Sunday, October 29, 2006

On Leaving Law School

In order to fully understand why I left law school it’s best first to start with the reason I was there to begin with. Like so many I was not born with the dream of being a lawyer, rather I was motivated to study law because I had the fear of not studying law. Fear that anything other than being a lawyer would be unworthy or not prestigious enough to satisfy my ego. Since I judged myself according to this criterion, it was only natural that I judged others in the same way. Externally I hid this judgmental self under a veneer of acceptance and openness, when the external and internal are in conflict then friction is a natural result (this friction is manifested in muscular tension and thought processes which in turn give rise to emotional responses, all of which if left unchecked needlessly consume life energy and feed off one another until the point of exhaustion.)
Now if you had asked me at the beginning of my studies why I wanted to be a lawyer I would have answered, “to help people,” in order to present a virtuous image of myself (once again the desire to be virtous was based on inherited notions of what is "good".) This was a complete lie or half truth (aka bullshit), since the main reason I wanted to be a lawyer was to help my self perception (ego). This ego was defined and constructed by society but mainly influenced by my parents. As a child I inherited what is right, what is wrong, what is good, what is bad, what is success, what is failure etc. My parents placed upon me the idea that doctors, lawyers, etc are valued more than plumbers, gardeners and retail workers (side note: my most fulfilling job was doing part time topiary work as an undergrad maybe someday I'll return to this). As a child I never understood this but accepted it as truth and as a result I formed my own mental impressions of the world based on this inherited understanding. In a sense I was asleep at the switch of life, not taking the time to investigate internally what these things mean to me, instead I unquestionably took that which was given to me externally as absolute, never really understanding what is internally correct. As a result of accepting these “goods” and “bads” I was in effect in a state of constant reaction, making decisions and acting based on external values, like one of Pavlov’s dogs I was a bag of conditioned responses, not free to do what I internally felt was right but constrained by inherited valuations. As I reacted through life I felt something was wrong, but I didn’t know what it was. The decision to attend law school (like many others) was in a sense a conditioned response based upon those inherited valuations.
Law school is a great place to learn how to think analytically, as law students we spend most of our time using this tool on the external world building up our sense of self worth (because of increased ability to catagorize and systematize the external world), yet never really understanding anything of personal value (does being able to explain Pennoir lead you to a lasting happiness). Socrates, to whom much of law school's teaching style is based upon said, “the unexamined life is not worth living”. Although these words are harsh, they convey great wisdom. With out that examination are we really living or just going through the motions dictated to us by external forces, veritable marionettes on the stage of life? Our strings being pulled by our forefathers. For me this examination was difficult because I harbored a litany of personal demons; fear, anger, hatred, selfishness. Slowly though, as I sincerely looked further into myself, I confronted these things and stripped them of their power over my actions, not eliminate them but simply recognized their presence and separated them from having control over my actions.
At some point during my last semester I found clarity which led to an understanding of all I conveyed above. With this understanding the inherited valuations began to melt away, and as a result I lost the fear that launched me into law school. With this new understanding I no longer felt the need to continue in the costly law school endeavor. That is not to say that a law degree is an unworthy pursuit (after all many of my friends are lawyers or soon to be) simply that it’s not an item I feel is necessary for my own well being. For the time being, which is the never ending moment, you can find me putting my energy into what is in front of me.
I hope what I have written above helps you in some way find what I have found, please take care. There are no true answers only true questions. Be well my friends.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dojo Days



Wake!
fold the linens
cleanse the body
watch the clouds
sit at our desk
make the bed
sleep!
watch the clouds

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Morocco

In three days I'll leave behind my first year of law school and board a plane bound for Morocco. A few years back I spent some time living there. It was where I first began to understand that beliefs and actions do not have to be in conflict with one another. My own inner termoil was often the product of the friction between what I believed was the proper way to interact with the world, and how I actually did interact with the world.  This learning process started at the feet of some very unique people, and has continued since. Although the they were of a different faith, it did not prevent them from sharing with me their thoughts and welcoming me into their lives. The Moroccan environment and culture was new to me, so for survival reasons I scrutinized everything I saw and heard. I constantly looked for inconsistent behavior or speech (warning signs of trouble) in the people around me, not once did I find it in my friends. Unwavering they transmitted to me their love of the divine and their reverence for their faith. I began to understand that my analysis of them was actually an analysis of myself. I felt that I needed to find a flaw in their behavior in order to validate those of my own, otherwise I would always be less than them, a prospect my ego could not handle at the time. To the insincere, sincerity can be unsettling. Soon I realized that I too could lead such a life. I was converted, not to their faith, but to their manner of being. As a result I'm constantly checking my actions against my beliefs, so that I may make corrections when needed. In the meantime if I exhibit any hypocrisy, forgive me, as I'm still in the process of working it all out.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Storm Has Passed.



Now, is the best time to comb the sand.
The beach is dry.
A few things have been washed out to sea.
The surf is up.
A few things have been washed ashore.
The storm has passed.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Cold Day


Some where in all that snow are my balls, they froze off and rolled down my pant leg when I stepped outside this morning to take this picture.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Listening to fireworks




A good friend once told me that talking about Aikido is like listening to fireworks over a phone. I imagine the same could be said of looking at photographs. Aikido can't be expressed fully in photographs or words, Aikido needs to be felt. What I express in the pictures is not Aikido, but my view of the world at the time these photos were created, nothing more, nothing less. To view these photos is to see the world as I did. Beauty in art is not dependent on what the art looks like, sounds like, or tastes like. The beauty is in the emotional harmony that develops between the creator and the audience through the creation. When art is experienced and the audience "feels" something, and that "something" is what the artist felt (or simply what the the audience feels the artist felt) during its creation, then that's damn good art.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Every Day

It's important to pay attention to the signs around us, you never know where there may be more to them than meets the eye.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

For my love

The sun is setting and rising.
I sleep while you've been awake.
Our lungs move as one, as do our arms.
Together we swim.
Separated by what's behind the eyes.
In plain sight the discovery awaits.

When speaking of It

You are wrong,
the Christians are wrong,
the Jews are wrong,
the Muslims are wrong,
the Hindus are wrong,
the Sikhs are wrong,
the Jains are wrong,
the Taoists are wrong,
the Buddhists are wrong,
the Bahai are wrong,
the Atheists are wrong,
the Shamans are wrong,
and I am wrong.

Back from Vacation





Here are few pictures I took while on vacation [I was demonstrating the photo capabilities of a digicam we gave as a gift, all of these were taken in my finance's parents garden with a Canon Elph, 3 megapixel camera and edited with MS office picture manager]. I spent my two weeks split between Argentina and Chile. The wealth I witnessed was greater than any I've ever seen before, daily it was displayed in the shared meals amongst my finance's family. Each meal was a family event. Fourteen year old grandchildren to eighty year old grandparents were equally engaged in the preparation of the meals and the ensuing conversations. The flavor and nutrition of the food was enhanced by the love and respect that was present at each meal. Truly the greatest measure of one's wealth is the ability to share a meal with those you love and admire.