From Inexperience To Excellence: The Path of Self-Development

To improve and to excel we need to become conscious of our actions, to overcome our self-doubt, and to be authentic. I’m going to explain what I mean by all of that.

After giving a talk at a public event last weekend, I’ve been able to reflect on the process of writing and speaking, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, have found that there are basic similarities to other arts or skills — including basic life skills.

Becoming Conscious:

When we practice an art or discipline, we have to do what’s sometimes called “conscious practice.” If you practice, let’s say, a martial art or Yoga, and you go through the class in a kind of automatic mode — going through the motions, sometimes without even thinking about what you’re doing (because it’s become so automatic — then it will take far longer to improve than if you become conscious of what you are doing, and why and how your actions can improve. The question is, then, how can we do that? Continue reading “From Inexperience To Excellence: The Path of Self-Development”

Muscle and Chi: The Yin-Yang of Physical Self-Development

I recently heard a self-defense instructor mocking the traditional Asian schools for their insistence that students cultivate Chi (subtle or internal energy, similar to Kundalini) which, the self-defense instructor claimed, did not exist.

Within the traditional Chinese and Japanese martial and healing arts (such as acupressure and Chi-Gong), Chi is generally regarded as connected to the breath, and as being stored up in certain specific points in the body, especially the Tan Tien, which is located close to the navel. But this subtle energy is also linked to food, air, and even to the earth and the directions. Continue reading “Muscle and Chi: The Yin-Yang of Physical Self-Development”

Body Language, Ritual, And Self-Development

In medieval Europe, a man about to be made into a vassal (generally a knight) of a feudal lord went through a special rite. It will seem familiar to you. He knelt on the floor and placed his hands together, with the fingertips pointing at his lord, who would then clasp his own hands around them. At this point in history, as with the pre-Christian tribes of Europe, Christians prayed with their arms open, and up, in a kind of wide V-shape — which reminded the latter group of Christ on the cross. It was only later that, influenced by the rite of making a vassal, Christians adopted the posture of kneeling and placing the hands together when praying.
Continue reading “Body Language, Ritual, And Self-Development”