A philosopher asked the Buddha, "What is your method? What do you practice every day?"
"We walk, we eat, we wash ourselves, we sit down," the Buddha explained.
"What is so special about that? Everyone walks, eats, washes, sits down," the philosopher said.
"Sir," replied the Buddha, "when we walk, we are aware we are walking; when we eat, we are aware we are eating. When others walk, eat, wash, or sit down, they are generally not aware of what they are doing."
In Buddhism, mindfulness is the key. -- from Zen Keys by Thich Nhat Hanh
Are you mindful when you practice your gongfu?
Are you mindful when you are at work? Does your mind wander when talking to other employees or when sitting through meetings?
When in public, are you on a cell phone instead of being engaged in the world around you?
When your significant other is talking, do you zone out or are you mentally engaged in what they are saying?
Are you constantly multi-tasking?
Psychology Today reported that we lose 40% of our productivity when we attempt to multi-task.
Our brains are not wired to focus on more than one thing at a time with full attention.
But you know that, don't you? How much time have you wasted when you hop on Facebook to post something, and suddenly it is a half-hour later and you have spent the time hopping from one friend's post to another, clicking links, and then being distracted by another post? How many times have you logged off and then realized you had forgotten to do what you logged on for? Yeah, admit it. You have done it, too. So have I.
Mental Discipline is supposed to be a benefit of meditation and of practicing martial arts.
But mental discipline takes work. You know -- kung-fu. A skill developed over time through hard work.
There are many ways to apply the internal arts and philosophy into your daily life. But first, you have to calm the mind, and that requires work.
One of the best ways to "meditate" while doing any martial arts form is to simply be in the form; focus on the movements and the intent of the movements -- the body mechanics of good internal movement and the "intent" you would need to do the movement as an application.
You do not have to perform with a "blank" mind. Just getting into the form and eliminating other distracting thoughts is one way of meditating while doing the internal arts.
When doing Zhan Zhuang at the beginning of a practice, Chen Xiaowang might say something like, "Calm down. Listen behind you."
The goal is not to detach from everything.
The goal is to become connected, aware and part of everything. The goal is to be in the moment.
When you are in public, are you in the moment and aware of all things around you? When someone looks at you, are you looking back and able to engage or smile, or are you unable or unwilling to make eye contact?
Do you detach, or are you listening behind you?
At the gym, everyone plugs in their earbuds and will hardly make eye contact with others. We are not connected, not engaged -- we are isolated in public.
Who is the person standing behind you? You wouldn't know. You are not willing to give them that much attention, are you?
If you are a true internal artist, you are connected.
"Do you hear the grasshopper which is at your feet?" asked blind Master Po.
Young Caine looked down to see a grasshopper.
"Old man, how is it that you hear these things?" he asked.
Master Po replied, "Young man, how is it that you do not?"
Be mindful in your forms. Be mindful and engaged with the world around you. Calm your mind. The more distracted you are; the more you "multi-task," the less connected you can be.
Be here now. When walking through a grocery store, be there. When listening to your boss in a meeting, be mentally present. When doing your forms, become the movement.
And whatever you are doing, stop checking your cell phone every three minutes.
Calm your mind.
It is a goal we should all work to achieve. If we achieve it -- if we are able to be here now, in the moment, focusing our attention on what we are doing right now, everything we do is potentially part of our meditation practice.
-- by Ken Gullette