Stories that change... minds
The Zen of Mastery
My Karate Sensei told us this story.
"Long time ago when we studied Karate in the Japanese village, we tied our gi ( practice uniform ) with a rope and that rope was your white belt.
Most of the time we practiced in the fields or in our yards, so the white belts eventually became brown and more years of practice they would become black. That's how you get your black belt.
"Then," he would say, pausing to let this powerful teaching sink in, "as you continue your practice for even longer your black belt starts coming apart and the threads come out white."
"Remember" he said,
" the true goal of all Karate is to become a white belt again."
Barefoot and happy
Starring down at his feet, a client once said, "I feel really uncomfortable doing new things."
So I also starred down at his feet and asked, "How uncomfortable is that?"
"These shoes?" he asked surprised, " Oh, they're not even mine"
"Their not?" I asked.
He shook his head, "No, they're a gift, actually they're all gifts, you know, from birthdays and Christmas. You know, come to think of it, I've never got anything I really liked on my own"
For a while we both stayed silent as this old life script was being recognized and processed by his deeper mind. Then he burst out laughing.
Moments later, he took off his shoes, said 'Thank you!' and walked out of the session in his socks, smiling and happy.
In our next session he told me how that very day he went home in his socks, collected a bunch of his other ill fitting "gifts" and dropped them off at some far away thrift store.
For the next year he kept getting rid of more stuff he never liked or stuff that didn't fit him: goofy sweaters, useless habits, pointless conversations, negative people and so on.
It's funny how often the 'gifts' others give us are sometimes just ill fitting shoes and ugly sweaters and sometimes they're nothing but life changing metaphors.
Just down the street
Some years ago a friend of mine moved from the U.S. to Hong Kong to study Tai Chi with a revered Grand Master.
When he arrived the Grand Master said that it would take my friend years of diligent practice before seeing significant results from his Tai Chi practice.
So my friend asked the Master if there was a good self defense system he could learn while developing his Tai Chi.
The Grand Master sent him down the street to an American boxing gym.
Don't do this in church!
In a remote village a new Buddhist temple was set to open and the novice monks eagerly awaited the Old Venerable Master who was coming from afar to dedicate the new temple with all the appropriate rituals, prayers and ceremonies.
The novice monks all lined up and bowed in reverent greeting as the Old Master entered the temple.
Without hesitation the Old Monk made his way to the temple's beautiful centerpiece, a gilded statue of the Buddha - where upon he lifted his robe and with a great sigh of relief began to piss all over the statue.
Shocked, shaken and glaring daggers, the novice monks were besides themselves with rage and confusion.
With great compassion and loving kindness for their plight the Old Venerable Master asked, "Tell me brothers, where can I possibly piss where the Buddha is not?"