Peter Ralston

Empowering people in consciousness and skill. Author of: "The Book of Not Knowing"

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2 thoughts on “

  1. Hello Peter!

    It has been almost exactly two years since I first cracked the cover of BNK; looking back at the layers of congealed magma, it’s astonishing to me how much the landscape can change in such a short amount of time. When the bottom drops out, it can do so in a big hurry if we just stay out of its way.

    I was turned on to BNK by the semi-local resident master of our school of Indo-chinese Kung fu; which I’ve alternately heard characterized as Chuan Fa mixed with Silat, or “Kuntao”, or “Chinese hands, Indonesian feet”… all just labels, but you likely get the idea. He has been steeped in this system for about 47 years, and yet in the past several years has been stripping his teaching and practice of the system to center around the principles of Chen Hsin instead. He discovered how much effortless power can transform the system from the inside out after beginning to work with your material: Principles / Art of Effortless Power, and I believe he has just about all of your DVD material, including ENB and whichever series contains the Sanshou set you are working with Brendan.

    In any case, I myself read through BNK four times – each time refusing to permit myself to move forward until I had had what was clearly a genuine “hit” on the communication being made. Incomplete, likely, but genuine and not made into something it wasn’t by my preconceptions. Having done that, I have and continue to extract more and more from it each time. I’ve read Pursing Consciousness twice, and have been through Genius of Being once, with another iteration on the near horizon for me; as well as Ancient Wisdom, New Spirit and Reflections of Being. I was particularly taken by the fact that the core communication in “Reflections” was fundamentally identical to that of the latter publications; more raw, and requiring a greater degree of pre-existing experiential understanding in order to relate to it, but it’s the same animal. Which, I believe, says something.

    In general, your work prompted me to expand my horizons to reading and listening to a swath of others conveying ontological wisdom along the same, experiential vein. More importantly, it caused me to turn inward and really get to rock-bottom understanding of not only what I was up to internally – my whole game of survival machinations run amuck – but also to an even more fundamental direct experience of what all of this is.

    I have since foisted copies of BNK onto six or seven people… care to guess how many have gotten past cracking the cover and the first few chapters? 😉 You’d probably be pretty spot-on. Self doesn’t want to know this stuff. Why so many people I talk to shy away from this, whereas myself – having really no cultural background in this as a suburban WASP kid of the 1980-90’s, nor any martial arts experience whatsoever until the age of 35 – dropped down the rabbit hole at a dizzying pace, I have no idea.

    In all honesty, the challenge has really been in continually adapting to the character of the landscape as it has changed from insight to insight; a lot of it revolving around discovering what true, pure motivation is… the motive to manifest, independent of any idea of what form it has to take. That, standing in contradistinction to the activity which had pushed me through life previously: the self-generated struggle to persist *as* a particular self, my mixed-nuts bag of invented and appropriated identifications, driving me with all kinds of uncognized tricks and triggers. Waking up and not having an e-motion to e-motivate me into a particular direction (like the powerful need to go to work, laced with guilt if I was tardy 😉 ) was an often-disorienting experience that popped up in a lot of different domains for me.

    Fortunately, what has remained after layers of cruft have been scraped away, and the mental survival chatter was seen for what it is, and allowed to just “be” (at which point it typically rapidly dies away, without any activity to engage with and keep goading it along), is a much more pure and free experience of expression. And a deep understanding gratitude – that I get to be here right now, doing what I’m doing, right now. And I have a wealth of tools to manifest with, and hone, and appreciate, for-and-as-themselves. Whatever arises, whatever is appropriate, without anchor to the concept of past or future. Recognizing that both are, actually, inextricably wrapped up in “now”. I am glad to be on the journey that I am on.

    In any case, there is an orientation to all of my rambling. 😉 I wanted to just bounce an insight off of you to get your take on it; it’s something which arose out of nowhere for me, during a dyad session as we ran through some of the early videos in the ENB series. I had responded to something my partner had asked, incorporating the word “respect” into it. He responded with the question “Well, what do you mean by ‘respect’? What is ‘respect’?”

    Without hesitation, my answer was this, nearly verbatim: “Respect is the degree to which another plays along with you, by reinforcing and affirming your own inventions of identity.” It just kind of popped out unexpectedly, and it sort of stopped the conversation cold as he tried to parse and reconcile that… I don’t think it ever really sat acceptably with him. 😉 But it was a real “food comes from the refrigerator” moment for me. Prior to that, I had never thought about what respect *was*; respect was just respect, and we all know what that is, right? It’s real, and exists necessarily in and of itself, and is just another facet of reality. Or… not so much. 😉

    Anyway, I just thought I would bounce that off of you and see what you make of it, what other angles might occur to you. That was months ago, and I’ve superimposed it atop of all kinds of social interactions I’ve observed since then, for role-identities including: parent, social outcast, president, professor, youth, patriarch, security officer, colleague, etc. I’ve yet to find an instance where it didn’t hold. What we call “respect”, in true utilitaritan food-comes-from-the-refrigerator style, we apprehend and relate to as a ‘thing’ in its own right. Yet it’s nothing more than another joining oneself in their playing-out of an assumed role. If I told you I was the King of Spain, and you (and everyone else, of course) placated me by playing along with my assorted Edicts and Demands of Fealty… well, guess what? I’m the King of Spain, by social convention. Just like the actual King of Spain is. 🙂

    In any event, whether this piques your interest or not, I’d like to convey a deep gratitude for your work. It’s resulted in a massive transformation in my experience each day. Ironically, that was never an end I was after; my particular activities of self-survival weren’t, generally, concentrated in the realm of spiritual or ontological pursuits. And perhaps that’s why I put up little resistance to dropping my ideas and going into things a bit. And then a bit more. 😉

    The end result has been something of a fait accompli; I have had dramatic shifts in the content of “my life” which, had you told me were going to occur before the fact, I would have fought tooth and nail against. But they happened in accord with a deepening understanding of what I was really up to internally. They have been a very good source of tutelage on the point that I / we don’t really know what we “want”, or certainly what is “good for us”. It’s the experience of identity flailing against the inevitable that has always resulted in the kind of fierce grace that significantly moves me forward. Out of a particular confusion, and into an apprehension of what’s actually true.

    regards,
    Eldridge

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    1. Eldridge,
      Thanks for your contribution. Sounds like you’ve been working hard. Your insight is your insight, sounds solid. It depends on the distinction you are making with “respect,” however, and this can vary depending on the culture or subculture that makes it. Thanks for the feedback and good luck with your efforts.

      Peter Ralston

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