Reading the Forest

When a professional protector turns out to do his job, there is no fear, no life or death, no ideas about this or that and no orchestra in the sky.

It just a job and you do it.

Whether you live or die is not at issue. In any event there are only two possible outcomes, skill and life or error and death. The dead do not worry and the useful are too busy to hold extraneous thoughts.

The samurai, on induction was made to understand that he had died to the previous lifestyle. He understood

From Hagakure:

“If by setting one’s heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he gains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without concern, and he will succeed in his calling.”

This is not a matter of being careful. It is to consider oneself as dead beforehand.

As everything in this world is but a shame, Death is the only sincerity. It is said that becoming as a dead man in one’s daily living is the following of the path of sincerity.”

More succinctly, The Buddha, referred to this state as “Living in the Moment.”

After all, in reality, that is all there is.

Every out breath is a death and every in breath a rebirth. So yes, there are “born again Buddhists,” reborn every conscious breath. The universe is remade at every millisecond and destroyed and all the other cycles of existence follow even before our heart can beat.

Every seven years, if you stay married that long, you won’t have to look around. Nature provides you with a new partner as every cell will have been replaced.

Tribals may not always read books but they read much better than hyper cerebrals who merely articulate in the limited spectrum of words.

Skill in action, focussed in the moment, is the secret of being truly human and to grow from there.

Our Budo practice, our Aikido, touches the at the very core of our being wherein dwells the faculty of skill and NOTICING or paying attention. This has been given various labels to which people have clung to and described voluminously; often instead of PAYING ATTENTION to the moment they are in; and refining the skill of doing so in each moment. Then bring this skill into life itself.

With the awakenings it evokes, through regular, dedicated application, all your other skills will become vivified. You come to life in ways you may not expect. You may also awaken in ways not available to those who choose to waste a life in the squalid mediocrity of choice, to be found in a life lacking of personal discipline.

When it comes to navigating life, foresight in the ability to read the present is a paramount skill. Those who can usually navigate well irrespective of their station in life read the forest. They read the desert, they read the ocean, they read the sky, they read the mountain, the village, town and city and everything else as well.

The insecure want to follow them, even though it is preferred to learn to navigate for yourself. But the insecurity of taking personal responsibility hurts. It requires facing the pain of change and having delusions shattered by reality such as regular training brings. So weaker apes vie and jostle to position themselves better as “followers” “under” a seeming bigger, stronger monkey who hides his insecurity better. And then the hierarchy of domination is in place, bullies and victims all following, perhaps the blind leading the blind over a precipice, “believing in” not much more than voluble rhetoric.

On the other hand we can become a finely tuned and disciplined member of participatory team, each chipping in his or her unqualified best effort. Movie making is a case in question, the contributions, concatenations of skill in collaborative endeavours are often better organized and more highly disciplined than that of a military operation.

And the results can be startling. When two or more gather together with sincerity, skill and unrelenting vision, almost anything can become possible.

Those tribal people who’ve not let themselves be dragged into alcoholism and garbage eating which makes them diabetic, and still live reasonably natural lives as have all our ancestors for millions of years, embody the fine tuned body-mind a human can develop to read and safely navigate an environment. Many of these environments are currently being destroyed by those who fail to notice that they are life supporting systems for what we are.

Why the destruction? Because those responsible fail to notice fact and blinker themselves in beliefs that let only see what they think they want to see. Not a wise strategy.

To read the forest, desert, ocean, sky or any other feature of the ecology of life is a natural function. That’s why some, having retained this faculty in some measure can readily read artificially constructed environments with some degree of adeptship as well. Those that can’t or won’t read, fall under the crushing juggernaut of time’s unstoppable passing.

I’ve known people who whilst walking, even running can read the forest’s thousands of species and only stop when they notice the one they seek. But then again I’ve seen a programmer read text cascading too fast to normally read stop when he found the dot and stroke he was searching for.

It’s only magic when you can’t.

I’ve known people who read the desert so well that they thrive where the “master races” die.

I’ve lived and worked with people who can pinpoint a rock and traverse the ocean without a compass, navigation tools, binoculars, special glasses, echo sounders, radar, and now such toys as GPS; and stop at the rock sought on the known reef at the exact spot time and again without fail. At night they read the sky. And they know all the spots, having mind mapped hundreds of thousands. It’s skill soon rubs off.

And then again I’ve known firefighters who can, in their sleep, drive the engine to the exact street address without looking at any external map.

Navigating “high society” requires certain skills and language codes as does mixing it with people of the street, who strive and scuttle no less than the former.

And I’ve known people, real people, not merely characters in a movie or a cartoon, who fearlessly face real and imminent death dealing danger and resolve it. Some few died, but most lived to journey their allotted span and face life’s adversity again and again. (There were no orchestras in the sky.)

And I’ve known warriors who can read their opponents so well in advance that no “action” could happen thereby.

There is a domain above all these that embraces and oversees them all, and more.

We find it within ourselves when training Aikido and the true Budos with intense sincerity.

And this skill will enable you to read any domain you may require, fast or slow, enable new skills of body, mind and spirit.

But most people fear the pain of change that can only come with facing oneself with ruthless and unmitigated honesty, training daily without fail, the misogi-shugyo of the Kami.

Learn to read all things, nature, life and spirit. Words and verbiage is the least of it. On this path, the mountain will not come to you. It is you who must climb that mountain with sincerity and determination, discrimination and harmony. Or fall. You must embrace the climb, one step at a time. And know what’s firm and what’s precipice.

Reading every blade of grass and rock and corner and everything else that others miss.

Life is a forest; and an ocean of many currents with a lot to tell.

Don’t merely exist. Pay attention and Live.

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