Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Monday, December 13, 2004

"The Rules" part one

Miyamoto Musashi gave nine "rules" in the earth chapter of his Book of Five Rings, the first of which is "Do not think dishonestly".

    I consider these nine statements to be the quintessential distillation of everything that Musashi wanted to tell his readers about his understanding of how to live life as a warrior.

    These are my comments on these nine "rules". They are not the "truth", they just represent my understanding at this moment. A year from now I hope that I will be able to comment on them more deeply.

    So the first is, "Do not think dishonestly"

    This may be one of the most important bits of advice ever given. If one were to truly embrace this one concept it would be life changing.

    One way to define "ego" especially for someone on a "Warrior Path" is as "The part of you that lies to you". For someone who wants to follow that path of the Teacher, or the Warrior (often there is not much difference) this is the area of greatest struggle.

    So how do we lie to ourselves? Just think back to the last time you justified to yourself doing something that you knew was not right.

    Let's take something simple, like deciding you want to lose ten pounds to get into "fighting trim". You decide to do so by eating less and eating better. All goes well until you are driving home and are somewhat hungry hungry. You see a sign for your favorite fast food place coming up in the next mile. You think of your favorite food there, you know the one, all those calories, but it sure tastes good.

    Take a moment to imagine what train of thought you might go through to justify stopping and getting some of your favorite food, and why it would not REALLY be violating your choice to "eat less and eat better".

    That is a simple example of thinking dishonestly.

    The consequence of thinking dishonestly in the long term is that you will build a false persona that will have to be constantly defended.

    You can find a great many examples of this in the world of martial arts. There are all too many people who, being insecure about who they were, have embroidered their history just a little, and then are stuck defending that small bit of dishonesty by any means necessary. This of course leads to bigger and bigger lies, and eventually it leads to disaster.

    So to walk a "Warrior" path means extreme self-disclosure.

    How do your start?

    Pay close attention to your emotions, notice when you start justifying how you feel or what you do because of how you feel. That is the first step.

    Second, examine your justifications. Tell yourself the truth about why you are doing what you are doing. (this part can hurt your ego a bit so start slowly).

    Third, and this takes some work, practice telling yourself the exact truth about your feelings and choices. This will take a long time for most people, because frankly a lot of us have spent a good portion of our lives trying to avoid doing this. This means that you have to take the time to examine your motives.

    Being brutally honest with yourself it probably the greatest gift you can give to yourself, and it will be life changing.

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