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Thursday, 13 November - link

living in mystery

commentson 13 November 2003 : 01:12, Andy K. sez:

As for retreat, Justin, no. Stay where you are and renounce. Otherwise you risk a lifetime of increasingly devastating attraction-avoidance cycles.

Absent of consuming goals I'm wandering in smaller concentric circles. Shrinking, revisiting. Practice. As I lose my hold on in-person confidence, I'm reduced to two certainties. Cleaning house and body. Trembling.

Struggle against physical ignorance to learn the patterns of a peaceful martial art. And listen to the words of my sensei (what's the difference between unlawful and illeagle? he asked).

Today he was in a talkative mood. Seven students were warming up for Aikido this morning, stretching out our wrists. He interrupted the simple gestures to explain what we might do with our legs while moving our hands - deepening our stance, pushing our feet against the ground. But because of the robes the advanced students wear, you can't see what they're doing with their legs. The base of your practice may be hidden, he pointed out, but you draw your strength from it.

I hope you dont' mind if I spend the rest of my life writing about what I think I'm trying to be doing on this web site I mean Jesus (always becoming)

It's not as if we hurry through these exercises just so we can get to practicing aikido, he said with a smile - we are practicing aikido now. Later he was narrating to me the vigorous mat-brooming by the more senior students - he was proud of the 15 year old brooms that they are still using. Did you know that if you store a broom with the bristles up, it may last longer?

I was intent, quiet, passing each statement through my struggle for purpose and trips to abandon. I have been a bundle of nerves since I don't know when but for days now I've had moments of just opening my mouth to scream alone when I couldn't talk or type and then with friends I've started sentences six different ways before I found anything to say.

Now I have some travel to plan. Holidays, home, friends and family. My brother called this morning from London. I was supposed to be there with him. I gladly cancelled my trip, I'm not well. I can't imagine the stress of not being home, being in an unfamiliar place. Colin mentioned that he's headed from London to Massachusetts for a wedding this weekend, and back two days after he lands. I can't imagine that kind of travel - it fills me with terror. To imagine so much motion and not resting. I feel overwhelmed to imagine myself doing it, and that must mean I'm cutting myself off from my memory my former sense of Justin because if I could see what I've done I would recall that I have defined myself as a young man of motion and exploration.

You have been going through some changes, sensei said to me. A hammer hit my sternum. I choked up I couldn't speak. I looked at him, my eyes shivering. You have been going through some changes, he said again. I nodded. He regarded me: I mean, that's not a question it's a statement. I mean, that's not a statement it's a question. I nodded. He said, you have been going through some changes in your life.

Maybe it was the way I nodded assent to all his lessons, smiling tight but true as everything seemed like honest wisdom, refracting against my sense of loss and purpose.

Jane was nice, she said, you don't have to decide now. She reminded me today. I have nothing to decide now. That's supposed to take all the pressure off. And it does, most of the time. Except when I have travel to plan, and when I try to imagine myself. Just be, she said! smiling and raising her hands over her head. I gave some of my work to her. Yesterday a man asked me to write something and I told him I might not. That's something I'm not used to saying. Refusing work. Making time. Time to be. And don't ask everyone what you should do with your life, she counseled. I'm wide open to symbols and readings now I know.

I've been reading a book, he said. A book about truth and illusion. The first thing the book says is "all truth is an illusion." That could be cause for tail-chasing struggle, but sensei offered a reprieve. Live in the mystery! Present in the questions you ask, not in the answers you seek. Live in the mystery! Feel it, sit with it, draw strength from it. Only trouble is? Real life, bills and feeding time, is mostly predicated on answers. Sitting with the mystery distances you from functioning. So strike a balance. But accept the mystery in which you live. (one is against the law, and one is a sick bird)

Posted on 13 November 2003 : 14:59 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.