self-improvement

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

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Have you ever given advice or instruction to anyone in your life that came to you for help, yet it seemed like your words fell on deaf ears, or the person deliberately did the opposite of what you advised, perhaps even compounding their problem. even more?

Many times this is due to the concept of Secondary Gain. The problem becomes so much a part of the person’s identity that the perceived benefit of having the problem is much greater than the benefit of solving the problem.

For more enlightening information on why people hang on to their problems and how to rid yourself from Secondary Gain, check out this article by author, speaker, counselor and Kung Fu Master Jeremy Roadruck : https://medium.com/@KungFuGuyJeremy/secondary-gain-or-why-people-keep-their-problems-e8b4c4a3770e

Can You Change? Can Anyone? (part 2)

In internal training, we have to start with emotions. Most of our decisions are made based on emotion. Any good salesperson can tell you a customer buys because of emotion and justifies the purchase with logic. Emotions, like everything else, are energy, neither good nor bad. It is your mind which chooses whether they are good or bad. Emotions are just responses that are part of our evolution of survival skills.

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Fear can keep you safe from danger or keep you from prospering. Interestingly enough, in Chinese, the word “crisis” is the combination of the characters for danger and opportunity. Happiness balances sadness. Anger balances fear. But you have to be able to control it. It is self-destructive to live there perpetually. Too much ego, can cause an imbalance in between your emotions, which leads to a loss of focus.

Our method of practicing meditation is Qigong, which means "energy practice”. This concept is important since, as stated in part 1, everything is energy.

Qigong regulates our  breathing, our movement, an  our thoughts -- our feeling, action, and thoughts. Everything becomes mediation when these 3 elements are in harmony.

Focus of the mind should be at the forefront of your training, because everything starts with a thought. The When the mind becomes focused, the emotions become calm. Then the correct action can take place.

A scattered mind cannot focus. Thoughts wander, and a scattered mind is susceptible to illusions that can lead to a negative emotional response. Western psychotherapy refers to  illusions as Cognitive Distortions - extremely harmful and destructive thought processes that appear normal, rational, and reasonable. Illusions have the power to distort the view of yourself or others, and poison your sense of equilibrium. There is a saying, “A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.” Persistent negative thinking influences how you feel, causing destructive behavior that reinforces negative patterns of thought. Negative patterns of thought prevent you from living a fully expressed life. As a warrior, your mind has to be able to control itself, in order for you to survive and thrive.

Lack of focus taps into the negative emotional state. Clarity of mind allows you to slowly detach from the five senses; ridding yourself of the burdens that come from the five senses.

This results in a calm (heart) emotional state .

First of all, Qigong practice begins with breathing. Breathing affects the body, heart and mind.

A human being can live 3 days without water, up to a month with no food, but we can only live a few minutes without breathing. Breathing affects the organs. It seems simple but most people do not think about how they breathe.

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Breathing triggers the:

Relaxed body- action

Focused mind- thinking

Calm heart- feeling

As you breath, slowly, rhythmically, and deeply (natural breathing - Breathing should have the rhythm of a wave) you clear the mind.

Second, the emotions become calm - You start to eliminate ego.

Third, the body becomes relaxed - this allows qi to flow.

Stillness happens when the body is relaxed, the mind is clear and the heart is calm.

When you can achieve a state of calm, you can change perspective. Different perspectives allow you to envision more possibilities, which can lead to a life change. Ultimately, it can lead to self-mastery.

In closing, adapting to change and achieving self-mastery isn’t easy. It takes time and effort. In fact, the definition of Kung Fu is “skill and ability developed over time through hard work”. And remember, when we talk about practicing meditation; it is just that, practice! True meditation happens when you can remain calm under pressure, under fire.

One of the most damaging obstacles to our self-improvement is the statement that we tell ourselves, “I don't feel like it” - This means you are harmonizing on the inside, letting the outside control you. *After saying.” I don't feel like it” your next statement should be “now I must.”


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Every day is a new day with untold potential. We experience change inconspicuously, minute to minute, second to second and so on. However, no other time of year in our modern culture seems to spur thoughts of change and self-improvement as the first day of our calendar year.

A lot of folks consider new year resolutions to be cliche or trite because one should be able to affect change at any time. Many forgo the tradition of new year resolutions citing the fact that they have been previous unsuccessful, so what's point?

To this I would say sure you can set foot on a new path at any time, but if there is something dear to you that you want to accomplish, the best time to start is always now. And, if that "now" coincides with the powerful symbolism of new year's day, and the tradition of resolutions (tradition=energy from the past) , why not make good use of this time, space and energy?

If you have been previously unsuccessful, do not attach to that illusion of past events. Every day you wake up you are a biologically, psychologically, spiritually a different person than you were the day before. Cells die and generate, experience gives birth to wisdom, and how we cope with our environment and relate to the people around us will feedback into our spirit. You will never have any more potential to reach your goals than you do TODAY, for in reality, there is no “tomorrow”. My point is do not dwell on what you should've, could've done in the past, or what can't possibly happen until a future date. Focus on what you CAN do NOW.

On the other hand, you cannot just "will" improvement. You need a plan. If you have a long term  goal, figure out what short term objectives need to be met in order for you to reach the proper time and space in which you can realize that goal. Make as many objectives as you want or need on this journey. Divide and conquer. The more you conquer, the more successful you feel and the more successful you will become.

Need help? Find someone who has done what you are trying to do or something similar and have a conversation. You could also learn from someone who has been unsuccessful in your endeavor as well. Learn from ANYONE. At the least use the Google. And as always I, and I am sure the rest of our kung fu family, would be willing to provide counsel as well.


-Sifu Paul