Sunday, July 11, 2010

Purpose in Life, Purpose in Training

Are we masochistic people? I mean, we go to school and we know there's an exam, we can graduate and leave for high school, college, whatever. There is this finality you know? But here in the dojo, there's no ending. There's a beginning though, I'm just not sure if we've gotten past it or not that's all.

Only towards his end, did Osensei say he finally understood Aikido. Was it a prophetic moment? Does that apply to all Aikidokas around the world? Are we fated to train till the day we die before we achieve this elusive understanding of Aikido?

Awhile back I wrote that the secret is there staring right in our faces. Even as Shihans around the world, exclaimed in their 200,000th Ikkyo that they finally 'get' it... it looks strikingly similar to their 999th Ikkyo awhile back. When we embark on this journey of 'DO' or a Way, it is something of a road that we undertake. When you're on a road and it leads somewhere, you follow the road or lose your way. Sure, some roads have forks to choose from, bumpy roads, and hilly roads... the choice is yours. Osensei and your teachers have left signposts to guide your choices, but ultimately the choice remains one of yours to make.

You could even abandon the road altogether. Maybe make your own road and call it Ahki-do for laughs. But once you've abandoned the road, you cannot say you're taking the same journey Osensei made. Maybe you'll end up at the same place, but it still wasn't the same road.

Now the question is... is it the road or the destination? There's another saying that goes, Its the Journey not the Destination, and I really like that. It even applies somewhat to what we're talking about here. Though, the destination here in Aikido is Harmony. Harmony with oneself and with the universe. I mean, say what you want, but that's a great destination to aim for. If you happen to find yourself in another road just like it, by all means stand by it. If you're aiming for the destination, then no matter the road, your heart is in the right direction. But if you're here for the road... now, ask yourself why.

I have no idea why people take those long slow Sunday drives. For me, get into the car and its, lets get somewhere quick. Petrol costs, tolls and jams are not what I would consider delightful pleasures. Walking down a road aimlessly, now that's weird too. If that make sense, then should we rational adults walk a long winding road aimlessly?

I saw my wife's aunty buried this morning. We've been praying for her the past several weeks. She was a source of strength for my wife when I was sick those couple of years, even at the same time she was having her cancer. She's been subject to 240 chemo sessions in the last 10 years. Can you imagine the pain? Back when she was first diagnosed, the prospects weren't that good. It was a miracle she remained strong as long as she did. She even got to see 3 grandkids along the way. Alas, her fight is over. The suffering is over. For most of us it is a mixed feeling. Sadness to see a kind lady pass away, happiness that she is no longer in pain.

So when you die, do you leave behind people who treasured the time they had with you? Or is it just a significant will to be disbursed, or a popular name with some fancy tunes on the radio? Did you leave behind a legacy? Are you prepared to meet your maker, to be judged on how well you dispensed your charge in life? What is our charge in life? There's no occupation here called, employee of God after all.

So there you go again. Walking down a road aimlessly after all.

An afterthought with respect to epitaphs:

Here lies the Man, who did Aikido;
Broke my elbow with an Ikkyo,
Made the girl scream from Yonkyo,
Stopped that 5th kyu with a loud bellow,
Won a bout in UFC and more,
Became the talk of internet forums galore.

and the other guy...

Here lies my friend, 
Made me laugh as he dropped me below, 
Surprised a girl with a painless nikkyo, 
Got the old lady to walk again.

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