Tuesday, December 14, 2010
the Sufi's created "study groups", groups of individuals assembled for a
purpose, and with the big picture in mind. individuals with traits necessary
to the group. individuals chosen, assigned, to bring an element to the
group. to create a space and momentum in a direction. to correct imbalances.
to encourage certain behavior, and at times to serve as examples (in either
there are also many stories of disciples being assigned work. weaving,
tin-smithing, enameling, etc. these physical tasks were never openly linked
to their spiritual teachings, but were used as allegorical tools. to help
prepare the student for the next part of the teaching. to show real world
consequences. to show, say, how bringing certain traits to the front and others
behind at specific and critical points, when viewed from close seems erratic
and nonsensical, but viewed from afar will create the images woven into a
carving is the removal of what is unnecessary to expose the artists will.
one learns about stages of reduction, working within constraints, and
adaptation to unexpected irregularities of material. there are many tools,
and they function differently in different mediums...
tin-smithing - as we shape a relatively soft metal, bend it to our will, it
hardens. if we go too fast, it will crack. it must be tempered, softened
with heat and time before it can be moved farther. artistry brings the
proper shape and hardness together at the appropriate time.
at each moment we are making choices. weighing options. these choices all
have consequences. long term and short. not recognizing an action as a
willful choice, or dismissing an obviously harmful option as no option at
all only robs us of the responsibility. of that choice. of owning up to it,
and hopefully learning something.
by accepting the weight of our conditioning. by recognizing that all the
little choices we make -like the threads of the weaver- will eventually make
a picture, we are - hopefully - taking some measure of control, acting
mindfully. acting with purpose.
the gym is adaptation to stressors.
the gym is an expression of discipline.
the gym is mindfulness of our selves.
the gym is our relationship to our surroundings.
strength, endurance, flexibility, speed, capacity, durability,
the gym is where all of these words can be measured, at least in some small
part of their definition.
these traits are addressed throughout the scope of their definition. while I
am not trying to equate gym training, the relatively mild discomfort we put
ourselves through, to the deepest ends of those terms, I believe - if we let
it - it can send a ripple that way.
better men than i have said: the gym is only preparation for the real thing. it is a
step on a path. a station. a crucible. a method of converting raw materials
into a tool to complete a task. the best tools may give us an advantage, but
only if we put in the time and effort to use them.
a hammer doesn't build a house.
perhaps more accuratley, a hammer is not a house...
time is finite. and most of us got a late start. layering these lessons is
the only way I see to absorb them enough to allow them to be
expressed in our personality.
constant awareness. objective tests. (healthy) community support.
these encourage our efficiency. these drive us. force our expectations
I feel that is the function of a training center. with the time we spend, we
might as well work these lessons on as many levels as we can...
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
i wish i had paid more attention.
i can be a slow learner. i like to chew things over. dissect them. work them alone. i like to look from many angles. to manipulate and mull. to explore and validate for myself.
this takes time.
this takes focus.
focus in one place may equal blindness in another.
back in salt lake, i had my information, had my plan, but when it mattered, failed to step back and re-assess when the opportunity arose. i let old demons and that nagging little voice talk me out of an opportunity to learn. i was handed a rope and didn't even bother to hang myself with it. just turned it down because it didn't fit into my plan. i did not adapt soon enough. couldn't switch gears. couldn't get my head out of my ass and see what was around me. i had my plan...
flexibility. if you don't use it, you will lose it.
its time to learn lessons and move on, for "should have" is about as useful as "used to be". its over. learn. grow. and fucking move on.
to make a new mistake tomorrow.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
interesting points were brought up, technical skill, programming, but mostly the sense of involvement. of investment. the amount of time and care that the trainers put into their athletes. of all the differences between this place and countless other gyms, boxes or warehouses, this one seems to be the crux. quality over quantity. coaching in the true sense. management. physical. psychological. few people actually train between those walls because the emmotional content of their training. the true cost, if you will. coaches loosing sleep over their athletes responses to the stresses of training, of competition, of their job and kids and boss. this is impractical for the traditional gym business model. this level of commitment continues to surprise me, continues to inspire me. to work harder. to work smarter. to plan better. i have a little more time here, to scratch and to dig. to find, if not answers, than guideposts. to see how it is done, and to make it my own.
to pay attention.
Friday, December 3, 2010
This is the crux of many problems. The need. The solution.
The depth of that word is limited only by our imagination. Not only why this and not that, but why ask the question? Why frame it with those words? What are we truly looking for?
I remember learning to hunt, learning about camouflage and stalking. The question then: what am I hiding from, and why? To what end?
Idries Shah poses an interesting point: are you asking a question because you want information or because you want entertainment? Want attention from your teacher?
Are you looking for truth or permission?
Are you looking for hope or facts?
Are you trying to change or stay the same?
And are you willing to pay the price? To put in the effort? Because if you want it, want anything, then the path begins to form. The road. We must ask these questions first. To know where we start. To know where we are going. Without that knowledge, with out truly exploring those questions we can never hope to navigate this mess. We must be honest. Lies will simply subvert our goals. We would never lie when asking for directions, and sticking feathers up your ass does not make you a chicken. Truth can be hard. Deal with it. Or don't bother asking the question.
I am sitting on a plane, waiting. Thinking. Searching for the right question.