A vortex is a whirling mass of water or air that sucks everything near it toward its center. A vortex is also a place or situation regarded as drawing into its center, all that surrounds it, and hence being inescapable or destructive. To center oneself is to be at the middle point, or be in the middle of your personal universe. At the point within a circle or sphere which are equally distant from all points of the circumference or surface, or the point within a regular polygon equally distant from the vertices, there in is where your truth lies. There is were the warrior resides. The Warrior’s center is a point, a pivot, an axis, etc., around which everything rotates or revolves: The classic example is sun being the center of the solar system, which has the planetary bodies revolving around it.
The way of the warrior refers not only to his martial conviction, but to his personal conviction as well: Conviction, is the strongest virtue of the warrior. Conviction is one’s power to decide upon a course of conduct in accordance with reason, without wavering. To die, while knowing when dying is right, to strike awhile knowing when striking is right. Conviction is the bone that gives firmness and stature. Without bones the head cannot rest on top of the spine, nor hands move nor feet stand. So without conviction, neither talent nor learning can make the human frame into a formidable and unbeatable one.
The way of the warrior is an everyday stance, that emphasises the warrior’s conviction. Or has Shinmon Miyamoto Musashi implored us…”Make your warrior stance your everyday stance and your everyday stance your warrior stance”. The warrior is not just about pursuing purely physical conflict, which is but a limited state. The warrior’ stance rests upon a foundation upon which his castle or reputation is built. The foundations are unassailable codes of conducts that colors his conviction and sets the frame work from which guides him on his path.
These codes are quite simple, yet alternately difficult for those who have not embarked on the journey of a thousand miles. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of “lust” or “love”. Two enterprises commercialized by modern insensibilities. Be guided by the codes as set out in the way of the warrior.
- Courage: The warrior distinguishes between bravery and courage: Courage is worthy of being counted among virtues only if it’s exercised in the cause of righteousness and conviction. Knowing what is right and yet refusing to do what is right, reveals a lack of Courage. Thus ‘Courage is doing what is right.’
- Benevolence: Any man invested with the power to command and the power to kill is expected to demonstrate equally extraordinary powers of benevolence and mercy: “Love, magnanimity, affection for others, sympathy and pity, are traits of Benevolence, the highest attribute of the human soul. The highest requirement of a ruler of men is Benevolence.”
- Politeness: Discerning the difference between being obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree, and simple politeness, can be difficult for the regular person. But for a true warrior, courtesy or politeness is rooted in benevolence. Politeness should be the expression of a benevolent regard for the feelings of others. It’s a poor virtue if it’s motivated only by a fear of offending the “good taste” of others. In its highest form Politeness approaches love.
- Honesty and Sincerity: The true warrior, disdains insincerity and dishonesty. He believes that “man’s acceptance of dishonesty and insincerity , in the pursuit of fame and fortune, corrupts the path wisdom.” The true warrior on the path to enlightenment were raised to believe that dishonesty and insincerity rots the soul, and that ignorance of the value of the two… honesty and sincerity”’ shows stagnation. Embrace honesty and sincerity, not for popular reasons so much as for the exercise of discipline. Being undisciplined was thought the greatest menace to manhood, and the simplicity of honesty and sincerity was required of the warrior class to develop discipline and centering …
- Honor: Honor is a deliberate practice of personal dignity and worth and is characterized in the stance of the enlightened ones. One who is born and bred to value the duties of honor, fear personal disgrace.
- Loyalty: Economic as well as social reality has dealt a blow to organizational and personal loyalty around the world. Nonetheless, true men remain loyal to those to whom they are indebted, both economically and socially on the virtue of their code of conduct. Personal loyalty exists among all sorts of men: a gang of pickpockets swears allegiance to its leader. But only in the code of chivalrous Honor does Loyalty assume paramount importance.
- Character and Self-Control: The path or way of the warrior teaches that men should behave according to an absolute moral standard, one that transcends logic. What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong. The difference between good and bad and between right and wrong are givens, not arguments subject to discussion or justification, and a man should know the difference. Finally, it is a man’s obligation to teach his children moral standards through the model of his own behavior: The first objective of the warrior’s education was to build up character. The subtler faculties of prudence, intelligence, and dialectics were less important. Intellectual superiority was esteemed, but a warrior was essentially a man of action. .
In the world of the blind, it is said the one eyed man is king. Likewise in the world of madness, steeped in the failings of the undisciplined, he who sits centered at the vortex of the turbulent tide, is he who is most sane. Most connected. Most grounded. You will come to see things in an all-encompassing sense and, taking the center as the Way, you will see the Way as a void. In the void is virtue where no evil resides. Only wisdom exists, principle exists, the way exists. Spirit becomes the Void. At the center of the void is the vortex. There you will find yourself.