Unity, Truth, and GoodnessA Zen Thing . Quotes . State of Mind
What do Unity, Truth, and Goodness have to do with the Martial Arts? That is perhaps hard for many to see, especially those new to the Martial Arts. Here is a quote to start the conversation with:
Franciscan John Duns Scotus says that when the one, and the true, and the good are operating in unity, whatever is happening will always also be beautiful! This is his de facto definition of beauty: the harmony between unity, truth, and goodness. When you can see all three, or even one, you will always be delighted. Beauty is experienced precisely in our ability to hold together the oneness, the truthfulness, and the goodness of things—despite all the seeming contrary evidence (which is always there!). –Richard Rohr, Catholic Franciscan and Founder of the Center for Contemplation and Action
Now that may not seem to apply to the Martial Arts but I hope you will find that it actually does. When we begin to train in the Martial Arts there is nothing beautiful about it! We are awkward because we lack understanding and knowledge, we lack experience necessary to perform the basic movements of the Martial Arts. Our mind and body do not have Unity, they both resist in relinquishing control to you, the student. The more you practice the more Unity you gain, things begin to become natural and flow.
If you stop your training there, you have accomplished much and it will serve you well in every aspect of your life. But you will be lacking. As we continue to train the Unity of our practice becomes comfortable and smooth, but is missing something. With continued training you will begin to experience moments of epiphany when you see the Truth of your perfect execution and the True uses of that particular technique. You will even see the Truth of using a particular technique in ways you were never taught. You will feel confidence and power swell in a type of calm pride.
If you stop your training at this point you will be a formidable opponent who can handle most situations that would call for Martial Arts skills. But you would still be lacking. Because at this point you have only seen the partial truth of your training. You have the Truth of each technique but you have yet to assemble them to their true ending. Goodness. This training part of your training is difficult to be taught, because you feel your training is complete. Your physical training is, but we are more than physical beings and the Martial Arts at every point recognizes that. I will try to explain this next step in your training, most ignore it, few understand what they seek, and fewer discover it (I am not professing that I have). Goodness comes from the picture and feeling of the Unity and Truth you have gained. The Goodness comes from understanding that all your training, all your sweat was not leading where you thought. You thought you were training to be a Master Warrior near indestructible! Instead you start to see the Goodness, the Truth the Unity that in training and honing your body and mind to fight, you no longer desire to. You seek Justice through peace not strength or will or power of what you could do. Rather your skill and power is only meant to be used in a reflective manner, defensive only.
If you stop your training here, you have much to teach the world of students who await you.
This is the secret of the Martial Arts that most have forgotten or chosen to ignore for a multitude of reasons. Live in Peace (Goodness). Live in Awareness (Truth). Live at Peace with yourself (Unity). You will be the calm, unmovable Stone at the center of a raging river of life.
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