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A Tense Muscle is a Slow One

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I came across a piece of writing by a well known Time Management expert


A Tense Muscle is a Slow One

A tense muscle is a slow one. This is a physiological and demonstrable fact in the martial arts. Could this be true in other aspects of our lives?

In karate, the power that can be generated by a punch is primarily due to speed, not muscle. It is the snap at the end of the whip. That is why petite people can learn to break boards and bricks with their hands—it’s not really about callouses, it’s more about the ability to generate that pop at the end of the thrust.

But a tense muscle is a slow one. So the high levels of training in the martial arts are about relaxation and balance, because that allows the flexibility and response-ability required to mobilize maximum resources at maximum speed for maximum results.

If I were sparring with you, I’d like nothing better than for you to be uptight and tense and over- or under-react to me. That’s called a “fake.” If that happens, I can control you. Your kids know that. So does a business adversary. People will unconsciously find your weak spots and use them to cause you to inappropriately respond and “lose.”

Not talking about six-beers-in-front-of-the-TV kind of relaxed. Rather, the most resourceful state of mind required when four people jump you in a dark alley, or you have to have That Serious Conversation with your son, or you have to fire someone.

To cleanly and clearly focus, 100%, with all your conscious and unconscious resources available for the task or expression at hand—that is the optimal “ready state.” It produces your ability to deal with surprise—elegantly, efficiently, and effectively. It will be your competitive edge. It is powerful.
Value of concentration

I do not know if the story below is accurate or not but it illustrates how someone who is relaxed can concentrate



Once during His visit to Chicago, USA, Swami Vivekananda was taking a stroll on the banks of a river. There he saw some young boys with an air gun trying to shoot at eggshells floating in the river. As the shells rolled up and down on the choppy water, the boys could not hit them. None of the boys hit an eggshell, despite trying many times.

Swami Vivekananda was watching their game with keen interest. Seeing this, the boys called out to Him, "Sir, you have been watching us all this time. Would you like to give it a try?" Swami Vivekananda smiled and said that He would like to try. Taking the air gun in His hand, He aimed at the eggshells and concentrated on the target for some time. Then He fired the gun twelve times and hit an eggshell each time!

The boys were awestruck on seeing Swamiji's skill and asked, "Well, Sir, how could you do this? Have you had a lot of shooting practice?" Swamiji laughed and said, "No, I have never practiced shooting." The boys were confused, "Then how is it that you shot so well?" Swami Vivekananda replied, "Well, let me tell you a secret. Whatever you do, concentrate all your attention on it. Think of nothing else. If you are shooting, keep your mind only on the target. Your aim will not fail. Concentration can work wonders. Even when you are studying, think only of the lesson at hand. Then you will easily remember what you study."

Moral: Concentration means not allowing the mind to think anything except about our target. Since the nature of the mind is such that it thinks continuously and gets easily distracted, it is difficult to achieve concentration. Daily chanting (repeating) of The God's Name is very helpful in achieving concentration.

A relaxed approach to life is very powerful because it gives one the ability to concentrate on a given task.

Relaxed approach to life is possible only when one has clarity of what life is about.
Relaxed approach to any issue is possible when one has clarity about the issue being addressed.

When it comes to learning a topic or developing an interest clarity and satisfying the pre-requisites go a long way to developing a keen interest in the topic area.

When it comes to looking at our own life, clarity comes also by studying life stories of Mahatmas.

If one were to look at the life of great Mahatmas like Swami Vivekananda one may find all kinds of seeming contradictions.

When I first read his collected works couple of decades ago, I was more confused than when I started as to what his message was.

In addition, I had a book of his collected letters wherein he did not come across kind at all to people who used to be writing to him. In fact he was downright harsh. How can a Mahatma make such comments was perplexing to me.

Even while reading Ramana Maharishi's collected work written by others I was equally confused. In one such episode, Ramana Maharishi made comments about the Rasam not having enough salt !

My point is that commitment to clarity of thinking leads one to approach a subject area with sincerity. Then one makes the effort to satisfy the pre-requisites. This leads one to be relaxed about the subject matter which aids in the learning. Relaxation and clarity leads to ability to concentrate that again promotes gaining knowledge.

When it comes to life issues, it is not enough to be knowledgeable but one needs to be firm in the understanding. That firmness comes with clarity.
Moral of the story:

Handle life like a dream state.

During the dream state or better known as REM sleep..the skeletal muscles undergoes a paralytic relaxation so that we do not act out our dreams..therefore the mind is able to focus on the dream.
There are many senior citizens in dream state during waking hours.

In india one has to be in dream state to enjoy living ignoring everything around.

Our APJ kept on talking about dreams and was a bachelor.

Our bachelors are also good dreamers.lol
Calmer Mind

Continuing from Post #3

A calm mind is required to solve complex problems

Calm mind with sincere approach to subjects of interest lead to clarity and helps one to focus on the right problems in the right manner.

When the mind is agitated, it cannot be willed away to become calm. The first step is to recognize that one is agitated and not make hasty actions or decisions.

Without clarity and with agitated mind one can make choices that can affect one's life and/or even affect lives of many others.

President Trump is agitated most of the time since he is unable to take the criticism that comes with his current role. He built his empire by doing all he can to promote his brand. Many building are built by others and he licensed his Trump name to be put on the building. He claims that his name is worth about $3 Billion :) With this kind of thinking, he is unable to take the criticisms well that he is encountering.

Like all political leaders one can appreciate his need to manage perceptions. However, during the internal turmoil to prove he is the tough guy, he ordered a strike against Yemen which his predecessor did not.

The net result is for no real gain, there were losses of civilian lives, and loss of life of a US Marine.

Without clarity, he hastily signed an executive order banning travelers from certain countries. This was immediately met with constitutional challenges and in effect the order had to be redone. Trump administration argued that US security was at stake in order to reinstate the ban and no one really believed the administration. A ban could have been better drafted ( perhaps round 2 recently signed may be so though state of Hawaii is already filing a law suit against the next version of the order)

When one is agitated and/or lack clarity the responses to others become less effective.

When I first found out about this forum (and did not join right away) I was impressed with the quality of the posts. There were many thoughtful posts and I admired the quality of the posts even if I did not agree with the messages.

Today, we seem to have mostly chit-chat type responses in many sections. Many seem to be steered away from the original discussion topic by a few who cannot help but provide only scatter-brain responses. There is a lack of focus in a thread. Writing what comes to one's mind is a freedom provided by the forum owner but it is not the assertion of real freedom. As an individual, restraining oneself to provide the best of responses is a way of showing our appreciation to the existence of a forum. Attacking a poster or speaking as if one is a representative of all other members usually reflect lack of clarity and an agitated mind in my view.
Such actions make a forum less desirable. I am saying this only as a food for thought. I am not expecting agreement.

In the next post I will discuss the impact of lack of clarity and ignorance on ourselves and others..
Power of Ignorance

Lack of clarity on any subject leads to mistaken understanding of the subject. Broadly this can be considered a form of ignorance

Generally ignorance is considered a benign thing.
For example I am ignorant of many languages or may have mistaken notions about many things.
Such aspects of ignorance may rarely cause major issues except in special situations.

The ultimate ignorance is not knowing the truth of oneself or this world or Isvara. That afflicts all of us at varying degrees and is not the aspect I want to discuss here.

Ignorance is considered to have power because it can delude us from seeing the world or a situation the way it is.
Lack of clarity, leads therefore to delusion which can lead us towards actions detrimental to us and/or people around us.

Let me take an example from US Politics.


Until I came to India I never really could believe or accept the existence of gay and lesbian people. It is not that the subject was taboo or anything. It was never discussed when I was growing up in India. There were usage of some profanities which carried no reality to the words, at least with me and with people I knew.

When I learnt about this homosexual concept and learnt that real people are gay not because of choices they made, I had to question if it is right to declare this to be a perversion. I found that animals exhibit homosexual tendencies too which convinced me that it is in the creation itself.

When I was living in a coeducational hostels, one of my close female friends confided with me that she is actually bisexual which was hard to believe. Since then most people I have come to know as gay or lesbian are otherwise normal though I found that some gay men do exhibit mannerism that they are unable to avoid making. Truly accepting all these people meant going past my unfounded prejudices.

I know many in this forum, based on their writing carry extremely prejudicial views. I will only ask them to educate themselves to overcome their prejudices and religious indoctrination.

While larger population in USA and certainly most younger generation have come to accept gay/lesbian people as regular human beings these days, there is still taboo against transgender people.

Why would someone want to be other than the gender they are born with?

I recently came to know of some TB families whose children are transgender and the families are not able to cope up with the situation. One girl has now gone through hormone therapy and is looking more and more like a boy. These otherwise 'proud' families and the children's grand parents in India just cannot fathom what is going on. They blame that the permissive culture in America must have made this happen. Others think that someone has cast a black magic spells and hence consulting astrologers.

Here is a documentary in HBO (Cable) that aired a week or so ago.

It is worth watching if you want to get a better understanding as to what is going on.


Power of Ignorance and delusion

The number of transgender people or those that simply cannot live with their body gender, is very small. However, parents of these children are trying to cope with the situation by supporting their children's desires because the suicide rates among such people worldwide is a staggering 40%.

Now the question is should a child born as a male but is getting transformed as a female use the rest room of boys or girls ?
The issues of humiliation involved for someone who is transgender is enormous. A child looking and feeling like a girl cannot possibly go into little boy's rest room and vice versa!

Some evangelical Christians in one state of USA made this an issue that a child should only use the restroom of the gender they are born with. The Obama administration thought that the right to decent treatment is a civil rights issues and issued an Presidential order that a child cannot be forced to go into the restroom of their birth gender.

Trump with his ignorance has reversed this and has stated that states can deal with this as they please.

This has caused enormous anguish and suffering of a small number of people who fear their child be not part of the 40% who end up committing suicides.

This is a human issue. Ignorance and lack of clarity can lead to actions that can cause untold suffering
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