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Book Review: Nei Kung: The Secret Teachings of the Warrior Sages

In his first book, The Magus of Java, Kosta Danaos wrote of his encounter with a Taoist master living on the island of Java.  Nei Kung is the sequel, attempting to amplify the teachings of this particular Taoist lineage in light of Danaos’ knowledge and experiences onto a much broader set of issues related to human spirituality, society and understanding of the world.

 

It is difficult to adequately convey a unifying impression of Kosta Danaos’ second book; it seems to defy single interpretation, perhaps by design.  It is challenging, diverse, mixing personal experience, concrete technique and informed speculation into something that is less a synthesis than a series of thematically-related inspirational materials.

The book takes a great deal of time explaining Danaos’ speculative views of the spiritual underpinnings of human history, pre-history, evolution, physics and many other subjects, but the real treasures in the book are the fruits of personal experience, some his own and some from those he has encountered along the way.

What really commends Danaos’ book to any spiritual seeker are the personal accounts of spiritual life, almost any one of which would individually have made the book worth reading!  In one passage, Danaos finds himself conversing with the spirits of a mountain in Greece, who ask him to intervene to stop a strip-mining operation.  Accounts of such spirits inherent in the natural world are common to many traditions, including Taoism and both Celtic Druidism and the Celtic Christianity which succeeded it (Celtic saints’ lives are often predominantly accounts of their power in the natural world).  The Eastern Christian mystical tradition is filled with similar phenomena as well.  Consideration and study of these beings, in whatever mode they may exist, is more than timely as we are faced with the damage done to the earth by modern man.

In another account, Danaos meets a man who was literally a week dead and about to be cremated when he returned to his body, having had a profound spiritual encounter.  He woke up with a sudden perfect knowledge of Mandarin, though he had spoken only English before.  These narratives are coupled with a call to meditation and self-cultivation that is earnest and backed by a profundity of experience and conviction.

 

Danaos’ speculations, while undeniably interesting and occasionally enlightening (particularly those pertaining to spirituality in the distant past), are given in something of a shorthand way, leaving the picture too incomplete for the reader to draw conclusions one way or another.  That said, there are many points on which I feel that Danaos is undeniably correct, such as his observations about the enhanced natural faculties of so-called non-civilized peoples.  I believe he is also correct in his reconciliation of divine love with human suffering on the basis of freedom of choice, although how exactly it fits in with the foregoing discussion of guided evolution is not clear.  These passages are worth reading as part of ongoing discussion of these issues, but not enough of a clear picture emerges to evaluate their merits as theories.

Reading what Danaos had to say on the difference between religion and spirituality was timely, as we’ve just finished the first unit on Spirituality for the Resilient Life Code, which contains a detailed account of the institutionalization process as it affects spiritual traditions.  Danaos perhaps doesn’t have a complete picture of the process as it affects Christianity (nor for that matter a very complete view of the original Christian spiritual tradition, though as a Greek, he is more aware of it than most other authors), but he’s on the right track on many points.  In particular, his characterization of the Emperor Constantine’s character and motives is highly amusing.

Danaos’ views on the nature of (human) spirits struck me as the oddest thing about the whole book.  His account is either incomplete or imprecise.  He identifies the spirit with the unconscious- a lower, yin faculty without the power of active thought or decision, a simple reservoir of whatever impressions it gains in life, and helpless to think, learn or act after death.  He advocates meditation as a means not just of merging the conscious with the subconscious, which it is, but of more firmly imprinting the image of the conscious mind onto the subconscious so that we can maintain a more substantial “selfhood” after death.

I am not certain this view squares even with the experiences he recounts, still less with the broader view of many authentic ancient traditions.  Most traditions would identify the spirit not as the subconscious mind, and definitely not as an impotent lower faculty, but rather as the higher faculty on which we are working through meditation in order to render it clear, to bring it to its true nature.  This being the case, we need not have any doubts of the power of a realized spirit, in the body or out of it.  Not only does the reversal of the classical yin-yang associations of body and spirit strike me as odd, but Danaos’ position on the issue reminds me of the conversation of Odysseus with the shades of his fallen companions at the gates of the underworld.  The shades are portrayed as miserable, lifeless shadows, whose only ambition is to drink the blood of living things sacrificed to them, in order to taste a little of life.  Achilles’ shade even says, “I would rather be a paid servant in a poor man’s house and be above ground than king of kings among the dead.”  And remember, these were the great heroes, entitled to the Elysian Fields, not the common mass of humanity.  This was exactly the kind of existential pessimism that the late Romans began to reject in perhaps one of the greatest spiritual awakenings in history.

Don’t expect to actually encounter an abundance of practical Nei Kung teachings, despite the title.  At most, this book provides a guide to basic energy-cultivation meditation, coupled with a theoretical picture of what the higher levels look like.  As no doubt with many ancient lineages, when it comes to spreading knowledge beyond the traditional master-disciple relationship, this one is still dipping a toe in the water.

I don’t wish to come across as overly critical; this is a marvellous and inspirational book.  Its overall message is sound, even if its speculations are sometimes scattered or incomplete.

Now, if you would like to acquaint yourself with Kosta’s master, “John Chang”, just click on the link below and turn up your speakers:

 

~Dr. Symeon Rodger


Never Before Revealed: Resilience Secrets of the Hobbit…

[Spoiler Alert – book and movie!]

“In a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit…”

…and you find true resilience in the unlikeliest of places!

J.R.R. Tolkien created the hobbits to represent everything stable and ordinary and decent about rural Britain.  Hobbits tend their farms and eat too much and have fun, but are absolutely harmless and uninterested in adventures or the affairs of the Big People.

And yet, in The Hobbit, the fate of three kingdoms will hang on the actions of Bilbo Baggins, just as the fate of the entire world will hang on his nephew Frodo in Lord of the Rings.  It all comes down to a mysterious decision by Gandalf, the great wizard.  Thirteen dwarves intent on wresting their mountain kingdom from the evil dragon, Smaug, have need of the services of a burglar.  This dragon is a creation of Morgoth, a fallen higher being and the worst threat the world had ever faced; there are suggestions in the Silmarillion that dragons themselves may be spiritual creatures turned to Morgoth’s side.  Gandalf would know- he himself is a higher being, called into the world by Galadriel.  Having taken up human form, his mission is to protect the world from the next foray by the dark powers.  That means Smaug and his kind.  Gandalf’s answer?

 

Gandalf decides to back thirteen vagrant dwarvish warriors and their forlorn quest.  But, he emphasizes, the quest may depend on securing the services of someone even more formidable- a hobbit.  This decision to counter a fire-breathing dragon with a creature whose main concerns to that point had been eating, drinking, pipe-smoking and gardening might seem rather odd.  Even stranger, Bilbo’s role was to be The Burglar.  Not only was he no warrior, he most likely hadn’t stolen anything more than a few peeps at the neighborhood girls.

Bilbo certainly thought little of the idea: “We don’t want any adventures here- nasty, inconvenient uncomfortable things.  Make you late for dinner.”  Gandalf, however, would not take no for an answer and invited thirteen dwarves to dinner at Bilbo’s to make him listen to the whole thing.  You see, Gandalf knew that, once presented with the whole picture, Bilbo wouldn’t be able to bring himself to refuse.

 

But what made this hobbit ideal for his pivotal role?

Bilbo was stalled in his own personal development, so much so that he saw no need to develop.  But although stalled, he was neither corrupt nor cynical.  He had the values of an ordinary, decent person, and this is why he first embarks on and then sticks with the quest.  He doesn’t want to go- but the thought of turning down the opportunity to see the world and be part of something really significant was too much for him.  Although hardship does tempt him to abandon his friends, Bilbo chooses to stick with them when they are confronted with orcs and giant wolves, precisely because they don’t have a home to go back to as he does.  Bilbo was willing to sacrifice for his friends.

Zhuge Liang, Chinese strategist, administrator and polymath, once wrote, “Straight trees are found in remote forests; upright people come from the commons. Therefore when rulers are going to make appointments they need to look in obscure places.”  Gandalf certainly couldn’t have picked a more obscure place than the Shire and Bilbo is more “upright” – meaning he has more character and can be relied on to do the morally right thing where others would cave in to their own short-term convenience – than many of his fellow adventurers.

 

Bilbo’s second asset is his immensely flexible mindset.  Whatever circumstance he is dropped into, he reacts with presence of mind and does whatever needs doing to move forward.  If that means playing a game of riddles with a wizened schizophrenic cannibal in a dark cave, he goes along with it.  If it means charging a wolf to rescue his friend, he’ll do that.  If it means flattering a dragon silly to get it to delay eating him and reveal the chink in its armour he’ll do that.  If it means negotiating the dwarves’ mistrust and doubts with some hard-headed bargaining, he’ll do that.  If it means discussing the culinary vices of roast dwarf with three trolls until the sun rises, he’ll do that.  He keeps putting one foot in front of the other, and when he’s at his wits’ end, he changes the rules.  During the riddle game, Bilbo is one riddle away from being eaten and can’t think of another riddle, so he asks Gollum what he has in his pockets- breaking the rules of the game, but putting off being devoured.

Bilbo’s no great fighter, nor does he have any non-culinary talent worth mentioning other than this ability to be dropped into any situation and come back again better than he arrived.  That last bit is important, because it isn’t just ingenuity that gets Bilbo out of tight squeezes – it’s the universe rooting for him.  He’s open to what comes his way, and while it can get him into trouble, it saves his life several times.  He isn’t relying only on himself, and it is for that exact reason that he always comes out of a situation a little better than he arrived in it.

 

There is a rather weak scene in the film where Gandalf attempts to explain to the beautiful Galadriel exactly why a hobbit is necessary baggage on this mission.  The truth is that Gandalf does not like to, and until his transformation into Gandalf the White generally will not, rely on great power or might to do his work.  Good, as he says, is found in the little people of the world, not in armies or empires, and in order to work for the good, Gandalf will always rely on a small and unlikely band of people armed with courage, faith and sharp wits (your mileage may vary) and bound by integrity over armies or magic.  That his closest friend among his own order is the bird dropping-adorned naturalist Radagast reinforces this bent in Gandalf’s character.

 

On the other side, of course, there’s Bilbo, middle-aged, comfortable, not accomplishing anything in particular when Gandalf shows up.  Gandalf has faith that given the opportunity, this anonymous little scrap of hobbit will rise to the occasion.  He doesn’t force Bilbo to go, but he has faith that Bilbo will, not for the gold, not to have his name remembered or even because he particularly wants to but because the dwarves have given him something to believe in, a chance to matter, an opportunity to help their whole nation.   Without that chance, and without Gandalf’s belief and persistence, he would have remained just as he was until the end of his days.  With it, his actions lead to the downfall of the enemy of all life.

Throughout Tolkien’s work, Hobbits are the poster children for resilience and the certainty that ordinary, decent people can do surprising, amazing things when given the chance to do something that matters.

 

Dwarvish Brittleness

 

The Dwarves are an effective counterpoint to Bilbo’s form of resilience.  While on the face of it, the dwarves seem in every way tougher and more resilient than the hobbit, the reverse is true.

On the one hand, the dwarves are strong, courageous, extremely determined and have kept their cause alive throughout long years of wandering and exile.  But this limited form of resilience is offset by a rigidity that renders them extremely brittle, particularly where their leader Thorin is concerned.

 

Thorin sets out with twelve loyal companions to recapture his grandfather’s kingdom, showing courage and faith.  But he frequently quarrels with Gandalf, a rather powerful being and his most important ally.  When Gandalf proposes they take Bilbo, Thorin disputes the choice, and will continue to doubt and quarrel with Bilbo throughout the journey, even once Bilbo has repeatedly proven his worth.  Thorin likewise does everything possible to avoid getting any help at all from the elves, near-immortal beings of immense knowledge, at least some of whom might have been willing to assist the dwarves.  Thorin is bitter that the elves who lived near his homeland didn’t charge into certain death in a hopeless attempt to save the dwarves from Smaug, and this feeling extends to all elves, including the ones who weren’t there.  This inflexibility will continue to get Thorin into trouble, to the point where his admitted virtues will not be able to save him (I did remember to put a spoiler alert at the top, didn’t I?  Anyway, read the book.)

 

We hear that Thror, Thorin’s grandfather and king-under-the-mountain, was corrupted by his love of gold and of the Arkenstone, a gem found within the mountain.  Thror was deluded into believing that his kingdom was eternal, and not only ended up with few friends in the outside world, but attracted a creature even more gold-hungry than himself.  After Smaug drove him out of his kingdom, Thror spent the rest of his life fighting hopeless battles until at last, even his armour-plated beard couldn’t save him.  The dwarves united to avenge his death, and though they won in battle against the orcs, the dwarves were severely weakened.  Perhaps it is no accident that when Thorin attacks Azog, the orc who killed Thror, the theme music is the same used for the Ringwraiths in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  This pattern of rigidity, insularity, greed and general inability to get along with people who are on their side continues for the dwarves until Galadriel finally manages to get through to Gimli in Fellowship of the Ring.

 

Consider the Following

 

We all know a great many “hobbits” and a few “dwarves”.  In this world, the “hobbits” are not only looked down upon, they are taught to look down on themselves.  How many do you know that are ripe for new challenges and a more meaningful life?  What can you do to help?  How many people around you could do something extraordinary if given the chance?  How many are so far gone that they wouldn’t even believe in the possibility?  How can you help to restore their faith in themselves?

On the other hand, how many people do you know who have fallen prey to the tendencies which dog Thorin, and are suffering for it, some without even knowing it?  Chances are, a number of them are in leadership positions, and a number of others are collapsing into a state of bitterness.  What can you do to help them?

 

The Hobbit and the Dwarf, in fact, represent two sides of the resilience coin and both are necessary.  Another way of describing this that we’ve used before is the “Yin” and “Yang” of resilience:

The Dwarves are all too much “Yang” in their approach – they have the determination, ferocity and bravado, as well as the physical skills to match.  Yet they’re not entirely in charge of their own thinking – all too easily they’re carried away by their own prejudices, assumptions and preconceived ideas.  They allow their own eyes to deceive them.  And they don’t always have the character to do the right thing even when that’s damned inconvenient.

The average Hobbit, being much more “Yin” in his approach, does have that character and, when the moment arises, that character is what allows him to rise to the occasion in an astounding way.  He is far less the prisoner of his own limited vision and his temper seldom gets the better of him.  Now, let’s be clear; Bilbo could use a healthy dose of the Dwarves’ warrior skills, no doubt about it!  However, those skills can be taught and learned much easier than character and mastery of one’s emotions.

As we cultivate our own resilience day in and day out, we need to be conscious of precisely this “yin-yang” balance in our approach.  Some of us think resilience will come entirely from working out at the gym.  Others of us expect it to come exclusively from our meditation sessions.  In both cases we’re fooling ourselves – we need to strive for this balance in our training.

~Dr. Symeon Rodger 


Kick-Start Your Fitness: TACFIT

Getting to fitness from non-fitness can be a challenge for the best of us, particularly if we find our body types, metabolism, energy levels, motivation or any of the other factors in the alchemy of fitness stacked against us.  We’ll talk a little about what hinders people from getting fit and talk about one program that is definitely ahead of the pack.

Plenty of people start an exercise program, resolve to visit a gym a certain number of times a week or start a yoga class- and then weeks or months later suddenly realise that they’ve fallen off the wagon.  Developing motivation, belief, momentum and excitement is important for any kind of project, but for fitness particularly, and this is made more difficult by so many fitness programs that demand large investments of time, energy and money and yet take a great deal of time to deliver results that we can feel good about.  For many people trying to get in shape, the first few months of any program seem doomed to consist of frustration, embarrassment and discouragement.

This is absolutely toxic to the entire endeavor, because in the first instance, fitness isn’t about reducing weight or building muscle or endurance.  That comes later.  First, it is about replacing a physiological and psychological downward spiral with an upward spiral, in which the feeling of improvement in our bodies motivates and rejuvenates us mentally and that positive feeling feeds back into our motivation for exercise.

This upward spiral is the key, and achieving it can be extremely difficult.  In a world that has exploded with fitness programs, it’s very easy to find ourselves in the situation of putting in a lot of time for no tangible return.  After awhile, it is easy to get discouraged.  We then blame ourselves for not sticking with the program, and the cycle of discouragement builds, draining our energy until the whole mind-body organism naturally associates the exercise program with the energy drain.  Of course we want to drop the whole thing- at that point, it’s simple self-preservation.  After a few of these cycles, many people come to doubt their ability to achieve their desired level of fitness.

But there is at least one program out there that is both perfectly designed kick the discouraged out of their ruts and ideal for maintaining and supplementing advanced levels of fitness.

TACFIT, developed by Scott Sonon, is a program using advanced scientific fitness principles, and it has had a wide impact in law enforcement and Special Forces training.  In ten to twenty minutes a day, TACFIT can transform what you think and feel about fitness and teach your body to make the best use of any fitness program you choose.  All you need to get started is a mat, a pair of 10-20 lb. weights and access to the Mass Assault video series.  (Note that while Mass Assault uses weights, many other TACFIT programs are bodyweight-oriented.  I recommend the weight routine for purposes of this article since body-weight exercises require an existing level of fitness and can be difficult for overweight people.)  The video above demonstrates exercises with both weights of various types and using body-weight; rest assured, though, that Mass Assault does NOT require access to the array of equipment demonstrated in this particular video.

The routines are deceptively simple, but as long as you pay attention to the advice on body mechanics, you will find them to have amazingly high impact.  According to one person who had tried several weight routines with limited success, TACFIT took less than a third of the time of his previous routine but had over three times the impact.  Most importantly, the feeling in the body after just a week is totally exceptional.  You will find that even if you have done absolutely no significant exercise for months, your muscles will suddenly feel different, as though they have more energy and are begging to be used.

Why can TACFIT achieve this when other routines don’t?  There are several reasons.  Most importantly, it is designed to change the anabolic state of the body, creating the conditions for muscle growth, something that very few fitness programs do up front.  That feeling of muscular energy is the manifestation of a physiological change that translates into much higher benefit from any form of exercise.

Also, where most weight routines target a few areas at a time- e.g. cardio or two or three muscle groups per exercise- TACFIT engages the whole body, not just muscles but all of that essential connective tissue that makes them work.  This routine is strength training, endurance and cardio in one.  The result is a change so clear and immediate that motivation becomes easy to maintain, whether you choose to continue with TACFIT alone or as part of a wider fitness program.  The best part is that it works for any schedule- it doesn’t take much of your time and it leaves you with a higher energy level afterward.

I recommend the first video in the Mass Assault series for beginners, because almost anyone can build to the full routine very quickly, but TACFIT has multiple levels and multiple programs that can support and improve any fitness program at any level.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


Get a “Thick Face” – Regain Your Personal Autonomy!

As promised, here’s the first installment of how you can understand and cultivate the profound philosophy of “Thick Face, Black Heart” in your own life. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you MUST read the previous post FIRST.

THICK FACE

You probably know that Asians tend to be VERY concerned with matters of face (as in the expression, “saving face”). In other words, reputation means everything to them and what others think really matters. To us in our individualistic culture, this seems a trifle overdone at times and it has a couple of major disadvantages – it means you cede control over your behavior to other people’s ideas and standards and it also makes you reactive and highly predictable.

Not surprisingly, “Thick Face” (hereafter “TF”) is quite the opposite. It’s more like our concept of “Thick Skin”. It means you stop caring what other people think or say about you. You stop trying to live by other people’s standards and start living by the principles you really believe in.

Yes, at its worst, this could mean you’re a sociopath who thinks he’s the center of the universe and the fount of all wisdom. Hitler, Stalin and Chairman Mao all had very thick faces. However, consider the following…

Back in the early 1920s, a very enthusiastic young spiritual seeker arrived on Mount Athos, the most important center of Eastern Orthodox monasticism. Despite immense pressure to “settle down” and join one of the large monasteries, to become “one of the crowd”, he steadfastly refused. He knew exactly what kind of spiritual life model he wanted to follow and endured lots of abuse for it. And later on, when he was living the life he so ardently sought, he was verbally abused by other monks who condemned him as eccentric and unfriendly, all because he insisted on following a schedule and carefully managing his time and the time of those who had joined him (and that meant, “if you show up when we’re praying, we won’t stop to talk to you!”  Hence the reasons others felt slighted by him).

This young monk’s name was Joseph… later known as Joseph the Hesychast, one of the great spiritual masters of the 20th century. Joseph’s refusal to cave in to the pressures to conform or to surrender the integrity of his lifestyle to criticisms of others are the epitome of THICK FACE.

Politicians tend to have very thick faces. They have to. Of course, not a few of them are self-centered sociopaths who don’t care who gets hurt. On the other hand, consider Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa or Martin Luther King – they were all the object of violent criticism and they all survived and succeeded by having a TF.

TRUST YOUR OWN JUDGMENT

By now it may have dawned on you that you can’t have a TF without trusting your own judgment. That may sound arrogant, but it isn’t always. So let’s clear up a common misunderstanding – being humble does NOT mean you cave in to other people’s opinions. After all, Joseph the Hesychast’s whole life was about cultivating humility, and he never caved in. Humble people do not surrender their principles for any reason. Opportunists do… at the drop of a hat.

Think back through your life. Can you think of times where someone in authority was pressuring you to do something or agree with something you thought was inadvisable or wrong? Looking back on the incident, were you right? Should you have trusted your gut?

When have you been right all along? On the other hand, you need to admit the truth when your judgment has been wrong.

I’ve been viciously criticized and even plotted against because some people found the “controversial” things I wrote in The 5 Pillars of Life totally unacceptable. They would happily have banned the book and had me tossed out of the priesthood of the Orthodox Church.

However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s to trust my gut on matters of spiritual life and personal development. I’m so convinced I’m right about certain things to do with the history and development of Christianity, for instance, that all the opposition in the universe won’t even make a dent. Now, if someone comes to me with “new evidence” and can prove that I might be on the wrong track, I’ll happily listen. This isn’t an egotistical thing – it’s about what’s true and what’s not.  So far, no one has been able to present any evidence to the contrary.

And you can probably find a parallel in your own life.

The essence of TF is regaining your personal autonomy, no longer having your life controlled by the opinions of others, by what they think of you or say about you, by the standards of the prevailing culture – standards that always claim absolute truth is on their side, even though they differ from one culture to another and shift over time.

It is NOT POSSIBLE to do anything significant in life if you don’t have a TF, simply because anything worth doing WILL bring criticism. People WILL try to drag you down to their level. They WILL be jealous of your accomplishments and rain on your parade. Get used to it now and determine from this moment on to adopt a TF.

Fortunately, everyday life gives you lots of opportunities to practice. Think about it and make a list of what you’ll do this week to practice!  First, you need to know who you are and what you stand for.  What values are non-negotiable for you?  What activities and pursuits mean the most to you?  What makes you happy and fulfilled?  Then ask yourself what people or social pressures in your life are “asking” you (overtly or in a subtle way) to abandon what’s important to you?  Hint: they’ll be the ones telling you to “grow up”, “be responsible”, “be realistic”, “be a team player”, etc.

THICK FACE AS A WARRIOR PHILOSOPHY

Chin-Ning Chu was quite right to call TFBH a “warrior philosophy” in her subtitle. In fact, I’m convinced that the warrior traditions of the world’s “Authentic Ancient Traditions” (as I called them in The 5 Pillars of Life) already contain the essence of TFBH, simply because TFBH describes your natural state once you’re rid of all the cultural conditioning that’s holding you back.

In the next post, we’ll go on to discuss how TFBH can give you COMPLETE CLARITY about what you want to do, and very quickly!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


How to "Live Each Day as Your Last"

You’ll remember from last time that we said the biggest advantages to living each day as your last are:

1. If you live each day as your last, you’ll never succumb to petty emotional reactions


2. You’ll do nothing carelessly ever again – your actions will be increasingly filled with power


3. And because you’re increasingly conscious of the eternal consequences of your choices, you’ll stop wasting this precious life and start making spiritual progress

You may have noticed there’s a big difference between “remembering your death” and “living each day as if it were your last”.  It’s easy to remember intellectually that your time in this world is limited.  Everyone of us 6+ billion people is aware of that fact.  But that’s a far cry from the power that comes from living each day as your last.

To harvest the benefits of “living each day as your last”, you have to commit to training yourself to do just that.  There are no short-cuts here.  This means focusing all your efforts on living deliberately, on disengaging the autopilot of habit and taking full responsibility for even the smallest decision you make. 

Spiritual traditions, like Orthodox Christianity or Tibetan Buddhism teach this principle so that people will avoid self-destructive actions and use their limited time for spiritual advancement.  Martial traditions, like the Samurai, promoted it because this practice gives you greatly heightened situational awareness, and in the Samurai’s world, situational awareness was just about the only thing standing between you and your last day. 

The bottom line, though, is this practice is central to developing your resilience.  Back in 1982, a certain British soldier on the remote Falkland Islands watched in horror as a massive  Argentinian force invaded.  As he tells the story, his initial reaction was sheer terror.  Then, for some reason, he experienced a sudden inner shift.  He accepted the fact he was about to die, and from that moment on he was able to take positive action.  Of course, he ended up surviving the war, but having learned a priceless lesson that no classroon could ever teach.

Some lessons in life can’t be taught; they can only be learned.  And living each day as your last is just such a lesson.  For more information, go have a look at pages 247-8 of The 5 Pillars of Life.  Great info?  Yes.  However it’s nothing more than an interesting read unless you put it into practice. 

So go try it out and have some fun.  Fun??  Yes, fun!  Make a game out of it.  The same way you change your physical diet to see if your stomach feels better, you can change your mental diet to see how adopting a different focus, like “living each day as your last”, makes you feel.  At first it’ll be hard to stay focused, of course, so don’t beat yourself up.  Just have fun with it and see what happens. 

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger




















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