January 20th, 2022

Building a Relationship

Carl Rogers in On Becoming a Person discusses building a relationship. The first step in building a meaningful relationship is to be genuine. This sounds simple but it is not. We often project something we want another to think we are. But this false projection dooms any hope of building a constructive relationship.

To be genuine I must be aware of my feelings. I express the feelings and attitudes that exist within me. “It is only in this way that the relationship can have reality, and reality … [is] deeply important as a first condition [of a meaningful relationship]”. Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person (1961).

Rogers said this over fifty years ago. He was right then and his words remain true today. Drop pretense, be yourself and allow yourself to be real in relationships. You will go beyond a false facade into a meaningful relationship.

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December 8th, 2020

First Week of June-Philosophy of Navy Squash

Years ago when the Naval Academy started their squash team they competed with Ivy League schools who had established squash traditions. They were initially out matched but built a winning tradition based on the following philosophy:

Prepare for your mission.

Believe in yourself.

Accept the possibility of failure.

Give your best effort.

Never, never quit on yourself.

(James Zug, Squash, A History of the Game, 141-42)

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September 24th, 2020

Success

To laugh much.

To win respect of intelligent persons, and the affection of children.

To appreciate beauty.

To find the best in others.

To give one’s self.

To leave the world a better place, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition.

To have played and laughed with enthusiasm, and sung with exultation.

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived-

this is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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July 27th, 2020

Listen

It is easy for me to talk. It is easy to think when another is talking as I prepare to talk. My tendency is to think and talk, think and talk.

It is difficult to listen. It is difficult to internalize what a person is discussing without thinking ahead at the expense of listening. 

Listen is defined as: to hear something with thoughtful attention : give consideration listen to a plea. (Webster). “Thoughtful attention” is the key to what it means to listen. “Thoughtful attention” cannot be done without thinking only about the message. As the definition says when one is listening he is giving the message “thoughtful attention.”

I now try listen. This means I concentrate on listening. Listening changes how I process. This is because I hear the message with “thoughtful attention.” Two things happen: I internalize the message without filtering it with thoughts on response; and, the speaker intuitively realizes this and infers I care.

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June 21st, 2020

What is Chance

At moments everything is clear, and when that happens we see that the world is barely there at all. It’s a perfectly balanced mechanism of shouts and echoes pretending to be wheels of cogs, a dream clock chiming beneath a mystery-glass we call life.

Let’s concede how our lives are jostled and spun around, that nothing is fixed, that even the ground we stand on is in motion. Underneith us there is only instability. Beyond us, there is only chance.

(Pieced together from  Stephen King and Jon Mooallem).

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October 28th, 2019

Zen

Zen says enlightenment comes in everyday actions. There is no action taken for granted. Every action is lived fully in the moment without thinking about past or future.

Fritjof Capra, in The Tao oF Physics, discusses Zen Practice as follows:

We are fortunate to have a wonderful description…in Eugen Herrigel’s little book Zen in the Art of Archery. Herrigel spent more than five years with a celebrated Japanese master to learn his “mystical” art. His book is a personal account of how he experienced Zen through archery. He describes archery as a religious ritual “danced” in spontaneous, effortless and purposeless movements. It took him many years of hard practice, which transformed his entire being, to learn how to draw the bow “spiritually,” with a kind of effortless strength, and to release the string “without intention,” letting the shot “fall from the archer like a ripe fruit.” When he reached the height of perfection, bow, arrow, goal and archer melted into one another and he did not shoot, but “it” did it for him.

 F. Capra, The Tao oF Physics, (Shambhala 2010) at 126.

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June 1st, 2019

Wu Chi-The Second Position

The first time Master Yang Jun instructed us on standing like a tree I had little appreciation for what I was about to do. “If you want to learn the real thing, stand still without moving with your hands in front of you as in holding a beach ball.” (Master Yang Jun). When I tried this with Master Yang I was amazed at the difficulty. Standing still in this position is tougher than most physical exertion over a similar length of time.

With practice I learned what is happening inside my body as I stand still for at least ten minutes. Slowly I began to recognize the internal power of my body through the simple exercise of standing still.

When I stand like a tree I get in touch with my natural field of energy. Like a tree I take strength from the earth, from the air, and from the space that surrounds me.  I am nourished by everything around me as I stand in mediation without doing, causing or making.’

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March 17th, 2019

Lesson from Marcus Aurelius

From Sextus Marcus Aurelius learned:

Kindness.

Gravity without airs.

The ability to get along with everyone.

The ability to investigate and analyze, with understanding and logic, the principles we ought to live by.

Not to display anger and to be free of passion yet full of love.

To praise without bombast; to display expertise without pretense.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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January 19th, 2019

Wu Wei

“Literally, Wu Wei means ‘without doing, causing or making.’ But practically speaking it means without meddlesome, combative, or egotistical effort. … Wu Wei  means no going against the nature of things. …

When we learn to work with our Inner Nature, and with the natural laws operating around us, we reach the level of Wu Wei.

Then we work with the natural order of things and operate on the principle of minimal effort. Since the natural world follows this principle, it does not make mistakes.”

Benjamin Hoff, The Tao Of Poo(1982).

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January 8th, 2019

New Year’s Resolution-Connection

con·nec·tion  (k-nkshn)

n.

1.

a. The act of connecting.
b. The state of being connected.
2. One that connects.
3. An association or relationship: There appeared to be a connection to the group.
4. Reference or relation to something else; context: With this connection we can work for justice.

For my New Year’s Resolution I am working on “connection'” as in connecting with others. Connection is accomplished by listening in the moment.

To successfully listen I clear my mind to facilitate openness to things as they are. To connect by listening I give up preconceived ideas and opinions. I listen and observe the way of the speaker.

I accept the speaker without emphasis on good or bad. I feel things as they are with the speaker. I find common ground through the humanness of the situation.

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