It’s funny, after contemplating the first post, I thought more about my life now and how it has actualized. On one hand, I have some of the romantic stuff down: I’ve dedicated much of my life to the martial arts and continue to practice daily and also I have a decent grasp of what my meaning to life is. However, I must admit in matters of the mundane: career, organization, and daily habits I am now as successful as I’d like.
I guess I can say it all started sometime in middle school when I, like many middle schoolers, was traumatized by a seemingly day-to-day running of business (teasing, bully etc.). At that time, I had first begun martial arts in the 8th grade. In addition, the martial arts school also owned a bookstore. The bookstore sold books on martial arts, spirituality, and other interesting topics. At that point I had purchased my first spirituality book (in 1993) called a “Handbook for Spiritual Enlightenment” by Hua Ching Ni (still alive!). The book really outlined a philosophy, lifestyle, and a set of prayers/affirmations/virtues to aspire towards. From that point on, I dove into the self-help movement as well, which was very popular in the 1990s. The self-help movement was based on the idea that we all hold the key to our problems – we just need to self-educate ourselves and use our own means to improve ourselves. I used these ideas and strategies as a means to educate myself about my inner world and to actually try to achieve spiritual enlightenment or some type of self-mastery. I thought if I achieved these high levels I can overcome my inner problems.
From this perspective, I was both right and wrong. On one hand, meditation (I also started Tai Chi Chuan in 1994) and self-discovery can lead to an self-actualization in which one is free from one’s problems, however, it is not so simple as putting in a specific quantity of meditation or practice. One REALLY has to dig inside oneself to discover and navigate their inner workings all the while battling the ego and other illusions created by the self (ie – selfishness, stubbornness, arrogance, opinions not based on reality etc.). From my reading, I realized that the “truth” is simply what is, regardless of what the lens of the opinion and emotions feel a situation or thing is – in other words what we see, perceive, smell, or hear are simply reflections of our mind’s images and not necessarily what is really there (after all, an object or situation is not self-evident but really a manifestation of our minds – if we remove our minds then there is the truth).
Anyway, I was just thinking about all that exploration just now, and how it has taken me to where I am today. I am very happy and knowledgeable internally, but my external life still leaves a lot to desire (even though saying that is very un-Buddhist! :). I guess that is part of the work. We all create balances and imbalances in our lives and it is up to life experience and our mistakes (and recognizing and fixing them) to make our lives better.
Have a good day! 🙂