The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Caveat Meditator

You know, another of the things I come across is that the real masters, the REAL masters, do what they do seven days a week, 365 days a year. Not five days. Not six days. Seven.

I have to admit that this gives me just a tad of the willies. There is definitely something inside me that says “take one day off.” Right now, I’m balancing myself between martial arts and yoga, in terms of my physical stuff. Not taking a day off seems like asking for trouble…but I need to look into that more deeply. The trick is that I’m not trying to become a martial arts master. Or a yoga master. I’m trying to master the hologram called “Steve.” Both of thse disciplines connect at the breath. So, on MA days, I am working motion and strategy and so forth, but connecting them to my breathing (specifically, Coach Sonnon’s “Be Breathed” concept). ON yoga days, on the outside it may look like I’m “doing” yoga, but really, the poses are “doing” me. Or to put it another way, I’m putting my yoga cap on. Or my MA cap on. But really, I’m just pouring Steve into different containers. And on Sundays, my “off” day, I go more deeply into my meditation, again working my breathing. So…if I look at it as “Self” mastery, using breathing as the base, using MA and yoga as my primary tools for exploration, I guess I am doing it seven days a week. Mastering “Me” is enough for this life, I guess.
I remember telling a lady I know to take pleasure in Hillary being ahead in the polls. She had been giving me the “America won’t vote for a woman” speech, somehow thinking a black man would have the advantage. Well, that’s another discussion, but I told her to enjoy the advantage Hillary had a couple of months ago. Wish she had, because she’s got to be getting nervous now. Seems that the more people actually get to know Obama, the better they like him. I know a guy who knew him in College, and his public image sems to be very like his actual personality. So…if you like what you see, that’s who he is. If you don’t, well, you won’t. Kind of what I call a Potato. And at least in college, he DEFINITELY inhaled. Oh, yeah. That’s the California vote right THERE.
Hillary? Don’t know, really don’t. The one impression I get is that she is desperate to get into the history books. That that’s the real reason she put up with Bill’s cheating. My sense is that she will do anything, show any face, to get into the White House. That doesn’t make her particularly bad, in my book. That makes her a typical politician. She fits right into the pack. But I don’t like politics much. Never have. And am glad this is turning into more of a horse race. Under pressure, people show you who and what they really are.
The NIE report thing is very interesting. My “friend” has been suggesting for some time that there is something of a battle going on behind the scenes. There are things he’ll say, and things he won’t. I get the impression that when people are willing to risk prosecution to get a report out (as apparently the buzz is in Washington: the report was released under threat) something has gone very wrong, and the “wrongness” seems to be that the White House was thought by the Intelligence community to be misusing their data to drum up support for an attack on Iran. And they weren’t prepared to let that happen. Again? The implication is pretty strong that that’s what happened with Iraq. Man oh man…I just can’t wait for the books that will be written once THESE guys are out of office.
I’ve had a real example of what happens when people don’t communicate honestly with themselves and others, or when communications are not allowed to run smoothly. I can’t get into it right now, even in disguised form. Let me just implore you to follow Musashi’s First principle: “Do Not Think Dishonestly.” And to look at the results you’re getting in all three arenas: healthy body, healthy relationship (or if not in a relationship, healthy Self-image and Self-love) and healthy career (do what you love, or love what you do.) If you have all three, you can be fairly certain you are on the right track. If not, well…be very very careful.

1) Tell the truth, move toward your dreams.
2) Simplify your life, differentiating between needs and wants.
3) Take full responsibility for the results you get in all three arenas.

This is, I think, the doorway to adulthood.

4) When your needs begin to be produced spontaneously by your daily, automatic actions, you have reached the doorway to awakening.

Meaning: your attention can be removed from the daily “stuff” and you can begin to notice what is going on around you. If you have enough energy, you can begin to increase your acceleration at this point. One of the things you will encounter is a sense of loneliness that might cause you to turn back: we are herd beasts, and you are heeding the call of the 3rd chakra. Follow the heart. Go more deeply into the heart. And speak your truth, regardless of what others say.

They are afraid of truth, especially to the degree their lives or loves or careers are built on lies. But they desperately need to hear it. There are not enough adult human beings speaking truth.

These early steps can be taken by almost anyone. The steps beyond are for those willing to die in their pursuit. Caveat Meditator.


Daniel Keys Moran said...

I'd be happy to vote for Obama. That said, I'd enjoy watching Hillary run just so she could campaign on "restoring honor and dignity to the White House." :-)

Steve Perry said...

Me, I'm voting for whoever the D's field, even if it's a yellow dog. Whoever it is couldn't do any worse than the current occupant if they got up early and worked at it hard for a couple centuries ...

Frank said...

Out of the Democratic Party's contenders, I deem only Clinton and Richardson electable in the General. Richardson won't get nominated, I think that's pretty clear. Obama won't get to be President in 2009 I'm willing to bet.

I’m trying to master the hologram called “Steve.”

I'm thinking this requires you to get control of your personal history. You memory may be betraying you...

Just a thought

Steve Perry said...

Fasting and artery health, amongst the Mormons, of all things ---

Check it out.

Unknown said...

you have to read the One Percent Doctrine by Ron Suskind. pretty much he discusses what happened in the bush admin right after 9/11 up until late 2004. interesting stuff. it shows how many in the intelligence community were between a rock and a hard place. it was roll with the administration or get rolled on.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

"She had been giving me the 'America won't vote for a woman' speech, somehow thinking a black man would have the advantage."

By the way -- if she turns out to have been correct, is she still "somehow thinking?"

Mark Jones said...

"if she turns out have been correct..."

I think you're assuming facts not in evidence. It would be a cold day in hell before I'd vote for Clinton, but I would never (and did never) vote for her husband either. It has everything to do with her politics and nothing* to do with her gender.

*to the best of my self-knowledge, anyhow....

Steven Barnes said...

"By the way -- if she turns out to have been correct, is she still "somehow thinking?"
If she's correct, then no. But Hillary and Obama may not be the best test case (or it may be). The individual personalities loom large here. On the other hand, there may not be any test other than whether one of these two gets elected. If Hillary wins, one could well say it isn't about race, it's about experience (and many will say exactly that.) If Obama were to win, many might say that it was Hllary's personality, not her gender. Each position is arguable. My own position is that a white woman has an edge...but not a huge one, assuming equal experience and credentials. The problem would be acquiring same, along with the self-confidence necessary to believe it possible. Remember that women, as a group, actually outnumber men. If the genders voted in a block, a woman would win every time. Blacks being only 10% couldn't possibly win under the same conditions, so there is MUCH more need to reach across the cultural divide. Hillary can play the "gender card" much more safely than Obama can the "race card." But then, like I said, I don't think the advantage is a huge one, all other things being equal.

Steven Barnes said...

Hey, Frank:

Not sure what I mean by my memory may be betraying me. Can you clarify?

Daniel Keys Moran said...

Oh, I believe that. Almost all of the people anti-Hillary are anti-Hillary on politics, not because she's a woman.

That said, I do think Obama has advantages over any woman in becoming President -- and I know Steve disagrees with me on that. Hillary (or any woman looking to be In Charge of anything) has difficulties. Obama's commanding, decisive, etc. -- looks good on him. Hillary's commanding, decisive, etc. -- she's a shrew and a bitch. There's a Catch-22 there Obama doesn't get hit with.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

"I believe that" was in resposne to sinanju's post, btw. (Sinanju -- isn't that the city the wise old dude came from in the old Destroyer series?)

Steve -- "I don't think the advantage is a huge one" -- going the other direction, admittedly, I'd be inclined to agree with that. I'd almost even agree with you in your direction -- if they were running for the same Senatorial seat, or other legislative position. CIC has a whole suite of assumptions about the kind of person who can fill that role, and honestly, I think Hillary challenges those assumptions more than Obama.

I'm voting for Hillary in the primary, which is probably not a surprise. I disliked her husband since a year or so into his first term, but I don't hold her responsible for that.

Frank said...

Steve asked

Not sure what I mean by my memory may be betraying me. Can you clarify?

Well, who we "are" is partially a construct of our perceived "personal history". But, of course, that is based on our memory of things that have happened to us in the past. And not only is our memory selective in that regard, but it is also flawed in the sense that is it based on our perception at the time the memory was made. And perceptions are notoriously unreliable.

This is especially true of very early memories where our knowledge and experience are incomplete. In many cases our memories are based on misperceptions.

But in any case, our personal history is as much a construct as our personalities, but often is the anchor to which our personalities are bound. A weight that we unconsciously lug around with us everywhere.

We are who we are today. It's best, I think, to start from there and forget how we got here. Disconnect from the unreliable personal history. It is easier to move to a new place from this platform.

It is similar to how a person can affect a great leap in personal growth by simply moving to a place where they are not known. The freedom from the expectations of people who know you, and thus define you, allow you to more easily become something else.

In this case, it's the freedom from the definitions of "who you are" based on your perception of "why you are" that is the liberating factor.

Steven Barnes said...

EXCELLENT post, Frank. Couldn't agree with you more.
Dan, I agree that Obama has an advantage over Hillary. What I disagree with is whether it has anything to do with his race. If Obama were white, there would be some changes in people's perceptions ("he's so articulate!") but all of the personal energy he's expended burning through his baggage would (in my opinion) have been invested in making him even more intelligent, perceptive, etc. Yes, I believe that. So whereas Obama as a PERSON has an advantage, a a BLACK MAN he has a disadvantage--which his huge personality seems to be overcoming.

Mark Jones said...

Dan--yes, Sinanju is the name of the village Chiun comes from, as well as the name of the martial art he practices.

As for starting from where/who you are instead of where/who you were, I always think of Raoul Julia in one of those silly road race movies.

"The first rule of Italian driving," he says, ripping the rear view mirror off the windshield and throwing it away, "what's behind you is not important!"

("Sinanju" was me, by the way. I didn't realize changing my blog name changed how my comments were signed too. So it's back to my name.)

Steven Barnes said...

The first twenty or so Destroyer novels were great fun. Too bad the movie was so bland. I understand there was a TV pilot as well...and by the way, both times they cast white guys (Joel Gray and Roddy McDowell) as Chuin. Jeeze.

Mark Jones said...

Well, the first two Destroyer novels were pretty generic "Men's Adventure" novels. It was only in the third one that they came up with "Sinanju" as the ultimate martial art (prior to that Chiun was simply teaching generic martial arts) and--more importantly--turned the series into a parody of the very "Men's Adventure" novel.

The series is still going strong (it just relaunched with a new publisher a few months ago) and, while it has had some seriously bad patches most of the run has been enjoyable popcorn for the mind, (As Steve Perry likes to put it, they've been good enough that I was willing to spend my beer money on them instead of a six pack.) I still enjoy reading them.

Steve Perry said...

I read the first fifty or sixty Destroyer novels. Back when they started, there were other paperbacks that dealt with marital arts, some of them not bad, most of pretty awful.

Like the rigged roulette wheel, though, they were the only game in town.

Some of the writers didn't know anything about martial arts but did a pretty good job -- I was and remain a Modesty Blaise fan. Most of the others probably watched a couple of kung-fu or samurai movies and used those.

Van Lustbader's Ninja books even made the bestseller lists in hardback.

Piers Anthony had a MA series featuring Jason Striker. He wrote those with Roberto Fuentes, his judo teacher, and they were fun. At one point, Anthony and I talked about rewriting and updating these and re-issuing them, but in the end he decided against it, for what he considered moral reasons.

I gave up on the Destroyer books when Remo and Chiun jumped out of an airplane sans parachutes, and by carefully attuning themselves to the winds, managed to glide hither and yon and then land safely. I think the writers were trying to see how much they could get away with, and that did it for me.

Half the Destroyer writing team passed away -- Richard Ben Sapir -- years ago, and Murphy has kept going. (Sapir, by the way, did a good science fiction novel, "The Far Arena," which is an execellent example of real fighting versus sport.)