Friday, July 18, 2008


One of the ideas on the list of books that I want to write (but probably never will) deals with the intersection of ideas between Christianity and Eastern philosophy, as I have noted significant similarities as I’ve studied the martial arts. I mention this today because of the interesting juxtaposition of two brief readings this morning. I have various books on my shelf that I pull down, on occasion, or read through in pieces. I read a section from Grandmaster Dominick Giacobbe’s Secrets for a Powerful Life, and a page from A Year with C.S. Lewis. (Not the page for July 18 – I just opened the book at random and read the page for March 16.)

There was an old master and his young pupil walking on a path in the woods. When they came upon a fork in the road they had two choices. They could take a road to the left or the one to the right. The young boy said to the old master, “Let’s take the trail on the left…there is a quail on this path and he is walking in that direction…” As they walked the trail was becoming smaller and smaller. When they came to a curve the trail ended at a cliff. As they approached the cliff the quail flew away. The boy was so upset with himself he apologized to the old master for his foolish decision to follow the quail. The master told the boy to sit down and relax. He told the boy to accept his decision and told the boy, “We must return to the fork in the road and take the road to the right.” The boy then jumped up and said to the master, “Master, Master, if we go this way off the trail we can catch the other trail.” The master told the boy, “There is no easy way. We must return to the fork in the road and take the other trail. If we go off the trail we will have more problems and we will not accomplish anything.” The boy was very upset. The Master told the boy not to be upset and told the boy, “Just change your direction and continue on your journey.”
- Grandmaster Dominick Giacobbe, Secrets for a Powerful Life

After reading a chapter from Grandmaster Giacobbe, I pulled the Lewis book off the shelf. I opened it, as I said, at random, and this was on the page that I read.
We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road…
- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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