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Ask yourself this question

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with a master of the martial arts. By the name of Chris Natzki which I share has part of episode 160 of the podcast. If you haven’t had the chance to listen that one. You should give a listen. Because I really think you’d enjoy it.

Since the time we spent putting that conversation together I’ve really reflecting on the idea of zen. What it truly means, how it applies to my practice, and I bring it into the everyday world.

If your like me, the first thought that comes to mind when someone saids the word zen is a state of calmness. Maybe it’s just the packaging behind the buzz word. After all those get thrown around to get people excited about an idea. But honestly how dose it effect how we move through the world being zen, let alone even get there?

Much like how Chris talked about forging his state of zen in the dojo. I wanted to better understand how I’ve built my relationship with zen in through my outdoor hobbies. Since after all those two worlds look so different. For Chris the bulk of the time spent was inside of four walls and sparing with another human being. The wildness doesn’t have walls and your sparing partner has fur or fins. Not mention there’s often rain, snow and extreme temps to deal with.

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Where I find myself always coming back to in my reflection is the idea of surrender. Because without accepting the conditions your in your in more times than not you’ll go home empty handed, and the adventure will just be horrible.

By not surrendering to factors out of your control your just not going to think things through. Of course you can check the weather and gear up accordingly so your a bit more comfortable on the outing. Still you have to physically be there and put yourself in the environment.

It works the same in the everyday world too. You will encounter countless factors you can’t control. All you can do is gear yourself up to meet them in the best space you can. Still just like being out in the woods on a blew zero day in the middle of snow storm. To chase those birds you know will right where you want them. You have to go out there. Just like in life, you want to experience it to the fullest. Which means you gotta go out and live it regardless of what you encounter.

What it really comes down to is conscious decision on our part. You know that you have the option to say no to that wilderness adventure that’s going to test you. Still you chose to go, and you even set yourself up with the mindset to persevere your way through it.

So why not tie that into the daily world. Since we all know that though out the day we will encounter people that try to under our skin or ruin our state of mind. It’s not their behaviors or even the events of the day that ruin the day. The bad mood or bad day happens because we chose to let it happen.

There’s this saying left behind by Epictetus. Where he talks about how every decision has two handles. There’s a smooth handle and a ruff handle. With the smooth handle representing that calm and zen state of mind. Of course it’s not always easy and most of the time. However if your embracing the suck factor in order to stalk your pray in the wilderness. Why then can’t you do the same when your state of mind is on the line?

The next your facing a challenge ask yourself this very question. I’m pretty sure it will help you to remember that moment will pass. It’s just a simple question to help to you on the path to zen. As well as to keep you making choices that keep you on the path.


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