Xmas Stress 2010

Christmas man with treeChristmas is near and again, it looks like the end of the road. Opening the door for the new year could be great, if there wasn’t your crazy monkey mind reminding you of all the gifts you did not buy yet, your missed goals of 2010, the quality of relations these days and suddenly – you are real down. Xmas, sounds like X-Men to me, you have to be a superhero to break through the stress window in December!

So what about the quality of sleep, your dreams, your hopes and fears? If you had a manual for your life, like the book of not knowing, would that change a thing? Can we learn, that happiness cannot be found (at least not with our regular approach…)?

In 2010, did you have enough energy for the good life? For me, forest bathing and the words of my perfect teacher were great tools to refill my battery. Next year, will you make (only) a sequel of the movie of your life or will you breathe to relax?

Stress and Sadness often go hand in hand and the relativity of time might teach you the value of emptiness. Try to enjoy a mini break here and there and remember that your blood type drives your stress type!

Let it sync, take a Power-Nap by ZEN-MEN, write more postcards, have a perfect tea time and stop waiting for a better offer. I have made 2512-Christmas to help you to relax in the Xmas harvest time – hopefully it is useful for you.

For the new year, I wish you all good health, much love and FUN to chop (the) wood! 🙂

ZEN-Sparring with Peter Ralston

Portrait of world champion Peter Ralston“Sparring is a form of training common to many martial arts. Although the precise form varies, it is essentially relatively ‘free-form‘ fighting…” Wikipedia.

World champion Peter Ralston and author of the books Cheng Hsin, Zen Body-Being and The Book of Not Knowing agreed to do some ‘free-form thinking’ with me. I did sent him some questions and he was so friendly to give us some kind of training with his detailed answers. Thank you, Peter!

Let’s do a warm-up:

5. Feelings: Anything we experience only has the value we put into it. If you feel hurt, who did *really* hurt you?

You have to experience not just that you are creating your emotions, but feel yourself in the act of creating the emotions.

6. Work: It seems we struggle day in, day out. What is the highest level of fighting?

One of the most important dynamics I learned while attempting to master fighting is that whenever I had trouble with an opponent — when the relationship was characterized as a struggle for me — I always found that I was mentally resisting the opponent being exactly the way that he was.

8. Love: Love is being the first one to give. Why are we afraid to love?

When you are afraid to love, or afraid of anything else for that matter, you imagine future negative consequences. If you didn’t imagine something bad might happen, then you would love freely, wouldn’t you?

Are you ready for the full, detailed training?
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The Book of Not Knowing

Book cover of The Book of not KnowingThe package from Amazon arrived and I thought: “Wow, quite heavy for one single book!” Opened the box and first of all I had to laugh 😀
Does it really take 581 pages to learn how to NOT know? In one word: Yes.

In the past I wrote about two other books of world champion Peter Ralston: Cheng Hsin and Zen Body-Being. The Book of Not Knowing is basically a manual how to dismantle Your-Self. Let’s do a flight through the table of contents (only a few extracts!):

  • Questioning the Obvious
  • A Powerful Openness
  • Beginning to Wonder
  • Knowing and Not-Knowing
  • Learning to Not-Know
  • Empty Your Cup
  • We Are Culture
  • What Is an Insight?
  • Authentic Experience
  • Honesty
  • What Is a Concept?
  • Concepts Dominate Our Perceptions
  • Masks and Hats
  • Looking for Self in All the Wrong Places
  • The Origins of Your Self
  • What Am I?
  • “Doing” versus “Being”
  • The Never-Ending Story of Me
  • Life in the Loop
  • Living as a False-Self
  • All about You
  • Social Survival
  • Survival Is Not Being
  • Changing from Reaction to Experience
  • On the Shoulders of Giants
  • Feeling Trapped
  • Creating a Place to Stand
  • Looking Both Ways
  • The Nature of Emotion
  • The Paradox of Being
  • A Final Word

Keep in mind, there are even more chapters/ topics in the book! My favorites are in the chapter The Nature of Reality: Fear and Anger

Peter leads the way a bit, provides reflective questions to help us to keep on going the path ourselves. If we would only believe the insights Peter talks about, we would just drop into another concept trap. Have you ever thought about how fear can exist? Fear is only possible in a future space-time and maybe you have already noticed, we live in the Now… A hint: fear is not pain…

Anger and a feeling of being hurt are close friends. You find the fuel for anger in your past. It’s up to you how much you feed that fire. Some let it burn until the therapist fires up the three silver bullets: “You have burnout!

If you know a lot, you are considered clever. If you don’t know much, you are labeled as dumb. Breathing in is a wise move if you like to stay alive - breathing out is considered as intelligent, too!

Besides being a manual, The Book of Not Knowing is also a kind of a dictionary, a travel guide, fun, a translator and liberator. If you are lost in translation at daytimes and are tired of your life in the loop at nighttimes, this book is for you. Thank you, Peter!

Amazon.com The Book of Not Knowing: Exploring the True Nature of Self, Mind, and Consciousness

Short feedback from Peter:

Thanks for writing about NK. Glad you enjoyed it.
Not sure if “Fear is not pain” will give readers a correct impression, but I doubt it really matters since they’ll have to read up on it anyway.
Thanks for the support, I appreciate it.

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Cheng Hsin and how to relax under fire

book cover of "Cheng Hsin: The Principles of Effortless Power" by Peter RalstonEffortless power – what would you do with it? Spice up your cooking skills, strengthen your conversation methods, boost your office work, enlighten your education or build a foundation for martial arts?

A while back I wrote about the book Zen Body-Being by Peter Ralston. By Peter’s suggestion, I red Cheng Hsin: The Principles of Effortless Power. So what is Cheng Hsin?

The Chinese characters cheng and hsin (pronounced “cheng shin”) offer us images which communicate the nature of “truth” and “being” — an appropriate title for a body of work that involves increasing consciousness on all levels of “being.”

Human beings tend to see and feel things separate of each other. Let’s do a short recall: where do we physically come from, who delivers our food, where does gravity pull us to – you might have guessed it, the Earth. It would be even logical to Mr. Spock to increase the focus on our connection between our body center and the Earth. If we allow our body position/ our spine to “fall” properly along gravity, we save energy and reduce stress.

A relaxed body and mind will give suitable answers to situations, while a uptight body and disturbed mind can only react.  The book will help you to find and keep your balance, to explore the core of your center and to encourage you to empty yourself. Imagine – an empty you, a relaxed mind, an open and free heart – suddenly, there’s nothing to protect… So if you are in danger or under fire, move! (… and get the book)

Amazon.com Cheng Hsin: Principles of Effortless Power

UPDATE: I wrote Peter Ralston an email about this blog post and asked him to optimize the content if needed. Here’s another friendly reply of him:


Thanks for the mention. Looks fine. It occurs to me from what you say and looking at your blog that you might be interested in what I consider my real work (what allowed the body-being and effortless power to emerge as they did) and that’s to be found in The Book of Not Knowing. I didn’t know you were interested in Zen and such, but it figures. This book is a big undertaking, and represents my life-work, but you can get a lot from simply the first few chapters. I think you might find it beneficial.
Be well,

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ZEN and martial arts

book cover of Zen Body-BeingWhat do ZEN and martial arts have in common? Do you need to be a professional in martial arts to build a ZEN garden? Maybe not but it might help. Peter Ralston started his studies in judo, aikido and tai-chi at the age of nine. In the year 1978 he won as first non-asian the full contact world championship in Taiwan. For him, this was the completion of one chapter, just to be able to start the next one: Zen Body-Being
His research in various techniques and his own profound life experience made him unveil his own method. In a nutshell, its about re-connecting your-self with your body, find the center and also physical/ geometrical middle of your body. Starting from that point a new body consciousness evolves and changes the way you move – yourself and things. He easily shows how to use the inner tension of your body to interact with objects and subjects. If you thought in the past, you push the not-working-car, with Peter Ralston method you rather just transfer the weight of the car into the ground and let the earth push the car using your natural body tension. Yes, it might sound weird at the start but try it. It might also improve your cooking, office work, home work, fitness, hockey and building your ZEN garden.

Amazon.com Peter Ralston – Zen Body-Being: An Enlightened Approach to Physical Skill, Grace, and Power

UPDATE: I wrote Peter Ralston an email about this blog post and asked him to optimize the content if needed. Here’s his friendly reply:

Thanks for that. The picture on the book was done by German publisher and doesn’t represent me or my work at all. I wouldn’t use the word “tension” as you do, we are all about relaxing and so tension is contrary to that; it is the “intrinsic” strength or the inherent binding force of the relaxed body that I am referring to and so tension gives a wrong impression. My German students say the translation of ZBB isn’t very accurate, but the translation of the Principles of Effortless Power (a different book) is much closer. So perhaps you could look at that book to get a better idea of some of the concepts mentioned in ZBB.

I did change the book cover picture to the original of the English version, the German cover Peter is talking about can still be found here. Furthermore I just ordered the Principles of Effortless Power book and will write about it here in the future. Thanks for the tip, Peter!

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