#47 The Six Diseases


The six diseases of the mind are obstacles that you will confront on your path to wholeness and fluidity. These thoughts can keep you from your full expression and growth.

The Six Diseases:
The desire for victory
The desire to resort to technical cunning
The desire to display all that has been learned
The desire to awe the enemy
The desire to play the passive role
The desire to get rid of whatever disease one is affected by

All of these diseases occur when we seek outside validation.

The desire for victory is the desire to win at all costs, usually at the cost of someone else. Wanting to win is not a bad thing, but when it overtakes you and blinds you to everything else is when it becomes a problem. It becomes not about the victory itself, but about coveting and becoming attached to that outcome.

The desire to resort to technical cunning is the desire to outsmart, to be overly clever, to the exclusion of other tools of success. This is being showy, flamboyant and attached to form.

The desire to display all that has been learned this is the desire to appear super knowledgeable and “wow” people with your knowledge. Essentially, this is a desire to be a know-it-all and be better than everyone else in the room. This creates no space for anyone else’s opinion.

The desire to awe the enemy this is the desire to have your enemy to look at you with fear and wonder. This is an intimidation through show of force.

The desire to play the passive role this is the desire to be unaccountable or to be the martyr. This is a desire to appear easy going, but it can be used as a weapon of guilt.

The desire to get rid of whatever disease one is affected by. It is good to want to get rid of your disease, but you don’t get rid of it by denying the disease, you get rid of it by being with it. By integrating it you see that you are participating in this disease; the desire to get rid of the disease is a fantasy of being perfect without working through it.

These six diseases are not necessarily bad desires to have but it depends on how your process them mentally.

“Any technique, however worthy and desirable, becomes a disease when the mind is obsessed with it.”

Desire can quickly lead to obsession and can keep you in a fantasy space away from your real life.

We all have these diseases at different parts of our lives, and they create resistance to being in the flow.

“Make the tools see. All movements come out of emptiness and the mind is the name given to this dynamic aspect of emptiness. It is straight, without ego-centered motivation. The emptiness is sincerity, genuineness and straightforwardness, allowing nothing between itself and its movements.”

When all of the desires are gone, there is a space filled with sincerity, genuineness, straightforwardness, and nothing is blocking you between your thought and your action. These diseases are so focused on outside approval and validation, and this confuses our inner compass.

If we are doing things to get approval from other people, we are not doing things for ourselves. Such as “I am losing weight for my family and so others will think better of me.” What about losing the weight for yourself? If you don’t care about yourself, how will others care about you?

“The deluded mind is the mind affectively burdened by intellect. Thus, it cannot move without stopping and reflecting on itself. This obstructs its native fluidity.”

All these thoughts burden us so much that we cannot see clearly.

“We should not seek knowledge, but discover the cause of our ignorance.”

This is a concept that Bruce Lee used as a teaching method. He did not show you how to “do someone in” with martial arts, but rather help to guide you understanding the cause of your ignorance.

“Recollection and anticipation are fine qualities of consciousness that distinguish the human mind from that of lower animals. But, when actions are directly related to the problem of life and death, these properties must be relinquished for the sake of fluidity of thought and lightning rapidity of action.”

Recollection and anticipation bring you out of the present moment.

“When there is no obstruction, man’s movements are like flashes of lightning or like the mirror reflecting images.”

How we learn is to make a mistake, and this happens over and over. If we can ask ourselves why we made this mistake instead of agonizing over the mistake itself, then we learn faster and move forward quicker.

“The spirit is no doubt the controlling agent of our existence. This invisible seat controls every movement in whatever external situation arises. It is thus, to be extremely mobile, never “stopping” in any place at any moment. Preserve this state of spiritual freedom and non-attachment as soon as you assume the fighting stance. Be “master of the house.””

Think of your fighting stance as being ready for engagement in life. It’s not that life is fight, but life is movement. When we are ready to engage with life, the people around us and our environment, we act as the master of our own house. If we obsess over the diseases of desire then we become slaves to these desires.

“The more aware you become, the more you shed from day to day what you have learned so that your mind is always fresh.”

“Leave sagehood behind and enter once again into ordinary humanity.” You don’t have to lord your knowledge over others. It’s great to learn all these things but it shouldn’t be used to make others feel small.

““To desire” is an attachment. “To desire not to desire” is also an attachment. To be unattached then, means to be free at once from both statements, positive and negative.” The idea that Bruce wanted to convey is that we have to free ourselves from attachments so that we can live more fully in this world.

“Your tools are at an undifferentiated center of a circle that has no circumference – moving and yet not moving, in tension and yet relaxed, seeing everything happening and yet not at all anxious about its outcome, with nothing purposefully designed, nothing consciously calculated, no anticipation, no expectation – in short, standing innocently like a baby and yet, with all the cunning, subterfuge and keen intelligence of a fully mature mind.”

Don’t desire the things that are going to prevent you from living fully in the world. You have all your tools of your mind, cunning and intelligence, but don’t let them get in the way of experiencing and living fully in the world.

Take Action:

Any tool, however worthy, becomes a problem if you rely too much on it. How much do you rely on outside validation? Who do you want to be proud of you? What changes are you resisting? Are your moods based on outside validation? Create a list of the times where you experienced each of the Six Diseases.

If you’d like to share how you’re doing with this action item you can email us at hello@brucelee.com.


(Awesome Asians and Hapas)

Tan Dun

This week our #AAHA shout out goes to Chinese contemporary classical composer, Tan Dun. He’s mostly widely known for doing the scores for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, ” and “Hero” as well as composing music for the 2008 Beijing Olympics medal ceremonies. He was born in a village in Changsha in the Hunan province of China. As a child he was fascinated by the rituals of the village shaman which included music made with natural objects like rocks and water. A lot Dun’s music incorporates organic materials such as paper, water, and stone and is often inspired by traditional Chinese theatrical and ritual performance. The bans enacted during the Cultural Revolution discouraged him from pursuing music and he was sent to work as a rice planter on a commune. There he joined other commune residents and learned to play traditional Chinese string instruments. After a ferry accident where a Peking opera troupe lost many members, Dun was asked to join as a violinist and arranger. He went on to study at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and later studied at Columbia University in New York City where he wrote his first opera. Tan Dun went on to win an Academy Award for his score of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Dun continues to create audio-visual masterpieces, experimenting with theater, film, and opera. Tan Dun, thank you for your work and we think you’re awesome.


This week our #BruceLeeMoment comes from listener Tony P.:

“I am writing in my Bruce Lee Moment. I have struggled with anxiety for most of my life and constantly bouncing from one idea to the next. I get involved in a million things, but never finish or perfect any of them. I buy tons of books, but never finish them. I have been in love with Bruce Lee the actor and martial artist since I was a little kid. For Christmas several years ago, my wife bought me The artist of life. I could not put it down. For someone who could not finish even a short book before, I completed this book in record time. I also began to love Bruce for the philosophy and wisdom that he had. I have worked on putting his passion and commitment to excellence to work in all areas of my life. I now pick a couple of things I want to work on and I put my all into it. As Bruce would say," I make mind up to do and I am going to do it, man!"

I also want to share my Shannon Lee moment!! My grandfather and I were very close. He was also a charismatic person who could capture the attention of the entire room and hold their attention all night with stories and jokes. He passed away a few months ago and left behind a ton of journals and notebooks of various writings. I never paid much attention to this before, but since listening to the Podcasts and loving them so much I have decided to go through them and "get to know" him In a different way. The same way I am learning about Bruce Lee in a different way. Keep up the great work. It means a lot to so many people.”

Share your #AAHA and #BruceLeeMoment recommendations with us via social media @BruceLee or email us at hello@brucelee.com.


Lydy Walker30