Everytime I run, I run against a ghost. It paces me, matches my every move, and the second I falter, it flashes an icy glance before passing me. I fall to one knee, gasping for breath, and as I look up to stare after the clouds of dust, he’s there sitting next to me, cross-legged, face thin and stretched with patient endurance. A woman once said, “The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.” It’s always with myself. Each time I draw a breath in struggle, it’s not against a foreign advesary, but only the mirrored barriers around my own soul. However they got there, it would do me much more good thinking how to disassemble them, rather than who to blame for their construction. It’s probably the most valuble and difficult thing attainable in life, but I know that it will be mine someday.
People can do so many things. Man is a pile of organic matter, shaped and formed in some base image, from which we have great liberty to refine. But as much as we can temper or let atrophy, it is only a vessel. A breathing tank that gives home to something far greater than any we could hope to synthesize. Rare individuals devote their lives to improving it: the body, or the mind, or a trade. At the root of all these endeavours is simply a mastering of the self. That is the great challenge, and how far one takes it is the only variant.
As Yoritomo observes of Captain Algren during training, he has “too many mind.” I often realize in retrospect that I share the same hindrance. Since I am well-acquainted with the problem, I have but to solve it. I think everyone has the same challenges and opportunities, we need only first find the correct perspective to handle each in turn. I hope in the next year to make great refinments on my own, though I know luck with have nothing to do with it– it will be entirely of my own labor.