Saturday, September 17, 2005

Discipline and Growth

We all attract to ourselves the reality that we choose. Maybe the circumstances are on a larger scale, but how we respond is always choice. Your own view of reality is neither more nor less subjective than anyone else’s; "objectivity" always has content.

There are always limits to human perception, and so we can only know that which we have eyes to see. We create the potential for growth when we can see the limits of what we know.

Learning a skill creates discipline through perseverance. One endures periods of awkwardness, frustration and boredom, all steps towards completion of competency. Martial arts, sewing, learning to walk, all require that focus remain on achieving the goal.

“Courage is the greatest of all the virtues. Because if you haven't courage, you may not have an opportunity to use any of the others.” (Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English Author).

People come to martial arts for many reasons: self-protection, self-esteem and health are three of the main ones. The first thing the art must do is fulfill these expectations, or else a person will move on. Once that is achieved, however, the art must move to another level or it will stagnate. It must become somehow larger than ones initial attraction, for having met those needs, one has outgrown who they were when those needs were unmet. Right?

The purpose of a discipline isn’t immediate gratification, therefore, but is found in the long-term potential for self-growth and awareness. If the vehicle satisfies one’s needs, it becomes a road, continually leading one through a landscape that opens to new vistas. The need for self-defense may give way to self-gratification, which can become a pursuit of perfection, which can lead to self-awareness and acceptance.

It is when we recognize our own process that we can overcome the limitations of our perception, and at this level any art, any discipline, becomes something more than what it first appeared, reflecting a deeper metaphor of whom we wish to be.

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