Monday, September 20, 2010

Deep Water

I got the T-shirt from Robb Buckland of FEARS ltd. And I've been listening to The Blessing's "Prince of Deep Water".

There's no bottom to deep water. Nothing you can stand on. Nothing you can touch. It is emptiness, except for things that might eat you, things that live in the deep water. Things you can't see from the surface. You are small, and deep water is the Abyss. The thing that Nietzche was afraid to look into.

The depths are transformative. Whatever you were on land or in the shallow water, you had something solid to touch. That lack of something to touch defines deep. At the very least, you must be in over your head. It is transformative, it must be, both because you need to learn to live, see, think and breath without your reliable constants...and because it is a world in which your reliable constants have never even existed. That which feels eternal, never existed at all. Not here. Not in the deep water.

No matter how closely you watch the shallows, no matter how many years you spend wading at the shore, no amount of concentration will turn shallow water to deep. Depth is a thing that is there. You must go to it. You can not create the abyss in a safe place. If you have touched the abyss and not been changed, it wasn't the abyss.

There's lots of deep water out there. Mine. Yours, maybe.
Joe Lewis'.

The T-shirt from Robb is one of Joe's favorite sayings: "Follow Me To The Deep Water."

It's over here, but you have to let go of the bank.


Priest said...

You would think that in Deep Water the same things that make it so terrifying also increase it's allure. After all, if there no end to it and there's no way to reach the bottom there's also no end to exploration.

Irene said...

Not necessarily... unless you have scuba gear, you can't explore very deep. So not only is it unknown, it is unknowable, in a very real sense. And you know that there are forces (beings, critters) out there which have abilities that exceed your own.

Maija said...

Lise Steenerson said...

That was deep!!! ;-)
I always love reading your writings.

"If you have touched the abyss and not been changed, it wasn't the abyss." .... very true. Wondering if you have ever reached that abyss means you have not. You KNOW you have been there.

Anonymous said...

It isn't just the deepness it's the vastness of an ocean, and it's not that the ocean is unforgiving..the ocean just is..........

".... and all men will be sailors then until the seas shall free them............"
Leonard ~cohen.suzanne

Mac said...

As always, you have succinctly defined the purpose of Awareness-based training: transformation. But can a person who has low awareness, especially in specific areas, be aware enough to know they're not aware? What would be the key to unlock the awareness of unawareness? For instance, in our training days it was pain.

Steve Perry said...

Mac --

'Twould seem to me there is a lot of leading horses to water and pearls before swine that had to be factored in.

If folks aren't ready, they aren't ready.

Ignorance is easy to cure -- if the patient is ready for knowledge. If not, I'm not sure that either the carrot or the stick is gonna work.

Travis said...

RE: "The key to unlock awareness of unawareness"

There is a certain truth to Steve's position that when people are ready they're ready but it seems like there ought to be ways to speed the readiness part. Although if they are truly NOT ready the defenses will come up and you will be ‘wrong’ no matter what you say. (Or not, maybe. I’m starting to think there is an art form to navigating around people’s defensiveness. I don’t happen to know what it is. )

Some thoughts (not answers, just thoughts). Mac said pain, can that be more generalized? Physical pain vs. emotional? Failure as an impetus to learning? What about challenge rather then pain/failure (bet you can't do THAT!).

And of course, everyone is different. What works for person A might not work for person B. Had an interesting conversation with one of the psyche docs in the military about the difference in how type A personalities respond to some training methods vs. type B personalities. You tell them both the same thing you get different behavior.

Mark H said...

Sounds like Steve's going back to the old "When the student is ready the teacheer will appear".

Not that the teacher isn't there, the student just can't see what they're offering until they can.

Mac said...

Some good points, thanx all. Rory - what do you think? And by pain I mean physical pain and the willpower necessary to keep going; throw in water deprivation and you have the emotional pressure to continue, or yield. If this is the 'way' to 'true' martial arts expertise, then we all should be Navy Seals.

Rory said...

If I was sure of stuff, I wouldn't feel a need to write and get it out here for people to play with. Things I think:
There are lots of different kinds of deep water. Just martially, there is putting your life on the line as we have done; risking your reputation as the great tournament fighters have done and going deep into the esoterics like Scott Phillips.
It all seems to involve a risk + a loss of contact with the known. You give up a frame of reference so that you can fully experience another.
It also involves an awareness of the unknown depths. I've experienced pain so intense that I couldn't stop the wimpering noises coming out of my throat. I sounded like a dying puppy. If you are still clinging to the shore, this becomes the worst pain-- the worst you have failed and the worst anyone has felt.
I am sure there are levels of pain out there somewhere in the deep that would turn this into a pleasant memory.