We’ve all witnessed Martial Arts experts effortlessly and gracefully break boards and bricks with just their bare hands. You can too, as long as you harbour no doubt, resistance, or shrinking back when you strike. Behind these activities lies a lot of physics.
•Speed not strength is the key.
•No time to be timid.
•100% commitment to follow through.
•No self doubt.
Give it 99% commitment, then the physics wins! The board and brick workshops are a great metaphor for learning how to control limiting self talk, setting past goals and breaking through challenges and self doubts.
This is self-help plus. But like reading self-help books, the effect doesn't last long (for best selling self-help books, the effect may last as short as a week-end and one have to pick up another book again, or forget about "the whole damn thing" when on Monday your boss or spouse is onto you again!). That means to keep the effect going, one has to go on firewalks or board breaking workshops periodically or regularly. Like going to regular group dynamics workshops run by psychologists for similar purpose. Fire walks and board breaking are no longer popular nowadays in town.
The IN thing is mindfulness training. Recently the English channel of a local TV station ran a documentary on this trend. Why English channel? Because Western educated middle-class locals are more onto it.
What is it? This is what is being said in a website on the subject:
It’s a busy world. You fold the laundry while keeping one eye on the kids and another on the television. You plan your day while listening to the radio and commuting to work, and then plan your weekend. But in the rush to accomplish necessary tasks, you may find yourself losing your connection with the present moment—missing out on what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. Did you notice whether you felt well-rested this morning or that forsythia is in bloom along your route to work?
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in happiness.
In essence mindful meditation is junior/lightweight Zen meditation. Full weight Zen meditation has its benefits and shortcomings as I discussed in a previous post: Why Zen meditation does not work (and how to make it work). Mindfulness meditation is a marketing concept. It is meant to devoid from specific religion and to aim at transforming the age-old Zen training objectives into one with more relevancy to the modern men, in particular company executives and professionals with a more Westernized and scientific mind. As marketing is, it is all about getting people to open their purse.
Only little effort is required, perhaps a little more than reading a popular self-help book, though such little effort can sometimes be elevated/marketed into "hard core" or "the real thing", or any power concept one can imagine. The benefits are huge. Boosting one's morale, instilling a positive outlook, a calmer mind for more vigorous secular tasks, good husband/wife, good parent, good worker, good neighbor etc etc being promised.
A guarantee for easy gain nullifies a practice where hard work is required. A fallacy committed by many, not just mindfulness meditators. It is so easy for an internal art to be practised as low-impact routine, up to a point where the core is totally lost. The gist of the matter is if one cannot change oneself physically first in the internal arts aiming at mind transformation, one has to go back to get spoon-fed/encouraged mentally (well, with some limited physical efforts) to keep the effect going. There is a good reason why the internal arts are called mind-body exercises. Both mind and body conditioning are equally important in our art.