#31 The Root
The Root was an important concept to Bruce Lee. The Root is where real knowledge and real personal expression can spring from, the starting point and essence of “Who am I?”
“What we are after is the root and not the branches. The root is the real knowledge and the branches are surface knowledge. Real knowledge breeds “body feel” and personal expression, and surface knowledge breeds mechanical conditioning, and imposing limitation and it squelches creativity.”
“The Root is the fulcrum on which will rest the expression of your soul. The Root is the starting point of all natural manifestation. It cannot be when the root is neglected that what should spring from it will be well ordered.”
So if you neglect yourself, who you are, your body, your energy, your essence, then you are not going to get a positive manifestation in the world. The process of laying down roots for yourself is the process of knowing who you are in a very intimate way. You don’t get as easily confused or scattered when you have a very strong root or understanding of your essence.
Your body is the vehicle through which you manifest everything, even your thoughts. The healthy maintenance of your body or the cultivation of energy within your body is important to understanding yourself. When we neglect the vehicle that holds our vital energy then we can get ungrounded.
Bruce Lee was totally integrated with mind, body, spirit and his body was in service to his greater Purpose in this world. Even if your path in life is not of an athlete or martial artist like Bruce Lee, you still need your body to carry out your plans, dreams, and to move through the world.
“The Root is the foundation and the Root is the knowing, it’s the inner wisdom that you have.”
Your body is sending you signals all the time, and gives you a definite feeling about questions you ask yourself. You can use your body as a divining rod to gauge your true feelings about a situation or a decision. When the mind is disconnected from the rest of the body, then we can become confused and anxious about our decisions and our life.
If you’re grounded in your Root, then whatever fear-driven idea that you confront has no effect on you. That’s why the heart is so important because your Root is love-driven; it’s about nurture and growth. Bruce was directed by his heart--his love, passion, and joy were all strengthening his Root.
“When I look around I always learn something, and that is, to be always yourself and to express yourself, to have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it, but start from the very root of your being which is: How can I be me?”
“This achieving the center, being grounded in oneself is about the highest state a human being can achieve.”
Bruce is saying that the highest state of achievement is in being yourself, it’s not in accomplishments or rewards.
“We realize that manipulation and control are not the ultimate joy in life, to become real, to learn to take a stand, to develop one’s center to the support of our total personality, a release to spontaneity, yes, yes, yes.”
If you’re feeling in your life like you’re not rooted or that you don’t know who you are, think about the last time that you felt really great in your body and in tune with your body--when was that? Write down all of the memories you can conjure up, you’ll likely see a pattern. Also identify discomfort in your body, ache and pains or anxiety, where and when do you feel this way?
Another exercise you can do is articulate and write down the answer to “What is the root of your being? How can I be me?” This is a question you can keep asking yourself over time because it can be answered differently as you grow.
(Awesome Asians and Hapas)
This week our #AAHA is Aziz Ansari, American actor and comedian. Aziz is known for Masters of None, Parks and Recreation, author of Modern Romance: An Investigation, and his stand-up comedy shows. Ansari was born in South Carolina, and graduated from NYU Stern School of Business with a major in marketing. He started doing stand-up while at NYU and in 2008 joined Parks and Rec. Ansari offers intelligent, thoughtful comedy and continues to do stand-up throughout his acting commitments. Following the Boston Marathon bombings, Ansari performed a benefit at the Wilbur Theater in Boston and all ticket proceeds befitted The One Fund and The Officer Richard Donohue Fund. Aziz, we love your work and think you’re awesome, thank you for making us laugh!
This week our #BruceLeeMoment comes from podcast listener Gerry:
“Dear Shannon and Sharon,
I've been listening to your podcast and there are so many thoughts and idea it awakens in my soul that to share them all here would take up more time than would be fair. But your "walk on" talk struck me at a time of struggle and it spurred me to write.
I'm a long distance trail runner so I spend a lot of time in the woods pushing my mind and body. And I've also had the honor of watching many friends challenge themselves past limits they never knew they had.
So the first phrase arose out of helping a friend through her first half marathon. It was further than she had ever run before and she was quite nervous. On a hot and muggy day, we began the race and worked through each mile. About 8 miles in, she began to have a breakdown, physically and mentally. I knew she could finish, but had to get her focused. She began pacing and walking backward against the course of the race. So I said pointed out she was going backwards. "Just go forward" I said. And she did. And she laughed because she realized that she was hurting her self by going in reverse, instead of just going forward. So it has become a mantra I pass on to people and use myself. Sometimes things suck and are tough-but going backward doesn't help. "Just go forward" and eventually you reach your goal.
The other phrase came from talking to a friend about handling adversity. In some of the races I do, the aid stations are the only thing that gets me through. The miles in between are so tough but to arrive at an aid station, where there is water and food and just such beautiful powerful good energy, is so uplifting and strengthening that it renews ones life force to move through the race. So the phrase "aid station to aid station" came to represent the ideas both of reducing a larger challenge into smaller ones, and also that we can't do this alone. The people at each aid station help us to continue running, much like people in life help us when we can't go alone.
Thank you for sharing your love and wisdom with everyone. It helps to brighten the world. Peace.”