Bruce Lee and the Art of the Soul

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Bruce Lee’s Personal Reflections on Zen and the Martial Arts.

 Bruce Lee, martial artist, philosopher, actor, artist, self-made man, had a unique view of life, Zen and its place at the heart of the martial arts. Inspirational, and timeless, his reflections – captured in this easy listening classic – are as relevant today as they were when penned half a century ago.

The Door

When the mind is overly active it can be a task in itself to come back to peace and presence however there is one method that I have found to work most times which does not ignore, resist or fight against but rather uses the mind’s distraction (Dan Millman) as an impetus to come into the Now, and that is to focus our full attention toward whatever the mind is obsessing about: it is behind there that the present moment lies and it is the very reason the mind is so active at that point. By doing so, we use the stream of thought’s concentration as a marker for where the window to presence lies and are able to find it. And in a moment, we are transported back in to the Now.

But we must be vigilante because, as soon as our attention is jettisoned into the real world, that very world can so enthral us that it allows thought to come back in.

So the important thing after coming back to the present is to hold a position between observing without judgement (what is happening in and around us) and also feeling that we are aware. Awareness aware of itself. That is the most important thing for any portal of presence: to feel our awareness.

 

Failure

Although there is much wisdom in the saying quoted by Eckhart Tolle, “What gets in the way is the way.” It is not the easiest to act upon and quite easy to forget in the rush and hum of things. I keep remember another thing Eckhart said, and that is that a person can be successful at remaining in the present moment, being one with the now, and yet fail on the outer level when it comes to their career, relationships and affluence. That is a bitter pill to swallow. A very hard thing to accept. Nonetheless, it is true. Presence does not equal success in this world. Doesn’t equal happiness.

Kipling’s poem, if

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Does it matter whether we achieve our outer purpose, whether we succeed or fail in the world?

“It will matter to you as long as you haven’t realized your inner purpose. After that, the outer purpose is just a game that you may comtinue to play simply because you enjoy it. It is also possible to fail completely in your outer purpose and at the same time totally succeed in your inner purpose.” (Tolle, Eckhart. 2005. The Power of Now. p.74)