David Valadez wrote:
Does mastery of something assume the presence of passion? Does not passion, as suggested in the Latin origin of the word, assume the presence of a kind of suffering? If so, can we really penetrate the depths of our art through joy alone?
If more than joy is required, should we expect our dojo to have discourses and/or techniques (e.g. pedagogy) that help us as modern citizens that prone to many levels of alienation demarcate the path of progress through repulsion (e.g. a healthy dose of shame) from the path of further alienation and/or depression (e.g. "I suck." "I will never be any good.")? What might these discourses and/or techniques be? dmv
I experienced, in the past 52 years of budo practice flavored by my Zen Buddhist practice for over 40 of those years, the very thing you speak of. I am known to tell my students, "Don't Worry... Nuthin's Gonna Be Alright..."
We hardly ever get what we really want or expect and most of us get caught up in continually searching for comfort, ease, sweetness, and light. Some modern philosophies even tell people that they should "fake it" and keep "positive" and everything will be alright. Well, if we keep breathing and doing what our heart tells us to do, paradoxically, everything turns out all right. We all die. Between birth and death we can experience pain and joy, etc. We may even learn how to live in the moment learning compassion and how to not suffer. We can experience happiness or whatever is appropriate at the time. Training in budo is no different in this regard than anything else. If we train properly, our dojo is a "dilemma rich environment" where the "feedback" is very immediate. If we keep an open, even awareness with as little expectation as possible we can experience whatever is appropriate each instant and learn. The passion will be experienced through the full range of possibilities. We can then make decisions that help us make the best of the situation. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes filled with shame, but always joyful. We create our own unhappiness by wanting "things" to be different than they are.
Japanese art is full of expressions of wabi/sabi, etc. The sadness, the shame, etc. can't be helped. It's human activity that has both negative and positive aspects like everything else. We can practice for the sake of the practice and learn wonderful lessons.
"Don't worry... nuthin's gonna be alright..." Gambatte!