Discern: Mettle Maker #240

DISCERN (Dis*cern”, v. i.) 1. To see or understand the difference; to make distinction; as, to discern between good and evil, truth and falsehood.

Embedded in the phrase “pay attention” is the idea that the truth is something you purchase with your powers of focus.  It is no coincidence that wisdom is associated with vision and attention.

A friend said I looked like a silly turtle man in my last movement drill video.  I laughed and replied, “I know, it’s hilarious. But did you try it though? Crawling low and slow is way more strenuous than you might expect. Same is true of IMT runs and runs with objects in hand (like weapons). Martial movements are very different than everyday movements and sports movements!”

A soccer kick is not roundhouse, and a punch you throw in aerobics class is not a strike, and so on.

The modern mind seems to be increasingly unable to discern with the power of the ancients.  My current working theory is that this is caused by “duality creep” — the human tendency to separate body from soul, natural from supernatural, and metaphorical from material.  You don’t have to chase the Mad Hatter down the MOQ rabbit hole in order to begin collapsing your duality. Just realize that nondual thinking leads to higher quality discernment.

Remember that shoulds and oughts are not the same thing as iss and ares.

Discern: Mettle Maker #240

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes.  Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • 5 rounds on the heavy bag with a slip stick. Around here (per the S.A.F.E. M.P. protocol) we never just wail on a bag.  Put a slip stick on your bag,  set timer for 5 x 3:00/1:00. Turn down the power and work on form.  Martial artists work a heavy bag far differently than fitness trainers do.  See video on right for instructions on making your own slip stick if needed. 
  • 10 minutes of situational fitness.  Do whatever fitness drill you want to do — calisthenics, a run, pick whatever you want — just do it impaired, distracted, or stressed.  Put in earbuds and play annoying music, tuck one hand in your belt as if it’s injured, etc.  Pain and strain change the game.  Here’s a video of us changing the game at the club last week.
  • Go outside and sketch something.  So what if you’re not an artist?  Get a paper and pencil or pen and sketch something.  This will focus your attention like nobody’s business.  Relax and get into it.  If you’d like to hone your outdoor skills, start keeping a sketch book.  Once you’ve sketched a plant you cannot identify and then looked it up in a book, you’ll never forget it.  For more on this, see Chapter 18 in The Wildwood Workbook.
  • Nondual thinking changes how you see the world.  Yesterday was Christmas, one of the most important holidays of the year for most of planet earth.  Christmas is a celebration of the ultimate collapse of duality by means of the Incarnation — when God becomes man so that man might become god through grace.  Meditate on the below quote from a blog post by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick.

“Athanasius the Great…was the hero of the First Ecumenical Council in 325, having been the one whose theological expressions won the day, sifting out falsehood from the truth and resulting in the first version of the Creed we recite in every Divine Liturgy. Yet for all that, he was actually only a deacon at that first great council, not even allowed a vote in the proceedings. He was there only as an assistant to his bishop, St. Alexander of Alexandria. He eventually succeeded St. Alexander on his throne, and as the Pope of Alexandria, in 367 he wrote one of the letters that came to be famous in Church history as the first known listing of the canonical New Testament books.

But Athanasius showed remarkable wisdom even when he was young. His most well-known work, On the Incarnation, may have been written when he was as young as 23. And it is on this work that I would like us to rest for a few moments today, particularly on its most famous sentence.

In the fifty-fourth chapter of On the Incarnation, St. Athanasius wrote a sentence that has echoed down through the centuries even into our own time as a brilliant summary of the Gospel. He wrote this: “God became man so that man might become god” (54:3).

This doctrine is called theosis.”

~Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, Ancient Faith Ministries



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