October 7, 2009 at 5:35 AM
Sometimes it's hard to tell if the new direction you have chosen involves growing toward the sun, or growing toward a cheap flourescent light bulb that ultimately won't provide real nourishment. And when one finds that one is growing toward the light bulb, cutting off that branch can be painful. The "pruning," if you will. ;) But better to grow toward the sunshine.
Laurie, one thingI notice makes a big difference. Sometimes we are intellectually attracted to something rather than the heart. In the former case the new challenge or skill learning, job or whatever will rarely become a life long journey.
This mirror polishing and prune grinding reminds me of Hui Neng! Did you mean it to?
I didn`t know the exact source but it is a fairly common quote in Aikido phhilosophy derived from Bhuddist texts. I was planning on writing a blog about how it relates to the kind of practice we do but I got side racked.
Bart, here is an essay I like written around that quote:
Thank you, Buri!
It seems my initial association was not the intended one.
Your link points to a beautiful piece -- so beautiful that I'm tempted to call it a song.
Buri, you addressed something I've been trying to figure out for some time myself. I always look for new challenges, be it academic learning and career, artistic or spiritual pursuits. I used to think this disposition is a source of pride and look back I do see a lot of merits in this approach. But lately I can't help thinking if the mind can't stop looking for more new challenges, might it not be some sort of addiction, hunger of the ego, or immaturity of the self? Do I have a better alternative? I can't quite put my finger on it yet. Anyway, just want to say thanks for the thoughtful and insightful blog!
thanks Yixi. As always, during the process of writing more questions get raised than I could have imagined at the beginning. What you mention is an intriguing problem. I don`t know the answer either but I think there are two important facets: 1) if -no- learning is taking place then that is the most dangerous state to be in . Perhaps one has to be careful though because unlearning or letting go of unnecssary learning is also crucial! 2) Maybe it depends on the journey one has undertaken. As far as the violin is cocnerned I doubt if I am going to continue to strive with the same intensity over the next twenty years because I no longer have the major goals. Just a quiet, though provoking friend. Biking challenged me both physically and mentally but it isn`t something I need to do more than maintain now. On te other other hand, my Aikido practice has become very interesting to me and smells like it might be a long and arduous journey. If thta is the case there won`t be room for much else for many years to come.
Buri, you and your linked article have answered my question beautifully! It's now so crystal clear to me that what I used to do, especially the past a few years since starting law school, was merely grinding the stones and I was so full of myself to the point of being a total fool. Now I think I begin to polish the mirror.
It's hard sometimes to realize that certain learning in the valley, as it may for some time look like no-learning. For one thing, it's hard to see what one is learning when the environment or the mode of learning is not one's own choice or is beyond one's framework so one is entirely in an unfamiliar territory, so unfamiliar that one has no reference point to check. Other people's views can only confuse the matter further.
When the mirror is polished and the mind is quiet, the journey reveals itself. I often say that goals are secondary in that they are means to end. I would now go further to suggest that even journey is a means to end. To me, the end is this moment: the clarity, the enlightenment, the connection is making to other beings, or at least the inspiration is happening.
I would like to say wherever you go please don't leave v.com and what you have given has been priceless, etc. Yet those expressions pale in comparison to the fact that the connection you are making with us is really timeless as it will always be present when needed. So wherever a journey takes you to, be it violin or aikido, I'm sure you are positively connecting with the consciousness like you've seen here at v.com. On this thought, I'm thankful beyond words, and happy.
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