Choosing a Muse
In martial arts training, having a muse is critical.
Muse (from Merriam-Webster): "a source of inspiration, especially a guiding genius."
Human beings are amazing. Unlike any other creature on earth, we humans have the ability to, at least in part, self-create ourselves. What I mean by that is we have the uncanny ability to affect significantly the person we become.
At the top of this self-creating endowment is our ability to observe and imitate.
The vast majority of our human learning occurs during the process of observing another do what we want to do and then doing our best to imitate that one. I'm not writing just about kinesthetic learning. While kinesthetics plays a part, I'm writing about something that's far more holistic and systemic than just body-feel learning. The learning I'm writing about is that which engages the whole person, both the material and immaterial parts. It engages our past experiences, our character, our current perspectives and capacities, and our dreams and future aspirations.
In all true and lasting learning, we must observe one who's either mastered what we wish to master (or is, at least, slightly ahead of us) and then work to reproduce in ourselves what that individual is able to do. It's a very active form of learning. The key ingredient, of course, is having a good example to observe and emulate. Hence, my opening to this post: In martial arts training, having a muse is critical.
Each of us (and there are no exceptions) must have a muse (or two, or three, or more!). We must have someone who "inspires" us with their mind-body mastery as well as their "guiding genius."
Having a muse is critical to our development as martial artists. Be VERY SELECTIVE about those you chose to play such a role in your life. Over my many decades of martial arts and movement training, I've had thousands of muses. Some lasted just a few days (Note: never be afraid to discard quickly an unhelpful, unhealthy, or destructive "muse."); others (and quite fortunately!) have stood the test of time and continue to muse me—even to this day.
Peace to you, friends, and happy musing...
My new book, Experiments in Prayer: Monastic Practice in Ordinary Life, is now available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle/eBook formats.
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A Note to All My Blog and Social Media Friends and Followers:
I've made it a point, over the last decade, to accept friend and follower requests from any who ask. I think I've "defriended" only three or four people in the last ten years and did so only because they posted inappropriate material to one of my walls or timelines. Thankfully, it's been several years since anyone committed such a breech of etiquette.
I write all this to indicate I have many "friends" and "followers," whom I do not know personally (yet!). Lately, I've been getting countless (sometimes more than 200 a day) messages from people I don't know. Please know this: I speak a brief word of blessing over each person who sends me a message, but I can respond directly to only a few each day. If I did not discipline my activities in this way, I could, conceivably, spend my entire day every day responding to such messages.
By disciplining myself to the above social media activity-limitation plan, I in no way want to belittle or disrespect anyone or hurt anyone's feelings. My hope and prayer is that, even if I don’t respond to your message directly, you will know I cherish you and pray you'll experience God's love and grace personally and deeply. Experiencing God is the highest Good anyone could ever experience. May each of you experience such Good through your pursuits of Divine Union with Jesus Christ, the Eternal Living God.
As always, may the Lord bless you and keep you…
IKIGAI Weekly Blog Schedule (per The Training Trinity):
Mondays: Meditative Prayer
Wednesdays: Holistic Discipline
Fridays: Martial Arts Practice