The mind is present everywhere because it is nowhere attached to any particular object. And it can remain present because, even when relating to this or that object, it does not cling to it. The flow of thought is like water filling a pond, which is always ready to flow off again. It can work its inexhaustible power because it is free, and it can be open to everything because it is empty.

Excerpt from “Bruce Lee, Artist of Life” edited by John Little

Anyone who works with me will probably be familiar with my love of the Particpatory City Approach. They might have heard me talk about the ways that The Circle Way has helped me learn to trust friends and connect to myself with a small, group of closely connected peers. Bruce Lee probably felt this way about Wing Chun Kung Fu earlier in his life. learn the forms, master the techniques. But at some point, it seemed like he needed freedom from prescribed forms. It occurred to me as I lay on the bed just now listening to this: if social innovation is like kung fu, then how might we be like water, create social innovations that do not adhere to prescribed forms, but are a pure expression of who we shaped by the context in which we live and work?

The baby looks at things all day without winking, that is because his eyes are not focused on any particular object. He goes without knowing where he is going, and stops without knowing what he is doing. He merges himself with the surroundings and moves along with it. These are the principles of mental hygiene. Therefore, concentration in gung fu does not have the usual sense of restricting the attention to a single sense object; it is simply a quiet awareness of whatever happens to be here and now.

Excerpt from “Bruce Lee, Artist of Life” edited by John Little

This means that I am, for the first time in my career, starting to put people before practices. I’ve always put practices first: “if you do it the participatory city way, then greatest good for greatest number”, like Spock. But what occurs to me now is that practices eminate from people, they are expressions of who they are. Then when they get codified, I think they are shiny things that can save us. And they can help. My love of practices all comes from good intentions: to help, to alleviate suffering, to create well being. But at some level, probably a sense of scarcity and being scared. And goodness knows there’s plenty to be scared of nowadays. But practices can also really block me from being present and connecting with who is present and what’s present for them, and I’m pretty sure now that that’s more important. I look forward to seeing you, sorry if I missed you that other time!

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