“The Tools” are what you have in your personal arsenal to tackle life head-on.
Bruce Lee repeatedly wrote about different Tools he used in life. We have talked about these tools separately on the podcast, but what is it to have these tools in your arsenal and to use them?
“Your tools have a dual-purpose, to destroy whatever is in front of you that stands in the way of peace, justice, and humanity, and to destroy your own impulse of self-preservation, to destroy anything bothering your mind, to overcome your own greed, anger, and folly.” We have the obstacles in our life that are outside of ourselves and then we have the obstacles within our own mind. Bruce has a warrior-like mentality to destroy these barriers in life to achieve peace.
These are Bruce Lee’s Tools:
Flexibility and Adaptability
Willpower was a tool that was extremely important to Bruce Lee as he considered himself a self-willed man. He had the power to direct his energy toward the things that he wanted.
Bruce Lee wanted to destroy these obstacles not to force through his own path, but to achieve greater harmony and connectedness with the world around him. He is asking us to replace our greed and anger with peace and humanity.
“When you are training, your mind and body are active and dynamic in every way. But in actual combat your mind must be calm, you must feel as if nothing critical is happening. Your movements should be light and secure, not fixed and glaring. Your behavior should not be in any way different from your everyday behavior.”
You cultivate these tools so that when the situation arises and you need them, you can use these tools in a masterful way with calmness, with presence, and put them into service to handle the situation without aggression.
“If you are pure-hearted, and choicelessly aware, then your tools will hold these qualities, and will play their role to the utmost degree. Your tools stand as symbols of the invisible spirit, and they keep the mind and body in full engagement.”
Simplicity is an important tool because it can be easy to overcomplicate and overthink a situation or a solution. You have to “Hack away the unessentials.” You want to know exactly what you need and to go directly to a solution.
Our instinct to overthink or overcomplicate situations is fear-based. We fear that something will go wrong and it can create a negative thought spiral taking us out of the reality of the situation.
Listen to people expressing themselves. If they are expressing themselves simply, it is easier to understand and connect through communication.
“Our tools represent the force of intuitive or instinctive directness and do not divide or block our freedom. Our tools move us onward without looking back or to the side.”
Use your intuition to test how good your tools are and if they are moving you forward.
For Shannon, she has been working on her tool of Joy recently. She has been trying to turn her ego, when it comes up, into Joy. Shannon’s process is to first notice ego showing up, then she aims to remain present, and look around herself to ask, “What is there I can be Joyful about?”
Sometimes when we are in a negative state of being, such as anger, we can forget about using our other tools. Try to give your tools a definite shape, imagine a toolbox filled with your tools that you can visualize to help bring your out of a negative state and utilize your tools instead.
Shannon has also been experimenting with her tools of Simplicity and Intuition. Sometimes we will have an intuition about something and we sit and overthink it. Shannon has been practicing noticing her intuition and applying it as simply as she can. This action requires Willpower to move you to act on your intuition.
“This is not a matter of petty techniques, but of highly developed personal spirituality. It is not a question of developing what has already been developed, but of recovering what has been left behind. It is not a matter of technology, but of spiritual insight and training.”
We tend to think of tools as something outside of ourselves, but these tools we were born with and they are always inside of us. All spiritual growth is a remembering of the love, joy, and intuition inside of us, the remembering of our true essence.
“Make the tools see. All movements come out of the mind, keep it straight without ego-centered motivation. Keep the mind sincere and genuine and straightforward; allow nothing between itself and its movements.” You have these tools that are innate to you and have their own energy, keep yourself genuine and straightforward and do not block these tools.
“The tools are at an undifferentiated center of a circle that has no circumference. Moving and yet not moving, intention 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 keen intelligence of a fully mature mind.”
There is limitless ability of these tools within our own person.
Bruce Lee emphasizes the idea that there is work and training to be done, there is awareness and utilization of the tools, but there is also the letting go of the tools. You do the work and then you just “be.” You let these tools come forth as needed and you continue to move down your path.
“One can never be the master of his knowledge unless all psychic hindrances are removed and he can keep his mind in a state of fluidity even purged of whatever knowledge he has attained.”
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We are experimenting with the formatting for the podcast so we do not have an #AAHA or #BruceLeeMoment this week, but we would still love to hear from you!
We get many emails requesting advice with “What would Bruce Lee do?” and would like to start a “What would Bruce Lee do?” section of the podcast where Shannon and Sharon respond to your emails for advice. If you need advice and are wondering, “What would Bruce Lee do?” write to us at email@example.com
The Bruce Lee Podcast is now on Nerdist.com.