Bushido is the Japanese warrior code that Scott Jurek writes about in Eat and Run. Jurek notes that one of bushido’s sources of power is the empty mind, since “the empty mind is dominant.” And bushido calls for stoicism (how’s that for East meets West?) in all things – even in victory. You should “win without ego.” Bushido is to let go of the result (which is then-someday) and focus on process (which is here-now).
I am no student of Eastern philosophy. I’m way too Western and Type A to even get close. But, still, it intrigues me. As I thought about bushido, I pondered “Walk 2. Run 1.” This is like the start of the couch to 5K plan. And it expresses patience and process. It also relies on trust that the process or training plan (along with your will and natural desire to do more the next time) will lead you to greater fitness and abilities. “Walk 2. Run 1.” is also a practical way to slow down my long runs. At the mile marks on my runs, if I am ahead of my virtual partner (my pacer), I have thought about walking. Because if I am ahead of my pacer, I am not where I should be. I am not in the here-now. I also thought about detachment, which means letting go of the outcome and staying present in the process.
Some more expressions of bushido that I pondered were… Overload and rest. Yin and Yan. “Easy does it does the job,” which comes from my grandma, and “don’t force it,” which comes from my grandpa. Go with the flow. Unlax, from my father-in-law. Relax. Let go and let God. Sometimes ok is ok, from a friend at work. The 80/20 rule (aka the Pareto Principle). Bastante, which is Spanish for “satisfactory.” Sabbath, which comes from God. Enough. Already. Enuf.
Right now, I am trying to “detach” the process (bushido) goal of training for a 3:13:51 marathon in LA from the result (ego) goal of actually running it. It seems to me that letting go of my ego (constantly checking my paces and running right up to the edge of injury) would be a good thing for my training. Perhaps I can be a little less Type A and a little more bushido.
“Zen lives in the present. The Whole teaching is: how to be in the present; how to get out of the past which is no more and how not to get involved in the future which is not yet, and just to be rooted, centered, in that which is.” OSHO, Zen: The Path of Paradox
This seems similar to what I learned from Siddhartha by Herman Hess… Be a rock. Sink to the bottom of the river, and let the river push you downhill. Let nothing into your soul (awareness) that will harm or interfere with your goal. Sink effortlessly (without striving) toward your goal, which is the ocean. Accept the buffeting of the current without joy, happiness, anger, fear, or sorrow.
Now… this is my part. Be all hope and grace. As in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything. A time for training, and a time for racing. A time for injury and time for healing. Cease striving. And this is what it means to cease striving: life is a game. Life is not all pain (or pleasure). It is not all suffering (or joy). Life is a game. It can hurt, yes. And winning or losing depends on how you keep score. In any case, keep your sense of humor and try to be a good sport.