This post was inspired by Tara Brach’s awesome guided meditations on self-love.
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
You feel this sinking anxiety. This fear. It comes in and out throughout your day anytime you have a moment silence. It’s a very subtle, dull pain. Like a bad roommate, it’s bearable most of the time as long as you shut it out and don’t deal with it directly. But what happens when you ignore your roommate for too long? They leave you a nice gift in the form of a sink full of dishes, late night dance parties, and an unflushed toilet.
Do you know how to fix this problem to not let it get worse and happen again? Of course you do. You open up your door and simply talk to them.
Well the constant dull pain you feel is just like that annoying roommate. Except this pain doesn’t come in the form of dirty sinks and toilets. It emanates from those nagging feelings of inadequacy and fears that you aren’t good enough. Fears that you don’t deserve a healthy relationship because you push away anybody who tries to get close to you so you settle for less. Fears that you will never find a better job because you don’t have what it takes to make it on your own. And, even worse, fears that you don’t deserve happiness.
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”- Oscar Wilde
There are innumerable works covering the vastness of human activities, so much so that we can become highly educated in nearly any area of human study through solitary learning. We are afforded the opportunity to read the thoughts of the great men of the past, and our world view and wealth of knowledge benefit from their influence. The multitudes of literature have left us wanting, however. We have enough great books to study for a lifetime, but no one taught us how to read. We can read in a very literal sense, making linguistic sense of symbols on the page to formulate a corresponding thought. Yes, we were taught to read, but no one taught us how to read books!
The first Wednesday of every month, my friends and I go to the local tavern affectionately known as “The HOB”, have a drink or two, and play the open mic night along with some of the other regulars. It’s always a blast, but last night was, by far, the best time I’d had there.
Last night was one of those nights where the energy was at such a level that you are able to get outside of yourself and actually experience the present moment, in all of it’s beauty. Today, I found myself reliving last night. Everyone putting their cares away, singing, dancing, and just having unguarded fun. While I was daydreaming away, it made me think of a parable I’d read years ago, and I wanted to share it with you all now. Perhaps you’ve read it before, but sometimes, when you get in the rhythm of every day life, you forget to ask yourself, “why am I doing this?” “What do I ultimately want?”
So here it is. The parable of the fisherman and the businessman:
“My study of this art, from white belt to black, has given me more in the ways of personal growth and self-understanding than I had ever expected.” – Chris Matakas
As we have done with my previous books, we wanted to give you a peak inside my newest book, My Mastery: Continued Education Through Jiu Jitsu. Keeping in theme with the original My Mastery, this is a book more about success in life than success in sport. Using the endeavor of skill acquisition as a means of personal growth, this book can be used by all those seeking a more meaningful existence, and is not exclusive to martial artists. I greatly enjoyed writing it, and I hope you enjoy reading it.
Last week, I received voice mail from my Dad, asking me to give him a call back when I had a minute, because he’d been thinking of some things and wanted to talk to me about them.
He had a sort of excitement in his voice.
The same sort of excitement a scientist might have after making a new discovery. Unsure of what to expect, I called him back.
The following is a letter I wrote to a dear friend in response to his questions concerning my practices of meditation. Considering that this is becoming a popular method of practicing mindfulness, it is our hope that the topics discussed in this letter could be of use to many of our readers. Enjoy!
First off, let me applaud you for the sincerity with which you have undertaken this endeavor. I have no doubts that you are growing daily because of this pursuit. The farther I go down this road, the more clearly I see that all of life’s joys and woes stem directly from our thinking mind, and our ability to navigate its landscape.
A man who has true control over his thoughts becomes invincible to circumstance.
I have spent a great deal of time meditating over the past 7 years or so, and have given many of its forms due diligence. Truthfully, the type of meditation matters little compared to the sincerity with which it is practiced, and the reasoning for the very practice itself.
Seven short years ago
I began a lover’s quarrel with Jiu Jitsu
As my intentions waned too and fro
I had no idea what this journey would amount to.
I competed and fought
I tore ligaments from finger to knee
The greatest lesson this journey has taught
Is I have the control to decide who I’ll be.
I at once began to learn how to fight
to be able to subdue my fellow man
It wasn’t until I let go of physical might
that I learned all that Jiu Jitsu can.
“This food reveals our connection with the earth. Each bite contains the life of the sun and the earth. The extent to which our food reveals itself depends on us. We can see and taste the whole universe in a piece of bread!”-
It’s true. I found gratitude while eating a bowl of beef stew.
“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.” –
On rare occurrences, life moves in such harmony where it provides you with an experience that prompts you to question why something happened, and then subsequently provides you with the answer the next day. A few days ago, I was lucky enough to experience this phenomenon.
“I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do.”
Around 2,400 years ago in ancient Athens, mankind was dealt a humbling blow to our collective self-confidence, and it came by the way of Socrates.
We all know the name Socrates, but few know what he stood for.