…Through the virtue of training, Enlighten both body and soul — Morihei Sensei


Irony of Goals: Training and Zen

I am struck by the necessity of,  and yet, inherent contradiction, between training goals (or any goals, for that matter), and Zen Practice.

Goals are necessary to Practice due to the peculiar wiring of the human mind and physiology. The will needs a target to focus on.  As in Kyudo, the archer needs a target to focus his bow and arrow on.

Paradoxically, goals are an attachment, and Practice is about detachment.  The Archer aims at the target with his mind, and then releases attachment to striking his aim.

In triathlon, this is particularly tricky, as there are so many goals, targets, variables, and equipment to track and monitor. Additionally, it is a competition, so times and standings are inescapable. The trick is to track these goals, work towards them, but then have no attachment.

This is the trick in life. We need to eat to live. Our bodies and minds will scream for nourishment. How then do we remain detached from food, yet seek nourishment for our bodies? There are many, many more mundane examples.

Warriors in combat have the same quandary. We train. We fight. All with an objective. Yet, to Practice we must also remain detached.

In this way triathlon is good Warrior training because of long and continuous training period, the number of variables, the specificity of success or failure, the concentrated pressure. I find it a great environment to Practice.



— Jalal

Find me at Twitter.com/Old454

Your comments are welcome and appreciated.


3 responses

  1. We’ve appreciated your Zen advice and this wonderful blog so much, we’ve awarded you The Versatile Blogger award. (It’s passed from blogger to blogger … around the globe). Pls find it at: http://tripsfor2.wordpress.com.

    Congrats! We wish you a great 2012 of training, rest and peace.

    with gratitude …

    Mon, 2 Jan 2012 at 2237

    • Thank you very much. I was just wondering out loud to the Queen about the focus (or lack) of my blog. I’m grateful you guys to the time to read, and a wonderful acknowledgement blurb in your post

      Tue, 3 Jan 2012 at 0806

  2. Pingback: On Missing Training Days « Old454 Blog

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