We are all feeling a bit out of sorts with the world today. It’s during times like these that we seek to ground ourselves in wisdom greater than our own. Last week, Energy Muse was honored to receive a blessing and cleansing from Shaolin Monk, Shifu Wang Bo, a 34th generation Shaolin warrior and Zen Buddhist disciple. What struck us about his teachings were the beauty of their simplicity.
As he talked to us about his daily practice at the elite Shaolin Temple, he casually related days filled solely with rigorous martial arts study, mantras and meditation. He was so humble about his disciplined practice, it almost made the rest of us feel a bit ashamed of how often we claim that we can’t make time for 5 minutes of meditation. What he soon brought us to realized, however, is that his practice is what has become normal to him through the power of perception, or as he put it, “a positive mind.” It’s not that he has superhuman spiritual strength—though it’d be easy to think so considering his four world championship martial arts titles—but rather, a determination to stick to a basic philosophy: find and create the positive.
Here are some of the highlights of Heather Askinosie’s Q & A with Shifu Wang Bo:
Heather: Tell us a little about yourself.
Shifu Wang Bo: I’ve trained at the Shaolin Temple for the past 16 years. Training at the temple is about having peace of mind, a healthy body and a mind that honors all the time. It’s about being able to give positive energy; being able to help people through your positive energy.
Chanting and mantras are languages that we practice at the Shaolin Temple, which give everything that surroundings us, new life. They’re languages that build a connection to the heart and the soul. By using a crystal or a mala, we are delivering a message. We are creating a bridge between one person to another person; between body and soul; between negativity and positivity. That’s the practice that we’re doing at the Shaolin Temple through meditation and chanting.
We’re building up the energy and wisdom, so that we can send our prayer to an object, like a crystal. Then the stone will receive the message, and we have given the crystal new life. When you give the stone to somebody, it’s not just a stone. It’s a stone that has a spirit. That’s what we do in the Shaolin Temple. The words that we use, are positive words, and these positive words are meant to awake people’s heart with the gift of energy.
Heather: People are going through hard times in the world right now. What is something that we can do in a short amount of time to improve our lives?
Shifu Wang Bo: A positive mind is important, as always. Being able to have a few minutes to chant, repeat a mantra or hold a crystal is helpful in achieve that mindset. A simple thing that I do is count my mala beads. 1,2, 3, 4, 5, and you continue until you finish counting all 108. During the counting, you are actually meditating. There is always trouble. There are always problems. But if we deepen our heart, we see everything in a beautiful way, and then we won’t actually see the trouble. When we bring crystals near our heart, when we bring mala beads near our heart, then our heart will get nourished. Then we see the troubles less as problems, and more as practices. But in order to do that, we need to use tools; such as crystals, beads, prayers and teachings. This method can get us through to a positive, motivated, energetic and healthy lifestyle.
Heather: There are people who have different religious beliefs or no religious beliefs. What is one word that they can say to get them right now while holding onto a crystal.
Shifu Wang Bo: There are a few words I can give you that are powerful. One is love, because it’s very important. Another is compassion. Acceptance, accept everything. And joy, whatever happens, find a way to be joyful. Say all of them, one of them, whatever makes you joyful.
Heather: For somebody that’s new to all of this, how can they start doing this in a way that’s not overwhelming?
Shifu Wang Bo: The reason that people feel overwhelmed, is because the capacity of the mind is already being limited. Practicing every single day eventually expands the mind. So if you practice for five minutes everyday, you reset the mind. Then things don’t build up in a way that becomes overwhelming.