The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, April 28, 2006

Busy busy, and appearances...

busy, busy, busy…

Up at 5:00 am this morning to drive to the martial arts class in Pasadena.  Just an hour from 6-7 on Friday mornings, taught by one of my favorite people, Tim Piering.  We do Chinese breathing exercises, Karate drills, Boxing, Judo, and most fun of all, we move between the different ranges, going from long-distance hand and foot work to elbows-knees to throwing down to the “ground and pound” stage.  Ah, the spiritual depths of the martial arts…
Nah, just kidding. Today we were stressing the Hsing Hsing Ming text, a core Zen work.  The first line of the fourth paragraph resonates with me this morning (today is “cheat day”—the one day a week I get to eat whatever the @#$$ I want.  Stopped by Burger King on the way home for orange juice and a breakfast sandwich, got on the computer, and did 5 pages of “Final Draft” script on the new Dream Park book) and I thought I’d write it down, and see how it might connect with the Path workshop last weekend:
“To return to the root is to find the meaning, but to pursue appearances is to miss the source.”
There were physical exercises taught during the workshop, and I’d suspect few participants were familiar with all of them.  If they listened closely, they would have grasped that the intent was to teach some important things about integration of breath, movement, and structure—the “root” of motion.  Understand this root, and you have a grasp of the best stress-busting tool I’ve ever seen: the proper use of the body.  So this is also the “root” of the technique for incremental improvement, and the development of an accurate reality map.

But a couple of people let their egos get the better of them (no, not YOU) and they tried more advanced versions of the exercises than they could actually do while preserving an elegant sense of breath, motion and structure.  In other words, they tried to perform the outer appearance of the exercise.  People do this in Yoga class all the time.  They try to twist and torque their bodies into positions that cause their breathing to freeze up…and then wonder why their muscles are so tight.  Your body  knows it can’t trust you!  It tightens itself up trying to protect itself from your asininity!  Learn to follow the gentle thread of your breath, and you’ll find your body slowly and steadily unfolding.

Or to bring this back around, by “pursuing appearances” they missed the “source” of the technique, the triumvirate of breath, motion and structure.
I’d like to throw a question out there:  How many of you have pursued the outer aspect of a job, a relationship, or a physical activity, only to learn later that you were neglecting some far more important detail?  This might be as “trivial” as putting up with some hot guy’s nonsense rather than dating a “nice” but not quite so flashy dude.  Or trying to max out gross sales, while not noticing that you’re losing a penny on every dollar.  Or going for a body-builder physique without noticing you are tired, stressed out, and your overloaded joints hurt like hell. 

Any stories? 

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