Monday, April 11, 2011

Playing Ball on Running Water

Many years ago I had the opportunity to meet with the founder of Constructive Living, David K. Reynolds, PhD.   He was presenting his work at the University of Nebraska in Kearney at the invite of Dr. Yozan Mosig, a Professor of Psychology and noted Martial Artist. Many of you old time martial artists would know him as Dirk Mosig. He is also now a Zen Priest and uses the name Yozan.

Well, to get to the point. Dr. Reynold's wrote some 6 Key Points about Constructive Living. Constructive Living is a combination of two Japanese psychotherapies, Naikan and Morita. They are Zen-based teachings which I found very helpful...and I hope you can too. Constructive Living contains practices that are helpful in journeying our way through life a bit more, well, constructively.

Some of Dr. Reynold's work is now out of print, so here is Constructive Living principles in a nutshell:

1. Observe, acknowledge and accept feelings and thoughts without necessarily expressing or acting on them.

2. Pay attention to the details of reality in the present moment and bring attention to whatever you are doing when the mind wanders elsewhere.

3. Distinguish between what is controllable (your own behavior) and what is not controllable (just about everything else).

4. Identify purposes and establish realistic goals.

5. Co-exist with unpleasant feelings and still take appropriate action based on the needs of the situation.

6. Examine your behavior in relation to others and assess the impact of your behavior on others.

Take some time and reflect on this. See how following these principles can help make your life flow more evenly.

I invite you to read some of his works or Google Constructive Living. There are some good websites dedicated to his teachings. Over the years I have found his teachings very helpful...and I have fond memories of eating lunch with him and Dr. Mosig.

Hands palm to palm,


  1. Definitely worth investigating. All six points are things that I came to through my own experience and I'm always trying to stress them to people who (I assume wouldn't) accept them in the guise of Zen.

    As someone who personally/privately embraces the forms and traditions of Zen, but publicly seeks to help others by sharing the teachings shaken free of them, this is a very useful resource.

    Do you have any specific titles you'd recommend for those of us that can only afford one?

  2. @Kevin: Some of Dr. Reynold's book are no longer in print...but an internet search can find them:

    Constructive Living

    Playing Ball on Running Water

    Even in the Summer the Ice Doesn't Melt

    Pools of Lodging for the Moon.

    I personally liked Constructive Living.

    Check out as well.

    Hope this helps.

  3. thanks. did see some of them on amazon pretty cheap. i'll check out the website

  4. I just love the 'Playing Ball on Running Water' word-string. I decided the title itself is an onomatopoeia, instantly reminding us of the chaordic nature of our world, AND of what may be gleaned from brilliant mundanity.