It is of primary importance to understand the motivations for your desire to excel in anything. This takes into consideration more than you would normally imagine because of what is entailed in your sincere striving. It is not enough to simply “wanna be” a version of what you are using for visual representation of your ideal. You must clearly be in the mindset that will afford you the ability to instantly and constantly “be there” and even more, to “be here.” Some people call this being in the “zone” or being in the “state.” It is more than that. It is not “being” in anything. It is “being the thing itself” and not being “in,” which suggests that you have to put yourself “there” to be there. This is an erroneous form of detachment that causes hesitation and can get you killed in real combat. It is much better to “be the thing itself” rather than seeking to be the thing itself. Upon examination of the mentality involved with the attendant desire, it also frees the Spirit of the Thing Itself to be active in you, as you, and through you to reinforce the necessary attitude to maintain itself as the thing itself.
Spirit is generally understood as a connection to the infinite that will permit you to attain excellence. It is based on personal intent to overcome any particular restriction, whether self-imposed or not. Being self-imposed suggests some form of lack in self-esteem and self-worth. It is usually based on a physical challenge that must be overcome on the physical and mental level. Though both require a mental state of “being,” both are relatively easy to overcome.
In any art form there is what I is called the Spirit of the Thing Itself, and I will refer to this concept often, as it is the way to understand beingness in regards to accomplishment. As an example, when you are at an impasse in your training, it is necessary to overcome limitations by not accepting them and denying these limitations any authority in your quest for perfection. You do not deny the existence of them, but rather call upon the Spirit of the Thing Itself to remove any negative authority on a conscious and sub-conscious level. You will learn to do this in a mode of instantaneity.
Musashi didn’t desire to “become.” He simply accepted and knew that he “was” while maintaining it by constant practice to the extent reasonable within the balance of the individual life he lived. His personal practice made him the great swordsman. The ability to attain to his desire was delivered by the Spirit of the Thing Itself seeing his devotion and making his quest that much easier to attain to.
It is the deliberateness of intent that will always maintain a winner in a position of constant winning. Though there may be times when weakness of spirit and inability to maintain ascendancy will reign in an individual’s life, it is the overall desire of self-definition that succeeds regardless of seeming outcomes in the present. The reality is that when you are needed by yourself to survive, you always have the choice through fate or free will to accept the higher expression of your decision.
From my forthcoming book, “The Art of the Zen Sword Master”
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