We are taught since youth to do the right things, develop the right habits, and build a good life. As words are only as good as their interpretation, perhaps stating the formula for a successful life in this way does more harm than good, for maybe we are not building at all…
Maybe life is more like sculpting; not an additive process at all, but a subtractive one, where unessential layers are peeled back, or chipped away- revealing what was hiding inside all along.
Perhaps this seems like too passive an approach to life…as if we didn’t struggle, we would succumb to laziness and passivity.
I think you would have to look long and hard to find a lazy sculptor. Rather, they watch…they look…they feel for the right stroke that will reveal the masterpiece that lies in every block of wood, every slab of marble.
Maybe observing our lives is the most productive thing we can do.
How do you define greatness? Is it in wealth accumulated? Is it the adoration of multitudes or the kind words written about you? Perhaps Greatness needs a new definition; perhaps greatness can be seen in the love you have left to spare, after life has ravaged you with grief.
In Martial Arts, you don’t overestimate your opponent, for your fear will defeat you before the battle begins. Neither do you underestimate your opponent, because by the time you realize the advantage of speed and timing…it’s too late…you lose. Both overestimation and underestimation are states of thought, and success can not be found in thought. Success lies in the stillness before thought, allowing response to the opponent to be the perfect one, Like a reflection on the water. This is the way of Martial Arts…and Martial Arts is the way of Life.
It’s a waste of time to try to fight darkness. In fact, fighting it strengthens it. This makes the darkness grow, and before you know it, you’ve become part of that darkness. The only way to end the madness is to silently seek the light. Seek that which resonates with your spirit, and energizes it, and make no apologies. Anyone who would tell you “You’re going the wrong way!” I might say “tell them to go to hell”, but you don’t need to. They are already there.
Zen, like all self- knowledge, can be ambiguous. What does it mean?
You can only know half of reality, at best.
Consciousness can observe many things, but it can’t observe itself,
because consciousness is the one looking. It can never see itself,
because it’s the one looking.
maybe it’s better just to look, listen, and hear, right now
without trying to make sense of it…because you’re handicapped
coming out of the gate.
The debate as to whether the world is ordered, by some unknowable design (or designer), or a chaotic cause and effect has been raging for years. What would happen if we let go of our egoic need to “produce order” out of the chaotic mayhem, and instead, looked for and learned from the order that was there all along, and took up the task of finding the positive meaning, hidden in the Chaos? Our lives are not the sum total of our experiences, but the product of our actions, and the meanings we applied to our storms.
For more on “not believing everything you think”, See Lauren Weinstein’s TEDx talk here
They live among us, these friends of mine but they may as well be from a forgotten era, a time where the work is hard, life is fragile, and the seasons brutal. Though most would perish, they revel in it, and an endless day alone in the wilderness in the dead of winter is if anything- too short. They remind me that the Laws of Nature have not been repealed.
Be the Warrior
not the worrier.
Warriors are forged by the routines they keep
when no one is watching, no one is around.
A Warrior knows that it’s the balance of training
the body, the heart, the mind, and the soul;
practices that differ for every individual,
that forges their spirit.
We are born to find our unique facets, and never make apologies
for keeping them sharp;
and never wait for the applause.
(image Courtesy of RENE RAUSCHENBERGER at Pixabay)
We spend so much time, and waste so much energy analyzing, criticizing, and categorizing each other. When we are forced to be alone, we are left with the true source of our conflict and confusion…ourselves. Take the time to do what you love to do, because it’s how you handle your isolation that determines your fate.
It’s easy to spot bad behavior in the actions of others.
We tend to think that this alone gives us
a “moral superiority”, and that, if I treat them the same,
Who cares? They’re just an asshole!
Seeing the limitations of others does not give us a free pass.
We see the problem… we see the asshole.
If you repeat the behavior, we’re a bigger asshole,
because we saw the problem, where the asshole is blind.
Assholes exist for one simple reason: they reveal who we are;
Can we rise to the challenge to be better, especially toward assholes?
Or are we just another domino, passing it on?