truth, Truth, and Broken Clocks (an introduction of sorts) by "The Grindstone"
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This column was written by Mike Collins.
Supposed to write a column. Jun says I writ gudly (that'd be a
joke). That really is quite a compliment for a guy who graduated high
school firmly ensconced in the "Would you like fries with that?"
track. I should write a column that is supposed to have at least a
surface relationship to Aikido. Man, I've got no real clue what I can
write about. I'm neither a talented Aikidoka, nor an educated guy, so
all I've got is my truth.
I'm a guy who's never had an original thought. Ever. Anything I know,
it's because I was smart enough to take in something someone else said
or showed, and considered it a while and began to understand it. But
I've never had a single epiphany of my own, and reached any kind of
enlightenment on any level. On the other hand I've had something of a
knack for seeing people and recognizing that they had something to
teach me, then opening my mind or my heart to whatever it was they had
to teach me. I've certainly not been the best student they've had, but
I usually did my best at the time, and have always been grateful for
what I've been given. And somehow, these people have always given
freely. Lucky guy!
I wish I had some sage, useful advice or knowledge to pass on via this
column, but the truth is that I don't. And if I did, and I shared it
here, it'd be of no use unless you took it in, considered it a while,
and began to understand it. Only then, can truth become Truth.
I'm not so much a fan of neat information. Very few things are always
right. Even things that are almost always right probably don't
transfer to every set of circumstances, so Truth needs to be seen in a
kind of a big vista.
Truth, the kind worth dealing with, is a marvelous thing. If you open
yourself up to it, and allow it in, without gripping it too tightly,
you start to find that you've got access to bits and pieces of it when
you might otherwise not have had. And Truth is no respecter of
persons. Truth could care less if you're a ditch digger (or in my
case, a roofer, but you get the idea), or a Rocket Scientist (and I've
trained with a couple of those). Truth is Truth. All on it's own. And
if you're smart enough, or lucky enough to recognize Truth wherever it
happens to be, you have the ability to learn from anyone or
My experience with Truth to this point has been that it seems to like
being considered and thought on, but seems to have no use for being
held to too tightly. Seems as soon as I make Truth a rule, the Truth
turns to something other than Truth, and even when it's true, it's
only sort of like a clock that's broken, it's still going to be right
twice a day, but it's not much of a clock.
What's all this got to do with Aikido? Well, just for me, I like to
steal whatever anyone is willing to allow me to take, and then go off,
consider it, try to understand it, and see if I can find some Truth in
it. Sometimes, I find that if there were a Truth there, Truth would
prefer that I not find it while looking, and it hides out and waits
for me to be ready for it before it shows up. But I've found an awful
lot of Truth in places that people have told me it didn't exist. Maybe
Truth has a factor of relativity to it, that's worth thinking on a
while; that is, maybe Truth for me is not so much Truth for someone
else, and their Truth may be not so much for me. But if I don't open
my mind to it, then take it off by myself and consider it a while and
think on it, and try to understand it, I'll never know.
As a matter of fact, the guts of this column are stolen from my first
Aikido teacher, and I didn't even realize that until I'd re-read it a
few times to edit myself. I don't think I'll consider it stealing
though, since I'd apparently either had it inside myself before he
said it, or I took it in so deeply that I thought of it as my own
Truth. Either way, by whatever means, it has become Truth for me
because of the considering I've done with it, not because he said
it. To take it on faith, and accept it without considering it and
trying to understand it would be an insult and a slight to what he
I often see Aikido that makes me shake my head, and ask "What is the
value in that?". Too often, what that really means to me is "There's
something I have no interest in considering, it's too
different/difficult/silly/frivolous/brutal to be worth my time". And
the truth of that is that I might well be passing up some useful Truth
that is not at all what I see on the surface. Sometimes I'm just not
ready for the Truth I may actually need.
There is a saying "When the student is ready, the teacher will
appear". I just hope the teacher, Truth, isn't a vindictive SOB
teacher that makes me learn the lesson the hard way. But often, that's
been the case for me. I find that there is no way to avoid a lesson
that life wants you to have; only stays of execution are possible. But
a lesson of consequence always seems determined to be had, and there
is simply no avoiding it. I have a mantra I tell myself when I'm
wading knee-deep in my own resistance to a lesson: 'There's no way out
except through.". I still usually look for exits everywhere,
One day, I'll really GET the idea that my mind only works when it's
open. But I'm pretty attached to what I think of now as "reality"
(part of my blue-collar nature). Though I've watched "reality" make
some drastic changes over the years. My reality now is a quantum leap
from the reality I've clung so tightly to through the last
I realize that I am in some pretty impressive company, writing this
column. Please accept my apology now for not offering the rich content
that all the other people writing columns here offer to you. All I can
share is how I think about stuff, because my Aikido is not nearly as
advanced or mature, as it would need to be, to be of any value in
writing. So when you see my name, realize that all I offer is an
honest bunch of my thoughts, and if you find any Truth in that, by all
means, take it away, think on it, consider it, try and understand it,
feel free to steal it, I did. And if you find it of no value, by all
means throw it away. Truth is, I'm often full
of...er... well... something other than the Truth.
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