Poems, Uncategorized

Like Waves On The Sea

20170805_114923

You’re born out of this world – not into it;
An important difference,
Like waves are born out of the sea,
They are still the sea,
Made up from it,
Still joined to it,
And return to it.

So we are born out of this world,
Are still a part of it,
Made up from it,
Nourished by it,
Still joined to it,
And return to it.

We are truly ‘at one with the universe’;
Whether we know it or not;
When we ‘know’ it – life is easier,
We are like we are,
Because everything is as it is;
And we are always in the right place at the right time.

The universe doesn’t have human values;
Pain and suffering exist because happiness and joy do,
You can’t have one without the other;
Time is only a spiral in infinity,
All lifetime’s are actually the same length,
One life long.

Acknowledge what exists;
But don’t cling to it, let it pass,
Pain, suffering, happiness and joy,
2 sides of the same coin;
If you cling to any you will suffer;
For they are impermanent and do not belong to you.

Impermanence, dissatisfaction and no self,
The 3 marks of existence,
Observe their truth,
And life and death become natural,
And easier to deal with.

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Articles, Uncategorized

The Dark Side Of Pain

steve pray

 

Pain eats your soul.
You want to move but you can’t.
Life is out there waiting,
Calling you to come out and play,
People to see, places to be,
Exciting, active and fun…
The spirit is willing, but the body is tired,
Every move jars the soul,
Pain screams around the joints,
They give way and are unstable,
Medication has a price that is just as bad.

Everybody assumes you will fully repair,
That is the confidence of youth.
You end up joining the pretence,
Because it’s easier than trying to explain.
In the end life can only get worse,
It comes sooner to some than others,
But why tell them that?

Bed becomes your torture chamber,
No position has rest,
No sleep, no respite.
The dark quiet hours make you think,
You feel the reaper in the shadows.
Death is a warm painless blanket,
Where sleep finally awaits.

No seat is comfortable,
No shoes or clothes fit without discomfort,
Everything comes with a problem,
Can’t stand, walk, sit or lay without pain,
Every bit of furniture has to be examined,
So you don’t get stuck and embarrassed.

Your painful gait gets in everyone’s way,
Too slow, with that painful limp.
No disabled parking means going home,
Having to fully open your car door,
Means traffic slows with impatient horns.

Paralympians put you to shame,
But they’re disabled not sick.
Others can’t tell the difference,
And if your sickness isn’t visible enough,
People think you’re lazy.

Many are worse off than you.
Their struggle makes your problems seem small.
It’s all a matter of perspective,
But you can only speak from your own.
Why bother to write?
Because that old man/lady hobbling in your way,
Created the world you now inhabit,
And could probably save you from many mistakes.

By Steve Rowe

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Articles, Uncategorized

Cognitive Dissonance In The Martial Arts

face claw

I posted recently on Facebook about Firemen who rescued some piglets from a fire and how the grateful farmer then slaughtered them and rewarded the firemen with sausages made from their carcasses. As a meditation I suggested that if that made the readers uncomfortable it might be because they were experiencing ‘cognitive dissonance’ because they might hold two opposing views about the piglets, one because they are cute and cuddly and the other because they like them as food.

This then made me think that it might be a good idea to draw some of my teachings together under this label to explain the difference between blind assumptions that create the condition and using it as a tool in our martial arts and in stressful times.

Let me explain.

In the book ‘The Prehistory Of The Mind’ Steven Mithen explains the development of the human mind as like ‘a Swiss army penknife’ with utilities like the need for survival, the need for love and affection, the need to procreate, the need to communicate and recognising what we need to eat and so on that develop faster than all other parts of the mind. These utilities are separate from each other and this explains why we can see baby pigs as cute and cuddly one moment and then be eating them later; as it utilises different parts of the mind.

Steven then relates how as humankind developed, some people have developed channels between these utilities and can start to relate one to the other, bringing about in some the need to reconcile the apparent dissonance between the two.

So in our meditation and self study we need to recognise the ‘blind assumptions’ about everything that our culture and upbringing has given us as a set of views and values and then apply our own critical thinking to them to decide if we really do think that way and to find what our views really are. This process dramatically changed me as a person as I realised that I had previously just adopted the views and values of my family and culture without challenging them!  I had been wearing a mask all this time and not known it, my deep rooted fears and anxieties were borne out of cognitive dissonance because the views I thought I held weren’t really me and deep down I felt uncomfortable with them.

Good meditation took me through this process of self examination to find out who I really was and to find my own resonance.  It was a huge relief to eventually discover who I was and the views that really resonated with me.

Then as martial artists we can train this dissonance as a tool when life serves up it’s usual unpalatable fayre. If we have to defend ourselves or someone else, or fight to keep the peace and we don’t like hurting anyone or anything, we need the skill to be able to disassociate our connection to another person to see them purely as a target to hurt them enough to stop them and this is where a trained ‘cognitive dissonance’ can work for good.

When I’ve had to take a loved pet to the vet to have them put down, when someone close to me is dying painfully, when all I want to do is to collapse in a sea of emotion but someone has to take action to get things done, that necessary separation, if well trained, can come to the fore.

If you are an empathic person and naturally link into someone else’s anger, pain, suffering or depression you end up taking on their emotions and life can be really hard! The person might feel better after an hour but you can still be walking about with their depression for weeks if you’re not careful! Again training for that separation, so you can deal with their emotions positively, you create that ‘cognitive dissonance’ until you can bring the resonance between you back is a real skill.

The ability to be able to ‘wake up’ using mindfulness, to examine our mind and opinions, to discover who we really are what we really think, to understand and connect the different parts of our mind and draw on that embedded ‘utilitarian’ part as a skillset takes regular daily training can be truly life changing – and it helps to develop the necessary toolbox to make us more emotionally intelligent.

That has got to be worth the effort!

 

 

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Keep Your Child Safe!

Cerys guard

VERY IMPORTANT!

This is the time of the year that children are going up a school, from Infants to Junior and importantly from Junior to Senior and Senior to University.

Parents in their infinite wisdom decide that their children will have more homework and often drop their martial arts training and teenagers going to university often move away from the area of their club and don’t bother to find a new one.

THIS IS A BIG MISTAKE!

Why? The children going from Junior to Senior school will need to move up in their martial arts club to the adult training; because the bullies they will invariably encounter will be adult size and age. Their training needs to change to be able to deal with it emotionally and physically. They will soon be going out on their own and with friends and going to nightclubs and will encounter  nasty weaponised violence, their bodies are rapidly changing and they are likely to suffer attempted sexual assault, they will be changing friends and likely to befriend people that will try to introduce them to drugs. If they are able to keep their friends and be training in a healthy, challenging environment in a martial arts club and learning how to deal with all these new dangers they will have a MUCH better chance of staying sane, healthy and safe.

Homework and study can be challenging, the biggest enemies to academic success are distraction and laziness, the ability to be able train in a club and at home to learn to remain aware and focused are essential skills. you can only study for so long and need an activity that will correct posture, breathing, awareness and focus – what better than martial arts that will also keep you safe and can be practised anywhere, at any time without any special equipment?

Universities are the target of many different kinds of criminal, young, naive, distracted vulnerable targets make for easy pickings, muggings, rape, sexual assault and home invasion are most likely to happen at this time. Emotional intelligence, awareness and good training is essential to deal with these problems.

Schools and universities have become number crunchers and box tickers, they don’t like to admit they have these problems, at the end of the day the only person to keep youngsters safe at the time is inevitably the youngster themselves. They need good training.

The best thing parents can do is to keep their children and youngsters engaged in their martial arts wherever possible, make sure they are getting the right kind of training and give as much encouragement as possible – failure to do so can result in a very heavy price indeed.

 

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Poems, Uncategorized

I Can Beat The Buddha In A Fight!

Photo on 06-06-2017 at 15.53

Coming round here with all your bloody wisdom, what good’s that gonna do you in a fight eh?

The 4 Noble Truths…. ain’t gonna help you in the pavement arena – when I’m banging your head on it!

And as for you Jesus with all your parables, I’ll just kick you in ’em and even if you do come back from the dead I’ll bloody well do it again!

There is only one type of martial arts and I’m it! I’m tougher and harder that all of you! If you don’t let me beat you up in class to show it to you – you’re a pussy!

As for you kata dancing fairies and your bloody bunkai’s I’d walk straight though the lot of it and nut ya with one of my street specialities whilst you’re taking your socks and shoes off!

Kung Fu? WTF is that – I see ‘drunken style’ in the bars every night and knock all them out as well!

Compassion? I’ve got compassion, after I’ve knocked you out I’ll put you in the recovery position and take your girlfriend home to make sure she’s safe.

Have you got the message? You’re all shit apart from me. I’m the toughest, hardest, meanest guy on the internet!

I gauge everyone by whether I can beat them in a fight. Doesn’t matter if their cleverer than me, wiser than me, more successful than me…. I can still beat the shit out of them so I win!

It’s ‘martial’ that means the art of war, how to win in a fight – what do you mean? ‘Budo’ means ‘to stop the spear’ yeah by fighting it FFS…

‘Kung Fu’ means time and effort? well I practised by biting ears off in the real world!

‘Wado’ means peace and harmony? well they’re a bunch of pussies anyway…

‘Goju’ means the balance of hard and soft? Aikido means the way of harmonising internal energy? – well what did the Romans ever do for us eh? I’d beat them all in the street.

The fact is that if you can’t beat everyone in a fight on the internet you’re useless and I can so I win.

Anyway I’m off to polish my camo trousers and knuckledusters and watch the Karate Kid hoping that The Cobra Kai guy wins this time round….

 

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