Other names for the Ronin
Zen Monk –
Applied Epistemologist –
Martial artist –
To be a Ronin, means you are a free agent in your mind, no matter what others might think. You might have employment, and a title, but your career is to be a spy for yourself. Think about being a spy for a moment. Let’s say, in the James Bond days, you had a job in Moscow, as a taxi driver. As a normal person, you drive around hoping for tips, and daydreaming of some pot of gold. As a spy you have another purpose. The tips don’t matter, you aren’t imagining something that will never happen, you are alert and collecting information. As a spy for yourself it is much the same.
You are using your day to day life as a training ground. We have discussed using driving as martial arts training. The same is true for the other events in your life. Most people go through life in much the same manner as a domestic turkey being groomed for Thanksgiving. They don’t think about Death. There is another capitol. Because dying and death should be serious considerations. It is not that you should cling to life, that would be a serious error.
To cling to life is to destroy it. To obsess about death is to invite it, to almost have the ultimate negative affirmation. We can’t ask if this is what suicides do, since they are no longer able to answer. But you get the idea. No, you are aware of your Death, because this awareness is such a power for the Ronin.
When you grasp at a deep level that you are going to die, it is a source of freedom and beauty. You have nothing to lose, so most of your fears are worthless, and having nothing to lose frees you to act now. The greatest slave master you have, the most powerful agent of The Matrix, is the linguistic nonsense that you are going to live forever. Of course you “know,” that you are going to die, but you haven’t really accepted it at a deep level. Without an awareness of Death, the Matrix people waste their lives in servitude to a god of sand that is constantly blow away.
I very much like the following quote from Carlos Castaneda, “Death is the only wise advisor that we have. Whenever you feel, as you always do, that everything is going wrong and you’re about to be annihilated, turn to your death and ask if that is so. Your death will tell you that you’re wrong; that nothing really matters outside its touch. Your death will tell you, ‘I haven’t touched you yet.”
So while the historical ronin was an unemployed samurai, looking for a lord who would accept him as a vassal, the Ronin of our mnemonic might take employment, but will never be a vassal. And this is true for yourself as well. How incredible if you find a job that you enjoy, I never did. All my many jobs were a means to an end. Which is not to say that there weren’t some great moments. The point is that you create the joy and meaning of the job, and part of that is using it as training.
An example of this is the American cowboy gunfighter. He drifts into town, in so many movies, becomes involved in a situation, and fights for a moral position, and rides away. If necessary, he herds cows for a living. Next week he would drift onto another ranch that was in trouble. Note that the typical Ronin such as the one in our mnemonic, fights for values. This gives him a great deal of freedom and meaning.
For you to enjoy this type of life means that first we must examine what is your biggest obstacle. Your self-image.