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Monday 15 July 2019

Bushcraft Bushido - Integrity.

As the years go by and I get a bit more life experience, though maybe not wisdom, I find myself ruminating on matters of morality and conscience. I recall hearing Ray Mears talk one time and two things he said stayed with me, one that the bushcraft path is spiritual and not just a physical journey and two that the path breeds stoicism and fortitude.
I often think in moralistic terms and would probably say I'm rather old fashioned and would consider myself to have traditional values to those akin to the values of chivalry or those of Bushido.
In fact I think the Bushido way typifies the way we should dedicate ourselves to our craft and to our home lives also. The Bushido way consists of seven virtues all of which are woven in a web and they do not stand alone and to ignore one would be to have a detrimental effect on the others and as a result on our bushcraft journey and also on our personal lives.

The first of these is Integrity.

Integrity is being bound to the truth at all costs and being willing to stand alone for what is right if that's what the situation demands, even when facing an onslaught which you feel is out of place or against what you believe to be right. Facing this builds character and fortitude and stoicism, exactly the attributes Ray was talking about, be true to your self and your craft, even if others are baying around you.
But it also means being able to reach out and offer an apology when needed, and I am as guilty as everyone else of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, we all are fallible. However if you feel you have spoken the truth then stand tall, but if in that stance you know you have hurt someone then never be too proud to say I'm sorry, to be gracious enough to reach out and offer a way to ease the hurt,  but only to those who are deserving, there's no point offering an apology to those whom you know will throw it back in your face, those that berate or shun you lack this most precious of virtues, nature does not do this, scold you she might, but it will be so as to teach you a valuable lesson, learn it.  So it is with our bushcraft path, be humble in nature, we are learning from her, she is teaching us, not the other way around, be ready to fail and yet ready to try again and succeed, dedicate yourself to an open mind and the pursuit of knowledge, pick up the pieces and continue on with your integrity intact and pity those who have none or if they do posses it just simply ignore it.

If you can keep your head when all about you 
are losing theirs and blaming it on you
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies
or being hated, don't give way to hating
and yet don't look too good nor talk too wise...(Kipling)