Miserable or Strong

Miserable or Strong

Side Entrance

In Journey to Ixtlan, by Carlos Castenada, Don Juan, his teacher tells him that you either make your self miserable or you make yourself strong, either way it takes about the same effort.   I find that statement to be one of the most valuable teachings I have ever encountered.  It has been running around in my head for more than thirty years. I hope it keeps on running.
Don Juan’s teachings have certainly informed my way of teaching and developing Lost Coin. I’ve made it part of our matrix – our ground and style- because it’s so direct, so inspiring it’s so no bullshit –  true.
You either make yourself miserable or you make yourself strong. Our life, our death, our choice.
I just asked my students to join  Second Life so we can have virtual meetings there at my home in Second Life.  Its a great open-ended virtual world. (You can easily avoid the furry creatures who think you’re hot)  Some will find my request odd, others won’t.  I want it to be a kind of challenge.
You either close up and remain in what you know or you open up and embrace your changing world and life. Either way it takes about the same effort.
photo credit: scalespeeder

Self-Mastery

Self-Mastery

Human highway

I have been reading a book by  psychologist and trading coach Brett N. Steenbarger , The Daily Trading Coach. He asks:” Why would a trader seemingly desirous of success not sustain efforts to monitor her own thoughts, emotions,and/or trading performance? ” He paraphrases coach Bob Knight who answers with ……..” they are motivated to win, but not motivated to do the work it takes to become a winner. “

I find this an accurate description of a pitfall in the quest for self-knowledge or excellence.  Throughout my training in Zen as well as in martial arts halls  I saw myself and others became lost in the desire to “pass” koans and achieve a position or rank  in the hierarchy.  It is easy to forget that training is about who you are, not how you appear to others.
Lost Coin’s emphasis on excellence is about”being” excellent.  It’s about self-mastery, self-discovery – not winning but “being” a winner.
Creative Commons License photo credit: kevindooley

Playing Games

Playing Games

chess

In my reading I come across so many people who thoughtlessly criticize video games as a waste of time.  They’re often all too willing, beer in hand, to watch other people play games and don’t consider that time a waste at all.
Now let’s take a look at this:  when you play a game yourself, either a video game, chess, monopoly, poker, scrabble, anything like that, you’re the one solving the problems.  You’re the one using your mind.  You’re the one focusing.   You’re the one making the efforts.
That’s quite different from watching a game, unless you consider how to open a Bud a major problem solving event.  Well after a few, it probably can be a major problem solving event.
Joking aside, the point is: games are a wonderful way to train for excellence.
Any professional training for performance involves simulation.  Games are simulation.  Games challenge you.  Games develop your emotional and intellectual abilities.
It’s time we stopped old ways of thinking and embraced the new models.
So please, drop the Bud and pass me the game controller.
Games are  experiential.  They train you.  Games and Zen have much in common.
Creative Commons License photo credit: nestor galina

The Whole World is Snow

The Whole World is Snow


An excerpt from a recent talk at retreat in Upper Lake, California, August 2010
Dead tree.  Blind donkey.  Snow is magic, because it is not cold and wet.  Nor is it a fortress for a snow fight.  It is all of that.  It is none of that.  Nobody knows what snow is.  The whole world is snow.