育子三法

子女暴泣時、制之有三法

一為罵
二為說理
三為無視

有按國或人文之趨。例華人偏一、美國人偏、日本人偏三。

遷居日當時、見第三法而驚。何故不應也?今思其智。一即罵者自降至童之平也、又使童認可由長討應。下矣!二即試由言而改之。童卻或未熟以明其論次、大人或倦於譯。

三則尊於少及長。兒童學其鬧之無效。大人寬之、而不勞於說、等子女于自程發覺。

Success

There is a single definition of success. Look at yourself in the mirror, in the evening, and wonder if you disappoint the person you were at 18, right before people get corrupted by life. Let him or her be the only judge. Not your education, not your wealth, not your standing in the community, not the decorations on your lapel. If you do not feel ashamed, then you are successful.

– Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Entering the Fray

Monday morning, I am poised on the cusp of entering the fray. I imagine that my ancestors would have felt something similar in anticipation of the hunt. What will it bring?

We are at war with perceptions: customers that can never be satisfied, advertisers that seek to disrupt our tranquility to take away our money, Pokemon fantasies that hook into ancient warrior instincts to vy for our attention. The latter are as intrusive or meaningless as pornography, a super normal stimulus that hijacks our instincts. Intrusive when it is a picture of a beautiful woman, meaningless when you see it as a piece of paper.

We are seeking the completion and fulfillment of desire. Breathe and feel safe. Modern battles are waged in a largely abstracted environment, along battlefields that we can largely select. 

Once, I was enamoured of retirement, decided to try it for a year, and quit my job. I soon got so bored that I started training martial arts every day, something that I reveled in, but had not planned. Did I really believe that I could retire from the din of the world?

A bone without stress grow porous and brittle. An unworked muscle withers. An unused bicycle goes to rust.

So then I found myself on the roofs and sides of buildings in Tokyo, erecting and dismantling scaffolding, learning to be in harmony with danger – danger that sharpens the senses. Life happens fast. Pay attention. “Yang!” I would hear, and look to catch a bracket thrown my way. Every afternoon at three the supervisor would yell 「一服!」 (breather!) which we would transmit by shouting to the next man along the wall, and more than once from where I stood, I breathed and looked out over rooftops, and thought – “I am building this city,” before climbing down to have a coffee.

What is the purpose of a break than to become stronger?

A mentor once taught me a story: a young man walked up the mountain to seek out an ascetic. He found the old man carrying firewood on his back. 

The young man asked:”Teacher, please tell me about enlightenment.” 

The ascetic placed the bundle of firewood down, stood straight, and stretched. “This,” he said, “is enlightenment.”

Excited, the young man asked. “What comes next?”

Whereupon, the ascetic took up the bundle of firewood again, and continued on his way.

My mentor’s point was to teach me to ask “What comes next?” so as to keep from becoming fixated on a goal.

I have been looking for the source of this story on the internet, but cannot find it. Instead, there is a similar attested teaching of Zen that the path to enlightenment is「運水搬柴」, literally “to carry water and bring firewood,” which in ancient times were the main chores of the day, which is to say that the path to enlightenment is doing ordinary things.

There are meditations that take us out of the world, and there are meditations that take us into the world, and the goal of becoming human is to be able to wake up not just in the dojo, the dance floor, or the yoga studio, but in the course of the mundane – while we are engaged in our Work.

What comes next after enlightenment? Picking up the firewood again. After the weekend? Going back to Work. After a sabbatical year? Going back to Work. Our souls may stretch to a higher plane, but we are physical beings, and after a time we find ourselves standing where we are, finding the laundry must be done, the furniture dusted, the floor swept.

My biggest spiritual challenge now is to learn better to harmonize with difficulty. I recall several times when I have been in a meeting where someone was being rude, and saw another respond with firmly with respect, and after some back and forth, the rude person volunteered help. The strong harmonizer is my model. Life would be less interesting without rude people.
Harmonizing, not fighting, is the right feeling. Difficulty and danger are ingredients, not waste products. The danger, adrenaline, and exertion of being on the scaffolding let me sleep better, let me better taste my food, and gave me morning wood like I hadn’t hadron with high school. While my white-collar friends paid for gym memberships and cross-fit classes to resurrect atrophied muscle and correct bad posture, buying fitness watches to feel more motivated to walk or climb stairs, I was getting paid to do full body resistance and coordination training, more intense than martial arts boot camps  I have attended, and more spirited in team work. My enthusiasm at the time is well-captured in this Craigslist posting. The posting got us a new teammate for a few weeks, of whom the team leader said 「あいつは日本語が下手過ぎて、面白かった。」 “that guy’s Japanese sucked so bad, it was hilarious” – again, smiling and harmonizing with danger. Laughing, crying, and looking out for each other.

By and by, after a year and a half away, I returned to desk work, but I am nostalgic for scaffolding. In the three and a half years since, I have lost muscle, and my posture is not as good. Can I have both an exercised mind and exercised body?
I began this post this morning on a bus to work. I am ending it this evening over a beer at home. One of my teachers touched off this train of thought because she just left for a month-long trip away from Taiwan to reconnect with people and to reflect, so I dedicate this to her.

Enlightenment is setting down our burden. What comes next is also enlightenment. Can I hold on to this clarity? Probably not. But next time, when faced with a difficult situation or person, maybe I can smile a little inside, and say “That’s interesting. What comes next?”

走るのは

暫定退職した永遠に長い夏の間、目黒区立屋外プールでのアナウンスが思い浮かぶ。丁寧にはっきりと男の声が「危ないですから、プールて走らないでください。走るのは夢にかけて。」

あの夏のこの頃だったんだな。

in plain sight

“How is work?” My friend asked.
“Work is long – I’ve been able to pace customer’s expectations, but some things just take time.”
“Well, you look tired.”
“Oh – that’s because… I lowered my voice. I danced until 2am last night. Nine hours.”
My coworker smiled, and put a finger to his lips. “Shhh.” He whispered.

To those who share this little secret hiding in plain sight, sweet dreams tonight.

伝承

火曜日の夜、大学の卒業生に招待されて体育館へ合気道の稽古をしに行った。その学生が先月卒業したばかりで、公務員試験を受け、結果を待っている。その結果で抽選の優先が決まり、台北に残れるかに繋がる。台北に残って、いろいろと武道を体験して稽古したいとのこと。その相手とも、この二年間で稽古をして、同じクラスに出るときにそっちから、「稽古をお願いします」と積極的にきて後稽古を積んできたので、自分の教え子とも思える。

夏は大学が休みに入り、学生クラブがこの間解散で、稽古不足の私。社会人のクラブに行ってもいいけど、良くあるのは話が多い相手と組んでしまい、運動量が足りない。一度、ある道場で「あなたはそうやった運動的な合気道が好きですね」と批判気味に言われた。そうだよ。

大学生だと体力がよくて、まじめで、いい稽古になるから、好き。

こうして、一ヶ月ほど稽古をしていなくて、体育館で生徒と久々にすることができて、嬉しかった。一時間ほどほとんど無言で動いていたら、残りの三十分で道場の端で座った中学生らしい男の子に「ほい、稽古しよう」と誘った。三人で掛かり稽古そして取り受けAB, BA, AC, CA, CB, BC と組んでやった。これも、ほとんど無言。話さないのは相手への敬意。相手を動かせて、自分で気づかせる為に。こうすると技は私から教えるものではなく、私が相手に技に気づかせる為の物となる。師弟関係を敢えて設けない。こうしてお互いの稽古のためになる。

それで稽古の中で印象に残ったのは、中学生に入身投げの後ろ受けのやり方を指導して、相手が少し上手くなって、動きを速くて大きくしたら、相手が受けて、立ち上がって笑った。それまでにはその中学生が皆に無視されて座ってみていた。増して先週にその学生もある先輩と組んで技のやり方はああでもないこうでもないとむやみに指摘された。やっぱり、流れる方が楽しいだろう。

既に仕事で頭と言葉で考える事が多い。合気道は体で考える。その技がでる瞬間で悉くそれまでに組んだ相手の動きが具現する。そして、その動きが相手に伝わり、その人の目録に入る。過去、現在、未来を結びつく瞬間。

その大学生が他所へ行っても、技を持って行く。その中学生が楽しさを覚えて稽古し続けるかも。こうして、少しけれども合気道が広がり、未来へ伝わっていく。

言少卻談深

「你跳的,少一個東西。」她說。
「少個什麽?」我問。
「少個身體的帶動。感覺上你用手,沒用動身體 。」她師範帶動了幾步。
「了解 。」
「只是一個小推薦。」
「沒有,我覺得很好。」

其實彼一日不順。朝畫趕忙,心情浮漂,足未落地,而果動作比平小。吾覺確如吾友所言。且吾友又能短時內覺得,並提改方之意。

心與體行。心者現於體,體亦響於心。 吾友覺吾作之異,是不只覺得吾心態,且示調之之道。

言少,卻談深。