Re: Article: Clarity and Self-Delusion in One's Training by George S. Ledyard
I think that this kind of self-reflection is exactly what the article is trying to address. It is this kind of reflection that gives us our chance at clarity -- regardless of our level of commitment. So, in my opinion, I think this is right up there with what Camilla, Janet, and others have shared. I don't see delusion here, I see clarity.
However, this last post made me think of something -- on commitment. The way I see it, commitment stands in contrast to convenience. For better or for worse, often times we can act like we are in a state of commitment when in fact we are only functioning at the sake of convenience. Thus, it is important to be able to distinguish the differences between these two things.
One of the major differences is that commitment is not related to knowing the future. It does not come to us via assurances that we are doing the right thing -- now and for all times. Nor does it come to us under the promise of things never changing, nor of us never changing. These are the things of convenience. Convenience requires that conditions be in a constant state of fair-weather -- whether this is of our surroundings or of us. Commitment on the other hand is what we practice precisely because things do change, because we change, because things can never be known in total, and because the weather cannot always be fair.
Commitment is a kind of act of faith -- it is a holding true in the face of come what may. Commitment is a type of vow we make to remain steadfast by adapting to the unknown as it makes itself manifest, to things as they change, and most importantly to remain steadfast in light of our own impulses, emotions, desires, etc., that may often drive us to no longer remain steadfast. If our training is today viable solely because our dojo is near us, the training hours are fitting with our schedule, we love Aikido, Aikido is fun, the people are great, we don't have a job, we can afford the training, we have no kids, we are not married, we are not in school, we are progressing happily, etc., then, a priori, our practice is not based in commitment -- it is based more on convenience and on the things of convenience.
In order to continue to mature in our commitment, we need to forge ahead without the need for assurances that everything will be alright -- that everything will be supportive of our training. To have commitment is to make the vow (at least to oneself) to be thus and then to go on to do the work of commitment in the face of whatever may come. This is undoubtedly difficult -- which is one reason why the practice of commitment is universally held as a spiritual practice across the globe and history (i.e. it is not a natural state of being -- it is a cultivated state of being). However, difficult as it may be, the practice of commitment is never more complicated than this. In my experience, if we are wise, we will be able to find great comfort and great aid (when we need it -- and we always do sooner or later) in the simplicity that marks this most sacred practice of the human body/mind.