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Old 12-22-2005, 11:57 AM   #61
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Re: Article: Clarity and Self-Delusion in One's Training by George S. Ledyard

A small thing really...

Are we just playing with words here - "master" and "mastery." I bring this up because I wonder if the wordplay is part of what folks use to not be roots (i.e. use against themselves, use against their teacher's requirements, etc.). e.g. "Being a master is impossible, why shoot for it?"

The funny part is this: Who is ready to say "mastery" is any more possible than being a master?

There's so much false humility (i.e. self-serving submission) in these ways of understanding that Aikido practice is a living process. One has to wonder what all is being protected in our will to see both being a master and attaining mastery as impossible.

I'm reminded of something I read, where a writer-friend of Merton's asked him what he wanted from all his faith, etc. Merton went on with all the usual stuff - it's about living the practice, etc. etc. And his friend finally stops him and asks him, "Aren't you trying to be a saint? If so, why the difficulty in saying it?" Merton, being an honest man, saw that his resistance to saying out loud what most opt to never say was more connected to his fears of pursuing his practice more deeply than it was to any kind of insight pertaining what the holy or sainthood might be. I would suggest we are often seeing the same thing here in regards to Aikido and being a master. Let us remember, most of the masters we know today, never said that being a master was impossible - most of them clearly say (in one version or another), "I wanted to be the best." In other words, when one is the best, and one says, "There is always more to learn - complete mastery is not possible," that is not the same thing as saying "There is always more to learn - complete master is not possible," when one is using that to keep going with their aikido-lite.

thinking out loud,

David M. Valadez
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