The Empowerment of Awareness

In Shaolin Kung Fu, we are taught to be aware of many things which entails much study e.g.

1. Our environment - if we are to protect others we need to be aware of our surroundings

2. To be aware of others movements, to recognise aggression and if defending against many, one needs to be aware of which aggressor posses the most threat. Also to be aware of their weaknesses so as to use there weaknesses against them. This takes many years of training. One needs to have kindness and courage and to care greatly for others.

To be aware of the self requires a lot of self study. We need to be honest in our approach. For this, I have put together mind maps which point out our positive and negative principles. I have named them 'The Cultivation of Mindfulness In 'The Human Heart and Mind’.

At this point we should ask ourselves which comes first, awareness or mindfulness? If you think about it, to be mindful you must first be aware of what you are being mindful of! Before the industrial revolution we lived off the land, we lived in forest, we connected to the earth to survive. We had to be mindful of all things, we had to be aware of all things. Now, we live in towns and cities where all we need to do is be on time for work and do a good job. If you are sick you go to the doctor or hospital. Back then we used herbs, now we have larger companies selling us medicines, we go to the bank for our houses which we are indebted to for many years. We have allowed ourselves to become numbers. At most funerals we hear people say “he/she worked hard all their lives" and we all think to ourselves “this is me in years to come.” We have to make a buck to be comfortable. We have politicians tell us we will go to jail or church leaders telling us we will go to hell if we do not tow the line while all the time they get richer. So ask yourself, what precisely are we looking for when we need to become more mindful or more aware? Some people spend a lot of hard earned cash on mindfulness weekends. Then they are given a cert to say they have completed this course. Mindful or mindless? Why?

Are we courageous enough to look at ourselves? Before we look at others or look at nature, we

must first be aware of the self in all it’s negative and positive aspects. Being aware of the self leads to mindfulness. Once we become aware of our surroundings, we must then become aware of our bodies, and once we become mindful of the body, we need to become aware of it’s balance, it’s movement, it’s weaknesses and strengths. And once we become mindful of these things, we must become aware of our minds, but finding the balance between mind and body is difficult. for this requires that we rid ourselves of ego which is also very difficult. But to be aware that we have an ego is half the battle!

There are also different levels of awareness:

1. Your relationship, your family, your friends, your work. We should ask ourselves - how do I express myself? Am I true or false to them? Am I aware of their needs? Am I aware of how I react when they need me? Aware of how generous I can be? How kind? How compassionate or how selfish? How unkind am I at sharing or dominating a person? Do I wait to receive before I give? (Check the mind map)

2. Nature. Am I fully aware of nature with all it’s beauty and it’s dangers? How I am connected to it and the universe or course the heavens? These are hard questions to ask oneself, but if you understand and accept that we are part of all this, then we must ask of ourself this truth of ourselves.

So now we should ask ourselves, if we have not looked at ourselves in this light, is it possible to be mindful? To refine our minds we must first of all refine our thinking by being aware.

In summary:

Positive Ways Negative Ways

Kindness Anger Revenge

Compassion Hate Violence

Caring Fear

Language Ego

Balance of movement Greed Lust of Power

Being aware of all these things help us on our path to enlightenment. We must eliminate all of our negatives which will allow the positives to shine through and become the through spirit that you are. Be aware that we, as higher beings, are on this plain to teach our 'lower self being' (the mind) the way to enlightenment via the law, the will and the way. With these things in mind we will find the way ourselves

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Shaolin Buddhist Temple, Slane, Co. Meath, Ireland                                                           Email: