I've had an epiphany, that is, in my own personal viewpoint / practice. This week I've found two words that when linked together, describe something I'd not previously had words for --about expectations and my own goals and our (master teachers of the martial arts) "role" in the world (and if not "the world" --within our own communities).
The two words, now one (in my own head anyway) are: "Monk-like."
The woman in this photo is Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron; Pema is a teacher's teacher, a bright light, a communicator extraordinaire --and when I listen to her teach, I always, ALWAYS come away feeling more centered and smarter and more resourceful. She's the kind of monk I have in my mind's eye when I think or say "monk." She's pragmatic, knowledgable, and always looking deeply at viewpoint, at compassion's role, at equanimity, and, well...all the good stuff.
This week I found monk-like as a description of an attitude --as I was mildly caught in the middle of a conflict between two of my friend/student/peers. A conflict where one, a 30 year + veteran of the martial arts and a 7th dan, and a student, much younger, but well into adulthood and not a new black belt, were stuck (temporarily of course) in a heated conflict of, well, stuff conflict is made of.
So I reached out to my more experienced friend, who I had started teaching in 1981 (or close) --and reminded him that after 30 years of our practice, our approach to conflict and its resolution, our skills, our whole conflict management toolbox, should be something akin to that of the most refined peace-maker monks (I think Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, Desmond Tutu, HH The Dalai Lama, etc.).
I mean...why not? Why wouldn't we have that sensibility, centered-ness, and ability to shed the anger, the misunderstandings, the ego-stuff ----in order to look deeply at how to find the middle path? Wouldn't that mindset be like "the ultimate" outcome for all the years invested? I mean, when we lose our ability to kick-ass, wouldn't it be suitable that mentally, emotionally, and spiritually that we end up with that big ol' Craftsman toolbox (the one on wheels) of resources for staying sane in conflict and matters where wisdom and sanity are most useful?
Monk-like, that's what I'm bringing to my own training table, to my own practice. I can think of no other living beings that seem to bring more love and compassion to the table than Pema Chodron and her peers --and I, for one, am going to deepen my practice of embracing her (those kind of) techniques for grappling peace-making and dealing with issues unpleasant. I don't always do it now...but, with my new word, I've an idea to use when the opportunities present themselves.
And, I should add, to my "students" -- "Monk-like," that's how resourceful I think we need to be if we're going to strut around with all of these stripes on our belts. When the *$$& hits the fan, let's pretend all of these years of training have been for the purpose of making us, like these heroes of compassion, incredibly resourceful, aggressively contemplative, and extraordinarily trustworthy.