The Investigation

‘You should investigate this thoroughly.’

The Book of Five Rings

The wording might change a bit depending on your translation, but it all means the same thing. And however you get this worded in your Book of Five Rings, you get it about 100 times. My first read through the book I found myself  annoyed by seeing this sentence so many times, then I found myself just skipping over it. A mistake I rectified in my second read through.

I never used the word ‘wise’ before I read The Book of Five Rings. But the word ‘smart’ doesn’t seem to encompass all that this guy knows. Wise, to me, is used to describe someone with a better understanding of life than most people. Miyamoto Musashi was wise beyond my wildest imagination.

Just about everyone in the world would buy a book that transferred skills right from the page to your brain and fingertips. A book that made you so powerful that you could get anything you want just by reading the words.

No book, magazine, or blog, means anything unless you investigate it yourself…thoroughly. There is no book that magically does it for you. And don’t say the bible or any other religious book either. Faith just like everything else has to be learned, considered deeply, discussed, and practiced, before it is completely realized.

Investigate this thoroughly. Look into this more deeply. That is taking an understanding of yourself, an understanding of the principle being taught, thinking hard about how that principle works with your Ways, then doing a trial and error of putting it into practice.

I recently had to wear a tuxedo. I got a tie-it-yourself bowtie. 20 minutes before I was set to leave, I pulled up directions online, but they were not much help. Nothing to fear, I found a video on You-Tube showing me exactly how to do so. But that only made everything worse. I consider myself a pretty smart guy and I have a foot-long piece of material that I need to fold the right way and I can’t figure it out. I went out that night with a half-tied bowtie. I felt like a three year old.

Then I thought about Musashi. Investigate this thoroughly. I didn’t do that. I just assumed that by reading and watching that I would be able. I wasn’t.

If I can’t tie a bow-tie with directions and a video presentation, how am I supposed to suppress my desires when the Dalai Lama tells me that’s the right way to live? How am I supposed to change my priorities in life because someone lectures me about it? Think about the difficulty in wrapping your brain and your heart around those concepts. And people are made out to be idiots in society for not grasping them. What if they don’t even work for who you are?

I just tweeted @DalaiLama and told him he should add ‘Investigate this thoroughly’ to every thing he posts. Because with big, sweeping concepts like his, it takes time and work by you. And while I’m kind of smiling as I type this, it’s irresponsible of him to advise people like that.

Read something. Put up the crime scene tape. Block everyone else out and investigate it thoroughly. Think about this working or not working with who you are and what you do. Try it. Tweak it. Try it again. Perfect it. Then fully implement it into what you do…or discard it at that point if it’s not working for you.

In order to implement a large change in your life, you must investigate everything thoroughly.