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About Seph

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  1. I like pictures 2, 3 & 5! I love Zen gardens! We have one here in Ottawa at the Museum of Civilization. It's pretty cool. I have a (MUCH) smaller one in my back yard. (about 20' x 30'... maybe...?)
  2. Really? I live in Ottawa and I've not heard of this research yet. (Doesn't mean it didn't happen.) I'll have to look further into it.
  3. Mushin and Mindfulness

    Yes, I get that. Clearly, mindlessness is the opposite of both Mindfulness and Mushin. However, how do (or even do) Mindfulness and Mushin interrelate?
  4. Are Zen's Mushin and Mindfulness compatible? Mushin would seem to share (only certain) traits with Mindlessness. (The primary difference that I can see is one of deliberation. Mindlessness is incidental. It isn't chosen. It may very well be a sort of default, whereas Mushin is deliberate - or at least attempted).
  5. Awareness

    I was going to post this as a reply but thought I'd post as a new topic.: Awareness & Seeing
  6. Awareness & Seeing

    We very commonly believe that our eyes are our windows to the world; that what we see is reality. It isn't' and they aren't. Our eyes are limited to seeing a narrow spectrum. We cannot see ultraviolet light (bees can!), or infrared, or x-rays, microwaves, gamma rays, or the whole majority of the spectrum. Se we don't see reality for what it is. Only partially. But these are physical limitations. If we had bee's eyes we could see ultraviolet light and communications from flowers, for example. However, I'm not talking about physical limitations though. Our eyes - even within the boundaries of their limits - are not our windows to the world. An experiment had been done on frogs' eyes. It seems that frogs have eyes that have features in common with ours. They should be able to see as well as we do. However, micro electrodes implanted in the frog's eyes reveal that only select bits of information are being sent from the eye to the frog's brain. From the richness of our visual world, only very basic kinds of messages are being relayed to the frog. "The frog does not seem to see or, at any rate is not concerned with the detail of stationary parts of the world around him. He will starve to death surrounded by food it it is not moving" J.Y. Lettvin, H.R. Maturana, W.S. McCulloch, and W.H. Pitts, "What the Frog's Eye Tells the Frog's Brain", chapter 7 in The Mind: Biological Approaches to Its Functions, William C. Corning and Martin Balaban,eds. (New York: Interscience Publishers, 1968), pg. 233-258 The reality we perceive is not all there is out there. At least that's what the experiment of the frog's eyes suggest. To honestly think what we see is reality is naive. I wonder sometimes if we are much different from the frogs. Of all the information we have available, we simply do not take it all in. But we constantly make decisions based on the limited view we have of the world through they tiny slit we call reality. If a frog's eye shares features with our eye and what a frog is aware of is different than what it actually sees, it stands to reason that we may suffer the same. Did you ever wonder why some things catch our attention more than others? Have you ever bought a new car? I have a Mazda 5. When I first got it I began to notice numerous Mazda 5's. They were everywhere! All of a sudden the world's filled with Mazda 5s. Of course, they were always there, I just wasn't noticing them. Our sense are able to process only a narrow band of information that represents the visible and audible spectrum. This tiny opening we call "reality". It's a good think that there's a system filtering out information that apparently we don't need so that we are not overwhelmed. The Reticular Activation System (RAS) is a filter of the brain. The RAS receives a multitude of information. Everything you see, smell, touch, and hear, goes through the RAS and the RAS decodes which pieces of information gets filtered out and which catches your attention; just as the frog's eyes can't or won't see food that isn't moving. Even our center for higher thinking, cognition and thought (the cerebrum) is useless unless the RAS allows the information to pass through. Our eyes are not our windows to the world; our mind is. I don't just think it's possible, I know it is. Here's an experiment. Give it a try! Think about hats today. Let your RAS show you all the hats out there you've been missing. See what happens. So, if our (and our frog friends) eyes are not our windows to the world and reality; if the Reticular Activating System is a filter to our reality, and if our mind is the window to the world and the reality we perceive, it would seem to me that an emphasis be put towards making sure our minds are healthy, sober, and clear. That we put effort to purge confusion, illusion, and delusion. Because if our minds are inflicted with delusion, our entire perceived reality will be delusional. How do we combat this delusion? How do we help the frog become aware of the still and silent food all around it? We naturally notice things that interest us and are important to us. The RAS will pas through information even if it is remotely associated with what we hold as value. As a person acts, so he becomes in life. Those who do good become good; those who do harm become bad. Good deeds make one pure; bad deeds make one impure. We are said to be what our desire is. As our desire is, so is our will. As our will is, so are our acts. As we act, so we become. - Brihadaranyaka Upanishad What is a priority to us literally shapes our perceived world. It literally becomes our reality. We must avoid allowing (willingly or not) confusion, denial, and delusion into our lives and minds. Beliefs are fine to have so long as we acknowledge them as such. When we mistaken our beliefs as facts we enter into delusion.
  7. The Spirit of a Martial Art

    Ohhhh...! I see. Yes. You're absolutely right. There ARE restrictions. When I said 'all out' I meant with traditional punches, strikes, and kicks. No self-defense, choking, etc. (Well, choking yes in BJJ or MMA, but NOT TKD). There's also NO holding (or catching an opponent's kicks/punches/etc). Sorry. My bad. I wasn't following what you meant. ....holy mother of god...
  8. The Spirit of a Martial Art

    Yeah, I know. In the various tournaments I entered over the years (NOT full contact - 50%) I've suffered a cracked nose, hyper-extended thumb, 2 cracked ribs, probably a half dozen bruised ribs, and two broken toes. (Not to mention pulling muscles, tendons, etc., etc.) I've had some fellow students 'want' to go 'full out', just to see. I've always told them no. That's the kind of stuff I reserve to someone breaking into my house, threatening my family, (real) hostile situations, etc.
  9. The Spirit of a Martial Art

    I've had times when a MMA class was going on next to our class. On occasion they were odd numbers. There was a few times I had to spar with a 300 lbs. MMA (ex-football player). It was a hoot! Although he couldn't hit me, there was little I could do to him. The only way I could delivery a hit hard enough to catch his attention was some sort of spinning kick, spinning back-hand strike, etc. And even then...!! He'd just absorb it. Ouch!
  10. The Spirit of a Martial Art

    Seriously? It is exactly as it's called. Full contact. Not 50% power, but 100% power. (MMA basically, or Pro-Taekwon-do). Although there is a points-system, Knock-outs and TKO's are in and sure-fire ways to win. With Traditional TKD tournament rules, there is only 50% power, where a knock-out, TKO, or even drawing blood is an instant disqualification. It is absolutely a point-based system. (Skill and technique count. Brute strength, not so much). The ref. is in a position where, should he feel the need, penalties can be called for excessive force. ~~ Next important question: What is 100% power? Power is not how strong you are. I would argue that "power" is composed of 5 elements. Only together to they form one's "power" physical strength accuracy. technique speed belief. I don't believe any one of these elements are more important than any other. If I was forced to pick one, it would have to be the last one: belief.
  11. The Spirit of a Martial Art

    We tend to thing of the more violent or action based Martial Arts. What about T'ai Chi (yes, yes, I know. It also has a move violent self-defense/combat aspects of it too) and Qigong? Overall, I am still not convinced Martial Arts were originally created for war exclusively.
  12. The Spirit of a Martial Art

    Yes, you are bang on correct. I hold a black belt in Taekwon-do and have competed (judged and refereed) tournaments. You don't see those super-awesome choreographed moves. "Live" sparring simply doesn't work like that. Another interesting point many people miss (like some of these movie sample videos). Every try fighting/sparring for 4-5 minutes? Most people won't/can't last. It's exhausting.
  13. The Spirit of a Martial Art

    Do you know why we practice board-breaking in Martial Arts? Because only (approx.) 50% power is to be used in sparring. To know and to practice 100% power is board-breaking. Not on a fellow human-being.
  14. The Spirit of a Martial Art

    You couldn't be more right. Interestingly, the belt colours in Taekwon-do all have meaning. White is innocence. Yellow is the fertile earth from which a plant sprouts and take root. Green signifies the plant's growth and its reaching towards the sky. Blue signifies the heavens and sky towards which the plant matures into a towering tree. Red is the colour of the plant's first fruits. Red indicates danger. The student has sufficient skills to inflict injury to an opponent so must exercise caution and control. The red also acts as a warning to opponents. The Black belt is the exact opposite of white. The black colour represents the student's ability to overcome Fear and triumph over Darkness. What is interesting is the colour Red as a warning. Primarily a warning to oneself. (This goes hand-in-hand with the tenet of Guk Gi (Self-Control)).