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Apart from Mind, There is No Art of Healing.

on AUG. / 03 / 2011 | 1 comments

One of my all time favorite Zen Masters is Bankei. He was a Zen Master in the early 1600's and as a son of a Ronin, was fiercely independent and challenged the overly ceremonial Zen of his time. Bankei was also well known for simply telling people to trust in their innate Unborn Buddha Mind. He learned to trust the Unborn when he was very sick and he ‘woke up’ to the natural healing powers of his mind and body.



 

Today's post I am going to put in a response to a letter Master Bankei received from a Martial Artist regarding the art of combat. Some of this will make total sense to you...other stuff you might be scratching your head and wondering what he is really saying. This is the stuff you are to explore, meditate upon and hopefully realize in your practice of the arts...and of life.

 

Now, this letter was about the art of combat. Take some time and insert Healing for Combat. It will also make sense. 



 

Here's Bankei:



 

"In performing a movement, if you act with no-mind, the action will spring forth of itself. When your ki changes your physical form changes along with it. When you are carried away by force, that is relying on "self." To have ulterior thoughts is not in accordance with the natural.



 

When you act upon deliberation, you are tied to thought. The opponent can then tell the direction of your ki. If you try to steady yourself by deliberate effort, you ki becomes diffuse, and you may grow careless. When you act deliberately, your intuitive response is blocked; and if your intuitive response is blocked, how can the mirror mind appear?



 

When without thinking and without acting deliberately, you manifest the Unborn (my insert: Unborn can mean Emptiness) you won't have any fixed form. When you are without fixed form, no opponent will exist for you in the whole land. Not holding on to anything, there is no "you" and no "enemy." Whatever comes, you just respond, with no traces left behind.



 

Heaven and earth are vast, but outside mind there is nothing to seek. Become deluded, however, and instead this mind becomes your opponent. Apart from mind, there is no art of combat."

 

Be Well.


 

(Translation from 'Bankei Zen' by Peter Haskell)
 

Keep your Mind-Swords Sharp!

on JUL. / 28 / 2011 | 0 comments

In my book, Black Belt Healing, I show Martial Artists how your mind is a dojo with all the weapons you need to defend yourself from pain, anxiety, depression, suffering.  Just as a dojo has weapons hanging on the wall..so does your mind's dojo. These are your Mind-Swords. These are the swords you use to make yourself healthy. These are the swords that can give you life...or take your life. Depends on how you use them…and yes, they are very sharp.

Imagination is your Katana....if you don't use it right, it will cut you. An imagination running wild does you no good. Remember the last time you worried and fretted over a situation that never happened?  Made your stomach ache and perhaps gave you a headache, right? Your Mind-Sword was cutting you and taking your life.


Just as you need to train with a Samurai Sword to be effective, you must train your imagination as well. When used properly it will give you life (how it does this is in my book...hint-hint for those who haven't purchased it yet).

And…just like an actual sword, it must be cared for. The proper care of your sword retains it sharpness. Without proper cleaning of your sword it will grow rusty and be of no use when you need it. Same goes for your Mind-Swords. It is imperative to keep them sharp and well cared for. 

Gyoji, or daily practice, of engaging your Mind-Swords (there are three of them) keeps them sharp and ready to use. They will be clean without a lot of emotional or psychological rust. Meditation, such as Zazen or Transcendental Meditation, is a great way to keep the Mind-Swords sharp. Also, daily use of visualization and emotionalization is a great way to stay sharp and healthy. Qigong, like standing-on-stake, or Tai Chi and Yoga is also another way to keep these swords sharp.

Life throws a lot of stress at you from day to day. Having sharp Mind-Swords keeps you in shape for battling these daily encounters, whether it be a toxic boss, a tough customer or a self-absorbed teenager. Just as you find it important to practice your external martial art...remember your internal arts as well. This is what differentiates Budo from just fighting.

So, keep your Mind-Swords clean and sharp. They will serve you well when you need them. They will give you life.


Please visit www.blackbelthealing.com for more information on how to use your Mind-Swords for health and healing.

 

The 84th Problem

on JUL. / 19 / 2011 | 0 comments

In ancient traditions from culture to culture there is storytelling. Storytelling was much more than just entertainment purposes. You have to remember there was no television, no radio, no dvd’s, no movies, no internet and no telephones. Stories were ways to convey history and maintain traditions, especially in the spiritual and healing traditions.

In the Judeo-Christian culture you have Old Testament stories and in the New Testament stories of healing via accounts of Jesus and his miracles. You also have parables designed to teach deeper spiritual truths leading to insight and healing of the soul.

Many Native American tribal traditions carry stories of creation, growth and healing as well. These stories helped teach tribal customs and how to be a mature woman or man. They are often interwoven with nature teachings and deep symbolism for looking deeply into one’s self and seeing your connection to all beings.

Buddhist stories are similar. They contain the teachings of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. One of my favorite healing stories is “The 84th Problem.” It goes like this:

A man seeking help went to see the Buddha. He told him he was a farmer. "I like farming," the man said, "but sometimes it doesn't rain enough, and sometimes it rains too much. One year we nearly starved." The Buddha listened.

"I like my wife," the man said, "but sometimes she nags too much, then I get tired of her...We have kids too. Good kids, but sometimes they don't show enough respect, and..."the man went on and on like this.

After the man finished, the Buddha sat, thought, then said, "I'm sorry, I can't help you." "Everyone has problems. In fact, we have 83 problems", and he enumerated them, from birth to death, but as he talked the man grew more and more furious until he questioned the very premise of the Buddha's teaching.

"Well," the Buddha finally said, "I may be able to help you with the 84th problem."
"The 84th Problem? What's that?" the man queried.
The Buddha said, "The problem of wanting to not have any problems."


Ah, the wisdom of the Buddha. So, how does this help you with your martial arts?  What excuses do you have for not training? Who do you struggle with in the dojang or dojo? What does your teacher do that irritates you?  Are you a gossip?
Think upon these things and ask yourself if you are like the farmer in the story…Problems are inevitable…there is no escape…it is best to find ways to be a good problem solver. In that you become healed from problems…wouldn’t you agree?  
Be Well.
 

Pain is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional

on JUL. / 06 / 2011 | 0 comments

By David Nelson, PhD

There is an old Zen saying that goes, “Pain is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional.”  When I first heard these words I knew there was some sense of truth to them but wasn’t sure how, till I came across a mathematical equation proposed by Buddhist Teacher, Shinzen Young.
He wrote the following equation:
Pain x Resistance = Suffering or P x R = S
In a moment I am going to plug in some numbers for you to see how this works mathematically, but first I do want to say that Pain and Suffering are actually two different phenomena. Pain is pain and suffering is your physical, psychological and emotional resistance to the pain itself. You see, Pain is a form of stress. When under stress your Fight, Flight or Freeze kicks in. When you react and resist based on the 3 F’s you actually increase your suffering and consequently your pain.
So, let’s plug in some numbers to this equation and hopefully this will become clearer.
Using a pain scale of 0-10 with 10 being enough pain to make you pass out, let’s say your Pain level is at a 5. Given you tend to resist pain with equal force, let’s say your Resistance is also at a 5.
P x R = S
5 x 5 = 25!  Wow!!! Your Suffering is off the scale. What’s up with that?
Now, let’s say you have learned how to embrace and harmonize with your pain and not resist, so your R = 0.
5 x 0 = 0…Zero Suffering!  No resistance equals zero suffering. And when you can reduce your suffering, your actual pain levels will begin to decrease as well.
You can see here that the key to successful pain management is not so much to get rid of the pain, but to not resist it. Resistance, either through fighting it, running from it or just freezing with it and not knowing what to do, actually causes you much suffering.
In a few posts ago, I mentioned how Zazen has been scientifically proven to be an effective pain management treatment protocol for its ability to change the brain’s perception to pain. It does this because Zazen is the quintessential exercise for non-resistance.  Master Zazen. Master your pain.
If you have any questions, feel free to visit me at www.blackbelthealing.com
 

Feverfew: Nature’s Wonder Herb for Migraines

on JUN. / 20 / 2011 | 0 comments

I’ve met many people over the years who have migraines. Now, migraines and their causes can get rather complicated, but one herb that stands out in assisting with migraine relief is Feverfew. Any sufferer of migraines know, it can be as debilitating as getting kicked in the head while having your eyes ripped out.
There are great medications out today that can give you relief, but they tend to have the bounce back effect. Let’s say your migraine is at a 7 on a scale of 0-10 for pain, with 10 being the most pain you could tolerate before passing out. You take a prescription drug for the 7. It brings it down to a zero…yeah!  But, now the next round of migraines return and it will hit you at an 8. You take your medicine and it drives it down. Again, good.
But, now the next round of pain that is coming from your migraine is going to bounce up to a 9…you will need more medicine and so on to eventually the medications seem to hardly help at all. Well, good old Mother Nature has the wonderful herb, Feverfew, that is gentler and very effective against migraines.
Feverfew is an ancient remedy and has been used since the early Greek era to treat common headaches, fever and even inflammation from arthritis. It was the aspirin of its day. In Canada, Feverfew is approved as a nonprescription drug for migraines and recommends it be supervised by a physician. Feverfew can be contra-indicated with other medications, such as aspirin, Tylenol and other anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).
If you are pregnant or lactating do not use Feverfew…and children under the age of two should not use it. If you have bad ragweed allergies, it could trigger an allergy attack as well, so be aware of this.
Bottomline: Feverfew is used worldwide for the effective relief of migraines and when combined with a good diet, proper stress management skills and meditative techniques can be a wonderful natural way to regain your health. You can learn some great mind-body ways of healing by visiting www.blackbelthealing.com
If you want to use Feverfew for migraines, consult with your family physician, naturopathic doctor or certified herbalist.  It is wonderful old herb that has some good healing properties without the bounce back effect.
 

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