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

Posts tagged “mystic

Refocusing

I have taken some planned, and some unplanned, time off since completing (read: finishing) Ironman Florida.  In that time, I have had time to reflect on what I want to explore in this blog.  My focus isn’t going to change so much as it is going to narrow.  Heretofore, my focus has been on Warriorship, and in the past 12-18 months or so, specifically on the training aspect of Warriorship.  However, it has occurred to me that all of that really begs the question.

The question seems to be more accurately–How do we actually make things happen?  or What is the mechanism of Manifestation?  These seem to be the questions that go the heart of Warriorship.  The Warrior’s key role is to act.  The question then is, What does it mean to Act?  How does one actually Act?  What is it to transform a Thought, Concept, Idea to  an Action?  and What is involved in Action impacting the larger Reality?

Training and Warriorship remain ideal forums for exploring these questions.

Join me on this new leg of exploration.

–Jalal


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.


Trust the Training

Confession:  This post is inspired by Lauren Hanna Foster’s recent post Trust the Practice.  I saw a tweet/retweet with the titled and was led to read the post, mostly by its recollection of a refrain from my past “Trust your training.”  The implication being, if you’ve put in the work, when you need it your training will in turn work for you.  Regardless whether you intellectually understand it, or emotionally agree–you have trained, your training will carry you through.  In a survival scenario, or in a grueling race, rely on your training.

Lauren’s post isn’t about life or death, but it is about Showing Up and Putting in the Work.  If you show up, the Practice will carry you through.

I encountered this yesterday.  After a day of barely dragging myself through, I had a soccer practice to run in the evening.  The last thing I wanted to do was go out, down to the fields, and pretend to be highly motivated for my girls.  Funny thing is, though the mere act of getting there was a struggle, once I hit the fields, the sluggishness disappeared.  No pretending.  I was highly motivated.  I left practice elated and feeling good, so good in fact I didn’t remember how shitty I felt going in, until I read Lauren’s piece.

This is how it is with Training, too.  It’s on the schedule.  There are always other, more pressing, things coming up.  There is always a crisis, some reason to not go.  But once you get there (if you can manage it), all the excuses melt away, and all the terrible things which will happen, don’t.  And your sense of dragging through, quickly fades.  Time recedes, and before you know it, the session is coming to a close.  Oftentime, the session comes to a close too soon, and we want more.

Now, for me, Training is my Practice.  My monkey mind, lower self, nafs, whatever you call it, seems to try its best to throw me off track.  It’s arguments are intellectually compelling, emotionally powerful.  It’s too cold, you have too much to do.  But the logic and emotional power never hold up in the face of simply Showing Up.

Trust the Training.


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Chief Tecumseh: Words of Wisdom

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

~ Chief Tecumseh

I simply present the warrior’s words here.  They speak more eloquently for themselves than any commentary I may have in my mind.

http://www.wisdomcommons.org/wisbits/662-chief-tecumseh-s-words-of-wisdom

Additional Chief Tecumseh quotes

 

This poem was quoted, quite appropriately in the 2012 movie Act of Valor.

The abridged version presented in the movie:

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

~ Tecumseh


On Missing Training Days

This week we had a birthday celebration, one day for family, one day for friends, and two days on the road for college visits.  The resultant effect:   I missed two whole days of training, and had three highly modified days.  Missed training days are extremely bothersome to me.  I obsess over how to adjust my schedule, and how to make up for the losses.   Truthfully, I probably needed an unload week.

All of which underscored the extent of my attachment to training and things training-related  (e.g., logs, nutrition protocols, gear improvements, results).  If Training is a Practice (as it is for me), then one very insidious, and deceptive attachment is to the Training itself.

Coaches generally advise viewing missed training days as needed recovery.  I try to get in every session I can, knowing I will miss some, and then those become recovery days, instead of lost progress.  But that is all very intellectual.   On a gut level, the missed days still feel like loss.

This feeling of loss gives us an opportunity to deepen our practice by reflecting on the nature of our attachment to training.  If Training is a Practice, then it is not the goal.  Only the goal is the goal.  (Goals and Zen have their own ironic relationship.)  Practice is a vehicle we use along the Road.  Or as Suzuki mentions in Beginners Mind, it is the boat we use to cross a stream that crosses the Way.  In this light Practice is further removed–not even the Road to the Goal.

I have no answer here, nor any real conclusions.  Only that it is an interesting phenomenon.  An experience I am thankful for, as it helps peel back another layer, another curtain between me and Reality.

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— Jalal

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Please comment below.

 


Most over-used words on the Net

Mystic, Zen, and Warrior are (IMHO) the most over-used words on the net.   These are the words, which if used in a keyword search, will most likely not turn up results related to Mysticism, Zen Buddhism, or any serious warriors.

Don’t believe me?  Do a key-word search on Twitter for any of the above, and see what turns up.

Just for kicks, here are the links in real-time–Tell me what percentage you come up with that are actually relevant:

These are just personal pet peeves of mine because they related directly to my primary areas of interest.   Are there other words you find used utterly wrong in common parlance.