Welcome to my course on meditation. I hope this curriculum will bring you inspiration, renewed energy and, most of all, joy.
But, okay, let’s be honest. Now, that you’ve decided to explore the benefits of meditation, I bet your mind is thinking something like this:
“I want to meditate. I know it will be good for me: help me quiet my thoughts, help me feel less stressed, help me be feel less anxious… but…”
It’s that “but” that keeps you from meditating, isn’t it? Listen, you’re not alone. To prepare for this course, I asked my students what reasons they have for not meditating. One of the answers was, “It sounds boring.” Well, everything is boring if you look at is as boring. If you’re bored, it’s because you are allowing yourself to be bored. I personally can’t remember the last time I was bored. I have so much I want to do; so much I want to learn. Maybe instead of bored, what you really mean is that you’re tired? And, tired is okay. If you’re tired listen to that. Your body probably needs rest. Being bored is an evasive attitude. Being tired is a physical reality.
Or maybe it’s really the unknown that is the challenge – the unknown challenge of controlling your mind. Listen to me carefully here, because I’m talking about the tricks your mind plays when it wants to get out of focusing on something. My mind rarely wants to be where I want it to be. It wants to think about the future, or the bills I have to pay, or the fact I have to pick up the kids in an hour. It would also like to focus on problems from the past. It would basically like to do anything but what I want it to do – in the moment. And the second I try to control my mind, my body reacts. My nose starts to itch. My leg starts to twitch. My mind doesn’t want to be controlled by me and because of that, my body also rebels. That’s why we study self-defense. We don’t study other people’s defense. We study “self” defense – in order to focus our own minds.
Some people come to the martial arts to feel good about themselves physically. Well, any sport you’re good at – anything you put your heart into – you’re going to feel great about doing. Other people come to martial arts to increase their self-esteem. Well, I’m going to challenge you on that. Of course, the martial arts will help build your self-esteem, but there’s something more important than that. I think we come to martial arts because it’s the only chance we have during our crazy daily lives to concentrate on just one thing.
As parents, as business owners, as practitioners, our minds are always everywhere all the time. But, when we are focused on our training, we don’t have the luxury of letting our minds run wild. We have to focus. Whether it’s a form, a combination or sparring in the ring, we need to be present doing what you’re supposed to be doing. And being in the moment creates joy for us; it’s really why we feel so great after our workouts. So, this isn’t a workout for the sake of sweating. It’s a chance to be present in the moment. Self-defense training is a very real form of meditation.
Another complaint that I hear is “I don’t have time.” Now, my approach to life is that there is no such thing as having down-time or up-time or premiere-time or play-time or work-time. There’s just time. This is my life. This is your life. It’s all about the investment that we make right now in our lives. The more we invest, the more we receive in return. Because if you feel at ease with yourself, you won’t look for enemies outside. And the enemies outside won’t have that much effect on you. If you’re clear and you’re aligned (and we’ll talk about alignment in the next chapter) then time, and the annoyances of life, won’t affect you.
You don’t have to make time to sit down in front of a Buddha head, read Kanji or download meditative music. It’s not about that. It’s about being in the moment doing whatever it is you’re doing in your life. If I’m cooking, I’m cooking. If I’m walking, I’m walking. If I’m talking to my wife, I’m talking to my wife. I am meditating by being fully in the moment I am living.
Some students said to me that they are “scared to be alone.” Well, you don’t necessarily have to be alone to meditate. As a matter of fact, no matter if you are alone or in a crowd, your mind is going to wander off. Say I’m at a party—even a party with a bunch of friends—my mind is already out the door. I’m with people, but I’m also alone, thinking my own thoughts. I think it is good to learn how to be alone, but what you are perhaps really afraid of, is being lonely. That’s an important distinction. You can be alone in a crowd, thinking your own thoughts, but you are not lonely. Being lonely is a state you should work to avoid. Embracing people is the cure to being lonely. But being willing to be alone is a step toward peace and mindfulness.
Finally, other students said that their minds simply “run to fast” to meditate. I totally understand this complaint. My mind runs very fast. As I explained earlier, my mind wants to be everywhere all at once. But, like a wild horse, we need to control it, to rein it in.
And this course will give you the tools to do that— to control your wild horse, so you can enjoy the ride!
I am a long time student of martial arts.
My goal in creating this book is to create moments
of “aha” along with a series of questions,
which could influence conversation.
In that space, my friend, is where you, the student, grows.
“The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.”
This is the essence of my teaching.
I am all for peace ...
I teach it, I preach it and I live it.
But I'm not against violence!