Reply To: Cultural Volition

  • Peter Barus

    September 5, 2023 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks for this delightful interlude…

    There are many opportunities for personal development, in myriad flavors and shapes. Whether they are one’s cup of tea is a serious question, even before evaluating something with which, as a student, one can as yet have no meaningful experience.

    As a practitioner and instructor (Japanese sword) for several decades, one approach I try to encourage is finding your practice, and then following through, as if it were a mountain whose summit you may never get to see.

    I regard a “practice” as something with no retirement age, and little or no hierarchy other than sustains a certain mindset, and protects disciples (from the word discipline in its sense of inner integrity and perseverance). For example, in my dōjō there are uniforms and ranks, rituals and codes of conduct, largely for the purpose of letting everyone know the level of intensity beyond which they can’t be expected to learn much, and might get discouraged or injured. This applies to our more contemplative practices and armed combat training alike. Accordingly, a black belt is considered entry level for more serious studies.

    Students who bounce from one discipline to another are ok, but will find it effective to do so as a way to identify the one that really works for them. That should really be a practice in itself, until that stage of commitment is reached. Otherwise it is something else, possibly wonderful, but not the kind of practice I think we’re discussing here.

    A student, asked by my late Sensei why they were training, said: “To unify my body, mind and spirit!”

    “Your body, mind and spirit are already unified,” said Sensei, “Otherwise, you’d be dead.”