Zen and the Art of Action Taking

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It is July 7th today and we celebrate Tanabata in Japan. Tanabata, also known as the Star Festival, is a Japanese festival originating from the Chinese Qixi Festival. It celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively). According to legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The date of Tanabata varies by region of the country, but the first festivities begin on 7 July of the Gregorian calendar. The celebration is held at various days between July and August.


In Japan, we write our wishes on a piece of paper and hang it on a young bamboo tree.


If you were to make a wish, what would it be?


My wish is that we can all do what we came here to do.


Since I talked about Yin approaches in the last few posts, let me get back to the Yang side to end this week.


Zen and the art of action taking.


One thing constantly mentioned in the seminars and books on motivational success philosophies was how every successful person succeeded through taking massive action. We were then given examples of people like Abraham Lincoln who failed at running a business two times and failed to secure a seat in the political field for more than five times but he kept on going until in 1860, he was finally elected as the U.S president. Through that story, we learned that successful people never give up. They usually have a strong passion to continue taking action until they get what they want.


We often complain that the politicians and big corporations have the power to control our society but we don’t stop and think of how they got to that point. I now know they did it through hard work, resilience, and taking massive action, which is something we lack.


We have a trend of not taking enough action. We often wake up late, have a long lunch break, followed by small activities here and there. We even cancel our appointments if ‘something comes up’. No wonder we can’t control our society and achieve what the business owners and politicians have accomplished.


For us to be successful in our sustainable living movement, we have to take massive action. Of course, we don’t want to be like world leaders, but we need to achieve our goal of influencing society and taking massive action seem to be one of the few options we have.


Come to think of it, people who create sustainable world also take massive action. A good example is Satish Kumar, a long-time peace and environmental activist from India.


In 1962, Satish and his companion E.P Menon embarked on an 8,000-mile peace pilgrimage where they walked around the world without any money. The two walked from India to Moscow, Paris, Washington D.C, and London: the four capitals of nuclear world. The aim of their walk was to protest against nuclear weapons.


Satish had a passion for peace and sustainability; he took massive action throughout his whole life. Some of his achievements include founding a small school, co-founding Schumacher College, and promoting Resurgence and Ecologist magazine.


Another example is James Redfield, the author of The Celestine Prophecy. While most of us know James Redfield as a bestselling author, what many of us don’t know about him is that his book didn’t become a bestseller overnight. When James Redfield began writing, he couldn’t find a publisher willing to publish his book, which is how he ended up self-publishing his book.


He and his wife then filled the trunk of their car with copies of his book The Celestine Prophecy, and they then drove around the Southern States knocking on bookstores doors. At the end of the trip, they had given out 1,500 copies out of 3,000 copies that they had printed to bookstores and to individuals. The book was then advertised through word of mouth and in six months’ time, the book had over 100,000 print copies in all 50 States in the U.S and appeared in countries around the world.


Examples of sustainably successful people who took massive action are endless. It seems action taking is a common success formula, whether it is in the business world or sustainable world.


As a matter of fact, it is fun to take action. Especially when it is combined with your Yin activities, action becomes part of yourself, and you act naturally.


Have you ever had an experience like this? You were dancing at a party and the pieces of music you love continue to play one after another, and you just can’t stop dancing.


Once you make action taking a habit, it becomes like that.


So, enjoy taking action, and have a nice weekend.


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