Sunday, September 18, 2011

Limits and Their Possibilities

I think we live in a world that's afraid of losing. As much as they are afraid of losing, they are even more indignant of imposed limits. Strange considering we live by so many laws.

The problem being, we see laws most often as an injustice. Something imposed by those more powerful than us, and exploitative in that they predominantly become one sided. These are human laws of course, created by whims and fancies of rulers in the guise of benevolence and the 'I know what's good for you, because you sure the hell don't'. This line of thinking is not new and exists since the time of masters and slaves, colonization through the 'white man's burden' appeal and a slew of other motto and slogans.

This innate fear and distrust of laws and limitations then psychologically affects us and scars us and see us shrink from laws and limits. It doesn't help that we have so many motivational courses and television shows that inspire us to break such limits. But inadvertently, it would appear that there's a caveat to just who can break those limits. Heroes and heroines yes, second rate characters (i.e. you and me and cousin bob need not apply please) a resounding NO.

So whilst the carrot hangs from the string saying we can break do limitless things if only we TRY, success rates of course depends on how good looking you are, or which pedigree you come from, or some other random factor of the day. The masses get to look on with awe and enthusiasm how one person overcome the odds and defeated the bad guys.

What in the world am I talking about and how does it relate to Aikido? Well its those said limits you see. As I've mentioned there are man-made limits and there are natural limits. I will go on to define that natural limits are limits imposed on God to us. This limit is different to that of man-made limits, which is absolute in how it rules upon others, but it can be broken and it can be redrawn according to whims of the PTB (refer Anne Mccaffray on this). Whereas God limits are absolute yet has different tiers.

I believe God limits not because He wants to impose on us, but because He is benevolent. Most times those limits are absolute barriers to entry, but they can be surpassed if you reach a higher tier of understanding.

Now most will answer to this, what crock. Here's a man who can't achieve anything with his own strength and ability and is now blaming God. Actually no. I believe that limits imposed by Gods do give us targets to live by. Live within the limits and you will be happy. There shouldn't be this all encompassing greediness to see what more can I have. Yet at the same time, there are avenues that you could use to surpass some of those limits. And that's through knowledge, hardwork and sincerity. Therefore, in His eyes, everyone is an equal. They are all equally limited and they are all equally gifted. You decide who you want to be.

If I wanted to explain more about man made limits, I'd think about matrix. Its so extraordinary that such a film  could be so profound in its observations. 'Human beings couldn't survive without the remote possibility that a single hero can bring them freedom' obviously reworded through memory but in essence, the Matrix which is a simulacrum of a normal life human beings have on earth was created perfect without even a hint of it being a  program that is basically a virtual prison. But the AI discovered that the perfect matrix caused the human batteries to wither and die. The mind couldn't accept the perfect world. It couldn't accept the matrix as reality  because it wasn't. Somehow the mind knew it was a lie, and that lie needed an outlet of escape. Not that they  or every human in there would choose to escape, but enough that the knowledge of the lie is there and that should someone try, the possibility of escape would be there. Isn't that cool?

Also, limits are there sometimes in the form of our physical capability. You limit your range of motion so as not to injure yourself. You limit your power so you don't injure others. You limit movement so you can practice or isolate on areas that are weak. In so many ways, limits are really really helpful.

In our daily practice, sometimes we have our ups and downs. And surely one time or rather you wish you lived without limited capacity. You wished you could do this and that. Yet... is the time right?

Dave Lowry once wrote that his Sensei made him fumble through a Kata all summer until finally gave a simple line of advice, to shift his weight at just this point. Amazingly it allowed Dave to finally complete his Kata flawlessly. Only 1 bit of an advice that surely at some point in the future he would have found out on his own. Also, that surely could have saved him some 3 months of pointless training!

Yet... thinking about it. Would it really? Would that advice have worked 3 months ago before all that hardwork, that failure, the experience of living through it all? The knowledge was capped until he was ready. Too early it would have been useless, too late... well then it would have been too late.

In our practice, don't see limits as limitations. Think of them as beneficial steps that act as guides to our journey. Going over at the wrong time would send us to the cliff below without the necessary equipment to save us. But remember only men believe in absolute limits that are imposed. We however should live by God's rule instead.

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