Twistin’ the night away….

Ffolkes,

“Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.”

~~ J.R.R. Tolkien ~~

andromeda-meteor-james

    Today’s picture is from Space.com, one of their Astronomy Picture of the Day features, a gorgeous shot of the Milky Way, meteors, and the Andromeda Galaxy (small but clear in the upper right quadrant…), all in one huge photo, taken as a panorama, I believe. All I know is it was so big, it took about eight adjustments to get it small enough to fit onto the screen…. At the larger size, it’s pretty incredible in detail, almost like being outside, looking at it directly…. The photographer was, no doubt, a photographic wizard, along the lines of the quote from Tolkien….

Or, maybe he/she just got lucky, timing it so perfectly by chance…. Unlikely, with a panoramic photo, but, one never knows, nor would one ever speculate, not so early in the morning, before the second sip of coffee has been taken…. On sip only ensures no one will die; the second sip provides a certain degree of coherency, which doesn’t extend to the keyboard, sadly…. Nor does it preclude the hands from screaming at me for typing, which, unfortunately, they seem to want to do today…. Bogus, really, and it sure makes this part difficult…. Break time, ffolkes…

Now that the tenor of today’s post has been set, and, just as quickly destroyed, by the not-totally-unexpected display of bozoid candor, perhaps we can get on with this with no more detours. That would be a nice change, wouldn’t it? Sure it would…. but, as you may have guessed, it ain’t gonna happen here. I believe we may have reached a point that would otherwise be called a nexus, or, just as accurately, a bloody mess; some sort of decision must be made as to where we are going today, if anywhere at all…. Wait!….

That’s the best idea I’ve had yet…. I’m going to end this right here, right now, and get on with it, just as if it were made that way…. Perhaps, if we pretend it’s supposed to work like that, we can slip past the censors, and get this done in some sort of timely fashion…. Or, alternately, some sort of approximation of timely would be acceptable, whatever that may mean in such a situation…. Your guess is as good as mine, in this case… So….

Shall we Pearl?

“The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.” — Henry L. Mencken

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An old Grateful Dead tune has been running around my mind all morning, ever since I first booted up…. It’s from their song, “Sugar Magnolia”, and goes, “Head’s all empty, and I don’t care….” However, rather than the Dead, let’s go with a live concert by Jerry, and his old friend, David Grisman, his mandolin-playin’ genius buddy, from 12/8/1991….  Enjoy!…. No video on this one, but, great music….

Jerry Garcia & David Grisman – San Francisco 12 8 91

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I’m still saving my hands for other stuff, so, here is an archived rant, of fairly typical size and content….

From 2/25/2013:

“I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair.  Then I thought, wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?  So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.”– Marcus, Babylon 5

Marcus brings up an interesting point here, when he talks of the general hostility of the universe. I don’t think he quite has a handle on the actual shape of Reality, though, and in his desire to avoid responsibility for his own cupidity, he assigns the universe as villain in his play. Our universe isn’t hostile to us, as he would like to think. Unfair? Yes. Hostile? No…. The universe really doesn’t give a crap about us, one way or another. Things seem unfair, not because they are stacked against us, but rather because they are not stacked in our favor, a slight but distinct difference…..

Reality plays no favorites, beyond a tendency to allow itself to be adjusted by those who have an understanding of how it works, without granting them any dispensation, but rather rewarding their cleverness and wit. Those who believe the universe is out to get them are defenseless against the trials and tribulations that are a natural part of living, because they begin from an attitude of helplessness. Those who at least have the confidence to act in their own behalf are much more able to achieve their goals, than anyone who allows Reality to push them wherever they end up, without any direction made by choice…..

Thus, we can see that courage, as well as knowledge, is necessary to being able to confront Reality on its own terms. Not only is it necessary to pay attention to the way the universe works, and how it interacts among all its parts, but necessary to have the courage to act on what is known, and what the person believes to be right, in a moral sense. Of course, the universe doesn’t care one way or another if we are moral; it rewards those who act out of immorality as well, if they are bold enough to act. We just feel better about ourselves if we act from right thought, and we make it easier for others to do the same. Acting immorally only benefits the one who is doing the acting…..

But, cowardice is also rewarded by the universe; it just isn’t a very palatable reward, to have our every wish denied, and our every act dismissed, as incompetent, illegal, or just plain dumb….. Lack of courage, and lack of knowledge thus become their own rewards, and the person’s misguided views about reality lead them into issue after issue of conflict with the rest of reality. In this way, they continually reinforce their own misapprehensions, and will only more firmly believe that the universe is out to get them, and everyone else…. This, in spite of the fact that they are looking at, and dealing with, the same Reality as everyone else, who don’t all seem to have the same problem…. Instead of giving them a clue that maybe they should do things differently, they merely assume that the other people have cheated them somehow…. because that is what they would do….

It’s really too bad in some ways, that so large a percentage of humanity is so lacking in courage and wit as to find the view stated above to be congruent with their own view of the way the universe operates; it’s part of what makes it so easy for those in the BRC and the 1% to control them, and to pull the wool over their eyes. These folks are so convinced of their own helplessness in the face of all they don’t understand, they will latch onto almost anything someone tells them, if it soothes their fears, and gives them someone or something other than themselves to blame for their misfortunes…. Sad, but true, and a perfect description of what has transpired in society for several thousand years now, as the BRC keeps the majority of humanity in the proverbial dark about what is true, and what is real….. They’ve had a lot of practice, and they’re very good at it….

But, then, it isn’t hard to control someone who is brainwashed to believe that it is the way reality is, so I can’t say it is due to any particularly large degree of wit or talent that allows them to do so…. It is more that the folks who they control are so stupid, they ask to be controlled, because they can’t, and more importantly, won’t, trust themselves to do it….. Sad, but true….

At his point in this narrative, I am becoming a bit enraged, a not uncommon reaction to a rant about the BRC and the 1%…. Heck, this time, I didn’t even have to mention the papists or preachers who are their shock troops, on the front lines of the brainwashing process, in order to get upset and angry over their machinations…. until now. My rage is growing, as it always tends to do when I start to rant on this subject, and I’m not ready to deal with the consequences of letting it get any bigger right now…. too much other stuff to get to today. But, just let me say this…..

Those in our society who deliberately control others for their own benefit are my enemies. I believe them to be responsible for virtually ALL of the social ills we have, as well as the global and environmental issues that are threatening our very survival as a species. They are, for their own personal benefit, hoarding the resources of the planet, and refusing to share them with the remainder of humanity, all because they can, and they want to. The welfare of others is of no concern to them, so they automatically become my foes, in my battle to try to make a world my children, and grandchild, can have the opportunity to live a full and complete life of their own, without being oppressed and controlled by assholes who don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves….. As my old martial arts instructor used to say…. “Fuck ’em….. hard.”…..

— “Bother!”, said Pooh, as he dropped his bombs.

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Today’s poem is another I found in the archives, which hadn’t been brought into the Poetry folder…. bonus! Enjoy!

From 8/21/2012:

Unwrapped Morning

A jewel of deepest green, sparkles by firelight
Held fast by time, and space
Leaves only passive passion, pale and bright
Naught but grief, yet but a trace.

In morning’s bright parlor, burning for hate
Unspent moments fall, seeking pain
Spilling blood forlornly, cowed by fate
Left with nothing, life in vain.

Pallid purpose calls, to that fallow ground
In bold fashions, aflame
Conscience falls aside, value unbound
Death calls, forever lost, the game……

~~ gigoid ~~


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Today’s final pearl was constructed in spite of some rather stiff resistance from SB…. I swear, it’s been a complete butthead of late, making me go through several hundred useless phrases and quotes, just to find a couple of mediocre pearls…. Ah well, at least we squeezed one last batch out for today…. It was looking a bit grim there for a while, but it came out just fine… a real old-school pearl, with a nice little twist to make it palatable for even the neuronically challenged reader…. Just don’t grit your teeth, or your dentist won’t like it….

“For water continually dropping will wear hard rocks hollow.” — Plutarch (46-120 AD) — Of the Training of Children

“The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten. The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten. The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.” — Chuang Tzu

“The young know the rules, the old know the exceptions.” — Smart Bee

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.  Curiosity has its own reason for existing.  One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.  It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.” — Albert Einstein

“A man must consider what a rich realm he abdicates when he becomes a conformist.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

“Don’t take life too seriously; you won’t get out of it alive.” — Hubbard’s Law

“Imagine the Creator as a low comedian, and at once the world becomes explicable.” — H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

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If all things in the world were equal, this would be considered as not eligible for judgment. I’m not entirely certain just how it got done, but, there it sits, with all the correct categories covered, and each section filled with (relatively) appropriate material…. As we are fond of saying, in the back rooms, where nobody can hear us, “It’s done”…. We say that with a reverent air, closing our eyes in respect, while genuflecting vaguely in the direction of Patagonia….

The appearance at this point of such nonsense is a clear indication it’s time to stop for the day, lest we splash…. See y’all tomorrow, ffolkes, should the Universe still be here….

Y’all take care out there,
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest  Carole, Mark, and Theresa…
and everyone else, too…

When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.

Which is Why….

Sometimes I sits and thinks,
   and sometimes,
I just sits.

gigoid, the dubious

PLEASE STOP READING THIS MESSAGE NOW.

Kowabunga!


À bientôt, mon cherí….


		
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And take what the day gives us….

Ffolkes,
Vast, empty corridors stretch into infinity, with doors every few yards on both sides. Silence rolls ahead of the quiet footsteps that pace down the hall, seeming to absorb the slight sound of the soft shoes worn by the tall, darkly humanoid being who paced there. Shimmering pillars of moonlight shone through the windows that marched between the doors on the east side, throwing shadows across the floors and walls as the trees outside trembled in the soft breeze. No other movement, and no other sound invaded the space around the walker as he moved toward a door on the inner side of the hall, where a light blazed from under the bottom edge, glaring against the softer moonlight on the walls. Even as his hand moved toward the handle, the door opened wide…..

And then I woke up, and smelled the coffee…. Not too shabby, I suppose, but I never know where to go from where I stop…. just as well, then, I guess, that I don’t keep going, so I don’t end up somewhere I hadn’t planned to be…. Boy, this waking up business is getting complicated…. It has been some time since I felt a shortage of material, but there seems to be a large void spot in my head today, soaking up any directed focus I try to put out. It being Sunday, the library isn’t open but a few short hours this afternoon, so I have plenty of time to get this done before posting. That is a good thing, considering how it’s gone thus far. I can see already it will be one of those days when I spend an inordinate amount of time waiting for inspiration to strike, hating every moment until something pops up that I can use…. It’s that purpose thing I told y’all about the other day; us guys just feel better when we have a defined purpose….. even in the small things in life….

Without a defined purpose, like most men, I tend to wander around like the proverbial bull in a china shop, crashing into delicate items left and right, creating havoc. That is what it feels like anyway, a sort of out-of-control rushing about, with shattering glass sound effects and the whole nine yards. It’s probably not as bad as it seems to me, but, mine is the only perception that counts, and I don’t much like it…. However, there have been any number of times during life when I’ve had to do stuff I didn’t much like doing; we all have that cross to bear. So, I guess I’ll quit whining about it, and get on with the search for material I can turn into a Pearl. There has to be something out there I can use; Smart Bee has never failed me yet, and I don’t expect it to do so now….. fool that I am….

So, without further ado, shall we Pearl?…..
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“If you disclose your alms, even then it is well done, but if you keep them secret, and give them to the poor, then that is better still for you; and this wipes off from you some of your evil deeds.” — Koran (c. 651 AD)

“Don’t let your mouth write a check that your tail can’t cash.” — Bo Diddley

“It is a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won’t go.” — Bertrand Russell

“It is as useless to argue with those that have renounced the use and authority of reason as to administer medication to the dead.” — Thomas Paine

Okay, so here’s the deal…. The three first pearls in this group were collected in one swell foop, all together. The fourth one I added this morning. When I saved the others, I didn’t know just why; the three quotes don’t seem to have much of a connection, though all are good trains of thought around the subject of righteous behavior. The last one almost ties them together, but actually speaks to a different subject altogether. So…. it’s a wash…. none of it means anything, and I’ve wasted the time it took to put them together. SIGH…. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a spectacular failure of systemic nature like this one. All the usual lack of control I use to semi-direct the subject matter had no effect at all….

Sure, all four of these are pretty good pieces of advice, or good knowledge to possess…. but they don’t do anything special, and they don’t fit together like I intended…. I’m not sure now what I ever intended, as those first three, looked at now, have very little to do with each other, and certainly don’t stretch to cover a portion of reality that means anything important. The last one is damn good, for what it is, and shows us that we are not the only culture to have to deal with the deliberately ignorant; they’ve apparently been around, bugging the rest of us, for a long time. But, it doesn’t tie all the others together into a neat little lesson for the Gentle Reader, not by a long shot….

Hell, now what? I guess I’ll try to find a closing pearl that can save this section from complete uselessness….. Hmm, how about this?….

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of potential — for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints; possibility never.” — Soren Kierkegaard

Now THAT’S a pearl! And, now that I see it clearly arranged, it actually DOES save this section from uselessness. It issues a joyous peal of hope, that passion for potential, that is exactly what I try to capture in a POVW (pearl of virtual wisdom). The last line says it well, and goes a long way to pulling the entire exercise in imagination together into a coherent mass…. A bit jumbled, and tumbled, but coherent. What we are trying to do here at Exploring Consensual Reality is just this, to bring the joy of the elevated spirit and mind to life, to give everyone who reads this, that sparkling, electrifying connection with the potential that exists in every single moment….. Grab on, ffolkes, and hang on for the ride of your life…..

“Each of us has a spark of life inside us, and our highest endeavor ought to be to set off that spark in one another.” — Kenny Ausubel

“When you said “HEAVILY FORESTED” it reminded me of an overdue  CLEANING BILL..  Don’t you SEE?  O’Grogan SWALLOWED a VALUABLE COIN COLLECTION and HAD to murder the ONLY MAN who KNEW!!” — Zippy the Pinhead
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I’m feeling a bit stressed today, for reasons best left alone for the time being. But, it gave me an urge for some Emily…. so, here she is….

To my quick ear the leaves conferred;
The bushes they were bells;
I could not find a privacy
From Nature’s sentinels.

In cave if I presumed to hide,
The walls began to tell;
Creation seemed a mighty crack
To make me visible.

————————————–

One wasn’t quite enough, I wanted more, so…..

Delight becomes pictorial
When viewed through pain,–
More fair, because impossible
That any gain.

The mountain at a given distance
In amber lies;
Approached, the amber flits a little,–
And that’s the skies!

~~ Emily Dickinson
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Okay…. I’m not feeling all that well after all; since I started this a couple hours ago, my body has decided to give me a few symptoms to deal with, (which I won’t detail…. too graphic, and unnecessary….). What it boils down to is that I’m not up to a lot of sitting and cogitation right now…. so, I’m going to fall back on some of the stuff I’ve written previously…. About a year or so ago, in a form of self-therapy for some depression I was fighting to overcome, I wrote a four part series of short pieces that described my life, and the events that led to my acquisition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is what I have as a complement to the relatively constant physical pain with which I live…. I’m just lucky, I guess….

Any who, I’m going to reprint those four articles, beginning today, as the third section of the daily Pearls. As I created these documents, I re-lived a lot of the events, which was both painful, and helpful…. I’m hoping that doing so again will also help again, as the darkness threatens to creep into my head, and I cast about, seeking the light…. and, it can’t hurt, so, I’m doing it anyway…. So, here is part one of what I called “Repercussions”….

REPERCUSSIONS, Part I

When I was four, my father was stationed in Japan with the US Army, at a base near Okinawa. He was there for about 18 months, and the rest of the family, my mother and, at the time, four kids joined him there for the last seven months of his tour of duty. During that time, I was made aware, simply by traveling to and living there, that the world was much larger than I thought, and there were a lot of different kinds of people living in it. He was an officer at the time, so the six of us lived in a large house on base, with two Japanese housekeepers. Learning about Mariko and her sister, whose name escapes me, taught us many things about Japanese culture, and my mind grew in leaps and bounds.

One of the things we learned were some basic Judo (the gentle way) techniques, by one of Mariko’s friends who was member of a dojo (school). This exposure to the martial arts stayed with me, but after returning to the USA, there was little opportunity to pursue the arts further. Especially when my parents had another child, and money became a permanent issue in the household. But I never forgot Mariko, (who made the best cinnamon roles ever), or any of my experiences in Japan.

Much later in my life when I went to college, at the University of California at Berkeley, Judo was offered as a physical education course, and I at last had the opportunity to study in earnest what so long ago had made such an impression on my young mind. I took the course for 3 quarters (UCB had switched to a four-quarter-per-calendar year schedule some years before my admission), much as a duck takes to water, and after less than 9 months I had been awarded a second-degree brown belt, Nikkyu, one level below a black belt, 1st degree.

I loved the arts with a passion I had not felt since I first discovered science-fiction at age ten. It was, perhaps, a lesser passion than when I discovered that girls weren’t so yucky after all, but studying the arts became a significant part of my life, and I have studied one art or another ever since, a matter of about 42 years. After Judo, I took some lessons in Karate (the empty-hand), Tae Kwon Do and Shotokan styles, a little bit of Tai Chi, and some Aikido.. Then in my late twenties, I joined my first class in the Chinese art of Kung Fu. All my other exposure, Tai Chi aside (which though useful in that respect, is an art not primarily designed for use in fighting), had been to arts developed in Japan and Korea. I learned that all of those arts had been patterned after the precepts of Kung Fu many centuries before.

The origins of Kung Fu are shrouded in some mystery, but the consensus is that the monks of the Taoist temple of the order of the Shaolin were the first to learn the basic art, and developed it as a means of protecting their temple from the degradations of the numerous marauding warlords fighting over the various geographic regions in China. It is said that the art was brought to them by none other than Bhodi Dharma, an ancient warrior of India who traveled all over the Far East during his life, using his unspeakably powerful skills, developed by him during many years of studying Yoga, to protect the weak and oppressed, much like a wandering knight in Europe during the age of chivalry.

The Shaolin monks developed the skills they learned to such a high degree that the temple was eventually destroyed by warlords who had developed cannons, because they feared the monks so much. The monks scattered over the rest of China taking their skills with them, teaching them to the people, and to monks at other temples. It was said that a Shaolin monk could disappear from sight, could walk through walls, and fly through the air, and their reputation protected them probably as much as their fighting skills.

In the 1970’s there was a show on TV called Kung Fu, loosely based on a figure in Shaolin history, their greatest warrior, whose name on the show was Kwai Chang Caine. Though subject unfortunately to the occasionally bizarre demands of Hollywood culture, it was nonetheless a relatively accurate representation of how such a monk would have approached the new culture in the United States, and gave a good idea of how effective the skills learned by the monks could be, even against superior forces and weaponry.

When I was first introduced to Kung Fu, it seemed as though all the other arts I had studied became irrelevant. I had graduated from the high-school level of Karate and Aikido to a more advanced university, that started with basics, then led the student into deeper and deeper knowledge, not just of the techniques of fighting and training, but knowledge of both the body and the mind, which are never considered to be separate entities in Chinese culture.

The techniques learned became only a part of what one learns; much of the rest of what is taught was concerned with learning to control one’s mind and spirit. The first lesson was the most important one, and it consists of one concept…..restraint. Simply put, we do not learn these skills to fight, but to grow; to learn how to accept the danger that exists in human society without being paralyzed by fear, allowing one’s higher principles to guide action for the betterment of all creatures.

Learning Kung Fu, as well as the other martial arts I studied, was a seminal part of my own developing philosophy of life, and has been, in my mind, an invaluable tool in my own growth. But learning the arts, as I was later to learn, would have repercussions so powerful, and so all-encompassing, that they would send shock waves of pain and anguish down every step of my path in the world; repercussions that would stay with me for the rest of my life…..

To be continued…….
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Well, I kind of feel as if I’ve cheated a little bit, but, given the way I feel physically right now, that’s just too bad, so sad, because it’s done now, and nothing will make me go back and do it over. It will be all I can do to get down to the library to get this posted later, so I’m going to go deal with my physical issues, and hopefully get past them….. I’ll be fine, it’s just miserable for a while, until it all passes…. life goes on……  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..


Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!

The Grand Vizier wishes to be disturbed….

Ffolkes,
Yesterday afternoon,  I sat down with the urge to write. A number of fleeting images chased each other around in my head, vying for who would be first to fly…. after some negotiations, I wrote what appeared to be a paragraph of prose in an abstract style, re-read it, scratched my head, and left it alone for the night…..

This morning, when I sat down to start today’s Pearl, the paragraph was still there…. but it had changed somehow in the night…. I don’t know if it is my mind that changed, or the paragraph, but all of a sudden, it wasn’t a paragraph….. a few strokes, a couple of format and structural changes, and voilá, it’s a poem!  Completely finished, too, needing nothing more from me…. I’ll call it….

Serendipity Morning

My mind wants to fly,
my soul wants to hold close, the source,
strong, the moments of time;
each as precious as golden thread,
binding together such elements of longing desire.

Love hovers, always patient,
seeking the open heart,
reaching for the promise of tomorrow…..
only for one, only for now, only what is real….
Dreaming, the morning calls,
heavy with mordant belief,
replete, and eternally alive…..

gigoid

I just love it when a plan comes together…. especially when there is no plan…..  🙂     Shall we Pearl?…..
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“I want to dress you up as TALLULAH BANKHEAD and cover you with VASELINE and WHEAT THINS..” — Zippy the Pinhead

After starting with a poem I wrote myself (a rare occurrence, indeed….), the universal law of dichotomy comes into play, as things will become unbalanced without some alternative, oppositional action, and what better candidate for that than Zippy? Just look at this quote….. absolute nonsense, in terms of the real world, yet you, and I, will both check our supplies of both Vaseline AND Wheat Thins, just to be sure…… You don’t want to let Zippy loose in your cupboards to look for himself, believe me! I did one time, and never did find my coffee maker, or my toaster…..

Zippy has brought many an hour of relaxation, and a grin to my face for as many years as I can remember, which is, sad to say, a lot of years now. After a hard day of dealing with the vicissitudes of life (love that word!…. vicissitudes… it just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?…..), I know I can come home, pull off my shoes and socks, and know that a few minutes of Zippy will soothe and soften my fevered brow, even better than beer….. though not better than bourbon…. but, then, what is? Nothing, that’s what….

Of course, I can’t afford to drink bourbon too often any more, and not just because of finances…. I find myself of late not merely not enjoying the buzz that comes with a couple fingers of the beast, but actively disliking the physical symptoms that go along with any such imbibing…. not to mention the morning after, which nowadays hits me like a runaway train. If I consume more than two cocktails, the headache and body malaise the next morning is like a short visit to Hell, without the extreme heat, but with the pain and anguish, and a heavy feeling of regret…. So, these days, rather than live with either regrets, or hangovers, I’ve pretty much curtailed most of my alcohol consumption, an act for which my liver is probably dancing for joy….

Now that we have meandered down some rather unbeaten paths in my head for a time, I think maybe we should go on to something a bit more constructive… or at least funnier…. I don’t know what it is, but a dose of Zippy brings out my pedagogy, along with a tendency toward pomposity, that shows up in what I write, no matter how silly I get…. but four paragraphs, all about nothing, really, is quite enough for one day…. So, let me leave you with one more Zippyism, and we’ll go on to bigger, better things, or at the very least, something else….

“I’m having BEAUTIFUL THOUGHTS about the INSIPID WIVES of smug and wealthy CORPORATE LAWYERS.” — Zippy the Pinhead
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Come On In, The Senility Is Fine

People live forever in Jacksonville and St. Petersburg and Tampa,
But you don’t have to live forever to become a grampa.
The entrance requirements for grampahood are comparatively mild,
You only have to live until your child has a child.
From that point on you start looking both ways over your shoulder,
Because sometimes you feel thirty years younger and sometimes
thirty years older.
Now you begin to realize who it was that reached the height of
imbecility,
It was whoever said that grandparents have all the fun and none of
the responsibility.
This is the most enticing spiderwebs of a tarradiddle ever spun,
Because everybody would love to have a baby around who was no
responsibility and lots of fun,
But I can think of no one but a mooncalf or a gaby
Who would trust their own child to raise a baby.
So you have to personally superintend your grandchild from diapers
to pants and from bottle to spoon,
Because you know that your own child hasn’t sense enough to come
in out of a typhoon.
You don’t have to live forever to become a grampa, but if you do
want to live forever,
Don’t try to be clever;
If you wish to reach the end of the trail with an uncut throat,
Don’t go around saying Quote I don’t mind being a grampa but I
hate being married to a gramma Unquote.

Ogden Nash

A little paean to my new age-group…. age appropriate, I’d say, but not yet dead….. Enjoy!……
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“Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water. Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it. So the flexible overcome the adamant, the yielding overcome the forceful. Everyone knows this, but no one can do it.” — Lao-Tzu

Water…. the power of water is unmatched over time; just ask the Grand Canyon. Water ties us to the universe; our physical make-up depends on it for survival, as well as mere existence. It is so soft, and yielding, yet cannot be destroyed at all; one can only cause it to change form, from ice, to water, to steam, all of which hold the same properties as the middle state, though slightly differently interpreted. Most important, to the scholar’s mind, is its nature…. emulating its spirit, becoming like water, is the goal of almost all meditation practice, as well as a goal of the martial artist….

“My writing is like a ten gallon spring.  It can issue from the ground anywhere at all.  On smooth ground it rushes swiftly on and covers a thousand li in a single day without difficulty.  When it twists and turns among mountains and rocks, it fits its form to things it meets: unknowable. What can be known is, it always goes where it must go, always stops where it cannot help stopping — nothing else. More than that, even I cannot know.” — Su Shih

One of the most powerful of concepts in martial arts is the emulation of water. The student is taught to learn how to move like water, to move with the rhythm of the universe as energy flows from one point to another. One of the most valuable techniques I’ve seen to teach this lesson is one where the student stands in a balanced stance, one foot forward; the arms are held in front of the body, as if holding a large ball. The student then moves his weight from the back foot to the front foot, then back again, while moving the ball in a slow circle, pushed away when moving forward, and brought back when the weight shifts to the rear….

The trick to learn is to be like the tide, accepting the water as it flows in to its highest point, then moving with it as it irresistibly flows back into the sea, as the weight moves to the front foot. A smooth shifting of the weight, and finding the correct rhythm teaches both balance, and strength, and the power of moving like water…. Learning to use gravity as an ally, instead of a limitation, gives one an unimaginable advantage over one who does not know how to do so….

In addition to the physical lessons that water has to teach us, it also provides the intellect with a subject of study, to find the nature of water in its most real state. Learning the nature of water brings us closer to an understanding of all nature, and how we may fit into it with the most benevolent, and beneficial attitudes.

The path of least resistance, followed by water as it flows downhill, teaches us to learn to find the same path for ourselves. The immutability of water teaches us how to resist changes to our nature, while remaining in touch with those parts of the universe that are within all of us…. And the flexibility of water teaches us to remain flexible ourselves, to learn to recognize when it is time to be ice, when it is time to be steam, and when it is time to flow like water in its normal state…..

Joshu asked the teacher Nansen, “What is the True Way?”

Nansen answered, “Every way is the true Way.”

Joshu asked, “Can I study it?”

Nansen answered, “The more you study, the further from the Way.”

Joshu asked, “If I don’t study it, how can I know it?”

Nansen answered, “The Way does not belong to things seen: nor to things  unseen. It does not belong to things known: nor to things unknown. Do not  seek it, study it, or name it. To find yourself on it, open yourself as wide as the sky.”
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It’s another fine mess I’ve created here this morning, I think….. It really doesn’t matter, because I’m posting it no matter how it looks from this end; I may even go back to bed afterwards…… Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you……


Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.

 

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!

Flats of unwarranted pebbles slid home….

Ffolkes,
I’m sorry…were the voices in my head bothering you? They bother me sometimes, but I’ve learned to ignore them, mostly, and I tend to forget that others might not like it either. Since I killed my doctor and stopped taking the medications, I’ve felt MUCH better! If they get to be too much, just let me know, and I’ll blow a few of them away; it quiets the rest of them down for a while….

Soon, I’m sure, the pressure on my head will abate…. when change is ubiquitous, one need merely to wait for all things to pass with patience, and all we desire will come to us. And if not, well, we can always run amok. Oh wait, that one is on hold…. that’s right, I signed an agreement not to kill anyone else this month; my lawyer is still recovering from my last outburst. It took all he had to get the insanity plea accepted, and having to do this on a regular basis seems to be affecting his sanity a bit; as an ex-psychiatric technician, I can testify that, despite all medical opinions to the contrary, mental illness is contagious….

“There’s nothing on my mind that couldn’t be expressed by a long insane outburst of hysterical rage.” — Ashleigh Brilliant

But, don’t worry, it can’t be passed through the computer screen, so y’all are perfectly safe. Of course, safe is a relative term, especially when dealing with what I generally write about. I’ve purposely been peppering my work with buzz words for the NSA to find, words like terrorism, or war, or government flunkies, stuff like that. I’m sure that I’ve been on their radar now for a while; it’s kind of fun, trying to see just how much I can get away with saying before they come to have a word with me about it…. It must be the shit-disturber in me….

Ah well, I suppose we should get on with the business of the day…. shall we Pearl?…. Let’s do….
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But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
— Lord Byron (1788-1824) — Don Juan, Canto iii, Stanza 88

If I could use words like this, then what I produce could conceivably influence millions of folks, for certain. But we all need to know, and observe, our limitations as an artist. Even though a big part of creating something worthwhile consists of going beyond those limits, it is still good to know when to stop, too. I can write a decent haiku, but a poem such as above seems to be beyond my capability. I’ve tried, goodness knows….

I have notebooks full of passionate, complex, really bad poetry that I created when I was young. Free verse, classical format, rhyming couplets, iambic pentameter, I tried all of it at one time or another. I let it sit for years before going back to read it over, and am forced to admit that not only was it not very good, I couldn’t think of any way to improve it. Ah me, I guess I can’t do everything, much as I like to think so…. SIGH…. You’ll just have to settle for Pearls of Virtual Wisdom….   🙂
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“If a sufficient number of people who wanted to stop war really did gather together, they would first of all begin by making war upon those who disagreed with them.  And it is still more certain that they would make war on people who also want to stop wars but in another way.” — Gurdjieff (1873-1949)

Actually, this is not so much of a predictive statement as an observational one. It certainly matches what I know of much of history, and how little the actual reasons for fighting wars are understood by either those who fight in them, or those who cause them to be fought. Neither of those two groups are mutually inclusive, as well, so the reasons that one group may have, or believe they have, for fighting may be (and probably are…) much different from the other groups reasons, stated or actual.

Now, if I can be any less clear in my meaning, please let me know, because I think that paragraph is pretty obscure….

What I’m trying to say is, the folks who get talked into fighting wars don’t fight for the same reasons as the folks who asked, or told, them to fight. That is because the folks who end up fighting are the honorable, dedicated men (and women) who believe that they are protecting the people they love.

The folks who send them to fight are not as honorable, and their reasons for initiating the conflicts are seldom related to people, but rather to money or power, which is what they love. It is a perverted love, yes, but it is nonetheless the primary motivating factor for those who would have power over others, for money equals power in the reality they inhabit.

Gurdijeff’s statement is, I find, too limited in its scope; it doesn’t account for all the different reasons that people are motivated to fight wars. It is a fair and accurate assessment of what is a likely progression of events if men of little purpose beyond their own prejudices are united in cause, because, hey, humans here, not rational creatures by any means, especially in groups….. But humanity is comprised of more than just these folks, and ALL of the different kinds of people in our species have historically resorted to violent means to settle large disputes. It’s a human thing…. not pretty, but there it is, just like a wart that won’t go away…..

So how does one stop war? Hmm… well, I can’t claim to have the answer to a question that several thousand years of human history has shown to be somewhat hard to solve with any lasting effect. I’ve managed to avoid taking part in the actions that our country has involved itself in in my lifetime, having seen none that I could honestly say was as important to fight as the government was trying to tell me it was. If I’m going to die, it will be for an honorable goal, not for someone’s profit margin….

War isn’t going to stop unless we change the whole structure of our culture, and remove the benefits of one person having power over another. It’s a very deep, subtle, and pretty well impossible change, its success resting as it does on changing human nature…. That hasn’t happened in all of history so far, and I don’t see it happening anytime soon… so we’d best stay alert to avoid the worst of the fallout from whatever happens….

If a lawyer and an IRS agent were both drowning, and you could only save one of them, would you go to lunch or read the paper?– Smart Bee (It’s a subtle connection, but it’s there, trust me….)
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“Anger is a tool, not a master. Anger is meant to be tapped into and drawn upon. Used properly, anger is useful. Sloth, apathy, and despair are the enemy. Anger is not. Anger is our friend. Not a nice friend, not a gentle friend, but a very loyal friend. It will always tell us when we have been betrayed. It will always tell us when we have betrayed ourselves. It will always tell us that it is time to act in our own best interests. Anger is not the action itself. It is action’s invitation.” — Julia Cameron  “The Artist’s Way”

Interesting take, and the secret of the berserker….. who is, after all, a martial artist who has channeled his anger into following the path of the Way. I like this viewpoint in its proactive sense; it doesn’t allow anger to control, but instead assumes control of the anger. It is a tricky proposition, at best, but when learned, can be very, very effective as a tool in dealing with outbreaks of violence not of our choosing, which I would hope would be all of them…..  😉

During my years of studying martial arts, I was taught to practice this kind of control. In competition fighting, there are many tricks one can use to get the opponent to make a mistake; one of the most effective is to do something that angers the opponent. In most folks, anger causes the reasoning part of the mind to shut down; actions, or, more accurately, reactions, that occur in response to anger are impulsive, spur-of-the-moment decisions for the most part, and as such, do not always make the best choice of strategy or tactics. If one can maintain one’s own sense of equilibrium in the midst of a physical battle, it becomes a distinct advantage, as the calm person is more capable of processing new information and making more rapid adjustments to meet the needs of the moment.

But, even if one becomes infused with anger, it CAN be channeled constructively, and in truth, when acting under its influence, using proper regulation, it can increase speed, strength, and power by a large factor. If not used correctly, it still adds strength, but the strength is usually misdirected, thus reducing its effectiveness. But, when correctly channeled, one enters the “berserker” state, almost robotic in its precision, and becomes a most formidable weapon of destruction. It’s quite exhilarating, actually….

It has its dangers, as well…. allowing anger to flow completely is accompanied by a release of adrenaline into the blood stream. Adrenaline is a very powerful hormone, affecting every system in the body in some way, and prolonged use of it is deleterious in a number of ways…. In my own case, due to the work I did for many years, and the number of times I had to enter berserker mode, it produced Post Traumatic Stress Dysfunction, with all its attendant wonders…. such a joy…..

So, while this is a healthy attitude to take about one’s own anger, it is not a solution that is without risk. Anger is a volatile emotion, and like any explosive substance, it should be handled with care……

“If you don’t deal with anger, it will deal with you.” — Will Limon
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“If I read a book (and) it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry.” — Emily Dickinson

Once again, my dive for pearls is coming up short for poetry…. I’ll have to cheat…. but will do so with an appropriate tip of the hat to current events…. at least, current to me….

Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there were
A day when it was not.

It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.
— Emily Dickinson

This is one of my favorite poems from Ms. D. I first read it in high school, but even then it resonated with its insight. Now, of course, it’s as if she could see into my soul, and pluck out my pain to look at like a bug under a microscope…. She must have felt a fair amount of it herself, to achieve such a clear vision of its presence in the spirit of those who have it as constant companion…. No matter, I like it, so it stays….   🙂
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I love this, and it is a perfect ending pearl…. as well, it is a trailer, as it were, for another Pearl, coming later….
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I’m shooting for a bit of variety today, and actually will try to get some productive stuff done in the Big Blue Room. Well, as much as can be accomplished on a weekend anyway…. I also want to mention that I will be posting two Pearls today… The second will be posted after this one has been let fly, and is a departure into another area…. photo pearling…. I hope you enjoy it, as I hope you enjoy this one…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..


Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.

gigoid

Kowabunga!

Remarkably obscene patterns in the sand….

Ffolkes,
Here is the second of four parts…

In 1973, at the age of 23, I attended school to study to take the state examination for a license as a Psychiatric Technician (PT). The classes were subsidized by, and took place at, Atascadero State Hospital (ASH) in Central California. College credits were given through the local J.C., Cuesta College in nearby San Luis Obispo. In conjunction with the classes, students were allowed, and encouraged, to work 20 hours per week in the hospital, as a supplement to the clinical hours required to complete the courses. So began my journey in the mental health industry, and unknown to me at the time, down the path to darkness…..

The hospital at Atascadero is a maximum security facility that houses up to 1200 individuals, who are committed to the bleak, prison-like hospital by the state courts, having been judged as being either unable to stand trial due to being unable to understand the charges, or because they were unable to cooperate in their own defense, due to mental illness. Some of these men (it is an all-male facility; women in the same legal categories were housed in another facility) were also committed by the courts as being Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity, or were those who had manifested symptoms of mental illness after being convicted of crimes and sent to prison. A very few of them were not insane, but were master manipulators, career criminals with very good lawyers who had convinced the court to send them to the hospital rather than prison. These individuals caused a great many problems, as they would manipulate their less functional peers into giving up their property, or doing their will, or  incite them to violence, just to watch the results from a safe distance, for amusement.

Working in a maximum security facility as a therapist is possibly one of the most difficult jobs man has ever created. A prison-like environment makes it difficult to create the ambiance necessary to allow the men being treated to feel safe and comfortable enough to deal with their individual problems. The danger of housing so many people with mental illness is an ever-present and overriding concern, as one of the primary characteristics of those with these types of diagnoses is a lack, or even absence, of impulse control. As a result, managing assaultive behavior becomes a necessary adjunct to treatment.

The Department of Mental Health, working with employees from all the state hospitals, developed a policy for dealing with the issue; subsequently, training in Management of Assaultive Behavior (MAB) was given to every employee who came into contact with the committed individuals. Since the facility was classed as maximum security, the training was especially important for the Hospital Police, who were responsible for maintaining the security of the physical plant, and for the therapists (psychiatrists and psychologists, nurses, psychiatric technicians, and ancillary staff such as occupational and rehabilitation therapists) who were the primary care-givers for the individuals. These teams were taught specific techniques for recognizing the warning signs of impending violent behavior, how to re-direct when possible, and methods for physically controlling individuals who were acting out in a violent manner, without causing or sustaining injury.

Most of these principles and techniques, if not all, were very similar to the Judo and Kung Fu that I had been taught, so my prior training and experience became valuable tools for me, helping me to be skillful in keeping safe both the aggressors and victims involved in the violent episodes so frequently found in settings such as ASH. I became one of the people who specialized in MAB, which necessarily meant that whenever a violent incident broke out, I was one of the first to respond, as I was adept at controlling the situation without any of the participants sustaining injury, the primary goal in such instances.

Working in such a high stress environment as a maximum security hospital was both physically and emotionally draining, and after three years at ASH I had had enough. I moved north to work at Napa State Hospital, in order to get back to being a therapist rather than a glorified cop. I obtained a position as a PT in a treatment program for adolescents at NSH in 1976. To me, it was  a wonderful change; the kids in the program, lived ina co-educational environment, and were smaller as a rule than the full-grown men I was used to; in addition, there were far fewer individuals who had already learned to resort to violence, compared to those who were housed at ASH. It was also different for being co-ed, as I had previously not worked with any women, or girls, in a therapeutic setting. Because of my experience in MAB, violence on the unit where I worked became a non-viable behavior for the adolescents, and after a few months the number of incidents that took place on the unit were greatly reduced.

After a few years at NSH, I decided to take an extended sabbatical from working as a PT, and traveled around California for a few months, until not working became a bore; I was raised to be productive, and needed to get back to work. I applied to and was hired to work in another state hospital in Camarillo, a relatively small town near Ventura in Southern California. At CSH I once again worked with adolescents, as they had a similar program, patterned after the one at NSH. My martial arts training, which I had continued all this time, once again proved to be a valuable tool, and I again became the first responder at any outbreaks of violence among the individuals under treatment.

I met my wife at Camarillo; she was another PT in the adolescent program. We worked together, began dating, fell in love, married and started our family. It was a challenging period for me; between work, parenting, maintaining my marriage, home maintenance, and the myriad of little things that are the activities of daily life in this country, I was a very busy, very stressed individual. But I loved it that way, and was happy and content for some years.

     The economy at that time changed for the worse; we were unable to keep up with our mortgage payments, and lost our house to foreclosure. We decided to move north, to the Sonoma Valley, to raise our children in a country setting, with very well-respected schools, and a much lower crime rate than the southern California area in which we had lived.

I eventually hired on back at NSH, but the adolescent program was no longer open, so I began working with adults, on an all-male unit, with a group of individuals with a wide variety of diagnoses. As the level of security at Napa was not maximum, and the degree of MAB training was not up to the higher standards at ASH, the units in the program where I worked were very dangerous, a situation which ultimately led to my downfall.

     It was about this time when I calculated that, in my career as a PT, I had worked in the most stressful environments in the entire world, outside of battlefields, constantly in danger, and my martial arts background had become not just useful, but absolutely critical. I estimated the number of violent incidents in which I had been involved, and found that over the years I had an average of one major incident (translation: a knock-down, drag-out fight, in real-time, with real opponents, who are actively engaged in trying to hurt or maim me, or someone else) per week since I had started as a PT at ASH. My calculations came to a minimum of 728 incidents. I was appalled, but also somewhat proud of this figure; in all those incidents only one of the individuals had sustained a minor injury, and I had sustained one minor injury myself. Not a bad record, all in all…2 partial failures and 726 successful outcomes.

However, the damage to my psyche that had accumulated through the years had by this time reached an unprecedented and dangerous level, and I was finding it extremely difficult to maintain the now uncertain equilibrium I had achieved. My experiences had left me burdened with an indelible, hidden wound in my soul, in my very center. The experiences to which I’d been exposed eventually culminated in one specific incident that brought all of my pent-up stress to the surface, and affected me so deeply that I still feel the effects today……I became, quite literally, one of the “walking wounded”, a condition with which my generation, due to the Vietnam War, had become all too familiar. It was a single incident, that happened one night in 1984, and to this day I have never fully recovered…..

To be continued…..


Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!

Belaboring toast points for profit….

Ffolkes,
Today, and for the next three days, I’ll be posting some material I wrote last year, while writing on a site called GoodBlogs. Technically, they have the online rights to it, but it is still mine, and is completely appropriate for this venue. Therefore, I am publishing all four pieces here on WordPress, just because I want to, and to give my brain a few days to dive for pearls, and to renew and redirect my creative urges. Together the four pieces tell a true story, of my time in Hell…..it’s titled, “Repercussions”……

Part the first…..

When I was four, my father was stationed in Japan with the US Army, at a base near Okinawa. He was there for about 18 months, and the rest of the family, my mother and, at the time, four kids joined him there for the last seven months of his tour of duty. During that time, I was made aware, simply by traveling to and living there, that the world was much larger than I thought, and there were a lot of different kinds of people living in it. He was an officer at the time, so the six of us lived in a large house on base, with two Japanese housekeepers. Learning about Mariko and her sister, whose name escapes me, taught us many things about Japanese culture, and my mind grew in leaps and bounds.

One of the things we learned were some basic Judo (the gentle way) techniques, by one of Mariko’s friends who was member of a dojo (school). This exposure to the martial arts stayed with me, but after returning to the USA, there was little opportunity to pursue the arts further. Especially when my parents had another child, and money became a permanent issue in the household. But I never forgot Mariko, (who made the best cinnamon roles ever) or any of my experiences in Japan.

Much later in my life when I went to college, at the University of California at Berkeley, Judo was offered as a physical education course, and I at last had the opportunity to study in earnest what so long ago had made such an impression on my young mind. I took the course for 3 quarters (UCB had switched to a four-quarter-per-calendar year schedule some years before my admission), much as a duck takes to water, and after less than 9 months I had earned my brown belt, second degree.

I loved the arts with a passion I had not felt since I first discovered science-fiction at age ten. It was, perhaps, a lesser passion than when I discovered that girls weren’t so yucky after all, but studying the arts became a significant part of my life, and I have studied one art or another ever since, a matter of about 40 years. After Judo, I took some lessons in Karate (the empty-hand), Tae Kwon Do and Shotokan styles, a little bit of Tai Chi, and some Aikido..

    Then in my late twenties, I joined my first class in the Chinese art of Kung Fu. All my other exposure, Tai Chi aside (which though useful in that respect, was an art not primarily designed for use in fighting), had been to arts developed in Japan and Korea. I learned that all of those arts had been patterned after the precepts of Kung Fu many centuries before.

The origins of Kung Fu are shrouded in some mystery, but the consensus is that the monks of the Taoist temple of the order of the Shaolin were the first to learn the basic art, and developed it as a means of protecting their temple from the degradations of the numerous marauding warlords fighting over the various geographic regions in China. It is said that the art was brought to them by none other than Bhodi Dharma, an ancient warrior of India who traveled all over the Far East during his life, using his unspeakably powerful skills, developed by him during many years of studying Yoga, to protect the weak and oppressed, much like a wandering knight in Europe during the age of chivalry.

The Shaolin monks developed the skills they learned to such a high degree that the temple was eventually destroyed by warlords who had developed cannons, because they feared the monks so much. The monks scattered over the rest of China taking their skills with them, teaching them to the people, and to monks at other temples. It was said that a Shaolin monk could disappear from sight, could walk through walls, and fly through the air, and their reputation protected them probably as much as their fighting skills.

In the 1970’s there was a show on TV called Kung Fu, loosely based on a figure in Shaolin history, their greatest warrior, whose name on the show was Kwai Chang Caine. Though it was subject, unfortunately, to the occasionally bizarre demands of Hollywood culture, it was nonetheless a relatively accurate representation of how such a monk might have approached the new culture in the United States, and gave a good idea of how effective the skills learned by the monks could be, even against superior numbers and weaponry.

When I was first introduced to Kung Fu, it seemed as though all the other arts I had studied became irrelevant. I had graduated from the high-school level of Karate and Aikido to a more advanced university, that started with basics, then led the student into deeper and deeper knowledge, not just of the techniques of fighting and training, but knowledge of both the body and the mind, which are never considered to be separate entities in Chinese culture.

    The techniques learned became only a part of what one learns; much of the rest of what is taught was concerned with learning to control one’s mind and spirit. The first lesson was the most important one, and it consists of one concept…..restraint. Simply put, we do not learn these skills to fight, but to grow; to learn how to accept the danger that exists in human society without being paralyzed by fear, allowing one’s higher principles to guide action for the betterment of all creatures.

Learning Kung Fu, as well as the other martial arts I studied, was a seminal part of my own developing philosophy of life, and has been, in my mind, an invaluable tool in my own growth. But learning the arts, as I was later to learn, would have repercussions so powerful, and so all-encompassing, that they would send shock waves of pain and anguish down every step of my path in the world; repercussions that would stay with me for the rest of my life…..

To be continued…….


Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!