If there is one prime tenet of a self-illuminating martial art it is learning. Forever and always, learning. Absorb what is useful to you in your journey. From almost any source, no matter how exotic or fundamentally flawed, it is possible to pan nuggets of truth. Take those nuggets and use them to build your reality. Always be ready to alter your structure, for continued experimentation will reveal your errors, and reality shifts with time. Do not become stagnant or your golden Truth will become a tarnished artifact, unused and mis-understood.

In absorbing useful things you need make no attempt at TOTAL originality. The object is to uncover useful concepts, techniques, and explanations. These may be adopted intact or merely serve as a catalyst to trigger a deeper revelation. Just as there is no need for every fighter to re-invent the front kick or high line wrap, it is not necessary for every seeker to re-invent every line of reasoning in his attempts to glean the applicable truths.

Originality and independence of thought are among the prime tenets of the Warrior, but that does not mean that he should be too proud to use something because someone else thought of it first. The selection of concepts, their synthesis and application, these are fertile grounds for originality. If you find something useful, use it. It may stay the same, but you will probably shape it to fit coherently into your structure. There is no copyright on truth.

You should learn from everything, and everyone, but there is no excuse for failing to honor your known teachers. There is no need to claim divine inspiration to lend credence to your beliefs. If you have panned properly the purity of the gold should be clear. Using someone else's idea is fine, claiming it as your original work is not. An idea is the only type of gold (other than the true 30 karat: Love) that you can take without depriving the discoverer. There is no honor in cheating one to whom you owe such a debt.

The more often you wisely re-cast your gold, the more impurities you can remove. The ideal state is a structure undergoing constant scrutiny, revision, and refinement. As you move toward your reality the foundation will seem ever more solid, and the changes become ever more gradual. Do not be lulled into complacency. Be ever vigilant for the one nugget that will alter the perspective and focus of your structure. It requires a great act of courage to even acknowledge it when it appears. Do not ignore it for it is only change that can bring you closer to Truth. That sudden crystallization of vision is sometimes called enlightenment.

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Copyright 2000 by Gregory R. Gagnon