This morning’s neigong:
Don’t look for it…. It cannot be seen;
Don’t try to find that deep state:
Don’t think, instead just be present.
Feelings don’t require words;
Let them come and go;
Just watch whatever comes;
Thoughts, feelings – nothing stays.
Let go, let go, let go…
Be yin, be yang, be neutral;
Be totally in the present.
Nature’s wordless speech;
Can be experienced in this state;
On this late summer overcast day;
Natures freshness has begun turning in on itself.
Soon enough it will hibernate to heal;
The earth, wind, rain and sun nourish us all;
Each one will have it’s time;
Spring, summer, autumn and winter;
As does a human life.
It’s the ‘Way’ of nature – and a wise person yields to it.
Fasting Diet & Buddhism
Meditation in the bath in the mornings, rather than listening to a ‘lifestyle guru’ I like to play a ‘Dhamma Talk’ by one of the Buddhist Ajahn’s from the informative website of Amaravati Monastery.
This morning it was Ajahn Metta and just labelled ‘Dhamma Talk’. Her voice was very quiet and was difficult to hear above my abolutery splashing sounds, but I laid still to listen to see whether to change it – and am I glad that I didn’t!
She was discussing fasting and diet and how the ‘switch off’ for religous fasting was easier than a controlled diet and being a meditator and Buddhist, the process of watching her mind on a diet was important. I am currently doing the same thing with both intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet so this was ‘gold dust’ for me.
I will summarise her points and add my own notes in my own way:
Pooh Bear said ‘the most delicious taste whilst eating honey is the moments before you put it in your mouth’. This is the rising of desire (our anticipatory mind).
If you recognise this arising, don’t push it away, investigate it fully. Ajahn Metta received the food, smelled it and put it on her shrine to examine her mind. The desire was to eat, it appeared that her body craved nourishment, when denied it eventually eased, but after a while would come back again. When denied again, it would appear with a different face, like sexual desire or ‘wanting’ something.
Her point was that desire had many faces but in fact was the same thing. Many lifestyle gurus would want us to use that desire to energise us to work for other things we may want in life, but Ajahn Metta was saying that if you just observe it, eventually it calms down, leaving you with an incredible sense of peace. I like that.
The problem is that if you don’t deal with the desire, it will inevitably control you and allow others to use it to suit them all of your life.
I realised that when I fasted and controlled my food the diet worked well, but when my mind fell foul of the different faces of desire I could get confused. When a diet guru says you can eat as much as you like of….. what happens? Gluttony means you overeat whatever you are allowed, it’s crazy but you’re being driven by a demon without realising it, thinking you are still doing good. I remember friends on the Atkin’s diet eating masses of meat and cream because it was ‘okay’ and failing because they didn’t realise that they were not addressing their real problem and desire was simply wearing another face!
Buddhism teaches you to watch your mind. Mindfulness and self examination are the key to success. A greedy person can be chasing ‘success’, food, wealth, sex and be allowing it to control their life from the outside in and their are many guru’s, businesses and politicians happy to exploit those weaknesses.
Diet is about being disciplined, not punishing yourself, but become your more ‘natural’ self by examining your thoughts, wants and desires and their results, that way wisdom can arise and the balancing is permanent.
I had been really struggling with diet over the last few years, 68 years old with dodgy legs I couldn’t move around enough and years of infection and strong antibiotics, painkillers, stomach and blood pressure meds had really taken their toll.
I have been vegetarian for over 40 years don’t smoke or drink and still practiced Tai Chi and meditation every day so I was in a reasonable place to clean my act up a bit more. I gave up all soft drinks and sugary food and that helped a bit and started to research.
Intermittent fasting was fairly easy for my disciplined mind and I started with a 16hr fast each day and my weight started to drop, I increased that to a 20 hour fast and it dropped faster, I lost 2 stone (around 12kgs) in 4 weeks and then it plateaued, so I researched further.
Humans were originally wandering ‘hunter gatherers’ so would pick the food in the area that they were in from the surface and plants and trees and hunt and ate animals. The further we moved away from that lifestyle, the more obesity and bad health has troubled us, medicine has negated some of those problems but now we have reached a crisis point.
When agriculture started we grew starchy foods underground and wheat and maize and that quickly became our easily stored and ‘go to’ foods. This was also fed to the ‘farmed’ animals changing them radically into nothing more than bloody plant and seed holders. Politicians and business very quickly took charge of this way of rooting, ‘enslaving’ and taxing people so instead of being relatively healthy and independent people living in small tribes they became ‘working slaves’ to feed the rich and powerful. Add religion and nationality into the mix to bind people into huge cultural and national ‘tribes’ and you can see the build up to the mess we’re in today.
Being vegetarian there was no way I could start eating meat so I looked at the alternative ways to reduce my starch, hidden sugar and general carbo hydrate levels to a more healthier mix.
A friend in Scotland Karim Belgacem out of the blue kindly sent me the book ‘Sapiens’ that helped fill in the societal gaps and I read about ketogenics and paleo dieting and they were on the same path as me, I watched the film ‘The Magic Pill’ on Netflix and that gave me a clearer outline to my thinking and studies, I re-arranged my diet to continue my fasting, now more on a 19 hour fast with a good vegetarian carb lite ketogenic style meal midday and something light a 5pm and my weight has started to drop again and I feel much healthier and cleaner inside.
I realised that I still had cultural ‘blind assumptions’ that I didn’t have the perspective to see before, that I still had to resolve my emotional attachment to food, whenever I saw food my anticipatory mind was already preparing me eat it, so watching my mind became far more intense. I also learned from friends with a far healthier attitude to food than me.
And the biggest lessons are:
You’re never too old to learn;
Whenever our problems seem big, it means our mind is too small and we need to change our perspective.
These poems are my martial arts soul, each one is the result of a meditation.
They’re Not Your Friends….
The Present Is A Present
Liar, Liar Your Pants Are On Fire
Old Man On A Bench
Like Waves On The Sea
I Can Beat The Buddha In A Fight!
I See You
A Walk In The Woods
The Eyes Of The Dead
A Golden Cage Is Still A Cage
The Softest Touch
A Different Tao
I’m Only Visiting
Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory
A Door Inside
A Past Life
Losing The Way
Heaven Or Hell
Zombie Or Alive
DoThe Dead Speak?
It’s A Kind Of Magic
Death In Battle..
The Training Bank
Stick A Needle In Your Eye…
A Black Belt…
Internal Or External?
The Stopped Breath…
My Immortal Soul
Blood On Wood…
The Yin Factor
Martial Arts Are Defensive
Life’s Not Fair…
The Aliens have Landed!
Magpies and Monkeys
Looking Back Down Our Eyes..
Who Do You Train For?
You Can’t Stop Growing Old…
Armed Or Unarmed?
Bringing Zombies To Life
The Peng Balloon
Kata A Waste Of Time?
Like A Never Ending Circle…
Putting The Egg In The Eggcup
The Deepest Door..
Death Is A Warm Blanket…
Dealing With Fear
Are You A Fattist?
The Happy Button…
The Learning Process
Seeing With Clarity
It’s Yesterday No More
Diversity and Compassion…
The Beast That Lurks Within
You’ll Have To Kill Me…
3 Essentials To Enlightenment
Taking Or Giving?
It’s Not What You Do
The Secret Of Internal Power
We live in a reductionist society. We are reliant on the few for everything we do and have. Our jobs, our income, our media, our entertainment, our religion and spirituality, everything is very carefully controlled.
We are encouraged to look outside, to aspire to external beauty, good jobs, good houses, money and these are all held like carrots for a stupid donkey. Even our religion is politically controlled and run. Our elections are like turkeys voting for Christmas.
We are never encouraged to look inside and explore the bigger inner universe, to challenge every bit of information that is fed to us. Thinking for yourself is only encouraged as long as it conforms what the top echelons want. When we REALLy start to fundamentally challenge the structure of society we are classed as fools and conspiracy theorists.
Yet we are an integral part of our universe, we can be educated to communicate and harmonise with it as opposed to attempting the impossible task of ‘conquering’ it – not realising that when we do it will bring our own demise. We are like lemmings running toward the edge of the cliff.
Looking inwards is the key. Developing critical thinking, emotional intelligence and the lost arts of wordless language, intuition and empathy are the answer. We cannot change the top echelon of our hierarchical structure and their dictatorial ways without changing the will the people and we cannot do that by pressurising and bullying them, revolution will only change the bullies.
The journey inwards is the answer, stillness and introspection are self education and cannot be stopped. If you want to change the world this is the way. When every person is able to think for themselves, find that necessary empathy and intuition, the world will change itself.
No more greed, hate, violence and anger because weakness, fear, distraction and apathy will be gone and challenged every time it appears.
They’re Not Your Friends….
Those thousands of voyeurs you have on social media;
The people that appear to be friends all the time they get what they want from you;
Using you as a stepping stone to climb the social ladder;
They’re not your friends;
They will stick a knife in your back as soon as it suits them.
Your friends are always there;
Whether they agree with you or not;
Even if being friends with you harms their ‘social standing’;
They support you in the hard times;
Phone you when there’s no reason;
Send you jokes they know you’ll find funny.
Friends don’t need reminding that they are friends;
They are always just one call away;
Their help is never conditional;
Never an inconvenience;
They always know it’s mutual.
Martial Arts students and peers become friends;
They sweat together,
Forging memories from the fires of hell.
A martial artist has 2 families;
Both made in blood;
Shallow people will never understand this;
If you think everyone is a deceiver;
Maybe you should look at yourself?
There are diamonds on that beach of pebbles;
What you give you shall receive;
If you can stick to your guns;
Follow the ‘way’ assiduously and with honesty;
Others will recognise you soul to soul.
And they will become your true friends.