Here I list resources that directly or indirectly inspired my book, either in terms of content, or writing style. If you liked my book, you may like the following. (The converse is certainly quite possible too! Remember the core statistics mantra: Correlation does not imply causation).
|Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams||
Uses the author's personal experiences in training with various masters to show Zen Principles in action. It's among the most pragmatic books on Eastern Philosophy, choosing bite-sized, independent chapters and everyday language to convey its points. I read this book back in my early days of training, and recently picked it up again. It has not lost its charm, and I happily recommend it to new students.
Though I read it in my teens, it is even more valuable today, since the author's context is applying Zen to living in the 'real world' with all its stresses.
|Tao Te Ching by Lao Tze — Sam Hamill's Translation||
The Tao Te Ching is a timeless classic. It distills deep truths of existence and guidelines on living in beautiful poetry. Read it. Slowly. To me, timeless principles are those that are generative in nature, that is to say, for a single phrase, one may never be able to exhaust possible interpretations.
Eventually, one realises that one must experience and feel, for the phrase only acts as a gateway to the experience. All interpretations become merely hints, like someone describing the taste of delicious food in words. Unlike the food analogy however, contemplating on these principles do progress one's state of being forward.
|War of Art by Steven Pressfield|
You read that right. It is not the Eastern classic, Sun Tzu‘s “Art of War”. This contemporary and unique title is, at its core, about getting your work — something that you just feel you are meant to do, in any profession or creative endeavour — done.
Pressfield externalises an enemy, called Resistance that we creatives must fight to get forward. While mental blocks and negative traits are internal to our psyche, and something we must ponder and overcome, there is value in externalising such internal ideas into something with form, something we can touch, and conceptualise, and overcome as if it was a physical barrier. Funnily enough, in Zen in the Martial Arts above, there is a chapter on a Master who applied principles of self-healing by imagining the pain and damage as some physical structure to be repaired, using non-biological analogies he was more familiar with.
In the chapter Resistance and This Book, the author claims that Resistance tempted him to weave his ideas into a work of fiction, filled with metaphors, rather than so overtly stating them. In writing Touching Nature, I was tempted to do the same, to sugarcoat my learnings and experiences in some form. But ultimately, this is not a work of fiction, and to do so would have been to water down its contents.
To do so would also have been to give in to fear.
One must simply accept that a message is a message, and the work is to be done. Whether it is received, rejected, or ridiculed is secondary.