Stop Doing This or You are Guaranteed to Fail!
Martial Arts, Mindfulness and meditation have all been a part of my life longer than I can remember. I know that they’re so inextricably intertwined with who I am, that any attempt to view the world without that permanent lens is a futile effort. It helps me to maintain focus and to stay on my path. I wholeheartedly believe that it will do the same for you. But I have never claimed that this makes life “easy” or trouble free.
I have had some truly wonderful people in my life. I’ve also had some that were not so wonderful and have forced me to work even harder on my practice. I have been treated incredibly well and I have been disrespected and shunned. I have felt invincible and I have felt weak and powerless.
I share this because I want to be clear that I am no different from you. Any teacher who tells you that they have all of the answers and the secret to a “fool proof” life, that has kept their own life constantly happy, is lying to you. One size does not fit all.
We all share these challenges and tribulations. Hopefully we also all share the incredible highs of those good moments and are mindful enough to be grateful for them. Here is the truth: I know of no way to guarantee success. I know of no way to guarantee victory. It is my opinion, that anyone who claims otherwise should be very highly scrutinized and never followed blindly.
I share what has worked for me. While I know that nothing can be right for EVERYONE, I have had a hard time finding flaws in this approach. My day-to-day life requires that I am analytical and able to anticipate arguments and opposing points of view. Long ago, I developed the habit of truly trying to pick apart my own theories so that I could determine if they were of any value. I don’t get attached to one and if I can find sufficient flaw, I discard it.
I tend to shy away from direct prescriptive behavior, save one thing that I cannot deconstruct: meditation.
It is so, so valuable to know yourself that I am not sure there is anything in this life that is even close in comparison.
Through knowing yourself, you are able to deal with what life throws at you and you are able to more readily recognize things that are just not for you.
As I have told you, your path is inside of you. Only you can go there. I am just sharing the most useful tool and practice that I have ever come across.
There can be no guaranteed victory. I have found, however, a path to guaranteed failure. That path is inaction. It is giving up. It is lacking a desperation for greatness.
Your life must be like a flowing river. Once movement stops, a good life cannot persist.
The second you stop trying, you have already lost. There are things in life that are far worse than failure and not even trying is one of them. If you are going to do a thing, do it to the absolute best of your ability. I promise you, from the best that is within me, that you will not regret the effort, regardless of whether or not you reach your destination.
As a martial artist, being able to beat people up and achieve rank is a byproduct of the work you are doing on yourself. It is not the goal. Yes, you are working to exert dominance over an individual, but that individual is you!
If you don’t ever have to get into a fight, did you waste your time? I sincerely hope your answer is a resounding and emphatic, “NO”. Being dependable, reliable, the person others can count on, the person you, yourself can count on…these are proper goals. Be the kind of person who does what you say you’ll do and be self-aware enough to avoid the things that are not you.
How can you possibly drive a car with no steering wheel? How can you be that properly aligned person if you do not know who that person is? Meditation and mindfulness give you that vital steering wheel. Stay your course. Don’t bother people who do not think like you. Don’t spend time judging. Don’t spend time bitter and angry. You will find that you won’t have these negative impulses when you have spent time finding yourself.
Finding yourself, the true you, is often misconstrued. It does not mean “fitting in” with crowds. It doesn’t mean wasting time. It doesn’t mean doing things you know to be wrong simply to gain fleeting approval. But you could be forgiven for thinking that it does, if you aren’t even sure about who is doing the “thinking”.
I may not know about guaranteed success, but I do know about guaranteed failure. I know that it occurs every time you stop striving to be a better person. It occurs every time you settle for less than your best. Disrespect no one but don’t let others treat you in a disrespectful manner either. Step away from our polarized and tribal society to build one of your own. It starts with you. If you are sincere, it will spread to your family and closest friends and you will have a life full of people who truly want the best for you.
Imagine the world if everyone did this.
Well, you are “the world”. Start right now. Work on your breathing, work on finding that inner light that never moved…it was you who moved away from it. Tomorrow is not promised and there is no time like the present. Go out and make the world a better place by making yourself better first.
This life is a journey and I am on it with you.
No material thing or specific accomplishment will ever last. What will last is the ability to remain consistent. Life is sometimes objectively wonderful and sometimes cruel. Treat yourself right and give yourself the attention and love that you deserve. I promise that you will have a better appreciation for the wonderful and a better ability to respond well to the cruel. Above all else, keep practicing.