do it, or is it just laziness?

The answer to this question is: Are you living at your edge? If you are not living at your edge, then straight up the answer is yes, it is laziness. Obviously first, what is an edge?!

Your edge is the edge of your abilities. It is the full amount that you can give at any given moment to the world, in order to move towards your life’s purpose.
Everyone should know there edge. Once one really knows their edge, they can honour it. Only then can you be honest about it to yourself, and to others.

Few people really know their edge. They think they know their edge. They faked it to themselves when it got hard, and over time this faking became habitual. Now they are living way inside their limits and think that they are not capable of breaking beyond this. Yet they hope that one day they can. This is a clear indicator of not living at one’s edge.

Truly, few people are even willing to experiment with living at their edge for just a few days. THIS is why most people are shrinking or growing at a sub-optimal capacity. A closed mind is a shrinking mind.

Your edge is found in the now. At any given moment. Are you doing all that you can do now to give your gifts right in this moment? If the answer is no, then you are not at your edge. That’s fine! No biggie. Not everyone’s up to this kind of challenge. Some people just want to enjoy their lives and be good at what they do… But if you want to be great, then you have got to find your edge man!

Are you rationalising why you can’t do it? Or are you thinking about what the best thing to do would be in a world without fear? This is the difference between the coward and the warrior. A disabled man with mental health difficulties can be more of a warrior than the rich corporate banker. Your edge is only relative to your own potential in the now. A warrior always lives at his edge. A warrior goes to battle because he knows that it is his purpose to give his gifts and protect his people.

If you are living at your edge, if you are a warrior, then you will know that living at your edge involves taking care of yourself in order that you can operate at your highest capacity. There is no point grinding and living at your edge, doing everything that you can do in order to give your gifts to the world if you are only going to burn out in a week’s time! This is not the way to become the strongest you.
The truth is that looking after yourself takes effort.

The trap that most people that begin on their journey towards their own edges fall into the trap of only grinding and working, or even only looking after yourself, because both require equal discipline and effort! I see this all the time.

To do both… now that is a challenge for the individual willing to life their life to the full. To make themselves as great as they can be. To give their flipping gifts fully – No gift left un-given. And this means that you have to cultivate you, otherwise you will run out of life in you. This is not ideal for anyone.

This is basic Yin and Yang stuff. There is a time for work, and a time for rest. Balance is key.

So if you do have a clear vision as to what you want, and are truly willing to condition yourself to give your fullest gifts in the moment, both sides of the spectrum will become clear. You will acquire an enhanced ability to discern. Right from wrong, worth from un-worth, strength from weakness.

You are capable of so much more than you think. You’ve got to be willing to feel the fear, and feel the pain and do it anyway. When you have a higher purpose that is so much more important than a little sweat and tears, that challenge is what makes it so exciting. And in that moment, that’s what makes you great.

Once you know your edge, if you want to be a truly exeptional individual, then you should live just beyond your edge… try it. Watch the reality of your existence expand every day until you begin to realise your true potential.

“And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.” -Ayrton Senna 


-Ben

If you liked this post then check this one out too. I think it’ll help. Bless.

New Series: Book of the Day

Hope you’re all well.

Starting Wednesday 19th of September, one a day for 10 days, I will be a releasing a series covering books that I have most recommended over the years to friends, family, and acquaintances, in order that some of you may be inspired to give them a try. Each of these books has delivered massive value to some area of my life. I hope that they can do the same for you.

I look forward to sharing these with you!

“The more one forgets himself – by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love – the more human he is.” -Dr Viktor E. Frankl


-Ben

If you are looking for previous recommendations, then check out this post! Bless.

Get OUT of the House!

For those of you that are having trouble reading and writing.

I speak to many people who tell me that they’d love to read, and they want to write more, but they have trouble with motivation. There are so many distractions in the house.

I can completely empathise. For a long time I felt the same way. I would get up early, get started, get started on my day, and 20 minutes later my family would be up and about, and expect my attention or be distracting me (often without meaning to). And plus, this was my safe space, my home.

The best way to counteract this ‘House distraction anxiety’ is to get out of the house.

I used to go to libraries or even park benches and grass to read and write. My favourite place however is coffee shops.

In coffee shops, nobody really cares if you sit there for hours reading and writing as long as you buy something… say a single coffee. I always have considered it an investment in my education, £2.70 a day or: a big coffee, and a productive, busy, social place in which I can sit for a few hours with my laptop (and charger) and my books. My rented portable office space in Nero’s with a bonus cappuccino chucked in for good measure.

Would you pay £2.70 a day for a couple of hours of productivity, office space, and ideas?

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” -Benjamin Franklin


-Ben

If you liked this post, check out this post as well! Peace.

Photography by Afta Putta Gunawan

Learning from the Pain in our lives.

Most people don’t learn from the problems that come up in their lives. They deal with one problem at a time and expect not another to come, thinking that they are safe. Then they go back to doing what they were doing before.

If you want to become a conqueror of your own life, you need to look at every issue that comes up in your life as a creative problem. A creative problem that is here to teach you to grow.

My brother broke his collar bone recently when he fell playing football. He couldn’t understand why. He is a great footballer and all around sportsman, and plays hard and like an athlete. Then when he is not he is in front of his xbox for hours on end, living off a diet of mainly pizza, brioche, chocolate, and coke.

It healed then he broke it again… !?

This isn’t a coincidence. Seemingly spontaneous events that come up in your life, creative and destructive, are there to send you a message. They are there to tell you what’s up. To tell you to live more holistically, or to tell you that you are going in the wrong direction.

When you listen to the messages, you look back and the dots do connect.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.” – Steve Jobs


-Ben

If you liked this post, I’d recommend checking this this out too. Peace.

Image by graphixartphoto