The means to the end are justified by the moments we live


ends-and-means

In the heat of our daily struggle, our mind tends to lose its balance. Too many things confront us at the same  time–unexpected setbacks, doubts and criticisms from your own allies. There’s a danger of responding  emotionally, with fear, depression, or frustration. It is vital to keep your presence of mind, maintaining  your mental powers whatever the circumstances.  You must actively resist the emotional pull of the  moment–staying decisive, confident, and aggressive no matter what hits you. Make the mind  tougher by exposing it to, or not shying away from adversity. Learn to detach  yourself from the chaos of the life’s daily set backs. Let others  lose their heads; your presence of mind will steer  you clear of their influence and keep you on course.

[Presence of mind] must play a great role in war, in love, at work or any place or thing you consider the domain of the unexpected, since it is  nothing but an increased capacity of dealing  with the unexpected. We admire presence of  mind in a quick verbal clap back, as we admire quick  thinking in the face of danger…. The expression  “presence of mind” precisely conveys the overstanding that in the midst the turmoil of any event, you must be in the moment and not lose emotional control.

Being in emotional control is not the same as not having emotions. As sentient beings we all have emotions. Even the psychopath has emotions. Theirs are just focused differently. presence of mind and having mindfulness is like the willow which bends to the tempest, often escaping destruction much better than the oak which resists it. This is why the martial scientist equates the pliability of the young bamboo as more acceptable than the stiffness of the old one. Presence of mind urges us to not be stiff old bamboos.

This requires deep contemplation.

Modern society is a battle field, despite what the feel good story would like to tell us other wise. It is a battle for your body, mind and soul. And also a battle for the body heart and soul of your loved ones. We are all soldiers in this battle field. Only some of us are cannon fodders and untrained soldiers. Those are the ones who fail to perceive rightly the conditions and the environment they are in. On a battle field this is called situational awareness.  And just like on a real battle field, the one who pops his head up out of the fox hole, may lose it. Or worse, lose it emotionally while in the fox hole as soon as the bullets start flying. In this case the bullets are the slings and arrows of everyday living that interferes with your daily enjoyment or desire to experience quality of life.

The one who lives in a mindfulness state is one who continually practices and develops a presence of mind that allows them to be an island amidst turbulent seas. Nothing fires the warrior’s heart more with courage than to find himself and his comrades at the point of annihilation, at the brink of being routed and overrun, and then to dredge not merely from one’s own bowels or guts but from one’s discipline and training the presence of mind not to panic, not to yield to the possession of despair, but instead to complete those acts of bravery. To perform the commonplace under far-from-commonplace conditions.

This requires deep contemplation.

The most fundamental and aggressive acts we commit on ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently. In ancient times, the way of a true warrior is found in death. This means that to overstand life, one must embrace the reality of death.  Overstanding death and embracing the reality that it too is apart of the life you live, allows you to live a more well rounded life.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet. If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”

 

Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Not out of fear, because that is a useless endeavor. We all will die. The meditation is to contemplate the symmetry of  death’s relationship to life and how death is not a finality but a passing through a door to another room. Every day when one’s body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one’s master. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead. This is the substance of the way of the warrior, that goes beyond fear and anxiety, in to the realm of centering and mindfulness.

This requires deep contemplation.

Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie. Death is truth, but the truth is death is not the absence of life. Not in the greater scheme of things. For life continues beyond our capacity to perceive with our limited perception. It is the fear of the unknown which kills us. It takes our courage, our joy and in some cases our very physical presence, through conditioned shutting down of the system. What we call death on this plain.

Control your anger. This part is one of my personal struggle, yet I am greater at it today than I was yesterday.  The reality is that if we hold anger toward others, they have control over us. Our opponents, or object of our anger, can dominate and defeat us if we allow him to get you irritated. Especially if they are oblivious to our anger. We will be the only ones getting worked up and filling our blood stream with toxic emotions.

To win any battle, whether in the theater of conflict or in your daily struggle to make a living, you must fight as if you are already dead  Determine that today you will overcome your self of the day before, tomorrow you will win over those of lesser skill, and later you will win over those of greater skill. To know one thing is to know a thousand things.

This requires deep contemplation.

In the end, just three things matter:

How well we have lived
How well we have loved
How well we have learned to let go

It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first. You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain, yet the only way to get to the mountain is to climb it.

 

5 thoughts on “The means to the end are justified by the moments we live

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