Fa Hui

All Knowledge Eventually Leads to Self-Knowledge

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The Pathless Path


It’s something that we all tend to do, something that every human experiences since time memorial. We fall off the path. It’s actually not that hard to do, and so many people do it, that we hardly realize it, some may never realize it and slip further. However, if the Universe tends to take a liking to you, It will probably smile on you and then bitch-slap you in the face to wake you up.

I have myself, come to realize that there are some things that need to be adjusted and changed within me. There are things that need healing and other issues that need to be resolved. The reason for this is because I’m angry. I’m angry at a lot of things in life, and it’s mostly because I feel betrayed by life that someone always wants something out of me and I just don’t have the strength to continue doing it. Then it becomes painfully obvious that I have not been a good practitioner of anything because I have not maintained balance in myself.

There seems to be a struggle in me with regards to my martial and meditative practice. In some way they can’t seem to justify one another. Bruce Lee often talked being able to flip on the emotions necessary for a fight (much like a light switch) and then flip them off at will. I am having trouble with that switch, and looking back in life, I have always had trouble because it is hard mindset to maintain. When do we decide that it is okay to be ferocious and yet non-violent in the same go? I know for me that the experience of Zen as always been in the movement of martial arts, but after almost 15 years of off and on training, I have only been able to do either completely martial arts or completely meditation and never really finding the balance between the two.

Now this is not something that I don’t understand on an intellectual level because I invariably do. However, I would like to understand it more on deep intuitive level where I can recognize and be more responsible for my actions, thoughts, and speech. This is something that I feel is important and something I often forget, particularly more and more since I left the monastery almost five years ago.

This I believe will be an ongoing process for me, and it really has become something of the pathless path, a term in Zen which means to me that it is not so easily seen but always right in front of you.
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  1. jt1's Avatar
    At times I have also felt a contradiction between sitting Zazen, working on cultivating compassion and patience while at the same time training and sparring etc. I love training, especially sparring (i.e. rolling as we would call it in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu). Recently, I have shifted my focus to drilling technique vs. "go for broke sparring." While I still "test" my abilities from time to time against a fully resisting partner, the drilling is now center stage in my training regimen. Drilling can take different forms (i.e. with a live partner offering varying levels of resistance, without a partner, training attributes or specific sequences of movements) but it leaves the ego, for the most part, off the mat. I feel most of my real progress is made in these drilling sessions vs. some (ok many) of the ego driven sparring sesions. It is certainly a work in progress, and I do believe the two (Zazen/cultivating compassion etc. and training in martial arts) compliment eachother beautifully. I think the combination of the two keep you centered so that there is a real middle of the road approach to training and life. As the Greeks said, In Medias Res (Moderation in all things). All the best in your evolution.