Some people see a broken, gnarled, uneven, and aesthetically recalcitrant form, but those same attributes tell a story. They tell the history, trials and suffering endured and more importantly, they tell of a journey of survival through transformation.
As Martial Artists, we are the broken bowl. We harness our skills through years of hard practice, denial, pain, injury, blood, sweat and tears. All the while, whilst our bodies undergo these trials, our mind is sharpened; our emotions are educated and our awareness of our connection to the universe deepens in a truly spiritual way, far older than, and beyond the reach of, Man’s invention of dogmatic religion.
We are all on the path of self-discovery. Those who are on the path already, should help others coming up behind them, but, be careful not to rob them of the chance to be transformed by that journey. Pointing out an easier path may not be the kindest thing to do as it may lead to a different destination with far less scope for growth. The way is hard. It is meant to be hard. It is through the hard path that we are transformed. This way is the path we choose, but it is not for everyone. There are always improvements to be made along the way and our efforts often seem short-lived, in a constant state of flux, or forever searching out for that improvement. But be careful. Constantly looking for perfection, you can lose sight of the beauty you’ve already created.
The Japanese concept of Wabi-sabi is based on the understanding;
‘Nothing lasts, Nothing is finished, Nothing is perfect.’
Rather than a negative statement, it is a celebration of the perspective which recognises beauty and worth outside of the conventional norm. Proudly wear your badges of survival in whatever guise they come. Remember the hard work it took to reach every achievement and use that as inspiration to continue during the hard days ahead. Do the best you can for today, as today will never come again and making the most of today will reveal a different, sobering and valuable perspective of Wabi-sabi:
Everything is perfect, because nothing lasts forever.
Mizu Ryu Ju Jitsu