Those who work at their studies increase day after day: Those who have heard the Tao decrease day after day. They decrease and decrease till they get to the point where they do nothing. They do nothing and yet there's nothing left undone. Lao Tzu (Ch. 48)
In my last post Narda's situation of starting Kobudo training later in life made me think of this quote from Lao Tzu. One reason for studying Budo is to cease the struggle of battling our own Ego-driven lives. Our ego's, at least I know mine works this way, loves to gather knowledge and show it off. Our ego also gets to feeling insecure if it senses it might not know enough. It begins to grasp after knowledge like a drowning man reaching for a life preserver. It begins to 'work'.
A follower of the Way, one who has heard the Tao, does not rush, does not 'work'. She decreases not in knowledge, but in Ego. It is Ego that gets chipped away by the study of Budo. There is no rush in the study of any Martial Art. It is the Ego that wants more and more and feels rushed and works harder gathering more and more. It is this rushing that actually strengthens Ego. Taking your time and just being here is the practice of Ego-lessness and Budo. This is the daily decreasing I believe Lao Tzu was referring to. It is similar to that old Zen saying that there really is nothing to gain and no place really to go.
Good teachers like Narda's know this. For those who come to Budo later in life it is no big deal. The Tao recognizes no such thing as time or age. It is only Ego that measures it. Ego loves comparisons. So, just carry on with 'everdayness' of your practice. As you do this, the daily decreasing of Ego happens naturally and you enter into that wonderful area of doing nothing, yet everything gets done.
Thanks for visiting. My Dharma name is Shinzen. I began studying Goshindo Karate under the watchful eye of Shihan Paul Dean in 1969. Yes, I now have gray hair. I am also Lay-ordained in Soto Zen under the tutelage of Rev. Nonin Chowaney of the Nebraska Zen Center.