THE PANTHER

8 Aug
With the “Dog Days of Summer” upon us, I thought I would take a break from submissions drawn from martial arts ideology. I submit the following as a guide for introspection.
 
The following poem by Rainer Maria Rilke is a favorite of mine. I refer to it whenever I find that activities that I desire to do are not accomplished solely by reason of my own internal excused inaction. That is to say, like so many other people, though I “desire” to do something, I make excuses for not doing that which I desire. Enough time passes and by reason of the excuses, the desire is lost and accepted. The poem is entitled The Panther. 
His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
Has grown so weary that it cannot hold anything else.
It seems to him there are a thousand bars;
And behind the bars, no world.
As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
The movement of his powerful soft strides
Is like a ritual dance around a center
In which a mighty will stands paralyzed.
Only at time, the curtain of the pupil lifts, quietly -,
An image rushes in,
Rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
Plunges into the heart and is gone. (See Endnote # 1).

Much has been written about The Panther from the standpoint of the human attributes that are imposed upon the caged, once wild, creature.

I prefer to view the poem as symbolic of our own human conflict. We long for situations that we desire, more leisure time, quality of life, and the like. Too often we build emotional barriers (I can’t to that, I am afraid, etc) or find excuses (I can’t take off from work, I am too tired, etc) for not pursuing our desires. Self-inflicted internal barriers are akin to the bars of the panthers cage. However, they remain, at all times, bars of our own construction. Inevitably, like, the panther, we loose all desire. The excuse for not acting is accepted and the desire is lost to a fading memory.

Such a stagnation of desire is also evident in the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. In my years as a criminal defense trial lawyer the following passage hung prominently in my office as a reminder against forestalling action. The passage is a conversation hat takes place between Lord Aragon ( or Strider as he is also referred to) and Lady Eowyn.

“What do you fear, lady?” Aragon asked.“A cage,” Lady Eowyn said, “To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.” (See Endnote # 2).

Whenever I find myself stagnant and excusing away desired action, I refer to these to literary masterpieces. I hope that they provide you with the opportunity to re-examine some of the desired actions that you may have postponed and re-ignite the desire.

Until the next submission, I remain (hopefully) free of self-imposed cages. To this end, I will shed my cage-like excuses and use the day to fly-fish on the Lower Salt River here in Arizona. That reminds me, you invited to read my exciting, unique new blog which can be found at WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Wordpress.Com.

  Sensei John Szmitkowski, Soke, Jiriki Kata-Do
ENDNOTES:
1. Rainer Marie Rilke, The Panther.
2. Tolkien, J.R.R., Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, (Houghton Mifflin Co, New York, NY 1955) p. 767.
 
 Please feel free to visit Sensei John’s new online store containing various Jiriki Kata-Do products with the unique logo of Sanchin. The Sanchin logo depicts the three battles of Sanchin in a new contextual paradigm. You may find Sensei’s store by clicking the following link http://www.cafepress.com/Sanchin_logo  
 For more on either Sanchin Kata as meditation or my new book on Sanchin Kata, please feel free to visit the “Sanchin Book” page of this Blogsite, or my website WWW.Dynmaic-Meditation.Com

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