Book of the day #10: Still The Mind

IMG_0634Constant thoughts, constant distractions; wired on adrenaline. Some of us are driven to madness by the constant dopamine rush, the need for more. Alan Watts brings us a remedy to that via trains of thought like no other.

A man gifted with his words, the likes of which the world has never seen before: Alan brings us a refreshing perspective on the nature of life, the universe, and everything in his own signature humorous manner..

A small book, it could easily be read in a day. However Alan’s words will undoubtedly take you to places that you have never been before. Revelation after revelation will take time to digest, and there is no better man to take on that journey than Mr Watts himself.


-Ben

If you liked this post then check out the last book recommendation.

 

Getting Older

When our joints start grinding
On nights I tend to wander.
My joints didn’t used to hurt of bending
Grinding, grinding, every day
Getting older
Things I used to say,
Now I’m telling
To kids who nod and hear me
But don’t listen to a thing

You stare at yourself
The mirror is shining you back
Stubble and broader shoulders
Frame you in a way unfamiliar
Like sitting in a carriage
Full of strangers
Realising that you are one of them

Advice I was given
Schizm.
Empty truths
till Cliche’s became real one day
At the other end of a candle
Time is burning away
and I haven’t shown my light yet.

Only 19
But at 12 I was only 12 and planning my future
at 30 I’ll be working for play
and Maybe I’ll play till I work
but I’ll be too old for that

And no, I’ll say,
I’m only getting started
The days of being old have never begun
nor never departed
I do what I do because I do feel like doing it
Your words are your own
So keep on doing it

…Something anyway…

What you say
Is what you have to say
but I want to hear what
you
and everyone
has to say
because they have it
They’re all on their tracks
There’s no cover for it
Even with a sugar coat
It’s the meaning and
Time’s floating away with substance running out

Wandering about my joints now
I listened to them
they say take the main-stance and time will take you
He nodded, I listened.

That was the time I washed through my stance firmly
and found myself joined in the warm fluid
Moving
Getting older

-Ben

The Way to Learn Skills

Skills within Skills within Skills. They are progressive, they are meticulous. A conscientious individual will find themselves with more than they came for if one continuous to practice in this way.

My Sifu once told me: ‘When you practice one technique, you are practicing them all’.

This is true of any skill. When you are learning a skill correctly, developing yourself in this area of your life, it has a cascading ripple effect onto the other areas of your life.

The approach that I have taken recently has been one of the slow and diligent learning of each individual technique that is presented to me to learn. Take the time to get each one perfect.

For example, my foremost martial art is Practical Wing Chun Kung Fu. During training, the temptation is to try and learn the most fancy and complex move possible. First and foremost this is because it looks cool, and feels ninja’y. However, those in class who really flourish at the martial art are those who take the time to practice the basics as if they were the end goal. They practice them as if they were hallowed, perfecting each tiny adjustment in order to have great structure and great power generation. They always are in the perfect shape and the advantageous position.

This approach to learning yields results. I would invite you to give it a try… To learn your piano scales as if they were the handling of a baby. As if each note required precision and great care; perfectly placed

This may take a week of practicing for 1-2 hours a day, but you continue in your daily practice once or twice a day when you have the chance, and you will get to a point of proficiency and ease. The scales will be in your hands. Now it is time for you to practice faster. When you get a note wrong, then you slow down a bit and work with mindfulness of this structural weakness in your skill… When you get it flowing with ease, you may speed it up more.

Then you move on to the next progression from the scale and apply the former into your music… Musical progressions.

‘Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice perfect.’ – Vince Lombardi

-Ben

The Truth

I wander streets in the night, I do. I practice kung fu under the street lights at the end of a dark road at quarter to 2.

Sometimes I thought I had it all figured out.

Swivelling between knowing and unknowing the point of the universe and all of its problems.

It’s a feeling and it comes up deep from my balls and my gut, and my head opens as if it was the same as everything else all along.

Talking about it sometimes, people think I’ve gone crazy. I feel it never occurred to them that I’ve seen something that possibly they haven’t.

It’s true that it’s selfish, but I struggle to see where else I can start other than from the self.

Or maybe the cork popped up in the old brain and I’m now a walking liability.

I don’t know.

I think about words sometimes. Trying to figure out why and where from. My need for insecurity rearing its little nose.

Liability: The ability to lie.

Sometimes I feel like I want to die. It sinks quickly from the high of fullness, down to the low of lost.

I miss the old days that never were, and I miss the opportunity for a life in a fantasy kingdom imagined by writers in a writing room.

I sometimes feel like a ripple a pond. Sometimes I feel like a grain of sand at the bottom of an ocean.

The way the world is looking scares me and I don’t know what to do about it… Is it the feeling or the world?

I love myself, and I hate myself too.

And I get confused about who ‘myself’ is every day.

My back aches from the weary neglect of hours at gyms in the night. And the sweat of anxiety linger as scars to today.i

It’s easy to forget that there is nothing to lose in telling the truth.

-Ben

When tired of Dancing…

It will always be this way,

This moment,

This happening now,

The moment in which you feel.

The choice is a dichotomy

To notice

Or not to notice.

If one notices

One see’s that feelings are neither

Good or Bad…

Feelings just are.

I promise

It will get better.

And then worst

And then better again.

That’s the game

The roller coaster

The dance.

I asked the other to dance with me,

Later I realised

That it was already dancing,

All of this time, dancing,

And I was a part of it.

One wonders whether life is about

Fighting or loving.

But they both live in one another.

Fighters love,

and lovers fight.

On the best of days it should never end,

On the worst of days it should end now,

The balance is always kept.

The thing

Is that no thing is alone.

Can we let our feelings be our teachers

And dance with them

Wherever they may be?

-Ben

‘The earth has music for those who listen’ – William Shakespeare

One and Other

Light and grounded

Floor and emptiness

More can be said of nothing and something

than each of one another

 

lengthen the short

to shorten the long

feelings knew all along

 

they swam in the waves given them

moulding paths and shapes

each moulding one another

until indistinguishable

 

The mind takes view

it carves out a separation

makes one into two and 3 into 4

 

fixing problems, creating more two’s

intervening

until too many to hold

all collapse into each other

 

Feeling need of one and other

 

the shapeless circle continues

not fighting a mind for knowing

for there is nothing to know

and no mind to know it.

 

-Ben