Sunday, 7 October 2012

Public lives, Private practice, and Secret activity

Hidari Gomon -  a symbol of righteous perseverance
I'm not a great believer in fairness, it's a  man-made, unnatural, idea that raises it's head only when things don't go your way. When you're getting what you want, regardless of how unreasonable your desires may be, fairness is nowhere to be found. "It's not fair!" is often the first port of call for those not willing to deal with the reality they find in front of them.

I also don't believe you can separate who you are from the things you do. Even when you do bad things, there may well be mitigating circumstances to show you have been foolish rather than truly bad. So, as embarrassing as it may be to admit to foolish behaviour, it is as much a part of who you are as the activities that show you at your best.

The Zen tradition encourages you to (re)discover your "original face"; the "real" you in other words. Not the image you project in public or to those you work with; nor the private face you show to your family and close friends. Your original face is for your eyes only, it's the face you wear when you're focused on your self: it's your secret face!

Your secret face is not for public consumption, it's often (although not exclusively) the face you wear when you lie and cheat, when you engage in activity that you know is wrong: but you do it anyway! Such activity can range from picking your nose and eating it, to activities that are far more harmful. When your secret face is made public, the experience is very often unpleasant for those who catch a glimpse of it.

Have a read of this article by Damon Young, then have a think about your reaction to the subject matter. What interests me most is not the activities that some people (in karate) get up to in secret, but the reaction of those around them who, having noticed someones real face, find their attachment to them overrides their own sense of integrity.

Your thoughts and conclusions when you leave this post will reflect your "true face" so I hope, for your sake, it's a face you don't mind looking at in the mirror!