Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee's Wisdom For Daily Living"

Current mood:  inspired 
Category: Religion and Philosophy

Over the course of the next several blogs, I will be sharing quotes from a book I'm presently revisiting, "Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee's Wisdom for Daily Living."

In a recent therapy session, during which mindfulness is thought upon and the transitory nature of emotion is emphasized, I brought up Bruce Lee and his spin on philosophical matters with respect to the concept of mindfulness and the paradigm shifts necessary to understand and work through stress and anxiety. 

I also "A ha'd" that I was revisiting the idea to take up a martial art in the New Year as both emotional/philosophical and physical fitness. "Striking Thoughts" is but one of half a dozen books by Lee that have called my bookshelves home for over a decade.

I've wanted to study Jeet Kune Do, the martial art system and philosophy developed by Bruce Lee himself, which translates to "The Art of the Intercepting Fist."

To label Jeet Kune Do a "system," however, contradicts the very core principles of the art, which draws both movement and philosophy from a variety of traditional Asian martial arts and American boxing, and is thus, as Lee said, "using no way as way and having no limitation as limitation." 

Since mindfulness is at the root of the cognitive behavior therapy I am receiving, I thought it would behoove me to quote Lee's definition of "calm." My main issue is is that I get caught up in the intense emotion of a given experience, and my responses to that emotion can sometimes be illogical, unrealistic, catastrophic or physically harmful. It is useful to label them as this: 

A) The Emotion (anxiety, stress, fear, paranoia, et al)

B) Space for Mindfulness, detachment and dissection of that emotion and its consequence

C) The Ultimate Action or Reaction

My problem is that I start at "A" and manically slide straight over to "C," without stepping back and slowing down my response so that it can be met with a healthy, productive, realistic response. There are several ways to achieve mindfulness at point B, breathing and meditation being just one example. Bruce Lee's interpretation of point B is this:

.."At this moment, stop inwardly...when you do stop inwardly, psychologically your mind becomes very peaceful, very clear. Then you can really look at 'this.'" --Bruce Lee

Monday night is my introductory Jeet Kune Do lesson at a highly respected martial arts academy here in Chicago. Wish me luck and check back soon for another inspirational quote from Bruce Lee.

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