Journey to Awareness

I came upon thoughts by Robert Knowlton that I had seen before but not truly taken to heart until this reading.   Living on purpose is not a final destination. It is a journey.   We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by living our lives with a purpose. So, why don’t we? I recognize a feeling when I am living a certain way. I am a guide, a teacher, a coach, a husband and a student. When I am living in accord with my calling, I am energized and excited, especially when I make my contribution to those whose lives I touch. Everyone is unique. Students I have worked with over the past years are also living on purpose. Through the process of learning by studying the ART of Karate, there is discovery.   They realize how their unique contribution comes through them.

“The Wizard of Oz” is a movie where we find Dorothy and her friends experiencing what they think is life and they finally meet the wizard? They were filled with fear as they began to interact with the booming voice of the wizard. When forced, they risked disagreeing with the wizard. He reacted with an even louder and more threatening voice. He was indignant that someone would challenge “the great and mighty Wizard of Oz.” Just as Dorothy and her friends were feeling overwhelmed at the force of this voice, Toto, Dorothy’s dog, ran to the source of the sound and pulled back a curtain. What was behind it? A small, sweet man who was not nearly as frightening as they had imagined. This happened after all of their other adventures and growth into the people they were intended to be but were too afraid to become. Fear, left unchallenged it can seem incredibly powerful. When we pull the curtain back and see fear for what it is, then it is not nearly such an imposing force. It no longer needs to be avoided or run from.

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. You express your purpose in everything you do. Your purpose is not your job; it is in whom you are. Your mission is to get to know the process, of finding self-knowledge, which is not a one-time event. You may get flashes of insight now and then but knowing yourself and your natural expression of your purpose is an ongoing journey.

Some readers may be thinking, “It’s easy for him to say ‘live on purpose’ . . . he knows what his purpose is.” Knowing what to do and doing it are two different things. I know how my unique contribution shows up, I acknowledge my role as a coach and guide for others, and I appreciate my natural gifts. Yet, I still struggle to live my life in full awareness and on purpose. The biggest thing that stops me from living on purpose is ‘not’ living on purpose.

To paraphrase an old Zen story, one monk asked another, “What kind of person can wake up to living on purpose? The other monk replied, “One of our awakened teachers said if you want to realize this thing of purpose, you must be a person of purpose.” Like many Zen riddles, to understand it, we must live it.

The idea is to be you. To be a person of purpose – which is an ongoing process. I’ve been working on it for many years and I’m grateful for my teachers! I am coming to accept this is a process. There is no end game, no final arrival. We experience moments of awareness, moments of waking up to ourselves, living the questions until perhaps we begin to notice we are living the answers and living on purpose. Keep doing your work. Keep seeking and asking and keep noticing. It is only by your efforts that your purpose may be revealed to you.

Your adventures on your yellow brick road or with your riddles of life are the challenges that create growth and help you become aware of your ultimate purpose. Enjoy the journey.

Mushin (mind or no mind)

Mushin is a state of mind. D.T. Suzuki wrote at length on the subject of mushin. It is a non thought, a mind without thought or no thought. A hard concept to understand. How can one function with an empty mind?

An essential basic concept of Zen Buddhism. Mushin can mean, “mind without thought”, “non-thought”, “unconsciousness”. This is not meant to be interpreted as stupidity or empty-headedness, more a removal of the process of conscious thought as a precursor to action.

The goal of mushin is to eliminate the diversions and confusion that often comes with the operation of conscious mind, so that the result or response is natural and effective.

Our minds have a way of introducing no end of complications into our daily tasks, whether by reminding us of our fears or shortcomings, presenting us with multiple alternatives we feel obliged to consider, complicating our normal speaking response with qualifications and details. This is not always bad but in many situations our gut response, our natural reaction is the best. Mushin causes a flow in our response to daily stimuli without complication. Think of mushin as a “free mind” or “clear mind.@

Mushin and Karate

In karate the very essence of mushin is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Practice your moves, attacks, feints, defensive tactics, repeatedly and again until the action is second nature, but the inspiration of a stimulus for the action creates the response without conscious thought intervening. In any self-defense situation the smallest amount of reaction time can make the difference between victory or defeat, life or death. The ability to flow almost mindlessly gives you an advantage over an opponent who is thinking about what to do next.

  1. T. Suzuki said it best, “Mushin is the body thinking, if you understand that, you can understand Zen.”! Mushin enables the body to react without thinking. If you think too long, your opponent will be quicker than you.

      “What we think, or what we know, or what we believe, is in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do!”  John Ruskin From “Timeless Wisdom”

Our Deepest Fearby Marianne Williamson

from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”


Congratulations to the people who earned promotions since our last newsletter: Ralphie Donica, Manu Param – Junior Yellow Belt – – Samantha Heinrich – Junior Green Belt #1


THERE WILL BE NO CLASSES DECEMBER 24th & 25th. Have a Wonderful Christmas!

Posted in Dojo Newsletter.