Kung-fu and the Path of Integration with Sifu Keith Martin-Smith
I recently sat down over tea with Sarah C. Beasley, a talented writer and columnist, to talk about my path into Buddhism and my latest novel. It ended being a wide-ranging and easeful conversation that went into some tender territory for me.
I was interviewed by yoga teacher and professional troublemaker Mark Walsh on his embodiment podcast. We got into Chinese martial arts, northern vs. southern styles, beauty, wushu, the Shaolin Temple, Asian vs. Western teaching methods, Ken Wilber and Integral Theory (it gets a bit geeky), adult development and Spiral Dynamics, cleaning up vs growing up vs waking up, abuse and shadow and embodied writing.
Praise for A Heart Blown Open
"Written with extraordinary heart and skill, this book chronicles the making of an Integral Zen master. Jun Po's life has been as unpredictable as it has been astounding. Jun Po's dedication to exploring his own psychological shadows in light of his own awakening consciousness is the story of our times, and is an absolute must-read for anyone with even a passing interest in human evolution, and it was brought together brilliantly by Keith."
Ken Wilber, author of Integral Spirituality
"This is a legendary story of an inspiring teacher that mirrors the journey of many contemporary Western seekers. A flash of white light from psychedelic theophanies leads to a lifetime's pursuit of enlightenment under the Buddha dharma prayer flag."
Alex Grey, artist & author of Transformations, Sacred Mirrors, and The Mission of Art
"Martin-Smith keeps Kelly’s story rolling on a fast track, just as the man’s life has been lived—the women, the violence, the good times, the regrets, the fear, and loathing, all are recounted. There is something in this book for everyone: spiritual seekers and unrepentant sinners alike will find Kelly’s ride hilarious, frustrating, poignant, and thoroughly human. The result of the journey is a new unique form of spiritual practice that Kelly, now a cancer survivor in his seventies who leads international workshops, calls “Mondo Zen”—“the radical invention that brought Zen into the twenty-first century and fully into the West.”
Barbara Bamberger Scott, Foreword Reviews
"This book provides a provocative window into one of the more controversial Zen Masters of our generation, and will not fail to touch and inspire those who read it. Jun Po Roshi has lived a life of amazing fullness. Few have risen to such heights of notoriety and wealth in their youth and given back so much wisdom and service later in life. His greatest gift is his continuing effort to discover the best way to transmit the ancient wisdom of Zen into the 21st Century."
Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi, author of Big Mind Big Heart: Finding Your Way
"This is the real life saga of a true spiritual warrior. What is so fascinating about Jun Po Roshi's story is that it describes, at times with painful honesty, the challenges of warriorship in the strange new world of postmodernity. This biography is a time capsule colorfully and poignantly conveying the powerful emergence and evolution of a cultural revolution from the inside out."
Andrew Cohen, founder EnlightenNext, author of Evolutionary Enlightenment
“An entertaining picture of Denis Kelly battling his demons and having a pretty good time doing it…” From Tricycle Magazine
For Content Strategy
“Keith not only knows how to make a long story short, he knows how to do so on time and on-brand. That said, find your own damn copywriter. It took us years to find someone this good who isn’t a self-righteous prima donna.”
-- Mark Gallagher, CEO, BlackCoffee
“When I called Keith I was discouraged and uncertain if anyone would ever be able to help translate the abstract and theoretical vision of The Life Chart in a comprehendible way. I wanted it to touch real people in the real world.
I needed someone who understood complex philosophical and psychological concepts yet could break down these concepts in a simple manner. Who could be the translator for this vision. Keith delivered a smooth sophisticated translation that has energized and encouraged me.
I almost gave up on finding a way to communicate my message to the world; now I have a website and content I’m proud to share.”
-- Bill Wilder, Creator of The Life Chart
“Keith’s gift is simple: he is a brilliant writer. He has the uncanny ability to write your your ideas quickly. He listens and with efficient speed makes word choices that make it only too clear why you hired him.
“He has also cultivated a spiritual and psychological depth that can help anyone — good writer, bad writer — get to their bottom line. He is a great guy to work with–no drama, no issues, on time and eloquent.”
-- Debra Silverman, clinical psychologist and internationally-renown astrologer
"Keith brought a level of subtlety to what we were trying to do. I love how he anticipated our needs – which weren’t overtly stated — and was able to address them fully. I’m very pleased.”
- Cheri Daniels, Marketing Manager, The New York Times Syndicate
“Keith has an astute understanding of what is and what is not relevant to communicate. Effective, efficient and thoroughly professional. I would highly recommend him.”
- John Furey, Creator of the MindTime Project.
“WishGarden Herbs hired Keith as a consultant for our new website. Keith approached the work as if he were a member of the team.
"9 months later, our website has seen a 600% increase in visitors and transactions – and much of the credit can go to him. He was a consummate professional in all his aspects of his work and comportment and I am thrilled to give him my highest recommendation.”
-- Mark Schroeder, Chief Digital Officer, WishGarden Herbs
“Keith Martin-Smith is a writer of extraordinarily talent. He can take deep and complex subjects and, somehow, make them seem eloquently simple. He has the unique ability to tailor his writing in a way that enables specific groups to understand difficult subjects.”
-- Doshin Michael Nelson, Roshi and Founder of Integral Zen