#60 Choiceless Awareness
Choiceless Awareness is a path to peace of mind. It means having awareness in the moment as things are unfolding but not making a choice or judgment one way or the other about whether it’s good or bad.
Bruce talks about how, “There is an awareness without choice, without demand, an awareness in which there is no anxiety and in that state of mind there is perception and it's perception alone that will resolve our problems.”
Choiceless Awareness is about being the objective observer, standing back from the situation a little bit and not assign any blame one way or the other. Just say, “Here’s what’s happening, I’m perceiving what’s happening, now what am I going to do?”
This not easy because you have to battle the “shoulds”--what you think should or shouldn’t be happening in the situation. Remember, Bruce Lee used “No way as way.”
“Just watch choicelessly, and in the watching lies the wonder. It is not an ideal end to be desired, but watching is a state of being already and not a state of becoming.”
If in this moment you can achieve this state of choiceless awareness, you can achieve wholeness because you’re just being.
Sometimes when you’re in a situation, you can get so overwhelmed with anger or anxiety, and you might think you’re being rational and reasonable, but it isn’t until later reflection that you realize that you weren’t. When you’re too close to something, you aren’t being present because you’re too in your head, but if you’re outside of the situation or observing a friend it’s much easier to be objective about the situation. “Choiceless Awareness” is being able to have that objective take when things are happening to you.
“Choiceless Awareness. Do not condemn, do not justify. Awareness works only if it is allowed free play without interference.”
Awareness leads to discovery. Discovery leads to uncovering your potential.
“We possess a pair of eyes, but most of us do not really see in the true sense of the word. I must say that when the eyes are used externally, to observe the inevitable faults of other beings. Most of us are rather quick with readily equipped condemnation. But true seeing, in the sense of Choiceless Awareness, leads to new discovery, and discovery is one of the means to uncovering our potentiality.”
Bruce Lee often relates this idea of Choiceless Awareness to being in tune with “what is.”
“There is what is, only when there is no comparison at all. And to live with what is, is to be peaceful.”
Real presence, real flow, requires real participation and energy. Passive is shut down and cut off, awareness is not a passive thing, awareness is active.
Awareness might be a posture that we’re uncomfortable with because we’re often trying to protect ourselves from feeling--so we numb, block, and wall ourselves in for protection against something that might hurt us. But that same wall prevents insight from coming through.
The Choiceless part of the phrase is about remaining open, about non-judgment, and about not resisting.
You can’t pick and choose your awareness, such as only being aware for the good stuff.
“Awareness is never exclusive. It includes everything.”
“Require not just a moment of perception, but a continuous awareness. A continuous state of inquiry in which there is no conclusion.”
Normally we walk around with a certain amount of protection. That’s not to say you should be a big open wound for people to poke at. You can have a discerning awareness.
The discipline of this awareness is being in the now.
“The space created between what is and what should be, total awareness of the now, and not the discipline of stillness.”
The easiest way to explain this state is as “free play.” Free play without judgment, like when you were a kid playing and pursuing what interested you.
The technology we have now, such as smart phones, can bring us out of the moment. We’re robbing ourselves of these instances of discovery when we’re caught up in our phones instead of engaging or being aware of our surroundings.
Choiceless Awareness is about the idea of wholeness.
“The now, the completeness, is the absence of the conscious mind to strive to divide that which is indivisible.”
This idea connects with Bruce Lee’s other philosophies--flow, totality, presence, being in harmony and relationship with your environment and everything that’s around you.
“Not conviction, not method, but perception is the way to truth. It is a state of effortless awareness, pliable awareness, choiceless awareness.”
Adaptability, not effort, leads to understanding the bigger meaning of truth, wholeness, and harmony.
“To understand and live now, there must be dying to everything of yesterday. Die continually to every gained experience be in a state of choiceless awareness of what is.”
Let go of anything that is not serving you. Experience is a teacher, learn the lesson and move on. Be in this state of awareness, of play, of self-discovery. If you can be in a place of non-judgmental free play, you can discover your essence and the source of your happiness.
“I Bruce Lee am going to die some day with out having fulfilled all my ambitions. However, I am not afraid to die. I go on, I move forward. Because everything I’ve done, I’ve done sincerely, and wholeheartedly and to the best of my ability. What more can you ask for than that?”
Practice being the objective observer, try to remove your judgment from the present moment, and just let things be as they are. Take in everything. Create time for a place of "free play”—free of expectations and outcomes.Do something with your body to enter into the space of free play, such as running around like a kid or sing a fun song. This will help you remember what free play felt like.
If you’d like to share how you’re doing with this action item you can email us at email@example.com.
(Awesome Asians and Hapas)
This week our #AAHA is hapa Michelle Waterson who is half Thai. Michelle is an American Mixed Martial Artist and competes in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship.) MMA is the fastest growing professional sport. They call it Mixed Martial Artist because you have to have a mixed skill-set to defend or attack when there are no rules. Michelle is ranked #6 in the UFC strawweight division. Raised in Colorado, Michelle studied karate from the age of 10 and holds a black belt in the American Free Style Karate, and also trained in WuShu, Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing, and wrestling. She started out as a ring girl, and she trained really hard and made her MMA debut in 2007. She made her debut without having any amateur fights. Michelle you’re badass, and we think you’re awesome!
Our moment this week comes from Robby M. who shared with us this poem and his #BruceLeeMoment:
Poem: Tao of Jeet Kune Do as powerful as The Bible, to me, Personally, Jesus shakes hands wth Bruce Lee.
14 years old and I find another who fearlessly bears their soul, a body, not even the Gods can Hold.
Modern Buddha in martial artistic expression, God please give me the speed of His reactions, with passion.
In timeless manly fashion, excellence from the axis to the spoke causing perfectly executed action.
Like clear drinkable stream water, these words flow from studying with my Life, your triumphant example.
Ample energy from learned movements diagramed in books written for the serious practitioner, practicing.
My art is a direct honest straightforward humble expression of self, I tell no lies, on opponents I keep focused my eyes.
What I point at is the Heavenly Glory missed by the masses but seen and known without contacts or glasses.
Blind I could sniff out the enemy, a zen mind at a young age, understanding your philosophy garnered me.
Wisdom beyond my years, a supple supply of medicine for fixed problems has made The Tao of Robby unfold without fear.
A depressed rascal transformed over study, blood, sweat, tear, mistake, and inability to shake the desire to be as majestically great.
As thou has enabled a young man to walk safely without sound, composing a symphony of movements naturally drawing crowds.
To charismatic confidence calmly displaying moral martial arts as the quickest simplest route to conquer one's mind & heart.
Daily readings and shadow boxing, challenging constantly status quos doing everything in my power to make my vessel like hot marble.
Got the better of a hard start to a life as filled with strife as your movies and writings were filled with Life.
Compared to you, finding an equal is equal to finding a better version of me reflected profound in the Tao.
Jiu Jitsu and Boxing are children to me, your astounding ability and knowledge have been a GrandParent to I.
Am developing a styleless style, seeking for ultimate truth by continually mastering limits as a way to no limits.
Making real exactly what deep in Heart of Hearts I murderously feel, addicted to the adrenaline making marrow into steel.
I think and move far too fast for any movie reel to make vivid exactly what I want to portray as a definitive portrait of my boundless zeal.
It can never be good enough, now is the moment to get always more tough, only in the emotional content of Here.
Will there be a There when your levels of Mastery will be able to be called in circumferenceless circled Squares, fair?
Everything I know how to do, I learned first and foremost from Bruce Lee, I copied everything he did to the point where I got obsessed and erroneously thought myself to be his Reincarnation. Doing that, I realized I missed His central tenet of Life, Be Yourself! Express Yourself as creatively, profoundly, powerfully, dynamically, skillfully, and Honestly as humanly possible at all times no matter what the cost or situation. I look at Bruce Lee as my quintessential representative of What It Is To Be A Man. Bodily, Intellectually, and Spiritually. I will not allow a day to go by where I do not reflect on the Who, What, Where, Why and How to applying Bruce Lee's teachings in Real, Ordinary Life. They are the most valuable thing to me, nothing strikes me as more important and worthy of my attention and energies. They are the closest thing to Eastern Philosophical Perfection I will ever find, its treasures are without bound and scope to the enrichment it has provided my Unique Subjective Perspective on Ultimate Truth. My name is William Robert Monroe, I am referred to as Robby. I am 22, a martial artist, rapper/singer, writer and loyal student and have been studying Bruce Lee since the age of 14. Thank you so much, I know no deeper debt than the one I owe to Bruce Lee. Om.”