21 Thoughts For A More Fulfilling Life: The Way Of Walking Alone.

Timeless Rules From Over 400 Years Ago

Source: Bogdan Kupriets, Unsplash

1. Accept Life Just The Way It Is.

The act of pushing something as immovable as the universe is the greatest punishment one could inflict on themselves. Understand what you can change and what you cannot. It is the only way to live a life of harmony.

2. Do Not Seek Pleasure For Its Own Sake.

When you rely on temporary bouts of pleasure to give your life meaning, you will eventually become a slave to whatever provides you the highest saturation of it in the shortest amount of time. The search for more will tire you. You will find yourself rationing your pleasure to avoid depleting them:

Happiness as viewed from an Eastern lens. Source: Youtube, After Skool

3. Do Not Depend on Partial Feelings.

The modern human has an extremely low certainty potential. As the world becomes an environment where it is easier to survive independently, we do not need nearly as much certainty to act on opportunities as the generations that predated us. This freedom, however, comes with its own curse — we tend to throw our weight into half-certain decisions that could ruin us.

4. Think Lightly Of Yourself and Deeply of The World.

At one point, the same molecules that you are made of were part of a star, the soil, or the ocean millions of years ago. What separates from all those things is how you are one of the rare instances where universe can experience itself. Being alive means using this fleeting experience to the fullest.

5. Be Detached From Desire Your Whole Life Long

To Musashi, desire is what distracts us from pursuing our true goals. Consequently, every desire we have leaves a new opening — a new weakness for us to be manipulated and controlled. Additionally, the more we want everything, the less likely we are to get anything:

Source: Youtube, Freedom in Thought

“The world favours those with few, specific goals rather than those who want the world itself.”

Recognize what you want in your life and walk away from what moves you further away from it.

6. Do Not Regret What You Have Done

The world is too fickle for one to base the morality of their actions on. After all, what is morality is its definition changes from country to country, and from person to person?

7. Never Be Jealous

When someone compares themselves to another person, they do so with the fatal assumption that they are even comparable.

8. Never Let Yourself Be Saddened By A Separation

Virtually every source of human suffering comes from believing we can control things that we have no control over. Sometimes, however, we forget that this includes the people around us:

Source: Youtube, Einzelganger

“The people around you were never yours to begin with.”

If anything, they were temporary visitors in a small chapter of your life. Even if they never left you, it would be a temporary stay all the same. Instead of drowning yourself in their painful memories, find peace in the fact that you got to meet them at all.

9. Never Resent or Complain

Many of those who despise the world never realize that their hatred and pain are their own choices. Fight too hard against the currents of life, and you will find yourself wasting your living years suffering for something that was never worth suffering for.

10. Do Not Let Yourself Be Guided By Love

Love is a nicer-sounding alternative to describe the state of being blinded. It can convince otherwise responsible, capable people to go to the most extreme, twisted lengths for what they want. An act done out of “love” (or any intense emotion) today could very well be your greatest regret tomorrow.

11. In All Things Have No Preferences

As a young samurai who often found himself faced against unbelievably dangerous opponents, Musashi quickly realized that duels had no room for biases. No room to handle his preferred weapon or a use his favourite strategy. There was only room to choose the best option— the option that would let him win:

Source: Youtube, Einzelganger

12. Be Indifferent To Where You Live

“No amount of square footage or scenic views can compensate for a permanently unsatisfied mind.”

Changing your surroundings will not change your mind, but changing your mind will keep you content regardless of your surroundings.

13. Do Not Pursue The Taste Of Good Food

In Musashi’s time, many people starved to death. Today, in an age of abundance, Musashi would be surprised to know that many die from the opposite. Still, this does not make the situation any more desirable.

14. Do Not Hold On To Possessions You No Longer Need

While historians believe it was more out of compulsion than choice, Musashi was a minimalist long before it was fashionable. With no family to belong to and no stable location he could call home, it was also the most logical option.

Source: Youtube, Eckhart Tolle

15. Do Not Act Following Customary Beliefs

Is it the colour of a baseball player’s lucky socks that let him hit his home-runs, or is it simply his skill?

16. Do Not Collect Weapons Beyond What Is Useful

In his quest to become a better fighter, Musashi developed an unconventional style where he carried a long-sword in one hand and a dagger in another. On many occassions, he was mocked for this by his opponents — his blades were neither flashy nor attractive, and his movements were direct instead of graceful.

17. Do Not Fear Death

The fear of death comes from loving life in excess. However, life alone is not worth living for. Given infinite amounts of life, we would be too paralyzed to value anything. Death forces us to define the little time we have and give it meaning:

Source: Youtube, Pursuit of Wonder

“Once again, you are a part of this universe with the special ability to experience the universe. You have been dead for roughly 14 billion years.”

Life cannot exist without death, and thus should not be feared. Just as ignoring life is not the solution, ignoring death is never the solution either.

18. Do Not Seek Goods For Your Old Age

We largely aim to purchase things not for ourselves, but for the eyes and ears of others — for the vision of how we will be viewed. But remember this:

Nothing and no one enters your grave but you. Death is an individual endeavour.

Carefully consider how much you value flourishing your possessions to others. Consider if it is valuable enough to risk not discovering yourself and fulfilling your purpose before you die.

19. Respect The Gods Without Expecting Their Help

It is almost impossible to have a relationship with God without it eventually becoming transactional. If a higher power did exist, would it not be able to see who was praying for what, and why? What incentive would it have to help those that turned to it for every need?

Source: Youtube, TED, Jocko Willink

“Musashi won his battles because he never asked for an easier fight. He would not have it any other way”

Take more responsibility for your actions than those around you, and perhaps God will take notice.

20. You May Abandon Your Body, But You Must Preserve Your Honour

Nothing we have is eternal. Even the brightest legacies will fade long before the stars do. There is no use in trying to maximize the lifespan of anything to outlive your physical one. Rather, what matters is the way you live the life you are given.

21. Never Stray From The Way

Musashi lived his philosophy till his final breath, and he faced death with none of the fear that comes from living an incomplete life. Did he follow the Way in its entirety, in perfect form — always with all the right intentions? Even for someone of the likes of him, it would be hard to believe.

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