As we finish a large chunk of family time and moments of rest amongst the holidays, the new year of 2014 looms ahead and I am reflecting on a thoughtful phrase passed on to me by one of our dojang parents. more or less…. “The moments of rest are the draw of the bow, and our action will follow with the arrow once released.”
There definitely is a strong and creative force that drives the human experience. Day-in and day-out many of us dream for possibilities and then are putting in time and effort for various fulfillment. The energy expounded in our actions will certainly produce results if we are effective. However, as we do go about the daily grind of the day-in day-out life of getting a lot done, it is essential to not only think about significant goals, but also how we can instill more passion and purpose into “the moment” of our work.
I feel fortunate to have found a pathway that has resonated since I first encountered Hwa Rang Do. Immediately since first training I felt something deep calling for me to not only pursue, but take the steps to challenge the comfortable sides of my life to greater action and honesty.
As all of us who step onto the mat know quite well:
- either we are performing with aware intentions or we are going through the motions
- either we are determined or we succumb to fear
- either we feel the freedom of our movement of body and mind or we are tense and hesitation binds us
- either we know what we are doing or we are stuck thinking about it
What is interesting about the above points is that these dichotomies are universal to the human condition. Even those who have trained in the martial arts for an extended period of time (or any art for that matter), still experience these facets in “how” we deliver our actions. In fact I would argue there is even more sensitivity about these variances, even if the presentation appears more refined.
You see, as we “train” in the martial arts (or again any real art of meaningful expression), we are putting our mind, our body, our heart into a performance – an expressive moment of action – and in this moment our humanity shines forth!
Martial Art training however has some essential lessons that force one to be honest, and then compel us to reflect, and then finally make us to take further action. Obviously when you match, you are successful or you fail – there are clear results in what you did. Furthermore even in the practice of one’s forms and curriculum either you were in the zone of the positive side of the above points or the brakes or technical deficiencies held you back in some manner.
Either way, you know where you stand.
Really… you know where you are, you have real proof as to your capabilities, you have been tested in a “moment” of action, and you are always left with one simple little question, “Did your actions meet your intentions?”
Our conscious knows clearly the answer to this at all times and for all of our actions, however, in the current status quo and culture we live in, a distraction or an excuse lets us cover and cower most readily. Even with family and friends extreme deficiencies and elephants in the room are ignored. Honest feelings are hidden behind polite smiles and pleasantries. Hey, how about the weather anyone….
However, while running from honest results and honest actions is common place in the world we live in, I hope that we – our dojang members and staff – can take the essential time to examine our actions in an honest way. Dojang means, “House of the Way,” and when you walk into those doors, you are entering a space dedicated to the pursuit of truth. While there is a deep end to pursuing metaphysics and philosophy that has value, the more that I train and pursue this Hwa Rang Do path the more essential I see the task of pursuing the truth of my own life experience in the moment to moment time frame and striving for integrity of my actions.
So getting back to the archer’s arrows, each shot is a moment, each shot is an endeavor, each shot is a dream, each shot is a breath. Within the draw we breathe life into our intentions, with the release our exhale acts forth.
So yes it is a new year, however that is meaningless unless we take a new breath. The rest with our families over the break should have hopefully renewed our sense of importance in the moment, and now I extend an invitation to all of you students of our school to focus on the quality of your “training experience.” Do not let yourself get back into a grind, and do not jump back into the day-in day-out, but rather come to your class today to engage your human intentions, to come to your training with the purpose of developing meaningful expression, to come to develop your potential and the art of yourself!
Please don’t worry about goals or any resolutions. While a direction is important, use your time on the mat to engage with the experience of the moment and filling it with quality. If you can fill it up and truly soak in the essentials, I am confident whatever results that your body, your mind, and your heart need will be fulfilled. However, if you get lost in any grind – your results and meaning will be hard to find too.
This is the challenge for this new year – for myself – and it is extended to all of you who join the pursuit here at our dojang home.
Back straight – eyes straight everyone!
May you fill your time with meaning!