Sunday, December 26, 2010

Everything is Kung-fu !!!

I saw a beautiful movie yesterday - "The Karate Kid 2010" which stars Jackie Chan and Will Smith's son-Jaden Smith.

What captured my imagination was how the movie has managed to capture the subtle intricacies of Kung-Fu. There is an instance in which Jackie Chan says "Everything is Kung-Fu". This one phrase has captured the essence of Taoism,Zen and Hinduism. In Taoism, the only reality that exists is the present moment. And to live fully and focus completely in the present moment is salvation itself. Zen itself means waking up to the present moment. In Hinduism, Karma-Yogam or "yoga through action" elucidates that verily the work or activity we do "now" is worship itself. In other words, whatever we do should be done as worship. It also goes one step further and says that the result is not the ultimate aim.This has also been captured in a beautiful Zen phrase "The reward is not in the destination. The reward is in the journey itself".And to focus one-pointedly on the present moment requires a still and a calm mind. All forms of martial arts and meditation practices ultimately aim to achieve this. Many western self-help books also extol the importance of living completely in the present moment and doing one thing at a time.

There is a beautiful Zen story wherein, a young man finds an old monk picking weeds from a garden. He sees him doing this same "mundane" routine everyday. He grows curious and asks the old monk as to what he is doing. The old monk says " I am picking weeds" and then the young man asks "For how long will you do this"? The old monk replies with a smile " As long as there are weeds in this garden". A simple story with a profound and deep inner meaning.

This is also from a very practical perspective: complete attention and love to the task at hand results in perfection. At the same time results of the action may not always be in our hands.We can only perfect the effort we put in the task at hand. So the only thing to do is to do what we do in the best possible way without worrying about the result. In fact the same principle applies to not just work, but to every action we do and that includes every moment of our existence.If we can live by this principle every moment,then whatever we do and everything we do becomes kung-fu !!!