Miyamoto Musashi is a legendary Japanese swordsman. He wrote the book Book of Five Rings. He entrusted this book to Terao Magonojo, the successor of his school, Niten Ichi-ryu.

The book is consist of five sections/chapters or “books”, hence the title. These are the Ground, Water, Fire, Wind and the Void. In the Ground book, he discusses the “body” of his strategy/way of fighting/school. The principle upon which it is built upon.

In the Water book, he explains the technical aspects of his school. It is focused on the technical development of the combatant/swordsman/warrior.

In the Fire book, he discusses about fighting. And he compares it to a fire. As Musashi have said:

“The spirit of fire is fierce, whether the fire be small or big; and so it is with battles. The Way of battles is the same for man to man fights and for ten thousand a side battles. You must appreciate that spirit can become big or small. What is big is easy to perceive: what is small is difficult to perceive.”

In the Wind book, he talked about the traditions of other school. As he have said, “it is difficult to know yourself if you do not know others.”

And finally the book of the Void. The void is kind of hard to explain. But this is how Musashi puts it:

“What is called the spirit of the void is where there is nothing. It is not included in man’s knowledge. Of course the void is nothingness. By knowing things that exist, you can know that which does not exist. That is the void.”

The Ground Book

He ended the Ground book with these principles:

1. Do not think dishonestly.

2. The Way is in training.

3. Become acquainted with every art.

4. Know the Ways of all profesions.

5. Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters.

6. Develop intuitive judgement and understanding for everything.

7. Perceive those things which cannot be seen.

8. Pay attention even to trifles.

9. Do nothing which is of no use.

Do Not Think Dishonestly

Now we don’t need to be warriors and/or swordsmen/swordswomen in order to appreciate and learn something from Musashi’s teachings.

Like what I said in this post from the other blog that I manage, we are all warriors in our own little ways. Everyday, we are fighting for our lives, our survival, our sanity and so on. This is why we need to be kind with each other. That’s because we don’t know what the other person is going through. That’s the least thing that we can do. And of course it’s way much better if we can do more than that.😊

I will further explain my take on these principles in the future blog entries of Fueled by Wisdom. But for now, I will focus on principle number one, Do not think dishonestly.

What Does This Mean?

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

– Richard Feynman

From how I understand it, it means that we should be honest with our thoughts. We should not fool ourselves. That is the first principle according Richard Feynman.

I agree with him. We are indeed the easiest person to fool. Not only by other people but also of ourselves. We tend to believe things easily. Our emotions and perception of things get the best of us at times. They have a tendency to cloud our judgment. We get fooled by what we see, hear, feel etc. We have a tendency to judge things on a superficial level.

If we don’t dig deeper and investigate things further, then we are at loss. That’s because they will hinder our personal growth. And when a person stops growing on a personal level. It’s as if he/she ceased from living.

That’s because personal growth is essential for our survival. A close mind will not really take us anywhere. They will only hinder our growth. The human race in general progressed because of the innovations, technological or otherwise, that were made by those before us.

Progress Lies On The Other Side

Human progress happened because of the individuals who widen their perspective. They did not restrict their thinking to what is traditional and incumbent. These individuals were thinking out of the box so to speak. They tried to see things from different angles. They kept an open mind.

At first, people thought their ideas were crazy and outrageous. But as time goes by, people started to realize that their ideas made sense. This is why we shouldn’t shut down ideas that easily. We should possess a mindset that is focused on growth and continual improvement. And you can only do that if you keep your mind open.

Keep An Open Mind

We should constantly evaluate our values and principles. Because you know, they might be dated already. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong by being old-fashioned. Especially if they are making sense. Such as good old values and principles.

What I mean by that is that our ideas and perception of the world might be wrong. What is true now will not necessarily remain true in the future. History have proven that a lot of times. People once thought that the world is flat. They also once thought the Earth was the center of the universe. But we now know that those things aren’t true. At least based on the current scientific knowledge that we have.

Nothing is set in stone. Things change from time to time. As they say, change is the only constant thing in this world. This is why we should keep an open mind.

Why Is Thinking Honestly Important?

Why is thinking honestly important? It’s because they will improve the quality of our lives. Perception can work for us or against us. Let us choose the former. Let’s make perception work for us. Let us see things as they are. Let’s not let our emotions and other similar factors affect our judgment and perception. Let us not judge things superficially. Let’s not shut down ideas that seem outrageous. Let us give it a chance. You never where it will lead you. You might have next big idea that will revolutionize how we do things.

In general, let’s just keep an open mind. If we do, it will enable us to see the truth. The perceiving mind that is free from one’s own preferences and desires understands the truth. As Bruce Lee have have said:

The perceiving mind understands the truth.

There is no condemnation, no demand for a pattern of action in understanding. You are merely observing – just look at it and watch it. The perceiving mind is living, moving full of energy, and only such a mind can understand what truth is. To see a thing uncoloured by one’s own personal preferences and desires is to see it in its own Simplicity.

He also said this:

Perception is awareness without choice.

“There is an awareness without choice, without any demand, an awareness in which there is no anxiety; an in that state of mind there is perception. It is the perception that will resolve all our problems.”

Last Words

Aside from keeping an open mind, let’s just stay true to ourselves guys. Let’s aim to be our most authentic self. If we do, we will be happier. Which is what we want after all right?😊

In addition to that, let’s aim to seek the truth constantly. To see things objectively. Uncoloured by our own preferences and desires. When we do that, we can remain rational and objective. And if we are rational and objective, then we will be able to think clearly. If we are thinking clearly, then we will be able to come up with the best course of action to take, no matter what the situation is. And when our decisions are rational and sound, the people around us will benefit from that as well, not just us.😊

Thank You!

Okay that’s it for now, thank you for reading this entry. I hope you got something of out of it. Something valuable. Something that you can apply in your own life. If you would like to add something that you feel would be of great help to the other readers. Feel free to do so by dropping a comment down below. I and (I presume) the other readers would love to hear from you. Again, thank you for reading this entry. Cheers! Till next time!πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘‹

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