I used to tell my hapkido and aikido students that all the time they spend training in the dojang/dojo can only add up to between 50 and 66 percent of their training. The rest comes with contact sparring, where the moves are not pre-sorted and punches to the face are real, albeit not at full power… usually. In other words, the rest of the training comes when we remove the predictability and add in some randomness. You won’t know how you’ll react when you’re in duress unless you’re there.
Life, like proper sparring (or an actual fight), doesn’t follow a script, and the only way to get through is to have the openness and flexibility needed to flow with what’s before us. We’ll all fall back to the level of our training when SHTF ($h!t hits the fan), and there’s no amount of convincing ourselves otherwise that will change that fact. It doesn’t matter what kind of training or situations we’re talking about either. If you’re a priest who claims to be the head-mofo-of-the-sector, trained in all the mysteries, complete with a long list of merit badges to confirm this “fact”, and someone in your community suddenly dies, and if you’ve got nothing except some platitudes, canned responses, and read-aloud verses… know that you could have done better. You didn’t train enough. Remember, the script is good, but sudden deaths and the like don’t go by the script. They’re off-script, and out of time and place.
So, what do we need to see us through moments like this even if we haven’t trained for the specific example above? Well, a major component of our problem solving “engine” is a disciplined mind. Not the kind of mind that is developed by making excuses as to why you can’t practice… but the kind of mind that subjects itself to the difficult things, that it may be prepared when it is time. Even if we have no skills to help pastorally in the above-mentioned time of death, a disciplined mind is what will empower us to keep our mouths shut (since we’ll be aware we don’t know shit), and simply be comfortable being present and bearing witness to the unfathomable suffering you’re seeing without running away or babbling needlessly (since Courage is informed by a disciplined mind).
We can’t have every minutiae of plans A, B, C, etc. etc. etc… all worked out and ready to execute at a moment’s notice, so we have to learn how to become strategic rather than tactical.
Flexible rather than rigid.
Ready for infinite possibility rather than forcing a single outcome.
Training brings comfort and ease after a while, and when SHTF (see above), that’s the best (and only) peace-of-mind you can hope for.
(See y’all tomorrow)