No matter. Things will work out, or they won't. I will be happy someday, or I won't. Whichever happens is irrelevant, so long as I continue to exist. To experience. To try and aid others, even at the cost of the self. And maybe, someday, there will be another with similar priorities. Probably not. I want to say definitely not, but of course nothing is certain, so that is out of the question.
The hole grows larger and colder the more I focus on it. But, like applying pressure to a bruise, the more it hurts, the more I wish to make it hurt. The larger it grows, the more I focus on it. I need an outlet (or, ideally, an inlet), but neither is on the horizon--now, and likely ever.
So what to do? Ignorance is failing me, and as internal stress combines with external, the weight of the two are beginning to wear on me. Like I'm rotting away, from the inside out.
And yet, now, tonight, and for the past few nights, there has been--at times--a warmth there. And even the slightest warmth seems to fill and drown out the most immersive cold. Which in turn breeds hope, which in turn fuels false hope. But then the realization of false hope fuels the darkness, fuels the cold, and the hole returns to prominence until the warmth may come again.
Will the warmth come again? I hope so. It probably will. But for how long? Everything with me is finite, or at least, has proven to be in the past. Why would this be any different? But why does that matter? I, myself, am finite, and that does not stop me. 'Life is the slowest form of suicide.' Be careful, or that thought, that idea, may consume you as it has myself. And once you are here, there is no turning back.
Only another can save you. If you let them.
I fear there is no saving me.
"Although it stands to reason that a samurai should be mindful of the Way of the Samurai, it would seem that we are all negligent. Consequently, if someone were to ask, "What is the true meaning of the Way of the Samurai?" the person who would be able to answer promptly is rare. This is because it has not been established in one's mind beforehand. From this, one's unmindfulness of the Way can be known. Negligence is an extreme thing.
The Way of the Samurai is found in death. When it comes to either-or, there is only the quick choice of death. It is not particularly difficult. Be determined and advance. To say that dying without reaching one's aim is to die a dog's death is the frivolous way of sophisticates. When pressed with the choice of life or death, it is not necessary to gain one's aim.
We all want to live. And in large part we make our logic according to what we like. But not having attained our aim and continuing to live is cowardice. This is a thin dangerous line. To die without gaining one's aim is a dog's death and fanaticism.
But there is no shame in this. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai. If by setting one's heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he pains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.
A man is a good retainer to the extent that he earnestly places importance in his master. This is the highest sort of retainer. If one is born into a prominent family that goes back for generations, it is sufficient to deeply consider the matter of obligation to one's ancestors, to lay down one's body and mind, and to earnestly esteem one's master. It is further good fortune if, more than this, one has wisdom and talent and can use them appropriately.
But even a person who is good for nothing and exceedingly clumsy will be a reliable retainer if only he has the determination to think earnestly of his master. Having only wisdom and talent is the lowest tier of usefulness.
According to their nature, there are both people who have quick intelligence, and those who must withdraw and take time to think things over. Looking into this thoroughly, if one thinks selflessly and adheres to the four vows of the Nabeshima samurai, surprising wisdom will occur regardless of the high or low points of one's nature.
People think that they can clear up profound matters if they consider them deeply, but they exercise perverse thoughts and come to no good because they do their reflecting with only self-interest at the center.
It is difficult for a fool's habits to change to selflessness. In confronting a matter, however, if at first you leave it alone, fix the four vows in your heart, exclude self-interest, and make an effort, you will not go far from your mark. Because we do most things relying only on our own sagacity we become self-interested, turn our backs on reason, and things do not turn out well. As seen by other people this is sordid, weak, narrow and inefficient.
When one is not capable of true intelligence, it is good to consult with someone of good sense. An advisor will fulfill the Way when he makes a decision by selfless and frank intelligence because he is not personally involved. This way of doing things will certainly be seen by others as being strongly rooted. It is, for example, like a large tree with many roots. One man's intelligence is like a tree that has been simply stuck in the ground. "
--Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure