Struggle is mandatory. Suffering is optional.
You have get uncomfortable. You have to be uncomfortable. You will be uncomfortable.
To live is to not want to suffer. To live is to suffer. You will suffer.
Control what is in your hands and leave the rest to faith. We are not meant to foresee all the variables and possibilities. Why stress?
Responsibility – here is an interesting word – nagging discomfort due to thinking that you can control what happens to a particular thing. Thus, discomfort = responsibility.
Comfort is momentary. We bounce around, wall to wall, like a pinball, seeking that high score of comfort. No chance.
Thus, if you are alive then be at peace with being uncomfortable. Know that such discomforting thoughts are not optional. Why stress?
School = discomfort
Bills = discomfort
Life = struggle
If life is struggle then struggle is life. That is where you find the meaning for your existence. In running away from struggle your are running away from yourself.
You find yourself through struggle.
A sword will never be forged if the metal does not experience the pain of being hit by the blacksmith’s hammer.
Your happiness is elevated by the pain you’ve been through. Your suffering makes you appreciate the happiness and beauty with greater intensity.
To desire is not freedom.
To want is not freedom.
To crave is not freedom.
Where is freedom?
It is in the negation of desire, want and craving. To desperately seek something is to be possessed by it. If one desires then certainly one will languish if unable to satisfy the craving. It’s not outside the real of possibility to desire a thing but never be able to acquire it. Eternal misery, is it not?
What is the remedy then? Realize that desire is prison. Realize that life is desire. Cravings that are satiated one moment will undoubtedly return. Thus, to crave things is to be indefinitely miserable.
Life is like a boat-ride across a river that one navigates on a small raft. With limited space on your ship you have to be mindful of what is useful and what is excess. Keep your baggage light for fear of risking taking on too much baggage to cause your raft to sink. Necessity over excess.
Freedom is not achieved
by satisfying desire,
but by eliminating it.
Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life.
This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new.
At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable.
Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine. Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.
Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings had been a part of my library for a few years now. The book had been collecting dust until I came upon an episode of the Jocko Podcast discussing the work. Such is the reason for this, as well as subsequent posts regarding the content of Musashi’s work.
“In the practice of every way of life and every kind of work, there is state of mind called that of the deviant. Even if you strive diligently on your chosen path day after day, if your heart is not in accord with it, then even if you think you are on a good path, from the point of view of the straight and true, this is not a genuine path. If you do not pursue a genuine path to its consummation, then a little bit of crookedness in the mind will later turn into a major warp. Reflect on this.”
What is this ‘deviant’ state of mind?
Why does your heat have to do with anything?
What is the genuine path?
Where without heart in relation to the path that you are walking on? As simple as it may be, this passage could be applied to our careers, vocations, even our hobbies. Each path holds our heart to different degree:
What do you do? Why do you do it? What is your motivation? Are you in the chosen line of work due to it being in line with your goals and aspirations or are you in it just for the money? Is there a middle ground between the two? Do means justify the end result?
The stakes were high for Musashi. He could not afford indecision in matters of life and death. Without a sincere and wholehearted effort the outcome of the battle for the samurai was a certain death.
What does this say about us and how we approach out everyday ‘battles’? Do we fail in what we consider are our most ardent pursuits because we do not really make a wholehearted effort. What is a wholehearted effort?W
The kids that I coach appear to enjoy the game of basketball itself, but for some a wholehearted effort is a little hard to come by. Should they obsess about practice? Not everyone does. Nor everyone should. That, in itself, is a process of sifting those who have the heart and those who do not.
Some kids will strive on the current path but only because at this point in time they are of a level ofphysical maturity that is above their peers. Winning through sheer physical force they lack finesse and are unable to visualize the context for their actions. As Musashi states, “that is not a genuine path” and soon enough the “crookedness” of their deviant ways will reveal itself when the ‘weaker’ peers, smaller, younger peers overtake them by the skills acquired through patience and sincere learning.
You have to ask yourself how badly do you want this to be your path in life? Unlike Musashi, most of our day to day activities are not full of life-or-death moments. Rarely are we under physical and mental strain to make decisions that could cost us our life. That is why we should be true to ourselves snd live in harmony with our heart and mind. If we are not then we stand no chance with our efforts that will most certainly result in death of our flesh, worse yet, death of our spirit.