When Bruce Lee was 21 he wrote: “I feel I have this great creative and spiritual force within me that is greater than faith, greater than ambition, greater than confidence, greater than determination, greater than vision, it is all these combined. My brain becomes magnetized with this dominating force which I hold in my hand. Whether it is the godhead or not, I feel this great force, this untapped power, this dynamic something within me. This feeling defies description and no experience with which this feeling may be compared. It is something like a strong emotion mixed with faith, but a lot stronger.”
This energy is something that Bruce Lee talked about a lot, and energy is also often how we talk about Bruce Lee.
Bruce would talk about energy in relation to his willpower, vital life-force to create, to move, to accomplish, and to motivate. He talked about it as a creative and spiritual force within himself and also talked about not wasting this force but using it for good.
“A creation uncontaminated by thought. The creative tide in us that flows outward.”
Growing up he had boundless energy and that would often get him into trouble. A productive use of that energy was martial arts, the perfect solution to Bruce’s energy. Martial arts helped manage the flow of Bruce Lee’s energy, but he also used acting and cha cha dancing as energy outlets.
Bruce also recognized that this energy is infinite and connected to the spiritual force of the universe. Like Bruce Lee, we all have this vital life-force within our bodies and it’s ours to cultivate.
“The function and duty of a human being, a quality human being that is, is the sincere and honest development of potential and self-actualization. One additional comment, the energy from within and the physical strength from your body, can guide you toward accomplishing your purpose in life and to actually act on actualizing your duty to yourself.”
Your energy can be really hampered by your mind when it gets into these worry-filled loops. This preoccupation with negative thoughts and worries will drain your energy. Be aware of where you’re wasting your energy.
“In life what more can you ask for but to be real. To fulfill one’s potential instead of wasting energy on actualizing a dissipating image which is not real and the expenditure of one’s vital energy with great work ahead of us and it needs devotion and much much energy.” “It’s not daily increase, but daily decrease. Hack away the unessential, the closer to the source the less wastage there is.” “So action, action, never wasting energy on worried and negative thoughts. It is the concentration of energy at a given focus as at the axis of a wheel instead of dispersal in scattered activities.”
Take Action: Run an experiment where you limit your exposure to draining people or activities, and increase your exposure to energizing people or activities that make you feel great. Reframe your negative thoughts into positive or neutral thoughts. See how you feel at the end of the day. Then you’ll start to have all your energy to create and manifest your truest self.
(Awesome Asians and Hapas)
This week we want to recognize I. M. Pei, renowned Chinese-American architect. He was recruited in 1948 by New York real estate magnate William Zeckendorf and went on to establish his own independent design firm. I. M. Pei went on to design buildings around the world including the glass and steel pyramid for the Musee de Louvre in Paris. He came from a family known for selling medicinal herbs, but felt the call to pursue architecture and design. On April 26th, 2017 I. M. Pei will turn 100 years old! I. M. Pei, we find your work and life inspirational and think you’re awesome!
This week’s #BruceLeeMoment comes from Emil Monajemzadeh:
Dear Shannon and Sharon! Firstly I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating the podcast, and giving us all a chance to better understand the philosophy and life of Bruce Lee. My dad introduced me to Enter The Dragon when I was a kid, and I was instantly drawn to his strong expression - so i started to practice Taekwondo, which was kind of the only option I had of practicing martial art in the small city where I grew up. I continued for about 3 or 4 years.
I'm now 25 years old. I am currently studying Philosophy at Roskilde University in Denmark, and I live in the capital city of Copenhagen. I have always played a lot of music so I have used a lot of time with my fellow musicians in different bands. In that environment I was drawn to their way of expressing themselves (read: I had no idea how to express my own self), and in spending that much time with them I was drinking and smoking pot - thinking this was what I wanted to do. This was part of my everyday life for a around three years, and in all that time I was in confusion about who I was - but I always had easy ways to forget that I was supposed to figure out what kind of person I wanted to be in my life. It all culminated in my experiments with drugs. After a night I vividly remember where one of my close personal friends had an overdose and collapsed on the floor of a night club - which nearly killed him - I started to realise that I had to make some radical changes in my life.
In January 2016 I found a school in Copenhagen where I could learn Kung Fu and Yoga. I remember talking to my shifu after my first training session, and our conversation went exactly like follows: "What do you do besides this?" "I study Philosophy." "Then you have come to the right place." " Yes I know."
I think university students sometimes can be quite full of themselves thinking they are better than others. Because of this I felt like I couldn't use much of my knowledge for anything, also because of the pressure that is on all the subjects in the humanities right now. But in realising that all knowledge is self-knowledge I found a whole new way of studying - mainly to not study others through reading but rather myself.
In my summer vacation I bought an english translation of Lao Tzu's Taoism, and I think I've read it about 5 or 6 times now, everytime realising new depths of the words. This is definitely just the beginning of my studies of Eastern Philosophy. The curriculum of Philosophy at all universities in Denmark (and in other countries around Europe) are limited to European and Western Philosophy. Even if you get a Ph.d. and you essentially become an expert on the field, you wouldn't have to be introduced to any Eastern Philosophy at all. That is a joke and an insult against knowledge itself - especially in a subject like philosophy, which is supposed to be a love for wisdom and knowledge.
Not one week goes by where I cannot use something Bruce Lee said or wrote for my everyday goals. He is the reason I've been able to make all these changes to my life. I've given up all my previous bad habits, and I've begun eating mostly vegetarian food and practicing and stretching almost every day. I would never have made these choices if i didn't realise that the water I was in was growing stale - and I would have never known that if it wasn't for Bruce Lee. He has inspired me to follow a healthier lifestyle for both my body and mind.
I'm only half danish on my mothers side, my dad is from Iran. Therefore I struggled a lot with trying to navigate between the two cultures. Bruce Lee showed me that it is possible to connect western and eastern ways of thinking and living. That he shared this view with the rest of the world is something that I have the utmost respect for. I'm seriously considering using his writings for my Bachelor Project which I'm writing next semester.
I'm still playing a lot of music and it is still just as important to me as it has ever been. I recently began practicing on an iranian string instrument called the Setar, and the power of the traditional iranian folk music is enchanting. You can have Gong Fu (rewards achieved by hard continuous work) in any field. It is just up to you to realise what you love enough in the world to not stop working for it!
Thank you for keeping his legacy alive. Thank you for reminding the listeners of what is important in this rapidly changing society. My sincerest appreciation and love, Emil