The Seeker's Path with No End
“The more I know, the higher I climb, but the mountain just grows taller.
The more I learn, the further I search, but the valley just grows deeper.
I see no finish ahead. Such is the path of my life.”
…a motto for me, an honored present from a much-older martial master friend, adapted by him from his own motto to fit what he believes he sees in my life.
Whether I like it or not, I admit to seeing the story of my life in there.
Thank you An-shu for this insight. This is so true and timely for those who are facing burnout in their daily lives (like me). If we ever get to the point to where we feel that we have “arrived” then we stop growing, learning and advancing and we become stagnate where we are. No entering or exiting flow. The journey is just that; a journey. Forward movement. The journey never ends we just change location.
To me, searching and seeking are worthy pursuits, but in the end just another form of struggle. I have done plenty of searching, seeking and struggling!
I see this, in a small sense, in the musical realm of my life, I recently gave away a huge pile of guitar-related instruction manuals. LOTS of great information was contained in each volume, amassed over the course of years, but in the end I got very little out of any of them. 90% of my musical learning has come from my physical interactions with the guitar itself, and from musical experiences shared with others.
Now, when tempted to buy some new tome or trinket promising to spell it all out for me, I think back on that huge pile of materials I gave away, and how it was just getting bigger and bigger, even as I got more confused and disappointed with my musical progress.
That said, so long as we breathe and are active in life, learning continues and knowledge is gained. Struggle and seeking, perhaps, are not necessary.
So much of our training seems to indicate this sense of the futility of struggle, and yet it seems to be the very nature of our rational minds to do just that.
But what is the alternative? A natural, perfectly unaffected state? Zero? I can verbalize such things as abstract ideas, but beyond that, if I am honest with myself, they are meaningless to me. Forever out of reach if I try in any way to grab at them or trick them into somehow falling into my lap and becoming my own experience.
The motto from your friend has an air of sadness and resignation to it. I wonder if this is how he really sees you, or if there is a brighter side to his words?
Thank you for sharing this!
I truly appreciate your thoughts, Kent.
I see this statement of mine (and my friend’s original) more as an enjoyment of the adventure of never being done, than as a relegation to struggle. I often tell my students I will probably run out of lifetime before I run out of questions for which I seek the answers. For me this is one of the needed aspects that make my life a rich experience. It is not so much struggle as it is stimulation. Discovering more is fun.
Is such a life for everyone? Should everyone live like me in order to have a rich life? I do not think such an idea is valid or even partially reasonable. I have relatives near my age who retired on nice pension investments and now enjoy enjoying life. Nothing more to conquer, they enjoy golf, grandkids, candle-light dinners on cruise ships, and hikes in nature – sure nothing wrong with that. It is just different from my life at this point. “I am my work” or “my passions have defined and created my work”, it could be said, so retirement seems a bit out of possibility or out of character for me now.
Follow your own path authentically, I urge my friends.
It’s funny, I read the passage now and feel a quiet sense exploration, expansion and solitude.
The words ‘climbing’ and ‘searching’ are in there, but when I first read the passage I translated those to ‘struggling’ and ‘seeking’ and thought of a sense of futility.
Is it even possible for me to look at anything, and see anything other than my own self looking back?
Thank you for your kind reply, Anshu. Please keep searching and climbing, and thank you for blazing a trail that is an inspiration to the rest of us!
Very well put!
i’m a boy from denmark, i would like to know if there are any nijitsu traning places in denmark, that are the off sprig of Stephen K. Hayes’.