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My Aunt a Nun of the Good Shepherd Order Sister Mary Vincent Borromeo fondly called “Tita Tess” is really into Meditation. She has even gone to India to do more in-depth meditation.
Well to my great enrichment, she came to visit me and my family. She told me she just came from a 3 day retreat in Tagaytay the home of the smallest volcano in the world “The Taal Volcano” in Philippines. This place is really the rest capital of the Philippines. It has so many retreat houses there and known for the wonderful delicious “Dilis” fish only found in the sulfuric lake of Taal surrounding the small volcano.
She said the 3 day Zen Meditation was very intense. From 5:30 in the morning up to 7:00 pm they were sitting for meditation. It was like a mini Shaolin temple come alive again. Words from my Sifu came alive in my head again “You must live Shaolin inside you.” My understanding of it was like, you must have this Shaolin temple of meditation living inside you, this place of rest is a refuge you can go when the world around gets too chaotic.
She continued it was very physically straining. To discipline yourself to sit is a great physical discipline. It is not easy to do.
NOT WASTING TIME
And it was explained in that intensive Zen Retreat that by sitting “you are not wasting your time!” You are recharging yourself, you are developing the peace inside you, you are finding your answers, and it is an imperative even biblically “Be still…. And know that I am God” It is like you cannot know God if you are not still. His is the small voice that only when you are still you will hear.” In short You need to be still to find your balance. Unless you want to go on running around like a headless chicken.
With these explanations it was a great input in me. It gave great results in my resolve to the the workouts; I was doing stance meditation again in the evenings before I sleep. And when I woke up. I realized that the few weeks I was not consistent, I felt turbulence in my mind and body. I needed this stillness, indeed it to make me at ease and calm my mind. Indeed it is not a waste of time.
Then she continued, “Our teacher would shout in a loud voice while we are sitting in silence “Attention! Attention! Attention!” like we were soldiers. It was not enough that we were seated and still we need to be in attention, our minds have to be in what we are doing.”
All focus was in the breath “ We were reminded, that putting your thoughts in your breath, putting meaning as you inhale (gratefulness for the gift) and exhalation (offering it back) is a must. Appreciating your breath for indeed it is life; it is something so concrete that if you stop breathing you are dead. Breath and the realization of it almost naturally bring you to gratefulness for life. Mind on your breath, observe your breath, you may count your breath.
So I did come back to breathing meditation. I did 100 breaths in the stances I was in before I slept. There was no disconnect I was aware and grateful. I was reminded of GK Chesterton who said the whole world was becoming one big divorce court. We divorced God from Business, divorced our practice workout from our spiritual development, many martial arts say this is not part of your religion it’s just a workout. But not so with the real Shaolin Martial Art. It cannot be divorced. As the saying went “My strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure. Great strength can only come with strength of conviction that you are doing what is right. Only in defense of good will your power come and overcome.
I asked my kung fu brother it is hard not to think of fighting when you do your forms and power training he said “trust that if you are in right as ex. Defense of your family, defense of yourself if you are in the right…the power will be there”. It has been a Shaolin Zen Kung Fu principle that your mind body and spirit be exercised to become stronger.
Attention! Attention! Mind your breathing! Shout it silently. No divorce!