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Thursday
Mar192015

the simple and the subtle

Broadly speaking, formal, ‘public’, or, if you like, ‘modern’, life presents things as significant the louder more shocking and in your face they are; it also presents things that are super complicated as being more significant than that which is very simple. 

But I wonder if the opposite is true: that life is better appreciated by looking for, and showing a preference for, the simple and by being better attuned to the subtle.

When people start aikido they quickly get into very complicated discussions about foot placement and angles and such like. The real masters tend to say the same things again and again: it’s all about stance, for example. After a while you realise it isn’t the actual words that matter so much as the importance you attach to them (if that makes sense). The better you get at aikido the more importance you attach to something seemingly very simple that is ignored by a beginner who prefers more complicated (an by implication, truer) explanations.

Becoming more aware, building awareness builds an appreciation of subtleties. All wine tasters know this. Having the courage to stick with the simple also helps. I wonder if a preference for over-complication is a dry intellectual substitute for subtlety.

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