Liberate your Creative Genius

Dear Friends,
 
I will be teaching a creative writing class to young authors (adults are welcome to attend) on Saturday, April 9, 2016 from 11am to 12pm. The class is called “Learn how to Brain Dump the First Draft of the Book you Always Wanted to Write”.
 Brainstorm Writing Your First Draft
In his lifetime, Louis L’Amour wrote 89 novels, 14 short-story collections, and two full-length works of nonfiction. His advice to writers was to “Open the faucet and let the water flow.”
 
Your head is full of great ideas. Do you want to learn how to open the faucet and let your ideas flow? Join author, Robert Grant, for helpful advice on capturing and improving your first rough story ideas at Lebanon Junction branch of the Bullitt County Public Library, located at 11382 Preston Hwy, Lebanon Junction, Kentucky 40150.
 
You can register for the class at: http://www.bcplib.org/writingcontest/index.htm
 
Call the library at 502-833-4648 if you have any questions.
 
If you are unable to attend, send an email request to Robert@NTPublishingCompany.com and I will send you a copy of the Power Point Presentation created for the seminar.
 
Liberate your creative genius
 
Peace out,
Robert

Stillness and Tranquility Restore Order in the Universe

Stillness and tranquility restore order in the universe

The practice of sitting or standing like a mountain exists in many spiritual traditions. It can be an integral part of a formal meditation practice or easily adapted to daily life. For example, try standing like a mountain while you wait in line at the grocery store.
Still and Tranquility Mountain
Here are a few simple things to keep in mind:

• A mountain is still and tranquil.
• When you inhale, stretch the crown toward heaven like a mountain peak piercing the clouds and reaching for the stars.
• Sink your root deep into the Earth. There is no separation between the mountain and the Earth. The visible part of a mountain is only a fraction of the whole. Be the Earth.
• Pause a moment before you exhale. Be still.
• When you exhale, pull your core in tight to support and hold the upward stretch.
• Pause a moment before you inhale. Choose tranquility.
• Repeat, but be gently with yourself.
• Observe as order is restored in the Universe.

Forty-five

Great accomplishment seems imperfect,
Yet it does not outlive its usefulness.
Great fullness seems empty,
Yet it cannot be exhausted.
Great straightness seems twisted.
Great intelligence seems stupid.
Great eloquence seems awkward.
Movement overcomes cold.
Stillness overcomes heat.
Stillness and tranquility restore order in the universe.

Lao Tsu: Tao Te Ching translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.

Peace out,
Robert

Gia-Fu Feng Tai Chi

Gia-Fu Feng Tai Chi Performance in 1976

Gia-Fu Feng Tai Chi PerformanceHere is a link to a Tai Chi Performance by Gia-Fu Feng in 1976: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZ5mNnRb3jI.  We want to thank Jan Errit de Vries who shot this wonderful film of Gia-Fu Feng in 1976.  You can learn more about Jan at http://taoartunlimited.nl/over-jan-errit-eartheart.

Gia-Fu Feng is best known for his beautiful translation of the Taoist classic, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.    You can purchase it direct from the author at:  http://www.eheart.com/TAO/TTC/TTCbook.html.

Of course it is also available in most book stores or from Amazon.com.

Gia-Fu Feng taught this form at many seminars around the world and at Stillpoint in Manitou Springs, Colorado, USA. He said he was taught internal martial arts from the monks at the Bamboo Grove Monastery in Southern China.

Peace out,
Robert

Bamboo Grove Internal Arts

Bamboo Grove Internal Arts

Follow this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BCN30f6Lg8  to a YouTube video of the Old Five Elements Tai Chi form from Bamboo Grove Internal Arts performed by Robert Grant. Gia-Fu Feng taught this form at Stillpoint on Pikes Peak in Colorado, USA. He said he learned it from the monks at the Bamboo Grove Monastery in Southern China. Kevin Akers and Robert Grant have taught this simple, but beautiful form, to over a 1,000 students.

Peace out,
Robert

Bamboo Grove Old Five Element Form

Review of Lao Tsu: Tao Te Ching

Review of Lao Tsu: Tao Te Ching

Many wonderful books inspire us to be the best version of ourselves, but on occasion one rises above the pack to Lao Tsu Tao Te Chingchange the very fabric of our lives when it reveals the nature of the human condition. Such a book knows no political boundaries or cultural barriers. Time does not dilute its message, because it is immortal. Gia Fu Feng and Jane English’s translation of Lao Tsu: Tao Te Ching has been such a book to me.

Available direct from the author at http://www.eheart.com/TAO/TTC/TTCbook.html or on Amazon.com.

Peace out,
Robert

Offer the Tao

Offer the Tao

Whether you seek refuge or treasure, return to the source.  There you will find fulfillment. How do you return to the source? Choose it and the way will be revealed. How do you choose it?  Accept all that you are.

Chapter 62

“Tao is the source of the ten thousand things.
It is the treasure of the good and the refuge of the bad.
Sweet words can buy honor;
Good deeds can gain respect.
If people are bad, do not abandon them.
Therefore on the day the emperor is crowned,
Or the three officers of state installed,
Do not send a gift of jade and a team of horses,
But remain still and offer the Tao.
Why does everyone value the Tao?
Isn’t it because you find what you seek and are forgiven when you sin?
Therefore this is the greatest treasure in the universe.”

Lao Tsu: Tao Te Ching translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.

Offer the Tao.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace out,
Robert

Great Alaskan Adventure

Great Alaskan Adventure

Good morning friends. Rebecca and I are off on our Great Alaskan Adventure. We want to thank David for his gracious generosity. We will be staying at his beautiful place in Girdwood, but first we have to get there. It’s quite the journey. We began at 5:30 am for last-minute packing and then rushed to my daughter’s house where a very grumpy girl got up at 7:30 am on Saturday morning to take her parents to the airport.

We all love the security check point. You know the drill…empty your pockets, remove any metal dental fillings etc. Except, Rebecca was chosen “randomly” for a pass, while I had to endure the indignities. I’m pretty sure she bribed someone.

Now we’re at Starbucks relaxing in big comfy chairs while we sip coffee and have our breakfast. Our flight doesn’t leave until 10:20 am. We have several connecting flights and don’t expect to arrive at David’s place in Girdwood until midnight Alaska time. That’s 4:00 am eastern. Yikes!

Peace out,
Robert

Teaching Without Words

Teaching Without Words

Nonverbal communication tells more of the story than you might realize. Maybe it’s because body language doesn’t lend itself to deception as easily as words. If you pay close attention to a person’s body language, then you usually get a pretty good idea of their real intentions. Children learn more from our actions than our words. They learn the most when our actions and words are consistent.

We usually feel at ease in our relations with people whose words and body language tell the same story. Sometimes our communications with others is full of misunderstandings. It could be because there is an inconsistency between our words and our nonverbal communication.

Rather than trying to alter your body language from the outside, take a long hard look at what’s on the inside. Are you saying exactly what you mean? Are you clear about what you want?

“Teaching without words and working without doing
Are understood by very few.”
Lao Tsu: Tao Te Ching translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.

Peace out,
Robert

Attending Fully

Attending Fully

Sometimes we lose our way and need to make a fresh start. The idea of being like a newborn is a theme running through many spiritual practices and that is about as fresh as it gets. Since we were all children once, you’d think this would be an easy thing to do, but that’s not always the case. To make matters worse, most of us can’t remember much before the age of four or five. It’s as if someone erased the files.

For this reason, we have to rely on our own observations to get clues about this practice. A newborn is wide eyed and curious about its surroundings. “Childlike wonder” is a descriptive phrase we often use to describe a newborn. Lao Tsu uses the phrase “attends fully” to convey the same idea. You get the sense that newborn children are fully alive and centered in the present moment. They do not sulk about the pains of birth, nor do they worry about their next meal.

Maybe we can’t remember our lives before the age of four or five because we lived fully and completely in the present and never gave a thought to such things as “the past or the future”. If this is this so, then our lives changed dramatically when we began to think about the past and the future.

So, what of this business of making a fresh start? Mastery is the ability to self-correct. Maybe the old masters are suggesting that in those instances when we lose our way, we can look to the example of a newborn as one possible way to make a fresh start. Spend a little time attending fully and see what happens. All you have to lose are the old wounds that distract you from living the life you were meant to live.

Carrying body and soul and embracing the one,
Can you avoid separation?
Attending fully and becoming supple,
Can you be as a newborn babe?
Washing and cleansing the primal vision,
Can you be without stain?

Lao Tsu: Tao Te Ching translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.

Peace out,
Robert

The Unborn Paradox

The Unborn Paradox

The old master wrote, “They are unborn, so ever living.” Like a Zen Koan, this sentence challenges our assumptions about birth and life. You have to be born to live, do you not? Paradox only exists when assumptions prevail. This is particularly true when our assumptions support the illusion of duality.

In the passage below, Lao Tsu combines concepts in a way that doesn’t make much sense if you believe in the dual nature of the world. For instance, “The wise stay behind, and are thus ahead”. In a dual world, you cannot get ahead by staying behind. They are opposites.

Again, he writes “They are detached, thus at one with all.”

Finally, “through selfless action, they attain fulfillment.”

Maybe linear thinking is flawed. What if life and death are the same thing? Could it be possible that there is no such thing as “ahead” or “behind”? Perhaps these linear concepts are a fiction.

There is much hate and anger in the world…this group pitted against that group. Look where it has led us. We are surrounded by violence, destruction, and death.

Lao Tsu wrote of being at one with all, but what does that mean? Maybe it means there is no separation between “this” or “that”, between “you” and “me”. As a simple exercise, try to embrace everything around you and see what happens. What could it hurt? It’s only a hug and a hug never hurt anything.

Chapter 7

Heaven and earth last forever.
Why do heaven and earth last forever?
They are unborn, so ever living.
The wise stay behind, and are thus ahead.
They are detached, thus at one with all.
Through selfless action, they attain fulfillment.

Lao Tsu: Tao Te Ching translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.

Peace out,
Robert