Thursday, May 15, 2008

Zen, and the art of...

Once upon a time I worked at a library on weekends, mostly to entertain myself with high-speed internet and being in a one room building with 26,000 volumes. Occasionally I ordered a book through the InterLibrary Loan program, so I could read something not in the library. One day an order of mine came in, what I expected to be a dry and highly technical book, and I found myself surprised, quietly tucked into a corner out of pestering range of the patrons, reading what would become one of my favorite books in general, much less on a specialized topic.
Its a good book - Indeed a bit dry, but with a lot of value to its contents.
There are many side-notes in the book, important single points from the main body of the text. They are quite "guiding", and I thought I'd share a few.

"The seer and the seen exist only in confusion. There is only the seeing."

You can act "without thought, without effort, without limitations. You must first understand those limitations."

"...concern yourself only with what is happening and how you are feeling. That will leave no room for what 'might happen' or 'just happened'."

"An idea is merely a formulation of thought as a symbol; and the effort to live up to that symbol brings about a contradiction."

"Concentration can exist through awareness; but awareness cannot exist through concentration."

"The truth - that which is actually happening - cannot be written down or spoken about. Once it becomes spoken or written down, it is knowledge. And knowledge is not truth, because knowledge is fixed in time. And truth is ever moving and changing, without regard to time. Truth is outside of all knowledge, of all thought. As soon as you pause to reflect, it is not truth."

"You can never learn to act. You can only learn as you act. Never limit yourself to what you know." (Slightly paraphrased...)

"Free yourself from the 'do this to get that' syndrome."

"The truth beyond the technique. The application beyond the analysis. The means beyond the methods. Here's where we stop thinking and start" acting.

"Pay attention! Nothing more really needs to be said. Most people aren't going to accept the truth of that because it is just too simple. They ask, What do I pay attention to? Just pay attention to what's happening. Its all right there before you. You must learn to see what you haven't been seeing. Find something that's out there and pay attention to it!"

"You see with your mind. Your mind and body work togather. When your body is tense, your mind is tense, 'sticky' also. And when your mind is tense, so is your vision."

"The only true limit is in the body's nervous system. Anything less implies interference from lack of attention."

"Any time you plan for action based on an idea, what happens? When you actually meet the idea - down to the finest detail - it is never the same as you had pictured it, and so your response will be lacking in creativity."

"Confidence is an emotion created by concious thought. By its very nature it can work for you or against you. When you step up" to act, "let the emotion of confidence yield to pure action."

"Do not become caught up or attached to the idea of knowing how to do something. The knowing is not it. There is only the doing."

"Everything in this book could be wrong...
Check it out for yourself. It's you who has to learn. You won't learn by copying an idea - you have to experience it for yourself. When you become the experience, you will have learned, possibly without understanding."

The quotes above all come from the book "Practical Shooting" by Brian Enos. It is about effectively working with a handgun to affect hits. I studied it to improve my ability to affect terminal effect with a handgun.
The words however apply to much more, so much more. Everything is intertwined.
Art in all things.

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