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

Training the Vehicle

In the gym lifting yesterday, I had an epiphany.  An article tweeted by @EastTriFitCrew drew the analogy of  your body as a vehicle you train and prep for race day–a vehicle that it is then up to you the driver to drive for the race.  I found this analogy striking at the moment, a great distinction between your body, training, and your self who must actually execute on race day, mechanical malfunctions, inadequacies and all.  It is similar, but not exactly, like the guy with the $5000 bike, the bike alone won’t make him go fast.  (I also appreciate the role of the self as the observer)

However, in the gym yesterday, it occurred that this analogy can be extended further, and more meaningfully to Practice and life in general.  We practice for what purpose?  It is not an end in itself.  Nor is it for the purpose of the real side benefits–reduced heart rate, longevity, improved health, better focus–but to prepare ourselves to navigate this life, many of whom’s ultimate goal is to not rinse-and-repeat next life, but ultimate freedom from Samsara.

Practice that only aims for the side benefits, falls far short.  Yoga, zazen, tai chi–whatever your practice, there are many side benefits (so readily marketed to us now), but what is the point if you don’t then use that improved vehicle to navigate this life.

You are the driver.  Your body is a shell.  You will eventually shed your body, your mind even.  Until then, to what use will you put them?

Training is my Practice.  It is what actually keeps me functional in this life.  For me the vehicle and driver analogy is perfect.  My truck with 316,000 miles on it–I do the maintenance so it will remain functional, and continue to help me navigate around town.  I don’t do the maintenance just so it will look nice, or people will think it is cool (though some actually do think it’s cool).  I practice so my mind and body will remain functional (sometimes even at peak performance), and I can use them to help me navigate this universe.

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