“The perfect way is difficult only for those who pick and choose. Do not like, do not dislike; all will then be clear. Make a hairbreadth difference and heaven and earth are set apart; if you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between ‘for’ and ‘against’ is the mind’s worst disease.”
– Bruce Lee, The Tao of Jeet Kune Do
Bruce Lee is one of my heroes. He wrote a book with his life philosophies and “instructions” for the martial art he created called Jeet Kune Do. I put “instructions” in quotes because Jeet Kune Do is a formless martial art without fixed poses or motions. Instead it is fluid, like water, and can take whatever shape is needed during a specific encounter.
The beginning of his book contains pages of thoughts which stand alone and also guide the reader through his philosophy. I was reading it this morning and the quote I shared at the beginning stood out to me. I felt a deep understanding mixed with resistance.
The first resistance said “If I don’t have opinions then won’t I be boring?” I fear that a me without likes and dislikes will be like a smooth white wall, completely plain and dull. That fear is strong – it won’t let me picture that different me – and I’m not sure how to get past it.
The second resistance said “How do I support good causes and fight against bad ones?” As I sit here thinking about that I recall my time in Iraq. During that year I learned that what we see in action movies is nowhere near reality. Very rarely, if ever, do we encounter pure evil or pure good because most of this world is a healthy mixture of both. I also remember that the further we align ourselves with one side the further we alienate ourselves from another. From that far distance you cannot convince them to meet you in the middle.
I’ve made the quote one of my daily affirmations. Partially because I feel deep down that it is true, partially because I want to challenge myself, and partially because I haven’t figured out exactly what it means to me and I want to keep it on the top of my mind.
How does reading it make you feel or what does it make you think?