“You can't organize truth. That's like trying to put a pound of water into wrapping paper and shaping it”
Most of us know Bruce Lee as a famous Chinese movie star in martial arts films. His family, friends, and those lucky enough to be his students knew him also as an innovative thinker, a philosopher, and a scholar with a deep understanding of Chinese Taoist and Zen philosophy.
Lee founded a new fighting system, which he called jeet kune do, loosely translated as “the way of the intercepting fist.” As Daniel Lee, one of his students, explains the style integrated thinking from the Chinese sage Lao-tzu, the author of the Tao te ching. Says Lao-tzu:
Tao is that from which all things in the universe are created. The process by which all things are created is produced by this energy or Ch'i, which originates from Tao. This energy is divided into two aspects: Yin and Yang. All things in the universe have Yin energy and Yang energy. When Yin and Yang energies merge together, they produce a state of harmony.
John Little, one of the world's foremost authorities on Bruce Lee, immersed himself in the research and study of the Lee's philosophy, reviewing Lee's personal notes, sketches and reading annotations to give us The Warrior Within: the Philosophies of Bruce Lee. A rich testimony on how to access our untapped power through an open mind and a treasure trove of wisdom.
When asked if he thought of himself as Chinese or an American Bruce Lee responded, “I think of myself as a human being.” Many of the divisions we like to make to keep the world orderly and gain some sense of control are at best attempts to wrap water in paper and shape it, at their worst expressions of excuses we make up to hide our fear and shame.
There is a third way, and that is to learn and master what is essential to us and what isn't. A famous Chinese t'ai chi ch'uan master teacher noticing how hist students were learning many unrelated martial arts while taking his t'ai chi lessons says:
Many students make the mistake of neglecting that which is near (that which is readily available and essential to you) to pursue what is far (other martial arts that are nonessential or not related to the very art you are learning). Your error in judgement and pursuit will take you thousands of miles off course. Therefore, you must be careful to make a clear distinction between what is essential to you and what is not.
Maintaining a coherent self is important to be able to attend to projects and life. Which is why it's important to understand what's worth paying attention to and what to value. Any relationship we enter into occupies our mind and uses our energy. This includes our relationship with our self.
Bruce Lee thought about life force as energy:
I feel I have this great creative and spiritual force within me that is greater than faith, greater than ambition, greater than confidence, greater than determination, greater than vision. It is all these combined... Whether it is the godhead or not, I feel this great force, this untapped power, this dynamic something within me. This feeling defied description, and there is no experience with which this feeling may be compared. It is something like a strong emotion mixed with faith, but a lot stronger.
Today marks the tenth anniversary of this blog. It's been a journey made of thousands and thousands of hours, which I have kept and intend to keep ad free. Stay tuned for what's next and opportunities for loyal readers.