“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
We are going to use the movie Rocky to illustrate being a martial artist, and to provide the emotional power you need for this position. It would be good if you would see that movie again. In it you will come to a part where Rocky doubts he can win, but hopes he can go the distance. He strives to become the man who can meet that challenge. That is a Value. He didn’t have to try for that. For us Martial Artist means; Value, Purpose, and Discipline
To be a Ronin, means you are a free agent in your mind, no matter what others might think. You might have employment, but your career is to be a spy for yourself. The historical ronin was an unemployed samurai, looking for a lord who would accept him as a vassal. But the Ronin of our mantra might take employment, but would never be a vassal. He derives great power from a unique value system that makes him free of any culture.
The iceberg represent you. And the portion of the iceberg that is above water represents everything you think you know, remember, or expect. This includes your self-image, identity, and worldview. It is you now, in your daily life, and all the talents and abilities you imagine you bring to a problem. The portion that is below the waterline is the 4th Position, we call 1eye.
What I want to do is convince you that the submerged portion of the iceberg exists, that it would be wondrous to access it, and then how.
Laughing Pirate invokes the spirit, of total uninhibited commitment. The will to go for it, and play a game with life that has no score, simply for the pleasure of playing. This is striking from the Void. It is like having an Olympic performance and not knowing what you did. Laughing pirate is a feeling and attitude that you summon with your smile.
Once you develop the ability to create art, by the way you perceive, you are something like a man who can shit gold coins. If you had such wondrous bowl movements, you would certainly want to exercise this talent constantly, and the same is true for creating beauty. Actually, the ability to create and enjoy beauty is better than the ability to make money. The beauty registers with a deep part of you, it expresses who and what you are, and has to do intimately with life. A person with a deep sense of beauty should be happy and have a good sense of who he is. Thus, the making of beauty is very close, in its own way, to meaning and purpose.
“For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous desert, in this marvelous time. I want to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while, in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.”― Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan
Gratitude is a powerful feeling that is like emotional balance, and gives the Ronin a strong life stance. Those who are desperate and greedy, are unsure of who and what they are, and so, seek an identity from their possessions, and meaning from their retirement fund. Those who are grateful for what they have enjoy a profound freedom and rich life. I have described objectifying your negative emotions and imagining them as beasts you must face in the arena. But gratitude is different. Gratitude is one emotion we want to keep inside when in the arena. It is a solvent for that dark twisting mass we find in our gut when the shit hits the fan.
Imagine that you are on a galley, and bound for a destination you do not comprehend, but joyfully anticipate, The galley is often driven by its oars which are manned by slaves. But these slaves have volunteered to be shackled to their oars. At any time they can remove their chains, join you on deck in the wind and the sun, but they imagine that they are safer in the dark with the oars. Obviously their fate is tied to that of the ship, as is yours, but they refuse to accept that. Instead they imagine, that they will never die, if they just refuse to think about it. If you don’t view life as an adventure you are such a slave.