The Lone Pelican

 In Birds

I was so mesmerized by the scene of this pelican gliding alone on the waters. Amidst all the distractions in the world, it is sometimes hard to get a clean frame of the subject in its surroundings. This is one of my favorite kind of clean images, with nothing else but just the pelican and the reflections of the water.

Lost in the unfolding of this enchanting scene, I can’t help but wonder about life. It makes me think about what it means to be alone. I am an introvert who used to think that I was an extrovert. It was once believed that introverts makes up 25% of the world population. Recent studies have shown that it is actually closer to 50% of the population. Being an introvert doesn’t mean that we are not social, it just means that we rejuvenate better when left alone. The crowd dissipates our energy. I can’t help but feel that introverts are actually more sensitive, which is why we are easily exhausted with too much emotional stimulation. People tends to be that main source of stimulation.

Hiding behind the facade of someone who seems aloof, therein lies a kind, warm and loving soul. To me, an introvert simply means one who likes to go within. It is through this going within that one finds his or her authentic self. Most of us starts on the path of self-discovery through experiences gained from the external world. There seems to be no other way initially. When one realizes how superficial appearances can be, one has no choice but to seek the truth within. Being alone in that sense is necessary—not only necessary, it is our nature.

We come into this world alone, we will leave alone. There is no one else that can live this life for us.

I happen to come across the philosophy behind the martial arts Karate recently. Kara means empty, te means hand. Karate-do means “the way of the empty hand”. It is said that centuries ago in Japan, Zen had profoundly influenced the development of martial arts such as Karate. In a way they share the same roots with the emphasis on emptiness.

Empty-handed we have come.

Empty-handed we will leave.

Empty-handed we are here.

When one truly realizes the meaning, one becomes a warrior with no fear. How can one have fear when one is already empty to begin with. He has nothing to lose. A person with nothing to lose takes the biggest risks in life. He lives with full alertness and intentions, and blossoms to his greatest potential. He cannot be defeated.

You cannot conquer a man who is already empty.

That is the path of emptiness, that is the way of the warrior.

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