The following discussion is reproduced from the thread Good Thoughts, Words and Deeds — The Shaolin Arts and Daily Life .started in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum on 2nd August 2007

Jonny Say Sifu Jonathan Say
Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Scotland
13th August 2007

Driving with the Brakes On

This is an analogy my Shaolin brother Jamie and I have taken to use when part of one's lifestyle impedes the positive results of one's training.

The words of Sigung

A healthy lifestyle is important. If his lifestyle is bad, such as drinking and gambling excessively and constantly harbouring evil thoughts, even practicing high-level chi kung daily will not make him healthy, happy and peaceful.

The above examples are of extreme cases that will seriously impede the results of one's practice. Some examples of less extreme cases of "driving with the breaks on" are.

If one feels stuck in a career which is leaving one feeling unfulfilled. We are fortunate that in these cases our training in the Shaolin Arts will give us the mental clarity to decide what we want to do and the courage and confidence to make the necessary steps to do so.

If ones diet and lifestyle are particularly poor. Of course we are lucky in training the Shaolin Arts we can enjoy the choice treats and delicacies which others fear not to for health reasons. But if our diet is generally full of good quality, healthy and delicious foods then our chi will not be wasted on cleansing detrimental aspects of our diet and will go into our vitality. Similarly if we over indulge in excessive Alcohol then our energy will go into recovery from these impacts rather than for example building internal force. Of course many of us enjoy fine wine or good beer .

If we harbour negative thoughts, speak negative words or perform negative deeds then these will negate the benefits of our practice. This can manifest through negative relationships, therefore we must ensure that our friendships are built around open hearts.

My reasoning for mentioning these examples and the principle of "driving with the brakes on" is that I have found it useful to examine all aspects of my life to ensure they are manifesting the Spirit of Shaolin. By doing so I have been able to increase the benefits of my practice greatly.

There are subtle layers to be aware of with the concept of "driving with the brakes on". These principles are not excuses to run away from the responsibilities of ones life. I will use the questions and answers to clarify what I mean :

Moreover, we aim for a “vertical shift” rather than a “horizontal shift”. In other words, by improving your skills you can be relaxed and healthy in London or any places in the whole world. You don't have to change your working habits or place of residence. Your shift to relaxation and health is by moving upward in living skills, and not by moving horizontally away from your daily work and play.

In many cases as we deepen our skills in the Shaolin Arts elements of our lifestyles which used to seem like problems no longer bother us. As our hearts open and our spirits expand we can find understanding where there may have been anger and joy where there may have been depression.

I would welcome people's experiences and views on this topic.

Sifu Jonathan Say
Shaolin Wahnam Scotland

I would like to share with you a great cosmic truth. What you are and will be, is what you think. If one constantly thinks of himself as being sick and unhappy, he will be sick and unhappy. It is very important that you must always have noble thoughts — of yourself and of others. And especially when your mind has become powerful, you must always use it for good.
Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

Jamie Robson Sifu Jamie Robson
Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Scotland
13th August 2007

Life is Chi Kung

Dear Jonny

Congratulations on your excellent thread Brother!

As mentioned within this discussion, 'Application In Daily Life' is essential. Within our school we emphasise the development of 'skills'. These skills are derived from correct, daily practice. Within time, these skills naturally over-flow into our daily life.

We can speed up this process using 'mindfulness'. To be mindful of oneself, we can choose where and when to apply our varying skills. Letting Go, Smiling From The Heart and using a One-Pointed Mind are but some examples. Knowing when and how to utilise these tools is a gift we must always appreciate, this will attract further progression.

To separate our daily scheduled training with daily living is a mistake.

Within our practice we aspire towards union with Him, God, Brahman, Allah, the Cosmos. This union need not be severed once we complete our formal session. Indeed, the beauty of (daily) life should strengthen our Love with the Cosmos. Like a fish submerged in water, we are always surrounded by energy. To bathe in it, to drink this cosmic wine whilst walking down the street or sharing dinner with friends is a birthright. You are entitled to this bliss, do not feel guilty or selfish. For once you begin to fill yourself with this bliss, like our skills, it will over-flow into our loved ones life. This in turn will enhance your relationship between the Self and Him.

Enjoy your day

Jamie Robson
Shaolin Wahnam Scotland
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