Here's another guest post that I fashioned out of an email from John, a guy I regularly communicate with. I always enjoy his thoughtful responses to stuff that I've written about. I believe TNH stands for Thich Nhat Hanh.
Hey Brian, how are you and yours doing? Hopefully as well as you can be.
As always, I’ve been enjoying your posts. Especially the two about what we can learn from the internal arts.
It is funny when I tell people that tai chi has legitimate martial applications for self-defense. They look at me like, right…. Like you, I trained in external styles for 20 plus years. I do think that gives guys like you and me who learn tai chi some advantage over people who have not practiced karate or boxing or something like that.
But, we also have the disadvantage of having to un-learn all kinds of shit. LOL I’m teaching my daughter’s best friend self-defense using tai chi. She is 24 years old, around 5’6” and maybe 140 lbs. She probably has never been hit or kicked.
Realistically, against an average dude like me, 5’11”, about 240 lbs, in a combat situation, she probably has no chance.
But, I can teach her how to evade and get away from someone using tai chi. I’ve actually been pretty amazed at how effective it is! LOL You and I know how effective it can be after being effortlessly tossed around by our instructors! She is picking things up very quickly. So that’s cool.
I saw a link to an article that I thought was interesting, and kind of fits in with some of your writings about “enlightenment”.
Your post on ending the spiritual search really resonated with me. Early on in my leaving Christianity, I went through phases of authors. There was TNH, Tolle, Walsch, Watts, ND Tyson, and several books that you have written about.
In those earlier days, it seems like I had regular “ah ha!” moments or mind blowing realizations. I think that went on for a while.
Now, I don’t really have many of those moments, at all. It’s not that I’ve learned all I can learn or anything like that. I think it’s more like, I’ve settled into a place where the practices that I used to have to think about doing, I don’t have to think about it so much anymore.
I have to admit, it seems boring in comparison. But it’s also kind of comforting or maybe restful…? I’m not sure exactly how to describe it. But I don’t feel like I’m chasing after so much anymore. You said it very well in your post. This really stood out along the lines I’ve just been talking about:
Always looking for more from life than what life already is giving me is beginning to seem unwise. (Yes! And it’s a bit tiring to look for more.)
More meaning. More happiness. More purpose. More depth. All that more, more, more seems to lead to a hamster-wheel sort of existence. (Again, yes!)
Spiritual seeking can become such a habit, the seeker doesn't realize that they're going around and around without really getting anywhere. (And yes, again!)
I still very much enjoy reading and listening to talks by Watts and Sam Harris and TNH and the likes. But my motive for reading or listening has shifted a bit.
I don’t feel the “need” to have to be reading all the time. Now I feel more relaxed in my reading. I read when I feel like it and focus more on enjoying what I’m reading instead of trying to get something out of it to make me… better, more aware, more peaceful, etc.
I do still have the occasional “ah ha!” moment, or something like that. But it is pretty rare. I no longer seek those moments, but I still enjoy them when it happens.
Take care and as always, thanks for the great blog posts.