TRLT and martial arts
Hi all, I'd gotten a chance to sit down today and read a few dozen pages further, and wanted to share a thought or two. One of the goals I'd written before reading was that I wanted to explore the relationship to the ideas espoused in this book with what I understand in my practice of the martial arts. I've been taking classes in kung fu for several years now, and for the last 3 years martial arts have been taking root in my heart.
Love through Practice
Many of the things that Dr. Peck discusses have direct links to my practice. One translation of the Chinese phrase "kung fu" is skill through effort
. This is precisely Dr. Peck's point when discussing love, especially the discipline of love. Martial arts is not an inborn talent, and neither (it seems) is love. In kung fu, we learn our practice through a skilled teacher, but the student must diligently study. Similarly, the burden is on us to practice love and compassion while taking advantage of good teachers that we have available to us.
I can certainly say that there have been plenty of times I didn't want to practice. There's been times i've been too tired, too busy, too distracted, too anything to go to class. In class I've had to face frustration, exhaustion and fear, along with a lot of laziness. As a result, I've had to face those same problems at work and in my relationships. By practicing, I've learned to find the energy to respond well to the changes in my daily life, including being friendly, helpful, and loving despite negative situations and people.
Another section I read today also provided me insight into my practice. In section two (Love), the chapter "More About Ego Boundaries" discusses the process of cathexis. In becoming attracted to something, invest our energies in it, and come to love it, we are also bringing parts of that thing into ourselves. In the case of loving a person we learn their histories, their likes and dislikes, their hopes and dreams, etc.
One of the tenets of my school is that to truly practice martial arts, you must love it. While I had a basic understanding of this principle, I think this section of TRLT has helped me grasp it more fully. The more I learn about kung fu, meditation, and internal work, the more I bring my practice into myself. I can certainly say that by studying martial arts I have bolstered my sense of self and have become a better person as a result. Dr. Peck certainly feels this applies to other pursuits, such as his example of gardening.
I will continue taking notes, but I wanted to share that briefly with y'all.