Saturday, June 03, 2006

Detachment is not apathy.

A common misunderstanding - at least I think it's common, since it's something I halfway thought for a long time - is that detachment, in the Buddhist sense, is the same thing as apathy. But I think the quote below by James Ray says how I think of it now in the clearest way I've come across.

Detachment means, to me, detachment from specific outcomes. When you let go of the stress of demanding that things turn out a certain way, that is detachment. You can live with total compassion and concern, but only right now. By concentrating fully on the present experience of the moment, this moment, NOW, you can actually care about something more fully than ever.

Work in each passing moment for what you consider the highest right and greatest good. And as you do that, the results you intend, in each moment, will manifest. But the kicker is that it doesn't matter if it does manifest, because this moment, whatever it is, is perfect as long as you engage fully with it.

["Are you paying attention?... This moment is the only thing that matters. - Peaceful Warrior] - Remember?

James Ray International :: Create wealth in all areas of your life: Financial, Relational, Intellectual, Physical and Spiritual. Practical results through spiritual growth.:
"If you can immerse yourself in living, then you can detach while you are still fully engaged. Sound contradictory? It's not.

You can set goals and work to achieve great things in your life. At the same time, you can live each day for its own sake rather than some future return. You can stop living as if every experience is a means to an end and see that every experience is an end in itself.

Most people live everywhere but the present.

Some of us dwell in the past, reliving good memories or trying to change bad ones. Many more are on that treadmill, running to get to somewhere else. But this kind of living brings limited power and limited joy when compared to what you have when you are fully engaged in what you're doing and being right now."

Friday, June 02, 2006

Posture, physiology, mindset, psychology...

One of the general ideas from the Robbins branch of NLP is that how you feel can be affected by your posture. Your physiology. How you carry yourself in your body's structure has an effect on emotional state. It seems counterintuitive to those who approach the idea from a strictly western scientific mindset, thought they're beginning to catch on, see this study how botox was used to treat depression [that is of course meeting with the expected resistance], but from a holistic standpoint, the separation we make between the mind and body is purely a linguistic one. The fact that we separate our mind and body in our language doesn't reflect "reality", just our bias. The placebo effect, of course, speaks to this...

I've found the point made below, the typical American posture that's developing - all rounded, compact and sloped - does have a signficant effect on how I feel. It makes me more lethargic, depressed, tired... Lengthening, elongating, stretching more, generally makes me feel better. But sitting all day, and with bad posture, is a recipe for depression. Get up, move and stretch.

Expert Blogs Yoga for You - Opening Up the Body on Yahoo! Health:
"There is a national posture going on, and we seem to be handing it down to the next generation. Our chests are collapsed, our shoulders rounded forward, and our pelvises tucked. This is a funny way to try to protect ourselves, not so unusual but not so effective. This posture ends up stressing our heart, creating depression, causing neck and lower back problems, and blocking digestion. It's not a bad idea when being physically attacked to try to protect your vital organs, but to assume this posture day in and day out, all day long is surely debilitating to the natural functions of the body. Every so often, you see an older person in Asia who has worked in the rice fields all their life and is now permanently hunched over. Let's make sure this does not happen to us."

Amen and hallelujah...

Expert Blogs Yoga for You - Scheduling Down Time on Yahoo! Health:
"It makes me think of the 4-6 week summer breaks that most Europeans take and how it is important to see this kind of break as an essential part of your year if at all economically possible.

Some have said that Americans live to work and that it might be more human if we learned to work in order to live. It seems our fear and our greed keep us imprisoned by and married to materialism."

An experiment...

In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, and for the highest good of all, I'm so happy, thrilled and grateful to have a body that is lean, fit, healthy, strong, supple and relaxed.

In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, and for the highest good of all, I'm so happy, thrilled and grateful to have $150,000 extra this year.

In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, and for the highest good of all, I'm so happy, thrilled and grateful to have a great relationship with my affectionate, beautiful, loving, sexy and smart wife.


From an email exchange with one of my oldest, dearest and sweetest friends... whom I love and care for dearly and always will. That being said, we have the profoundest difference of opinion on religious issues... the way many practice and think about the belief structures of traditional Christianity truly astounds and befuddles me. The exchange started off with her forwarding a religious themed "Good News" message, whose intent and offer of comfort I understand, but it reflects such a naivete and narrowness of perspective that it absolutely I lack the ability to not respond to it...

One day I'll be mature enough and have enough perspective to let this kinda thing slide. May not be soon though.

Extracts [the bits in quotes/italics are part of the Good News message, my responses the rest of it]


"God has spoken. He has also told us what He expects of us."

Which God? Which time?

I assume you refer to Jehovah/Yahweh/etc, so do you mean the old or new testament? Or to the Koran [same God] or the Book of Mormon [same dude]?

"Some religions just ignore the problem and assume it does not exist, as if there is no sin. Other religions tell us that as long as we can do enough good stuff to offset the bad, we should be ok (although it may require several lifetimes)."

Wow, what an amazingly oversimplified lack of understanding regarding other faiths

"If God is perfect and just, then we can not be good enough to make it on our own."

Being completely and totally forthright and honest and non-snarky here... this is the part I absolutely don't understand. Not even the reasoning used to arrive at it. My question is, if "God is perfect and just" then why didn't he make us so that we could make it on our own? Why would god set up a system where he intentionally hobbled and crippled our capabilities? Sounds like that god would have some serious co-dependency issues, setting up a system that requires us to need and worship him lest we be tortured for all eternity in pain and suffering.

Seriously, explain that to me. [Yeah, really. Anybody, anywhere have an explanation for that? Anybody? Bueller? -Rob]

"The Good News is that God has blotted out our transgressions. God Himself has dealt with our sin. It is no longer our problem."

So he has blotted out the transgressions that he himself first levied upon us. How beneficient of him. And I can't even begin to deal with that last bit of it being "no longer our problem"... considering it's the ultimate get out of jail free card to blow off personal responsibility and honestly, if it's "no longer" our problem, how is that different that the idea of no "sin" amongst the pagan folk?

My ill informed opinion... There is no sin. Sin is a social construct for societal manipulation and control by authoritarian power structures. The concept of original sin is the worst of these. Brainwashing children from the cradle that they are somehow evil, fallen, dirty or corrupt. I can think of little as crippling or as horrible than destroying young minds and psyches that way.

No sin, no punishment. Only not living to you're highest right. Not expanding your consciousness and compassion in the greatest possible way, the real reason you chose to come to this time and this place. "There is no true sin, only 'missing the mark', and this consists of hurting others intentionally." [That's from Fundamentals of Hawaiian Mysticism by Charlotte Berney, btw - Rob]

You require a commandment to tell you what to do? Harm nothing and no one with hatred. You're done.

Well, at least this explains all the Jehovah's Witnesses who constantly come a callin'...

Japan is proud home of Christ's tomb - World - Times Online:
"......According to the account in the Christ Museum next to the tombs, Christ arrived in Japan at the age of 21 and learnt Japanese before returning to Judaea 12 years later to engage in his mission and preach about the “holy land of Japan”. The official Shingo history is that Jesus’s place on the Cross was “casually” taken by his brother, leaving Christ free to return to Japan. On his return he fell in love with Miyuko, a local girl, and lived happily with his family among the rice fields until dying aged 106.

Norihide Nagano, the straight-faced curator of the tombs, says that the theory that the grave does contain the remains of Jesus is supported by several pieces of evidence. [This is actually kind of fascinating - Rob] There is the local tradition, dating back hundreds of years, of drawing a charcoal cross on babies’ heads; and ancient kimonos made in the area incorporated a Star of David.

...“Did you enjoy the museum?” asks Mr Nagano. “If you did, I recommend you go to Ishikawa district. They have the tomb of Moses there.”"


The Jesus Sundae with the Moses topping!

You cannot beat that.

Of course others disagree.

Tomb of Jesus in Japan:
"Information given to tourists and visitors in Herai and propagated by the media seems severely distorted. It is implied that Jesus acquired all his knowledge from scholars in Japan, went to Judea to teach and then escaped crucifixion. Someone else died on the cross. There was no resurrection. This “legend” cannot be true, because 'Japanese Jesus' DID NOT preach and did not perform ANY miracles when he came to Japan after allegedly escaping crucifixion. How could Christ forget everything He knew?

[You just can't argue with that kind of logic can you? - Rob]

...Indeed, when we disregard myths, religions, fanatical doctrines, biased interpretations, emotions etc, and concentrate on facts, we have to accept the fact that Christ died on the cross and came back to life after nearly 3 days."

See, when you disregard myths, religions and biased interpretations, it's clear that the only logical answer is that a man died and then came back to life.

Happens all the time.

The mind reels, I tell you what...

Undokai IX - Inspiration!!!!

Can't believe I forgot to post these with the others...

Nagano-sensei was an all-around kick-ass inspirational madman! Waving flags, running and yelling... I think he might have had as much fun as the kids. Great spirit!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

More Dojo Scars

Man do I wish guys would start cutting their nails before throwing and grappling practice.

At least it wasn't Shoda sensei this time...

[Though he did point, laugh and say in English "Wife? Girlfriend?" Veeeery funny motherfu**er... very funny.]

Not my night. Jaw was getting tagged repeatedly and was getting tapped like a typewriter. Oh well, some days you're the train and some days you're the tracks.

And then some days you're a poor defenseless animal who was in the wrong place and the wrong time and got smooshed by the passing train... leaving you to slowly pass from this plane of existence wondering what the hell happened.

[Guess which one I feel like?]

Meta - Picture

Or, again, a picture of a picture.

The staff pic at my Jr High, where I do most of my ALT'ing. Had I known beforehand, yes, I'd have dressed nicer. And yes, I am the pale, bald one, 2nd row.

As always, make with the clicky to see it bigger.

See, Sandy says she's givin' me *crazy eyes*...

...but I think she's adorable. Check out that kickin' hair stylin'!

How I like my religion...

...sweet, sugary and on a stick!

That's Buddha for those of you who can't make it out.

A Buddha lollipop.

I love Japan.

The Kobe Conference

All things considered, Kobe's conference for recontracting JET's wasn't the total waste just about everybody told me it would be.

There were some good presentations mixed in with the less than useful ones.

And I got to ride the Shinkansen for the first time.

Note the little touches - the arm rest on the window - that are the hallmark of Japanese thinking and courtesy.

Sadly, it didn't remain this empty the whole trip.

The Hotel accomodations were quite spiffy... note the flat screen TV and good balcony views...

And Bobby was my roomate [he that's giving the crazy eyes in the picture - though once I did wake up in the middle of the night to find him hovering over my bed with the same look. Odd, huh?], a nice and pleasant fella from Hawaii who's a pleasure hang with. At least that's what I tell him to his face [Hi Bobby!].

The young lady stuffing her grill is Sara [Hi Sara!], another Hawaii refugee and friend of Bobby's [poor Sara!] who joined Bobby and me at very cool Kobe Jazz club one night [Sone] and afterwards was forced to endure our company as we leeched on to her. Very nice and sweet girl, far too good for the company she was forced to keep.

Undokai VIII - The Best Part [or... why America sucks]

Best part of the day.

Stack children as high as feasible.

Launch them towards each other and have them push, pull, wrestle, choke, gouge, and smack each other in an attempt to knock each other down on the hard, unforgiving dirt.


[And oh... this is why America sucks... imagine trying to pull this off in an American Jr High School. Lawsuits would be a flyin'...]

Undokai VII - Synchronize Everything!

Dances and Musical Performances were also a big part of the day.

Japan loves a good synchronized dance, let me tell ya.

The kids were really impressive.

Undokai VI - Visiting High School Cheerleaders

There's just something about the phrase itself - "high school cheerleaders" - that makes one feel lecherous, isn't there?

Had a kick ass routine tho'

Undokai V - Sports Team Relay [Judo kicks Ass]

They had the clubs do a relay race where, instead of batons, they used something from their club. The baseball team used a bat, the softball team a glove, the volleyball team a pole with a volleyball on it, the band had instruments, etc... All very cool.

But the hands down kick ass best team was the Judo club.

Who ran the relay passing off this huge tatami mat from the dojo on their backs.

The came in dead last and a full lap behind everybody else.

And to finish it off, they threw down the mat and did throws on it.


Undokai IV - The March of Forever

Japanese school events feature marching.

A lot of marching.

It actually reminded me of nothing so much as parade practice back at the Naval Academy. I felt bad for them.

But one cool march-on was when all the sports clubs came out in uniform... pretty nifty.

Undokai III - Rodeo

This event was great. Stack the kids up and have them knock over stuff with a ball in a net on the end of a rope. But the absolute best part was the shit-kickingest hillbilly country western come-to-Jesus music they played over the loudspeakers at the same time. I swear I love Japan sometimes.

Undokai II - Synchronized Group Jump Rope

Japan's emphasis on the harmony and cooperation of large groups starts early.

Yes it does.


Or sports festival/sports day. Basically it's a field day/track meet type event that differs from those in the states in that they rehearse for about two weeks - seriously, two weeks of school time, half days, where all they do is march, run and sing. Over and over and over again. Kind of blows the idea that all Japanese kids do is study all the time, huh? It might seem like a bit of overkill, but it's a really big deal for the school. The actual Undokai is on the weekend and all the parents, families, board of education and PTA members turn out. It was really fun and kind of cool.