Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | February 10, 2015

The Buick Skylark

My Uncle Al, short for Alippio, was of Portuguese descent and married my mother’s sister. For many years, during most of my childhood, he drove a buick skylark, white, and I’m gonna guess a ’64. Classic, square, a buick. He always gad mondays off and often my mother would ask him to drive her to get certain chores done.
Uncle Al drove slow. He held the wheel not in a fist but with his thumb on top with the rest of his fingers. The break pedal was high and he’d have to lift his foot off the gas pedal to apply the break. Uncle Al was gentle, the epitome of gentleness, a gentleman. He and his car were one. Mention zen and Uncle Al in the same breath.
I’ve been having a series of car dreams and its fascinating which cars show up whether the steering works or not, and I even experienced a crash in an overpass in one dream. I wasnt hurt. A dump truck was in the wrong lane barreling right for me. I swerved and hit a wall.
The last 2 dreams were abiut white cars from the 60’s. I dreamed my dad and I had identical white I believe they were chevies. I took his to go somewhere and he asked why I was taking his car. I didnt want to bother switching so I told him just to use mine. They were the same anyway.
in the latest dream I was driving Uncle Al’s buick. On the highway to ny I put it in reverse and was driving backwards towards tge airport. The car achieved airlift andi was flying towards tge airport albeit struggling to achieve height(I hope the meaning to this isn’t simply sexual!).
My uncle represents true zen to me. What grace. The car is the same. Strong, tai chi like in its slow flowing movement, classic, reliable, strong.
I want to get to where I’m going in a ’64 white buick skylark.

Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | January 17, 2015

Polishing the Sword

I just finished watching a program about Japanese sword polishers, the master and his apprentices. To achieve mastery at such craftsmanship is hard work but very rewarding. It would be nice to be a master at a craft, but what could I make.
My swords are my tai chi, my writing, and my students. I polish all three until they are as close to perfection as possible. Like the real sword polishers, one must realize that what you are working on has a life of its own. This is the case in tai chi forms and on writing but is most obvious in a human being, a student.
A teacher is always proud of a good student but the teacher is best when he allows the steel to take on its own shape and burnish.

Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | January 15, 2015

internal Revolution

Day 4 of my little vacation, trying to go deep. The I Ching is great for meditation and contemplation.
Today I received Ko/revolution. In order to gain the change I aspire to I have to commit to the internal change of heart to adhere to truth and right action. I am to approach every situation with ewuanimity detachment and innocent good will. I need to develop spiritual poise. Spiritual poise. I love it. It’s what I want. When this spiritual poise is achieved magnificent opportunities come. And the truth and peace of the internal travels out in waves to the outer world so you can lead otherd to truth and peace.
Here I go. Wish me luck!

Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | January 13, 2015

GOING DEEP

Worked today but tonight is the beginning of a week long vacation during which I intend to go deep into the contemplative tai chi life.

I consulted the I Ching tonight and received hexagram 45 and was encouraged to develop myself into a leader by accumulating in my own character all that is right and good and correct. I am encouraged to become the kind of leader I myself would follow wholeheartedly and without hesitation.

After consulting the I Ching I made myself a nice snack of soppresata salami, sun dried Tomatoes and olive salad. Encore sono italiano! I did eat in silence. And I should mention the 1st thing I did when I got home was practice the ssequence of seven kicks on the middle of the form because I haven’t been happy with myself lately on that.

After posting I will read a bit more from a book on Catholicism, working on my own grasp of that deep mystery of faith, and sit in silence and open listening.

Tomorrow is a day reserved for taking care of some of my aunt’s needs as she is on a nursing home down the shore(that has been an amazing test of taoism). But then the est of the week is for rest and deep exploration of the contemplative life. I will treat myself to one or two good meals, meet with friends, and make the most of my time away from what I have dubbed work to be: The Journey of Absurdity.

Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | January 8, 2015

Synthesis of Faith

What a wonderful day, to have a day off later in the week, to be inside on a freezing cold day, about 15 degrees outside, sun shining, but safe and warm in my little self styled hermitage. Ventured out to get some coffee and have been reading and meditating and thinking. What wonderful silence.
I am synthesizing the mysteries of tai chi, we are energy, we experience energy in our proper postures and movements, the mystical experience of who we are in tai chi, the enlightenment, the experience of the divine, with the wonderful yoga meditation and mind thought and purification, mulling over the teachings of Swami Sevenanda, and my deep faith of Catholicism, as tough as it can be sometimes. But as broken as it may be there is deep truth in the mystical body of Christ, in realizing we are the church militant, meaning we are the church active in history living in a period of time post resurrection and pre second coming. All of Catholicism can only really be understood under the veil of mystery and mysticism. In deep silence. But if we are to have faith in Christ, then we are to know we are living in important history, that we are the mystical body of Christ, that the Holy Spirit has been given to us for these times and that He dwells among us. The Church as the mystical body of Christ, the Eucharist, and the Holy Spirit. Three sublime gifts. Synthesizing yoga, zen, tai chi, and Catholicism are not hard. We are called to cultivate the superior self, in modesty, gentleness, love, and compassion.

Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | January 4, 2015

Teaching Tai Chi

IMG_1610I had the good fortune this past summer to meet this youbg man, Finn, while doing tai chi at Mills Reservation. He has been practicing wing chun for several years and asked me if I would teach him tai chi. I agreed to teach for free and along the way I now have 6 students. You learn so much when you teach and it has been so important for me to meet with them every week.

Finn has gotten to the first Snake Creeps Down of Wu style. Excellent posture. Only correction we worked on today was extending the hands and arms more towards the floor while maintaining the roundedness and the circular motion.

Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | December 30, 2014

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | September 7, 2014

zen taoist way redefines your world(selling shoes the zen way)

The best way to sell shoes is the zen way: allow the shoes to sell themselves. This should be a metaphor for evereverything in your life.  make sure you have the sizing right, use quality materials, know how to make shoes, throw in some style but make sure they’re comfortable, then allow the shoes to sell themselves. 

We sometimes think that if we can just figure out how to go with the flow or allow the universe to arrange itself without our interference then everything will go our way. The problem is the universe will align itself with truth and proper principles and most of the time we have no clue what the truth is. We’ve defined our own world and what our expectations are so we think the universe should conform. But the truth is if we reflect on what is happening around us, the universe is redefining our perspective for us. So you can go with the flow all you want but will the zen way make you a manager of a retail store or sell crappy shoes that dont fit? You can interfere with things and advertise and bamboozle people into buying crappy shoes and make a whole lot of money, but does the universe care about that? Being zen means allowing things to arrange themselves in their purest form. 

So where do you standcwith zen way? If you stripped yourself of the personas and the bells and whistles and didnt pull the wool over people’s eyes, and just let the universe place you in the arrangement, have you got the genuine goods to be in a good place. And where you end up is zen telling you this is where you stand at this point in your life.

Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | August 17, 2014

wu wei works both ways; be the solution

Wu wei is allowing things to work out properly.  You don’t act out of the emotions of the ego or try to force a resolution.  You act from proper principles in a gentle and sincere way. In Christian terms this is trusting in God’s providence. it is amazing how, if we would just get out of our own way and in the way of the sage, the right people and circumstances will come along. God brings the people and pieces into play; sometimes we make it very difficult for Him, but he will get the job done. Why would you allow yourself to be led by secular people or ways when God Almighty is standing right in front of you with outstretched hand ready to lead and guide you?! But the point of the post today is that as the Unknown is bringing people and pieces into play for you, He is also bringingyou Iinto play for others. You are also a ssolution.  So it is even more important for you to cultivate superior qualities and develop good gong fu-knowing what to do- so that when God brings you onto play you can fulfill His plan and not make Him go to plan B!

Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | March 18, 2014

Wisdom

Of all the precious gifts in the world to have, we encouraged to place wisdom at the top of the list. In the Book of Sirach, in the Bible(I’m not sure if Sirach is only in Catholic editions, it comes right after the book of , well, Wisdom!), it is clear that the beginning of wisdom is Fear of the Lord. Now, let’s define fear, because, in this context, it certainly does mean fear like being afraid. But it means more, and anyone with any kind of wisdom knows that people can try to make you fear them but there is no lasting quality to being made to do things out of fear. So here, fear means also recognizing, acknowledging God the Creator and all powerful and almighty. Wisdom begins with this awareness of God.

If you cultivate wisdom, wisdom will serve you well. How do you become wise? Experience. Awareness and love of God. Going to the 2 wells, the well of holy books like the Bible and the I Ching, and the internal well of your own mind heart and spirit. Striving to live with right action. Not acting out of the emotions of the ego. A fearful man is not a wise man. An anxiety ridden person is not wise. A person who takes no time to think and reflect is not wise. A person who is overly ambitous is not wise.

A person who treats others with friendliness and a genuine good will will act wisely and become wise.

Wisdom is a gift, but we can cultivate ourselves so that we are ready and prepared to accept this grace of wisdom. Mike Murdoch, whatever the real deal is with him, has done tremendous work on wisdom.

Being good is wise. Learning and education and knowledge leads to wisdom. Cultivating good friendships is wise. Honoring your famly is wisdom. Being good stewards of the things placed under your ausppices is wise. Wasting is not wisdom.

Surround yourself with people who are wise. Surround yourself with buffoons and idiots and it will rub off on you.

We sometimes think it’s hard to make the wise choice. Maybe it’s not so hard. Consult the I Ching. It is filled with wisdom. Consult your own heart. It really knows what is right.

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