Having grown up in the western and westernized societies I too was controlled by "mixed" feelings: saying to myself "the ends do not justify the means" but actually trying to apply any mean available (or which I was able "to sacrifice") to reach all sort of ends or, worse, feeling guilty if some means had not been used to reach some end (meaning "I had not been able to sacrifice something").
Why should we need to discuss whether the ends justify the means or not?
Why not just accept the means as the important part?
Why must one (instead of the other) be important?
Why do we need to justify anything?
The way is the goal, not the end(s).
Anyone that has tried to search for "his way", find "his purpose" or in any way tried to follow any kind of "self-discovery" process mentions the importance of each step, the essential truth found in the way and the means, not in the ends!...
This site is dedicated to all things which "aim at the way", taking as title the well known, often cited and possibly often misunderstood sentence about the relation of way and target in Kyudo (about it see f.i. The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery, Zen in many other arts or my own Kyudo Photos).
The relevance given to the way is not an exclusive of oriental (or Zen) related philosophies. Many westerners have discovered that the way to reach a goal does not require concentration on the end. Instead, attention given to the steps, the way, allow a better way to reach the ends or even reaching better ends!!!
But the attention to the way has to be given "on the way", it has to be experienced and not simply applied as words or intellectual exercise, it has to be lived. Living out is not about getting results, it is about getting involved in a process. Results will come, and eventually will come constantly but only once we have learned not to be waiting for the return and not to be evaluating immediately the return to be gained by each step.
This is the single most difficult passage required on the way to discover and enjoy the way, as opposed to living on ends, and consequently feeling the need to justify whether the sacrifice of a means was worth it or not.
And this kind of "passage" is indeed present not only on "ways" like Meditation, Zen, Kyudo, etc. but also or what might arguably be called (as described in the free encyclopedia Wikipedia) the "grandfather" of all somatic processes: the Alexander Technique (in Wikipedia). For less encyclopedic information you might also want to take a look at my own Alexander Technique (personal impressions).
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